Ian Hendry In The James Bond Spy Film, Casino Royale '67? Director Joseph McGrath Discusses Ian's Scene With Ursula Andress Which Ended On Up On The Cutting Room Floor Plus Other Bond Connections

Ian Hendry In The James Bond Spy Film, Casino Royale '67?

Well it looks like it very nearly happened.

Ian Hendry was cast as 'a hitman' in the James Bond film, Casino Royale [1967].

It appears, though, that Ian fell victim to the chaos that surrounded te film and his scene with Ursula Andress ended up on the cutting room floor!

Although there is also now some evidence that he does, in fact, still appear in the film - in what would be his least glamorous role - a corpse!

In this extract from Casino Royale [1967] - Wikipedia, Ian's role is described as being that of the secret agent, 006:

"So many sequences from the film were removed, that several well-known actors never appeared in the final cut, including Ian Hendry (as 006, the agent whose body is briefly seen being disposed of by Vesper), Mona Washbourne and Arthur Mullard."

Casino Royale [1967]  - Director Joseph McGrath with Pete Doherty/ James Bond Radio

In the last few days, some more information has come to light that helps to fill in some more of the story. I'd not come across the James Bond Radio website, until Alan Hayes drew my attention to their most recent podcast.

The latest James Bond Radio episode  has an interview with Joseph McGrath, one of the six directors that worked on Casino Royale [1967]. Near the end, he mentions that Ian was hired to be in the film as 'a hitman' and shot - quite literally - a humorous scene with Ursula Andress in which he attempts to assassinate her before suffering a slow, drawn-out, rather comic death as she shoots him six times with six different weapons!

Unfortunately the scene was deleted as the producer - Charles K. Feldman -  did not get the joke! (c. 49 minutes into the podcast).

Feldman was a Hollywood attorney, film producer and talent agent who founded the Famous Artists talent agency. According to one obituary, Feldman disdained publicity. "Feldman was an enigma to Hollywood. No one knew what he was up to - from producing a film to packaging one for someone else." His most notable work includes production of  'The Glass Menagerie' [1950],  A Streetcar Named Desire' [1951] and 'The Seven Year Itch' [1955].

Given how Joseph McGrath describes the scene, it would clearly have worked. Ian had great ability with regards to light comedy, as noted by Dame Judi Dench in her contribution to Ian's biography:

“I think he was the first student I had ever seen whom I believed had been born an actor. He was wonderful at light comedy, and we all looked up to him and admired him enormously”.

And Ian had had a similar cameo role in the light-hearted film, The Sandwich Man starring Michael Bentine, which was released the year before [1966]. So it's a great shame that we can't enjoy seeing Ian in Casino Royale. But what we do have is the words of Joseph McGrath which can help fire our imaginations

Video: Director Joseph McGrath discusses the making of Casino Royale [1967]

Transcript - Joseph McGrath Discusses Working With The Producer - Charlie Feldman - Woody Allen And The Scene He Shot With Ian Hendry + Ursula Andress

The following is a transcription of part of the podcast, which features Joseph McGrath talking about the production and certain scenes,  with some excerpts inserted from the film itself:

Excerpt of Scene from Casino Royale:

“Listen you can't shoot me, I, I, I have a very low threshold of death. My doctor says I can't have bullets enter my body at any time. I, I, I, ugh…”

- Woody Allen

I got to know Woody because he arrived before shooting started. We used to meet and talk about the film and the ideas in the film and he had already worked with Charlie Feldman in ‘What’s New Pussycat’.

So he said, “Charlie, he is not a producer in the real sense. He had no idea of comedy and he used to go into the cutting room when I wasn't there and he'd go through all the routines that I had shot over the last week or two and he would go through them all and take the payoffs off the routines, so that I would be left with the beginning of routines, the middle of routines and going nowhere. And then he would cut to another sequence.

And he said it’s one of those things, he said, I had to fight and argue to get, you know, some of the payoffs back on and he said that's what you have to keep an eye open on when you shoot Casino Royale. 

So which is what I was doing and which, indeed, Charlie did right at the very beginning.

There's a car wash sequence with Duncan Macrae as a French detective, with a Scottish accent. And he's got a Scottish accent because Peter didn't want him to have a French accent, because he said people might think he's trying to be Clouseau.

So Duncan had it. And then Peter makes a remark in the film, which I wasn't there [for], saying why have you got a Scottish accent?

Excerpt of Scene from Casino Royale:

“There is something that is worrying me. You're a French police officer and yet you have a Scots accent? [Peter Sellers].

"Aye, it worries me too.” [Duncan Macae].

And Duncan doesn’t know how to answer it, you know, and it’s in the film. Duncan should have said, ‘because you asked me to.’ 

Excerpt of Scene from Casino Royale:

“We don't want our little talk to be overheard. Get in the car. “ [Duncan Macrae]..

“No, there's nothing to talk about.” [Peter Sellers]

And as if driving through the carwash and dialogue, there's girls in rubber suits all around the car, cleaning the car, soaping the car - very sexually in those days, sixties, these girls, the Bond girls. And they're wiping soap on the windscreen, wiping it off.  Now then they decided that, underneath the car, they’d fix a bomb. 

So the bomb is actually ticking.  And they go back up into the cars to Peter and Duncan Macrae who are carrying on the dialogue.

It was a very funny bit in the dialogue, which Peter had lifted straight from the Goon Show,  and which we put in.

He says, "I must warn you Mr Bond that I'm keeping an eye on you here and that anything you do, you know,  really you can only do with my permission, you know.  I'm the Chief of Police.

And Peter says, ‘say that again’. And he switches the radio on and Duncan says it again and then Peter says, ‘yes, it does sound better with music’.

You see, which is a terribly good Spike Milligan joke, you know. At the end was supposed to be the car explodes and when the smoke clears Peter is still immaculate - James Bond - and Duncan Macrae is a smoking wreck. And he says, “you know, you really should try to give up smoking.” And that was the end of it.

And Charlie said, “that's a bit Tom and Jerry.” And I said, “yeah, it's meant to be Tom and Jerry, it's the whole point you know.’ 

I said you quite like the opening titles, you know,  I said this is the same sort of humour and all that. And he said, 'oh no I don't know, I don’t like that," you know.

So when I left, you know, that scene you see, that scene he gets into the car wash for no reason, there's all these girls washing - then you go to another scene.

Excerpt of Scene from Casino Royale:

“Mr Bond” [Duncan Macrae]

“Yes?”[Peter Sellers]

“I'm Lieutenant Mathis of the Special Police." [Duncan Macrae]

The art  director, Michael Stringer, built this French urinal on a flat and we had little girls with nuns going along behind it for that scene. Now that scenes supposed to be later in the film, when he's arrived in Paris.

Well Charlie says I had seen the funniest thing in the film, he says.  That's the best thing in the film. So he opens the film with that and I said to Charlie years later, when I had seen the film, I said it's a big mistake because:

a. continuity wise,  it makes no sense and,

b. I said, "looking back on it, Charlie, it's a very… it's a ‘Carry On’ joke." 

Now Dylis Powell, who was a film critic of the time, said that Casino Royale never quite recovered from the laughter at the beginning of the film. It's very interesting she said that.  She said that it made no sense at all - but it was very funny.

Before Sellers gets to the flat, you see Ursula Andress pulling with a trolley and she wheels it to a shoot and she has a telephone and she says, can you clear away this rubbish by tomorrow morning. She hangs up and there’s this long narrow parcel, which goes down the shoot and disappears. Now the scene before that was Ian Hendry, who was one of the original Avengers, along with Honor Blackman, before Diana Rigg and Pat Macnee. Ian Hendry was the start of The Avengers. [editors note: Just to clarify for the record, Patrick Macnee was one of the original Avengers, Honor Blackman replaced Ian after series 1, when he left to pursue opportunities in film.].

Now I used Ian Hendry in Casino Royale as a hitman. So Ursula Andress is in a private firing area and she has a target - you know that you wind up and down - and so she winds the target back down and she has a whole series of guns laid out in front of her. And she’s reaching for the gun when this hit-man appears behind the target. It’s Ian Hendry.

And he is just about to shoot her and he says this is a Beretta, you know, and he tells it's caliber, it’s an Italian make and some hit-men use it. And she says, ‘oh really’ and she quickly picks up gun and say this is a Walter PPK.  Bang! And she shoots him, you know, and then she goes along each gun and she she explains this gun and shoots him in a different part - so that it takes about six bullets and in, you know, at the end he says, 'you know I'll never forgive you for this," you know and he dies.  She then puts him in a parcel and sends him off.

Picture: Ursula Andress dispatches the body of  Ian Hendry down the rubbish shoot in Casino Royale [1967]. The last remaining remnant of the scene to survive the cut. Perhaps the first role in which Ian made an exit without uttering a word, being seen or even making an entrance!

 

Now the Ian Hendry’s scene is cut out of the film. 

So you start the scene with her with a parcel, saying get rid of this rubbish, you know, tomorrow morning. Now you don't know what's in that parcel. That's Ian Hendry, who you've seen [editor's note: or rather should have seen!]  being shot by her six times.

The reason we shot,  Terry Southern and I wrote that scene - which Charlie didn't understand when he saw it, he said it isn't funny. I said it’s funny in a different way, Charlie. It’s showing that in movies people get hit six times and still can do dialogue and still live, you know, I said it takes about eight bullets to kill them. It's a joke, I said you know you get hit by a bullet - you don't get up.  You know. And Charlie said, "nobody’ll get it, nobody’ll get it."  

Anyway the point I'm making is, Ian Hendry got five thousand pounds, for a non-appearance in Casino Royale, as a parcel!

_________________________________________________________

Anyway the point I'm making is, Ian Hendry got five thousand pounds, for a non-appearance in Casino Royale, as a parcel!

Joseph McGrath, Director - Casino Royale [1967]

_________________________________________________________

This helps to provide a little more substance and context to the story behind Ian Hendry's involvement in this film. In Gabriel Hersham's biography on Ian, he recounts that he had a cameo role in Casino Royale, but no details were known of the scene or why it was cut. The scene is probably long gone, but at least we now know a little more thanks to Joseph McGrath's fascinating account.

Picture: Ursula Andress gazes into the distance, with Peter Seller and Orson Welles. This artwork is based on the one day of shooting when Sellers and Welles were able to stand the sight of each other. Ian Hendry's scene with Ursula Andress, however, ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor."

Gabriel Hershman, commenting on the Joseph McGrath interview on the Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook page, mentioned that:

"I remember many years ago watching Casino Royale and hoping to see Ian and being so disappointed. This was back in the days when David Quinlan's Illustrated Directory of Film Stars was THE BIBLE. And I just couldn't spot him even though Quinlan listed him as being in it. To be honest, I think the paucity of Ian's major film roles between 1965-8 wasa disgrace. He was totally underused."

But perhaps the explanation given by Joseph McGrath, that the corpse being disposed of by Ursula Address was in fact Ian Hendry, is just sufficient to justify the mention by David Quinlan?!

Chris Williams  also commented that it's a great shame that this scene was cut from the film. And a view that I think we would all share:

"Amazing. That would have been a very funny scene and totally in character with the film. How disappointing it was deleted, but well paid.£5000 in 1967 would have bought you a couple of houses. I agree with Gabriel too that Ian was underused and we were all denied what I'm sure would have been some wonderful performances."

Ian Hendry - Did He Turn Down The Part Of James Bond In 1962?

In his biography, Gabriel Hersman mentions the impact that Ian Hendry's lead role as Dr. David Keel in the first series of The Avengers [1961] had in raising his profile. Was Ian Hendry offered the part of James Bond in 1962?

An extract from Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry,  by Gabriel Hershman, sheds a bit more light on this topic:

"The Avengers had another repercussion. One of Ian's frequent stories, usually after a few drinks, was that he was later offered the part of James Bond but turned it down. The truth is that Ian was probably one of many actors CONSIDERED for the part. But many other actors were also in the running, including Richard Todd, Richard Burton, Christopher Lee, Edward Judd and Patrick McGoohan. There is another story - cited by Olive Bird, Michael J. Bird's widow, which may be apocryphal,that Ian arrived drunk for a scene test for Bond and so was rejected."

 

Picture: Ian Hendry - signed promotional photograph for the film, Live Now, Pay Later [1962].

But whilst Ian Hendry may have missed out on the part of  James Bond - 007 - in 1962, he may have gained some solace from the fact that it appears that he was cast as a hitman in 1967!

And although he had his scene cut from Casino Royale in 1967, Ian did still work with some of the notable actors who starred in some of the Bond films.

This list includes:

  • Ursula Andress - cast as Honey Rider in Dr. No [1962] and as Vesper Land in Casino Royale[1967]. Ian worked with Ursula in the film, The Southern Star [1969], as well as Casino Royale [1967].
  • Honor Blackman - cast as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger [1964]. Ian worked with Honor in the play, The Motive [1976].
  • Orson Welles - cast as Le Chiffre in Casion Royale [1967[. Ian worked with Orson in the film, The Southern Star [1969].
  • Diana Rigg - cast as Countess Tracy di Vicenzo in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' [1969]. Ian worked with Diana on the film, Theatre of Blood [1973].
  • Britt Ekland - cast as Mary Goodnight in 'The Man With The Golden Gun' [1974]. Ian worked with her in the Armchair Theatre television play, A Cold Peace[1965] Britt's first appearance on British television and Get Carter [1971].

