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.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The adventures of Gerard - 1970

This was one of those throwaway movies we enjoyed at the time - like De Broca's THAT MAN FROM RIO, dubbed and released as a supporting feature in 1964 and became a cult favourite over time. GERARD is maybe quite not in the same league, but is an amusing diversion to see now, swashbuckling period piece about Napoleonic times it is at times brilliant in its comedic delivery, from quirky Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, from stories by Conan Doyle, fleshed out by Peter McEnery as Gerard, Claudia Cardinale, Eli Wallach as a rather camp Napoleon, Jack Hawkins, Mark Burns and more. It is brash, colorful (all those red costumes), looks good in widescreen, Claudia dances up a storm (but I think only Visconti and Zurlini have really showcased her properly).

Other notable Hussars include David Hemmings as Captain Nolan in the 1968 CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, and Malcolm McDowell in Lester's ROYAL FLASH in '75. GERARD in fact play like a Lester film, full of amusing moments and asides to the camera. We like of course Skolimowski's other films like DEEP END and KING QUEEN KNAVE, as per previous posts on them, (Jane Asher label). 
GERARD reminds me of another madcap comedy from that 1969-1970 era, which I will have seek out again: START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME, Bud Yorkin's delirious costume comedy set in the French Revolution, with Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland as twins, Hugh Griffith as Louis XIV and Billie Whitelaw as Marie Antoinette! Another fond memory ...

McEnery is ideal here. He seems to have stopped working in 2008 (according to IMDB) Born in 1940, he had a small part in the 1960 TUNES OF GLORY and was then Boy Barrett setting the plot of VICTIM in motion in 1961. He did two Walt Disneys: giving Hayley Mills her first screen kiss in  the very entertaining THE MOONSPINNERS (where he also tussled with Eli Wallach's panto villain, in 1964) and that FIGHTING PRINCE OF DONEGAL in 1966, long unseen now. Jane Fonda gets him in Vadim's oddball LA CUREE (THE GAME IS OVER) in 1966, and he is with Glenda and Diane Cilento in NEGATIVES, one I did not see, in 1967. Then he was the very entertaining MR SLOANE in the 1970 film of Orton's hit play. 
A lot of television followed, and I saw him on the stage three times: he was the first HAMLET I saw in Leicester, in maybe 1969, followed by SHADOW OF A GUNMAN by O'Casey at the Old Vic in the early 70s, and a rather good LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC in 1989, with Dorothy Tutin, Susan Hampshire and Lila Kedrova. 
Like John Stride and those other British actors of his era, one would like to see more of him, 


  1. Have you read McEnery's autobiography? It's a reasonably good bitchfest - just up your alley in other words.

    1. Didn't know he did one, how did that pass my by? I hope its as full of gossip about the likes of co-star Dirk Bogarde as are the autobios of James Fox, John Fraser, Michaels York and Craig ....