BIOGRAPHY, Relationships
Comments 63

X Part VI

Continuing the transcribed interview with Madame X from PART V

[so during most of the war years, we’re talking 1941-45 your marriage to David was increasingly a front and behind that he was……homosexual]

It wasn’t a front exactly. Before he went away to war we…David and I enjoyed what we had in our way…

[but he was involved with various men]

Yes. But it’s up to him to say anything more about that.

[but the various magazine articles we can pull from the time, 1941 until the end of the war, depicting your idyllic life together…]

Oh God they’re fiction, but they were always fiction. I mean who the hell would believe those? The rictus smiles, the so-called interviews put together by the studio publicity department. When you were under contract you had to do them. But yes, fiction.

[so what was reality?]

He had his relationships. I suppose for the first year or so I waited, in my naivety for him to start liking girls and wanting to sleep with me more than…never.

[were there other men?]

Not seriously, not at all really, not until Basil. I had a massive crush on Francis Lederer for a while, before and after my marriage, but nothing really happened. I just daydreamed about him. It was completely childish.

[and you began an affair with Basil in 1941]

Uh-huh, and that was different. It was real.

[so beneath the façade David was seeing…men and you were involved in an affair, a pretty intense affair]

Yeah, but it wasn’t lurid. It was just life you know. I lived with my mum and sister after David was in the marines…I worked 8 til 5, we grew vegetables for the war effort. It was just life.

[but you were also sleeping with this famously married man]

Yes. But that was just life. We were involved with each other. We were friends and lovers.

[while he was still living with his wife]

Yes. We took what we had. It wasn’t his choice it was that way, and it wasn’t some grimy episode of cheating.

[his wife refused to divorce him]

Yes. She’d nailed her colors you know. She’d taken her stand. She wanted to continue to be mrs Basil Rathbone. She saw it as her right. The only things left he could do were stay or cut loose on his own terms and to hell with her…walk away and leave her to do… whatever it was she would do…

[which might have been kill herself…as she’d…possibly tried to do before]

Yes…that varied according to when you asked her [laughs]

[do you believe she tried to end her life that night?]

That’s a big question…I don’t know. I know she…according to what the medic said who saw her she would or could have died if she hadn’t been found…but then she WAS found you know…so…I don’t know, it’s hard to dismiss someone else’s experience. Maybe she would rather have died than end her marriage.

[did he consider just walking out and risking her doing something like that again?]

Of course. I mean, even before I came along, what she was asking him was to live all on her terms. And he was…he’d been finding it harder and harder to do…. She was fine. But he wasn’t. Long long long before I came along. You know they were roommates or business partners…. There was no physical affection. I don’t just mean sex. I mean you know warmth and tenderness and touching. She didn’t do warmth very well. Even when they used to be sexually intimate it wasn’t warm. It was “ok, do it if you must.” You might say a guy would welcome being invited to take what he wanted where he wanted, but he…he felt compromised and like some sort of additional piece of furniture she’d bought and paid for. And he was…he couldn’t live in the undemonstrative way she liked to live. They’d argue a great deal…more and more…

[what about?]

The things people argue about when there’s a bigger problem that they don’t want to acknowledge.…Petty things and bigger things…he…he used to get mad about her leaving Cynthia with the nanny…and about her spending. She hated his scruffy clothes and his general impromptu, disorganized attitude to life.

[so the image of their happy marriage was just that…image?]

Darling, aren’t they always? Marriages are more often long than happy and they’re not often long.

[laughter]

If you had her version…she’d…She’d tell you he was a lazy waster whom she saved from ruin and who repaid her by ducking out on his social engagements when he could, dressing like a hobo just to piss her off, hanging out with people she hated and who didn’t like her, and then finally breaking all his promises, wanting out when he swore he never would, lying to her face about seeing this tramp he got involved with… She thought she’d made him what he was and without her he’d…. And she was just taking back what was hers by right…

[was any of that true?]

Why ask me? I have a different version. He believed he owed her. I don’t know. When he met her he was pretty screwy.

[how so?]

Just things…he’d had a bad time in the war and…but you know…He couldn’t sleep without liquor and pills back then, and…this was the twenties and he…he was doing the pills and the happy dust and screwing just about anyone. You know, anyone. And…he told me when he was on Broadway in this big hit show he used to go down to Battery Park and just stand there looking at the water, trying to find the guts to jump in and let himself drown. He believed the fact he was alive was…proof he was a failure. And Ouida…met him in the midst of all this. She wouldn’t stand it. The debauchery. She said, “cut that out and come back to me when you have.” So….

[did he do that?]

Yes, he cleaned up. For her…she was his reason for living.

[he loved her]

He tried to…he loved her in a way, yes I think he did. But I think he…it was about handing over his life to someone who wanted things he didn’t want…letting someone have him and use him and…God even make him miserable…so he wouldn’t have to feel guilty about being alive. I think letting her take him away from the things he loved…England and theatre and…his kid…it…it helped him feel like he was setting things straight…you know paying a debt, not just to her…to life or something. That’s why when she wanted to move to Hollywood, he went. It was his idea of hell to do nothing but make movies, but he went. He was repaying.

And that’s… He laid his life down at her feet and she didn’t even seem to notice he’d done it. In her view she was the one making the sacrifice…she was a martyr to his cause. She thought he needed to be blackmailed into going back to her. That’s not how it was…. I wanted to tell her that… “You don’t get it. You don’t know who you’re dealing with. He doesn’t care about your stupid threats to tell Louella. Don’t you see what he’s doing? He’s repaying a debt to you and he’s going to keep doing that until he’s dead unless you…unless you tell him it’s ok to stop.” He was repaying a debt. He could only leave if she let him go…and she wasn’t ever going to do that.