And last, but certainly not least, Ian's partner in crime from the early days of 'The Avengers' [1961]:

  • Patrick Macnee [cast as Sir Godfrey Tibbett in 'A View To A Kill', 1985]

Casino Royale [1967]

The film is, perhaps, more famous now for the complete chaos that seems to have surrounded the production.  And to further emphasise that point, six different directors were involved in the making of this film:

Ken Hughes
John Huston
Joseph McGrath
Robert Parrish
Val Guest
Richard Talmadge

The following information is taken from the Casino Royale [1967] Wikipedia page:

Picture: Original film poster for Casino Royale [1967]. The film was also clearly too much for a lot of other people as well!

Casino Royale is a 1967 British-American spy comedy film originally produced by Columbia Pictures featuring an ensemble cast. It is loosely based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel. The film stars David Niven as the "original" Bond, Sir James Bond 007. Forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths and disappearances of international spies, he soon battles the mysterious Dr. Noah and SMERSH. The film's tagline: "Casino Royale is too much... for one James Bond!" refers to Bond's ruse to mislead SMERSH in which six other agents are pretending to be "James Bond", namely, baccarat master Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers); millionaire spy Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress); Bond's secretary Miss Moneypenny (Barbara Bouchet); Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet), Bond's daughter by Mata Hari; and British agents "Coop" (Terence Cooper) and "The Detainer" (Daliah Lavi).

Charles K. Feldman, the producer, had acquired the film rights in 1960 and had attempted to get Casino Royale made as an Eon Productions Bond film; however, Feldman and the producers of the Eon series, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, failed to come to terms. Believing that he could not compete with the Eon series, Feldman resolved to produce the film as a satire. The budget escalated as various directors and writers got involved in the production, and actors expressed dissatisfaction with the project.

Casino Royale was released on 13 April 1967, two months prior to Eon's fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice. The film was a financial success, grossing over $41.7 million worldwide, and Burt Bacharach's musical score was praised, earning him an Academy Award nomination for the song "The Look of Love". Critical reception to Casino Royale, however, was generally negative; some critics regarded it as a baffling, disorganised affair. Since 1999, the film's rights have been held by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, distributors of the official Bond movies by Eon Productions.

Picture: Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd and Woody Allen as Dr. Noah - Casino Royale [1967].

Budget

The studio approved the film's production budget of $6 million, already quite large in 1966. However, during filming the project ran into several problems and the shoot ran months over schedule, with the costs also running well over. When the film was finally completed it had doubled its original budget. The final production budget of $12 million made it one of the most expensive films that had been made to that point. The previous Eon Bond film, Thunderball (1965), had a budget of $11 million while the nearly contemporary You Only Live Twice (1967), had a budget of $9.5 million. The extremely high budget of Casino Royale led to comparisons with a troubled production from 1963, and it was referred to as "a runaway mini-Cleopatra". Columbia at first announced the film was due to be released in time for Christmas 1966. The problems postponed the launch until April 1967.

Release + Reception

Casino Royale had its world premiere in London's Odeon Leicester Square on 13 April 1967, breaking many opening records in the theatre's history. Its American premiere was held in New York on 28 April, at the Capitol and Cinema I theatres. It opened two months prior to the fifth Bond film by Eon Productions, You Only Live Twice.

Box Office + Marketing

Despite the lukewarm nature of the contemporary reviews, the pull of the James Bond name was sufficient to make it the 13th highest-grossing film in North America in 1967 with a gross of $22.7 million and a worldwide total of $41.7 million ($306 million in 2017 dollars). Orson Welles attributed the success of the film to a marketing strategy that featured a naked tattooed woman on the film's posters and print adsas well as a billboard in New York's Times Square. The campaign also included a series of commercials featuring British model Twiggy. As late as 2011, the film was still making money for the estate of Peter Sellers, who negotiated an extraordinary 3% of the gross profits (an estimated £120 million), with the proceeds currently going to Cassie Unger, the daughter and sole heir of Sellers' beneficiary, fourth wife Lynne Frederick. When box-office receipts are adjusted for inflation, Casino Royale is second-lowest grossing of all the Bond films, with only Licence To Kill (1989) showing a lower return.

Critical Reception

No advance press screenings of Casino Royale were held, leading reviews to only appear after the premiere.The chaotic nature of the production features heavily in contemporary and later reviews. Roger Ebert said "This is possibly the most indulgent film ever made", Time described Casino Royale as "an incoherent and vulgar vaudeville", and Variety declared the film to be "a conglomeration of frenzied situations, ‘in’ gags and special effects, lacking discipline and cohesion." Bosley Crowther of The New York Times had some positive statements about the film, considering Casino Royale had "more of the talent agent than the secret agent" and praising the "fast start" and the scenes up to the baccarat game between Bond and Le Chiffre. Afterward, Crowther felt, the script became tiresome, repetitive and filled with clichés due to "wild and haphazard injections of 'in' jokes and outlandish gags", leading to an excessive length that made the film a "reckless, disconnected nonsense that could be telescoped or stopped at any point".

Writing in 1986, Danny Peary noted, "It's hard to believe that in 1967 we actually waited in anticipation for this so-called James Bond spoof. It was a disappointment then; it's a curio today, but just as hard to get through." Peary described the film as being "disjointed and stylistically erratic" and "a testament to wastefulness in the bigger-is-better cinema," before adding, "It would have been a good idea to cut the picture drastically, perhaps down to the scenes featuring Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. In fact, I recommend you see it on television when it's in a two-hour (including commercials) slot. Then you won't expect it to make any sense."

A few recent reviewers have been more impressed by the film. Andrea LeVasseur, in the AllMovie review, called it "the original ultimate spy spoof", and opined that the "nearly impossible to follow" plot made it "a satire to the highest degree". Further describing it as a "hideous, zany disaster" LeVasseur concluded that it was "a psychedelic, absurd masterpiece". Cinema historian Robert von Dassanowsky has written about the artistic merits of the film and says "like Casablanca, Casino Royale is a film of momentary vision, collaboration, adaption, pastiche, and accident. It is the anti-auteur work of all time, a film shaped by the very zeitgeist it took on." Romano Tozzi complimented the acting and humour, although he also mentioned that the film has several dull stretches.

In his review of the film, Leonard Maltin remarked, "Money, money everywhere, but [the] film is terribly uneven – sometimes funny, often not." Simon Winder called Casino Royale "a pitiful spoof", while Robert Druce described it as "an abstraction of real life".

Rogert Ebert gave Casino Royale two star and some ascerbic comments:

"At one time or another, "Casino Royale" undoubtedly had a shooting schedule, a script and a plot. If any one of the three ever turns up, it might be the making of a good movie.

In the meantime, the present version is a definitive example of what can happen when everybody working on a film goes simultaneously berserk.

Lines and scenes are improvised before our very eyes. Skillful cutting builds up the suspense between two parallel plots -- but, alas, the parallel plots never converge. No matter; they are forgotten, Visitors from Peter O'Toole to Jean-Paul Belmondo are pressed into service. Peter Sellers, free at last from every vestige of' discipline goes absolutely gaga.

This is possibly the most indulgent film ever made. Anything goes. Consistency and planning must have seemed the merest whimsy. One imagines the directors (there were five, all working independently) waking in the morning and wondering what they'd shoot today. How could they lose? They had bundles of money, because this film was blessed with the magic name of James Bond."

The film holds a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/10. The website's critical consensus states: "A goofy, dated parody of spy movie cliches, Casino Royale squanders its all-star cast on a meandering, mostly laugh-free script."

Video: An excellent review/ documentary of Casino Royale '67, giving further insights into the chaos that surrounded the film's production

The video above contains some great footage of the director Val Guest being interviewed about his work on the film.

Extract from Casino Royale [1967] in Wikipedia:

"Val Guest was given the responsibility of splicing the various "chapters" together, and was offered the unique title of "Co-ordinating Director" but declined, claiming the chaotic plot would not reflect well on him if he were so credited. His extra credit was labelled "Additional Sequences" instead."

Roy Baird formed a strong working relationship with the director Guest. The son of a storekeeper at the film studios at nearby Elstree, he studied draughtsmanship at Southall Technical College before completing National Service in the RAF. He joined the Elstree studios as a runner and worked his way up to first assistant director, regarded as the best in the country on account of his energy and ability.

Together Guest and Baird released The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), 80,000 Suspects (1963) and The Beauty Jungle (1964). An interesting connection is that Ian Hendry was the lead in The Beauty Jungle and his future wife, Janet Munro, starred in The Day The Earth Caught Fire.

Roy Baird's son Mark shared this comment concerning his father's work on Casino Royale, on the above Youtube review video:

"My father was assistant director on this film and has a photograph with David Niven both looking up at a tree. Niven wrote on the photo "Somewhere up there Roy is the script!!" It was legendary chaotic. Incidentally the Tartan used in the castle scenes is the Baird tartan after our surname which Roy arranged. Most of the crew had a blast working on it from what I was told."

Ian Hendry + Ursula Andress - The Southern Star [1969]

Two years later, Ian worked with Ursula Andress again in another comedy adventure film, ' The Southern Star' [1969]. The film also featured Orson Welles, another cast member from Casino Royale [1967].

Ian Hendry played the part of Captain Karl Ludwig and Ursula Andress the part of his fiancee, Erica Kramer. And although Ian's accent is markedly different here, this may be the closest we ever get to knowing what their onscreen 'chemistry' may have been like.

Video: Ian Hendry and Ursula Andress - The Southern Star [1969]

Plot:

The Southern Star (French title: L'Étoile du sud) is a Technicolor 1969 British-French comedy crime film directed by Sidney Hayers and starring George Segal, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles. In French West Africa in 1912, an extremely valuable diamond is stolen. It was based on the novel The Vanished Diamond (French title L'Étoile du sud) by Jules Verne. The film's opening scenes were anonymously directed by Orson Welles - the last time he would direct scenes in another director's film.

Cast:

Further Reading/ Podcasts -  James Bond Radio:

To explore the world of James Bond Radio further, we can recommend the following:

Website: http://jamesbondradio.com
iTunes: http://jamesbondradio.com/itunes
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamesbondradio
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jamesbondradio

 

If I do find out any more information about Ian Hendry's role in 'Casino Royale' [1967], or any other Bond connection for that matter, I'll be sure to let you know.

And lastly, many thanks to Joseph McGrath for sharing his fascinating insights into the making of Casino Royale and to Pete Doherty/ James Bond Radio for such a wonderful podcast and video.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page


Ian Hendry + Hildegard Neil - The Adventures of Don Quick. Rare Still Found From London Weekend Television Production [November 1970]

Picture above: Ian Hendry and Hildegard Neil in The Adventures of Don Quick episode 'The Higher The Fewer' [1970].

Recently discovered rare London Weekend Television promotional still for the episode 'The Higher The Fewer' which was first transmitted on Friday November 13th 1970.

Picture: Rear of Photograph. Ian Hendry and Hildegard Neil in The Adventures of Don Quick, episode 'The Higher The Fewer' [LWT 1970]

The Adventures of Don Quick [1970]

Video: The Benefits of Earth [1970]. The only episode known to have survived from the 70s.

Ian Hendry The Adventures of Don Quick 31st October 1970 TV Times

Picture: Ian Hendry in The Adventures of Don Quick. TV Times Cover from 31st October 1970

Source: Wikipedia

The Adventures of Don Quick is a science fiction comedy television series that ran from October–December 1970, on ITV. Starring Ian Hendry and Ronald Lacey, six 50 minute episodes were made, shown in a 60-minute time slot. As of 2008, only the first episode exists, the other five are now missing. A technologically impressive 30 foot model spaceship was built in the studio for the series.

Plot summary

The show was a science fiction satire based on the characters of Don Quixote, with astronaut Captain Don Quick (Ian Hendry) and Sergeant Sam Czopanser (Ronald Lacey), members of the "Intergalactic Maintenance Squad". On each planet they visit, Quick attempts to set right imaginary wrongs, often upsetting the inhabitants of whatever society he is in. The plot bears some resemblance to the five Penton and Blake stories by John W Campbell, about two astronauts who travel the Solar System meeting strange races.

The Higher The Fewer. The pair land on Melkion 5 where the population live in 2,000 storey high skyscrapers. The upper floors are for the upper classes and the lower floors for the lower classes. Quick decides to change all of that with disastrous results. James Hayter as Hendenno, Hildegard Neil as Mrs Arborel, Derek Francis as Arborel. Written by Peter Wildeblood.

Hildegarde Neil

Hildegarde Neil (born 29 July 1939), also credited as Hildegard Neil, is an English actress.
Born in London, and raised in South Africa, she first appeared on television in a BBC schools' television production of Julius Caesar in 1963 and after that appeared mostly as a guest artiste in a variety of TV series over the last 40 years. She has also appeared in several films and on stage, both in the West End and touring.

Personal life
She is married to actor Brian Blessed - since December 28, 1978 - and has a daughter with him, Rosalind, who is also an actress and represented by the same agent as her mother. Ian Hendry also worked with Brian Blessed in the very first episode of the TV series The Sweeney, titled 'Ringer' [first aired on 2nd January 1975].

Stage Appearances
-

  • Neil spent a season at the Royal Shakespeare Company playing a variety of roles including "Gertrude" in Hamlet.
  • She played Lady Macbeth in Ewan Hooper's production of Macbeth at the Greenwich Theatre, which opened on 18 February 1971.
  • She directed Roan School for Girls' production of As You Like It in 1971.

Film and Television

Neil has featured in a number of films and is, perhaps, best known for the following roles:

  • Eve Pelham, wife of Roger Moore's Harold Pelham in "The Man Who Haunted Himself", directed by Basil Dearden.
  • Cleopatra, opposite Charlton Heston's Antony, in the 1972 production of 'Antony and Cleopatra'.

Heston asked Orson Welles to direct, but Welles turned it down, so he decided to do it himself. The film was shot in Spain. Heston re-used leftover footage of the sea battle from his 1959 film Ben-Hur.

