BIOGRAPHY, Relationships
Comments 73

X Part I

Note at start of MS:
“Transcript of taped interview with [MadameX]. On review I’m unsure of who exactly is conducting the interview or when, or even if it’s the same person throughout. Dating seems to vary. This document is as an edit of a longer version, and focuses on [X]’s love affair with Basil Rathbone 1941-46”

START OF TRANSCRIPT…

“…After…Basil died. You know, I knew…but. After he died. I got a phone call and it was Cynthia [Basil’s adopted daughter]. I hadn’t spoken to that kid since she was two years old. But there she is on the phone, about a day after her father died. And she says “mother doesn’t know I’m calling but I want to ask you not to go to the funeral because Daddy wouldn’t want anything to upset mother and me any more.” Mother doesn’t know, my ass. Ouida was on the extension or I’m Nancy Reagan. She’d basically given this kid a script and pimped her out there to talk to me. The kid says “please don’t disrupt this family occasion” like she was reading off a cue card, poor little monkey. But you know as if that is my default option. If you don’t ask me not to disrupt a family occasion I’m there throwing cat turds through your windows.

[laughter]

Oh yeah baby. But…this was a funeral. It was his funeral. What did she think I was gonna do?

[did you go?]

No.

[why not?]

I didn’t need to. Maybe I wanted to, but I didn’t need to. She could have her victory.

[it almost sounds like you didn’t blame her too much]

I didn’t blame her. She…she was lost. He was her entire life. In her way.

[what about you?]

Oh God honey I’d been lost for years, I was used to it.

[laughter]

——-

You know, we were both where we were because of other people. He was there because Ouida wanted to be the wife of a movie star. Yes. He’d have been happy spending his life just drifting along doing theatre for no money. And it’s where he belonged really in his heart. England. He was so English. But she wanted to be the wife of a star. Well, I think she’d wanted to be a star but that failing she wanted to be married to one.

She [Ouida Rathbone] was this rigid little frantic little bundle. She didn’t seem to know how to be natural, to just be. She was always on, always tense and on.

[when did you first meet her?]

I saw her a couple of times at parties and stuff. First time I met her was when she came to the set of [REDACTED]. She had lunch with us.

I was just [X]. The only girl and one of the boys. We were just working together. I had a crush on him, but he…no. No.

She loved him as much an she loved anyone. She was obsessed with him. She built her life on him. People say she controlled him, but it wasn’t really like that. She was…if she was in control it was because Basil let her be in control. I mean she didn’t take the power, he gave it to her. He was a much stronger person, a much more grown up person than she was. He was gentle, he rarely got mad – but he could – he really really could believe me. He was gentle but he was a very strong presence, very commanding and –don’t fuck with me – and you couldn’t screw with him unless he wanted to let you. I couldn’t. He wouldn’t take anything like that from me or from anyone but her.

[Did he love her?]

Constance Collier said…she knew him before Ouida…I think they may have had something, I don’t know. She said to Bunny Bruce “you do realize we’re all watching a slow form of suicide.” And years later Bunny said it to me. And I knew it was true.

[that he was in love with her?]

It was never about love. Not that kind of love. There’s all kinds of love though aren’t there. He used to say he’d have been dead before he was forty without her.

[dead how?]

Booze or pills or you know…jumping off of a bridge or something. He was drifting and lost and she anchored him in something. In her. He was drinking a lot and screwing around when he met her. He didn’t want responsibility and didn’t care about anything. She turns up and she has this plan to marry him and reform him and he goes along with it. Only for all the wrong reasons, god damn it. That’s what [Constance] meant. I mean he had choices for Christ sake. There were other, gorgeous, women who wanted to marry him. Women just…he could have any one. And there were gorgeous women back then could have rescued him and done it with love. Made him happy. You know it’s like he took a look at her and knew just what she wanted and what she’d do to his life, and he handed himself over because giving himself to her was just achieving the same as the booze but by a more dishonest route.

[why?]

I don’t know. I don’t know why. I’ve never known why. I went crazy trying to figure why. It was like somewhere in his heart he didn’t want to be alive…or…or like he didn’t think he had a right to be alive. Like he was paralyzed from taking hold of his own life. Or what he wanted. He was…he was. I just know beneath the surface there was a lot. He just had good defences. He was an Englishman. He used to get these appalling nightmares. He’d have insomnia. He’d bite his nails. When Roddy. When his son went to war he didn’t sleep for a month.

——-

[did you love him?]

Oh honey what does that even mean? He was what he was and I was what I was and things just happened.

The thing is [with Ouida]. I think part of her did kind of hate him. He was…,all the showy stuff, and she…I think part of her hated him for that. She was a failed actress and a failed writer…She wanted to hold him and keep him and make him something she thought he should be, but not out of love exactly.

He…he didn’t care about any of the shit most people – most Hollywood people – care about. He didn’t care about money or society or status or any of it. He’d be happy in his comfy old sweater, messing about with a camera or some shit he was all enthused about. He didn’t care where he lived so long as it was warm and dry. He loathed big grand parties and formality. “Making small talk with dull people” was this quote he always used, I don’t know who said it first. She cared about all the things he thought were kinda stupid. And he just gave her permission to make his life, on her terms.

So she made this life. Beautiful house, beautiful husband, beautiful everything. And…The reason she had all those parties I always thought was because unless she had an audience all that lovely living didn’t mean anything. And he just was part of the furnishing. He was supposed to wear the gorgeous clothes and drape about in the gorgeous lounge for the photographers and the visitors, and be there in a gorgeous tux to welcome the guests. And he was too smart not to know. I mean most people who knew them real well guessed it to some extent. He just didn’t mind. And he just played the part when asked. They didn’t even sleep together after the first few years. The marriage was…it was about something too weird for me to understand.