[wouldn’t she have…couldn’t he reason with her eventually?]

I…I used to think maybe she’d…you know come to terms…It was too messed up for that. She was too bitter and desperate. She…thought he was just worthless. I think she just saw him as this worthless feckless liar she had to force into honoring his responsibilities. And you know, he’d walked out on his first wife and their kid, so…she just saw it as a repeat performance. In those…you know, back then if a spouse wanted to make your life hell they could even more than now…and she thought she had every reason to…punish him, hurt him. So…we were left with what could be salvaged from that.

[why did you hold on to it if there was obviously no future?]

It…I guess we just did the selfish thing. After my father died I felt I couldn’t stand to lose him too. So we did the not-just-yet thing. We’ll end it soon, but not yet.

[did his wife know he was seeing you again?]

She acted like she didn’t for a while, and obviously he wasn’t going to say anything to her in case she’d go crazy again. Slit her throat or something. So that was always there. But then…ha… then she announced she did know…and… she said she didn’t care because she knew she had too much on him and he’d never dare walk out. That’s what I mean…she thought she was blackmailing him. She didn’t know anything about how he worked on that level at all. But yes, she wrote me after that…I got this typed letter with her headed notepaper. [laughs] I don’t know…there’s something just so insane about a typed letter in those circumstances…you know. “From the desk of Ouida Rathbone,” I mean I always wondered if she got her secretary to take dictation… “Dear whore my husband is screwing, this is to inform you…”

[laughter]

She called me Mrs Y. Because, I was still…you know….It was something like “dear Mrs Y this is to let you know I’m fully aware of what my husband is doing but I’m not going to divorce him, however much of a whore you make yourself, because I care about my kid, and he’ll never leave because I can ruin him, so you’ll never be anything real to him.” You know that’s a paraphrase…it was…it was funny but kind of tragic too. There we were. Locked in our own perceptions. Nothing I could have said to her would have changed her view of her husband as some kind of cowardly degenerate who had to be blackmailed and humiliated into submission. Nothing she said would have made me see him her way. I thought she was a near-sighted stupid bitch, she thought I was a nymphomaniac or a professional home wrecker or something. Nothing could move or change, we were just this ludicrous tableau of attitudes and clichés.

——-

[David came home […]. shell shocked]

He was…he was wrecked. He’d been through such hell. His nerves were in pieces. I brought him home. I was living with my mum and sister then. He just…he wasn’t the same David any more. He’d get angry about nothing. He’d lie in bed days at a time sometimes, or sit and sit and stare at…at nothing. He had this…I just remember him in this black and gray robe, day after day. Wouldn’t shave, wouldn’t wash. He’d talk about the things he’d seen and then just stop and…forget to speak. It was as if he couldn’t…pull his mind away enough to focus on the present…as if he was still there. Still seeing it. And everything that had been wrong before was just magnified.. He’d say he couldn’t be my complacent husband any more. And I’d say well, you made me a complacent wife for God’s sake, why can’t we face facts?

[you’d fight]

Yes we would, more than we ever had, and we…I wanted him to just get past that so we could talk, you know because we could always talk……but…he just wouldn’t let it go. He didn’t even want me that way. I’d say that, “You don’t even want to sleep with me, you never did,” and he’d…. He’d say, “are you saying I’m not a man?” It was crazy. We couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t help him. He couldn’t get past it. He’d ask, “did you see Basil?” It would make him crazy if he thought I was seeing him, sleeping with him… I couldn’t let David be anywhere near him and I couldn’t let Basil know what was going on, because otherwise…things might have…. He’d have got protective. I didn’t. He might have made things worse. So I didn’t tell him. [But I was the last person [David] wanted to talk to. And the rages kept happening. And I wasn’t his wife, I wasn’t there. I was wrapped up in my own problems….and And he’d say and do awful, terrible things. In the end I just said to him, “Leave, just please leave.” He’d grabbed a knife out of the kitchen, he was screaming, “I’ll kill you and myself.” And I…my sister was white…frozen, standing in the doorway, and I was just saying, “Ok, ok, darling, you kill all of us tomorrow, but let’s put the knife down for today.” And then he was normal again, and…saying “X darling I didn’t mean it, I’m so sorry.” But I just couldn’t…none of us could take any more.

[you think he meant it?]

No, he didn’t mean it, but…he wasn’t himself. In the end I was only making it worse, we could only be friends if he wasn’t my husband. He said, “you must divorce me.”

[And you separated….?]

Officially. But he’d left long before. He moved out after that… thing with the knife which was in the winter I think. I missed him. His companionship. He started seeing another woman. A woman. Why? I suppose..I know it was hard to be what he was. You couldn’t be homosexual, there was no social, acceptable way of being that. But you know there were men, even then there were men and women who accepted it in themselves at least. I thought, if he could at least do that he’ll…he’ll be happier. But…he…he never did that, just kept marrying women….

——-

[after you divorced David how much longer did things continue with Basil?]

You know, I was…it was hard for everyone…there were a lot of…a lot of time apart. After I was divorced it felt worse in some ways. I was free, he wasn’t free. I had a lot of nights lying awake with just empty space beside me… thinking about everything until the sun came up. The Sherlock Holmes radio show was on – Sunday or Monday nights I think. You know it was an institution back then. And…I’d listen religiously when he wasn’t there. Curl up on the couch with my dog, listen to his voice. Cry sometimes. My mum would just say “X dear, get out of this, find yourself a man who doesn’t have a wife and kid.”