Neil's television career has spanned six decades with notable roles including No Hiding Place, Jason King, Van Der Vaalk, The Protectors and The Professionals.

Source Wikipedia: Hildegarde Neil

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page


Ian Hendry In 'A Suitable Case For Treatment' - Radio Times October 20th 1962 [BBC TV Production]

Picture above: Ian Hendry as Morgan Delt and Moira Redmond as Leonie Delt

Ian Hendry - A Suitable Case For Treatment, October 1962 [BBC TV Production]

By all accounts, Ian Hendry's portrayal of Morgan Delt - in the BBC's 1962 production of 'A Suitable Case for Treatment' - was considered to be exceptional.

Even David Warner, who gained considerable critical acclaim when he played the part in the film version made in 1966, agrees. David mentioned Ian's performance when he was interviewed in 2009 and stated, humbly, that:

"Ian Hendry was Morgan"

The audio of that interview is included in the article below.

It is almost certain that the BBC wiped the tape of the 1962 version and no 16mm tele recorded copy is known to exist. Another case of a significant archival loss, where we have to search for other surviving material to try and build a picture of this production.

The Radio Times edition from 20th October 1962 is such an example. We now have a clear picture [ well a still at least] of Ian's portrayal of Morgan, replete with a beard and thick black-rimmed glasses! There appears to be some kind of gadget, perhaps some kind of lens, attached to the left hand side of the spectacles. As yet I have no information as to what it is exactly, but quite possibly part of the eccentric portrayal of Morgan used in the production.

Trivia

"Ian Hendry wears glasses and a thick beard in the title role, which make him closely resemble David Mercer, the play's author; and the character is, like Mercer, a Marxist writer who drinks too much and has abrasive relationships with women."

"Moira Redmond appeared alongside Ian Hendry in the The Avengers, Series 1, in very first episode of titled 'Hot Snow' [1961].

John Dankworth, who wrote the theme tune for Series 1 of The Avengers, also wrote the music for the BBC's production of 'A Suitable Case For Treatment' [1962].

Cast

Ian Hendry ... Morgan Delt
Moira Redmond ... Leonie Delt
Jack May ... Charles Napier
Anna Wing ... Mrs. Delt
Norman Pitt ... Mr. Henderson
Helen Goss ... Mrs. Henderson
Jane Merrow ... Jean Skelton
Harry Brunning ... Mr. Delt
David Grahame ... Ticket Collector
John Bennett ... Policeman
Hugh Evans ... Analyst

Writing Credits

David Mercer

Producer

Don Taylor

Picture: Ian Hendry as Morgan Delt and Moira Redmond as Leonie Delt

Picture: Text from the Radio Times entry for 'A Suitable Case For Treatment' for the week commencing 20th October 1962.

Picture: Cover of the 20th October 1962 edition of Radio Times, featuring Michael Bentine who was starring in It's A Square World

David Warner - On Ian Hendry and a Suitable Case For Treatment

In this BBC interview from 2009, David Warner talks about his life and work including his well known role as Morgan in the film version of 'A Suitable Case For Treatment' (1966). He discusses the challenges of playing the part - a role which Ian Hendry also took on in the BBC production of 1962.

During this interview [from 8mins 5sec], David refers to this earlier performance and in a few brief but telling words, states that 'Ian Hendry was Morgan'.

We appreciate David's humility, but regardless of comparisons it gives us a glimpse of just how powerful Ian's performance must have been. Sadly, that BBC productions is missing, presumed wiped - but we live in hope that one day it will be discovered.

David Warner - BBC Radio Interview (2009)

Morgan - A Suitable Case For Treatment [1966]


Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment (also called Morgan!) is a 1966 comedy film made by British Lion. It was directed by Karel Reisz and produced by Leon Clore from a screenplay by David Mercer, based on his BBC television play A Suitable Case for Treatment (1962), the leading role at that time being played by Ian Hendry.

The film stars David Warner, Vanessa Redgrave, and Robert Stephens, with Irene Handland Bernard Bresslaw.

Plot Summary

Morgan Delt (David Warner) is a failed artist, who was raised as a communist by his parents. His upper-class wife, Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave), has given up on him and is in the process of getting a divorce in order to marry Charles Napier (Robert Stephens), an art gallery owner of her own social standing. Given the innately rich and personal world of fantasy Morgan has locked himself into, he goes off the deep end. He performs a series of bizarre stunts in a campaign to win back Leonie, including putting a skeleton in her bed and blowing up the bed as her mother sits on it. When these stunts fail, Morgan secures the help of his mother's wrestler friend Wally "The Gorilla" (Arthur Mullard) to kidnap Leonie, who still nurtures residual feelings of love tinged with pity for Morgan. The plan fails, and Morgan is arrested and imprisoned.

After escaping, he crashes the wedding reception of Leonie and Charles dressed as a gorilla, for which scene Reisz borrows clips from King Kong to illustrate Morgan's fantasy world. Morgan flees the wedding on a motorcycle with his gorilla suit on fire. He is subsequently committed to an insane asylum. Here, Leonie visits him looking visibly pregnant. With a wink, Leonie tells him he is the child's father. Morgan returns to tending a flowerbed as the camera pulls out to a longshot of the entire circular flowerbed with the enclosed flowers arranged into a hammer and sickle.

Moira Redmond - A Career Overview


As a young actress, she joined the Windmill Girls (recently evoked in the film Mrs Henderson Presents) who performed non-stop revues and nude tableux at the Windmill Theatre in the West End. Several years later, she married her first husband and emigrated to Australia, but the marriage did not endure so she returned to Britain determined to make her name as an actress. While in Australia, Moira became a successful radio actress. She played in the major radio features, Caltex Theatre and General Motors' Hour as well as plays for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Her best remembered radio drama was Linday Hardy's Stranger in Paradise along Guy Doleman, a New Zealand actor who later had a movie career both in the US and Britain.[citation needed]

She made her stage debut as an understudy to Vivien Leigh in Peter Brook's revival of Titus Andronicus with Laurence Olivier. In July of that year, she made her London debut at the Stoll in the same production.

In 1958, she made her film debut in a thriller, entitled Violent Moment (1958), which was followed by several more roles in the films Doctor in Love (1960), A Shot in the Dark (1964) and several B-film thrillers.

Meanwhile her theatrical career had taken off with roles in Verdict (Strand), in which she played Helen Rollander; Detour After Dark (Fortune Theatre), Horizontal Hold (Comedy Theatre); Patrick Peace Hotel (Queen's); The Winter's Tale (Cambridge Theatre) and 'Flint (Comedy Theatre).

She was also a founder member of the Actors' Company with Ian McKellen. She played at the Edinburgh Festival as Helen of Troy in The Trojan Women with Flora Robson, and as Hermione in The Winter's Tale with Laurence Harvey.

Throughout the 1960s she appeared in London and the provinces in the plays of Alan Ayckbourn; she was also Lady Sheerwell in Jonathan Miller's revival of Sheridan's The School for Scandal; Maria in Twelfth Night; Mrs Wickstead in Habeas Corpus; Brand's mother in Brand; and Jocasta in Stephen Spender's trilogy Oedipus. She later toured South America for the British Council in revivals of Habeas Corpus and Shaw's Heartbreak House (as Hesione). Television appearances in the 1960s included a role in Hot Snow (the debut episode of the first series of The Avengers) and in Danger Man and The Baron among others.

By the 1970s she was increasingly in demand for television series, her theatrical training earning her roles in some of the best known television dramas of the period, including Edward the Seventh (playing Edward's mistress Alice Keppel); I, Claudius (in which she played Domitia, Claudius's mother-in-law); and Boswell's London Journey. She also appeared in The Alleyn Mysteries; Edgar Wallace Mysteries, Dixon of Dock Green, and The Sweeney.

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry


Ian Hendry - The Adventures of Don Quick [1970] - Rare London Weekend Television Promotional Still

Picture above: Ian Hendry in The Adventures of Don Quick [1970].

Recently discovered rare London Weekend Television promotional still for the episode 'The Benefits of Earth' which was first transmitted on Friday October 30th 1970.

The Adventures of Don Quick [1970]

Video: The Benefits of Earth [1970]. The only episode known to have survived from the 70s.

Source: Wikipedia

The Adventures of Don Quick is a science fiction comedy television series that ran from October–December 1970, on ITV. Starring Ian Hendry and Ronald Lacey, six 50 minute episodes were made, shown in a 60-minute time slot. As of 2008, only the first episode exists, the other five are now missing. A technologically impressive 30 foot model spaceship was built in the studio for the series.

Plot summary

The show was a science fiction satire based on the characters of Don Quixote, with astronaut Captain Don Quick (Ian Hendry) and Sergeant Sam Czopanser (Ronald Lacey), members of the "Intergalactic Maintenance Squad". On each planet they visit, Quick attempts to set right imaginary wrongs, often upsetting the inhabitants of whatever society he is in. The plot bears some resemblance to the five Penton and Blake stories by John W Campbell, about two astronauts who travel the Solar System meeting strange races.

The episodes

The Benefits of Earth. The pair land on a planet with two extremely different races. One is technologically advanced and is warlike, addicted to human sacrifices. The others are beings of peace and sensitively, living in a dream world. Quick decides to reform them. Kevin Stoney as Betuchuk, Anouska Hempel as Marvana, Thorley Walters as Chief Dreamer. Written by Peter Wildeblood.

People Isn’t Everything. The pair land on the planet Ophiuchus and leave their rocket in the care of a robot who unfortunately likes to drink. Tony Bateman as Skip, Kate O'Mara as Peleen, Colin Baker as Rebel. Written by Kenneth Hill.

The Higher The Fewer. The pair land on Melkion 5 where the population live in 2,000 storey high skyscrapers. The upper floors are for the upper classes and the lower floors for the lower classes. Quick decides to change all of that with disastrous results. James Hayter as Hendenno, Hildegard Neil as Mrs Arborel, Derek Francis as Arborel. Written by Peter Wildeblood.

The Love Reflector. A planet populated only by beautiful women but the planet holds hidden dangers as an astronaut who landed there a generation ago proves, as he is now only six inches tall. Liz Bamber as Angeline, Madeline Smith as Leonie, Faith Brook as Queen Bee. Written by Keith Miles.

The Quick and The Dead. The pair accidentally land their rocket in a live volcano crater and Sam is convinced he is dead and this is the afterlife. They meet an assortment of gods who unknown to them have made them immune to the heat so they can survive, so Quick thinks the volcano is not real. Patricia Haines as Aphrodite, Pauline Jameson as Hera, Graham Crowden as Zeus. Written by Keith Miles.

Paradise Destruct. The planet has many beautiful people and lush vegetation. Night and winter have been abolished in this paradise but Quick decides to change a thing or two with bad results. Kara Wilson as Jonquil, Lorna Heilbron as Willow, Roy Marsden as Sycamore. Written by Charlotte and Dennis Plimmer.

Unproduced episodes include 'It Was Such a Nice Little Planet' by Angela Carter. A copy of her script is held in the British Library Manuscript Collection.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page


Quality Concerns Over The Avengers, 'Tunnel Of Fear' DVD Released By Studio Canal On April 9th 2018 [Review]

 Article Update: 31st July 2018

[New Version 2 Released] The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear DVD
 
It appears that Studio Canal have reissued the Tunnel of Fear DVD, to address some of the issues raised previously.
 
The original DVD was released on 9th April 2018, but a second version is now showing on Amazon UK with a release date of 14th May 2018 and a new ASIN number. The price is listed as £12.00, whereas the version 1 was £9.99.
 
- Cover updated - Ian Hendry now receives the top billing as per his original contract
It's not clear to me whether the other issues raised have been addressed or not as I have not seen a copy of this new version. These included:
 
- Issues with poor  sound quality
- Incorrect credits for other actors
- Missing Extra - PDFs
If you have already purchased Version 1, I suggest that you may wish to contact/ email Studio Canal customer services and complain. The 2nd version was released one month after the first so that speaks volumes in itself. The listing on Amazon provides little information, perhaps because they want to shift the old stock first and are hoping people purchase the cheaper one. They were made aware of the issues in April and told me that a 2nd version would be released at some point to rectify them. So I think you are well within your rights to request that they exchange your copy for a new Version 2. I only saw this this morning so have not had a chance to review a copy to check whether the other issues, namely audio have been fixed. That maybe something you wish to raise as well if you decide to contact them.
Check out listing on Amazon UK - Click here
 
More details on the original issues in the article below.

 

________-______________________________________________

This week should have been one with a purely celebratory mood with the release by Studio Canal of the previously missing series 1 episode of The Avengers, 'Tunnel of Fear'. It's great that it's now available and I know many people have enjoyed seeing it for the first time.

And I contributed a significant amount of time and content to try and help the team at Studio Canal make this as high quality a release as possible.

But there are a number of issues which could have been avoided with greater care and attention to detail by Studio Canal. And that has cast a bit of a cloud over proceedings this week, as I have tried to focus some minds on the various issues at hand.

This article focuses more on the known issues. For an in-depth review of the episode itself, I can thoroughly recommend Richard McGinlay's article.

Firstly, however, I want to provide some context on exactly why the discovery of Tunnel of Fear episode is so important and a brief 'potted history' on The Avengers and the ABC TV archive.

Some Background On Series 1 - And Why Tunnel Of Fear Is Such An Important Find

Series 1 of The Avengers has, for a long time, been the Cinderella of all the six series made of The Avengers. One of the key reasons for this is that for many many years, only one episode was known to have survived from the 26 episodes originally made back in 1961. That episode, The Frighteners, was used to provide the clip used in Ian Hendry's This Is Your Life, broadcast in March 1978. In the early 200os, more episodes were rediscovered on 16mm film, this time at the UCLA archive in Los Angeles, including Girl on The Trapeze, another copy of The Frighteners and the first act of Hot Snow [c.15 minutes].  That still only made it 2 and a bit episodes out of 26. So no wonder the focus always remained on series 2-6 for the simple reason that they were available and viewable.