And this…it was all on her terms you know? The books on the shelves had to match. Everything had to be co-ordinated and themed. Even their friends. Their friends were just…were mostly people she knew would look good on a guest list or in the photo coverage. His friends were not part of that. His friends didn’t go with the furniture [laughter]. They were a mess. They didn’t look right. They weren’t elite. They drank the wrong brands and smoked too much and stayed too long and laughed and told dirty jokes. When there were big parties Basil’s friends were usually in the kitchen with the beer. Or in the library. The library was his room and it was the only one where the books were allowed not to match and there was dog hair on the couch.

[who were the friends?]

Oh…Willie [Nigel] Bruce. Vincent Price. Reggie Gardiner. Karloff, Clifton Webb. Errol. David [ X’s husband, name changed]. Yes. They knew each other going back. They’d been in a couple of movies. David loved Basil. God bless him. Willie couldn’t stand [Ouida]. His face when he talked to her…it was a mask, it was him trying not to betray anything and just ending up looking like he’d had a stoke (sic) or something. [laughter] Mostly they just didn’t talk to each other. She didn’t like him either.

But the thing is people blamed her and that was never totally fair in my view because he had responsibility too. He helped create that situation. His friends didn’t really see that part of it. I guess they didn’t want to see that part. I saw that part of it yes. He let it happen. He let things happen, until when he wanted them to stop it was too late. It was just too damn late…”

PART II

The image at the top of the page is a still from MADAME X (1920), starring Pauline Frederick

Advertisements

73 Comments

  1. Judy D. says

    …and if you search Ouida Bergere on acertaincinema.com and expand the photo of the Rathbones at home on couch, who is the lady with the chin in the photo on the far left of photo on table–perhaps his mother, more likely his sister? (Search also BR for nice photos with tags saying who’s who and when taken.)

    Like

    • Basil’s mother had been dead since 1917 and his sister was apparently estranged. So probably not either of them. Can you can post a link to the pic?

      Like

    • I don’t recognize the person in the photo, I can’t link directly to the photo, but it’s easy to find. Go to http://acertaincinema.com/
      and then search for “Ouida”. The search box is in the upper right corner. You’ll get about four results. The pic Judy is asking about is the one of BR and OR sitting on the sofa. There’s a photo of a woman on the endtable on the left side of this photo.

      Like

      • Ohhh it’s a photo IN the photo! I did not pick that up. Apologies, Judy, for being dense. 🙂 I’ll see if I can link to it somehow.

        Like

      • Here ’tis… No idea who the lady is. Is that a Rathbone profile? Could be Beatrice. The photo style looks too mid-century to be his mom.

        Like

        • the countess says

          Looks like Jr’s wife Caroline.Wonder if it could be Quida jr. Basil on R in photo.Looks like drawing of Sir Frank behind lampshade on R. or posibly drawing of Basil.Drawing of young boy on L. by lamp shade looks like young Basil or pos. Jr. My best guesses.call me a nerd but I luv picking details out of Photos.Wonder what Basil is holding? And the back of sofa behind Weedy’s head..dosent that look like the cats have been scratching on it?

          Like

          • Judy D. says

            Glad you were able to download the photo. I’m a dunce at that sort of thing. I think the drawing above the lamp is of BR, but hadn’t noticed the dwg. above the other lamp (Countess has good eyes). I’d think the couch fabric’s nubbiness (shows better in orig.) counts for what looks like cat scratches behind OB. Wonder if the group of framed things are examples of BR’s photography? And who’s the lady in the other table photo? Looks more like an OB relative.
            HERE’S A NEW BIGGIE: A new book, “The Hollywood Canteen,” by Lisa Mitchell and Bruce Torrence, Loads of detail. Review was on a Tumblr website I just fell into–broadcastarchive-umd.tumbr.com and work your way down the entries; or maybe easier to just google the book itself. Apparently Bette Davis the head of the thing, but review mentions OB volunteering every day during its run, and goes into the board meetings (minutes apparently included), settling union opposition to hiring unpaid stars, getting rationed food, making sure to serve soldiers of all colors, etc., and list of all celebs who volunteered. Seems very detailed, and with lots of photos.

            Like

            • the countess says

              Does it mention Basil helping to bring kids over here During the war? There was an artical in one of the Sunday papers. A few years ago,that talked about it.Didnt get to save the artical,the paper disapeered out of the breakroom,that afternoon.It was mostly on how the head of a co.[A local big co.] in the next town over, did the same.Perhaps I misread it? but it read as if Basil and some others actuly hired a ship and brought theses kids over.Away from the Bombing in london.

              Like

              • Judy D. says

                The review didn’t mention the business about the ship, but that sounds familiar. The thing to do is to check out all online reviews and maybe some will have more info, and Amazon sometimes allows one to see the table of contents or index or even more. The review’s emphasis was more on Davis (and we see the photo of Davis at the typewriter in one of those Bergere-site photos from the same site as the nubbly-couch one; OB was totally cut off in the photo, apparently, except perhaps for her hands, so we didn’t get to see the Great Profile. (Perhaps that was her choice if she saw the proofs!) Try the interlibrary loan system for nabbing a free copy of the book if available yet for a good dekko. May be worth buying for the archives if enough BR in it.

                Like

  2. Judy D. says

    Wondered why no pic of friend Jack Miltern in Bazz’s book. And seemingly none on line. Did search this a.m. and found two photos–try ebay.com, item 281010571992, 1920-press-photo-broadways-grace-george-john-miltern ($12), and acertaincinema.com, a nice sharp photo from “Coming Through,” he’s apparently the baldish guy on the right. There are also sites for watching a couple of his movies. He was working right up to the end; strange BR never mentioned that. Movies, plays list–IMDb, IBDb.
    Think I figured out the Madame X i.d., including good hubby match. If right (natch can’t say who or this will not print) it seems like a good choice; not a dummy.

