Saturday, April 14, 2012
50'S FOCUS : THE SQUARE RING 1953
THE J. ARTHUR RANK ORGANISATION
AN EALING STUDIOS FILM
THE SQUARE RING
Jack Warner Robert Beatty Maxwell Reed Bill Owen Kay Kendall Bernadette O' Farrell
Eddie Byrne Sidney James Alfie Bass Bill Travers Ronald Lewis Joan Sims
and Joan Collins as Frankie
Art Director - Jim Morahan Edited by Peter Bezencenet Director of Photography - Otto Heller
Screenplay by Robert Westerby From a play by Ralph W Peterson Additional Dialogue - Peter Myers
Assistant Director - Norman Priggen Produced by Michael Relph Directed by Basil Dearden
(c) 1953 Ealing Films .. 83 MINS .. B/W .. REG 2 DVD - OPTIMUM BLASSICS
Made in 1953, Joan plays the small role of Frankie, the girlfriend of a disillusioned boxer played by her then real life husband, Maxwell Reed. The film relates the events of an evening at a provincial boxing stadium an was originally a stage play by Ralph W. Peterson. Reed plays Rick Martell, a boxer known for throwing fights, who has lost all his self respect and hides it behind a mask of pure bravado! Life was almost imitating art as Reed himself was feeling less than adequate, blaming Joan for upstaging him in their scenes together. She felt uneasy around him and the frightened look she conveys in the film was not all down to her acting!
Critics at the time of it's release gave the film mixed reviews, one commenting that:
" An uneven mix. Veering between comedy and tragedy."
Joan at this time was beginning to become fed up of been a Rank starlet, as she hated the roles she was been offered. She was also dissatisfied with the incompetence of the hairdressers and makeup artists they employed. She was appalled at the levels of makeup she had to wear,"Three inches of slop", she commented in an interview in 1980. But it did teach her to properly clean her face every evening, of all makeup, she also started to do her own makeup on film sets, which she still does to this day.
After "The Square Ring", Rank had no other roles for both Joan and Reed, so they decided to accept a limited run of the Pulitzer prize winning Thornton Wilder play "The Skin of Our Teeth". In it Joan played the part of Sabina, a maid and a temptress in the household of George Antrobus, played by Reed. Joan was not only delighted with the excellent reviews she received, but also that she had proved her RADA bosses wrong, in that she was a film star who could take the lead in a West End role. Kay Kendall also makes an appearance in the film, she earlier appeared in Joan's first film "Lady Godiva Rides Again". Kay was eager to do comedy roles, but she was under contract to Rank and had to contend with the roles they gave her.
She commented at the time.
" It has ponderous dialogue. I had to wear pincushion shaped costumes and a wig that made me look like Danny Kaye in drag!"
A TV version starring Sean Connery in the role of Rick, along with Alan Bates was broadcast as an ITV play of the week in 1958.
"The Square Ring" is classic British movie making with a cast of familiar faces including "Carry On" favorites Sidney James and Joan Sims and is made in the true Ealing tradition.
(c) 2010 Mark Mc Morrow...