Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lee Remick at the BBC

Or: "Why Lee Remick left Hollywood to cook sausages and mash in NW8"
(NW8 is St Johns Wood area of North London).
Yes, more from those 1970s issues of British tv listings magazine "Radio Times" (see Dirk Bogarde below). Theres boxsets on MAGGIE SMITH AT THE BBC, and JUDI DENCH AT THE BBC and HELEN MIRREN AT THE BBC containing performances of theirs for the Beeb in their "Play of the Month" slots and the like, and theres Collections of the BBC's Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Terence Rattigan productions. So where is LEE REMICK AT THE BBC? as she did 3 productions for them, surely they still have the tapes? Theres SUMMER AND SMOKE in January 1972, and Henry James' THE AMBASSADORS with Paul Scofield in 1977, both for the prestigious "Play of the Month"  slot on Sunday nights, and THE VISION in 1987 with the fetching line-up of Lee, Dirk Bogarde, Eileen Atkins and Helena Bonham-Carter. These were only all shown once (like that Terence Rattigan SEPARATE TABLES in '83 which I found this year, as per TV label) .... I did have a video-recording of THE VISION, but cannot find it now ...

Remick & David Henidson in SUMMER & SMOKE
"Radio Times" did a cover story on Lee to promote SUMMER AND SMOKE, I love this cover photo (by Richard Beck)  with her in that ritzy dressing gown and slippers, and smoking - and using a saucer as an ashtray it seems! - maybe thats living in London does for one ! Its an agreeable interview (by Tom Hutchinson) with Lee, described as "one of Hollywood's most intriguing sexpots" and her present situation as a London housewife cooking sausages and mash, her children's favourites! 
"Here in this house in St Johns Wood are living two adults, two teenagers and a housekeeper. In Beverly Hills, for a menage like that, we would have to have five automobiles on display - and who, just who, hadn't got a swimming pool"?
The down-to-earth Remick, 36 here (she died in 1991 aged 55) talks about her Boston background (her family owned a department store) and her ballet training, to that eye catching debut of hers in Kazan's A FACE IN THE CROWD, and her favourite performance in his WILD RIVER opposite Montgomery Clift, a film I love and have to revisit every year, along with her terrific performances in ANATOMY OF A MURDER and DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES. It also goes into the fascination between the Lady she looks like and Tramp she has so often played. 
On SUMMER AND SMOKE produced for the BBC by Cedric Messina she says "Tennessee Williams does write super parts for ladies, and I'm now at the age when I can do them. He integrates poetry into everyday language so it seems real without being pretentious. Its the kind of play they just wouldn't do on American TV just for its own sake, I mean they so rarely do plays at all. The only things they seem to do for actors are series like THE VIRGINIAN." (Of course the '80s which followed had all those glitzy series with los of roles for ageing actresses). 
This seems to be the only photo (above) from that production of SUMMER AND SMOKE, and here's the cast list and credits - Betsy Blair played her mother. And here is the issue covering THE AMBASSADORS, which seems to be the only photo available. It would be nice to get to see these productions again .... Lee of course also did that series JENNIE for the ITV commercial channel in the '70s when she was based in London during her second marriage to assistant director Kip Gowans. 
As mentioned before, Remick label, I met her at the BFI's NFT in 1970 when she was doing a Q&A appearance there, and she sat next to me in that spare seat I had in the front row, during the clips, as my guest could not turn up. We also saw her on stage here in 1976 in BUS STOP where she was a creditable Cherie with Kier Dullea as that very annoying cowboy! Below: Lee and Dirk in THE VISION, 1987.
Now for another look at the 1979 Merchant/Ivory THE EUROPEANS which turned up on television yesterday afternoon. I have the dvd, but had to record the screening, this is more Henry James with Lee as that Countess visiting her relatives in the New World .... a quite good early Merchant/Ivory. I have some other Remick interviews of the same vintage in magazines like "Films & Filming" and "Films Illustrated" which I must dig out ...
Lee on the Joan Rivers Show, 1986:

No comments:

Post a Comment