    Like

  3. the countess says

    name: Bernice Cleveland Branch
    event: Death
    event date: 24 Dec 1974
    event place: Dallas, Dallas, Texas, United States
    gender: Male
    marital status: Married
    birth date: 25 Dec 1889
    birthplace: , Arkansas
    father’s name: Stephen Branch
    mother’s name:
    certificate number: 97236
    film number: 2243526
    digital folder number: 005145957
    image number: 01788
    name: Bernie Cleveland Branch
    event: Draft Registration
    registration date year range: 1917-1918
    event place: Little Rock City no 1, Arkansas, United States
    gender: Male
    birth date: 25 Dec 1889
    birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
    country of citizenship: United States
    nara publication title: World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards
    nara publication number: M1509
    film number: 1530471
    digital folder number: 005150451
    image number: 03229

    Steven Walker Branch
    death date: 30 Nov 1936
    death place: Dallas, Dallas, Texas
    gender: Male
    race: White
    death age: 76 years 11 months 6 days
    estimated birth date:
    birth date: 24 Dec 1859
    birthplace: White County, Arkansas
    marital status: Widowed
    spouse’s name: Lou Lida Branch
    father’s name: Benjamin F. Branch
    father’s birthplace: Tennessee
    mother’s name: Nancy Ann Mcknight
    mother’s birthplace: Tennessee
    occupation: Hotel Manager
    place of residence: Hot Springs, Arkansas
    cemetery:
    burial place: Little Rock/Arkansas
    burial date: 02 Dec 1936
    additional relatives:
    film number: 2117027
    digital film number: 4166728
    image number: 1432
    reference number: cn 53884

    name: Nancy Ann Mcknight
    also known as:
    suffix:
    event: Marriage
    event date: 13 Oct 1858
    event place: Madison, Tennessee, United States
    gender: Female
    spouse: Berry F Branch
    spouse’s also known as:
    spouse’s prefix:
    spouse’s suffix:
    page:
    Citing this Record
    “Tennessee, State Marriage Index, 1780-2002,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VN6C-D8N : accessed 09 Dec 2012), Berry F Branch and Nancy Ann Mcknight, 1858.

    David Bruce Huxley
    Financier and lawyer (1915–1992). He served in World War II in Africa and Iraq reaching the rank of Brigade Major in the British Army. He became the youngest Queen’s Counsel (QC) in the British Empire. In Bermuda in the 1940s and 1950s he was Solicitor General, Attorney General, and acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He compiled and revised many of the laws of Bermuda. He married twice and had five children by his first wife. His daughter Angela married George Pember Darwin, and his son Michael became curator of science at the Smithsonian Institution. In retirement, David and his second wife, Ouida (who was raised by her aunt Ouida Rathbone, married to the actor Basil Rathbone) lived in Wansford-in-England, Cambridgeshire, where he served as churchwarden.[9]

    Like

      • GRETCHEN says

        WOW…Ouida’s brother was born on X-mas Day, and died on X-mas Eve (which was also his DAD’S Birthday)! How weird is THAT?? And, he died the SAME year as his sister……talk-about timing.

        Like

        • I hate the thought of dying anyways, but when it comes to dying before your birthday that’s just really not nice….

          Like

    • Judy D. says

      Fabulous job, O Countess!! Maybe Ouida was once a Lida, if that was her mother (since brother’s record lists no mother, maybe not?). Did the brother continue in the father’s business of hotel management, one wonders (Jack Miltern also was a hotel manager at some point, if memory serves, so mebbe that’s how OB (or LB) met him, or at least it may have been a subject that bonded them if they met in H’wood? Why did OB raise her niece, one wonders? Were all the B’s batty? Baz must have known all, and gone along with that “e” addition to Branch[e]. And this nicely sorts out the Huxley connection. This family sure knew how to marry well!
      It might be nice if all the birth/marriage/death certs and similar factual findings were copied to a little “Reference” subblog of their own so we can find them again and sort of fit everyone together. (For such as I, who seems to end up on the wrong blog half the time.) Wanted to compare the name Lida to what’s on OB’s early marriage certif. but quaked at the thought of trying to find it again.

      Like

      • the countess says

        Didnt realy spend much time looking into her family just hunted this up for everone here..When I get a chance I’ll check into the niece haveing a marriage before Huxley. Primarly more interested in Basils family. I have more on the bro and the neice writen down someplace, The bigest problem with hunting down Weedys family is there seems to be 2 familys in little Rock area at the time with some of the same names. That usuly means cuzins,but not sure on that so dont quote me. Pretty sure Weedys mom is Ida[as she is usuly called in records].I was hunting through a city dirctrey for Little Rock when I came acrost the 2nd family. so I havent realy had time to straighten them all out yet. If Marcia or Neve want to either one can copy this info with my permisino..I only got it off the net.It’s not top scret classifide or anything. Truthfully I’ve wanted to xpose Weedy for a fake for ages I just happened to be given a chance with this blog. And rember my info COULD be wrong..not that I am p[osting wrong info on purpous but I ehe info is only as good as the orignal posteder made it.

        Like

        • the countess says

          let me repost that last bit correctly.I get cut off after a few lines and cant see what i’m typeing.Truthfully I’ve wanted to xpose Weedy for a fake for ages I just happened to be given a chance with this blog. And rember my info COULD be wrong..not that I am posting wrong info on purpous but any info is only as good as the orignal poster made it. That is if the cences taker wrote it down wrong..my copy would be wrong too. It dosent sound to me like her family was bats. They sound fairly normal.But then whos to say what’s normal? I think if memory serves me correctly the neice was listed as a secerty.

