Dirk Bogarde

Altered British Cinema For Good

The Films of Joseph Losey

By James Palmer and Michael Riley

Cambridge University Press 187pp £27.95 order from our bookshop

I have a brain the exact size of a walnut: it has almost the same texture too. Which makes it difficult for me even to attempt to review this slim, impassioned and detailed book on the films, or at least five of them, of Joseph Losey. I had the good fortune to appear in three of them examined here and am apparently supposed to be in possession of salient facts about their making. The tragic thing is, as Losey well knew, I am apolitical and find it exceedingly difficult to cope with all this clever-dick stuff about a few movies, and am astonished that they had anything to do with me. But of course they did. And I was responsible for quite a lot – like keeping the genius on the railway track. He had a disconcerting habit of wandering off into excesses I simply couldn’t accept. Another ‘mirror shot’ for example, or, once, on The Servant, refusing to carry a string bag carefully packed (by him) with two grapefruit, two sticks of pink rhubarb and a large jar of Heinz Salad Cream. Enough, I felt, was enough. He was sheepish, blushed, but had been determined. That kind of error was controllable, but frequent. I had a battle at times.

Donmar Warehouse


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