[ilds] Durrell the moviegoer

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 26 16:32:30 PDT 2015

Many thanks, James.  I think a lot can be done with Durrell and the influence of film on his work and life.  Digging further into MacNiven (apologies for misspelling Ian’s name before), I find that Durrell was on the board of judges for the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, that he had “an interest in film,” and that he knew the beautiful Swedish actress Mai Zetterling (pp. 516, 600-01), who played Byron’s Venetian mistress in The Bad Lord Byron (1948).  Interesting, no?  Specifically, I’m intrigued by the possible influence of Michael Powell’s Black Narcissus (1946), which was based on Rumer Godden’s novel of the same name (1939).  There are a lot of coincidences between the film and Durrell’s life and interests.  I see similarities in Powell’s and Durrell’s imaginative gifts.


> On Apr 26, 2015, at 3:33 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Bruce,
> I suppose the plain answer is that we don't know how often, but he certainly did see films.  He complained about television, and so far as I know didn't have or didn't particularly use one.
> Susan MacNiven also wrote a note on Durrell and film in /Deus Loci/:
> MacNiven, Susan S. “A Matinee Idyll?” /Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal/ NS 2 (1993): 163–64.
> There's also Durrell's own film script for Cleopatra, which eventually became the Elizabeth Taylor feature.  I think his script is unfilmable but fascinating.  He notes other possible film ideas and film treatments in his mss. and a number of times refers to filmic notions for fiction (Pursewarden's "being over and over again fast enough to seem like a personality" comes to mind [paraphrased] and also references to "cuts" like film).
> That's about all I've got!
> Best,
> James
> On 2015-04-26 11:38 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> How often did Durrell go to the movies?  He was primarily a reader, but
>> Ian McNiven reports in his biography that Durrell saw the film /Lost
>> Horizon/ (1937) “three or four times” and that in Paris, during his
>> Villa Seurat days, he “was determined to see those [films] he had missed
>> by living on Corfu” (p. 180).  This would suggest he was a frequent
>> moviegoer.  It may also suggest he was influenced by some of them.
>>  Recall the film /Judith/ (1965) and his involvement with the
>> production.  In “Egyptian Moments” (1978), Durrell mentions several
>> actors on the cast of the making of Agatha Christie’s /Death on the
>> Nile:/  Mia Farrow, Bette Davis, Peter Ustinov, and David Niven.  I
>> would suggest movies were more than recreation for LD.
>> Bruce
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