          Like

    • the countess says

      Ellen Ouida the neice that is Name: R H Burgess
      Event Type: Marriage
      Event Date (Formatted): 13 Feb 1905
      Event Place: , Monroe, Arkansas, United States
      Age: 24
      Birth Year (Estimated): 1881
      Residence Place: Clarendon, Monroe, Arkansas
      Spouse’s Name: Eula Branch
      Spouse’s Age: 19
      Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated): 1886
      Spouse’s Residence Place: Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas
      Marriage License Date: 13 Feb 1905
      Page: 528
      GS Film number: 1015023
      Digital Folder Number: 004307895
      Image Number: 00294

      Like

      • the countess says

        Well opps try it again Name: Ouida B Branch
        Titles and Terms:
        Event Type: Census
        Event Date: 1940
        Event Place: Tract 11, Dallas, Justice Precinct 1, Dallas, Texas, United States
        Gender: Female
        Age: 21
        Marital Status: Single
        Race (Original): White
        Race: White
        Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Daughter
        Relationship to Head of Household: Daughter
        Birthplace: Arkansas
        Birth Year (Estimated): 1919
        Last Place of Residence: Same House
        District: 255-45
        Family Number: 37
        Sheet Number and Letter: 2B
        Line Number: 42
        Affiliate Publication Number: T627
        Affiliate Film Number: 4173
        Digital Folder Number: 005458087
        Image Number: 00657
        Household Gender Age Birthplace
        Head Bernie C Branch M 49 Arkansas
        Wife Frances L Branch F 46 Arkansas
        Daughter Ouida B Branch F 21 Arkansas
        Daughter Dixie V Branch F 17 Texas

        Like

          • the countess says

            Thank you.I have more but cant link to Ancestory.Like I can LDS.Lds being a Church altho not MY church.Is a more opne site Ancestory is a pay for sight and not about to let you get anything for free they can charge you for and I’d better stop here before I say something about how I realy feel about Ancestory and get sued or something.

            Like

            • Judy D. says

              On not finding Ouida Branch[e]’s wedding to soldier, maybe they married in his home state? Thanks for emphasizing that the place to look for info seems to be the LDS site; yes, it’s totally annoying that every other search device demands a fee before you can even find out if they have info on the right person. Funny no brother info turning up in the family searches you came up with above. Or did it; I have trouble keeping people straight. I had Ancestry.UK for a year and forgot to cancel, or cancelled incorrectly, and got stuck with another year I didn’t need. Grrr. Nevermore.

              Like

  4. Judy D. says

    “Niece, my cloven foot”–I was snidely surmising that it might be her daughter; she seems the type who might name a daughter after her (her??) name (better than Una, Ulie, Ina, whatever). On cooler reflexion (don’tcha love to Brit-spell now and then for kicks?) maybe the dear girlie would have been too old for a servicemen. Though a lot of lonely servicemen, feeling they’d never come back, would marry any kind soul, maybe hoping to leave an heir behind, or to let the helpful girlie collect benefits.
    Ouida had a brother??? Please tell us more!
    Maybe someone would like to look into the possibility that OB adopted the name Ouida in honor of the writer of that period who was famous for her dog stories–if you Google the word Ouida her name pops up, and I remember a great book as a kid, but name escapes.
    Loved Hitch on Cavett–and all I could think of, just having read BR’s criticism of commercial-ridden TV, how horrible it really was, all the interruptions back then of train of thought, plot, etc. (Check Cavett’s website–you can at least ask him about the whereabouts of the BR interview. Which he quotes from!!!) Cavett loved the stars and interviewed so very many, but cable was the best place to do it. Can’t wait to see the “Hitchcock” movie, but damned if I’ll invest in HBO, which never shows anything else worthwhile. Hey, imagine BR playing Cary Grant’s part in Hitch’s “Suspicion,” and he would even had gotten to act with Nigel again. Maybe with BR’s colder demeanor the studio might have allowed Hitch to keep the original ending, even.
    There are OTR (old-time radio) sites online and you may find one of those fabulous guys who has so patiently researched the start/stop dates of many radio shows, to get the dates of BR’s several radio series.
    I think if BR really, really wanted to commit suicide on the front lines, he could have done so. It seems more like a wish that he couldn’t quite carry out.
    Some folks are complaining of Madame X’s language, looks like? I swear like a demented sailor, especially when depressed or the social anxiety peaks, but I think I’m a pretty nice person–well, at my age I don’t get many opportunities not to be. I did retain a few of those Girl Scout virtues after my very short tenure. So let’s give her a break.
    Hitch as to Hollywood marriages: he said he believes that they marry so often because they are on the set together, doing love scenes, and it leads to some action in the dressing room around 6PM maybe. Cavett asked him if he ever witnessed any; he replied that he always liked to be home by six. LOVE the guy!!

    Like

    • the countess says

      Thanks for the Xplnation. No her neice is her neice.I’ll check my records and get back with info on Bro.

      Like

  5. Ellen Foley says

    Watched Hitchcock The movie with Ton Hopkins?Helen.What a marriage.In “The Girl” Hitch supposedly told Tippi Alma begged him to marry her.Saw most of Cavett interview w/Hitch,but didn’t DVR,and missed (fell asleep-guilty) and missed about H’wood marriages.If Baz hadn’t left in 1946/7 for B’way,I’m sure he would’ve had much Hitch work-George Sanders so much as said when joshing Baz “I thought you’d died,too bad” that he got many Baz-meant roles.Still amazed Baz laughed at that remark,but he did at some other remarks that I prob would’ve blown up at.Nice to have that kind of sense of humor.Still can’t believe Hitch’s obsession with controlling actresses,as seen in 2 recent movies cited above.Still think it unreal that OR was allowed to get away with her behavior.Very well summed up that Baz didn’t say he was happily married,just more or less long-married.

    Like

    • the countess says

      George Saunders..Will always be Sher Khan to me,Sorry it’s permenetly burned into my brain. But Totaly loved Him in “My Bel Amie. and Ivanhoe” Wish Basil had done “Ivanhoe” it’s as if Guy Du Bouis Du Bear was written with him in mind. Hitch..well I’m not realy sure how I feel about him,ecept that He nearly gave poor Tippi a breakdown in the Birds,Read someplace he realy tied live birds to her dress and hair…umm NO! SO NOT COOL!

