Dirk Bogarde Scripts

Scope and Content

A collection of shooting scripts belonging to the actor/writer Dirk Bogarde. Mainly bound in red leather with gold tooling, they are extensively annotated and illustrated by the actor, some contain pasted/bound in production papers such as call sheets and shooting schedules. The scripts are arranged chronologically by approximate release date.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde, in West Hampstead, London 28 March 1921

Died Chelsea, London 8 May 1999.

Contracted to the Rank Organisation, the 1940s and 1950s, Bogarde appeared in thirty six titles for the studio, initially under the wing of producer Betty Box. Bogarde had already been seen in films such as Esther Waters (1948), Once a Jolly Swagman (1948), Boys in Brown (1949) and Dear Mr Prohack (1949), before coming to more prominent notice when cast as a young criminal who shoots and kills a police officer in crime drama The Blue Lamp (1949). A handsome artist in So Long at the Fair (1950); and accidental murderer in Hunted (1952) and dashing wing commander, were some of many subsequent roles the young Bogarde was to take on. His matinee idol status was further enhaced when he landed the part of Simon Sparrow in the comic 'Doctor' series of films, based on Richard Gordon's novels. Beginning as a medical student in Doctor in the House (1954) Bogarde's boyish good looks and talent for comedy earned him a new audience of admirers as they followed his character's progress in Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) and finally Doctor in Distress (1963). During this time a variety of other film roles meant that Bogarde was rarely out of the public eye. Including a neurotic criminal in Joseph Losey's Sleeping Tiger; a colonial fighting the Mau- Mau in Simba [1955); a kindly servant who forms a strong bond with his employer's son in The Spanish Gardener (1956); a resistance fighter in Crete in Powell and Pressburger's Ill Met By Moonlight (1957); Sydney Carton in Charles Dicken's Tale of Two Cities (1957); and a British flight lieutenant who falls in love with a beautiful Japanese teacher in the Wind Cannot Read (1958).

After leaving the Rank organisation in the early 1960s Bogarde was anxious to throw off his hearthrob image. He deliberately looked for roles that were challenging both to him as an actor and to his audience's perceptions. In Victim (1961) he bravely embraced the role of a homosexual barrister who breaks the blackmailing gang responsible for the death of his young lover. It was the first time British cinema had attempted to examine the injustices of laws regarding gay relationships. Firmly established on the art-house scene, Bogarde embarked on a collaboration with American director Joseph Losey. The Servant (1963), with a script by Harold Pinter, saw Bogarde play the malevolent valet Hugo Barrett - for which he received his first BAFTA. In Losey's anti-war film King & Country (1964) Bogarde plays an army officer at a court martial reluctantly defending a deserter; and in 1967 Bogarde appeared as a bored university professor in Losey's film Accident. Bogarde gained BAFTA recognition when he played TV broadcaster Robert Gold in John Schlesinger's iconic 'swinging sixties' film Darling (1965), starring along with Julie Christie. A low budget British noir film directed by Jack Clayton Our Mother's House (1967), saw Bogarde appear as a roguish absentee father who attempts to control the household of seven children after the concealed death of their mother.

Bogarde's other films of the 1950s and early 1960s were much shaped by being under contract to Rank and obliged to take on projects where he was mis-cast or compromised by time restrictions or working with uneven quality of writing. He starred with Ava Gardener in the Spanish Civil War melodrama the Angel Wore Red (1960) playing a de-frocked priest who falls in love with a cabaret artiste. A bio-pic of the composer Franz Liszt, Song Without End (1960) challenged Bogarde to play the piano convincingly and grapple with the unfamiliarity of a Hollywood production. In the Singer Not the Song (1960) Bogarde is transformed into the unlikely character of a Mexican bandit.

Despite some set-backs Bogarde successfully established himself as an actor unafraid to take risks, he subsequently became very much in demand by European art-house film makers. Most notable projects were Il Portiere di Notte (a.k.a the Night Porter) directed by Liliana Cavani, a disturbing tale of a former Nazi [now working as a night porter in a hotel] who encounters a young women with whom he had a sado-masochistic relationship during the war. Perhaps most famously in Visconti's Death in Venice (1971) as a dying writer who becomes obsessed by a beautiful young boy; but also in the Alan Resnais film Providence (1977); Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Despair (1978) and Bogarde's final film Daddy Nostalgie (1991) directed by Bertrard Tavernie, for which he garnered huge critical praise playing Jane Birkin's father.

The latter years of his film career were not prolific [he appeared in only seven films after Death in Venice] compared to the hectic pace of his earlier years. Bogarde was openly critical of the quality of scripts he was offered and turned increasingly to writing as a way of expressing himself creatively. A hugely successful series of autobiographies and memoirs, most notably A Postillion Struck By Lightning in 1977, brought him to the attention of new audiences. He also published six novels between 1980 and 1997.

In 1984 Bogarde was president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival - the first British person to serve in this capacity.

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