Fast forward to autumn 2016, a surprise announcement is made that another episode has been rediscovered, Tunnel of Fear. It was in the US until about 20 years ago when it was returned to the UK and into the collection of a private collector. And it remained there, forgotten about in a box, until the collector was informed that it might be quite rare and a much sort after missing episode. Kaleidoscope negotiated for it's acquisition and the rights holder, Studio Canal were then able to add their own copy to their archive.

The Avengers - A Production/ Archive History In Brief

The Avengers was produced by ABC TV from 1961-1969. When they lost their ITV broadcasting franchise in 1968,  ABC TV's parent company Associated British Picture Corporation [ABPC], was asked to form a new television company along with Associated-Rediffusion/ Redifusion London's parent company BEP - for the London weekday slot. Both ABC TV and Associated-Rediffusion/ Redifusion London would then cease to exist as production/ broadcasting entities in their own right.

The newly formed company was, of course, named Thames TV. But ABPC still retained the ABC TV archive, which included The Avengers, along with all the rights.

Warner Bros. owned  a 40% stake in ABPC, purchased back in 1940 following the death of John Maxwell. Maxwell, a Scottish solicitor, founded the company in 1927 after he had purchased British National Studios and its Elstree Studios complex and merged it with his ABC Cinemas circuit, renaming the company British International Pictures [BIP].

[Note: The Wardour Film Company, with Maxwell as chairman, was the distributor of BIP films. The company was renamed Associated British Picture Corporation in 1933 and was now in a position to vertically integrate production, distribution and exhibition of films. Under Maxwell's paternalistic management the company prospered and during 1937 it acquired British Pathé, which as Associated British Pathé now functioned as the distribution division.]

In 1967, Seven Arts, the new owners of Warner, decided to dispose of its holdings in ABPC - with the 40% stake being purchased in 1968 by EMI. 

In 1969, ABPC was bought out completely by EMI and The Avengers, along with the rest of the ABC TV/ ABPC archive became 100% EMI owned. How much of The Avengers archive was still intact at that time and where it was being archived is not fully known and open to much conjecture, particularly with regards to series 1, but suffice to say it is a complex story with various theories and facts - often interwoven with one another.

In April 1970, EMI struck up a co-production agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Hollywood studio announced they would sell their Borehamwood facility and move their equipment to EMI's Elstree studio. MGM and EMI would then distribute and produce films in co-operation through a joint venture to be called MGM-EMI and MGM began to finance some of EMI's productions. EMI's studio complex was renamed EMI-MGM Elstree Studios while a film distribution company MGM-EMI Distributors Ltd. was formed as part of the co-production agreement. This company, headed by Mike Havas would handle domestic distribution of MGM and EMI-produced films in the United Kingdom.

MGM pulled out of the amalgamation in 1973, and became a member of CIC, which took over international distribution of MGM produced films. At this point the distribution company became EMI Film Distributors Ltd., and EMI-MGM Elstree Studios reverted to EMI-Elstree Studios.

In October 1979, EMI merged with Thorn Electrical Industries to form Thorn EMI. Aside from the merger and name change, nothing much appears to have changed structurally.The archives and their locations remained as they were.

It is known, however, that Thames TV despite being a separate company, still held significant amounts of ABC TV material in it's archives in the 70s. Should they have had this material? No, but it was time when television companies had material stored in many locations across London and cataloguing and archiving systems were much less sophisticated. Things are clearly very different today and Fremantle - who now own the Thames TV archive - have thoroughly checked their holdings to ensure that no ABC TV material is still in their possession.

For a more detailed account on this period and series 1 as a whole, I can recommend Two Against The Underworld, by Richard McGinlay, Alan Hayes and Alys Hayes.

Thorn EMI later sold its film production and distribution arm [Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment], home video [Thorn EMI Video], and cinema [ABC Cinemas] operations to businessman Alan Bond in April 1986. Bond, in turn, sold it to The Cannon Group a week later. A year after the purchase, a cash-strapped Cannon Group sold the film library to Weintraub Entertainment Group. The Cannon Group, however, retained ownership of Elstree Studios, Shemley Road, Borehamwood and in 1988 sold it to the property company Brent Walker. Most of the backlot and several facilities were demolished to build a Tesco superstore. A "Save Our Studios" campaign led to the site being purchased by Hertsmere Borough Council in February 1996 and management company, Elstree Film & Television Studios Ltd was appointed to run the studios in 2000.

So the ABPC/ ABC TV archive had to find a new home. And in 1988, it was relocated to Pinewood Studios where it still remains to this day.

The Weintraub Entertainment Group went bankrupt in 1990, with ownership of the archive then passing into the hands of Lumiere Pictures and Television.

Lumiere Pictures and Television was then bought by European cinema operator UGC  in 1996, who were in turn bought by Studio Canal's parent company, Canal+ Group. 

So after a long and fairly complex history, what remained of the The Avengers and ABPC/ ABC TV film archive finally ended up with it's current custodians, Studio Canal, formed by the Canal+ Group in 1998.

The Big Issue

With that background in place, here is the nub of the issue for me:

"Given the long and complex history of the archive and it's various owners and given the rarity of The Avengers Series 1 episodes,  I think we all hoped that Studio Canal would then treat Tunnel of Fear with 'kid-gloves' and give it the 5 star treatment the episode - and the fans - deserve. Studio Canal spent a lot of time and effort on the booklet, sourcing extras etc. So why not spend a bit more effort on the quality of the episode's digital transfer?"

"And that is one of the main reasons for my frustration. Having waited for over 55 years for this episode to reappear and then a further 18 months for Studio Canal to release it - the final product could and should have been better with more attention to detail, especially with regards to the audio quality of the 16mm film to digital transfer.."

Quality Control Issues

I have been made aware of several quality control issues with regards to Studio Canal's DVD release of the rediscovered episode, 'Tunnel of Fear'.

- Poor audio quality
- Missing scripts [one of the Extra items]
- Incorrect credits for actors/ billing order
- Incorrect order of Reconstructions [Extra item]

There are a couple of other issues as well, but I think that the above are the key ones that I want you all to be aware of at this time.

The defects list clearly raises several concerns about Studio Canal,  the way in which they handle their archive and their attitude towards their customers when delivering products to their target audience. Especially, with regards to their diligence, technical expertise and the quality control required to ensure that their products are complete and of a satisfactory standard. For a company like Studio Canal, one would hope that they aspire for their products to be more than just 'satisfactory'. But in this instance the ommission of material and poor audio quality suggest that they haven't even achieved that with certain aspects of this release.

I have been in contact with Studio Canal and have flagged these issues up to them and made my position clear - in no uncertain terms.

Picture Quality

This is not to say that the product is without merit or the episode unwatchable. It is neither of these. The picture quality is good, but some have suggested that it is a bit 'flat' which may be a result of insufficient post-processing and adjustment in certain qualities such as contrast. It seems that no post-transfer processing work was carried out to improve the image quality. Or if any work was carried out it was cursory.

Audio Quality Issues

The audio is certainly audible but suffers from significant background noise. I listened to a 40 second sample which was sent to me and the defects were obvious. Using headphones, the defects became even more apparent. The sound quality was, in my opinion, extremely poor.

And my view is not an isolated one. Another comment received:

“There's a noise on the soundtrack running variously through the entire episode. I watched listening on headphones which are BOSE and fairly sensitive. The sound reminded me of the type of effect caused in projection by imperfect loop near the sound head (vibration) or sometimes in film transfers the soundtrack is over scanned.

I doubt it is a fault in the 16mm film recording, though if it was it might have been a rejected print. I took a sample for you. About 38 mins in as the third act starts. I think the 'motorboat' effect is more obvious here, perhaps on a splice. Have to confess it ruined the experience for me. The actual transfer is not as well-defined as I hoped and doesn't look as if any dirt removal has been attempted. Highlights possibly blown out.”

Again, it seems that no post-transfer audio processing work was carried out by Studio Canal to improve the audio quality. Or if any work was carried out it was very limited and executed poorly. So the end product reflects that lack of attention to detail.

Question: Can you hear the dialogue? Answer: Yes.

Question: Is it muffled at times and with plenty of background noise/ interference? Answer: Yes.

Question: Could it have been much better? Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you think the post-16mm transfer audio received any enhancement by a sound engineer? Answer: No

Question: Should it have? Answer: Yes, most definitely.

In a test, I was surprised that I was able to significantly improve the audio quality of the sample using Audacity audio software - available for free online. And I know next to nothing about sound engineering. So if I can improve the audio significantly on a sample using software I know very little about, in about 15 minutes, then can you imagine what a good sound engineer might be capable of doing with the whole episode?

Studio Canal - Original DVD Audio Sample From 'Tunnel Of Fear'

Versus

Neil's 'Enhanced' Version - Based On The Original DVD Audio Sample By Studio Canal From 'Tunnel Of Fear'

I say it's 'enhanced' - which I think it is - but it's obviously still pretty 'rough and ready' as I really don't know what I am doing with this Audacity audio software. I just used some simple presets.

So if I can improve the audio in a few minutes and I really don't know what I am doing, one has to then ask the following question:

"Why was more care not taken by Studio Canal to improve the quality of the audio before this DVD was released?

 

Booklet

I was asked to contribute the Foreword to the 64 page booklet and Alan Hayes provided an excellent in-depth essay. In addition, I located a significant number of images from my own collection to help visually enhance the booklet. Although I say so myself, it is a very nice addition to the release and is well produced.

Extras

As mentioned above, one of the Extra items is missing altogether. This is the pdf collection of scripts from the first series which is promised on the back cover. Purchasers of the product would have only expected to find one mystery on the inside of the DVD case, that of the Tunnel of Fear. There is now a second mystery to solve, that of how to find the missing Extra/ scripts. Without wishing to spoil your fun, I understand that Studio Canal can help you with that if you contact them.

The other extras have been well-received and include:

  • Big Finish Audio Play Series 1 Reconstruction - Tunnel of Fear
  • New Interview with John Dorney – writer of the Big Finish episode
  • Ulster TV interview: Ian Hendry (1962)
  • Ulster TV interview: Patrick Macnee (1964)
  • Reconstructions - Series 1 – Slideshows
  • 64 page booklet mentioned above

Summary

In summary, this release falls in the 'could do much better category' and in the interests of transparency, it is only right that I bring these issues and concerns to your attention. It's great that the episode has been discovered and is now available. The extras have been well received and the booklet has a lot of very good original content.

But given that we have had to wait 57 years to see it again, it would have been nice if  Studio Canal could have taken more care in the product's overall delivery - especially with the audio quality of the actual episode itself - and that the release was complete with all the Extras which were promised.

"Remember the saying that 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'? Well this particular pudding is lacking in certain ingredients and is slightly undercooked."

Studio Canal have responded to me pointing out that despite the various issues, many people have been very happy to see the episode this week. And I have no doubt about that and I am glad that they have had a chance to see it.

"But they would probably have been glad to see 'Tunnel of Fear' if it had been presented to them on an old VHS tape cassette, handed over in a brown paper bag".

So that is not the point I am trying to make here or the point I have been trying to make to Studio Canal.

Studio Canal may own the rights to The Avengers but that does not then give them the right to try and pass off sub-standard or incomplete goods to fans that love the series.

"Studio Canal are custodians of television history and, to use a museum curation analogy, you wouldn't expect the British Museum to treat their acquisitions poorly and their visitors with contempt."

With 'Tunnel of Fear' I think they could have presented it much better. Some proper restoration before presentation, as a precious rare artefact would be displayed by a reputable museum.

"But that comes down to having a vision and some aspiration. If the aspiration of Studio Canal is only to 'get it out there so people can see it' type mentality, then we can all forget about quality.

But that would also says something pretty fundamental about how they value their acquisitions and how they also value you, the fan and customer. And that for me is the real concern here. I think we all deserve a lot better than having to accept the minimum standards or the minimum viable product [MVP] as they call it these days."

Studio Canal performed a basic digital transfer and then made no real effort to improve the sound quality before release, which would have been relatively easy to do. Another symptom of malaise from a company that doesn't appear to care too much about quality. Their approach seems to be:

....get it out there, people can watch it, what's the problem?

And it's really not a problem if you have a slack approach of quality and don't care that much about the customers. Which is currently my perception of Studio Canal as an organisation.

Studio Canal are now fully aware of all these issues. But it appears that they plan to keep on selling the original version 1 - warts and all - for now at least. I think that alone speaks volumes.

A recent comment by P.J. on the Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page sums it all up very well for me:

"This is why I never buy a 1.0 DVD release from Studio Canal"

Perhaps that quote should be printed out and framed?

And L.P. also commented to me on the Facebook page that:

"The sound on the DVD is appalling. It's really not on. Thanks for pursuing with this. Really annoyed at the moment"

And others have felt the same way. P.O. on Twitter said:

"Well said, sloppy audio transfer from them..."

and:

"Shame it was not Network... I'm sure would have made a better job"

Studio Canal are now talking about a version 2 of this release which will rectify these errors.

"But Studio Canal haven't yet confirmed that they will address the audio issues"

Given that version 1 has only been out for 4 days, at the time of writing, it's a clear admission to me that they've got many things wrong. Exactly how long we will have to wait for version 2 to be released is not yet known.

Hopefully, it is significantly less than another 57 years.

I'll keep you posted on any breaking news.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page


Happy 5th Birthday! The Official Tribute To Ian Hendry - Website Celebrates It's 5th Year Online

Picture above: Ian Hendry

It all started as an idea back in 2011. I decided to do a bit of research into Ian's life and Google was my first port of call.