      Like

      • Ellen Foley says

        In movie Hitchcock,Alfie supposedly put “Mrs Bates” in Janet’s dressing room and laughed his arse off with her screaming.Tying birds to her hair prob gave nightmares for years to come.Til I saw George in Foreign Correspondent,thought him pompoud a-,but he was very sympathetic character in that (til then had only seen him as the cad in Rebecca).Too bad Baz didn’t do more kids movies than The Wind In The Willows.I’m sure they could accommodate him in a NYC studio.Ivanhoe would def be improved w/Baz maybe George as Ivanhoe instead of dreamy-eyes there.Started watching Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray last nite,of course dropped off to LaLaLand,so couldn’t compare Sir Henry with him in mind.Some day.George def owed Baz for that role,and I’m sure,truth be told,he did thank him in his British old man attitude.This computer starting to act up.All my misspelling in talking about Hitchcock,the movie ,LOVED Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren,they are just so awesome,together or separately as actors.And my fav movie,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,when you have THE CAST,anything looks greater than if you spent all the money in the world.Best Exotic seemed like people who knew each other forever,like Baz & Willie.Wish Hitch had made more than 6 flix after Psycho,lately have discovered Family Plot and Frenzy Topaz.,The Lodger (silent w/Ivor Novello,another who’s career destroyed by whatever-he was deserving proper cred as actor/singer/writer).

        Like

        • the countess says

          George is also a cad as Jaffery[sp?] Well thats how the cast pronunce it. in “House of 7 Gables.”.but casting him as Vinnys bro was a great job.Didnt ever see “Foreign Correspondent”. Saw “Rebecca” onece ages ago dont rember much of it..Liked “Dorian Grey”.interesting concept isnt it. I’ll have to look up Maragold Hotel never heard of it.As for total great cast movies “Death On The Nile” is hard to beat.Such perfect casting in that one.Also wish Basil had done more kids movies..not counting the magic s.word..He was so type cast as Holmes.YES his Holmes is perfect

          Like

          • the countess says

            cut off again.. But he could do other things. Mabey he was just tired of being Holmes.

            Like

            • Ceridwyn says

              I can’t believe none of you sited “All About Eve” as one of George S’s best pics! He was so smooth; that voice with the lines they gave him! He got an Oscar for that one. Of course you couldn’t go wrong with Bette Davis in there too!

              Like

        • GRETCHEN says

          Actually, Basil was in a LOT of “kiddie” pictures! 🙂

          I’ve always thought that “The Magic Sword”, “Casanova’s Big Night”, and “The Court Jester” were some pretty well-done “family” films kids REALLY enjoyed…also, the entire “Sherlock Holmes” series was VERY kid-friendly, and would be considered “G-rated”, even in those days. The Sci-fi movies: “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” and “Queen of Blood”, as well as the “horror” ones Baz did with Vinnie in the ’60s: “Tales of Terror” and “A Comedy of Terrors”, were okay for kids, TOO. All those old “sword-fighting” adventure-flicks were GREAT—and, don’t forget his voice-recordings used in Disney’s: “The Great Mouse Detective” as an homage to him, back in the ’80s.

          Just about EVERY movie Basil was in (except for any of the sexually-suggestive ones), was acceptable for children to watch—and the plots were FUN, exciting, and simple for young-people to understand. I’ve been watching them since I was a BABY, and love them ALL!! 🙂

          Back then (between the ’30s and the ’60s), almost EVERY film played in a theatre was SAFE for kids to see…too BAD that doesn’t apply anymore! NOW, if an adult takes a child to a “kids'” movie, they’re forced to sit-through something produced for the mentality of an INFANT, instead of being able to enjoy the picture “together”—OR, if it’s a movie ADULTS would like, it has a sex-scene and/or vulgar language thrown-in somewhere, so they can’t take their kids. BUMMER! 😦

          Like

          • Ellen Foley says

            I just think he could’ve been offered more voice work,like Wind In The Willows.It was enjoyable,esp with Legend Of Sleepy Hollow with Der Bingle on disc/vcr tape.Agree most of his movies family accessable.Too bad SH series wasn’t the nswer he’d hoped for.He was great,and I also loved Jeremy,but to me SH is always Baz

            Like

          • My Basil Sherlock Box set has a 13 age rating, when I first saw it I had to let it sink in!
            (>▽<)

            Like

            • the countess says

              Please xplain? none of the S H movies are dirty of sugustive in anyway. Oh wait I know never mind.Did you know that most of the time when they showed it on TV at least on our local stations that line was cut out.

              Like

                • BASIL says

                  Presumably…
                  “Oh Watson, the needle!”
                  It was censored here in the UK aswell until about 10 years before I was born :-/

                  Like

                  • Helveticus says

                    You’re probably right. That line was _incredibly_ daring for the time. I am never quite sure how they got away with it, or what possessed them to try.

                    Like

                    • BASIL says

                      They actually originally wanted to cut out some of the Sherlock-Creeper scene as well, which I think’s a little bit uncalled for…

                      Like

          • the countess says

            Yea now that you mention it I guess I’m wrong and your right I was watching his movies as a kid.It was late.I was tired.Brain not totaly in geer.I also agree the lack of kid frinedly films now a days that an adault can enjoy WITH them is sad.Theres just no reason for a kids cartoon to be as dumb as some of them are.Sure there were dumb cartoons when I was a kid but there were some good kid/parent ones too.Right off hand “The incredible Mr.Limpet” comes to mind.A cartoon my parents didnt mind watching with me.

