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.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

That Hemmings chap

David Hemmings directs David Bowie and Kim Novak in JUST A GIGLO, 1978
While discussing those Sixties favourites (Julie, Terry, David Warner, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Warwick, Vanessa et al, below) a few further thoughts on that very individual David Hemmings - the first of the People We Like on here, a particular hero of mine ever since seeing him in Antonioni's BLOW-UP when I was 21 back in 1967. I never met David but had a very nice evening chatting with his then girlfriend Jane Merrow back in 1966 when I was 20, about the time he was filming the Antonioni opus ...

What an varied career he had, a child actor and young opera singer for Benjamin Britten (in his TURN OF THE SCREW), then those early 60s movies where he is rather insignificant - I did not spot him at all in SINK THE BISMARCK! on again the other day (left), and there's PLAY IT COOL, SOME PEOPLE (more on these soon), WEST 11, TWO LEFT FEET, and one of the gang in THE SYSTEM in 1964, where lead Oliver Reed romances rich girl Jane (Merrow). 
Then he is in EYE OF THE DEVIL in 1967, just before he burst on screen as the idol of the zeitgeist in BLOW-UP. (Left: Terence Stamp in the 1993 BBC documentary series HOLLYWOOD UK, where he states that he had been promised the role in BLOW-UP. Hemmings was also interviewed for the series, below, as per label.).

David's memoir, which he completed before he died in 2003, is great on all these and living the high life in the 1960s. Films like CAMELOT, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (he was iconic also as Captain Nolan in that hussar uniform, I had a poster of it on my wall - he called his son Nolan too), BARBARELLA, ONLY WHEN I LARF, ALFRED THE GREAT etc. He turned to directing with RUNNING SCARED in 1972, and there's his oddity JUST A GIGOLO in 1978, where he deftly merged David Bowie in Berlin with Marlene Dietrich in Paris (it was Marlene's final outing, as per review at Hemmings/Dietrich labels).  And we mustn't forget his madly camp act as the gay fashion photographer in the deliriously awful Trash classic THE LOVE MACHINE, in 1971, with the hots for John Philip Law - review at Hemmings/Trash labels).
David, as per his memoir, had various problems and went off to America where he directed lots of episodes of THE A-TEAM, MAGNUM P.I. and other series, and turned up in lots of series including MURDER SHE WROTE, and in films like Ken Russell's THE RAINBOW or, re-teamed against Oliver Reed, in that terrible '70s version of THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
An actor with no vanity at all, he had a comeback in the 2000s (before his death aged 62 on a set in Bucharest, in 2003) with roles in LAST ORDERS, THE MEAN MACHINE and some high-profile movies like Scorsese's THE GANGS OF NEW YORK and Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR where his old hell-raiser pal Oliver died during filming. One got the impression from the book that David lived life to the full. 


  1. I love your blog and have just added it to my favorites...found you via Ken Anderson's wonderful Le Cinema Dreams blog...

    I loved this post on the talented and handsome David Hemmings! You made a light bulb go off for me...I never realized that he also directed films, including that curiosity of all curios, Just a Gigolo, with Miss Novak and wasn't Marlene Dietrich in it also?

    Most recently, I saw one of Hemming's last roles, in that quasi-remake of Rosemary's Baby starring heather Graham.Can't remember the title, vut Hemmings was chilling as the satan-worshiping book publisher who tempts the writer husband with fame and fortune.

    Looking forward to reading this wonderful blog--a treasure trove of fun for a movie lover like me!

  2. hi, thanks for your nice comments and interest in these posts. Lots more coming up .... though I have done over 1,000 already. the labels under each item bring up everything else I have done on that person or movie or topic ...

    Yes, we like Hemmings a lot, he is really terrific at the climax of BLOW-UP, and he aged marvellously. Shame he died in his early 60s.

    You should find my topic on I WANT WHAT I WANT interesting too then ...