But I think it was still easier on me because I wasn’t the one being pulled two ways. His kid was…she adored him and he was her security. She’d want him there when she was sick or when she woke up with a bad dream. When he was with me he wasn’t there for her, when he was with her he wasn’t here for me. Ouida didn’t ask much of him beside his…you know continued residence, but she spent his money like an insane person…and…you know…she filled the house with stuff…it was…she could have taught Charles Foster Kane a few things about buying crap you don’t really need. She’d always been a bit like that but after…everything happened she…it just got out of control. She was on medication for depression, and she just spent money…she had charge accounts by the hundred. He’d close one down, two more would get opened up. He stopped her accessing his bank account, but she was…she was a movie star’s wife, everyone would give her credit. She didn’t care she was breaking him…

[what did he do?]

What could he do short of locking her up? He’d get mad with her…she’d say “what else have you left me? I trusted you and you betrayed me…” And you know…you could always get him with guilt.

And his career was going to hell, mostly because he’d been committing to things without thinking because he was…his mind was on…everything else. Us…his work with the Relief Fund…. He was just taking film work where it came for the money…and he was signed into a contract with MGM where there was…Mayer didn’t really like him from way back. And one with Universal…playing Holmes. That pretty much hamstrung him. I said to him – don’t sign it, you always told me not to sign anything restrictive. But he didn’t feel he had the choice. He wasn’t doing his best work, he was getting the whisper going round he was slipping, not so reliable any more. So he signed. This is a man who swore he’d never sign himself away like that.

I could see he was…losing his joy, losing hope. But he didn’t give in or whine and he didn’t like anyone to know what pain he was in. Even with people he loved and trusted. His close friends. He always kept his private life very very private. He was so English like that. But I saw what was happening. It…it was so hard to watch what was happening.

[did you think you should try to do something?]

Oh sure yes, but what? What?… We’d get into arguments…. Oh just pointless debates…Why? Why? WHY? Why did you do this? Why did you just keep passively, passively drifting on, why did you stand by and let her find Cynthia and bring her home when you never wanted a child? And if you hadn’t. If you just hadn’t done that! You’d have some options now. Maybe we could be happy. Look what you’ve done… And it was cruel of me because he knew what he’d done to us…and I…I…. There was nothing to do.

After he died Vincent Price…he…we talked quite a lot. He was… you know, one of the undesirable chums. And he just talked to me about…I wasn’t the only one who got a call like mine asking…“please stay way.” He said, “That woman’s taken over his death now as well as his life.” And I said, “Yes she has, but there’s nothing you can do.” I mean…by then it didn’t matter. Or so I thought. He was gone. I don’t know, maybe it did. Maybe someone should have tried to take him back.

But he…Vincent said to me, “X you should have fought to keep him.” You know back then when we… And I thought, “My God, should I? Should I?” But how? He’d just be pulled in two if someone didn’t let go. And if I’d made some stand…if…I’d driven him to leave her and she’d…you know…done something crazy or…his kid had lost him…it just…it would have destroyed him. And I …I thought it would have been for me not him I was doing that.

So…I didn’t fight to keep him.…He was saying all along – after she took back that she was going to divorce him “it has to stop, you have to find someone who’s free to be with you.” …I would have taken things the way they were…better that than no have him in my life…but he wanted to believe I could be ok without him. He didn’t want to think he’d wrecked my life. So…

PART VII

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63 Comments

  1. Ellen Foley says

    Just too bad enough Baz lovers,as in true friends,didn’t band together for an intervention,threaten to go global and expose her for fortunehunter/many times divorced woman to give her taste of her own medicine.Now I see he really left West Coast thinking everything would straighten out,but he brought the real prob back to East Coast with him.I’m sure he self-admonished himself after leaving West Coast,but also a little happy,like he mentioned in IAOOC about leaving wife & son.It was all he could think to do.Maybe Ouida punishing him for being British (? if she was still fighting Amer Revolution,or Civil War for all I know-she seemed to be good at corporal (?spelling) punishment when she felt scorned,out of power/control.He really was her unforunate victim-should never have prposed to her,should’ve run from her like the plague.

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  2. Fervent Researcher says

    I’d like to also plead for the letters to be published if at all possible!

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      • Bismillah says

        I mean, this interview was conducted around the time Basil was ending his relationship with X and, as someone pointed out somewhere, it’s quite obvious Basil isn’t taking part in the interview. Notice no direct quotes from him, only from Nigel Bruce. Basil is there, but you get the impression the interviewer might be glossing over the fact he was reluctant to talk and being very moody and withdrawn. This fits very well with what Madame X says about how he was toward the end of his tenure as Holmes. Even Nigel’s protective way of getting indignant on Basil’s behalf, while Basil himself says nothing is so like a man who might be privately very worried about his friend.

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        • Actually that is a very good and shrewd point. I had sort of noticed myself that Basil seemed curiously absent from that interview. The timing certainly makes sense of your interpretation.

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        • Fervent Researcher says

          I see what you mean. Thanks for pointing it out and sorry for being so dense 🙂

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        • Ellen Foley says

          Bismillah & Neve,you both make the criticisms of how BR seemed so “bored” with last few SH films make more sense,he wasn’t bored,just fighting for his life and sanity with the walls crashing in at home,prob dishes being hurled at him.At least Errol had his sailing,hopefully he was permitted golf and tennis and swimming to destress.Willie was a true friend,not just co-star,as he credited a telegram from Baz asking him to come out to Cali to co-star in SH film,and repaid him in kind by protecting him,like a brother when life was again becoming intolerable,not from WWI experience,but the volcano that was the Mrs.No wonder he said he preferred company of men-maybe Quicksilver by Fitzroy Davis was true-he saw male costar cuz Weedy too busy complaining,and male comfort less taxing-any woman he might be with would draw the claws.Some people you can’t please in anyway,you can’t even look at them-he should’ve gone on tour with Jack and leave the Weed behind-“Stop jostling me!Oh,be a good boy and tell them not to switch the train cars”.No,it wasn’t Baz who didn’t manage wel as part of touring actors,but his incorrigible wife/boss.Talking of Kit Cornell acting troupe.