            Like

            • Ellen Foley says

              Today,strong language is just like nothing.I used to go to matinees all the time,at least 4 per week to pass the time after my parents died-I spent so much off duty time taking care of them.Some of the one liners that people have to repeat ad nauseum today are a waste of space.There should be zero tolerance for disrespect,and movies own a lot of the responsibility.Screenwriters of long ago said it best,and their principles and practices should go on today.One of the greatest quotes I ever read was Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”and to paraphrase: ” courage isn’t a man with a gun in his hand.It’s knowing you’re licked before you start,but you get up everyday no matter how difficult it is and still face whatever life hands you,and sometimes life can hand you more than lemons..”Life can be unfair,but I’ll take someone with honor that goes on in face of all the harshest critics finding fault cuz they don’t agree with my actions when they’ve never and will never live thru what I have,the Atticus Finch’es of this world have my respect anyday over the gunslinger,or “notches on bedpos”t characters,one liners,filth in some of today’s “kids flicks”.My drama teacher (only took 2 classes) said that a script is really cheapened by foul language,well, so is conversation in everyday life-while someone’s kid kicks/slaps/punches you and the parents are gossiping with their friends while you’re enduring a bullying by sweetums.Wonder where the kids get it from-oh,yeah,how funny calling someone who’s struggling everyday a loser cuz mommy & daddy say so,and junior repeats it.Basic human respect flew out the wndow with so many cheap tricks to make the millions in today’s excuses for blockbusters.I don’t miss any of today’s slasher/zombie movies.I’ve gone on too long,but movies for the last 20 years,except for ArtHouse films,are highly overrated..

              Like

              • Judy D. says

                Seems like every series on TV is about crime, the gorier the better. Whatever happened to drama and humor. I don’t mind language–it can’t kill anyone–and Madame X was “hanging out with the boys,” lucky, lucky her, just as I always did, and rough language is part of that package. But here we’ve had at least one generation of folks on drugs, and now we are having to deal with the drugged-up kids of people on drugs and people otherwise dysfunctional, and TV is certainly no help there with role models. We’re lucky we still have folks who want to be teachers or policemen. I hate the way TV/movies portray black characters, who take the parts ’cause they need the money and screen credits. Classic, well-written crime stuff like “Sopranos,” okay, but the rest–an evening with Brit-TV may be somewhat boring, but at least it isn’t very bloody. But gotta admit, “Shameless” was a hoot, thanks 80% to Wm. H. Macy. One must have a bit of junk food now and then.

                Like

        • Judy D. says

          I knew a guy who was involved in a census-taking around, say, 2000; he said he couldn’t believe what the other takers did regarding collecting info–some not even bothering to go into a building to talk to everyone. Just made it up or based info on prior census. Probably folks more conscientious in those long-ago days when a job meant everything. But dealing with everyone’s sometimes florid handwriting is a real problem. Thank goodness for hand-printing and then typing. Great job, the Countess did.
          As to Hitchcock and the actresses (I like to reply en masse), look at the poor man, throughout his life: he must have had great envy of the handsome leading men, the lovely women, and then he looks at himself in a mirror. His real love, according to the Cavett interview, was entirely the creation of the film–the laying out of the scenes, the solving of the special-effects gimmicks, etc. The actual filming didn’t interest him at all. In the interview he seems to avoid mentioning any actor by name. He did say he did not think of actors as cattle, he only felt they should be treated as cattle. (Probably many director would agree.) His beauty, I should hope he was aware, came from his intellect, his marvelous films, and his great sense of humor. My favorite is “Frenzy”; who can forget that inspector and his gourmet-cooking wife and the container of various aquarious parts, and that potato truck sequence. And that magical long quiet take of the staircase at the ex-wife’s office where the murder has just occurred, which is VERY reminiscent of the staircase scene in the 1920s silent “The Manxman.” Damn, Hitch would have gotten such use out of an Englishman such as BR in his movies!! Other directors in the 50s-60s probably thought of an Englishman as something of a comedic figure, damn them.
          Childen’s movies?? Naaaw, most movies at that time were for all ages. I’d want him in more mature movies, as if they could exist in those days. Same character as he played in Holmes–honest, brilliant, faithful to his friends, ascetic–but fully and maturely developed into a full human being. Enough with the villains, at least of the 2-dimensional 30s-40s type. He was born too soon, is all. Today would have been his era, in the movies, the stage, and cable TV. And then he would have avoided the trauma of at least that war.
          I have downloaded the Countess’s work and Madam X’s reminscences to Word, where I could run them off and read them more closely. Found I’d totally missed the entire start of le affaire. Yeek, how romantic. Oh, to have been in X’s place during that magical year of being “one of the guys” and then his lover. One hopes it’s all honest and unembellished by time…but who knows. It certainly would make a wonderful movie…if BR were alive to star in it.
          Hey, was watching “The Pianist” with Orlando Bloom, and at one point he is wearing a hat and coat similar to what BR would have worn in the Holmes movies. I always thought there might be a bit of DNA involved with him, but when I saw that particular scene I thought, if ever they were to remake some of the Universal Holmeses, he should play Bazz.
          Sorry to ramble–having a bit of a pissy day here. Sigh. Good night to watch some of his oldies…….

          Like

          • Judy D. says

            I must correct, because it’s nagging me: only I could confuse Orlando Bloom with Adrian Brody. “The Pianist” with Brody, the scene with him in the overcoat and fedora toward the end, is pure 1940s SH/Rathbone. Love the guy. And Orlando’s a doll. (Watch that movie where he kills his first patient!)
            On the subject of public records, so long as I have your patient eye, I am secy. of a local club and found myself having to file the missing Secy. of State annual reports for many of the 10 years they keep online. Since I had no records for the oldest year or two and was required by law to file, I had to fudge and guess who was most likely on the Board. So…beware of public records!!
            PS–love the Madame X photos! Lady at my bar used to look like that till she reformed.
            Eagerly awaiting more chapters to the saga. I can just see OB patiently collecting data over the years, at the center of her web, maybe even with the assistance of a detective, so that she could present him with full documented evidence of how she could ruin everyone if he ever seriously tried to escape her clutches. Lord help the guy. I was losing patience with his weakness, but now I can at last see it as his decency, or at least that to protect himself he was forced to protect everyone. If all is as stated by Mzzz X.