The internet was, of course, well established by then and you could find out information and discover material that had previously been scattered to the four corners of the earth.

I found memorabilia in the States, Canada, South America, Australia, all across Europe and, of course, in the UK. I ordered old original film posters, lobby cards, press booklets, magazines and stills and soon became inundated with cardboard tubes and envelopes, full of musty smelling card, printed paper and black and white photographs.

Picture: Ian Hendry. Probably taken on his houseboat in Chiswick c.1962.

Then came the idea of a website, which could become an online hub for his life. Somewhere to bring the various disparate elements together and to try and help understand more about Ian and his somewhat turbulent life and career. Out of curiosity, I searched to see if a domain name might be available. There seemed little point in me collecting all these things, if I couldn't then share them with others. And to my surprise, ianhendry.com was there on the registrar, waiting for me to take ownership. The first steps had been taken.

 

Video: A short tribute to Ian Hendry

Ian's Wikipedia page was a bit like an unkempt garden, with a few random snippets of information, some factually incorrect, no real details and no photograph. It's still a work in progress, but the framework is there and I try and update the appearance credits when I discover new TV programmes or plays that he appeared in. The following is a case in point.

Only a few days ago, I was contacted by a collector of theatre memorabilia who had a copy of the 'Dinner With The Family' programme, dated October 1957, Theatre Royal, Brighton.

It was originally believed that the production had transferred directly from the Oxford Playhouse to the New Theatre in London's West End in December 1957. We now know from other recent finds, that it was also performed for short week-long  runs at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Theatre Royal, Brighton, then back to Scotland to the King's Theatre, Glasgow, before finally transferring to London. This production is significant for a number of reasons, as it led to events that would dramatically change the course of Ian's life.

In the audience, on at least one occasion in London, was Julian Bond. Bond was the co-creator and producer of the first few episodes of Police Surgeon, the series that ultimately led to the creation of The Avengers. He had come up with the idea for the series after meeting a GP in the Notting Hill area of London whilst working on another television series.

Picture: Ian Hendry as Dr. Geoffrey Brent and John Warwick as Inspector Langdon

When it came to casting the leading role of Dr. Geoffrey Brent, it was Ian's performance as Jaques in 'Dinner With The Family', that helped Bond to persuade others at ABC TV that, although relatively unknown at the time, Ian was the right man for the job. When Police Surgeon ended, The Avengers was created by ABC TV as a new vehicle for his talent and it was the part of Dr. David Keel that would significantly raise Ian's public profile and popularity.

A protracted equity strike in 1961 put the production of the second season of The Avengers on hold for several months. During this time, Ian was receiving offers to play the lead in several films; the timing of the strike combined with the opportunity to work on 'big screen' productions, were the two key reasons for his decision to leave the series.

Returning to more recent times, I received a message from Gabriel Hershman in late 2011.

A long time fan of Ian's work, he was curious as to why Ian's story had never been told, aside from in the tabloids, where a headline and some gossip seemed to be the order of the day.

Over the course of several months, spanning much of 2012, we exchanged hundreds of messages and shared any research and anecdotes we could both find. So much time had already passed since Ian's death, but Gabriel was still able to contact and interview many of the key people in Ian's life.

Picture: 'Send In The Clowns, The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

With the biography nearing completion, the creation of the website became the next priority. It was clear that the launch of the book should coincide with the launch of the website. And on 23rd March 2013, the very first article was posted:

Welcome To The Official Website Of Ian Hendry

Since then, I have been fortunate to have been contacted by many people who knew Ian at various stages of his life.

The daughter whose 'Mum' once shared digs with Ian in London in the 50s, actors who worked with him throughout his career, camera and sound crew who shared sets together, sons of producers who worked on some of his biggest films - as well as school and National Service army friends who knew Ian when he was much much younger. So a big thanks to all of them too. By sharing something about their own lives, we have also been able to find out more about Ian's life, career and the times in which he lived. And it's that discovery of the social history, that also fascinates and inspires me to research and share much more going forwards.

There have also been some great finds over the last five years, with the most significant clearly being The Avengers series 1 episode, 'Tunnel of Fear', which had been missing for over 55 years; spending much of it's life in the States before being returned to the UK some 20 years ago. Studio Canal will be releasing the episode shortly on DVD on 9th April 2018:

The Avengers 'Tunnel of Fear' - Released on DVD 9th April 2018

And finally, I'd like to say thanks to you for following this website and the Facebook page, for your feedback and your encouragement. You help to make this whole 'project' so worthwhile.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

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Repulsion [1965] Original Stills Discovered In Paris

Picture above: Ian Hendry and Yvonne Furneaux, Repulsion [1965]

On The Set, Repulsion [1965]

A few rare stills, recently discovered in Paris.

Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, and starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. The screenplay was based on a scenario by Gérard Brach and Polanski. The plot focuses on a young woman who is left alone by her vacationing sister at their apartment, and begins reliving traumas of her past in horrific ways. Shot in London, it was Polanski's first English-language film and second feature-length production, following Knife in the Water (1962).

The film debuted at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival before receiving theatrical releases internationally. Upon its release, Repulsion received considerable critical acclaim and currently is considered one of Polanski's greatest works. The film was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Gilbert Taylor's cinematography.

Picture: Ian Hendry and Yvonne Furneaux, Repulsion [1965]

 

Picture: Ian Hendry and Yvonne Furneaux, Repulsion [1965]

Picture: James Villiers, John Fraser and Hugh Futcher, Repulsion [1965]

Picture:  John Fraser and director Roman Polanski, Repulsion [1965]

Picture:  Catherine Denueve, director Roman Polanski and John Fraser, Repulsion [1965]

Picture:  Director Roman Polanski, Repulsion [1965]

 

High Futcher

Hugh Futcher (born 29 October 1937 in Portsmouth, Hampshire) is an English actor in theatre, television and film. He was a member of the stock company of the Carry On films, with notable parts in Carry On Spying, Carry On at Your Convenience, and Carry On Behind. Other films include Roman Polanski's Repulsion (as Colin's pubmate Reggie) and the Herman's Hermits musical Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter.

In television, Futcher had a recurring role in the adventure series Orlando as "Hedgehog." He has also appeared on The Saint, Z-Cars, The Sweeney, Minder, and Casualty. In 1972 he appeared in the Doctor Who serial "The Sea Devils". Fifteen years later he was considered for the role of the Seventh Doctor, but accepted other work that precluded taking the part. He appeared with Brian Murphy and Maureen Lipman in the 1985 television drama On Your Way, Riley.

James Villiers

James Villiers and Ian became good friends. Villiers was a guest at Ian's wedding to Sandy in 1975 and also, if my sources are correct, backstage/ in the Green Room for Ian's This Is Your Life in 1978.

James Michael Hyde Villiers (29 September 1933 – 18 January 1998)  was an English character actor and a familiar face on British television. Villiers was particularly memorable for his plummy voice and ripe articulation. He has been credited with originating the use of the word "luvvie" to describe members of the acting profession.

Villiers was born in London, the son of Eric Hyde Villiers and Joan Ankaret Talbot; he was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art'Gentleman Jim' Villiers (pronounced Villers) was from an upper-class background, the grandson of Sir Francis Hyde Villiers and great grandson of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon; his mother was descended from Earl Talbot. His aristocratic ancestry was often reflected in the types of role he played, such as King Charles II in the BBC series The First Churchills (1969), the Earl of Warwick in Saint Joan (1974), and Lord Thurlow in The Madness of George III.

Through his father, Villiers was a relative of Thomas Hyde Villiers, Charles Pelham Villiers, Henry Montagu Villiers and the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. Through his mother, he was distantly related to Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury.

Villiers made his film début in 1958 and appeared in many British films over the years, including Joseph Losey's The Damned (also known as These Are the Damned), shot in 1961 but not released until 1963; Seth Holt's The Nanny (1965), Joseph Andrews (1977), For Your Eyes Only (1981), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Mountains of the Moon (1990) and The Tichborne Claimant (1998), along with numerous other projects. He often specialised in playing cold, somewhat effete villains.

He played the role of Colonel Hensman in the television adaptation of Brendon Chase and was heard on BBC Radio 4 as the voice of Roderick Spode in The Code of the Woosters and several other adaptations of the Jeeves stories of P. G. Wodehouse, which starred Michael Hordern and Richard Briers.

Villiers was married twice: in 1966 to Patricia Donovan (marriage dissolved 1984), and in 1994 to Lucy Jex; his second marriage lasted until his death. He and his first wife adopted a son, Alan Michael Hyde Villiers (born Alan Donovan).

James Villiers died on 18 January 1998 at Arundel, Sussex, of cancer.

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Ian Hendry - This Is Your Life 40th Anniversary - First Broadcast On 15th March 1978 [Thames Television]

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Ian Hendry's This Is Your Life, hosted by Eamonn Andrews, produced by Thames Television and first broadcast  on 15th March 1978. It was recorded just one week before, on 8th March 1978.

And on Radio 4 today, they announced that they're bringing TIYL back after a break of 15 years! The last show was in 2003 and Jonathan Ross will be hosting it. Funny that it should be announced today of all days...

The following is a guest article that I wrote for the excellent Big Red Book website, an authoritative guide on This Is Your Life. It has detailed entriess on the many famous names that were surprised over the years and is packed full of anecdotes - well worth a visit.

"I was 10 years old when my parents took my two sisters and I to one side and said that what we were about to be told, must be kept a complete secret! In one week’s time, we were all to travel by train to London, for the surprise filming of my uncle Ian Hendry’s ‘This Is Your Life’.

Of course at that age such a responsibility seemed huge, but I was also told that if word did get out, then the whole thing would be called off and I would have to go to school instead. That was certainly all the persuasion I needed.

We travelled up to London the day before the show with my Grandparents and were met by a Thames TV driver who then took us to our hotel. We checked in under the cover name of McNaughton - all part of the careful plan to ensure that no-one could guess who that week’s guest star would be. The hotel was probably used frequently by Thames TV, whose Euston Road studios were located nearby.

On the day of the recording, we had to be at the studios in the morning for the rehearsal. We passed security and met with the ‘This Is Your Life’ team who gave us a warm welcome and showed us to the Green Room for refreshments. Patrick Macnee was there along with a few other guests that I recognised - including the show’s inimitable host, Eamonn Andrews. My cousins were also there and all the children present were given a small ‘This Is Your Life’ autograph book, replete with the red cover and gold lettering. It was a lovely touch and exemplified the attention to detail and professionalism of the show and all those involved.

The ‘dry-run’ was scheduled for around midday, when we all assembled at Studio No. 5 which had already been set up with a large black and white picture of Ian - revealed as the sliding doors opened. Eamonn Andrews was there too, to help guide things along as we practiced our entrances and those who were to speak practiced their lines. Timings were all checked as the crew practiced camera angles and audio.

 

Ian was quite ill on the day of recording and there was even concern as to whether he would be well enough to make it or not. A ‘Red Flu’ epidemic was sweeping across the country in 1978 and Ian was suffering from the full force of it’s effects. He had no clue, of course, about the show and was scheduled to head across London with a friend, for what he thought would be an interview with a Sunday newspaper. That was of course all part of the plan to get him in place for the ‘interception’ by Eamonn Andrews and his ‘partner in crime’ Patrick Macnee - both dressed as that famous character from The Avengers, John Steed!

Picture: A young Neil Hendry greets his uncle Ian. My one [and only] screen credit!

As the evening approached, the nerves began to increase. We all went off to change into our clothes and I remember that I’d been bought a pair of flared black trousers, wide-collared shirt and a tie for the occasion; I was the epitome of 70s fashion as I emerged again from the changing room. I think we then all gathered again in the Green Room, before heading off to the studio - lining up in the order with which we were to go up on stage. The lights were low, except for one large red lamp which remained on until the cue came for the next group of people to go on. As we stood there waiting in a dimly lit corridor, I noticed a very large man seated to my left. I glanced at him, caught his eye and we said hello. I then took a double-take, looked back again and we both smiled at each other. It was Tommy Cooper.

The show itself is all a bit of a blur, but I remember vividly the trademark ‘This Is Your Life’ music - which still gives me goosebumps to this day - the bright studio lights, hearing the audience’s applause, hugging my uncle, finding my seat and then quickly sitting down. I remember some of the guests speaking and the retelling of anecdotes, some of the jokes and one-liners - before the red book was finally handed to Ian and the closing music and credits began.

It was a day that neither I - nor my family - will ever forget and a fitting tribute to my uncle, his life and his many achievements."

This Is Your Life - Extract Of Original Camera Script

 

&nbsp

 

Ian Hendry - This Is Your Life - Photographs

 

 

 

 

Programme Details:

Edition No: 484
Subject No: 482
Broadcast: Wed 15 Mar 1978
Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
Recorded: Wed 8 Mar 1978
Venue: Euston Road Studios
Series: 18
Edition: 17
Code name: Lotus

Appearances:

Patrick Macnee
Sandy - wife
Sally - daughter
Corrie - daughter
James – father
Enid – mother
Don – brother
Valerie – sister-in-law
Karen – niece
Susan – niece
Neil - nephew
Patrick Powell
Murray Robb
Valentina Poliakoff
Ronald Fraser
June Ritchie
Ian Bannen
Neil McCarthy
Ian Ferguson
Anouska Hempel
Wanda Ventham
Maurice Denham
Tommy Cooper
Emma – daughter
Filmed tribute:
Heather Sears

Production Team:

Researchers: John Viner, Maurice Leonard
Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
Directors: Royston Mayoh, Terry Yarwood
Producer: Jack Crawshaw

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Ian Hendry + Janet Munro - Rowing On The Thames Near Their Home Called, 'Sphinx', Located On Pharaohs Island, London [c.1963-1965]

 

Another great find from the 1960s, Ian hendry and Janet Munro rowing on the River Thames. If you look closely, you can also see their pet poodle on the riverside!