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      • Ellen Foley says

        Bismillah,in response,great observations.And Willie has door slammed on friendship,I don’t believe Baz made that decision,it was that troll he was married to as revenge for being a true friend to BR.No wonder he never forgot or forgave Baz,how painful to lose a longtime friend of both Willie & wife Bunny.No wonder his unacceptable friends hungout in the fun kitchen who wants to hang with the hostess with the least appealing personality.

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  3. Jennys Friend says

    I can give some information about Nigel Bruce’s descendants. His two daughters are both dead. Jenny died in the early 1990’s and Pauline more recently. Jenny has a grandson called Will who works in the film industry as a director. I believe his surname is Gilbey. I knew Jenny quite well. She talked a few times about her memory of Basil, and some things she said did chime in with this story very well. I don’t remember her saying Ouida attempted suicide, but she did say she had a “nervous breakdown” during the war which her father (Nigel) believed to have been mostly fake.

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    • Ellen Foley says

      Wonder if OR ever realized her own hubby might’ve had breakdown around then.I could just feel his every emotion in all parts of X’s interview,esp his migraines/nailbiting/smoking/drinking.OR should’ve missed him after he was gone-she didn’t make life with Baz too comfortable,and who knows,he may have lived as many years as her if she wasn’t such a shrew!Sorry for any offense taken from my comments,so many questions have been answered about BR’s life with the publishing of X’s interview and I’m grateful it was posted here-he had to have been so appreciative for everyone’s support of his predicament.He’s not judged here,and everyone seems as supportive of Baz as his close friends Nigel & Vincent Price.There are reasons for such warm feelings from these friends for Baz,and thank God he did have such support to console him.The buddies in kitchen I bless them all.Fie on the snobs in the other room.

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  4. Ellen Foley says

    Think party was early-mid 1940s.When Joan and her kids rented their (ORsent her bill for glass-topped coffee table damage & missing towels) believe prob about time of his partial return to H’wood,maybe mid-1950s (1954?).Joan kinda nasty about Baz & Nige being gossiphounds and running to columnists saying she supposedly told co-star,Arturo Cordova to “go back to Mexico”-something I always disliked her for the insinuation that they’d make something like that up to hurt her.Still,had great scene,best in Frenchman’s Creek,with their fight to the death(Joan & Baz ),think of him & Weeds after reading about the handy claws.Can’t believe she would really have come out the victor in FC movie if it were reality.Hope I came close to answering you,Elaine.Maybe she took her kids to NYC in late 1949,she was after divorcing Brian Aherne..Can’t believe he(Baz) had to go out to H’wood to record for Wind & Willows (Adv of Icabod & Mr Toad).Wonder how long after they left Calif before the domestic environ cooled down.

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    • Elaine Drury says

      Thanks Ellen.. Early forties would be just about the time he was most worried about Ouida wouldn’t it. That claim by Joan that he and Nigel went running to gossip columnists doesn’t sound very typical behavior for either of them, and especially Basil. Of course Basil was a good friend of Joan’s estranged sister Olivia, so perhaps that inclined Joan to be bitchy about him? I also suspect Joan had a connection to X, though not a close one.

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      • Ellen Foley says

        I always thought of Joan as more catty,too.Thought what was said about BR was prob just cuz of OR’s actions toward Joan,prob she was just too sensitive to someone w/sublety of a punch in the nose (OR,that is).Amazing how many signs of something off in his well-being in 1940s now seem clearer after reading X’s interview comments.

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    • the countess says

      Joan hubby and kids rented Weddys towels and coffee table???? What am i missing?I can see Basil and Willy snickering about catty remarkes about Arturo but realy cant see either running to tell it to a gossip colomunest.Realy not the sorta thing grown men do.

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      • Joan and her two daughters moved into the Rathbones’ NYC apartment in January 1955. Apparently, BR was in Hollywood making a film, so they sublet the apartment to Joan. Joan was separated from her husband at that time. She wrote: “I had paid the rent in advance for six months, but I stayed only three. Before leaving I had the windows washed, the floors waxed, the apartment thoroughly cleaned. Then I phoned the delighted Rathbones to say they were welcome to move back in. When I reached California, I found waiting for me a bill from the Rathbones for two missing dish towels and a chipped glass tabletop, which had been damaged before I moved in. I paid the bill.” (p. 242)
        Can you believe the nerve of OR sending Joan a bill when she (Joan) had already overpaid the rent by three months? That should have been enough money to cover damages!

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        • I wonder why she says “the Rathbones” when presumably the bill was sent by one of them (I am guessing it has to have been Ouida). Maybe B would have welcomed it – finally merging his identity entirely with this woman he was determined to waste his life in placating. 😦

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        • the countess says

          OHHHHH. Yea way tacky..which IS why I can seeher doing it. Rember the “lost/stolen” pay checks.and Kat Cornell. Unsure of the cost of a chipped table but dish towles cost 99cents apeice TODAY! It would be Just like her to count the towels..and the grapes.