            Like

            • GRETCHEN says

              If this was one of those creepy “true-life forensic shows” on ID channel, the evil husband ALWAYS ends-up murdering his cruel wife if she did to him what Ouida did to Baz……you know, the whole “I’ll tell EVERYONE about your affairs, and DESTROY you if you leave me” thing. It’s good Basil wasn’t THAT kind of a guy, or she’d have been hidden somewhere under a flower-bed! 😉

              I too, watched “The Pianist” recently, and thought the star was a pretty CUTE guy, also. Boy, the REALISM of the way the Nazis treated (and killed) people is extremely WELL done in this film—almost TOO hard to watch, at times! I’m of Polish descent, myself, and I was SO touched by the wonderful story of this man’s courage to survive; and, of his ability to hold-on to his talent and passion as a musician, even through all the HORROR he’d experienced. After watching it, I said a prayer for the kind-hearted German officer who’d helped him and brought him food, and stuff…the poor guy died in a Russian prison-camp, several years after the war. 😦

              Like

      • Ellen Foley says

        George in Foreign Correspondent was great-he and Joel working together vs Herbert Marshall’s Nazi sympathizer.It also had my curiosity and watch it whenever it’s on cuz of Eduordo Cianelli (wish they had his singing voice in a movie-he had been a baritone in Italy,opera singer,Eduordo that is).Couldn’t sit thru George’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray but will now.To picture Baz in the part as well as to see George.Loved him in The Falcon.TCM played those movies Saturday am not long ago,and with his bro,Tom Conway.Wonder if “The Girl” really was how Tippi had to put up with for her contract,like what Hitch put Vera Miles thru in “Hitchcock” movie with Tony Hopkins,Helen Mirren.She decided to put having family 1st (Vera Miles didthat is) and he Hitch was nasty to her after.Still love his work.Look forward to this upcoming,last “Sunday With Hitch” on TCM.Have to look up My Bel Amie,you have me curious!

        Like

        • the countess says

          Tom Conway..cute. Hard for me to belive both were bros. You will love “My Bel Amie” never could stand George till that film.I was the Shir Kahn thing then add S.H. and George was in my mind compleatly unlikeable..then came “My Bel Amie”.and I liked him so much in it.

          Like

      • Ellen Foley says

        Watched mst of,and will return to watch rest of it,The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami,what a classic.Heard Geo’s singing voice and it’s excellent!

        Like

  6. GRETCHEN says

    I watched that Dick Cavett interview with Alfred Hitchcock last night, TOO! 🙂

    Boy, that Hitch sure was a FUNNY guy…and, extremely bright—you could just SEE how intelligent he was, in his eyes, and how he was listening intently as he thought-up a good (deep-minded) joke to insert into the conversation…which Dick took a while to “get”, sometimes. He told some GREAT stories, too. I’m hoping to see Dick’s interview with Baz someday, as well. I used to watch the “Dick Cavett Show” when I was a toddler, and as a young kid—on my OWN, willingly!! Although it’s probably one of the BORINGEST shows ever made for TV, I loved it…go FIGURE.

    Hey! Does anybody out there remember those OLD commercials Dick used to do for the “Alpha-Beta” grocery-store chain?? Hee-hee. 🙂

    Like

  7. Judy D. says

    Thanks so much for expanding on that interview. The mother lode, for sure.
    OK, fellow ‘tecs, dig out the Druxman book and search for whatever movie he did with only one female cast member…or the least amount…back when. Interview recorded in or just after the Reagan years? She may have had at that late date a wish to pushaway from the whole thing–how did I get so involved, how young and silly I was, laugh it off a bit. Otherwise it does supply some insight on the OB/BR lockstep. I wonder if OB (Branch?) scouted out Hollywood looking to climb up the ladder, grabbed Fitzmaurice as a perfect roof-reacher, then as the silent-movie ops dimmed moved on to fresh game, and perhaps would have moved upwards from BR if it weren’t for the fact that age quickly caught up with her, plus her negative reputation. She preferred non-dominant men (wow, had she gone to UK with Fitz she may have seduced/married Hitchcock!!–what a movie he’d have made of that, if he’d been left able to function!!). She got herself a lovely basketful of complexes and neuroses (and matched them in all degrees), and if she couldn’t cure those she could learn all the buttons to push to keep them in place for use as needed (which I used to do with my boss, and he with me, for 20 exciting years).
    Was again plowing through IAOOC yesterday; seems Cyn (adopted to replace Miltern?) was probably the product of someone unwed whom they made a financial deal with, probably through third party, to take the baby once born (and according to law, the birth parents’ names are not on the birth certificate; they would receive an amended certificate when adoption finalized, with BR/OBs’ names, and that would be filed), and he seems to have been quite taken with her once there was no going back. She went through several governesses because she was a spoiled little brat; and whoever heard of a parent sleeping in the bedroom of a young child when the governess was away; sounds totally overprotective, unless she had some sort of problems. But the kid seemed to do best with him, from his telling.
    Anyway, whatever his mental problems were, they seemed to increase alarmingly over the years. Not all OB’s doing, I don’t think: something was seriously wrong with his brain wiring. Oh, for medical intervention…..
    I have no compunctions about his cheating. (Did you hear Hitchcock on Cavett, TMC, last night, about why H’weird people have so many marriages?) It was an understood way of life in European society, and the hills of H’weird were full of expensive bordellos for men and women. And how do we know what she was up to? Now today women’s lib has practically emasculated men, but one has the choice of sticking it out or divorcing because the little barnacle can now support herself and he can afford his freedom.
    He mentions the niece as Ouida Branche (as in W.C. Field’s Egbert “Souse, with the accent grave over the e”). Staying with them at time of Pearl Harbor; married an Air Corps trainee from a camp in Lancaster, CA; a lot of them died, but BR didn’t say her husband did. Any sleuths able to track down this marriage certificate? Before the Huxley connexion? Sounds to me as if he probably knew of at least the Branch(e) husband. And “niece,” my cloven foot!!!
    I keep thinking how horrified he would be by this blogsite. Hope he forgives us from whatever dimensions he’s in. We do it because we love him, despite his faults.
    MORE, MORE(PLEASE)!