 

Picture: Ian Hendry + Janet Munro, rowing on the Thames near their home on Pharaohs Island [c.1963-1966]

Pictures above: 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island, River Thames, Shepperton, London

Jimi Hendrix - Partying In The Pool at Sphinx in the 60s?

Jimi Hendrix may have been a guest at a party held by Ian and Janet at Sphinx in the 60s and even swum in the pool - according to an anecdote from a neighbour:

"The impressive property was home to Avengers actor Ian Hendry and his actress wife Janet Munro in the 1960s before they split, and was also the setting for director John Boorman’s two semi-autobiographical films – Hope and Glory in 1987 and Queen and Country in 2014.

According to the current owner, Andrew Muir, who has lived in the property for six years, there were plenty of wild parties during the 1960s, with one neighbour claiming to have swum in the pool with Jimi Hendrix."

Source: Surrey Live

Further Reading:

You can read more about Ian Hendry and Janet Munro and their time living in 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island in the articles below:

Ian Hendry + Janet Munro - Engagement + Wedding Photographs [1963]

Ian Hendry - Rowing Home Across The Thames [1966]

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Ian Hendry + Janet Munro - Engagement Party, Wedding Pictures + News Reel Film Footage [1963]

Picture above: Ian Hendry and Janet Munro on their wedding day. Arriving by boat to their new home, named 'Sphinx', on Pharaohs Island, River Thames, London.

Every so now and then some interesting memorabilia surfaces, giving us some further insight into the life of Ian Hendry. I've recently come into possession of a small batch of photographs and press articles from the 1960s and 70s, which I will share on the website. The photographs below, show Ian Hendry and Janet Munro at their engagement party held at Claridges Hotel, Mayfair, London, on February 13th 1963. And then, further down, two photographs taken by the press at their reception and as they arrived at their new home named 'Sphinx, located on Pharaohs Island on the Thames. I suspect that that particular picture may have been 'staged'!

An article featuring Janet Munro in which she discusses the wedding, can be seen in the article below. It tells the story of how the two met, the romance and events that followed as well as the wedding held at the Presbyterian Church at Bayswater, London on 16th February 1963.

Janet Munro - 'I'm getting married in the morning'  [Magazine article - February 1963]

Picture: Ian Hendry and Janet Munro at their engagement party held at Claridges Hotel, Mayfair, London, 15th February 1963.

Wedding of Ian Hendry + Janet Munro - 16th February 1963

Video: Newsreel film footage of Ian Hendry + Janet Munro's wedding - 16th February 1963

Picture: Ian Hendry and Janet Munro at the reception on their wedding day.

Picture: Ian Hendry and Janet Munro. Arriving by boat on the River Thames to their new home on Pharaohs Island, called 'Sphinx'.

Picture: View to 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island, River Thames, London

Picture: View to 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island, River Thames, London

 

For more articles and original photographs of Ian Hendry and Janet Munro at home on Pharaohs Island, please click on the link below:

Ian Hendry + Janet Munro - 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island, London [1964]

Then and now pictures - Ian and Janet at home in the 60s; 'Sphinx' today and some history of Pharaohs Island:

Ian Hendry - Rowing home across the Thames to 'Sphinx', Pharaohs Island [1966]

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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The Avengers 'Tunnel of Fear' [1961] Lost Episode - Studio Canal DVD Pre-Order/ Release Date Set For 9th April 2018

The Avengers 'Tunnel Of Fear' - Series 1 Episode 20 

Published 6th February 2018: Today's announcement by Studio Canal also coincides with what would have been Patrick Macnee's 96th birthday; born on this day 1922. So today we also remember and pay tribute to Pat.

After a lot of hard work behind the scenes, it's good to finally be able to announce the forthcoming release date as 9th April 2018.

The artwork for the DVD is now complete, as is the accompanying 64 page booklet. The booklet includes a foreword by myself and a new essay by Alan Hayes, co-author of two  authoritative books on the first series of The Avengers and Police Surgeon, the short-lived but influential series which ultimately led to the creation of The Avengers. The booklet also includes many excellent black and white stills from the Tunnel of Fear as well as promotional and studio photographs.

The extras include the Tunnel of Fear audio play reconstruction, produced by Big Finish, who have recreated all 26 episodes of the original series superbly in this format. The fact that this version of Tunnel of Fear was made before the original television episode was rediscovered, makes it an ideal companion for fans to experience an alternative but complimentary interpretation. The writer for this Big Finish reconstruction, John Dorney provides an exclusive interview in one of the DVD extras.

The other extras include two rare interviews which were discovered recently in Northern Ireland. Ulster Television interviewed  Ian Hendry in 1962 and Patrick Macnee in 1964, during which they both talked about The Avengers. By then, Ian had already left the series to pursue opportunities in film and in this interview he discusses his reasons for that decision. Given that there is so little footage in which Ian appears 'as himself' - with many of those being on Pathe newsreels with accompanying voiceovers - this interview provides a rare candid glimpse of Ian.

The final extra is the inclusion of the 14 slideshow reconstructions of missing series 1 episodes, produced by Alan Hayes,  using all of the surviving source material.  These slideshows give another excellent interpretation of the missing episodes, that we hope can be recovered one day.

 

 

 

Picture: Ian Hendry [as Dr. David Keel] and Patrick Macnee [as John Steed]. Patrick Macnee, born on this day, 1922.

You can  pre-order on Amazon UK - click on the link below:

The Avengers  Tunnel of Fear [Released on 9th April 2018]

 

The Avengers 'Tunnel of Fear' [1961] Series 1 'Lost Episode'

Ian Hendry as Dr. Keel and Patrick Macnee as John Steed - Reunited Once Again

Lost episode rediscovered after 55 years and avaliable on DVD for the first time

TUNNEL OF FEAR is the twentieth episode of the first series of the 1960s cult British spy-fi television series The Avengers, starring Ian Hendry, Patrick Macnee and Ingrid Hafner and was broadcast by ABC Television on 5 August 1961. It's one of only three known complete season 1 episodes to have survived since the original broadcast. Lost for 55 years, the episode came to light in a private film collection in 2016 and was recovered by the British television preservation group Kaleidoscope.

Now for the first time ever Avengers fans will be able to own the episode its entirety on DVD with a host of extra content.

Harry Black, an escaped convict, bursts into Dr David Keel's surgery wounded. He claims to have been framed for a crime that he did not commit - and begs the doctor not to hand him over to the police. Steed arrives and ascertains that Black has links to Southend-on-Sea which might well tie in with an investigation currently being undertaken by his department. They are aware that top government secrets are being leaked from a fun fair in Southend, and Black's story, if true, could possibly lead them to the source of the operation.

Can Steed and Keel bring down the operation, prove Harry's innocence and get out of Southend with their lives?

Bonus Content:

  • Big Finish Audio Play Series 1 Reconstruction - Tunnel of Fear
  • New Interview with John Dorney - writer of the Big Finish episode
  • Ulster TV interview: Ian Hendry (1962)
  • Ulster TV interview: Patrick Macnee (1964)
  • Reconstructions - Series 1 - Slideshows
  • Series 1 Surviving Scripts
  • 64 Page Booklet

Cast

  • Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel
  • Patrick Macnee as John Steed
  • Ingrid Hafner as Carol Wilson
  • John Salew as Jack Wickram
  • Anthony Bate as Harry Black
  • Miranda Connell as Claire
  • Douglas Muir as One-Ten
  • Morris Perry as Sergeant
  • Stanley Platts as Maxie Lardner
  • Nancy Roberts as Madame Zenobia
  • Doris Rogers as Mary Black
  • Douglas Rye as Billy
  • Julie Samuel as Rosie

 

Format: PAL
Language: English
Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
Number of discs: 1
Classification: To be announced
Studio: Studiocanal
DVD Release Date: 9 April 2018

You can  pre-order on Amazon UK - click on the link below:

Pre-order DVD: The Avengers  Tunnel of Fear [Released on 9th April 2018]

 

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

 

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry
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Get Carter [1971] 'Shotguns, Coal And Sex' - Original GQ Magazine Article from The 90s

Picture above: Get Carter [1971] Original film poster designed by the Italian artist, Arnaldo Putzu.

The article below is reproduced from GQ Magazine and dates from the 1990s;  possibly the November 1997 edition which contained a special feature on the making of the film, but this is, as yet, unconfirmed.

It's a fascinating article, with several recollections by director, Mike Hodges. Perhaps the one that  stood out most for me was the one connected with Dryderdale Hall, County Durham, which was rented for several scenes in the film. When the crew arrived and were setting up for their first shoot, they found an old  school exercise book with a child's handwriting inside, with the seemingly prophetic message:

"Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel

Right Now"

A strange case of fact and fiction blurred. Almost as haunting as the film's soundtrack theme by Roy Budd.

There are some good stills from the film on the official Dryderdale Hall website and on this excellent Get Carter website dedicated entirely to the film, detailed accounts of the locations and related news. 

Picture: Dryderdale Hall, County Durham. Used for filming of several scenes in Get Carter, minus the snow!

 

Get Carter 'Shotguns, Coal And Sex'

- Original GQ Magazine Article from The 90s

Here is the original GQ article in full, complete with an advert for the Star Wars version of the Monopoly Game and a battery charger by Tandy *batteries not included!

 

 

Main Theme 'Carter Takes a Train' by Roy Budd

If you are now in a Get Carter frame of mind, you can listen to the film's main theme, 'Carter Takes a Train' by Roy Budd, below:

______________________________________

You can keep up-to-date with all our latest articles and updates by following us on Facebook and / or Twitter:

Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page 

and:

Ian Hendry Tribute - Twitter Page

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Nicol Williamson 'Black Sheep' The Authorised Biography By Gabriel Hershman

Picture above: 'Black Sheep' book cover and  Ian Hendry and Nicol Williamson - The Jerusalem File [1972]

Gabriel Hershman's third biography is now set for release on 1st February 2018, published by The History Press.

'Black Sheep - The Authorised Biography Of Nicol Williamson' is a detailed study of the life and work of another gifted character actor, whose career spanned several decades, included many masterful performances, reached great heights but as Gabriel describes him, Nicol was also 'a mysteriously elusive figure'. With his trademark forensic research and numerous interviews, Gabriel has now produced the first official biography of this enigmatic actor.

His previous two books covered the life and work of  Ian Hendry and Albert Finney.

So I was curious. I asked Gabriel to explain why he had chosen Nicol Williamson as his next subject and what were the key similarities and differences between the three actors he has now written about.

The following is Gabriel's response:

Gabriel Hershman - On Nicol Williamson......Ian Hendry and Albert Finney

"Why did I choose Nicol as the third subject of my biography? I had long since decided that I would only write about great actors. (I admit that's all a matter of opinion, of course.) And Ian, Albert Finney and Nicol were all great actors."

I was also attracted to writing about Nicol for a number of reasons. Firstly, no one had ever written his biography before. Secondly, he was a mysteriously elusive figure, a superstar of the late Sixties –especially on the back of his superb stage roles in Hamlet and Inadmissible Evidence – who seemed to vanish from view.

In fact, Nicol never appeared on the London stage between 1978 and 1994 – a 16-year gap that was a tragic omission for British theatregoers. It was clear he was woefully under-used. He should have been a regular on the West End stage or at the National but directors were wary of working with him because he had a 'difficult' reputation. And reputations are very difficult to shift. Of course, Nicol did some fine work on Broadway in the 1980s but his absence from the London stage was keenly felt. So it is that I regret not seeing him on stage. (Whereas, for example, I was fortunate enough to see Finney on stage five times.)

Picture: Nicol Williamson

When I saw a few You Tube clips of Nicol's performance as Bill Maitland in the original 1965 Broadway production of Inadmissible Evidence, I knew I had found my third subject. The pounding passion, the ferocity of the character's self-loathing, the emphasis on raw emotion rather than enunciation – this was not acting as such but, rather, BEING. And I think this is what made Nicol so great. Even with some other reputedly 'great' actors you sense sometimes that they're going through it by rote, almost phoning it in. You see the wheels turning. With Nicol, on the other hand, each performance took you to the brink. He was, in the words of another performer who worked with him, 'paddling for his life'. No wonder Nicol sometimes suffered from exhaustion after bearing the burden of such titanic roles.

I felt that Nicol was sorely underrated and that no one really knew very much about him. Rather as with Ian, what struck me was that so many of his obituaries were totally inadequate, even inaccurate. Everything from his date of birth through to his place of residence was reported wrongly. I simply felt that Nicol deserved better and so I hope my biography has done something to rectify the dearth of coverage, and the misinformation.

I will, however, qualify my tribute to Nicol by saying that I still believe that Ian Hendry was the greatest television actor Britain ever produced. He had a style of acting that was especially suited to the small screen – conveying deep emotion and thoughts with a sometimes quizzical look or a grunt of pained resignation. 'Think it through and it will show' was Ian's tip to other actors and he was simply the best practitioner of his own advice. There was also a special charismatic quality to Ian. Sabine Muir, a great friend of Ian's, once told me that Ian could always lift a room when he entered it. I know exactly what she meant. That's God-given and certainly not something to be learned at drama school!

Going back to Nicol, his style of acting was more bravura than Ian's. Not from a desire to overwhelm as such, but simply to offer more than audiences usually saw. In the words of Nicol's son, Luke, 'he didn't want to dazzle - he wanted to immolate.' Not better or worse – just different. But I would say that both Ian and Nicol were truly great actors. Finney was also a great actor, of course. He also perhaps more of an all-rounder than either Ian or Nicol in that he straddled all mediums equally successfully: films, TV and stage. He was also more durable and less self-destructive and had a more equable temperament. That really helped Finney throughout his career and proof of the old dictum that talent is just one part of the story . . .

