The Nelson Affair

The genius of England must be expressed by Lord Nelson and his lady mistress. In the national emergency, she gives him up for his greatest victory, the one that kills him at Trafalgar.

The Crown Government, that did not acknowledge her in his lifetime (“the lunatic King and his German bitch,” she says), ignores her after his death.

Variety called this “genteel”.

Canby of the New York Times quite lost his head in a disgraceful review that claimed Hal Wallis was stuffing owls or some such nonsense.


Caesar and Cleopatra

Shaw’s prothalamion on a perennial theme, the school for wives.

Caesar confronts, in an opening scene replacing the original stern adjuration, “a little kitten of a sphinx” that is the emblem of his genius, “part brute, part woman, part god, and no part man.”

He divides Ptolemy and Cleopatra from their guardians. The schoolboy husband-brother dies in hested battle, the queen no longer a nursling keeps her throne with Rufio, “Caesar’s shield”, as governor.

Mark Antony is the promised gift.

Sir Alec Guinness has the measure of the play at once, and from her end of the bargain so has Genevieve Bujold. Jones accentuates the placid order of Egypt with the prominent statue of a prone dog or jackal, ears gilded, the ancient panoply is well-served, following closely Shaw’s modulations from man out of time to the man or woman of antiquity, a stylistic tour de force.

A significant variant is Losey’s Secret Ceremony with its entrance line, “I’m not going to eat you, you silly bitch.”

Pinter later remembers the Alexandrian Library, “as for the Old Masters, fuck ‘em.”


A Little Piece of Sunshine

Death of the island governor, political divisions...

By the author of Cool It, Carol! (dir. Pete Walker) and the sell out (dir. Peter Collinson), out of Frederick Forsyth. “Who did it, Bill?”

“Why, Desmond, that is what you are here to find out.” The mob, and Cuban Communists, loom large...

“I’ll tell you something, Detective Superintendent.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, it’s a funny thing, these elections.”


“It’s as if some people don’t want it. Freedom.” The head of the local constabulary, for instance.

“In a few more days, we will have our own government, and whichever sewer rat takes power, these islands are finished.” The Barclay Islands.

“Look, Fort Bragg could drop a search party in a coupla hours.”

“No, Lieutenant, I actually don’t want U.S. troops on British soil—it took ages to tidy up after them on Grenada.” McCready of the F.C.O. (vd. Roy Boulting).