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          • Ellen Foley says

            The truth prob was that the towels never left the store,and chipped table maybe caused by poorCyn who was too afraid to tell mommy dearest for fear of being shipped back to orphanage,or becoming Cynderella.$.99 too cheap-bet they could only cost $9.00 to warrant her having them in her mausoleum

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      • Ellen Foley says

        Joan and kids rented an apartment of OR/BR while they were in H’wood,and when the Rathbones returned to NYC,OR billed Joan for “scratched/broken glasstop coffee table and missing towels”.Joan called Baz,raised the roof,who put her on w/Weeds,end of story-Joan paid,but always held it against Baz.Bet she treated him with scorn on Frenchman’s Creek set after “gossip” about her conversation w/Arturo DeCordova got back to gossip columns as her telling him to “go back to Mexico”.All in her book,b’lieve title was No Bed OfRoses

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        • Ellen Foley says

          Wonder if movie in 1955 was We’re No Angels?That was clearly madame queen (OR’s) doing with bill-guess no other choice but to pay,but another case where she embarassed BR by heavy-handed approach to imagined occurences,like pre-Heiress confab before Baz signed contract.No longer have most of the books where I’d read quotes on Baz,Hollywood Raj,Joan Fontaine,most of David Niven’s books,Errol Flynn bio which told of cleaned up version of Errol/Baz/Curtiz on Captain Blood with Curtiz apparently being so threatening about final take on the beach duel and Baz taunting Flynn with difference in their weekly takehome pays,still jury out on that remark Flynn made back to Baz about extracurricular activities between males.My copy IAOOC at my ex-beaus and he won’t let it go w/o a price,but then again it was well read before then,so he can stuff it,he hated OR too.Didn’t realize Joan & kids had rented 6 months,but sounds right on,but keeping 3 months rent that someone didn’t even live there,and chomping at the bit to get back to that apartment,what a greedy little itch that woman was (OR).That was more than a security deposit,that was grounds for lawsuit.I suppose she had to blame something on Joan’s kids,but towels and glasstop table?Also had thought Joan & Brian divorced by then-was looking fine as Capt of Titanic w/Clifton Webb as lead actor.

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          • the countess says

            I have beams end is it in that? i think thats the one where he was whineing about basil trying to realy kill him in Capt Blood..read it and thought Earl..if he wanted to realy kill you, you wouldnt have been there to wright this book.pal. Funny were were talking about Flyn at work tonight.

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            • Ellen Foley says

              Countess,it wasn’t in Flynn autobiography-prob in bio claiming Errol was Nazi,can’t remember who wrote it,talked about his Flynn’s Flying F-ers,one of his cronies was German man and think that’s why allegations of his being Nazi-only think his homeys enc him to join fight in Span Civil War,not join Nazis.Brian Aherne incred good looking man in younger days.Always eternal sun in H’wood was great for well-being,but it obviously had heavy price for many in film colony.Nasty columnists/movie moguls/people who did anything to get a foothold.

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          • the countess says

            Yea he almost does E.J. justice.For a small part he realy makes a stand out preformance. But I also rember he was catty about Basils performance as Romeo with Kat Cornell. Titanic..I cry when the opening credits start. I even like Stanwick in it.Wonderfull preformances by all the cast could almost like Richard Widmark.Clifton 2nd in my book of handsome.Yep 1 Basil, 2 Clifton, 3 Vinny[I think he’ll forgive me for 3rd place]I got to see Titanic on the big screen Not a dry eye in the house. Who Needs Leonardo

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          • Judy D. says

            Maybe BR/EF made the remarks during the duel as a way of getting into character if one or the other of them weren’t quite into it at the time. Doesn’t mean they meant the remarks to be true at all. Brian Aherne was one of BR’s friends–possibly relegated to the kitchen by OB? Love the apt. rental story–almost as outlandish as their incident of having dinner with some actress and then telling her they had no money so she had to pick up the tab. Knowing OB, I’m sure it wasn’t some sandwich shop.
            BR may have looked and acted manly on screen, but he had this awful inner weakness. Before OB spread out her claws at that infamous play performance, I’ll bet she knew all about him and had sized him up as her perfect prey. (I don’t like men who are too artistic and sensitive–if they read books, that’s enough for me.)
            A Hitchcock website describes George Fitzmaurice as a “holistic” director, which I guess means “natural”(?). The Fitzmaurice bio on IMDb is by Jim Beaver, jumblejim@prodigy.net. Anyone got the nerve to email him to see if he has more info on the guy? celebgreat.com/Directors/George-Fitzmaurice has a dated list of his movies and some photos, one or two of which can’t possibly be him (in color, modern), but anyway. rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/George_fitzmaurice has another photo. peerie.com/Acting/11498/George-Fitzmaurice has yet another unlikely photo. But the pic on our site of him standing there like the tolerant hubby with OB sitting to the left (is she supposedly playing a spinet?) and staring at him saucer-eyed like a deer in the headlights is a classic.
            Downloaded the basilremembered.tumbr.com page someone here submitted (darned if I can remember who without returning to my email), which is FABULOUS. That first profile (Eva caption) is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. Head to toe, the man had it.

            Like

      • GRETCHEN says

        Supposedly, Joan Fontaine had once rented Basil’s and Ouida’s place for a time (house or apartment), and after leaving, was sent a letter (presumably Ouida’s doing) accusing she and her family of “stealing” towels that were missing, and damaging their ALREADY damaged glass coffee-table—asking for “payment” to replace/fix the stuff.

        I don’t believe Basil would have EVER done something that low to his friend, so it HAD to be Ouida, and her strange OCD about her precious “possessions”…after all, she DID count the grapes! 😉

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      • Ellen Foley says

        Maybe they talked about Joan/Arturo conversation at commissary and someone listening wasmeanenough to Joan & came up with that story out of spite.

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        • the countess says

          Dont think Arturo is a great actor but he is nice looking and he is good in the show.