But, to conclude, three great actors and, hopefully, three interesting biographies. If these books make you stop and think and appreciate their work a little more, then I will feel I have achieved something.

By Gabriel Hershman

Official Website of Gabriel Hershman : Gabriel Hershman

'Black Sheep - The Authorised Biography Of Nicol Williamson' By Gabriel Hershman is released on 1st February 2018.

Available to order on Amazon or to buy in store at Waterstones, Blackwells and all other good high street bookshops!

Amazon UK [View/ Order] - Black Sheep - The Authorised Biography Of Nicol Williamson

 

 _______________________________

The Jerusalem File [1972]

Fortunately, with the help of Gabriel, we managed to locate a copy of the complete film (albeit with Finnish subtitles!). We've included a couple of the key scenes from the film in this post - which feature Ian Hendry - but If you want to download the full film, you can do so from the link below:

Download (Secure Dropbox File) > The Jerusalem File (1972)

Set in the months following the 6-day-war this is the story of an attempt by young Israelis and Arabs to meet for a free political discussion. Interwoven are a love story, intrigue, strife and killings.

Video: The Jerusalem File (1972) Scene #1 | Donald Pleasence, Ian Hendry, Nicol Wiliamson + Bruce Davison

Much more background on this film, including many stills, in another one of our articles below:

The Jerusalem File ['72]  Ian Hendry, Nicol Williamson, Bruce Davison and Donald Pleasance

 _______________________________

'Black Sheep - The Authorised Biography Of Nicol Williamson' By Gabriel Hershman is released on 1st February 2018.

Available to order on Amazon or to buy in store at Waterstones, Blackwells and all other good high street bookshops!

Amazon UK [View/ Order] - Black Sheep - The Authorised Biography Of Nicol Williamson

 

Thanks to Gabriel for his contribution to this post;  I'm really looking forward to reading this biography and adding it to the Hershman collection!

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Peter Wyngarde - In Memory Of The Man Who Would Be King [ 1926/1927 - 2018]

Picture above: Peter Wyngarde, Jeanette Sterke and Ian Hendry - The Crossfire [1967]

Peter Wyngarde

A couple of years ago, I received an email from Tina Hopkins, Peter Wyngarde's devoted friend and personal assistant.

Peter and Ian worked together back in the 60s, in a television play called The Crossfire which also featured Eric Portman, Jeannette Sterke and Roger Delgado. Set during the Algerian War, it was first broadcast as part of  ITV's Play Of The Week, on  7th February 1967.

And it was that play that first inspired Tina to get in contact with me, some five decades later, to see if I had a copy.

By lucky coincidence, I had been sent a message a year or so earlier, by someone who had found a copy of the play, which included Anglia TV's famous 'knight in armour on horseback' opening.

I was also fortunate to be able to exchange a few emails with Peter. He remembered working with Ian, but could not recall any specific details from the production itself, but was hoping that the recording would help to jog his memory! I made a copy of The Crossfire and posted it off to them both.

 

 

Picture: Peter Wyngarde as the iconic Jason King

For someone who was so young at the time, in the early 70s, I didn't realise that I was corresponding with THE Jason King, until a short while after when I read more about his life and career. And what a wonderful, colourful and varied life he has had, including being kept captive in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre - a  Japanese internment camp in Shanghai, during the second world war.

A fellow detainee at that time, was J.G. Ballard, who famously retold the events in the biographically influenced, Empire of the Sun; subsequently made into a film by Steven Spielberg.

In an interview with Tina Hopkins from 2017, Peter reflected on that time in the Japanese interment camp, when still just a young boy. Tina wrote:

"However, when the Japanese forbade prisoners in one block from communicating with those in another, Peter was used as their runner to spread the radio news through the camp. But then one day he was caught by a guard, who broke both his feet with rifle butts to stop him ever running again. He was then thrown into solitary confinement for a month. When he came out, he could barely walk and had to rely on crutches. His feet still show the signs of that beating to this day."

I understand that Peter was still active until relatively recently, appearing at special events and reunions, related to the various shows that he appeared in.

Robert C. contacted me via this website in the Spring of 2017 and mentioned that:

"Hope to meet Peter Wyngarde at Portmerion for The Prisoner's 50th.

If I get the chance that is I will ask him about working on Crossfire with Ian Hendry".

You can watch Peter in the The Crossfire  below:

 

Video: The Crossfire [Anglia TV - 1967] - Peter Wyngarde, Eric Portman Ian Hendry, Jeanette Sterke.

Peter Wyngarde - In Memory

 

Video: Peter Wyngarde and Dennis Price in an episode of Jason King

 

Picture: Peter Wyngarde in a scene from the film Burn, Witch, Burn, 1962

 

Picture: Carol Cleveland and Peter Wyngarde in The Avengers, 1966

The Guardian's original obituary was  mean spirited and quite frankly, nasty. In my haste to publish an appreciation following a 24 hour domestic power cut, I used a source that I had always relied on previously. On this occasion, I should have been more careful as what I consider to be reputable paper was clearly  lacking in editorial control. I have since removed that text from this article and apologise for any offence cause by it's easier inclusion.

The Guardian subsequently published an appreciation by Toby Hadoke, it seems to to try and rectify their earlier mistake and also to add detail on a number of key omissions:

Appreciation: Peter Wyngarde obituary

The obituary of Peter Wyngarde overlooked a number of the talents and successes of this suave and charismatic performer who never lost his ability to inspire fascination.

Before Jason King he had an early television success as Will Shakespeare (1953) – a taxing part that earned him the admiration of the production’s pioneering producer/director Rudolph Cartier. By 1965, when lured to play the arrogant and dangerous Baron Grüner in an episode of Sherlock Holmes, he had enough clout for the producers to accede to his agent’s stipulation that on foreign sales prints he – uniquely – be inserted into the opening titles and credited alongside the leads Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, both of whom he was also paid considerably more than).

His quirky tastes embraced cult shows which showcased his versatility and zeal – he is glorious in both of his episodes of The Avengers (1966-67) and a cunning and aloof Number Two in The Prisoner (1967). As the religious zealot Timanov in the 1984 Doctor Who story Planet of Fire he imbues a flawed character with a tremendous tragic dignity.

His non-speaking role in the film The Innocents (1961) is no glorified bit part. He is a memorably spooky, spectral presence and gets second billing, a year after his effective turn as a ruthless gang leader in The Siege of Sidney Street.

His extensive theatre work attracted many good notices from the outset and included Shylock and King John, via Jack Pinchwife (The Country Wife) and more than 200 performances as the lead in The King and I (Adelphi theatre and tour, 1973-74). He also directed productions at the Bristol Old Vic and the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford.

Picture: Peter Wyngarde and Sally Anne Howes, The King and I.  British theatre tour [1973]

In later years he was gracious with fans and a writer of detailed and helpful letters crafted in attractive – if minute – handwriting, generously extolling the virtues of colleagues he admired such as Cartier, Wilfred Lawson and Patrick McGoohan: unpredictable talents all, who should give some clue as to where his sensibilities lay.

A perfectionist, he was doubtless sometimes difficult, but the scandal that dented his career should not overshadow the many fine qualities of a charming, seductive, watchable leading actor with an offbeat streak.

In closing...

My heartfelt condolences go to Tina Hopkins who spent much of her life devoted to Peter. I know she was very close to him and will be feeling a great sense of loss. And to Peter's agent, Thomas Bowington.

Thomas Bowington describes Peter with great affection:

He was one of the most unique, original and creative actors that I have ever seen. As a man, there were few things in life he didn’t know. I sometimes nicknamed him ‘the King’ because he simply knew everything. He was a mentor on everything you can think of, from sports cars to how to make a good cup of tea and how to do a tie and shirt. 

He died at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital [in London], and even then he was saying that you shouldn’t button the upper button on a shirt. As a person he was the most exceptional person I met in my life and a great mentor and teacher.”

Our thoughts and condolences also go to Peter's many friends and fans around the world.

For those wishing to find out more about the life of Peter Wyngarde,  I can really recommend this excellent and authoritative interview from 2017, by Tina Hopkins:

The Ultimate Peter Wyngarde Interview by Tina Hopkins

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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Get Carter [1971] 'Eyes Look Like...Piss-Holes In The Snow' - Tony Klinger Reveals The Story Behind THAT Famous Line

Picture above: Michael Caine [as Jack Carter] and Ian Hendry [as Eric Paice] at the races.

Another post containing some more fascinating anecdotes, this time from Tony Klinger who first met Ian Hendry during the filming of Repulsion [1965] and then again, on the set of Get Carter in 1971! Tony is a Film and TV Director and son of the late Michael Klinger, the producer and driving force behind bringing the novel 'Jack's Return Home' by  Ted Lewis to the big screen:

"An uncompromising novel of a brutal half-world of pool halls, massage parlours and teenage pornography, it was memorably adapted into the cult film Get Carter.  The novel starkly portrays a subsection of society living on the borderline between crime and respectability; and was a major influence on the noir school of English crime fiction."

Much more on Tony and Michael below, but first a little background story and some context.

Films And Famous Lines

When I first arrived in Hong Kong to start work, back in 2001, I was introduced to the Directors at my new company. They were a few years older than me, British expats who had already been based there for some time. Two Scotsmen and a Welshman. Dave Allen could probably have told you a joke about that encounter.

When they found out my full name they said:

'Oh, Hendry...like the actor, Ian...'

To their surprise, I mentioned that he was, or had been, my uncle. And the first thing they said to me in reply was:

"Ah yes, we should have guessed....your eyes....they're like piss holes in the snow!"

The history of film is often recalled through the famous lines and passages of dialogue that reminds us of a memorable moment or defines the essence of the story.  They have often entered into the public's subconscious, affectionately recalled at times when events in our own lives, seem to resonate with those that we have seen on the big screen. And perhaps that is one of the reasons that film has become so loved as a medium and remained so popular throughout it's history. At times it can feel like a mirror is being held up to our own lives .

Sometimes, however, it is just a simple case of everyday language being taken and used in a film, to reflect the era and the society in which it is set.

And Get Carter is such a case in point.

 

______________________________________

Note: This ended up being quite a  long post, as I wanted to include some new information that I've recently discovered about Get Carter, as well as providing some biographical background and anecdotes about Michael Klinger and from Tony Klinger.

But some of you may want to get to the key answers straight away, so here are some quick page jump links that you can use to get to the relevant sections:

Click link to go to: Tony Klinger reveals how THAT line became part of Get Carter

Click link to go to: An explanation of where THAT line originated

______________________________________

 

Get Carter [1971]  

A year or so ago, I carried out a study of the racecourse scene in Get Carter [1971]. I was intrigued by the cinematography and the way that the tension gradually builds as the scene unfolds.

You can read that article here:

Get Carter - The Racecourse Scene [1971]

But the other factor that drew me to this scene was undoubtedly the dialogue and THAT famous line.

"Do you know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes look like, they're still the same, piss-holes in the snow."

-  Jack Carter [Michael Caine] to Eric Paice [Ian Hendry]

 

To really appreciate it, though, I suggest you watch the whole scene to see and hear the build-up and context in which it was delivered:

 

Video above: The Racecourse Scene - Get Carter [1971]

Dialogue - Script Extract

Jack Carter: So you're doing alright then Eric...you're making good.

Eric Paice: Making a living.

Jack Carter: Good prospects for advancement is there...a pension?

Ian Hendry Get Carter (1971) 2

Picture: Eric Paice (Ian Hendry) - sunglasses removed!

Then the classic line! Jack Carter slowly removes Eric's sunglasses, hands them back to him and then stares straight into his eyes:

Jack CarterDo you know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes look like, they're still the same, piss-holes in the snow.

Eric Paice: Still got a sense of humour.

Jack Carter: Yes, I retain that Eric.

Tony Klinger - On His Father, Michael Klinger, Repulsion, Catherine Deneuve, Get Carter And THAT Famous Line

A few weeks back, Tony Klinger, 'dropped by' on the Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page and shared a unique insight into the film and THAT  famous line.

TV and film seems to be synonymous with the Klinger family.

His father, Michael Klinger, was the producer and the driving force behind what many regard as the greatest British Gangster film of all time, Get Carter.

 

Picture [l-r] Mike Hodges [Director], Michael Caine and Michael Klinger [Producer].

Ian Hendry had first met both Michael and Tony a few years earlier, during the filming of Repulsion [1965], directed by Roman Polanski. Tony was just 15 years old at the time.

The Michael Klinger Papers are held by the University of West England. On their website they mention that:

Born in 1920, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants who had settled in London’s Soho, Klinger’s entry into the film industry came via his ownership of two Soho strip clubs, the Nell Gwynne and the Gargoyle - that were used for promotional events such as the Miss Cinema competition and by film impresarios such as James Carreras - and through an alliance with a fellow Jewish entrepreneur Tony Tenser, who worked for a film distribution company, Miracle Films.

Klinger and Tenser were both highly ambitious, but culturally divergent. Characteristically, when Roman Polanski arrived in London and approached the pair to obtain finance having failed elsewhere, it was Klinger who had seen Knife in the Water (1962) and therefore gave him the opportunity, and the creative freedom, to make Repulsion (1965) and the even more outré Cul-de-sac (1966). Although Repulsion in particular had been financially successful, and both films won awards at the Berlin Film Festival that conferred welcome prestige on Tekli, Tenser, always happier to stay with proven box-office material, sex films and period horror, saw Polanski as at best a distraction and at worse a liability. These differences led to the break-up of the partnership in October 1966.

