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Saturday, May 12, 2012

50'S FOCUS : THE GOOD DIE YOUNG ..... 1954 ROMULUS


              United Artists
                      Presents  
   A Romulus Production
The Good Die Young
                   Starring
Laurence Harvey   Gloria Grahame  Richard Basehart  
Joan Collins
John Ireland Rene Ray Stanley Baker Margaret Leighton Robert Morley Freda Jackson                        

Associate Producer - Jack Clayton   Director of Photography - Jack Asher B.S.C  Music by Georges Auric
            Screenplay by Vernon Harris & Lewis Gilbert  From the Novel by Richard Macauley
             Art Director - Bernard Robinson       Edited by Ralph Kemplen         Produced by John Woolf
                                                             Directed by Lewis Gilbert

(c)  1954  Romulus   B/W  98 MINS   REGION 2 DVD From WIENERWORLD LTD ....



This 1954 film was Joan's last British film for some time, as she was nearing the start of her Hollywood career. Before starting work on this film, she was considered by Italian director Renato Castellani, for the role of Juliet in a production of "Romeo & Juliet" opposite Laurence Harvey, her old RADA mate.  But even though the role appealed to her, she was not too keen on Castellani's advice for her to shave her eyebrows, cap her teeth and most drastically have a nose job to give her the roman look!! Harvey did make the film but a starlet called Susan Shentall took the role of Juliet and she hasn't been heard of since! Joan refused to alter her looks for a film and instead co-starred with Harvey in this excellent crime drama.  Joan plays the more grown up role of the newly pregnant wife of an American played by Richard Basehart. She looks radiant in the role of the girl torn between her husband, who wants her to leave England and go to live in America with him, while her conniving selfish mother is determined to keep her in her clutches by constantly faking an illness to prevent her leaving.
 With an all star cast including Academy Award winning actress Gloria Grahame, who although born in Los Angeles, she had an English mother, the stage actress Jean Grahame.  Director Lewis Gilbert was not too keen on the casting of Grahame in the film as she had quite a reputation as a difficult to work with star! However producer Jack Wolfe was so impressed by her performance in "The Bad & The Beautiful", he felt she was perfect for the role of the trampy actress Denise. Gilbert recalled one day in makeup, Gloria inquired if England had any psychiatrists, as she used a lot of pills and was worried she might not get another supply! Lewis said of her "Gloria wasn't a great star or a great actress. But she had an extraordinary style as an actress, more than many great stars!"  Laurence Harvey stars as the ring leader, who masterminds the robbery at the centre of the story. Harvey plays the son of a rich Sir, played by Robert Morley, who never works and lives off  a rich older woman played by Margaret Leighton. Harvey married Leighton sometime later! He also would team up with producer Jack Clayton for "Room at the Top". Richard Basehart and John Ireland were cast in the film to appeal to American distributors, as was common then to cast American stars to boost overseas sales.
The film's director Lewis Gilbert went on to direct three of the classic Bond films as well as the popular "Shirley Valentine". Gilbert had also directed Joan in the earlier film "Cosh Boy". "The Good Die Young" was shot at Shepperton Studios and on location around London. The British censors at the time, were not happy with the original script and had the scene of the robbery changed from a bank to a post office! To give a moral tone, they had Lewis add voice-overs, as a sort of sermon to the audience on the perils of crime! Away from the cameras, Joan was still suffering in her marriage to Maxwell Reed and it would be only a matter of time before the marriage would over and she would be on her way to Hollywood! After she finished work on this film, she did more theatre and co-starred with Donald Houston in the American comedy "Claudia & David".

(c)   2010   Mark McMorrow..

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