          Like

          • Ellen Foley says

            Think Arturo was promising as H’wood actor,very fine in Frenchman’s,but doesn’t hold candle to Baz’s smoldering appearance in his final scene-wish it was my hands on his hips as he’s threatening Donna with exposure for her affair (shades of his affair with X,I imagine it now),his shirt open,expsing his flesh,those trousers,that hair falling down,not that ridiculous wig he wore earlier in film,he def rivals Capt Esteban’s jackboots & trousers for outright sexy in FRenchman’s Creek,hope Daphne saw him in the film.But why did he have to have armor thrown at him and fall down stairs.And Robin Hood in that fitted green print tunic,when he visits Maid Marian’s chambers and renounces her.Love that phot of him kissing Olivia’s hand-so awesome!And Feather In Her Hat,such fine looking man.

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      • Ellen Foley says

        Wish Joan had hit her (OR) over the head with glasstop table and stuffed her mouth with stinking rags to get back at her for insinuating anyone would be as low to falsely charge anyone for towels that OR herself prob stole and that’s why she charged Joan.

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  5. Ellen Foley says

    Thank Goodness only tried to get himself shot,or thought about it during War,and only stared out at the water imagining drowning himself.What his admirers would have missed in his acting if he’d completed any attempt to end his own life,and OR was lucky her attempt got some help,even if not all the help that was needed.She needed to realize what he sacrificed to be around,watching over her after that attempt to end it all,not slap him silly with that dang party for “him” that she put on after crawling out of bed to throw lavish party for his sake.Wonder if the one Joan Fontaine talks about in her book with Baz putting all the guests on phone to praise OR while she was home “sick” with flu was actually due to some other reason.Think she stayed home was cuz she worked herself into jealous frenzy and ready to rip his face off again.Don’t understand her agreeing to that marriage (3,or 4?) if turn around and go ape/psychotic when he did what she knew he was always doing,people always whisper behind hands and laugh,no different bedding starlet than real star,but wow,the curtain coming down,and suddenly seeing this glass house.Wonder if he ever even mentioned divorce,or just her threatening it was actually the case.Blabbing to Louella,not smart,OR,makes you look like hypocrite.No wonder she separated him from Rodion,as he had the goods on HER!He prob had ammo for countersuit with truth about MADAME FITZMAURICE.Had heard in past from some source that Fitzy wasn’t “he-man”,and OR said she never went for manly type,in an interview discussing Gable (prob couldn’t dominate that kind of man,crush him to her will).

    Like

    • Elaine Drury says

      That is interesting about Joan Fontaine. And it would fit right in. It’s possible Joan didn’t even know the real reason if it was all covered up. Did she say what year it happened? Could you by any chance post a brief quotation?

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      • Ellen Foley says

        Joan’s claim of renting with Ouida (actually from) sure gives credence to woman whose father OR accused of taking from Rathbones-prob cost less than those towels ORC accused Joan of taking/losing.He prob “took a teabag” at invitation by her royal hinny to have a cup of tea.

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    • the countess says

      I f she didnt go for the manly type what on earth attracted her to Basil.He sure enough IS a MAN.

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      • That is just what I though. If a 6′ 1″ athlete and fencer isn’t a manly type what is?

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        • GRETCHEN says

          Basil’s not a “MACHO” man…the so-called: “muscled-up” body builder with the BIG ego, “tough-guy who likes to get into brawls”, type.

          He’s more “gentile”, more feminine…a “cultured” gentleman—his personality, his physical features, his body-type, his love of beauty, fine-art, classical music and cooking—you know, the stuff people often associate with “wimpy”, “sissy” guys.

          Personally, I’m ALSO attracted to these kinds of men, myself.

          On occasion, men who are like this were born bisexual, because “feminine” males usually have more female traits in their DNA; just as “masculine” females (called “tomboys”), have more male traits in their DNA, and can sometimes also be bisexual. (This isn’t true in ALL cases, of course, but it happens.)

          Because opposites attract, I can understand why a “tomboy” like ME is interested in dating the “femmy” dudes! 🙂

          Like

          • Yeah I see what you are saying – but at the same time Baz did also embody a lot of typical macho traits too. He loved sport and excelled at it. In the USA he’d have been a jock at school, and played starting quarterback or something, and hidden his softer side much as he did at Repton. So he’s a curious mix.

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            • GRETCHEN says

              Vincent Price was into sports as a kid, too…he was on the track-team in high school, and also played soccer—yet, he was similar to Basil in his love of the arts, and cooking. He was bisexual; although, I don’t know for SURE if Basil was…only if those “stories” about him sleeping with both sexes are true, which we may NEVER find-out.

              FUN-FACT: John Wayne played football in high school, but had to quit (and lost his scholarship) due to fracturing his collar-bone in a surfing accident—can you imagine John Wayne SURFING?? Now, HE was what you’d call a “macho” guy! 🙂

              Like

      • Ellen Foley says

        Maybe she referred to type of man she could push around,unlike hbby who may have beaten her while pregnant,causing a miscarriage,as was prev mentioned as to why she gave up sex when she was aging,prob early 1930s,after past childbearing age.Maybe sex was uncomf to her cuz of menopause,which could explain her attacking Baz for the X affair.

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      • Ellen Foley says

        What ever attracted him to her-he could have anyone on Broadway,some of his former girlfriends were attractive,not that OR was totally unattractive-but settling down with someone who was a poor business agent,indicated interest in Baz while still married to George Fitz,hanging around with another man when who knows where George was when Jack living at her house,at least that’s what I interpret from IAOOC.Think ORC rewrote his wrist injury before B’way opening night of The Heiress,cuz I never read that he broke his wrist leaping a wall-pretty manly for man in mid-50s,athletic or not,in my copy of memoir,he was reaching to pick up piece of glass and when he came to on city street,his wrist was “traumatized”,my word,not from book as injury still in question-rushed to hospital,surgery,recited entire play while anesthetized for surgical staff.Prob walking dog was his only reprieve from wife’s nonsense/henpecking/narcissism.Realize he was an adult and had to live with his decisions,but as was stated elsewhere,risking ire of major players in H’weird to get away from woman who sounds as close to true love to a very wounded soul such as Basil is cruelty just to pacify the Fury he was married to.No wonder it makes some sense that quote from “Satan’s Angel” about Flynn finding out about BR’s preferring men-still think it was meant to infer their company as being less nerve wracking rather than preferring gay sex.Flynn had “F_U” attitude to critics,Baz fromearly age prob got whipped if he stood his ground and that’s my opinion why he gave in to whatever OR wanted (whatever Ouida wants,Ouida gets).No wonder he protected his privacy-she was too busy going to the press saying how happy/healthy their relationship was when all the time she was losing him friends,angering the Film community and spending like drunken sailor,who at least is spending his own money,or at least got to get a glimpse of it before it went “poof!” in mid-air.Sorry for being venomous,but what I’m reading as what should’ve been beautiful friendship & more between X & Baz and should’ve continued as caring friendship erased as if it didn’t happen by mentally ill,frigid OR really gets my goat.Maybe OR was goat Baz & Barb visited with in pic from The Sun Never Sets backstage photo,or as my Irishman used to say “The sheep acting the goat”.

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    • Ellen Foley says

      Another Joan Fontaine paraphrase from her book on that fancy charity ball/party was that no expense spared and prob nothing went to the charity,or very little to charity.Wonder if it was one of parties that may have driven Baz almost to tears and he told Louis Hayward how she was breaking him-I’m sure she was intentionally breaking him,prob sublimating breaking something else of his.Las night,Mark Of Zorro was on,that fencing scene,oh,be still my beating heart-and after finally wrestling with getting my tax sent to the Fed.So made my pain more bearable.Pictured OR when he was listening to Diego talking about fabrics and shopping,seeing Gale S lusting after Diego not knowing he was Zorro.

      Like

      • the countess says

        I know how to make you feel better just think thigh high boots and white painted on pants.:)

        Like

        • the countess says

          and thers nOTHING sisy about the way those pants fit. And very little left to the imangation.

          Like

          • GRETCHEN says

            Baz had a CUTE LI’L BUTT, didn’t he? 🙂

            (And, some OTHER cute parts, too!) 😉

            Like

            • BASIL says

              …No, no fellow fangirls, it’s his NOSE that’s cute! Not what you were thinking of when you read Gretchens comment! 😀

              Like

            • Hot Chick says

              Oh.Do NOT get me started on that butt (if you pardon the expression). And how about that pic of young B, which leaves NOTHING to the imagination???? Oh.MY GAAAAD. I’m gonna find it and post it.

              Like

              • Levasseur Fan says

                Don’t worry Hot Chick, I’m on it…is this the one you mean?

                Check out the blog it’s on actually, it has some lovely quotes and stuff, sadly she doesn’t seem to update it any more. The blog is called “The Most Gentle Magical Person” which is a quote from Hillary Brooke I think.

                http://basilremembered.tumblr.com

                Like

        • Ellen Foley says

          And OR his fencing opponent,Ty’s sweet smile,Baz & Gale S. carrying on behind alcalde’s back.I’m calmer.

          Like

  6. Judy D. says

    Been thinking also of the OB obituary–no mention of her “daughter” Cynthia, nor her niece, nor Rodion. I guess all were able to turn away from her after Baz’s death. Poor Cyn, dead at 30–what happened??? Perhaps we can’t find info because she drifted into marriages with older, fatherly men like the father she so desperately tried to cling to.
    Guess Hollyweird’s a good place to stay far away from, back then as well as now.
    As for Madame X, age 23 is far too young to have to deal with so much trauma. If she hadn’t had the support of her sister and mother, who knows what would have happened to her.

    Like

  7. GRETCHEN says

    Ouida married Basil to “fix” him—and boy, DID she…and, not in a GOOD way! 😦

    She thought she’d heroically “rescued” him from HIMSELF…that he “owed her” for that, somehow, and got HIM to believe the same thing. This was her narcissistic brain cunningly “trapping” him in her web.

    Narcissists are like predators……they “sense” when a person is damaged and self-destructive, and POUNCE—feeding-off the helpless victim’s feelings of worthlessness. People like Basil are their “prey”, because they are SO “grateful” for being rescued, they’ll do just about ANYTHING to serve their “hero”, like a slave. This gives the narcissist the false “WORSHIP and feeling of SUPERIORITY above others”, which they SO badly desire in order to exist “happily”. If the prey attempts to “escape”—by getting an independent backbone and standing-up for themselves—the predator slyly “lures” them back, using ANY such diabolical tactics as are needed to DO so……”guilt-trips”, throwing fits, threatening with blackmail, etc.

    In Ouida’s case, being upset by his “selfishly” cheating on her caused this “shopping-addiction/hoarding” behavior, in order to “punish” him even MORE…and perhaps, also to punish HERSELF, because of her OWN low self-esteem. Many shopping-addicts and hoarders feel “empty” within themselves, and crave the need to “fill” this hole—with STUFF. They also get a “thrill”, and a feeling of being “in control” from the act of shopping/hoarding, itself. Ouida was one SICK-CHICK!

    Basil was SO lost after the war; wandering through what was “left” of his life, with NO direction—NO ambition. Of COURSE he used drugs and alcohol, and slept with EVERYONE…a man in extreme PAIN does this. It’s like he’s saying: “My body and my life have NO value, and I don’t MATTER.” His guilt at having survived when his brother didn’t, damaged him to the UTMOST degree. He felt he needed to be “punished”, just as “X” said……she was VERY intuitive, empathic, insightful, and understanding of this man and his deeper issues. How SAD it is that Ouida could think of him as no more than a “lazy, good-for-nothing slob”, without HER.

    Poor “X” even “lost” her husband to PTSD—just like Basil. Her once beloved friend and companion was reduced to sudden violent-rages, depression, emptiness, and emotional distance, upon returning home. Baz must’ve felt hurt (and empathy) for “David”, as well…they’d been close friends, and both shared similar “post-war trauma”.

    No WONDER she’d used alcohol to “medicate” herself, and was terribly depressed throughout the rest of her life. Sadly, her other marriages ALSO ended in divorce, and she probably NEVER AGAIN found the same “wonderful love” with another person, such as she’d had with Basil—until her DEATH. How lonely she must have been. 😦

    Like

  8. Ellen Foley says

    Here is shown the prime example of that ad of OR’s that she was creating opportunities for acting clients,like Atwill and others.Takes on client (hubby Baz) and takes away when she feels she’s entitled.Always heard how sick gossip columnists like Louella were,but someone like OR feeling entitled to destroy her own hubby out of spite.If he was unreliable,it was because she was so certifiable.Wow,to finally hear about how wild her spending to get back at someone is amazing.And David,like stories of so many PTSD-affected War Vets very revealing.Baz owed her nothing for straightening his pill/alcohol/dust usage in 1920s.She knew nothing of how to throw anyone a lifeline-just how to lasso and pull tight the noose.CEven platonic roomates are more evolved,why criticize what he wore,except how she made herself feel about his shabby comfort.It was always about her after they married,never about THEM or even about HIM at all!How she felt,her image,parasitic is the word.Leeching life’s blood and money.And X being threatened with a knife,Baz being physically slashed by poison talons of The Mrs.

    Like

    • Ellen Foley says

      I was just reacting to X’s narrative.All parties have gone to their eternal rewards,hopefully all at peace,esp gentle souls in above mentioned affair.PTSD is a condition that needs full attention of those who can help ease suffering before signs get too out of control to manage.Unfortunate the VA didn’t do more for combat vets back then,and here was Baz working for War Relief,himself a survivor.X,no matter my feelings about extra-marital affairs,what you had to tolerate all-around was a lesson in tolerance and bravery,esp given who “wronged wife” was,whom I have no sympathy for,fellow Catholic or not,she was a serial wife.Don’t know where all my extra consonants are coming from,this machine possessed by demons.Did OR actually ever visit any wounded vets with Baz during WWII or just sleep all day.She might’ve developed a little empathy for her hubby,and maybe come to understand his condition when she met him in 1920s and decided he was her next partner.I mean shell shocked vets had been heard about then,maybe no one wanted to get involved,but did anyone think it all disappeared after exiting the troop ships back then.It doesn’t go way w/o help,then or now (PTSD,shell shock).After suicide attempt,a doctor should’ve had her volunteer at a hosp,but have a feeling she projected onto everyone else rather than own up to any volunteering,choosing lavish spending as her therapy,feeling justified.My granny got back at my grampa for spending most of a paycheck at races by spending rest of check by charging up some items with a “There,how do you like it!”.Like has been so well said here before,both marital partners had deep-rooted psych issues,him maybe to be punished for being a “bad boy”,something he remarked on IAOOC about dealings with studio during Garden Of Allah,it was hot as HADES in the desert,chief,can you blame them for partying considering they all passed out from heat/poisoned waterBaz saying “I’ll be a good boy” to placate Selznok(? producer of GOA?).Think someone made valid point about his mother/sister maybe setting in motion his being victim of needy/greedy women.Doubt Marion was anything like Weedy and that’s why he left,he just couldn’t handle coming back to settled domestic life.Instead he settles with a wildcat when she doesn’t get her way.The American-Russian-French/Eng/Spanish girl from VA,USA?She would’ve been good OSS/CIA operative-no one knew what she was.

      Like

        • Ellen Foley says

          How many times was Weeds married-hence I call her a serial wife,a take-off on movie title SERIAL MOM starring Kathleen Turner as a killer mom.

          Like

          • Ellen Foley says

            Sounds like Weeds efforts to fix him was more like emotional/physical castration.X was far better for him,wasn’t menopausal,vindictive from prev marriages.She should’ve taken out another add,will “fix” any woman’s man who looks elsewhere after giving ok to open marriage,rates cheap-give me everything or else I spill the beans (worked on her Basil,whom she missed when he was dead,but what about when he was in the other room,or on location filming,and she just spent wildly?).Couldn’t resist being nasty.Henpecking while he’s alive,but miss him when he’s gone,but at least finally referred to him as “Basil” and not “Mr Basil Rathbone” like she was introducing him to a crowd at a personal appearance.Powerful final chapter of X’s story.

            Like

  9. Ok I actually DON’T know who X is and I am not speculating about it, but if she really went through the tough time described here I’m not surprised if she took to drink and pills just to get through. First she is coping with being married to a gay man. They obviously loved one another in a brother-sister way and he was probably good for her and nice and kind, but he was is putting a lot of pressure on a very young woman. Then her father kind of dumps on her by asking her not to reveal his illness, and then, while she is coping with this, her lover’s life implodes and his wife freaks out and tries to kill herself.

    And of course ultimately she loses all these men she loves. David divorces her. Her father passes away, and Basil ends their relationship. By the end of all that I would expect her to be a psychological and emotional wreck. So much loss and grief at such a young age. She would have been scarred for life!

    She is a person losing almost all her emotional support piece by piece. So, even if she was a little frail or addicted to pills or alcohol in the following years, maybe it was a result of all this and we should be a bit forgiving?

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