    Like

    • the countess says

      I’ll have a bash at it.[Weedys neices marriage] I like a chalange.I found a refrence to Weedys bro being in the service in WW2 I think it was navy,but this might have been more in the line of homefront work.I woulda thought him to old to be drafted.
      You know whats interesting.I dont who caught it but i remarked a few days ago about Basil being on “The Christophers Show” He starts talking about j.d.s then wanders off the subject on io Hollywood marriges..but never says his is happy..he talks about there being happy marriages in Hollywierd but dosent say his is.When was that filmed? Early 50s like right after the break up? Ellen not understanding the” “neice” my cloven hoof” refrence? No I dont think he would be horrifed by this site. I think he would be relived that I finaly came out and so many of us are still loveing and supportive of him.Thank goodness now he’s passed on he can stand in Heaven and thumb his nose at Weedy and give her the rasbeery.If she made it that far?

      Like

      • Ellen Foley says

        Ma & Pa Kettle had more class than the user/abuser from Ark/VA he married who couldn’t keep her story straight from day-to-day,or her origins.Can you imagine if she’d stayed married to Fitzie,or decided on Hitch,bet she wouldn’t tolerate his snack attacks as seen in “Hitchcock”>I still say everyone who’s done exhaustive research and posted here is a SAINT,and we really appreciate your efforts.I not only speak for myself,but for others I see in passing.And as for cloven feet,mine are killing me,must go dance around the bonfire with my pitchfork brigade (Frankenstein on TCM last nite,PUBLIC ENEMY,too,but she wasn’t all that bad-just spent too much,and was a b-,and don’t mean bore,although I’m sure she was,too.Can’t see how he endured 40+ years of boring parties with boring people.Almost worth dementia to tell the crashing bores to go chase themselves.Hmm-is that why CONFESSION was so good with the “seduction” of Kay’s character,I just imagined one of his soirees as such.

        Like

      • the countess says

        The line shoul read” I think he would be relived that IT finaly came out and so many of us are still loveing and supportive of him.”

        Like

      • ‘Or some sort of s@*t he was all enthusiastic about at the time’
        Seems like a nice person, doesn’t she? 🙂

        Like

          • GRETCHEN says

            I don’t GET it…someone who uses a “curse-word” is automatically “not a nice person”? Are you KIDDING???!!!

            You’d better count Basil out, then, TOO, since this is what Milton Berle mentioned Basil said about working with him and his cast for the first time: “You F***ING people are crazy!” (Luckily, he changed his mind after all the GOOD reviews his performance got, and came back to be humiliated on the show, AGAIN.)

            And, you’d ALSO better count-out 99% of Earth’s population—including KIDS……except for ME, that is. I’m the only grown-up I know who’s NEVER said a “bad” word in my ENTIRE LIFE—even as a toddler—I’m kinda proud of that! 🙂

            But, SERIOUSLY……if the ONLY reason you don’t like this woman is ’cause she uses occasional “foul” language, then you have a major PROBLEM when it comes to judging a person’s character!! 😦

            Like

            • the countess says

              Um no thats not what I dislike.My Dad was a truckdriver a rodeo cowboy and a farmer and a WW2 vet.He knew ever curse word there was and made up a few new ones .It’s her whole attatude I dislike.Oh and unless you have ever had to work with a person who 99 % of there vocalcabulary is curse words you cant even begin to understand how sick you can get of hearing them.And still some words never sound quite right comeing out of a womans mouth.IMHO Altho I cant ever see myself defending Weedy. Think how you would feel if at your Hubbys furnal “the other woman” from lets see 1946 to 1967

              Like

              • the countess says

                egads cut off again..of over 20 years ago turned up.Think of how Cyn and Jr would have felt.The press would have had a field day.And before everone gets al romantic on me I speek from xperince.this DID happen at a friend of my’s furnal.Not only the other woman but the other woman with her kid in tow.The woman who might have been respancibal for that mans death.And was def at the sceen when he died. Basil and Madam X said there goodby 20years before. To come to the furnal would have caused only pain for the family.Gad I hate defending Weedy..yuck..

                Like

                • GRETCHEN says

                  I’m also glad “X” decided NOT to go to Basil’s funeral, after all…it would have been MUCH more than awkward for everyone there, not to mention just plain DISRESPECTFUL to his wife and daughter! Truly loving him would mean being kind and fair to them, no matter HOW much she’d wanted to see him just one LAST time.

                  Oh, and I know YOU didn’t find her cursing “offensive”, Countess……I was directing my comment towards “Basil’s” ones above mine. For her to think someone is “not a nice person” because of a few thrown-about remarks which happen to include words such as “SH**”, seems [] a BIT uncalled-for.

                  Edited slightly by NeveR

                  Like

                  • GRETCHEN says

                    Countess—

                    Like you, I grew-up with a WWII vet dad (and brothers) who swore a LOT, but I made the conscious decision NOT to, myself. I don’t NEED to use that kind of language to get my point across……but, sometimes when I’m REALLY riled-up or disappointed, I might say: “RATS!”, “oh, MAN!”, “DARN!”, or “GEE-WHIZ-JEEPERS!”. 🙂

                    Like

                    • ….Well I meant the fact that she said something like that about Basils interests, it sounds sorta’ harsh to speak of him like that when you think about it….
                      I totally don’t mind people swearing (Although I don’t get it when people just swear about 3 times in every sentence, you know the sort of people I mean? )

                      Like

                    • I rarely swear, if I do then it’s usually if I stub my toe or if I forget to do my homework or something! Ha ha! ^_^’
                      (I just get a kind of feeling that there was something not so nice about X which I can’t put my finger on, you know what I mean?)

                      Like

        • Ellen Foley says

          Can you imagine him with some of today’s high tech gadgets?I can see him with all the latest,might’ve curbed his wandering a bit and kept him in H’weird.I know that’s not what you meant,but often thought of him in today’s high tech world.

          Like

          • I can sort of imagine him sitting down to write a song with vocaloid or sitting down playing angry birds on his phone! xD

            Like

share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s