Tuesday 08 July 1947
Telegram from A C but too late and I miss a shooting session at
Pinewood. G, who was there tells me that nothing of note was done
therefore nothing of importance lost - except £3.30! Massine
was there. Joan Harris, I believe, is being rather 'off hand' these
days. A great pity - we are quite fond of her and were good friends
in the days of the International ballet.
Wednesday 09 July 1947
Early to bed and early to rise - 5;30 am. to Pinewood Studios for
8am - 8:30 class. the earliest class on record! I was most pleased
that massine recognized me and asked "How is your child?".
"Very well," I replied "dancing all day long. "Mine
too", said Massine. watch 3 scenes 'shot'. One took ten retakes
- a rather difficult piece including Tcherina, Shearer, Joan Harris,
Massine and Helpman. Moira Shearer is the nicest little thing I've
seen since Baronava. Tcherina is beautiful and has good turns. Helpman
is amusing. The word for his type of character is, I believe, in
theatre terms, 'camp'. One sees him either very smartly dressed
or ragged and rolling with jokes but I must say, always quite a
good chap. Massine looks tired. it is rather a shock to find him
an old man, but still a great character. If Shearer is used well
she should develop into a 'Big Star'.
Thursday 10 July 1947
G (Gladys - my mother) to Pinewood 6:30 am. Having worked three
times in a British studio and once in an 'American ruled' studio
there is no doubt in my mind that there is a marked 'fall off' in
the standard of efficiency in the all-british studios which is obvious
in the majority of british productions. Michael Powell who directs
'Red Shoes' is considered an authority but how many times does he
miss the opportunity of making a really excellent film? All the
time, I'd say. Straight cut, the usual times, the same old dialogue,
the ordinary angles etc., etc. And so! A great deal could be done
with ballet, dancing rehearsing, class - the true story of the rise
Friday 11 July 1947
I telephone equity They admit that until contracts are sent and
signed satisfactorily Archers can still change their minds to suit
themselves - but have not considered the fact in spite of A's suspicious
behavior. The girls received only 12 (£?) including 3 days
at Pinewood. the only hope for the ballet dancer re better salaries,
conditions etc. is the formation of a new union treating the dancers
as artists of the highest standard and setting a standard of performance
to mark the different classes of artist.
Wednesday 16 July;y 1947
To Shank for 10 but fitting there is cancelled, on to ????of Court
for the Red Shoes fitting. I am a factory worker - the costume is
not very pleasing. Do not leave there until 1pm and then to Freed's
for shoes. Onto Chelsea for Giselle fitting (courtier). the costumes
which actually should be huntsmen not courtiers are awfully dull,
pale blue cotton material. gorgeous skirt with usual drape and long
feathered hat. all that - six hours - and no question of pay! i
ring equity re the 'technical ' position but find them again most
unhelpful and in fact, well on the side of the management. Twice
today there was (concerning those who are already working) an excellent
opportunity for Equity to do something and give Archers a
jolly good rouse - of course, nothing was done and only the silliest
excuses made to us. Obviously the artist is still of little importance.
Thursday 17 July 1947
G to Pinewood with swim suit for Monte Carlo scenes. everyone disgusted
and most disappointed also concerning the treatment of the dancers
by Archers and other studio authorities. the latest insult is that
the dancers are not allowed to use the studio restaurant and can
only use the 'extra's' canteen. had I been there a 'strike' would
have occurred immediately. they merely 'complained' to Alan Carter
who had not the 'guts' to act with dignity and preserve. thus all
Friday 18 July 1947
To a fitting at Shanks. A pleasant change to find court ious and
pleasant people. the costume (Swan Lake huntsman) is in pale colors
- the usual style. thin material. A pity something really rich is
not used in contrast. however I doubt we shall get even as far as
the cutting room!
Saturday 19 July 1947
G to Pinewood 7am. A telegram arrives at 9am - 16 hours late. G
should have returned 1pm but didn't leave Pinewood until 6. Still
no shooting done! Hopelessly behind schedule. A card for
me to begin Monday 10am, but half the cast must be at pinewood again
on that day for mercury theatre shots (including Madam Rambert).
I wonder who isn't in this epic!?!
Monday 21 July 1947
To Inns of Court for 10am. G to Pinewood 6:30am. Class given by
Joan (Harris) which was fairly good. Daphne (Irina Marinova) was
there. She of course would not join in the class to be taught by
Joan. No rehearsal as girls delayed at studio. Two fittings and
home by 4:30
Tuesday 2( July 1947
G to Pinewood 6:30 am. Fit Swan Lake costume also worker costume
and clown. The latter is a fine design made of thick grey satin
on which a number of cards - the size of playing cards - printed
with the most detailed and exquisite designs - each one a work of
art (Heine Heckroth). the cost - at least £50 - there are
three of them. The pattern most certainly will not be seen - in
fact the clown may not be seen at all!! The Giselle and Swan lake
girls costumes are really beautiful - well worth £40 each
- all for one showing only and then to rot! 'Swan Lake' shot at
5:30 - in the nick of time. (Hands down studio staff %:45pm) Helpman
today was full of effeminacy - a great shame. Tcherina has wonderful
style but does not impress one. See Walbrook who watched the 'dancing'
with intence interest. Return 8pm.
Wednesday 30 July 1947
G to Pinewood earlier than ever for shooting of Heart of Fire.
I said to G yesterday - the star of this film is Michael Powell!
The Big noises of British films are having a very easy time at present
and show only poor results. nothing really new. No real art. I wish
Wells would stay. I would like to meet him. But perhaps not. He
is a great Lord and Massine was my lesson. G returns at 7:30 very
exhausted after 10 hours of Heart of Fire. Another set of glorious
costumes made of costly materials for one performance only! And
so is film business......possibly part of its fascination.
Thursday 31 July 2007
G to Pinewood for 8:30am on the set (Stage Royal Opera
House Covent Garden) 9am in practice clothes. The action is Tchinas
late arrival for rehearsal morning after the big 1st night. massine
wrath, remarks from helpman (another leg display - rather like a
male Marlene Dietrich!) and then some words to Shearer ending with
odd steps by eight in a small circle (approximately 30-40 seconds).
most of us (including all principles) merely stand around in groups
etc. Nothing but rehearsal until 3pm - 6 takes - the last at 5pm.
finish 6pm. see Marius Goring, Robert Newton and Joan Bennett?!
A tiring and somewhat boring day. Walbrook watched class and seems
most interested in the ballet shots.
August - September