Klinger set up a new company, Avton Films and continued to promote young, talented but unproven directors who were capable of making fresh and challenging features: Peter Collinson’s absurdist/surrealist thriller The Penthouse (1967); Alastair Reid’s Baby Love (1968), another film that focused on a sexually precocious young female, but with an ambitious narrative style that included flashbacks and nightmare sequences; and Mike Hodges’s ambitious and brutal thriller Get Carter (1971). Although Get Carter is now routinely discussed as Hodges’ directorial triumph, it was Klinger who had bought the rights to Ted Lewis’s novel Jack’s Return Home because he sensed its potential to imbue the British crime thriller with the realism and violence of its American counterparts and who had succeeded in raising the finance through MGM-British all before Hodges became involved.

In his excellent interview with Cinema Jam, Tony explained:

"He [his father, Michael Klinger] learned to be a producer on the job and it was this and the many productions of a huge variety of films that culminated in Repulsion and Cul-de-Sac with director Roman Polanski that, as a result gave him the launch pad to become a fantastic international producer, probably the most successful in the country for about fifteen years. My dad and I came into film making from opposite ends and for years there was a general lack of respect for each other. I’d come from the floor of film sets and knew all the technical grades whereas he’d learned the industry totally from the other end. It was only when someone suggested we work together and as a result gained a lot of respect."

Picture: Tony Klinger

Tony Klinger began his career as an Assistant Director on The Avengers TV series. In his interview with Cinema Jam, Tony retells some wonderful tales about his life in show -business and gives some tremendous insights into his father, The following extract is from the interview in Cinema Jam:

"I know I was working on the best and biggest budget show in the world. We were an American show and often ABC executives would come over. The directors on the show were either the greatest coming up like rockets or the veterans on a gentle slope down. People like Peter Yates, Charles Crichton, John Hough, Don Chaffey and Leslie Norman.

My partner, Mike Lytton and I used to borrow equipment from series we were working on at the weekends, well borrow without asking but returning it all in one piece before anyone noticed. I was on The Avengers and he was on Department S or Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). Without thinking about it we created the best film school in the world. On The Avengers we sometimes had five units shooting to keep up with the broadcast scheduling requirements out of New York. So when someone on staff fell ill, you’d be told to take their place and you either learned what to do really fast or someone would take your slot and you went back down the ranks. It was an incredible experience.

Suddenly from being a third assistant director I could do the odd day as a camera assistant or help out with the sound department which proved invaluable for me later as a film maker. And at nights and weekends, whenever no one was around we would be taking cameras out of the studio and shooting our own tiny films and editing them overnight in the studio cutting rooms. I don’t think anyone ever found out or maybe people just turned a blind eye to our nocturnal activities!"

The following two questions and answers come from the Cinema Jam interview:

How much has the industry changed in terms of securing the kind of deal that got a film like Get Carter made?

"Get Carter still could happen today. It was a medium budget film for its’ day and decisions like that could still be made by a brave executive like Bobby Litman who was then the newly appointed head of MGM Europe and we were lucky to know from his time as an agent. The timeline is impressive. From the day we first had the book, Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis in galleys to when the film was first released in cinemas was a total of 37 weeks. It was a classic case of the stars aligning and the perfect storm.

The flat you see in the opening shot in Get Carter was found through a girl I was dating who knew a British gangster who owned the place and was OK with our using it to film in. Euan Lloyd was not the same type of man as my father. That’s not meant to be a critique of Euan but if you read Andrew Spicer’s fine book about dad, The Man Who Got Carter, you’d soon discover their many differences. Michael Klinger was the best Script Editor and Producer and had a tremendous ability to sell. Producers today have become more supplicant in their approach and there were only a handful in my father’s day that had that gift, even less today. It’s no accident that my father made so many fine films when he was left to his own devices. He also could pick talent and nurture it. People financing films today tend to think in terms of the tax deals and soft money being the key to making a film."

Get Carter is the yardstick by which all subsequent British Gangster films are compared. Why do you think it has endured today?

"Attitude. My old man came from Soho, which was a tough area at the time he was growing up in the 1920s. It was effectively a Jewish village, next to an Italian village next to an Irish village, much like New York. Some people said that it would be fine in one area, but if you tried crossing the street to the next area and you would have to fight. My father encountered a lot of gangsters between engineering and Film and at one point, when he ran a nightclub, some gangsters came along demanding protection, but he chased them away. Real gangsters don’t threaten, they just do. When I worked as a projectionist at fifteen, I was being threatened, but this one gangster came up to the guy doing it, whispered something in his ear and the guy’s face turned pale and the trouble stopped. Scorsese has that attitude in Goodfellas and it’s that attitude that has come across in Get Carter. It had never been covered in British Cinema up to that point, although there were examples like Brighton Rock that covered similar ground. Get Carter also touched on Child Pornography and other pornography.

It was shot in Newcastle and I was up there for two weeks. Part of the appeal was Newcastle and how it was, that was exciting and kind of untamed and very different from London. I had the best time while filming our own locations for our documentary, Extremes. But being close to the filming of Get Carter confirmed me as a huge admirer of Michael Caine and a firm fan and friend of director Mike Hodges. When it was first screened on BBC they cut it telling us they were doing the filmmakers a favour. The attitude was the big mistake with the Stallone remake, because that film was about redemption, which is the complete opposite to what the original film was. An interesting footnote to the film is that in the climactic scene, there is a ship in the background. Somebody actually tracked that ship afterwards, it’s entire history right up to four decades later when it was demolished for scrap. That’s what the word fan really means!"

Klinger

And THAT Famous Line From Get Carter? Tony Klinger Explains How It Came To Be Included In The Script...

As mentioned above, Tony visited the Ian Hendry Appreciation Society Facebook Page and, unprompted, posted this:

"The famous line from my dad's production, "Get Carter" about Ian, "eyes like piss holes in the snow" was the way my grandmother used to describe me, which was then lent to the wonderful script written by my friend Mike Hodges."

So there you have it from the 'horse's mouth'! It was Tony's grandmother who provided the inspiration for what has become the memorable line from the film.

I asked Tony if he remembered Ian and if he had any recollections from being on the set of Repulsion. His answer was candid and made me smile; it seems that he did remember meeting Ian, but at the time his main focus was elsewhere!

"Ian wasn't a good actor, he was, sadly for him, a great actor. That plus his love for a little something to drink and his penchant for speaking his mind, meant he was a triple threat. I'm pretty sure there were "stars" who didn't want to work with him because he'd act them off the screen. But yes I knew and liked him from the set, but in Repulsion I have to admit that even as a kid I only had eyes for Catherine Deneuve!"

I replied:

"Thanks for sharing that, Tony - appreciate your insight. And I can understand how you might have been distracted a bit by Catherine Deneuve! Were you on location for the duration of the filming of Repulsion and Get Carter? And have you written about those experiences and, if so, could you share where? It's quite something to have been on set for two films that both became classics I've come across some good pictures of your Dad on set, this is one of my favourites..."

Picture [l-r]: George Sewell, Michael Klinger, Ian Hendry and Michael Caine.

Tony expanded a little more:

"I am trying to limit my inputs about all the film set experiences I've had on both my own and my dad's productions because, amongst other things, I have to keep some stuff for my own memoirs which I have recently started to write. Suffice it to say I was on the set for a week or so while I was filming my own documentary called Extremes in the same wonderful city of Newcastle. We were very busy having a great time. I was about 19 at the time and was easily distracted. Besides which our financier and distributor and executive producer thought we were in Glasgow. On Repulsion I was about 14 or 15 and was purely a visitor."

I shared a few more picture with Tony; of Ian with his father, Michael. They seemed to get on very well:

Picture [l-r]: Michael Caine, Ian Hendry and Michael Klinger.

Picture [l-r]: George Sewell, Michael Klinger, Ian Hendry and Michale Caine.

Picture: The chairs - Get Carter [1971]

And Tony's closing thoughts to me were:

"Great photos by the way. My dad really liked and appreciated your uncle."

Origins

And The Origins Of THAT Line..?

Piss-holes In The Sand [and Rissoles In The Sand!]

I dug a little deeper to try and find out more and it's not quite as straight forward an answer as you might expect. But let's start with Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas [27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953] spent much of his last few years reading his poetry, writing film-scripts and consuming vast quantities of alcohol on lecture tours across the United States. Just before he set off on his last trip across the Atlantic – he died in New York aged 39 – he wrote a comic, caustic account of the U.S. lecture circuit entitled ‘A Visit to America.’ It is from a little-known collection of Thomas’ broadcasts for the BBC called ‘Quite Early One Morning’ and is a gem of a piece.

It was eventually broadcast by the BBC on 30th March 1954, some five months after his death.

Extract:

"And, in their diaries, more and more do such entries appear as, ‘No way of escape’ or ‘Buffalo!’ or ‘I am beaten,’ until at last they cannot write a word. And, twittering all over, old before their time, with eyes like rissoles in the sand, they are helped up the gangway of the home-bound liner by kind bosom friends (and all kinds and bosoms) who boister them on the back, pick them up again, thrust bottles, sonnets, cigars, addresses, into their pockets, have a farewell party in their cabin, pick them up again, and snickering and yelping, are gone: to wait at the dockside for another boat from Europe and another batch of fresh, green lecturers."

Rissoles in the sand? I was confused.

From Wikipedia:

A rissole (from Latin russeolus, meaning reddish, via  in which "rissoler" means "to [make] redden") is a small croquette, enclosed in pastry or rolled in breadcrumbs, usually baked or deep fried.

So perhaps Dylan Thomas was referring to the eyes as being reddened and dry, as opposed to having any resemblance to pastry?!

Whilst it works in the literary sense, it is clear that it is a euphemism for what Thomas probably wanted to say,  to soften the words, which, after-all, were to be broadcast on the BBC.

Thomas had written a letter several  years earlier [c.1932] which mentioned that:

"I have the villain of a headache, my eyes two piss holes in the sand, my tongue like fish and chip paper...."

So here is a clear reference to a similar phrase, which describes feeling and looking unwell. And piss-holes was used, not rissoles!

What is not clear is whether Thomas had created this phrase himself or whether he was merely repeating one that was in common use at that time. This theme and a theory is is returned to again below.

What is clear, though, is that the quote he used related to sand and not snow.

 

Piss-holes In The Snow

The first literary reference I could find for a similar phrase, that mentioned snow, was in 'Prince Bart - A Novel Of Our Times' written by Jay Richard Kennedy and published in 1953.

Kennedy writes:

"Like the welcome?" Mills asked. "Isn't worth a pisshole in the snow."

This alludes to value, something being of little worth.

Some have suggested that the phrase may have a military origin. That was certainly the view of one comment I saw on a forum online:

"Piss-hole in the snow" is a negative assessment of value (around World War II) much like "rat's ass" [which referred to 'not giving a damn']. And "rat assed" also evolved to mean drunk, as did 'piss-holes in the snow'. 

And that idea is further supported by a comment from Judy on the Facebook page:

"Goes back at least to WW2, maybe even WW1, as a description of battle fatigue."

Others have suggested that it was a British street-culture adaptation of a WWII expression that got picked up by writers and introduced into mainstream media. More likely, though, is that it entered into everyday use in it's original unaltered form.

We also know that Tony Klinger's grandmother was fond of using this expression with Tony, when he was a child growing up in London in the 50s. So whilst it was popular in the military during WWII, it is also quite possible that it's origins predate that.

 

Piss-holes In The Sand + Piss-holes In The Snow

- Both Of Military Origin?

Thomas mentioned this phrase in a letter, so it seems unlikely that he created it and that it then entered into everyday use; his letters were only published many years later. It seems more likely that he took a phrase which was in everyday use at the time to describe his own condition. If it was in common use, then, I wonder whether it could have had a military origins too? Perhaps with the reference to sand, being used to describe a soldier's battle fatigue from desert warfare?

Given that Dylan Thomas was using it c. 1932, if it's roots were in the military, one theory is that it might have originated or been used extensively during the desert campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa in WW1. Some more 'digging' would be required, though, before we could be sure that that was the case.

So just to recap, piss holes in the snow has been used to describe something of low value, but also has the meaning of looking unwell/ suffering from battle fatigue.

It appears that it was a key phrase in the military and very similar to the expression used by  Thomas c.1932; and quite possibly amended to refer to  battle fatigue in colder climates.

At some point, then, it's likely that the two expressions were both in common use:

  • 'Piss holes in the sand', as used by Dylan Thomas in his letter c.1932 [when clearly referring to feeling unwell, quite possibly from drink!] was probably already in common use at that time; gradually becoming the less well-known and used version.
  • 'Piss holes in the snow' also referred to feeling tired/ battle fatigued and looking unwell [as well as something of low value]; but over time, it slowly won in the 'popularity contest' and became the phrase of choice.

And then later on, possibly sometime after the second world war was over, it's usage changed again or rather evolved. It was still used to describe someone feeling unwell/ looking tired, but rather than the cause being battle fatigue, it was the result of a hangover!

 

One thing that we can be sure of, though, is that in the film "Get Carter" (1971), the expression finally entered into the mainstream.

And has remained there ever since.

______________________________________

 

Michael Klinger + Tony Klinger - Golan Heights In '73

Picture: "This was dad and me on an old burnt out tank trying to make the biblical love story of Rachel and Jacob just after the '73 war on the Golan Heights. Not the best choice of venue for that particular production and one day worth at least one chapter in my memoirs."

 

A big thanks to Tony for 'dropping by' and sharing some of his memories. His memoirs will undoubtedly be fascinating and compelling reading. I'll let you all know when I hear any news on their publication.

___________________________

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Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: 'Send in the Clowns - The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry' by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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