Now here’s something a little different, but really quite special – a fascinating series of intimate face-to-face interviews with twelve of Britain’s best-loved actors, spanning everything from their childhoods to their earliest experiences in theatre, television and film, to their greatest accomplishments and the multitude of famous names they have worked with. It’s a six DVD set but don’t let that put you off. Each and every one of these interviews is wonderful, and at least two or three of the interviewees will be of particular interest to STARBURST readers.
So, who’s in the line-up? Well, in no particular order, it’s Joss Ackland, Michael Medwin, Vera Day, Julian Glover, Michael Craig, Roy Dotrice, Sarah Miles, Lee Montague, Michael Jayston, Derren Nesbitt, Freddie Jones and Shirley Anne Field, and since we don’t have the space to recount each of their conversations in detail, here are some of the highlights:
Shirley Anne Field remembering Michael Gough, The Horrors of the Black Museum and a nerve-wracking dinner date with Frank Sinatra; Freddie Jones discussing the bizarre Marat Sade and working with Clint Eastwood on Firefox; Vera Day’s memories of working with Olivier and Monroe on The Prince and the Showgirl (and the fan hysteria surrounding The Woman Eater!); and Julian Glover revealing how a compliment from Spielberg during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade probably jinxed his American film career. And the interviewees don’t coast over the bad times either. When Michael Jayston talks about a long-forgotten film he made with Topol and Mia Farrow called Follow Me!, his opinion about Chaim Topol isn’t particularly complimentary.
But it’s Sarah Miles’ contribution that is (in our opinion) the best, beginning with a life-changing religious experience while making The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, to the “consciousness-changing” movie The Servant, to working with the comedy greats on Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, to confronting Klaus Kinski during the filming of Venom, this is one of the most engaging interviews we have ever seen. And what Ms. Miles has to say about spirituality, and a recollection of the ‘gift’ her late husband Robert Bolt gave her from the afterlife, is truly thought-provoking.
Each interview is generously illustrated with photographs, film clips and some pretty rare movie trailers, and even if one or two of the subjects ramble on a little bit (we’re mentioning no names!) the result is still spellbinding. These actors really were part of Britain’s cinematic ‘golden age’ and the stories they tell makes the viewer nostalgic for that time when the British film industry briefly led the world. That they are willing to discuss their careers and their peers with such joy and honesty makes this as a collection that shouldn’t be missed. Writer, narrator and producer Derek Pykett, together with his editor Brian Holland, should be congratulated for orchestrating and delivering this project with such finesse and, just as importantly, proceeds raised from the sale of this DVD goes to two charities, the Alzheimer’s Society and All Dogs Matter. What better excuse could you have to spend a few hours in the company of Britain’s movie greats?
Very highly recommended.
FROM STAGE TO SCREEN / CERT: E / DIRECTOR: DEREK PYKETT / STARRING: JOSS ACKLAND, SARAH MILES, ROY DOTRICE, MICHAEL CRAIG, FREDDIE JONES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW