Teddy Darvas

Forename/s: 
Teddy
Family name: 
Darvas
Work area/craft/role: 
Company: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
221
Interview Date(s): 
8 Nov 1991
27 Nov 1991
22 Jan 1992
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
753
Access restrictions: 

Horizontal tabs

Transcript

BECTU History Project - Interview No. 221

[Copyright BECTU]
Transcription Date:
Interview Dates: 8 November 1991 Interviewer: John Legard Interviewee: Teddy Darvas, Editor

Tape 1 Side A (Side 1)
John Legard: Teddy, let us start with your early days. Can you tell us where you were born and who your parents were and perhaps a little about that part of your life? The beginning.
Teddy Darvas: My father was a very poor Jewish boy who was the oldest of, I have forgotten how many brothers and sisters. His father, my grandfather, was a shoemaker or a cobbler who, I think, preferred being in the cafe having a drink and seeing friends. So he never had much money and my father was the one brilliant person who went to school and eventually to university. He won all the prizes at Gymnasium, which is the secondary school, like a grammar school.
John Legard: Now, tell me, what part or the world are we talking about?
Teddy Darvas: This is Budapest. He was born in Budapest and whenever he won any prizes which were gold sovereigns, all that money went on clothes and things for brothers and sisters. And it was in this Gymnasium that he met Alexander Korda who was in a parallel form. My father was standing for Student's Union and he found somebody was working against him and that turned out to be Alexander Korda, of course the family name was Kelner. They became the very, very greatest of friends. Alex was always known as Laci which is Ladislav really - I don't know why.
John Legard: How do you spell that?
Teddy Darvas: L A C I. So in all letters that father wrote to him or he got from Alex it was always signed Laci.
John Legard: The Korda family- what were there .. ?
Teddy Darvas: Alex's father had died quite young leaving his mother and the three boys. Zoltan - Zoli who was the middle one and Vincent who was the youngest one. And they had also very little money and also, because of that, later on both my father and Alex worked in the evenings as journalists to get more money. And when I assisted Zoli many years later, Zoli always said that he, being the middle one, he always suffered that he didn't get the best food because Alex was the oldest and money earner got a lot and Vincent being the favourite got nothing like - my father always said 'absolute nonsense' He always looked forward to eating at the Kelner's because the food was so marvellous and very, very plentiful. And it was my father who took Korda to see his first movie- there's a cafe called the New Yorker in Budapest which was where all the journalists and actors and writers met and they owner of that cafe got a projector and put up a sheet and he had these film shows. And my father took Alex to see it and it seems, according to my father, that Alex said 'that is the thing for me' and that is when he got interested and fell in love with films.

p.1

John Legard: He doesn't recall what the film was?
Teddy Darvas: No, it was some one-reeler or two-reeler [in about 1908]. And when Robert Rush, the BBC producer, that did the programme about Korda, he asked my father to go and tell this story but father said 'Who wants an ugly old Jew who speaks very bad English, who wants to listen to him' and refused to do it. But that was that story. My father went on to university. Alex didn't. My father worked as a journalist in the evenings and I don't quite know what Alex did during that time.John Legard: What sort of date are we, in fact, talking about now?
Teddy Darvas: My father was born in 1892, so 1917 he must have been seventeen, eighteen, so it is round about during the war and that sort of period and just before. Alex never became active in politics. My father became very active in politics and was, in fact, General Secretary of the Hungarian Fabian Society which was called 'The Galileo Society', which was very left wing. And, in fact, father had to go into exile in 1919 when the Communists took over and then he had to stay in exile when Horty(?) which was the Counter Revolution, when he came. He had been sentenced to death in his absence. He also, I mean, apart from studying and working as a journalist, he also worked in the equivalent of the DHSS where he met my mother. He was there when he was arrested and taken away. And, according to people when he was arrested and the charges were read out to him, he said 'Well gentleman that means death, the death sentence' and walked out. But that didn't happen. My mother came from a Jewish family in North Hungary which is now Russia, funnily enough, Carpathia (?). And they were sort of smallholder farmers - the village Jew used to keep the village pub and also be like a ? but they were very much almost peasants and there was very little money. Her(?) (My?) father married three times, he was widowed, and then he always married a cousin or something. There were three generations of children - one generation went to the United States and the family name was Zahler and in Hollywood there are some Zahlers - one composed music for a lot of republic second features and his son is also - I have seen his credit - his son is also a composer. They have completely lost touch with that. And a lot in Chicago and Detroit, lots of Zahlers. There is only one family - anybody called Zahler is related. And father was a journalist and he went to Vienna and Berlin in exile with very little money and my mother went to America to stay with relations. And then a friend of my father's - Transylvania had meanwhile become Romania - invited him to become editor of the biggest Hungarian speaking newspaper in the capital of Transylvania which is Cluj if you are Romanian, Kolozsvar if you are Hungarian or Klausenburg if you are German. My mother came back from America and went to Transylvania and that's where they got married and this is why I was born actually in Cluj and not in Hungary. My father then also took over a book distribution and publishing company which became like theW H Smiths of Romania. There was an amnesty so father could eventually go back to Hungary but all his life, whenever we were there, he was always under suspicion. Alex (Alexander Korda) had gone also to Vienna to make films but he wasn't very successful. And one of my father's stories was that he came back and he had no money at all and he was in the New Yorker cafe, so even then he was always well dressed, always had an expensive cigar although he had no money. And there was some noveau rich, very rich man from Transylvania who wanted to put money into films and they were at the New Yorker cafe and my father said 'You see that man there, that is the famous Korda he has just come back from Vienna and I know him and I'll talk to him and he might possibly make a film for you but I will have to talk to him'. And he went over to Alex and said 'Laci, there is an idiot there, he has lots of money, I said that you might condescend to do a film for him and I have got to talk you into it'. And so the two were introduced and Alex actually made some little film for this man.
John Legard: So that was literally his first .....

p.2

Teddy Darvas: Not his first film, there is no record of this. Michael Korda, nobody really knows about this part. So Zoli also went into films. And he was a film editor and he directed films in Hungary and then went to - I think he went to Berlin - where he became a film doctor. Films that were unshowable, obviously silent films ..

John Legard: Special type of editor it sounds like.
Teddy Darvas: That's right, unshowable, you had to try and make it showable and if it was showable you got paid. And one of Zoli's stories, and his language was very fruity, one of his stories was that he was given a twelve part serial and he re-edited it and made it showable but, in the process, there were only eleven episodes and he got fired and never got paid for it.
John Legard: It would be interesting to know how they worked. Presumably you had to write a lot of subtitles .... .
Teddy Darvas: ...... That's right. You could actually, with silent films, you could easily do it.
John Legard: Get round the corner by putting in an extra caption.
Teddy Darvas: Meanwhile, of course, Alex went to various countries and then, of course, in France he made "Marius" before he came to England. My father and he kept up all that time and when he came to England Alex did say 'Why don't you come and join me?' but father was very successful.
John Legard: Of course, he was still in Transylvania doing ....
Teddy Darvas: publishing.
John Legard: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Teddy Darvas: I am an only child. So father didn't bother to come out to England. Vincent, meanwhile, became a painter and could have been one of the twentieth century masters and obviously had no money, and my father used to buy his paintings in order to give him some money and all those paintings were in Transylvania and they were all lost during the war. Then we got this house and I asked Vincent, I said 'For sentimental reasons I would like a Vincent Korda in my house and he gave me four set sketches, there are two there and there is one hanging up in the hall and there is a fourth one. So we have got four Vincent Korda's here. Vincent was a pupil of a man called Thorma who was an Augustus John of Hungary. And that painting there - that is a Thorma which my father actually bought from Thorma himself and the little village at the bottom there is where he had a sort of St Ives in Cornwall - an artist's colony - where Vincent was his pupil. So there is this sort of little link between them. And I kept up with Vincent after Alex died until Vincent died. My father, after Alex died, had a weekly lunch with Vincent until my father died. So I was born in 1925 - 181 June 1925. And because I didn't speak Romanian I did two years schooling in Transylvania but then my father owned a block of flats in Budapest and we had a big apartment there. I was shifted to Budapest where I had my grandmother - my mother's mother to look after me- and my parents were between Transylvania and Budapest.
John Legard: How far, in fact, were they apart?
Teddy Darvas: It was about six or seven hours by train. Originally Cluj was well into Translylvania but eventually my father had to move his business to a place called Oradea because it was only eight miles from the Hungarian frontier so as the Romanian Nazis were starting - my father was very exposed both as a socialist and as a writer and a as publisher - and there is, in fact, one story when I must have been about six or something, a friend of my father's was King Karl's Private Secretary, a man called Count Bian, and he was also like perhaps head of the Secret Service or something, and he rang my father in Cluj from Bucharest to say that a man called Zelea Codreanu was the head of the Romanian Nazis was coming to Cluj and there was going to be a big demonstration and they were going to murder my father. So my mother packed, woke me up and,

p.3

in Romania you could only deal if you bribed everybody, but they were very honest about it, once you paid them they remained loyal to you, and so every Customs Officer, the Station Master, everybody had a monthly salary from my father. Because otherwise, you see, the daily newspapers from Hungary, Germany, England, the wagons would have gone into a siding and it would have been lost. So Bian rang and said 'You had better get out of Romania for a time'. And so we got a taxi to the railway station. Of course, the express going to Budapest was the express bringing Codreanu in and there were thousands of people with torches and yelling and also yelling about my father.

John Legard: Really?
Teddy Darvas: And I remember this reasonably clearly and, of course, the Station Master, being one of my father's employees as well, he said 'follow me ' and took us to a siding and there was a wagon-lit carriage there - sleeping compartment - and he put us in there and drew the curtains down and had the sleeping compartment shunted on to the end of the train which they didn't know, of course, the fascists, and then when the train went out we went out .... Budapest, you see. Bian was the one incorruptible Romanian whom we saw in England as well a number of times.
John Legard: So were you the only ones in that sleeping compartment?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. It was meant to be coupled on eventually but it just happened that they had to do it rather quickly.
John Legard: What year was that we are talking about?
Teddy Darvas: That must have been 1932-33 or even earlier. Then when I got to Budapest and I was ten and everything I got very interested in photography. I was always very keen on photography. So I eventually, for my thirteenth birthday, I actually got a Leica camera. And we came to England. s
John Legard: What school did you go to - you were at school.. ..
Teddy Darvas: Gymnasium which is like a grammar school. I couldn't, of course, go to the grammar school that we wanted to because the Jews there was numerous Klauses and so I couldn't get in but I got into a reasonable one. But funnily enough my form master was actually Jewish and he was quite a hero. Because there used to be Olympic gold medals for art connected with the Olympic movement. He had written a history of the Olympic movement and he got a gold medal for it and Hitler had to shake hands with him in 1936. So this is why I presumed he could still remain a form master. Father could see what was happening. He had very good connections with the British Embassy.
John Legard: And, of course, by then I mean Korda was over here by then.
Teddy Darvas: By this time, Korda was famous.
John Legard: Been here for several years in fact.
Teddy Darvas: He came in 1932 I think and I don't know whether one should tell. When I got into the cutting rooms I became friends with Lew Thornburn who was General Manager of Shepperton Studios, had been at Denham with Alex. And he told me lots of anecdotes about Alex.
John Legard: When he first arrived?
Teddy Darvas: The first film that was made was for Paramount but I have forgotten what it was called "Not While Parents Sleep" something like that. But "The Private Life of Hen dry VIII" and they had absolutely no money and they were running out of money, according to Lew, and the film wasn't working at all and somebody had the idea to have, like the opening of the execution of Anne Boleyn, and Vincent, it seems, had worked this thing out and they needed something like five hundred pounds which they didn't have. And, according to Lew, somebody said that Alex's secretary - Dorothy Holloway - had five hundred pounds saved up. So somebody was despatched

p.4

and got the five hundred pounds from Dorothy Holloway, on which they made the bit to finish "The Private Life of Hendry VIII" and, of course, Dorothy Holloway ...
John Legard: Of course, in those days, five hundred pounds was not to be sneezed at. I mean that was probably worth about fifty thousand.

Teddy Darvas: The interesting thing about Dorothy Holloway was, of course, that she became London Film's Casting Director and she was Casting Director till about the year after Alex died and she basically she did the crowd casting and she was the sweetest woman - she had a job for life - she was absolutely lovely. The other story Lew Thornburn told was the premiere and I think it was at the Leicester Square Theatre, and they had all seen the film. Lew was assistant accountant earning about fifty bob a week or something like that. There was a camera assistant who may also have been Hungarian, I don't know his name. It was a very cold evening and they didn't bother to go in to the premiere because they had seen the film so much. And they were walking around Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. They were very, very cold. They didn't have an overcoat and there was a men's outfitters that was still open in the evenings and there was one of those fashionable teddy bear overcoats and they tossed up about who should buy it, because they had enough money between them to buy this coat. And the other chap won. They went and bought this coat and then they sheltered under this coat and they wandered round and round and they got back to the theatre as the doors were being opened and they could hear the music as the end came up. And they said that it was the most unbelievable thing because suddenly applause started and cheering and everything went on. And Alex, it seems, came running down the stairs and saw them and sort of embraced them. And he said, as only Alexander Korda could do it, suddenly limousines arrived and everybody was whisked off, I believe to the Savoy, or one of the big hotels, and there was a big party because it was obviously the biggest success. And Alex went and whispered to everybody on the unit there 'See you in the office tomorrow morning'. And again Lew said how Alex could it but at nine in the morning there was Alex behind a desk - they were all owed money - there was Alex behind the desk with piles of money- he actually somehow must have opened up a bank or something and actually got cash. And he didn't even have an accountant to do it but everybody from the lowest went up and he shook hands and he said 'Thank you so much, how much do I owe you? Here you are? Thank you for your help.' And he said that it was the most amazing day really.
John Legard: Did it go over budget?
Teddy Darvas: Presumably, I mean, in those days, all films went over budget except Korda quickies.
John Legard: Quite lavish sets weren't they?
Teddy Darvas: I'm not absolutely sure but I believe it is the first time that a film company was actually allowed to shoot in a royal palace, that they actually shot at Hampton Court. I don't think any film company, because it was not such a respectable occupation, it was the first time they were actually allowed to shoot there.
John Legard: Your aunt was in it wasn't she?
Teddy Darvas: No. Anyway. So we came to England and I went to school and the first time I was taken to a film studio was in 1939 when they were shooting an arabian nights story with Sabu and June Duprez - "Thief of Baghdad". And my father was going to see Alex about something, because Alex always liked to help Hungarians who didn't have much money. And so father would go and see him and that sort of thing, and chat, which was also that day when I met Vincent I was fourteen. And they were shooting out on the backlot there, the big set with the entrance to this city. And my father saw the young John Justin, whose first break it was in films. And Sabu and John Justin had

p.5

this little open car and he said 'Could you give my son's aunt a lift down to the unit and I'll come and fetch him later'. It was a great thrill. I met the great Sabu and John Justin. I reminded John Justin of this in 1952 when I was second assistant on "Sound Barrier" that I knew he was a young man. There was this fantastic set with the miniatures and everything. I sort of stood around there watching and eventually Alex arrived with my father. And Sabu was misbehaving. And he was on a horse and wouldn't get off it and Alex was scared that if he broke his leg or something or something would happen. And Sabu said 'I am waiting for the Press to photograph me' and I had, as a fourteen year old, I had my Leica camera with me and he said 'For god's sake, you are the Press, take a photograph of him and I can get him off the horse'. So I took a photograph of Sabu. The negatives I lost. I have a small contact print of that somewhere. And he said to Sabu 'After this film is finished, I don't mind if you fall off and break your neck, but for the moment.. .. .'. Which, again, was another thing, because Sabu was actually, he really was a boy in the Maharajah of Mysore's elephant stables where they found him. And Alex actually was his guardian. Sabu's older brother came over. But it seems, there was another side of Alex, Alex invested, looked after Sabu's money and they, of course, went to America to finish "Thief of Baghdad" so Sabu went there and then stayed there. In effect, when he was grown up, Sabu had no financial worries for as long as he lived because Alex had looked after him, he was not just.. ..

John Legard: He was very good at that sort of thing.
Teddy Darvas: Lots of stories. I am sort of jumping a little bit.
John Legard: That's all right, because we are talking about Alex Korda and so on.
Teddy Darvas: Funnily enough Zoltan Korda always wanted to make the second Jungle Book with Sabu playing the grown up Mowgli and Sabu's son to play Mowgli's son but it never came to pass. Anyway, so when we came to England ..
John Legard: We can go back to your own story?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Back in 1936. We thought we were going to go to America because my mother had relations there and we were waiting for an immigration visa and by the time it arrived in 1941 we couldn't get a ship. To my very great delight we got stuck in England because I didn't want to go to America. And that's when we first took an unfurnished flat. Alex had had a house in Avenue Road which had been bombed, the furniture was in store and when he heard that we were furnishing a flat he said 'Don't be silly, I have got masses of furniture, take what you want for your new flat'. And the chair that you are sitting on, these two chairs and that setee, those are from Alexander Korda's Avenue Road house.
John Legard: Very comfortable too.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. We are going to auction those two off actually and keep that.
John Legard: Where did you live? Where was you flat?
Teddy Darvas: That was on Baker Street - Seymour Place - a place called Clarewood Court. And when ....
John Legard: What year is this?
Teddy Darvas: We are talking about 1941-42 and when we realised that we couldn't go to America, I had left Highgate School, I had been evacuated to North Devon to Westward Ho with the school, where incidentally, that was the time when I got to see every English film because we had, on 16mm, we had 16mm film shows on Saturday evenings and saw films like "Alf's Button Afloat" and "Friday the 13th” all those English films.
John Legard: So you really got to know all the English movies?
Teddy Darvas: "Passing of the Third Floor Back" and that sort of thing.
John Legard: So this was at a school in Westward Ho?

p.6

Teddy Darvas: Highgate School took over Westward Ho ...
John Legard: It was evacuated.
Teddy Darvas: We more or less took over the entire village and were in different hotels and we had one lesson in the Sunshine Cave and then you cycled across to the Merlin Hotel for your next lesson and things like that. It was lovely when the weather was good but when it was a sort of midwinter storm, cycling along the sea front was ....
John Legard: .... amazing for you after being brought up in Central Europe and... How was your English at that time?
Teddy Darvas: I went to the English prep school in Budapest for two years when I was 8 and 9 so I had a smattering of English and I had English governesses. A silly anecdote - again round about that time my mother was looking for an English governess for me and we were on holiday on Lake Balaton which is like an inland sea, and Joe Pasternak who died a few weeks ago, he was there with his wife and another director- it may have been Koster who was his partner ..
John Legard: Henry Koster?
Teddy Darvas: Henry Koster. It might have been him or another one, I don't know, who had a most beautiful Hollywood starlet wife, for whom at the age of about eleven, I completely fell for her and I told my mother it seems that that's the sort of governess I would like, which my mother told this girl, who was absolutely sweet and she really looked after me for the rest of the holiday. I wish I knew what the name of that little Hollywood starlet was. No it wasn't Deanna Durbin. The interesting story about the Deanna Durbin thing which I was told at that time was Koster and Pasternak were taken to Hollywood on a Universal contract because of the huge successes of films they had made on the continent. And nothing worked. And they were working their contract out and the last film on their contract was this film called "Three Smart Girls" which happened to have the youngest sister which was Deanna Durbin who had a voice. And Pasternak found this marvellous voice and somehow he got more money, built it up, and then showed it to powers that be and then they realised there was a big talent and they gave Pasternak more money to make the film bigger. And that's how Pasternak and Koster really got made, when they really thought they were out on their ears and back to ...
John Legard: In fact, they saved Universal too?
Teddy Darvas: Saved Universal and it became a huge success and eventually Pasternak, of course, went over to MGM, because they had Catherine Grayson - huge money.
Teddy Darvas: friend of my father's was a journalist who worked for the Hearst Press in New York - Ernie Prince - he said that Pasternak was most unbelievable power at MGM, that Meyer had a private dining room where you only ate if you were invited. There were two people who were allowed to eat there every day to - that was because they were the two most successful ones and one was - was it Field? - I have forgotten his name, he also did big musicals - and the other was Joe Pasternak who dined in this room by themselves most of the time because they were allowed in. Pasternak never changed and his father had been - I don't know whether he had been a Rabbi or not but he was a very orthodox Jew with the ringlets - and if you went into this fantastic office at MGM, on a prominent place, was a bit photograph of Joe Pasternak's father, he never forgot.
John Legard: So that's where you came across Pasternak, in Hungary ....
Teddy Darvas: ... even this - for dinner, you know because everybody knew each other obviously. Father, through the New Yorker Cafe and being a journalist, I mean, all the actors like Cuddles Szakall, his name was always S Z Szakall, his real name was something else but he was a bank clerk and he did amateur dramatics and that sort of thing and he couldn't use his name. He was fair and he had a fair beard so he called himself Szoke Szakall which means 'fair beard' and that's when

p.7

he became a prominent comedian actor he always went under the name of Szoke (spelt S Z 0 (with two dots on it) K E Szakall (S Z A K A L L and when Pasternak took him out to Hollywood he kept S Z Szakall which is a complete nonsense. So all these people were friends, I grew up back stage and that sort of thing.

John Legard: Anyway, you were taught English - go back.
Teddy Darvas: When I came to England ...
John Legard: You were obviously taught English because there was every likelihood of you going either to England or America presumably?
Teddy Darvas: If Hitler hadn't happened, my mother had always wanted, I would have come to England for some schooling, and anyway to Oxford or Cambridge. So English was always - I spoke German almost as soon as I could speak but English was always. But I mean it was very rusty and when we came to England in June 20 1938, there was a little minor public school in Margate called Margate College which kept open during the summer because it had sort of sons of Indian Civil Servants and that sort of thing who, of course, couldn't go and see their parents. So the school was kept open in the summer to look after these boys. And the Headmaster took foreign students in and in theory - I was there for six weeks - and in theory we were supposed to learn English. Well, we had a marvellous time on the beach with one or two of the masters ...
John Legard: Mid Summer 1938, yes. ll
Teddy Darvas: And there were six cinemas in Margate, one of which changed its programmes twice. So my education really was for going to the cinema every day, sometimes twice.
John Legard: Can you remember the first film you ever saw?
Teddy Darvas: Well I think in Transylvania I must have been very young - I vaguely remember seeing "King Kong" and then in sound pictures there were various German films that "Brigitta Holme"(?) and "Villey Fridge"(?) and people like that, you know. There was one thing called "Three Men by the Petrol Tank" and one called "Cadet Fraulein" which was, I think, Brigitta Holme which I was absolutely enchanted with. It was a film about a Prussian family where the boy wanted to be the artist and the girl, of course, wanted to be military, so she goes in as the cadet into military academy. I thought that was the greatest thing, I loved that.
John Legard: So you saw quite a few. You were obviously going to the pictures pretty regularly.Teddy Darvas: Oh yes, well before Deanna Durbin came and all those things, you know. And Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy. I think they were sub-titles. I don't think they dubbed them in those days.
John Legard: So anyway, you were talking about going to the pictures in Margate with the twelve films a week or whatever!
Teddy Darvas: That's right, I would watch seven or eight films a week which is really where one's English got better.
John Legard: So that helped yes.
Teddy Darvas: good way of learning English actually!
Teddy Darvas: And the other interesting thing about that was this headmaster, it seemed his annual little present to these poor boys who were left in England, was that he hired a coach once a year and took them to the Canterbury Cricket Festival. And so the first cricket I ever saw was in 1938 - Kent playing the Australians. And I have a photograph, again only a contact photograph, of them coming out to field.
John Legard: Kent were a very good side in those days took, weren't they?
Teddy Darvas: That was one of my early, in fact my first experience of cricket.
John Legard: First sight of cricket.

p.8

Teddy Darvas: And then, in the Autumn, they couldn't make up their minds which school to put me into and Highgate was very, very friendly and so I went to Highgate as a weekly boarder. My mother felt that if I lived at home I would never learn English properly because we would be ..John Legard: You would be talking in your own language.

Teddy Darvas: And then, of course, when the war broke out then, being in Westward Ho, apart from parents visiting you, you spoke English all the time. Incidentally, my second cricket match was in August 1939 and a friend of mine at school was Canadian called Remus and I remember we went to the Oval Test Match on a Saturday morning, the two of us, with our sandwiches, and it was England versus the West Indies. So that was my second cricket match.

John Legard: Really? Were you playing cricket at all at school?
Teddy Darvas: The first cricket at Highgate - anyway so I went to Highgate - the first cricket term which was the last one before the war, summer of 1939, everybody had to play cricket - it was compulsory on a Saturday. But Darvas couldn't play cricket, I mean I had to ask the Housemaster what to buy, a list of cricket equipment, and on the first Saturday, obviously I couldn't play for any of the houses.

Tape1-SideB(Side2)
Teddy Darvas: The first Saturday at cricket and I couldn't play for any of the teams and the head of house and the captain of games came to an absolutely Machiavellian solution of this problem and they sent me off to umpire another match but, of course, on the way down the other umpire told me that every six balls you call 'over'. I didn't know anything about people taking centre and that sort of thing and I nearly got lynched. But to go back quickly to the earlier bit, just to say that Alexander Korda, my father and three other friends wrote a book of short stories when they were nineteen and that was published and that I have the only copy in my possession. So anyway. When we were evacuated to Westward Ho and I saw those films. Meanwhile, we found that our immigration visa to the United States had arrived. Part of the school was kept open in London for boys whose parents didn't want them to be evacuated so I came back to the London part of the school just in time for the Blitz to begin. So while I was in Westward Ho there was nothing and because of that I don't think I missed one single London raid. We couldn't.. ...
John Legard: You were still living in Baker Street?
Teddy Darvas: No. This was before Baker Street. We had a series of furnished flats. Then, because of that I left Highgate because I thought we were about to leave any day. And then it was quite obvious that we couldn't get a ship. I didn't want to go back to Highgate having lost almost a year of schooling - I lost two terms. So I went to the City of London College which was a secretarial college and business college which had a matriculation course. And it was during that time we decided to take an unfurnished flat. And at this college I also - I found that with matriculation you could take German and you could take Hungarian, which I didn't have to study - I only studied Maths which was compulsory, English and History which I enjoyed. So I had a very easy time with lots of free periods. My father insisted that I went in to one of the girl's classes and I learned typing. My father also, during this period when I was not going to school, insisted that I learn shorthand. So privately I learned shorthand as a shorthand typist.
John Legard: Incidentally, what was your father doing in England?
Teddy Darvas: Well, he couldn't get work, he could never learn English properly, unfortunately, which was very hard for a writer and he never actually made another career. He worked eventually for an import/export firm owned by a friend of his. But he did little jobs, very little paid. He never had much money. I think perhaps he had exhausted all his creative energy by then and when he

p.9

came to England he only wanted to be left alone. And this housemaster at Highgate - the Rev. Kenneth Hunt- and he was very sweet. My father was a Doctor of Law and a Doctor of Political Science and he kept on inviting him, like "I'll teach you golf' and that sort of thing, and to meet other parents, in which case the old school tie thing probably father would have got a good job but father was very shy and just wouldn't do anything. I must tell the story about the Rev. Kenneth Hunt. He was a very famous amateur footballer and he was the only amateur who played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in a cup final and in 1911 or 1912 he kicked the winning goal in the cup final. And he was always known as 'the dirty parson'. And I am told that he was the greatest soccer centre half of all time. And fifteen years ago one of the Knowles brothers, who also played for Wolves, gave up, became a Jehovah's Witness, and gave up football because he couldn't take the dirtiness and all the gamesmanship. And the sports editor of the Daily Mail wrote an article about this and he said 'I remember a footballer called the Rev. Kenneth Hunt whose rather' - I have forgotten the word he used - 'robust style of play never seemed to interfere with his Christian beliefs.'

John Legard: What a lovely statement, yes.
Teddy Darvas: I am told that he also played for England once. He was an amazing man, terribly nice and, you know, after one left school, one used to go back to have tea with him. So anyway. I went to the City of London College and I passed matriculation and Alex asked my father 'Is he going to go to university' and my father said 'Well, I can't afford it' and Alex said 'Don't be silly, I'll pay for him if he wants to go to Oxford or Cambridge'.
John Legard: How nice.
Teddy Darvas: And so father put it up to me and as I was only interested in English and English Literature and History I felt somehow that I couldn't really impose that amount on my parents. If I had wanted to do Medicine or Physics or something commercially viable I suppose I would have taken it. In retrospect I probably regret it because ...
John Legard: It wasn't a particularly good time to go to university during that time ...
Teddy Darvas: It was a life that would have been interesting. But as it happens, the day after I finished matriculation and even before I had the results in, my father was told that there was a vacancy for a Hungarian language typist as a holiday relief in the BBC European Service. So I went in as a holiday relief and, of course, my Hungarian is not as good as my English, and so I didn't do very well there and they had taken on an extra person so I was going to be fired but a rather nice woman who was Head of Establishment said 'I can't offer you a progressive job but if you don't mind I can offer you a job as a news typist on the English side of the BBC and we will do your shifts in such a way that if you want to study anything we'll give you the time off'. Which was terribly generous. And so I became a news typist and the joke always is that being a Hungarian I worked for the Dutch and the Italian sections, but of course I worked on the English side of it. And the BBC- I wanted to study photography ...
John Legard: Is that where you came in contact with Mathew ?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, I am coming to that. That's how it came. So I found that there was a very famous school in Bold Court in Fleet Street called "The School of Photo-engraving and Lithography" which had a photography course. And so I did a two year course and I got the highest diploma in still photography City & Guilds during those two years. And what the BBC did was that I went in the mornings until three o'clock and then I was on duty from four fifteen till midnight in the BBC. And I eventually ended up in the Dutch section. The European Service was brilliant, I mean, people have forgotten how fantastic, and the organisation was marvellous. Of course, there were very famous journalists there doing their war service. Patrick Gordon Walker who became a

p. 10

Labour minister was there, the Industrial Editor, Alan -famous historian is now head of one of the Oxford colleges - he was there, Alan Bullock. My memory for names it is not old age - when I was seventeen I couldn't remember names.
John Legard: Your are not doing badly.

Teddy Darvas: It was there - one of the sub editors was a man called Mathew Anallgate(?) - he was a great fastidious dilettante who left actually quite soon afterwards because I think he went to radio newsreel - and, of course, I discovered, it turned out because of Korda and that sort of thing that he had been a film critic ...

John Legard: Was he a film critic on the radio?
Teddy Darvas: For one of the papers, I think. I am not quite sure. But anyway, I was very upset because he didn't speak very kindly of Alex, and for me, of course, Alex was God, you couldn't speak against him. He, of course, had press show and trade show tickets. And I also, therefore, I could go, marvellous Matthew gave me these things. And also the Ministry of Information showed captured German films and that was another good thing because nobody in the Dutch section or anybody ever wanted to go. So Teddy filched these tickets and off I went. The wonderful thing was with marvellous British security there were armed guards as you went in to ..
John Legard: You are talking about the Ministry of Information now.
Teddy Darvas: Ministry of Information. Armed guards and you had to have a pass and you had to actually have it signed before coming out. But there was a door straight out of the private cinema into this street, so security is probably still looking for thousands of passes that had never been handed back as people went in to see these German film shows. The BBC European Service was really the organisation ....
John Legard: I thought you were going to say you were translating the German newsreels ...Teddy Darvas: No, no, no. The fun of it. It was very amazing because, well I was only paid as a news typist, there were only two of us in the Dutch section who covered. If I had a day off then the other person did sort of nine thirty in the morning until midnight and vice versa. We were classed unofficially as confidential secretaries which meant that you could open anything that came in for the editor or duty editor or whatever it is. So you were completely au fais. A wonderful, typical BBC story. The Head of the North Eastern Europe Establishment was a completely humourless man. BBC establishment was always above production people, this was the way that Reith(?) didn't trust artistic people. So the man in charge of North East Europe was a man called Mr Lovejoy who was the sou rest, humourless man to have a name like Lovejoy. And one of our sub editors was a man called Bradshaw who had been foreign news editor for Reuters, I mean, a very high job. And, in fact, his father or grandfather started out with Reuter himself and he came out of retirement and he spoke Dutch as well. So there he was and one day, because of the bombing or whatever it is, Mr Bradshaw didn't turn up and our first news bulletin was at quarter to twelve before noon. So by ten thirty, ten o clock, translators wanted their material, you see, and you had a sort of guidance of what order things should be in and the importance which I obviously had read and central news desk, most of the stories were pre-written and you could just sub edit them to suit yourself. And so being a journalist's son, there I was saving the day and I was actually editing the news bulletin because there was nobody else. I was alone in the editorial section. And at eleven o clock Mr Lovejoy comes in and says 'Mr Darvas' - it's always Mr Darvas - 'I haven't had your PSB'. Now PSB is a thing called Programmes as Broadcast. And every day you had to fill this out any time you went on the air, who read the news, what records you used, what outside people you had, how long etc. etc. and all payments were based on PSBs. So Mr Lovejoy came in and said 'I haven't had your PSBs'. So I said 'Well, I'm terribly sorry Mr Bradshaw isn't in. As soon as, in twenty minutes, once I have

p.11

taken the bulletin down to the sensors I'll do it immediately'. 'But' he said 'it's got to be in by ten thirty'. So I said 'I am terribly sorry' very keen, all of eighteen years old, you know about saving the world, 'but I have got to get the news bulletin out'. And Mr Lovejoy said 'But don't you realise Mr Darvas, PSBs are the most important thing done in the BBC?' And, of course, at eighteen you don't say that if I don't go on the air at quarter to twelve there's not going to be a PSB tomorrow morning! There was the Director of European - the controller was Yvonne Kirkpatrick who had been seconded from the Foreign Office - who was the man who was taken up to identify Hess who was the most brilliant man and he really ran this place fantastically. He instituted a thing called "The Controller's Tea Party" and every Monday, to get to know all his thousands of staff, he held a tea party on a Monday afternoon where about ten or twelve people were invited, from heads of department down to messenger boys and messenger girls. For me that was an absolute - to be told 'Right today you are going to the Controller's Tea Party' - I mean to go and knock on the door of the Controller - I mean, that was like perlity(?). And he was the most amazing man. Within five minutes he had you completely relaxed, sitting on his desk, chatting away. And I didn't see him for a year afterwards, and I was walking up the stairs one morning and he was coming down and I said 'Morning sir" and he said "Morning Darvas". Just like that, after a year he remembered every name. The Director of European Broadcast was a man called Newsome who was a marvellous journalist and hard drinking - the real Fleet Street journalist. And he did a weekly broadcast called "The Man in the Street". The two English announcers, the English speaking announcers, there were more than two but the two famous ones, there were two very well known actors - one was called Leslie Perrins who played gentlemen always perfectly dressed, charming man- the other one was Alan Weekly who died two or three weeks ago. Alan Weekly who had a fantastic voice which cut through jamming, it was quite amazing.
John Legard: This is all taking place at Bush House?
Teddy Darvas: Bush House. Yes that's right. Do you want me to go on about this or not?
John Legard: Yes, do go on. Yes, you are getting to a very interesting bit now.
Teddy Darvas: A funny little anecdote about Alan Weekly and Newsome. They were always - the pub was the Waldorf Hotel across the road - and one evening - and people are listening to these broadcasts at the risk of their lives - and there was one evening, when for some reason, Alan Weekly didn't have time to read the bulletin before, there were delays and panics and everything like that. So he was reading cold. A little studio. Newsome was sitting opposite him. He had had quite a few to drink and Alan started the news bulletin and said 'Last night, the Royal Air Force carried out a thousand bomber raid over Hamburg. Preliminary reconnaissance photographs show that there are thousands of hamburgers streaming out of the city'. And he looked at Newsome and Newsome looked at him and they burst into hysterical laughter which they couldn't stop. And the rest of the news bulletin was Alan saying 'On the siege (laugh, laugh)' and that went on, it was absolute chaos. Newsome's deputy was a man called Ritchie who became Col. Britain and he invented the da-da-da-dah - the signature tune of the V sign. In a roundabout way. Anyway I was trying to get promoted within the BBC and suddenly up went a notice that there was a job for junior sub editors at all of £400 a year- £8 a week. And I applied for that and Ritche interviewed me and I, in fact, got the job. And MI5 wouldn't allow me to take the job because I was not a British subject, which was quite ridiculous because the job I was doing, if I had wanted to sabotage, I mean, I was going into the studios sometimes ....... I mean, I was allowed to take down flash news in the middle of a news bulletin without the sensor. So as a junior sub editor, anything I would have written would have been checked and translated seventeen times. So if that had happened I would

p. 12

have remained a journalist presumably after the war with photography and everything I would have transferred to television. And so I left the BBC ...
John Legard: That was a bit of luck possibly that you didn't get that job.
Teddy Darvas: Well, luck or not luck, I don't know because, I mean, one of the sub editors an, English sub called Roger Lazaar, who had been invalided out of the Fire Service because he had strained his heart, he went on and became foreign news editor of the whole of the BBC eventually. So one could have made a career there ....

John Legard: But from the film point of view ....
Teddy Darvas: Then there was a man in the Ministry of Labour who would not allow me to take any other job and stopped it. Alex gave me a job as a Clapper boy - at that time London Films and MGM were combined and this man, whose name was Billinghurst, refused me a work permit. And I said 'Well I could go back to BBC, my job is open for me'. He refused that and it went on until the Ministry of Labour appealed over his head and I went to his superior and I explained the situation but, of course, he wouldn't over-rule his underling, wouldn't either let me take the job with Korda, nor would he allow me to go back to the BBC - as a face saving thing he said 'But that the next job you get I can assure you have got a permit to work'. So I got a job as a photographer for a small photographer, off Baker Street, and I ran the dark room and everything. Surprisingly all his work wasfortheBBCsoIfeltIwasbackintheBBC.
John Legard: So there was no problem about getting that job?
Teddy Darvas: No, because Mr Billinghurst had been told to shut up. And it was during this time that I applied for British citizenship, because during the war you couldn't apply, that was suspended, unless you were doing something of national importance that you needed it. Now after the war there was such a backlog there was a system of priorities. If you had been in the forces was top priority, if you were in export next priority, if you had done war work that was the priority after that. But, of course, I had done war work in the BBC. During this time when I was a photographer, on VE Day I was sent out and I took lots of photographs of VE Day - Piccadilly Circus and all around there. And I took photographs when Eisenhower got the freedom of the City and the Guild Hall with Churchill. And quite good friends of mine own the biggest Fleet Street pictorial agency- Rex Features- and those photographs are in their library and every now and again I get a cheque for £28.50 because the Churchill photograph has been sold again. So officially I am still a professional photographer, the fact that the photographs were taken over forty years ago is beside the point. So I became a British subject and I wanted to come into films. Because of the union not even Korda could get me in.
John Legard: That was quite a difficult time actually.
Teddy Darvas: 1946.
John Legard: Because people were coming back at that time.
Teddy Darvas: There would have been work obviously because .... the union just wouldn't let you in.
John Legard: Was that your first encounter with ACT?
Teddy Darvas: Well no. It was Alex told my father - he said that it was not much use trying at the moment. So he put me into British Lyon publicity. He had bought British Lyon has his distribution arm. Sir Arthur Jarrett was the Chairman and it was run by a man called Meyers, he was the Managing Director. And if Mr Meyers looked at you people trembled. And the Publicity Manager was a woman called Nora Mumford who was completely and utterly inefficient. And her desk was covered deep in things and any time the intercom went and Meyers said 'Miss Mumford I want to see you', she would just grab as much off her desk as she was too scared to ask what it was. There

p. 13

was quite a bit of jealously about me coming in, even there. And Miss Mumford decided to give me the worst job of all which was being an Exploiteer, which was travelling around the country doing the provincial publicity schemes. Incidentally I started a week after Don Murray who ended up as Director of Publicity for Columbia who became very well known and survived every change in management over a large number of years.

John Legard: Lucky man.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. He was very good, was Donald. And, in fact, I spoke to him a few weeks ago. Actually they did me a favour because for two years, over two years, I travelled up and down the country and I got to know about film exhibition and distribution and did these schemes and I think this, historically, although not film production, it is quite interesting. When you did a publicity scheme for a cinema you were sent out three weeks before the show date to organise this. And you were not doing advertising, you were doing free publicity and your budget, which was shared 50/50 between the distributor and the exhibitor, for a place like Northampton, would be £10.00 but there were some where the budget was £5.00. If you were doing Manchester, Liverpool, the big cities, you actually had £25.00 and most of the films, of course, were shown by the ABC circuit, who were terribly mean - it was the Scottish accountant's thing and a man called Prior was the Head of Publicity and everything. And what you had to do was get free publicity. You had to account for everything. I mean, there was the campaign book that went with every film and I always wrote campaign books but you had pre-prepared blocks for provincial newspapers because they couldn't afford it and you went to see the local film critic if there was one, local journalist. And you would say 'Here are the stories' and they were prepared publicity stories, everything. And you wrote it with the name of the cinema and the date like dot, dot, dot, so all they had to do is like "An Ideal Husband" which is on at the dot, dot, dot cinema on dot, dot, dot, date. You would ask what blocks they wanted and you would have a block sent up. Like five and sixpence for a block, that would come off your budget, off your £10.00 or whatever budget. And ditto, the cinema how many throw-aways they wanted or what posters. On some budgets if you took one 48 sheet in a prominent position, that was your entire budget for the thing. But, of course, you still gave prizes, like signed photographs of the stars for dances. You know, you would hold a dance and you would have throw-away photographs of the stars and that sort of thing. And it was the great days of Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding and, of course, you couldn't supply that many signed photographs and Donald Murray could forge Anna's and Michael Wilding's signature better than ever. And somewhere here I still have an Anna Neagle/Michael Wilding photograph which is actually signed by them from which Don did the forgeries. But you had to try and get everything for nothing, really, and you went round to factories and said 'If I send you twenty show cards will you display them?' Or you went to the big stores and asked for a window display and you could just say 'Well I can supply you this, that and the other to make a nice window display'.
John Legard: Quite an opportunity for individual initiative in a way?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. In a way. I realised I was not doing it for the rest of my life and it almost became a game. And you could do amazing things, I mean, there was a film "Mine Own Executioner" and there was like road safety campaigns we linked up with. And I always wore my old school tie because I thought sometimes you never knew whether it would help or not. And like in Lincoln I wanted to do this stuff and I found I was shown in to see the Chief Constable. So old school tie and everything, because film publicity was - if publicity was the arsehole of the film industry, the exploiteer was the arsehole of the arseholes, you know, because the lowest of the low. Most cinema managers hated you because they were always let down by exploiting. But in Lincoln there was a Chief Constable and I was properly dressed etc and old school tie. And had a

p. 14

marvellous link-up and I even had the Police Sergeant in charge and I was driven back to the hotel in a police car. I was escorted round the town, it was absolutely marvellous. But to show how mean they were, "Mine Own Executioner" again, which was a film about a psychiatrist - Burgess Meredith - and Kieron Moore was actually a lovely man. And I got to York and there was a relief manager who wanted to make his name. And he said 'He is going to have a little preview on the Monday morning and he is inviting the local doctors'. So I said 'Well if you are inviting the local doctors why don't we make a proper big do, let's invite the Lord Mayor, let's invite etc. etc.' And he said 'You can't do it'. So I said 'Give me the telephone'. And incidentally ABC circuit was so mean that, although I was in the manager's office, I had to pay the manager twopence for every call I made. And he had a big book into which I had to put down every phone call, every twopence worth. And so I started and I got the Lord Mayor. I rang the Air Officer Commanding Northern Command, invited him and his wife and I got the band, the local RAF band for free, to play outside. I did this whole great thing out of a £10.00 budget, most of the budget, incidentally, went on - I had gold embossed invitations printed - and I said, as a joke, to this manager 'The only person that is missing now is the Archbishop of York'. And he said 'Oh you can't do that'. And I was on a high and I said 'Give me the telephone book' and I looked it up and the Archbishop of York was in the telephone book. So I rang up and I said 'Could I speak to his Grace?' and the voice said 'Well my brother, he's in London in the House of Lords, this is Miss Garbage(?) speaking, can I help you?' So I gave this little spiel about this very important film, serious film and we were having this preview etc. And she said 'Oh lovely, my brother loves going to the cinema, just send him an invitation, if he is in York he will love to come'. Then, of course, I had to go and find reference books on how you write a letter to the Archibishop of York. And the pay-off of this comes. By this time we had and Exploitation Manager called Jacobs who was very, very good. He had been a Major in the Royal Marines, I think. And I rang him and said 'Look, I have really over-reached myself, we have really got the whole bloody lot, I mean, we have got everybody coming and we really need a bar, you know, a bottle of whisky, bottle of gin, something like that'. He said 'Fine, get the manager to ring Prior and if he agrees I am OK on the extra money'. And this man Prior said 'No, give them a cup of tea'. I had got everything for nothing. Nor was I allowed to go back on that day to see my own preview because I was on another job, three weeks before you were not allowed to do it. And there were four page newspapers then and in the Yorkshire area that preview got over 120 column inches of free publicity. I mean, which you couldn't have bought. And that man Prior would not give you an extra ten quid to have a little bar for all these dignitaries who were arriving in their cars. I mean, can you imagine the main street in York, I mean, the publicity that was getting for the film!

John Legard: Well, of course, the only argument in his favour is that this was the age of austerity, wasn’t it?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, but that's the whole point. But to get the publicity ...
John Legard: It is extremely stupid. I suppose that continued for years? And probably still applies.Teddy Darvas: What is important to say at that time - there was nothing else but the cinema and the seaside places had pre-releases during the summer. I mean, they got films before West End premieres and some of the cinemas were an absolute disgrace. I mean, private owners like Cinema in Aberystwyth, and it almost had broken seats. It was the most terrible thing. He was in his eighties and blind, his spinster daughter was running the cinema. The posters, everything, nothing was good. He was running, making a fortune, really premiere films and ABC circuit, none of the circuits, none of them were ploughing back any of their profits. So that when they started complaining many years later in the fifties about television, that they didn't have the money, I

p. 15

personally had no sympathy for them at all because they took the money and spent it all, and how much money.
John Legard: It was the peak of film-going, wasn't it?
Teddy Darvas: And, in fact.. ..

John Legard: Cinemas were packed?
Teddy Darvas: Kip Heron who became General Manager of Pinewood, he was Lab Contact at Shepperton when I came into the cutting rooms. And the previews were held for London Films pictures at the Savoy in Hayes, which was one of the biggest, privately owned cinemas, 1600 seater or something. Kip had his own set of condensers, which he took for a preview, because that cinema, the condensers and the two projectors were in little pieces and they were yellow. And Kip always said that he was terribly sorry because the poor old projectionists took these condensers and they were little bits, they were all broken. They were put carefully on a table to be put back and he said 'The two condensers that London Films have bought - or British Lion had bought - the two of them cost £12.00, that was all'. And the owners of that cinema wouldn't buy a pair of condensers for their projectors. I mean, the screen, as you can imagine, the picture how bad it was. And Kip said 'I would leave it to them as a present but they would be broken and I would still have to buy another lot'.
John Legard: What arcs(?) would they be?
Teddy Darvas: I don't know. I am not technical at all. But anyway, this is what I saw. There were some marvellously run cinemas. The Granada circuit - the managers were a different quality. They had more independence. If they had a cinema that had a stage, if they wanted to put a panto on, they could ask Head Office. So any time you went to a Granada cinema you dealt with a different type of person. But the ABC - the Circuit Managers, the were office boys. And they were allowed no say, nothing at all, they had nothing. And because of that, of course, they didn't have very high class people. So that's that.
John Legard: How long were doing that job for?
Teddy Darvas: Two and a half years.
John Legard: Quite a time isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. And then I heard that there were films starting and my father went to see Korda and I came in, at long last we are actually coming to cutting. So I came in as a second assistant on a film called "The Last Days of Dolwyn".
John Legard: I remember that yes.
Teddy Darvas: And, in fact, David Eadie was going to be the second assistant on it but, because he was the son of Sir Wilfred Eadie of the Eadie clan, he wanted to go on "The Third Man" and he went on to "The Third Man". David is one of my greatest friends and we always joke about this. He can't remember this but I do. And again, we are back to the power of ACT. Lew Thornburn said to me, the film "Last Days of Dolwyn" was not being done at Shepperton it was done at Warton Hall. And he said to me 'the first thing you do, as soon as you arrive in the studio, once you have reported to your editor, you go to the shop steward, who was a focus puller, and the first thing you do is you report to him and say that you are the trainee starting. Now, according to the agreement, it seems that Lew Thornburn should have informed him. And when I went he said 'No'. His pride has been insulted or something like that. And the most terrible problems started. He was going to call a strike about. While I was there in the cutting room there were always meetings at lunch time. Emlyn Williams was directing and written it and starred in it and Edith Evans, who was Richard Burton's first film. And there were terrible problems and, in effect, my father, being a Socialist pioneer, he knew the General Secretary of the Labour Party, and his secretary - Dorothy - and she

p. 16

was one of the biggest powers in the Labour Party, although she was only a little secretary. And father went to see them and - I have forgotten, I think his name was Middleton, the General Secretary of the Labour Party at that time and he said that there was no way in Britain that the son of one of the great Socialist pioneers, who had been sentenced to death and everything for his beliefs, that in England, that his son should be refused membership of the trade union. And wrote to George lrwin. And unfortunately then, because of obviously marked private and personal, and George was on holiday so nobody opened the letter and by the time he had opened the letter it was too late, he couldn't over-rule this decision. I was told to go and see Bessie Bond. Which is where I met her. And she said to me 'Look, what I suggest is that you leave cutting and go back to publicity and once things have died down you can come back' and I said 'No, I won't, if it comes to a strike I will walk out, but until there is a strike I will try and stick it out'. And quite by chance, a film called "Saints and Sinners" was starting and was going to Ireland on location and this focus puller was on that crew. So he went off. And the Deputy Shop Steward was the floor mixer on "Last Days of Dolwyn" a man called Alan Alan, he was terribly nice bloke, and the committee was Teddy Baird who was the Associate Producer on the film, Isobel Pargeter who was Production Manager and this focus puller it seems had overreached himself to one extent, that he refused to give me a membership application form. Now that you cannot do. You can reject the application but he hadn't given me a form. So when this thing came up now in front of the committee, instead of them saying 'Call a strike', they did exactly the opposite and said, by this time some three or four months had passed, they sent a recommendation up that I should (a) be given a form and (b) accepted for membership and that's how I came in. The irony is that, if I had stayed in publicity, I had applied for an ACT ticket, although I was not on the production side, but I had applied for a publicity ticket.John Legard: Which presumably you would have got?

Teddy Darvas: And Angela Alan's brother, who was a film publicist and a journalist, was on the committee. And, in fact, if I had been in publicity another six weeks my application was just going to go through and, by the time it came up, they said that it was out of date because Terry has gone into the cutting room. And so anyway.

John Legard: Interesting story. It was just a chance thing wasn't it?
Teddy Darvas: If Lew Thornburn had had done it officially and rung him up or got him over to Shepperton ..... the whole thing would not have happened. And it was a very stupid thing and in a way we suffered and our television is suffering because I am a very strong trade unionist and that sort of thing, and in fact, the unions killed themselves for being so intransigent.
John Legard: That's the word isn't it. Yes.
Teddy Darvas: "Last Days of Dolwyn". The editor was Morris Roots, the younger of the Roots brothers.
John Legard: Oh yes, he was a member of that family?
Teddy Darvas: He was an absolute bastard. We became great friends many years later. But he behaved terribly towards me. The assembly cutter was a chap called Tom - I have forgotten his name.

Tape 2 Side A (Side 3)
Teddy Darvas: I got £4.00 a week which was half the salary I had been getting as a publicist and Jimmy Shields was now one of the top sound editors, started a week before me as a numbering boy, and he got £5.00 a week which is - we are great friends, a sort of running joke that he got a pound more than I did. And years later when I became friends with Lew Thornburn I asked him whether he had done this deliberately and he said 'Absolutely, one had to give so many of Korda's

p. 17

friends jobs, I wanted to see whether you had application or not', which I thought was quite remarkable that, as a friend of Korda's, I got £1 less than Jimmy who came in having been a post boy.
John Legard: Interesting point.
Teddy Darvas: Everybody had just been demobbed, of course, 48, and Maurice Roots, I thought he was a marvellous editor, I didn't realise that he was terribly inexperienced and everything and Bunny Warren and I still, when we meet, can't understand why we had to work until 2.30 every morning. He was very intolerant and he behaved very badly to me and after two days if a join of mine wasn't nice or, blooping - I was very bad at blooping ..
John Legard: Was this your first experience in a way of handling film?
Teddy Darvas: My first, I had never handled film before.
John Legard: This is important isn't it. Because suddenly to be pitchforked into it.
Teddy Darvas: And within a week, if anything I had not done properly, he would say 'If you can't do any better I'll have to ring Mr Thornburn and say that I can't use you' and it was a real threat. And I had quite an unhappy times in many ways. And he was also very much like officers and other rank. They went off to lunch and things together and I was left in the cutting room. I had to go at another time.
John Legard: Disgraceful.
Teddy Darvas: The cutting rooms at Warton Hall were right by the main gate, it was a lovely little studio. And, of course, there was a twenty minute walk to Hounslow East. There was a coach.John Legard: Was that built as a studio?
Teddy Darvas: Yes.
John Legard: I never visited them.
Teddy Darvas: It was a lovely studio but nobody had cars - or very few people had cars and there was petrol rationing - Maurice, of course, had a car but he could get one from Roots because of his brothers. But what you did, you went to Hounslow East and there was a studio coach that took you there and then in the evening there were two or three coaches, sort of shuttle service. If you missed it then you had a twenty, twenty five minute walk. The chief make-up on it was a legendary woman called Dorrie Hamilton. Dorrie was quite potty, I mean, she was a real eccentric and she had a car. Dorrie was earning, this was 48, between one hundred and one hundred and fifty pounds a week. She was one of the top make-up women - make-up people in the world. In fact, Korda had sent her, after the war in 46, when he was about to do "Ideal Husband", he sent Dorrie to Hollywood so that she could see the latest make-up developments. And Dorrie had a car, she was the most terrifying driver, but anything for a free lift. And she lived in Maida Vale. The thing was that when she got to the gates she would toot on her horn and if I was ready to go then I would get a lift back. I remember Maurice Roots one evening, we were in our overcoats just chatting before leaving, and Dorrie tooted on the horn, and I said 'May I go Maurice' and he said 'No, second assistants don't leave before their editors, you can't go'. And I went and told her and said 'I'm sorry Dorrie, I have got to stay behind' and I walked back. And as I said, it was right by the main gate, and I walked back into the cutting room and Maurice said 'You can go now'. And I had missed the coach and everything and had a twenty five minute walk in the winter. Editors, head of departments were gods, especially in the cutting room, they were eccentrics and what you did you had to do. There was no argument. I don't think in documentaries this existed.
John Legard: We didn't have that sort of thing on the whole.
Teddy Darvas: Not many people were like Maurice. And many years later I came across him again and he turned even nastier. He resented me having become an editor. And then some years

p. 18

later he suddenly started turning up at our local and we became friends. He gave up films or films gave him up and he went to live in the country.
John Legard: What sort of salary would we be talking about for you?
Teddy Darvas: For me - £4.00 a week. Because being a second assistant was a trainee grade. The Union minimum was £7 10/- which you got after two years. After two years you have to get your £7 10/-. Auto Helier was the camera man. Gustace was the operator. As I said, it was the young Richard Burton, Edith Evans. And there was a wonderful spirit. I mean, everyone was tremendously friendly and, I mean, like when we came off the floor and Emlyn came into the cutting room and he lived in Pelham Crescent and he said 'Well Teddy, any time if you are there, just ring the doorbell and I will give you a lift down to the studios. The first end of shooting party there was a pub set and they used a pub and, I mean, Edith Evans and Emlyn Williams and Richard Burton and the young actress who disappeared without trace, called Andrea Lee, they were serving the entire unit. And there were records and there was dancing and everybody was equal. And Teddy Baird and Parjet were fantastic and to me. Jimmy Ware was the third assistant director on that one.John Legard: What about the dubbing, did you dub there?

Teddy Darvas: No, we had to go and dub at Shepperton. Funnily enough, arriving at Shepperton, I was rushing around between the cutting rooms and the dubbing theatre, and I was stopped by Jack Drake saying 'Who are you, I have got to see your ACT ticket', because they were terribly tough on this sort of thing. I became very good friends, funnily enough, with Burton, which carried on for quite a number of years. His second film was my second film and his fourth film was my fourth film. We kept up quite a lot. His first appearance on the set, everybody in the unit said that he is the English jungerbear(?). I mean, there was no question that he was a star. One little anecdote, I think about that period, was that they decided they wanted a close-up. They missed a close-up of Edith Evans and she was playing a Welsh peasant woman. So they went out on the lot and there was, just up against the sky, a shot. And Emlyn said that it would be terribly nice if we could have a bird fly past Edith there. So the prop man went away and came back with a fishing rod with a stuffed pigeon at the end of it. And on cue he cast the fishing rod and the bird flew past Edith Evans. And take two was fine and print and Edith Evans said 'You know, Emlyn, I never thought I would see the day when we would be giving ourselves the bird.' So during that time, by this time it was 49.John Legard: Sorry, were you doing a lot of postsynch in those days?

Teddy Darvas: Yes, sorry. The postsynch. And we were doing it. Everybody was terribly inexperienced in retrospect as one realises. And the postsynch was done on a sound only system that we used - Maurice preferred that, which was like a sentence or half a sentence then cutting to double the length of spacing then another half a sentence and you clicked on and off and you did it almost parrot-wise that you repeated. And funnily enough, many years later when I was a sound editor myself, in 1958, I was dubbing editor on an Anna Neagle film and Anna Neagle had never learned, she just could not do postsynch and nobody had warned me about this and it was disaster with the loops. And then I went back in another day we did it on that sound only system and she could do it. She was such a brilliant actress, but postsynch she just couldn't do. Anyway, that's by the way. So we did this sound only stuff and we worked for six weeks until two in the morning. In at 8.30.
John Legard: It sounds as though you must have postsynched quite a large proportion?
Teddy Darvas: Well, not only that, but there were no dubbing editors. I wish I could remember the assembly cutter's name - Tom whatever it is. And Maurice did the things himself. But in retrospect I remember splitting dialogues, it took Maurice a whole weekend to split the dialogues on half a reel. And Bunny Warren and I can still not, thinking back on it, we just don't know what we did. But, in

p. 19

effect, in retrospect, I think it was inexperience. And eventually we went - and Red Law was the dubbing mixer - and we went to Shepperton to dub it. And obviously footsteps and effects recordings were sort of two days that you were allowed. And you didn't do 100% for inversion track, you just took out what was useable and the rest was blank film. And, of course, it was optical. So you were restricted to the number of heads that a dubbing theatre would have.

John Legard: Premix?
Teddy Darvas: Well, premix is - the loss of quality was so big that you only did them if you really had to, and then only effects premixes, we didn't do dialogue premixes definitely, even music. And, of course, dialogues and music had to be neck cut, sent to the laboratories and spotted and you had a rehearsal and a final track which you had to have. At the end of that film ...
John Legard: And, of course, a lot of time was spent blooping, I seem to remember.
Teddy Darvas: I spent -there was one day- we had to have a running of all tracks as a rehearsal - and we went in on Monday morning at 8.30 a.m., having worked the weekend, and we went home at six o clock on Tuesday and I was on the joiner from something like 5.30 in the afternoon until 8.30 in the morning. I was getting quite hysterical just joining and blooping. Maurice was - I mean, on filing and that sort of thing, if you wrote something on in green when he had specified red, it was the most terrible pettifogging. Actually, it was a very good grounding for me because I could discard what was inessential on his complicated filing systems.
John Legard: I understand that yes.
Teddy Darvas: And when this film came to an end there was the first of the big film disaster slumps in 49 and everybody was out of work. There was no television, no commercials, I mean, you were just out of work. It was a disaster area. I remember at Shepperton when over half the crew of Shepperton, everybody was made redundant, everybody in tears and god knows what. Just one thing, at this time, at Shepperton, Jack Drake, who ran the cutting rooms and was also the dubbing editor, and it is to go back again to Korda, and because there was all this thing about Korda and obviously financially he was a great wheeler-dealer and could raise money and got the three million pounds out of the government and that sort of thing. And why people by and large were the hero worship of the Kordas, Jack Drake was still alive incidentally and it would be worth interviewing him. Jack had a daughter, she must have been about forty six or forty seven and she was dying of some illness, for which there was no cure. And Jack read, in some paper, that there was a cure for it in America but it was not available here. And he went to see Alex you could always go and see Alex, I mean, anybody could go and see Alex. And he told him this and he said 'What am I going to do?' and Alex said 'Don't worry my dear chap'. And Alex paid and the captain of every clipper flying the Atlantic brought the daily dosage for Jack's daughter and it cost Alex, I was told, five hundred pounds, which was a lot of money in 46/47. And Jack is a happy grandfather and everything. So you try and say anything against the Kordas to him! So anyway. Quite by chance, "Last Days of Dalwin" was produced by Tolly de Grunwald and Tolly had taken over the old Teddington Studios. And there was a vacancy for a second assistant numbering boy. Because I was going to get fired as well - Korda friend or no Korda friend, because there was nothing being done. And so Parjet rang up and offered me the job at £5.00 a week at Teddington to be second assistant number boy on a film called "Naberabus Was a Robber", which was the first play that William Douglas-Home had written, which was about his experiences in jail because he had been convicted of cowardice in the face of the enemy. It had a fantastic cast. The young Burton, Richard Green as the condemned man who gets hanged and, of course, Catherine Aris(?), Kenneth More's first film as a con man. There was an amazing cast. The young Ronald Howard - Leslie Howard's

p. 20

son. It was full of all the well known character actors and the editor of that was a brilliant editor. I believe his is still alive - called Gerald Turny Smith known as Turny.
John Legard: He was to be up at MGM wasn't he?
Teddy Darvas: Well, he eventually got a contract from London Films and he was at London Films. He was at Shepperton for a long time. He did many films and he now lives, if he is still alive, in Australia. But Turny was a brilliant editor and a very nice man - gay. His assembly cutter was Leigh Doig who then became an editor. The first assistant was a man called John Pomeroy who was a very, very lazy gentleman, very communist, who ended up as a property developer millionaire, naturally, with Rolls Royce. And Leigh was second assistant. But it was real friendship and it was really very, very pleasant. And Turny, I don't know whether he had been David Lean's assistant in the cutting rooms, but you could always tell any editor who had worked with David Lean, because they always cut on the silent bit, they never cut on the Moviola. And what they did, with optical sound, is they had the picture and the sound together, running through the optical head and they lip read, they cut like silently. And Turny cut like that. Hazel Vincent Wallace cut like that. Thelma Connell cut like that. So if you looked in a cutting room and you found somebody cutting like that on a silent head you knew they had been trained by David Lean. It was very funny. And as I say, they were very happy and lsabel Parjeter, Clark Clayton. 3\ And it was like complete friendship with everybody. The Government had assured Tarry de Grinwald, as far as I can gather, that it was all right, they would see them through, just keep the studio going. And he started a film called "Three Men and a Girl", which eventually came out as "The Golden Arrow". Three short stores, each with a different leading man- Burgess Meredith in one, Stinker Murdoch in another, Jean Pierre Omo(?) in the third one and the starlet that had been discovered called Paula Valenska, a sweet girl, never did anything.

John Legard: Paula Valenska, yes
Teddy Darvas: She made one or two films.
John Legard: Yes, I remember her.
Teddy Darvas: And during this film, in effect, money was not forthcoming and Tarry went bust, I mean, we weren't getting any money and that sort of thing. And this was when we sat around without getting paid, there were Auto Hellos the camera man and Auto was getting, even at that time, was getting £150-£200 a week. But Auto's wife would only allow him £10.00 a week and poor Auto never had any money. Jimmy Wear was giving me a lift back up to the Buxton Club and I was thrown out from my lift because Auto wanted my place in the car and I had to go and get the bus back, you see. We had nothing to do and Auto invited all the office girls, everybody, to tea in the canteen - I mean a cup of tea was twopence and I was earning £5.00 a week and there were about eight of us having tea and a bun and guess who paid the bill at the end but Teddy Darvas, you see. All of about four and threepence, you see, because poor old Auto had never had money. And one day he walked in and his clapper boy said 'That's a lovely tie you have Auto' and he said 'You like, you like?' and he said 'Yes, I think it is lovely' so the following morning Auto turns up with this tie, wrapped in silk paper and gives it to him and the clapper boy said 'That's terribly nice of you Auto' and he said 'That'll be one guinea'. He wanted to make a quid which his wife didn't know anything about. But it was lovely because Auto used to come in to the cutting room and say 'Rushes you see, good, good, good' and he was a lovely man, beautiful camera man.
John Legard: So how long was it before the economic situation was restored?
Teddy Darvas: The final going bust, we were, in fact, shooting was completed. But the funny story as film making in those times, it was a beautiful summer and Stinker Murdoch - Richard Murdoch - for that scene they needed a raincoat and nobody had a raincoat. The props didn't.

p. 21

Nobody. And I happened to be on the phone and said that I had a raincoat. They said 'Just bring it will you'. So I rushed into the cutting room, gave them the raincoat. Of course, that was impounded, this was like early summer, and that was impounded until the end September for continuity. So I had to do without a raincoat for the rest the summer. I should have charged ten bob a week hire for that. The other story, we were shooting. Burgess Meredith episode was meant to be in post war in Berlin. It was these three men who are in a Golden Arrow railway carriage and there is a beautiful girl sitting opposite them and they all fantasise about who she really is. And at the end, of course, when they come to Victoria, there's a husband and about six children waiting for her - she is just an ordinary housewife. Anyway, Burgess made it, as you imagine, because he was a major in the American Army in bombed out Berlin that she is a night club singer or something like that. The bombed Berlin they found a bomb site near St Paul's and that was Berlin where they were shooting, and it was a Saturday and Tony Smith said 'Somebody had better hang around in case somebody needs a clipping, so you go out on the location, if they want something then you can get a car, nip back to the studio and get a clipping out'. So it was marvellous on £5.00 a week, I was already on double time for Saturday, and I was standing around doing nothing. And I was going out that evening so I actually had a suit and a tie on, I looked quite respectable. And roundabout three o clock, three thirty, they realised that Buzz Meredith is flying back to America the following day, this is the last day shooting, and they had forgotten. It was beautifully disorganised on Tolly De Grunwald films, it was absolutely lovely. They suddenly realised that they hadn't got these two close-ups where these three men are sort of staring out of the Golden Arrow, watching for Valenska meeting her family. He hadn't done Buzz Meredith leaning out of this window. So back at the studio there was the Victoria Station set. So three thirty, everybody in the car, belt back to the studio so that we could get these close-ups. It was an unbelievable thunderstorm. Upper Richmond Road was completely flooded. But we got there. Everything was being lit and suddenly - we need somebody to walk behind him to show that there is somebody. So there were no extras or anything. So Patrick Jenkins was the first assistant, frightfully huge chap. He said 'Teddy, you're decently dressed, get two pieces of luggage and on cue walk past Buzz'. So the shop steward, who was again a focus puller actually, very Scottish, started a great big row saying that ACT member used as a ??? and actually under the agreement in an emergency like that, you could use anybody. But anyway, it was an ACT member. And Patrick said to me 'Oh for God's sake Teddy let's stop all this. Go up to lrene Jay who was the accountant and say 'Can you give me an artist's chit'. So I went up and I thought - incidentally much older in the cutting room was the most people because published us of 23 when I came in as opposed to 17 (not sure exactly what he said here). So I went in and said 'lrene, I don't know what's happening but there is some ACT union problem and Patrick says I have got to get an artist's chit' and she said 'Oh yes, certainly, would you sign here'. So I signed there and I got two guineas. I was already on double time and I got to guineas. I walked on air! And I actually appeared in the film as a flash form, as a shadow. So I was the richest man in England that evening. I think with a friend, I think we actually went to Cero's(?) Night Club that night which was the most expensive night club - you know the world was your oyster, that was a fantastic day. Then, as I say, it went bankrupt. Terry's offices were in 45 Clargy Street and Tolly was very low and everything and we were off the floor. And he insisted the receiver came in from the Bank of America and he insisted on the essential people to complete the film, which was the production manager who was Parjit. Not only Turny Smith but the entire crew, so even I, as a second <assistant, was considered essential. There was no work going. So I still got my £5.00 a week and we sat in the small back room at the top of 45 Clargy Street from just before Christmas, from the beginning of December till Easter the following year. And we played Jack Clayton, Parjit, Turny

p. 22

Smith, Leigh Doig, Paul Sherriff the Art Director - he was deeply in debt - we played bridge from nine in the morning till six at night, apart from coffee breaks and everything else. The wonderful thing was sometimes I was sent on a Friday to collect the money. Before Christmas we actually could make money because Terry's brother Demar Dimitri yearly he did a film star's diary, a film diary for five shillings, advertised in Picture Goer. So five shilling postal orders. So we could like earn a little money by folding and putting things in envelopes and sending them off to these people. And we would get something like £2.00 on account or £3.00 on account and some weeks like in five shillings postal orders because that was all they had. But there was the credit manager of the Bank of America and sometimes on a Friday I would be sent to collect the money into the city. And the credit manager was an Armenian whose name was Mr Money, would you believe? And Mr Money was like a charicature from a Frank Kapra film of "The Nasty Little Bat" banker who had a tiny little pencil moustache, bald head and everything. Now I couldn't just collect the money but I was summoned and I had to stand to attention in front of his desk and he would read me a riot act about Tally De Grinwald etc etc etc. I mean, me as a second assistant, as if I had anything to do with it and I would get the money and go back. And there was one day - and we were all friends - and Tolly De Grinwald and everybody- and Tolly was chasing money and he rang the credit manager of the Linen Bank to see if he could borrow money from there. And he said to this man 'That bloody man Money, he only keeps his job because of his name' and there was dead silence at the other end of the telephone. And it turned out that he had been speaking to Mr Sterling, so no money was forthcoming from the Linen Bank. After Easter the money came through to finish the film, which typical bankers are ridiculous because already so much money had been spent on the film and it needed in those days, I don't know, £10,000 to finish the film. It was quite obvious that the film must get more money back than £10,000. But anyway, for four or five months we sat doing nothing. Then we went and finished the film and dubbed it. Of course, we got everything paid up, all our money, and the film, of course, was not very, very good. It has been on television, like all these things. At the end of that, and that's when Teddington was closed down after that film. There were other films being made there parallel, little films.

John Legard: That must have been a very frustrating five or six months between Christmas and Easter. At least you were getting the money.
Teddy Darvas: I became quite a good bridge player actually. There was no other work at all. And then my father was seeing Alex and saying that I was finishing work and Alex said 'Well, he can come on as second assistant on "Cry, The Beloved Country" and Zoltan Korda was shooting in South Africa. It was the first sort of anti apartheid film. Alan Paton's book, in fact, I have got part of the script that Alan Paton gave me signed by him. And that was the Zollie - there is a legend about his sayings and everything like that. And I came on the film when they came back from South Africa, David Eadie and Valerie Leslie were out there, Kip Heron was out there as lab contact - they processed there. Bob Crasker was the camera man and the sound crew was a very, very famous sound crew that was pissed all the time. John Mitchell - not the Pinewood John Mitchell - but the other John Mitchell, forgotten the name of the sound recordist. The boom wwinger was Kevin McCiory who is a multi millionaire and became a sort of film producer. Kevin was a lovely man. The sound maintenance man was a shop steward Dickie Longstaff. Dickie Longstaff- he had little teeth in front. I mean, the stories of shooting of "Cry The Beloved Country" and who 35 have got to interview David Eadie incidentally. And he will tell you all the stories of what went on - crises and god knows what and, of course, like Canada Lee and Sidney Poitier they were not allowed to stay in an hotel. And they stayed with some rich Indian family. And the actor they took on - Lionel Rungakani(?) who plays the chap who gets hanged eventually, I mean, he was petrified

p. 23

because, like Zollie insisted on bringing him into the hotel for rehearsals. I mean, the lobby would be cleared and the lift would be cleared and he would be escorted up by the manger of the hotel so that no white could actually touch him as he went into these rooms. Lionel never went and he came out and he had to finish the film and never back to South Africa in fact. There was one of the many, many stories which David can tell you better, but the one about Dickie Longstaff, they needed an extra secretary and they found a girl there who was, in fact, an ACT member and she had gone to South Africa. And Dickie Longstaff had an affair with her. And so, as they are all dead, one can see this, it is not libellous, and it seems that, when they were getting ready to come back, Dickie went to Zoltan Korda and said 'Mr Korda, when we get back to England you will need an extra production secretary and now if you paid her fare back then' and Zollie looked at him and said 'My dear Dickie, you are her long staff, not I, you pay her fare back'. She came back to England actually and became a continuity girl eventually. So that was that. And the post production of "Cry The Beloved Country" it went on cutting, recutting ...

John Legard: Where did you cut that?
Teddy Darvas: At Shepperton. We worked seven days a week and we got screamed at, shouted at but it was like Jeckyll & Hyde. When Zollie was in a good mood then you could say anything and he was marvellous. When he was - you could see it in his eyes - then whatever he said you would just shut up. As I say, he would scream at you and say 'You fucking shit, I make you peace blood', 'Teddy stop your fucking masterbating and get back to work' and things like that. Valerie Leslie, as I say, was the first assistant and we dubbed, recut, redubbed. In effect, on the world premiere he recut the film - the premiere copy - in the projection box. Valerie Leslie and I arrived late for the premiere because we thought if we arrived early we had heard that he was in the projection box ..John Legard: You would get involved ...
Teddy Darvas: We thought we'll spend the premiere trying to join up the next three ? running through. mean, those were the lovely times because the Korda brothers, if they quarrelled, it was always in English, so that everybody could enjoy it, the whole unit could enjoy it. And Zollie would only speak to me in Hungarian when he was kind to me or asking after my father. If he shouted at me it was always in English. I mean, the first time Alex saw a fine cut and he got up and he said 'You have a very good picture here Zollie, now if you take zis sequence and put it...' and Zollie behaved like a four year old in front of his brother and he sat there with a dirty hat on and said 'No' and Alex said 'Be reasonable Zollie, if you took zis sequence out and' 'No' 'Look Zollie be reasonable' 'No'. So Alex got up and walked up and down in front of the screen, the perfect English gentleman, large cigar, Saville Row suit and said 'lt is your picture Zollie, you fuck it up'. So we could all here these arguments you know. What else on that film? There were so many legions.John Legard: It sounds as though Alex wasn't being very effective as a producer on that one ...Teddy Darvas: ....... Zollie, Zollie could do his own way ...
John Legard: Zollie took heed of what he said .....
Teddy Darvas: Well, he would say 'No, no, no' and then the following day we would start working and Zollie would say 'You know, seemingly Alex is a very clever man'. But an alteration would last, something that had been right, suddenly two or three weeks later he would muck it up again or do something else. It was a great tragedy because, if he had been able to stop, it would have been much better.
John Legard: Would you say people spent too much time in those days on the editing stages?Teddy Darvas: Oh yes, much longer ...
John Legard: Because the expense wasn't so great then, whereas now it is much more crucial ...

p. 24

Teddy Darvas: But also everybody was jealous of anybody in the cutting room, that you were doing the job and directors could hardly wait to come into the cutting room and this was the big thing really that time was given. And, of course, now not enough time is given, that's that other side. We did cut for a much longer time but Zollie would still be cutting today if nobody stopped him.

John Legard: Just fiddling and fiddling.
Teddy Darvas: But, I mean, on the day of the premiere he cut out the wedding scene of the boy who was condemned to death. And there was literally a jump cut on the premiere, sort of fade out and a fade in and you didn't know where you were. And that, for example, never went back and it was a brilliant, brilliant sequence, it was absolutely marvellous.
John Legard: Bad luck on the editor too that sort of thing isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: Well, David Eadie was the editor but, I mean, he was like - Zollie was really the editor himself.
John Legard: Did he actually do it himself, he handled the film himself, he did it himself?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, he used to do that but he never had to look at a movie early, just ran things through the synchroniser like that and he could see - he was quite brilliant as an editor. I mean, Zollie had come over to England to go back on to the Kordas from Berlin and I think the first film he directed was "Sanders of the River". He loved black people, even then. He never forgave Misha Spolianski(?) although they were friends. That M is ha Spolianski had put a tune above the native rhythms which, in 1949, Misha Spolianski wrote the music for this "Three Men and a Girl". Those two records, Paul Robson records, were bringing him in £60.00 a week in royalties. I mean, "Sanders of the River" was 35/36 and those records are still in the catalogue today. So Misha's heirs are still getting - he has not been dead 50 years. Zollie, that was the first film that he did and, of course, they were out in the Congo and, of course, Paul Robson was terribly ashamed later on when he became the big, black communist, of doing that film that he did the typical negro native, which is a tremendous misunderstanding, because if you see "Sanders of the River" it is, in fact, the black chieftain who solves the problems, he's the great person, Sandy, who was Leslie Banks who was the district commissioner, he is as a man and he is the master and that sort of thing. But, in fact, it is the negro chief who is the hero, he is the man of great dignity and absolutely everything, absolutely terrific. I worked again with Zollie many years later when I was assembly editor and dubbing editor, I did the dialogues on the remake of "Four Feathers" - "Storm Over the Nile". But Zollie would always rerun his old films and because we were busy we took it in turns like who would sit in with him. And if he was in a good mood you could do anything and it was my turn to sit in with him when he ran "Sanders of the River". And I had heard the story that they all had Malaria, they were running out of film, the rainy season was coming, and they still had to shoot the sequence of the canoes coming down, shooting the rapids. So the thing was that anybody who would carry a camera, had a camera, because it would have taken three days to drag the boats back up river. And everything it seems well and shades of ready whenever you are Mr Demille. Zollie went to the camera operator who was in the best position and said 'How did it go' and he said 'Fine'. And he started to unload and the film had broken or something had happened and Zollie said 'You tucking shit' and pushed him into the crocodile infested river. But this was the story I had heard. So we were running the film with Zollie and he was in a good mood when one could do anything. We had come to this sequence and I said 'Zollie, is this where you threw your operator into the crocodile infested water?' He grinned from ear to ear and said 'No, no, no. Wait I show you'. And he leant forward, watching the screen very close on, and we came to a bit and he said 'There'. So he had done it. So he never denied that he had done this thing at all. So anyway all these films. David

p. 25

Eadie and I had also heard about "I Claudius" which was stopped. And that was in the vaults, belonged to Prudential and you were not allowed to bring it out. And we talked Zollie into seeing this stuff and Jack Drake got us out the film.
John Legard: The old cutting copy, of course?

Teddy Darvas: The old cutting copy. And every day for about two weeks we ran about three reels. Some was cut, some was in rushes form. So when they made the epic that never was, we had seen all those wonderful rushes and that sort of thing.
John Legard: That's an interesting story in itself.

Teddy Darvas: So that was "Cry the Beloved Country".
John Legard: How did "Cry the Beloved Country" do, was it...?
Teddy Darvas: It had marvellous write-ups, I don't think financially it had done all that well. Because on Sky I am very surprised with what was going on in South Africa that nobody had actually revived it because it was decades way ahead of its time. And it showed the reality of the reason for it like not giving them help in farming and the soil erosion and that drove the people into the big towns, into these compounds, as miners and then they rampaged in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

Tape2-Side8(Side4)
John Legard: We were about 1951 I think.
Teddy Darvas: About "Cry the Beloved Country", there are two things really. Because, as one said, that Zollie was very up and down, Jeckyll & Hyde, the other side of Zoltan Korda and also the other Kordas was that they looked after you and they were always very few needed them. And at the end of "Cry the Beloved Country'' Valerie Leslie and I and, it was the end of the film, Zollie went to Lew Thornburn and said 'I have worked these two to death. I want them to be on "Sound Barrier". Alex Korda had engaged David Lean after Rank had dropped David Lean because David had made "The Two Passionate Friends" and "Madeline" which had cost too much money and were the only two flops that he had made. And he gave him the money to do "Sound Barrier" although he said 'I cannot see a documentary about test pilots but I believe in your talent'. So Zollie said to Lew Thornburn 'I want Valerie and Teddy to be on "Sound Barrier" and when Lew Thornburn said 'but the editor, who was Jeff Foot, may not want Teddy and Valerie', Zollie said 'Tell him he doesn't have to cut the film'. Which, of course, if you are a Korda you can get away... And David Lean wasn't such a great person at that time. Anyway, not only that, but he said to Lew Thornburn 'I've worked them so hard I want them to have a paid holiday. And he came back to the cutting room and he said to Valerie 'Where are you going?' And she said 'I am going to Rome' and he said, it was a pre-package tour 'How much will that cost you fly there?' and she said 'thirty five pounds'. And he gave her thirty five pounds and he said 'Where are you going?' and I said 'I am going to Paris' and he gave me fifteen pounds, which was the fare. So, although you really had to take tough times, at the same time, you were also given a friendship and an appreciation which was the other side of the coin. And at this moment one also had to say that obviously the Kordas were Jewish. Alex's first wife, Maria Korda, who was a film star, and this, although it's going down here, their son is still alive and he sues everybody for slander, libel, and god knows what. So this part is very subdudtity. Now Maria Korda was almost a religious maniac and Peter, their son who is a very strange man who must now be seventy, he is first of all anti-symmetic. But not that anti-symmetic that he didn't take, during the war, a hundred pounds a week off his father. But when Korda died he said that if there's a rabbi anywhere near the Korda funeral he would sue for libel. He denies that Korda was Jewish, that Alex was Jewish.

p. 26

Teddy Darvas: few years ago the Daily Telegraph had an article about how much immigrants have contributed to British civilisation by going back to Hugonose(?) and Normans and god knows what, and, like Alexander Korda, Jewish immigrant. And Peter Korda, who now, of course, was a Peter De Korda said that his father was a Unitarian and if the paper made any more references to his father being Jewish he would sue them. And I am told that, when people have said that about Zollie and Vincent that they were Jewish, he is quite willing to let it be understood that Alex was like an illegitimate son by a non Jewish father, rather than admit that his father is Jewish. And this letter came out in the Telegraph the week after I had been to Vincent's funeral at the Jewish cemetery - I have forgotten where. And I thought 'Should I write to him' - Mr Peter De 4-0 Korda in Gerard's Cross or wherever he is and say 'How strange that you should write this letter because why weren't you at your uncle's funeral at the Jewish cemetery?' Then I thought 'No, no, because I will have another libel action or slander action on my thing and it would be silly to start it'. Incidentally at Vincent's funeral where everybody had forgotten him, it was very sad, and there was the great art director. Ralph Richardson came and delivered the most marvellous eulogy, absolutely fantastic, beautifully acted, beautifully delivered. He got almost all the facts wrong but it was marvellous. It was absolutely lovely. Vincent would have been one of the 20th century great masters as a painter. As I say, I saw his paintings - he had some in his studio here in Chelsea - and, of course, when Alex made him an art director and he became one of the world's greatest art directors, David Lean adored him. They were tremendous. And even after Alex's death Sam Speagle and David always used Vincent as an advisor and, although he became rich in the great art director, the world has probably lost a great artist by this sort of corruption. Anyway that's the end of "Cry The Beloved Country" really. And so we started on "Sound Barrier" which was edited by Jeff Foot and the assembly editor was Peter Taylor. Peter Taylor had been David's assistant in the cutting rooms and he had cut two films and because of the terrible slump at that time he had to come back to being an assistant. He was a great called an assembly editor which was like senior first assistant. Of course, Zollie decided to recut "Cry The Beloved Country" so she went off and I was there as the only assistant.

John Legard: Valerie went off with Zollie?
Teddy Darvas: For the recut. There was one weekend when eventually Valerie had hysterics and just said 'I'm off' on a Friday morning. And Zollie decided everything was out of synch and the dub was working over the weekend and I was a £10.00 a week second assistant and being Jeff's assistant, there was a knock on the cutting room door and in comes Lew Thornburn as general manager of the studio and Vincent Korda as the chairman of Shepperton Studios say 'Teddy will you please do us a favour and are you willing to work like this evening, Friday evening, and Saturday and Sunday because of Zollie?' And I said 'Well really'. And Jeff said 'You don't have to it you are on my floor' and with my relationship, because of the Kordas, I am not in a position. But there I was, Vincent Korda begging me to work the weekend and charge overtime, of course.
John Legard: ???? 4-\
Teddy Darvas: Well, no you didn't. You'd had so much. I mean the thought of going back. And I spent the weekend humouring Zollie and completely wrecking the dub tracks that they had to be completely redubbed eventually. That was Zollie in one of his moods. Anyway on "Sound Barrier" gradually ....
John Legard: So you managed to get that, I mean, you did get that sorted out during that weekend did you?
Teddy Darvas: Well, dubbing went on but it was just - Valerie was back on the Monday. With Jeff Foot, he gradually got used to me and accepted me and at rushes and that sort of thing I was

p. 27

actually very unhappy because David Lean was quite cold and he just said like 'Get him to join it, get him to do it' and I said to my parents 'You know, there's this man, he doesn't even know who the hell I am'. Jeff was very good and told stories and he said to me 'You wait till David comes into the cutting room, then you will discover the reason why you are in -that is the most exciting part of film making, rough cut, first cut, that's one thing, but when David comes in that is when you will find out'. And this is exactly what happened and at David Lean's memorial service John Box delivered one of the eulogies and he said that the thing about David was that if anybody who worked for him, that he made your mind work in a way and brought out talent and ideas that you never thought you had and I found it, even as a second assistant, you were allowed to say anything, you were asked to say things, if there was a problem about editing David would sort of stand against the radiator and we would just talk and sometimes you would talk about what did you do last night or sex or anything like that and then come back to the film again, and suddenly there would be a consensus of how the scene should go and he would say 'Right, let's make it' and he would go back to the Moviola. I was very, very self conscious because I felt that the only reason that I was being employed was because of Alex and I had a terrible feeling about Korda that I was one of his pensioners. And it was David Lean who actually noticed that I was terribly keen on things and he did something for which I am always grateful which is that he told Korda about me and after my father died, again we are jumping forward, after my father died I found a letter from Alex to my father saying that he was off to the States but he wanted to my father, would he ring his secretary etc. etc., make a date. And then he said 'Your son, Teddy, is doing very well. David Lean never stops singing his praises but don't tell him or he will get a swollen head'. So knowing my relationship and that sort of thing. And the way I think that David noticed me was, we had a running of the film one evening and the following morning Jeff Foot said to me 'What are your opinions?'. was ..... Well, with Zollie you always did. Being asked my opinion as second assistant that But Zollie and David Lean as editors, what you discovered, was a freedom of mind, years ahead, swapping sequences, nothing was taboo. You could switch this here, try it out, do this, do that. And I said to Jeff Foot, because the film dragged at a pace and I said 'I think a certain scene', which was a scene between Anne Todd and Nigel Patrick, 'I think that drags like anything' and Jeff Foot said to me 'You're mad, that scene cannot go'. And the following morning, later on in the morning when David came in David looked at me and said 'Did you have any opinions Teddy?' And I suddenly thought to myself 'Has Jeff told him, and if I say like nothing, I'm a coward, if I say it and it is his wife anyway and it is one of her big scenes', so I said 'Well I did have one idea but Jeff thinks that I am mad.' And he said 'Well, come on, tell me'. So I told him. And he said 'No Teddy, you are quite right, that scene drags and that's my fault as a director'. And he said 'Yes, the film does drag at that moment, however, and you are quite right, it could go. But if you took that scene out you would do tremendous damage to relationship after Nigel Patrick dies'. And so he taught me the sort of relationship that if you do something at one point of the film it affects another part of the film. And I think it was from then on that suddenly, I gradually became his favourite. And the interesting thing is that the film - David had a fantastic sequence in the film when the plane is being built and it was a montage which ran about six or seven minutes at least. The whole building of the plane - Nigel Patrick, after appendicitis, he was in the ejector seat and you tested it like on a town, you are shot out, and you had the full lot. And the film somehow dragged and David Lean said this publicly more than once. He said that Alex saved the picture for him and the first time we ran the film for Alex it seems that - and Alex had not seen anything of the film, he had seen odd rushes and bits and pieces but nothing else - as this sequence went through Alex just turned to David and said 'Too dramatic'. And the following morning David came in and cut that long

p. 28

sequence down to two or three shots and in the film you see the thing being built, a stencil going on 'Premetheus'(?) was the name of the plane and the next thing the hangar doors open and out it comes. And the rest of the film came alive. And David couldn't see it, Alex saw it the very, very first time and David always said that Alex saved the film. And it was the most fascinating period because - I did four films with David - and your mind never, never worked quite as brightly, because you were encouraged to spark ideas, and you were never told that's idiotic, he would have been a marvellous professor, he always had time to explain why it seemed right but it was wrong. On the other hand, if your hundredth suggestion was good then he would thank you for it and tell other people that this was your idea. So everybody walked on air, if they gave a good idea. And so all of you worked together and the cutting period was quite - I can't describe it - and today, you see, you haven't got the time to do it. I mean, I worked with Don Sharp who was a very good director, underestimated director, and we worked very well together. But we have to make decisions like on a four hour mini series and for a four hour mini series I think you get five weeks to fine cut four hours. I mean, literally you haven't got this time of sparking ideas. With David it was an amazing period and so I became his favourite which was marvellous and ...

John Legard: What did you do next after "Sound Barrier"?
Teddy Darvas: After "Sound Barrier" I was put on to "The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan" which was where I met Launder(?) and Gilliat which was very sweet, which was then cut by Turny Smith. So I was back with Turny and by this time, of course, I was twenty five or something and I was getting very fed up because I was still a second assistant. Had a marvellous time on "Gilbert and Sullivan" because there was the Savoy Theatre built there, the most beautiful girls, I filled up my address book. One stage had the Savoy Theatre and the other stage had the Moulin Rouge. And John Houston didn't mind people visiting the set so at coffee breaks and that sort of thing you decided whether you wanted to see a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan or whether you wanted to see a bit of Moulin Rouge. And I made lots of friends there. Poor old Jill Bennett about whom Tom Whatnot writes so nastily. I mean, she was a friend of mine and I was in her dressing room all the time, she was a very strange person. But anyway I met Ramona, who is my wife, through Gilbert and Sullivan because one of the singers, who threw herself at Martin Green -sorry that had better be wiped in case she ever hears it - Martin Green fell in love with her and, in fact, left his wife for her. And Ramona and this girl shared a flat and that's how I really got to know Ramona whose name I could never remember so we only really started going together about six years later when I managed to remember her name. It was great fun because Sidney, of course, although he was very unhappy on that film .....
John Legard: It wasn't his sort of film was it?
Teddy Darvas: No, and in fact, if you see the introduction to the series they had on Gilbert and Sullivan, I have got it on tape, Sidney tells the story about the unhappiness and I nearly walked off the film and Frank says to him 'But many people think this is the best film we have ever made' and Sidney says 'Well, they're entitled to their opinion' as they were running it down. It was a typical Sidney depressed thing. So anyway, I mean, I loved it because I love music and I still like Gilbert and Sullivan and Turny was a wonderful editor. The film today, it's much better than when it came out, in retrospect. This is one film that ought to be restored because you couldn't have more than one ....
John Legard: They showed it fairly recently didn't they on the box?
Teddy Darvas: But, you see, it is down to one hour fifty minutes. So Turny had to cut and shorten, I mean, like "The Nightmare Song" is four lines and I think everything is lost because this is one film that should, today, it would run a good two and a have, three hours, with all these numbers and

p. 29

numbers that have been cut out and Turny, funnily enough, was not in sympathy with the funny bits of Gilbert and Sullivan. So when things went very much the comedy bits tended to go. But it was a wonderful experience and the playback was brilliant on it and the artists -you cannot tell that they are not singing.

John Legard: Muir Mathieson was involved in that?
Teddy Darvas: That's right Malcolm Sargeant was, in theory, who did the original recordings but Muir did almost everything.
John Legard: And he was a brilliant man.
Teddy Darvas: And Muir actually- the first opera which is "Trial by Jury" which is the only one which was a curtain raiser runsthirty five minutes without dialogue, it is the only one of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas that has no dialogue. And that, Muir edited down to something like twelve or thirteen minutes but keeping the complete continuity of the story, then it had to be shortened. I think in the final film it is down to eight minutes and the whole opera still makes sense and that was completely, without re-recording, it was musical editing -that Muir just cut down to whatever it is.John Legard: Very clever. So Muir was with you in the cutting rooms presumably on that.
Teddy Darvas: Well, he was always around. Incidentally on "Sound Barrier" Muir introduced Malcolm Arnold to David Lean which we have a reference to "Hobson's Choice" later on. While I was on "Gilbert and Sullivan" and I knew that they were starting a film of- Korda was going to do "Heart of the Matter", the Graham Green film with Trevor Howard and Maria Shell. It was going to be cut by Bert Bates and he always had Bertie Rule as his assistant. And one morning Turny comes into me and said 'I have just seen Mr Thornburn and I've got to release you to go on to "Heart of the Matter" otherwise there is nothing else for you to go on to but you know nothing about this, he will tell you in good time'. And I was furious. I was in my mid twenties and I was still a ssecond assistant, I was never going to be promoted, I would be second assistant to these things. Eventually I couldn't bear it any longer. Lew Thornburn was a very strange man. His secretary didn't sit in another office, she sat with him and if you went to the anti room, if you wanted to see the head of the studios you had to listen with your ear to the door to see if there was anybody in there and if not you knocked and went in. So I stormed into this office and said 'What do you mean about me going on to "Heart of the Matter"? I don't want to be a second assistant, this, that and the other'. And Lew looked up at me and said 'Well, I didn't you to know but Bert Bates is not doing the film, I am promoting you to assembly editor. And from screaming at him I sort of dissolved in laughter. In fact, my salary actually went up to £15.00 a week which was the rate for an assembly editor. So that was. The other thing with Lew Thornburn - Lew Thornburn was a wonderful man - while I was on Gilbert and Sullivan, "Sound Barriers", various countries thought was too long and David Lean agreed to have seven or eight minutes cut out. And in those days because of dissolves you couldn't just do straight cuts, it was a much more complicated thing, you had to have dupes before and after and make more dissolves and David worked out those cuts and, of course, Jeff Foot - everybody was on other films. So David said 'Teddy can do it', which was absolutely wonderful ... JL:
Teddy Darvas: nice break for you.
Teddy Darvas: A nice break for me. And in the evenings, and without charging for overtime, David told me what he wanted to do and we worked it all out and Lew Thornburn would ring me and say that such and such version has to be done and I would work it out and have a dupe negative and off it would be sent to be cut, whichever country's negative it was. This was wonderful. I was allowed to do it and these things for David Lean. One day Lew Thornburn called me in and said 'It’s the French version you have to do' and I said 'Oh all right, I'll do that'. He said 'Well no Teddy,

p. 30

you see, it is almost the time of the premiere. I am afraid you will go over to Paris to do it'. And he said 'One night only, mind'. And so I worked out everything and I went over to Paris. Now you must imagine as second assistant. I arrive in Paris and London Films Office Manager is waiting for me at the airport, car in, I'm put up - whenever I went to Paris I stayed in the cheapest little hotel, I had friends there were almost starving, so they had got me some terribly cheap - and I stayed in a deconsecrated brothel the first time I went. And suddenly I am put up in one of the best hotels in a little room and the actual branch manager, London Film's manager in Paris said to me 'How much money do you want for this evening?' I had never been on location, eventually he gave me some money which was more money that I ever had. And there I was, an evening in Paris, couldn't find my friends. So I thought to myself 'I can never afford the Lido' so I actually went and I went to the Lido that evening. And the following day a car waited for me and I was taken out to the laboratories in St Klu(?) and again, terribly inexperienced, and this very fat French lady who was in charge of the neg room. And, of course, because of the dissolves what the picture that you cut in was much longer than the substitute dub sound that you cut in because you had to put in much more picture in order to make it work as opposed to the sub. And I am working there and I think I know that I am doing right. And suddenly this woman said to me 'But you are cutting much more sound than you are cutting picture, it is not going to be in synch'. So as you can imagine, being insecure, in Paris, on my own, the premiere is two days away, and I think if I have made cock-up of it, that's it. So I said 'No, no, no, it's perfectly all right' and I did the alterations and they said 'Well you cannot go until we see it, we will get a print off'. And the chap from the laboratories who spoke English said 'I will take you to the director where they are having lunch'. And they took me to a little restaurant. I was sweating. I really was worried. I though if I have cocked this up that's it. Although I knew basically it's what I'd sent always that I was actually cutting. And I came into this restaurant. There were all the people from the laboratories there, long table. And they said 'Would you like a glass of wine?'. I said 'Yes please', they said 'This is very bad ordinary wine, we'll get you some decent wine'. I said 'No this will do'. And that wine was like vinegar and no wine has ever tasted so good to me as that, and I drank quite a bit. Went back into the theatre after lunch and they were all there expecting to see everything out of synch. And up came the first reel and it was in synch. And you cannot imagine. I was just sitting there going blaaaaah. And only the French can do it. The lights went up and they stood up and applauded me that I was in synch. So again years later, Lew Thornburn - I said 'There was no need to send me to Paris, was there' and he said 'No there wasn't but you did all that for nothing and I thought you ought to have a little present.' And so my little reward was that I could go to have a little paid day in Paris, work there, but still. And this is one of the sad things that one does talk about - film industry. It is these things that don't happen now, any more. You don't have the little gesture of 'You can have this' or 'You can have that' 'You've done this for nothing so we will give you that in return', which is, of course, why one did a tremendous amount of work for people for no recompense because it was part of your job. Anyway, let's go to "Heart of the Matter which was produced by Ian Dalrymple, directed by George Morrow Farel(?) and the editor was Sid Stone.

John Legard: Oh, good old Sid.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Slasher and Sid. And I had been warned, people heard that I was going to ... it turned out that I was going to be assembly cutter to him - Bert Bates had an eye infection and couldn't do the film. And people, including Peter Hunter who now is a director, but people came up to me and said 'You poor old Teddy, Sid is one of the biggest shits etc etc etc'. So I was really afraid of working for Sid Stone. It was my first film, not only as an assembly cutter, but as first assistant. I didn't know what day it was really. And Sid used to like, disappear, for two or three days at a time.

p. 31

He was the most amazing editor - ? , cockney, overdrinking, everything outside, there was no sensitive editor in there. I mean, his first cut, I mean this is a Graeme Green mood thing, his timing his first cut, was a fine cut, it was absolutely brilliant. And it was very funny because I was very conscious of 'now I am an assembly editor and I have got to run the cutting room' and Sid would turn up after two or three days and I would have two sequences laid out for him and say 'Right Sid, you sit down, you are miles behind, you have got to start cutting' ....
John Legard: I know what you are going to say ...
Teddy Darvas: And Sid sat down, two sequences, sort of nine thirty in the morning, and at twelve o clock says 'Right Teddy, pubs open, bars open, let's go across'. And I would say 'No, Sid, not until you have finished those sequences' and he said 'But they are done'. And on the dot at twelve o clock he would cut two sequences and he would say 'Get Stanley, who was our second assistant, to join them'. We would go over to the bar. That whole film to me is an alcoholic haze because George More O'Ferrall was drunk all time, Trevor Howard and me bringing up the rear. So he would join it, going to the theatre, and there it was, and it was perfect. I mean, what he did was absolutely marvellous.
John Legard: Brilliant editor.
Teddy Darvas: Brilliant. And Ian Dalrymple was an ex editor. He was very proper, upper class, frightfully sort of thing. Sid Stone had been his assistant before the war and had been an editor and this was why Sid was cutting this film. I mean, complete contrasts. He was quite a remote man, if he was in a mood he never spoke and Sid was away and he really was, he had the flu, he was at home, we knew that it wasn't an excuse. And he had been away about three or four days and after rushes Dal says to me 'How's the cutting going Teddy?' I said 'what do you mean cutting?' He said 'well, I mean, if you don't do things now, take these opportunities, you will never start cutting, I mean, Sid is away'. I said 'I wouldn't dare with Sid away'. He said 'Leave Sid to me, have you ever cut a sequence in your life before?' I said 'No'. He said 'All right, come in with the continuity sheets, come to my office after lunch'. I went in and he said 'Which sequence would you like to cut?' I said '? Sequence' the only thing you know. And he took me through the script and the continuity sheets on two sequences. And he said 'Right, do it and then let me see it.' And I went and I started cutting and I remember Bunny Warren on my first film who told me that the first time he tried to cut he took out-takes and the trouble he had and mess he had made and I thought 'this is going rather well', I couldn't believe it. I was convinced that I was doing something wrong because it seemed to come quite easily to me. And Dal, it's a wonderful thing, and when I finished the first sequence and he said 'Let me see it' and we could only get into one of the dubbing theatres and Red Law was there and everything. And I ran this sequence and the lights went up and the only thing Dal said to me was 'You obviously know what you are doing so you had better carry on'. And then he went on the floor and in front of the unit he told George More O'Farrell that I had cut my first sequence, it was marvellous. So next time I had to go on the floor everybody, Jack Hildyard, the camera men, everybody came and congratulated me. And it was really terrific. And Sid didn't mind at all.
John Legard: No, I am sure he wouldn't.
Teddy Darvas: But he taught me an amazing lesson. There was a scene where Trevor Howard comes in and goes to the table and he sits down. And I was terribly proud, you see, that I had done this beautiful cut from the longer shot to the mid shot halfway through the sit down which is the obvious place to cut. And Sid saw it and he said 'Yes Teddy, that is the right cut but this is one place where you don't need the right cut, you carry on the long shot because you are cutting closer on that line to make the dramatic effect'. And I remember that David Lean, on "Sound Barrier" had sometimes said to Jeff Foot 'Yes, that is the right smooth cut but I don't want a smooth cut here, I

p. 32

want to jerk the audience'. Very interesting. Anyway, so Sid and I got on very well and I told Lew Thornburn as long as I don't have to dub the film because I don't want to become a dubbing editor. He said 'no, no, you don't have to do it'. So he said to me 'I like my assembly cutters to do their own dubbing'. So Bingo, I have to dub this film. So I said 'All right as long as there is plenty of time because I have never done anything, I have never laid a track in my life'. He said 'No, no, no, there's no hurry'. So when I start on it, and Jimmy Shields was my assistant on the bubbing on it, he suddenly comes to me and says 'The film's going to the current film festival so the date's brought forward. Absolute panic. Working until ten o clock at night. I honestly didn't know what I was doing. Sid, of course, would take you off on a piss, he would stop you working. I cannot tell you how it was, the whole film was a sort of drunken haze, and with Trevor Howard and everything going on.

John Legard: Marvellous, it sound a really rich time there.
Teddy Darvas: I had remembered with Red Law and other dubbing mixers shouting at dubbing editors or assembly cutters about how tracks were laid and how this was wrong and that was wrong. And so I went to Red Law - he was a marvellous man who was a dubbing mixer - and I said 'I have never done this before Red, just tell me, how do you want tracks laid, what do I have to do?' And he explained to me, he said 'Don't lay tracks where you don't want them. If there is a dissolve, cut the track at the end of the dissolve, start at the beginning of the dissolve, don't do as Lee Doig does - leave thirty feet running on just because it's quicker. And he explained to me and he said 'Leave three feet or four feet between tracks, etc. etc. etc. And during dubbing, and a lot of my tracks must have been bad, and bad quality tracks that I had selected, it was still optical of course. And Red never made every track work, he made everything, never complained once and he could be pretty peppery and he saw me through that in the most wonderful way, actually. And then the film was finished and Sid was off and ...
John Legard: Did you mind -you must have done an awful lot of overtime?
Teddy Darvas: In those days there was a tremendous amount of overtime but one was single and you just went down to the Buxton club at the end and you did these things. George was a very strange man. One of the nicest people on God's earth. Gentle, beautiful. And the first film that he did which Bert Bates cut, he said 'Here's a great new director'. And on films he retrogressed. And "Heart of the Matter" which is beautifully directed but it, in effect, he got worse and worse and he forgot to say 'cut' sometimes and that sort of thing. What with Trevor Howard, I mean, there is a wonderful thing about - he used to get home pissed in the evening, having been with Trevor. And there was a publicity woman called Enid Jones who was a skinny little woman who could drink anybody under the table, she could drink whisky from eight in the morning till midnight and be dead stone cold sober. But anyway. George used to go back, being absolutely pissed, and one evening he got back and his wife Elizabeth had already been to bed and she had just been down to make herself a cup of cocoa and George came back - pissed. And she poured the cocoa over his head. And this was when we were still shooting incidentally. And a few days later, and I was working until ten o clock, Sid was away. And my assistant and I - Jimmy Shields and I went over to the bar to get a sandwich and a beer and to carry on working. There was George Morow Farel with Enid Jones, he had too much to drink and, of course, everybody was good friends, 'Teddy' he said 'what am I going to do say to Elizabeth - I'm not home and she is going to give me hell' and I said 'George say that you are working in the cutting room, all the directors work late in the cutting room, that's perfectly all right'. Of course, George was a great catholic and there's a catholic story. So he said 'You ring Elizabeth' and I said 'George no, I am not going to do your lying for you' he said 'You don't have to go to confession'. So ten o clock and the car had just arrived so that we should go

p. 33

home. The door bursts open and in staggers George with Enid with a bottle of whisky and he has come to the cutting room to make the lie come true. In those days I didn't drink whisky and it was a full bottle anyway. So I sipped a little and got in the car and went off. The following morning I go on the floor. I always went on the floor at eight thirty to collect continuity sheets and things like that. And there's the nurse Audrey, and she says 'It’s all your bloody fault' and I said 'What'. She said 'They are absolutely dead drunk- George and Trevor and it's all your fault'. I said 'Why is it my fault?' and she said 'Well, he came into your cutting room and you didn't finish the bottle of whisky with him and he and Trevor started drinking at seven thirty this morning. I gave them large codienes but they keep on taking it in large whiskies'. So it was entirely my fault that they were drunk! And there's a scene in "Heart of the Matter" on a balcony and if you know you can see that Trevor is absolutely drunk, completely and utterly drunk but he could carry it off fantastically. Anyway. So it was a great film. Very happy. And Maria Shell was a brilliant actress. And Trevor had this amazing pavora(?) because Maria Shell was a very much an emotional actress and the big scene where she and Trevor part, she could only do this scene twice or three times because she was literally in tears at the end. Trevor, on his close-up, was telling a story, a cricket story to the camera crew and then they said 'Right, we're ready, turn over'. He did this scene beautifully, cut, and he would carry on with the story as though nothing had happened. And then anyway. When the film was finished, Graeme Green saw it and as George Morrow Farel said 'Only catholic converts can do it'. There was a big scene between him and Peter Finch. Peter Finch plays the priest. It's a confession scene but it is done in the script and was brilliant.

Tape3-SideA(Side5)
Teddy Darvas: On this confession scene -first of all with the scene before I go on about Greame Green - Trevor Howard and Peter Finch, I mean, you couldn't get two better people to do that sort of scene. And the scene begins with Peter Finch coming in as the priest and as they are great friends and Trevor Howard says 'Will you have drink father' and he says 'I'll just have a beer'. And in Africa it is always pint bottles of beer. And, of course, during the day's filming they were drinking real beer so by the afternoon they were well gone, shot after shot. And, as I say, it was an optical sound and there tummies kept on gurgling and which the microphone picked up very clearly and here I am on my first film as a Sound Editor to try and take all the rumbles out. I mean, the soundtrack was like the measles thing, you see, and optically you couldn't sort of even it out like you can nowadays.
John Legard: Take out the rumbles and replace them with bloops.
Teddy Darvas: With bloops. It was horrific.
John Legard: How did you manage to do that then?
Teddy Darvas: I don't know. I think I got pauses and just add and repeated and cut them in. Thirty transfers of one shot to get out little bits of this and that to fill in. When the film was finished, Graeme Green wanted the proper confessional with the Latin words and the lot. And Peter Finch had gone to Hollywood to do a film and there was absolute - what do you do - because otherwise Graeme Green wouldn't have allowed the film to be shown etc etc. And so I worked out a way, because I was under contract, so it was between films which were paid and you were available to do these jobs, and so I worked out a way of how we could do some close-ups of Trevor Howard doing extra lines and listening and get a wild track from Peter Finch in Hollywood with the Latin bits etc which were never going to work and it looks a mess actually in the finish. So that was all worked out. And I had worked it out and this was after day's shooting to do these extra shots on Trevor Howard, I mean, just two or three close-ups and I had worked out how many second pauses

p. 34

he had to do between lines. I went on the floor and, as I say, it was my first film as an Assembly Cutter, there's Jack Hildyard and Peter Newbrook as operator, they are all mates of mine and there's George. Now I go on and I am sitting down minding my own business and Jack Hildyard says 'Well Teddy you had better look through the camera and check the set-up, make sure that it is all right'. And I thought 'Now if that is not a mic key take this is really taking the pi ss', you see. They were serious, they were actually allowing me to do it. And George Morar Fare I said 'well, you had better go and tell Trevor how to do it'. And luckily Trevor and I were quite good friends so it didn't matter, but there I was suddenly directing Trevor and looking through the camera which I had never done in my life before. So we did it. It was wonderful again when you think about it because all the units, people were such friends, I mean, Peter Newbrook, Jack Hildyard, although they were much higher than I was, there was such a friendship between you all, it was accepted that somebody like myself, in the circumstances like that, it was I who felt embarrassed. So after that...John Legard: So how did it work out in the end, so you had those extra close-ups .... and you had the voice over that he had provided ...

Teddy Darvas: And the introduction and the thing and then you went back to the scene as it was.John Legard: It probably worked OK. If you didn't know what had gone on you would probably have accepted it.
Teddy Darvas: Well, funnily enough, emotionally it killed the scene. And George Morar Farel said to me 'This is the trouble about catholic converts', he being an Irish catholic of all time, George said 'That's the trouble with converts', he said, 'they want the splendour of the conversion not the substance of it, I mean, who the hell cares whether it is a proper confession as though in a confessional or whether it is done as two friends, which is like what I am saying is as good as confessing as you are a priest and a friend of mine'. And, in effect, two friends talking together, it was a far, far better scene than it is now and the fact that it is a confessional detracts from the dramatic impact of the scene. So after that film I was put on to the first St Trinians film - Frank Launder.

John Legard: Oh Really?
Teddy Darvas: And with Thelma Connoll and again I was pushed on it because (a) I was under contract and (b) a friend of Korda's. And it was all right because Thelma and I eventually got on very well together and I also dubbed that film and ....
John Legard: It seems there weren't so many Dubbing Editors about in those days.
Teddy Darvas: Well, no. The Editor and the First Assistant dubbed films. There were people like Harry Milne, Win Ryder, but you had to be a very big film to have a Dubbing Editor like "Sound Barrier" - it had a Dubbing Editor. But basically the First Assistant and the Editor very often dubbed the film between them. Actually I still believe, I mean, Assembly Editors are now not used and you only have like Editor and two assistants instead of Editor, Assembly Editor and two assistants. But actually the Assembly Editor dubbing the film, you know, sort of halfway through shooting you would go up a grade. I think even now it is a much better idea than getting Dubbing Editors in because, when I suddenly started dubbing a film, I had been on the film right through shooting ....
John Legard: You knew it intimately.
Teddy Darvas: I knew all the wild tracks. I sometimes fitted some, I knew what effects tracks there were. I knew everything. It was terribly easy to become a Sound Editor. Whereas later on when I, for about a year, I was only a Sound Editor and came on a film two weeks, three weeks before end of shooting. It is terribly difficult to get into it and suddenly you are told three days after starting a film that you have got to postsynch, you have got to clear Stewart Granger because he is

p. 35

going back to America and you haven't even seen the film. You don't know anything, you don't know what has to be done. Lew Thorburn and this idea actually was, I think, is still an exceedingly good idea. So anyway I was Assembly Cutter on "St Trinians" and Thelma was pregnant yet again and her First Assistant was Tony Lowrie, he went to live in Canada, and Thelma gave us alternate sequences to cut, she didn't cut all that much. So I had got quite a bit of experience and then Falmer(?) would look at what you had done and make you do alterations. So you got a bit of experience at cutting. It was absolutely wonderful, you know. So I dubbed that film as well and I am very proud that they didn't know - - - - sorry, I have got completely wrong, it wasn't St Trinians. After "Heart of the Matter", I beg your pardon, I went on to "Hobson's Choice" as Assembly Cutter. Now Jeff Foot was not cutting in and Peter Taylor took over as an editor and I was Assembly Editor now as David's favourite and I also dubbed it and did the music. "Hobson's Choice" was one of the great highlights of happiness - it was a brilliant, funny film. And it was a wonderful experience because Charles Laughton was terribly kind to me and talked about acting to me and he was not at all like what you hear about what a sad mixed up man he was. He was terrific towards me. And David Lean actually was quite afraid of him when he heard that Laughton was going to do it. And Laughton sent him a telegram, David showed it to me in his office, saying how much he looked forward to working with him, which was a very generous thing to do. And incidentally it was during this time that David got his CBE. On "Sound Barrier" we were working on New Year's Day and David was giving me a lift down to the studios and it was New Year's Day and I was waiting for him and I was reading The Times and the Birthday Honours. And David's brother - Tangy Lean - had been Talks Editor on the BBC European Service and I said 'David you brother's got a CBE' and he said 'well actually, you know, my family don't talk to me because of the divorce with Anne Todd, I have disgraced the family name and therefore they don't talk to me.' And I said 'well, why don't you congratulate him and perhaps he'll answer you'. And he wrote off and never got an answer. And just before "Hobson's Choice" started, and David got his CBE, and I had written him a letter to congratulate him and we went into the office and I congratulated him and I said 'Have you heard from Tangy?' And he said 'Well you know the family doesn't talk to me' and I said 'David, if the Queen has forgiven you surely your brother would forgive you' and so David wrote to Tangy saying that and they made up. It was partially due to me that the family got together again. Anyway, "Hobson's Choice" - it was going to be Robert Donat playing Wiiiie Mossop and he was always ill and he was supposed to be OK. And Korda had said to David Lean, after "Sound Barrier" because he didn't know what to do, he said 'What you have to do now is a small film on budget, good for your self confidence and also after "Sound Barrier" nobody will do a derogatory review because it is not as good as "Sound Barrier" and I have got the rights of this play "Hobson's Choice". "Hobson's Choice was a play that any north country comic who wanted to go straight did, either Willie Mossop or Hobson himself. And Korda had bought it for Wilfred Pickles and the film never got made. David had wanted to do a love story. And Alex said to David 'This play, you read it carefully, there's much, much more to that play than there is'. And David saw it. And Korda said to him 'Now, shoot it, don't do any retakes, don't do any additional shots, get a fine cut and then if there's anything that needs to be doing I'll give you money to do extra scenes or whatever it is'. And the shot and the living quarters was a composite set and that was put up on a stage and there was going to be one or two weeks rehearsal before shooting. And Brenda de Banzie was playing the oldest sister who was an absolute - she was one of the most difficult women to work with as it turned out and she in fact ruined herself. She was a real, I mean, nobody has a good word to say about Brenda. And as I say, it was going to be - and Daphne Anderson was the second sister and Prunella Scales' first part was the youngest sister. So anyway, for the rehearsals, and Helen Hay was

p. 36

going to be the lady of the manor who, in fact celebrated her aoth birthday during the making of the film, she was beautiful, lovely. And all the scenes in the shot which was half the film, were going to be rehearsed. And Donat did turn up for the rehearsals. He was old and grey with Renee Asterton who was his wife. And the scene where Willie Mossop first appears, if you know the film, he thumps on the trapdoor, Willie, and up pops this chap like a jack-in-the-box. And this old man went down the stairs like that, and suddenly Willie - not in costume - and up popped Willie Mossop, that was Donat, it was a transformation. And after about three days rehearsal he was ill again and he wasn't getting any better and we started shooting and there was absolute chaos because they were shooting all round and the' moment was rapidly arriving when you couldn't carry on shooting without somebody to play Willie Mossop. And Johnny Mills' star was on the wain then, he played too many captains of ships etc and David Lean said 'I remember Johnny is a very good character actor, cockney, a song and dance man, I think he can play Willie Mossop.' So it turned out that he had gone on holiday, his father had died, he was very upset, and they cabled him, or his agent cabled him, and Johnny Mills said 'Well, what will my public think of me, there are used to me in heroic roles'. And David Lean said to me, which is again amazing considering I am an assistant, that I was such friends with David, 'You know, he doesn't realise that Willie Mossop is the most heroic part' because he starts off as an illiterate boot boy and a year later ends up as the owner of a fashionable -what he has done is more than a Rating becoming an Admiral. So in effect, Johnny did take the part and, of course, that restarted his career. Anyway it was overall a very happy film and Laughton, of course, was marvellous in it.

John Legard: Did you have to do much filling in and extra shooting as a result?
Teddy Darvas: No, when the film was finished and it was cut together, the strange thing was, of course, there was suddenly a tremendous gap which was in the play between Acts 2 and 3 where, like so many months passed, a lot of the shop and everything was re-erected and Alex gave a week's shooting and there was a montage done between the wedding night and everything going on. And so it was a very clever idea of Alex's to do it that way. The famous moon sequence ...John Legard: Yes, I was thinking of ..
Teddy Darvas: .. which I told Kevin Brownlow was a very interesting thing because there was all the thing, Charlie Staffa brought in and how to do this moon disappearing out of the puddles and that sort of thing. And when Jack Hildyard was lighting and the brutes were up there, out on the lot they built this whole village, and of course, there was the brute shining into the pond and if you walked forward it automatically disappeared. So the camera was put there and it was done terribly simply by the camera just tracking forward slightly. And David was very angry because, where Laughton falls down the trap door, Laughton insisted that he had to have Billy Russell, who was a very famous music hall comedian, that he had to have Billy Russell in as a technical advisor and it cost something like two hundred quid, you know, bringing him in for the day, which was a lot of money. Everybody was furious at Laughton. And I went to have a drink at lunch time with Laughton at the old bar at Shepperton and he said 'I know David is so angry with me, I will show you'. It was wonderful, Charlie Laughton demonstrating for me and he showed me how an actor, staggering round that trap door, at a crucial moment, always ended up facing the wrong way, not facing the trap door so that he could fall down. And he needed Billy Russell and he said 'It’s a music hall trick and it's a chassis and that's all I need him for, you see, to show me at one moment to do this little chassis, and then you sort of do a quick turn', which was there. And Laughton used to recite bits of Dickens to you and bits of the Bible and it was overall a frightfully happy film.John Legard: I imagine it was shot, it must have been only a few weeks, how many weeks?

p. 37

Teddy Darvas: Well, in those days, it was a short schedule but then it was like twelve weeks or whatever. Mind you, camera, lights, everything are much lighter. The film is much faster so that there are things that took a long, long time to do which today would not take any time whatsoever. It was like a happy family there. And again, about David Lean as an editor, David had a lot of trouble with the love scene - Brenda de Banzie proposes to Willie Mossop. It was Brenda acting up etc etc and there were little bits and pieces. And David said to Peter Taylor 'Cut it together, I want to see it'. And it was the first film that Peter Taylor had cut for David. And we went on the scoring stage, it was the only place we could get on, so we had to stand, bad projection, and we ran this scene, this love scene. When it was over David laughed and he said 'You know, Peter, never in a million years would I have thought that the way I directed that scene would be cut that way' and, of course, you can imagine Peter Taylor's face fell. And David said 'Oh no, no, no. Peter I am terribly sorry, no, it is absolutely marvellous. There are things in it that I never thought of. Please I beg you, don't touch this scene until I am off the floor'. And when he came into the cutting room and they worked on that scene, and it's halfway David's cut and halfway Peter's, more than halfway Peter was right. And this was David's tremendous generosity that he didn't say like some directors say 'What the hell do you think you are doing?' he could immediately see, which is of course why you try to do so terribly well with him. And there was one day when we were cutting, my adopted sister was making her debut at the Albert Hall and David decided to work pretty well all night. And I said 'Well, I had better cancel going' and he said 'No, no, you go off, you can't not go to your sister's debut'. When I got in the following morning all hell had broken loose because the projectionists had volunteered to stay all night, because they didn't like Steenbecks(?) to watch things on. And David, Peter and the second assistant, they had worked all night. And the union had kicked up a terrible fuss and nobody was allowed into the cutting room before four o clock. Norman - the sound recordist, he was a shop steward - and he said 'You are not allowed to work until four o clock and it's going to be awful problems and David is going to be barred' and all that went on. Of course, I turned up quarter to nine as usual and I was told to get out and I said 'You know, you had better check'. I had discovered what had happened because, of course, everybody had told me. And I said 'Well, you had better check your facts Norman, because I went home early last night so I am entitled to be here and I rang Peter Taylor at home and told his wife to say- he was still asleep -tell him not to be in before four o clock and the second assistant as well. And so David, in a filthy mood, because of the union, and he could be very, very nasty sometimes on this sort of thing, he decided to cut with Teddy Darvas. And so we put this reel on and he was telling me various things what to do. And I said that I find there is something wrong here, there's something that disturbs me and he said 'What'. I said 'I don't know but something disturbs me'. And David would like cross examine you, almost psycho-analyse you on things. He said 'Well you must know' and he would get it out of you gradually and after about five minutes or so I said 'Look, it's like in a Shakespeare play and a side from an actor to an audience'. He said 'You are right there's two lines I left over from the play, I've forgotten them. Would you know how to get them out?' And I said 'Yes, I know how to cut them out'. So he said 'Right I am going back to the office to have a coffee, ring me when you have done it and I will come and have a look at it'. And I did it. Brilliant, you know, terrific. And he approved it. And weeks and weeks later when we were in the dubbing theatre when we came to that reel he said to Red Law and Norman Spencer and everybody he said 'You know, Teddy saved that reel for me' and I walked on air for about a week. It was the most wonderful generosity. And so I dubbed that film and we didn't know whom to get as a composer - David Lean didn't know whom to get as a composer.

John Legard: So you got Muir Mathieson in?
p. 38

Teddy Darvas: As usual Muir said 'You know Malcolm Arnold has this Rabelaisian sense of humour I bet you he can write a comedy score'. And Malcolm wrote, which to me, is the finest comedy score I have ever heard, it is absolutely fantastic. We did the music which was terrific fun right the way through. And Malcolm was amazing because, any measurement you gave him, you found he pointed. I mean, if I gave measurements purely to guide him where in the picture it was, which doesn't apply today because composers get a video and they can watch. , But in those days you had say or he would say 'I want to know the exact time between footsteps' ...

John Legard: It was endless, very long detailed ......
Teddy Darvas: And, I found that anything that you gave him, he did and David Lean said 'Hobson is a larger than life character, of course, Laughton was playing it very much over the top, and it's like a music hall character so we need like a music hall tune. And he wrote this wonderful tune with tuba and everything. It is a brilliant score. So at the end of that film, that's when I went on the St Trinians. Incidentally, two films I did as a sound editor never had a credit on it. You didn't automatically get credits - it was an honour, you see. I mean, David Lean didn't give me dubbing credit on it because he didn't consider it was a very great dubbing job, sound job. But he taught you, funnily enough, he took the trouble, like a teacher, about how to play sound cliches, which when I have lectured, I have said 'If you want the audience to know that a piece of sound is beginning you must put it in a gap between dialogue, even if it is only a one frame gap. If you want sound to be already there by the time the audience hear it, you start it off under a high mod'. He taught you all those little cliches and like, I put in a grandfather clock striking four or five at one point, and in the dubbing theatre he came and sat next to me and said 'Now Teddy, that is a real bit of sound editing now, what you have done is, there was an awkward gap which was bad direction of Maggie coming in through the door till she comes into the living room. Now that had to be filled up because it was a drag but you filled it up with a sound that also tells a story because she's late coming back on a Sunday afternoon. So that is what you have always got to think about when you are editing doing dubbing, that the sound has to have a meaning, not just a sound for any reason whatsoever. David actually taught you in a fantastic way. So when I went on to St Trinians, which was a great giggle as you can imagine and the dubbing of it was absolutely fantastic because, today of course, you would be allowed machine gun noises, atomic explosions, but then you would never have got a 'U' certificate. I had the absolutely marvellous thing, they had the two BBC effects boys and Beryl and I got - Beryl Mortimer - and I got props on the scoring stage to put up a wall and I had 200 bags filled with soot, 200 bags filled with something else, 200 wet turfs(?) and 200 balloons. And we had them for the big battle at the end. I mean, all one's inhibitions - we were just throwing things at the wall, exploding balloons - absolutely wonderful. Of course, you had to fit those in those days, you couldn't ? the picture in those days, there was no rod(?) control(?) but can you imagine fitting every one of these explosions and things like that? And it was great fun. There was, again, the question of the composer and I had said 'Malcolm had written this wonderful funny score, why not Malcolm Arnold?' So Malcolm came in again, Muir Mathieson, and that he was going to do the music for St Trinians. And I said for the title music 'Malcolm, what you need is really the school song'. Malcolm has this wonderful ravelasian sense of humour and he said 'Yes, but it's being like played in one of these elementary schools where one bangs a triangle, one bangs something else.' And he wrote this wonderful theme music which has been used for every film -the school tune thing. And I dubbed that and music and assembly editor and I actually got a credit on that. It was the first time I actually had a credit?
John Legard: Was that your first credit?

p. 39

Teddy Darvas: Well, I had two credits as credits but was the first time my name appeared on the screen that was on the first St Trinians film.
John Legard: Right, well done. What year are we talking about now?
Teddy Darvas: That must have been 1953. And then, that was really that. The next film was "Summer Madness" which David did in Venice. I didn't go to Venice. I had to stay in London to look after the rushes which was a great disappointment. And I had David Lean's office in 146 Piccadilly, which was marvellous. I had like four months, very little work to do except guard the Technicolor C rushes, mute and send them off and send a report. And when the film came back ...John Legard: It was actually quite· a job though, isn't it. Presumably you had camera men ringing in and getting ....

Teddy Darvas: Yes, the usual sort of thing. And, of course, Technicolor in those day were a monopoly and one forgets quite how unco-operative they were. I mean, on Gilbert and Sullivan and most of the films - that was still three strip I think - that you had everything in black and white and you had the odd shot in colour ...
John Legard: One shot in twenty I think.
Teddy Darvas: That's right. One establishing shot. I couldn't get a colour print for I don't know how long. And I blew up with Technicolor about it and Frank Bush who was the contact, chief contact for Technicolor, actually went and complained to Lew Thornburn that I dared tick off somebody at Technicolor. And I was called in to Lew Thornburn and I was given an absolute bollicking.
John Legard: Were you really?
Teddy Darvas: Complete bollicking by Lew Thornburn saying etc etc 'You have got to beg their thing'. And typical Lew Thorburn, having given me a bollicking, he said 'Don't ever do that again, you were absolutely right, next time, tell me, I'll do the bollicking'. He went through the process as it were. Anyway on "Summer Madness" and the first thing they shot was like when Katie had been aroused (had arrived?) in Venice and there were all the points of view going up the Grand Canal. And all the days rushes were printed, they were really sort of orangey, reddish. And I said 'I'm sorry, for the first days rushes, I mean, if Jack Hildyard gets those in Venice he'll go absolutely mad. I am terribly sorry but they may have to be reprinted'. And there was a terrible row.
John Legard: You had responsibility for that?
Teddy Darvas: Well, I was in London, I was there. I always knew, at London Films you knew that Korda people, they would back you on this. You were never afraid to take responsibility because you knew you that wouldn't be let down. But, I mean, they were terrible.
John Legard: Well, I thought they would have realised ......
Teddy Darvas: No, they were a law unto themselves and they said and Frank Bush called me into his office and said 'Those rushes are within our degree of tolerance', were his exact words. And I said to him 'They are not within my degree of tolerance' and they had to reprint. 'We'll do it this once but never again'. And that's how Technicolor behaved in those days. I mean, people have forgotten.
John Legard: Was there an improvement.
Teddy Darvas: Well, once Rank and all the other labs processed ....
John Legard: But they really were a monopoly at that time weren't they?
Teddy Darvas: They were a monopoly
John Legard: This was before Eastmancolour ...
Teddy Darvas: That's right. "Summer Madness" was Eastmancolour but, of course, it was then printed on three strips and transferred onto a matrix. But they were the only ones doing it so you

p. 40

really had to be frightfully polite to them. "Summer Madness" was the first film that was entirely cut on magnetic sound and, in fact, a French film editor called Jacqueline Tierdu went to Venice to show them how to do it. And the ACT gave permission for Jacqueline, when the film came back, she actually came to London and worked with us. And Jacqueline and I are still very great friends and I saw her in Paris last time. It was the first time. And, of course, there was no equipment for cutting magnetic. It was all a great experiment, you know. llya Lofort was the producer, he was a Russian/Jewish/American who just screamed and shouted all the time. David had great problems with that but the film, he adored Katie Hepburn and the film, I think it is a masterpiece. I think it is a fantastic movie. And, of course, David was between wives then. He had left Anne and was living on his own as a bachelor and so we used to work till ten o clock at night, and he loved the Buxton Club. He would always give me a lift back home and halfway through he would say 'Teddy, I fancy a steak, how about the Buxton Club?' and we would stop at a public phone box and I would ring through and say 'Can we have the corner table'. And we would sit there with David until two or three in the morning. There was this amazing friendship. It really sort of developed - I was with him pretty well all the time, which didn't mean, incidentally, that if he was in a mood, the following morning, and you said 'Good Morning, David', he would look at you as though he had never seen you in his life before. And it was wonderful because one learnt, one had great fun. And we then, as a recompense, I was being taken to Rome to do the music. And the music is one of the most amazing kind of funny stories because this Italian composer whose name I can never forget - brilliant composer - he came over with his girl friend and the old house in Shepterton was still a hotel as well, you could stay there. Stars and directors used to live there while they were shooting. So he was put up there, he saw the film, and he took some stop watch measurements and he had a piano in his room and three or four days later he came with themes etc and David accepted them and he went back to Rome- this was on a rough cut- first cut- and I was doing the measurements and every time there was an alteration I - I always did measurements- one measurement per page with a date, so if you had to alter it, only that page had to be - and David's secretary, Pamela Mann, who is now Freddie Francis's wife, was the Production Secretary and Pam had learnt Italian so she was doing the translation. So we arrived in Rome with David. This was another thing, because he loved flying in aeroplanes because of "Sound Barrier", the Viscount was the new plane, he was like a little boy on the plane 'Listen to this, listen to that'. We arrive, and we are in the Grand Hotel and llya Lopert arrives. llya had been to Monte Carlo, he had his chauffeur drive his huge convertible cadillac from London to Monte Carlo where he never sat in it, told the driver to come straight on to Rome, where he arrived in this huge cadillac, was sent back to London by plane and then an Italian driver took over. So he drove everywhere in this huge cadillac and llya Lopert had his mistress there who was an English girl who rejoiced in the name of Sanny- I've forgotten, it was a very funny name - anyway, a sweet girl, and so the first evening David, who loves music and the only thing he can't do is compose, so the maestro arrives, he wants to hear the music. The ballroom of the Grand Hotel, it has like a minstral gallery where the band is. He spoke no English so llyas is translating - Sanny Cruz her name was her name, which was wonderful. Anyway, so let's hear the theme, the main theme. So he starts playing and David says 'that is not quite as I remember the theme, I don't quite understand this, can you play it again?' Meanwhile, down below in the forum they are setting up for a banquet, you see. So he said 'No, no, no, the tune is a bit like this but will you tell the maestro that there where he is going down I remember it going up'. So gradually it turns out that this man has done no work whatsoever and he had even forgotten the theme that he had composed. So we were supposed to be in Rome for five days, you see. Then it turns out he hadn't booked the orchestra or the studio. So David says to llya 'Ask the maestro why he hasn't

p. 41

done any work' and only Italians can do it - he said 'Senor Lean, your film is of such magnificence that my little theme, I thought, was not worthy of this film so all these weeks I have been trying to think of a better one, but I couldn't'. He had probably composed the music for two other films meanwhile! So there we are, no music, no orchestra, nothing. Wonderful for me because I had seventeen days in Rome with hardly any work. I had never been to Rome so I had the days free on expenses to explore. The idea was that every evening at seven o clock we would go round to the maestro's place, because David always went through the music section by section. So we sit down, and I have got the measurements there, my last set of measurements, 1 M1 and he starts playing and we discuss it and yes or no etc. 1M2. And then starting on like this first evening and we were getting to the beginning of reel 3 and something doesn't gel. And so I whispered to David because I am only an assistant. I said to him 'I think he has got the wrong measurements'. So 'llya can you ask him, has he got the measurements that we have been sending you?' So he said 'Yes, yes, certainly I have'. 'Could we see them?'. So he goes into another room and out comes a pile of envelopes as we sent them. And he was still composing for rough cuts, stopwatch measurements that I took months before. So 'Right, Teddy, can you sort out the measurements'. So I go through the envelopes by dates and get the set out. Back to 1 M1 and so we go on. And eventually orchestra, everything, is booked etc. And we are told that it's going to be conducted by this brilliant conductor who was, like all the Italian conductors, a successor of Toscanini, everybody was always a successor of Toscanini. This man had an unbelievable, it's a great tragedy, that when he got over-exciting conducting and that, something would snap and he would faint. And eventually he couldn't conduct opera and that sort of thing because these things would happen. So he carved a living doing music sessions. And we were told 'Don't worry if he faints because his wife is there with a jug of water and she just pours some over him to revive him.' Which she didn't do right through this thing. And this again is one of my great moments in film. We were doing one of these sections and this man, he has really got magnetic eyes, and he really controls the orchestra and the orchestra are all in awe of him. Tremendous control. And British session musicians and orchestral musicians, they can sight read the most marvellous modern score. Italian orchestras do a wonderful concerted sound but they are not good sight readers or soloists. And there was this solo cello piece. And we are doing this thing and we come to this solo cello and the cellist hits a wrong note. So the conductor said 'Dacappo(?)'. The film is rewound. We go again and this cellist makes the same mistake. 'Dacappo'. We go again. And I was watching this cellist and this man with these staring eyes is really watching him as he is conducting. And this unfortunate man makes the same mistake. So the conductor just puts his baton down, gets off the rostrum, goes to the back of the hall and sits, next to his wife. And, like a five year old boy, he sulks, he just sits there. Now the orchestra are petrified of him, they just carry on playing, they don't know what to CS do, until eventually the whole thing comes to the final violin screeches to a halt. And we sit there in dead silence. This man sulking.

Tape3-SideB(Side6)
Teddy Darvas: Anyway, there was this chap sulking and I was giggling hysterically. And suddenly, as though nothing had happened, this conductor jumps up, goes to the rostrum and starts off. And we are getting near this unfortunate section and the conductor is watching, is only looking at this cellist, right down at him. And the cellist gets through the piece without making a mistake and this eminent Italian conductor just looked at him and stuck his tongue at him like that. And that is one of the great moments of musical recording. I mean, that is wonderful. If one hadn't seen it one wouldn't believe it. Anyway we recorded all the music, which was marvellous.
John Legard: And it all fitted in spite of what.. ...

p. 42

Teddy Darvas: It was beautiful actually. Rosano(?) Bratchey(?) caused problems because Rosano is, if you say 'Can you run?', he says 'Well I've nearly represented Italy in the Olympics as a sprinter'. He runs fifteen yards and he's puffed. So when he had to hum into Katie Hepburn's ear he said 'I am an opera singer' and could he do it to earphones. No. Italian publicity woman had to go and dance with him and he couldn't do it. It was absolute murder. But otherwise fine. Win Ryder was the sound editor on it - dubbing editor on the film. And he asked for two things. Espresso machines had just come in in England - this was 1954 - and in the library there wasn't a track of the espresso steam, could I get him a track of that. And could I get him the sound of an Italian train with a whistle with a doppler effect. Anyway Win asked me for the sound of the espresso machine and the train with the doppler effect and we were recording the music at Foloroma(?) and the director of that, a man called Alberta Stable, spoke perfect English. I said 'Could I have, I need these two sound effects'. He said 'No problem, we will just take a cable from and run it down to our canteen and we can do the coffee machine and I'll get the train'. Of course, this is before quarter inch recorders and that...

John Legard: So you are on the old big stuff?
Teddy Darvas: So it turns out that the cable won't reach as far as the restaurant, but never mind, I will get you the things. So we finished the music recordings and I said 'How about these sound effects?' He said 'Yes, I've got the man right here, he is our greatest sound effects man and he is in the next studio, come with me'. And David and I go there. Incidentally, Win Ryder hates me because twice I did something terrible to him on sound effects and this is the first time. And David always liked to take the mickey, although he adored Win Ryder, he always liked to take the mickey out of him. So we said 'Right, here's this chap' and I thought I was going to be handed a little roll of film with the effects on it. And he said 'No, you want espresso machine, yes?' So in this little studio, there is a microphone in the middle of the room. He said 'Right, turn over' he said in Italian 'Espresso machine'. He goes to the microphone and goes (noise of an espresso machine) something like that. Cut. Marvellous. David is absolutely, he is just laughing like anything. 'So now how about the train whistle with the doppler effect?' 'Easy' he says. And he goes to one corner of the room, pulls out a whistle from his pocket and he said 'Turn over' and he walks past the microphone going 'Pooooooooooooh' like that, you see, and he does that twice, by which time David, of course, is on his knees laughing. And he said 'Teddy, don't say anything, just hand these two things to dear old Win and see what he does'. And, of course, dear old Win did not think this was at all funny. The same thing happened on "River Kwai", so he really, when I told him on "River Kwai" which comes later that John Mitchell had fallen asleep and forgotten to record the blowing of the Bit Bridge, Win Ryder really thought that, you know, I should be shot. So that was the sound effect recording. Incidentally, about other times with David Lean. When we doing postsynch with Charlie Laughton on "Hobson's Choice" and he was going back to America so it had to be after shooting so I booked from 6.30 to 1 0 o clock and Laughton had been so kind to me and everything and he had quite a lot to do. And we start postsynch and he behaves likes an absolute bastard to me. He says 'Right, does it, that's good enough, next loop, this, that and the other'. And David retreats into the listening room and he used to let me direct postsynchs which was absolutely amazing. I mean, Don Sharp never allows me to direct postsynch but David Lean did as an assistant. So there I am. And Laughton has me running in ever decreasing circles. I am sweating, I hate him. All I have is his witticisms from David. And we finish, instead of ten o clock, we are finished by about ten past eight. And I hate him. I thought really. And it's all there. But it doesn't fit all that well by TS(?). And last loop and Laughton turns to me and he said 'Teddy, you thought I was just tucking artistic didn't you? Well let me tell you I am a tucking good technician, come and have a drink'. And the whole

p. 43

thing was a gag on me. And I said 'Charlie, I hate you' and we went to the bar and had a few drinks. It was a terribly cruel trick to play on me but, in retrospect, it was very funny.
John Legard: And he proved himself right, because presumably it all fitted perfectly?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. I managed to fit it, yes. You know, today fitting postsynch, especially with Compeditors is so much easier, and you can do things that you couldn't do in those days.

John Legard: Yes, you are quite right. I mean, technology has improved.
Teddy Darvas: I haven't spoken about technique. But like on "Hobson's Choice", when he has the DTs and he has these rats that dive bomb him, these bees or insects that dive bomb him. I mean, today, you would get a track of bees in a hive and go into any theatre and you speed up, you can
do ..... In those days, I just didn't know how to do it and John Cox, who was the head of sound department at Shepperton, he was a marvellous man, and he eventually took the track, transferred it onto a disc - 78 disc - slowed that down and various things and then we actually, what he did, he put his finger, slowed down the record and released the finger and so it went up again. And that's how you had to cook up effects. I mean, I had no sort of idea or the mind for that sort of trickery. And without people like John Cox I wouldn't have known how to do it. But you really had to - these things were great problems which, today, one doesn't - and fitting postsynch, you didn't have Moviolas, you had the old Acmiolas, you had a very tiny pictureen(?) If you fitted by mods funnily enough the mods may fit but somehow on postsynch it looked out of synch. I mean, I was fitting a line and I fitted it by mods and I looked at it and it was out of synch. So I fitted it visually, and I put it back on the synchroniser and I found I was eight frames out. I thought that that was bloody ridiculous. I mean, it just cannot be. I mean, 35mm film. It can't be. So you start all over again, refit by mods and come to the same thing. And somehow because you have got different sounds the background is different and it is spoken slightly differently. And so fitting postsynch was a major problem where, today, on a Compeditor where you can (a) run two things, one on top of the other, so you can hear the things, you can see how it works out but also you can watch it and you can say 'Right, one frame there' and you can have it at an instant. And if you are in trouble you go to a specialist theatre where they can stretch or compress and also with magnetic, it's much easier to put buzz tracking. It is much easier, especially now, if you have two frames of something, with this machine they can loop like two frames and roll off as much as you like of two frames for you and so you have got the buzz track to put in. People have forgotten how complicated things were. And, of course, apart from the fact that you recorded not on loops, you actually had 1,000 foot of magnetic up and the thing rolled, the loop rolled, and you went take after take after take and you couldn't play it back.
John Legard: So no virgin loops ....
Teddy Darvas: No virgin loops. The virgin loops, incidentally, this is again anticipating, when I was assembly cutter and dubbing editor on "Baby and the Battleship", which was 1955/6, Mike DeCamper(?) who had had a very bad time, he had been in Rome for a year as a dialogue coach. And when he came back he said 'You know, in Italy now you make up a magnetic loop the same length as the loop and that's how you do it and we ought to try it.' And he went to John Cox and he said 'I am willing to try it if you are but people like Carol Reid or Anthony Asquith or David Lean, they will never accept it, just one or two takes of something, they need a choice of eight or ten different versions'. And so he rigged up a machine with this sort of loop for "Baby and the Battleship" and that was the first time that loops were used. But then, for example, after that, "Bridge on the River Kwai" and after that we still had the 1,000 foot long loops that was the loop system only. Virgin loop system only came in later. So these technical things, which I haven't talked about, which is a shame, I forgot about it, they were very, very much more complicated and ....

p. 44

John Legard: Well, apart from anything else, I mean, the optical process was a- the optical track- was so much less versatile and ..... .
Teddy Darvas: And also because
John Legard: ... cutting the mods together you have got this sort of awful artificial sound .... whereas with magnetic.

Teddy Darvas: And you had to cut if you could in the top mods where you didn't have to bloop and that sort of thing.
John Legard: Yes that's right.
Teddy Darvas: But also, you see, like today a lot of directors allow overlaps tremendously and now, I mean, I can cut into an overlap like the sprocket ahead of a hard T or a B, right in the middle of two takes, like that. And you can get away with it. But on optical you couldn't. Overlaps were the most terrible problem, you couldn't fiddle them at all. "Summer Madness" as I say, that was done and Jacqueline was over here to show us how to do it and how to fit, but the postsynch was still done in that way and it was a very much slower ...

John Legard: Did you postsynch the majority of that?
Teddy Darvas: No. David Lean always wanted as much original sound and on "Summer Madness" Peter Handford was the floor eecordist who is, to my mind, the greatest. And so I think 80o/o or more of "Summer Madness" is original sound. With llya Lopert, he wanted the first scene in the railway carriage but Katie Hepburn's voice is so dreadful that had to postsynch with And re Morell. And I had only met Katie Hepburn that one day because I wasn't in Venice. Katie Hepburn came in in dirty old slacks and everything and sat cross legged on a table in the theatre and she said to David Lean 'Yes, all my life the first scene in every film I have had to dub because they all say they can't put up with that dreadful voice but after the first scene they get used to me'. And in effect I can't remember whether we used the postsynch on the first scene or not. But there was this terrible thing. Peter Handford, the sound effects, I mean, and they had big heavy - what were these big recorders? - hyphen Lee something recorders, they were heavy 14" tape recorders. And the scene in where she walks down and alley way and there are noises coming from different windows and that sort of thing, Peter actually took that very heavy machine and slung it across his shoulder, so I am told, and he walked down the alley way with a microphone and so he actually got the perspective of different noises. And then, of course, we recorded extra noises of a baby crying, a dog barking, fading in and fading out and that sort of thing added to it. But Peter he was fantastic. I mean, today nobody thinks about it but it is another thing of.. .... And going back on sort of sound, on "Last Days of Dolwyn", for example, and, of course, you had to have the big sound track, and it's as long as the cable took, and also you were not allowed to postsynch a scene where a sound crew was not present, even if you didn't record sound. And there was a scene between this Andrea Lee and the young Richard Burton in a wood and, of course, there is no way the sound track would get there. And so it was shot mute, a long dialogue scene, different shots, and like remember what they said and it was very difficult to postsynch it. And as nobody could understand, you know you can very rarely remember the mms and ahs that you put in. And even then, the sound department tried to kick up a fuss that you are not allowed to postsynch it. But the answer was, of course, there was a sound track there, it just couldn't reach, so bad luck, you didn't have enough cable, it's your fault, not ours. mean these difficulties were horrific.
John Legard: ..... saying about the French - how did the French actually get ahead of us ...
Teddy Darvas: Because on certain things they are far ahead.
John Legard: Are they really?

p. 45

Teddy Darvas: I mean, I went to cut a film for Victoria De Sica in 66/67 and there was a dubbing theatre there. The man who was the Chief Dubbing Mixer and part owner and designer - a man called Neni(?) - now that dubbing theatre had things in it. And I came back and I tried to talk EMI, when they were rebuilding their theatre - I said 'For god's sake fly over and Neni's thing because he had so many things there'. Now he could then, and today it is much easier, but then he could stretch and contract things. He had a panel on his barrel which recorded frames. So if you were slightly out of synch, instead of like in England you had to take the track off back to the cutting room and redo it, he could use the screen like a moviola and synch it for you in front of you and it was there that he was like two frames or six frames ahead. At the end he could put that track back. And he had another thing which nobody has done yet. He had a funny mirror above the projector which projected the film on to, if you wanted to, a square inside the screen, but, it was running a foot in advance, 2/3rd of a second. So if you were doing a battle scene and you suddenly had a command and you had to dip sound(?), without queuing he could watch that little square and he had 2/3rd of a second vac. And I begged Fifo(?). I said 'For god's sake' I mean we are talking about 66 and nobody in England would listen. So in many things they were miles, miles ahead. I mean, the dubbing there was .... but nobody would listen. So therefore in France they were working on magnetic in a primitive way, let's face it OK, but they working on it that way. It's very interesting and it needed somebody like Mike DeCamper to say to John Cox 'Well you can do it by loop only' and yes it works. But, I mean, for example, again, as we are talking about technique and the whole point about the loop system is that you are recording and wiping automatically. And on "Baby and the Battleship" there is a scene of a Neapolitan woman, peasant woman, jabbering away in broad Neapolitan patter and it was shot mute or the sound was - there were generators etc. And somebody got in a Neapolitan woman and the first time round this woman - and the sound recordist in the posting theatre was George Stephenson. And the first time round, this woman, and it was a long bit and it was ad libbed, jabbering away, first time round she got it spot on and I said 'Right, save it' and Stevo said 'Oh that was only a rehearsal, I am wiping, we are going on'. And we went an hour and a half and she never got it and it's never to this day right. And it was the thing, your first rehearsed and did this and did that and then you recorded. And he couldn't understand - it was the first time it was done - but the whole point is that you are recording all the time and if something happens that is good you save it. If it is no good for quality you put another loop on and have another go. These innovations - and Italy and France were far ahead on these things. And far ahead, incidentally, of America.

John Legard: Really.
Teddy Darvas: And in the United States a lot of editors are still cutting as though it was optical days. was the English editor on "The Dirty Dozen" and the American editor brought over a three way moviola synchroniser without magnetic heads. And he still cut like that and the film was on the floor all the time, he was always out of synch, he had cue lines. And he said to me 'Yeah Teddy, I don't understand, my film is full of shit, it's always out of synch and all the cue lines'. So I said 'Why don't you take one of the moviola for head one with magnetic head underneath and you can hear'. And he wouldn't. You couldn't teach an old dog tricks. And a lot of American editors still cut like on the moviola, you can't get them to accept Compeditors and things like that. They are terribly old fashioned. It's very, very peculiar.
John Legard: ...... that because they are usually- they pick up things very quickly and ... .
Teddy Darvas: No, well I mean, your Acmade here, these Compeditors are so miles ahead and yet they are finding it almost impossible in this States to sell them. Nobody really wants to do them. And you ...... And for dubbing .... it isn't, it's a British design. It was designed by Acmade here.

p. 46

John Legard: Was it?
Teddy Darvas: They won't have it. I was cutting in Berlin and they do everything, laying tracks on Steenbecks. And I had a Compeditor there and people came to see it and they said 'Yes, we see that it's quicker and better but you have got to stand when you are doing it and it is not so comfortable'. I said 'Well, it doesn't matter. I am a lazy man.' To keep things in synch on a Steenbeck is terribly complicated.
John Legard: I know. I experienced it too. It's not nearly so precise.
Teddy Darvas: And they're not so precise and they are terribly good at it but it is much longer. And they won't see that a Compeditor, especially for postsynch. 'But' I said 'look if I'm laying a sound effect and need a door shutting, I have got this flywheel, I have the door noise there, I run round the picture, there, there's the door shut, I push this in, I mark it, I've done it.
John Legard: There you are, yes.
Teddy Darvas: I don't have to run 1,000 feet of spacing as you do on this ......
John Legard: I agree with you, my experience is that's the way to do it.. ..
Teddy Darvas: And there's an awful lot of people who are not willing to listen or to take in new ideas. And, I mean, Berlin, I mean, apart from the fact the sound is on 17.5mm as you know, 35 cut in half. And you can imagine it, it's always running off, it is absolute hell. On music you can't have triple track music, you can only have mono music. They think they save money with it.
John Legard: I was surprised to hear you saying that the Italians are ahead of us .....
Teddy Darvas: Well they started the loops ....
John Legard: They tend to shoot their dialogue in an odd way, don't they? Don't they shoot everything sort of more or less .......
Teddy Darvas: It doesn't matter how it is. Everything is dubbed.
John Legard: Literally everything?
Teddy Darvas: Everything. But also you have the actors, a bank of about six microphones with a script and they have no perspective. If it's supposed to be long shot the mixer takes the volume down and it's done very quickly and efficiently and they don't mind and this is why. I did dub one from one hundred percent recut in Italo/Anglo/Franco co-production which comes later in my career. Every actor speaking whatever language they remember at any given moment. And we discovered - Bert Ross was the recordist - and I got him interested and for five and a half weeks as we did it, and we got the perspective in the postsynch theatre right. So he found the screen and the actor turned his head, Bert turned the microphone slightly and so when it was a longer shot the microphone went that much further up. And funnily enough, it looked perfectly in synch because the perspective was right. It was a very interesting lesson that. That as long as you got the perspective right, you accepted the synch much, much better. But, economically you can't do that. This was a Roy Boulting thing and he could indulge himself to have ....... Right, about "Summertime", again the interesting thing ...
John Legard: "Summer Madness".
Teddy Darvas: "Summer Madness". It was "Summertime" in America and for some reason in England they insisted on renaming "Summer Madness". It was based on a play and it was a very interesting thing that when David Lean first read the play, and when I read it, you turned over at the end of Act 2, and you found it was the end of a play, and everybody was left up in the air. The writer was Arthur Lawrence who was quite bitter about America, about Italy. He was sort of homo- sexual, he was quite a mixed up man. And I said to David 'The play doesn't finish' and what he did, what David used to do always, was when he was in a worry about anything, he would ask you to tell the story and when you stopped he would always say 'And then, and then'. And he got Arthur

p. 47

Lawrence to tell him the story of the play, because Arthur Lawrence had objected to the new ending, the extra bits that David Lean had added on. And when Lawrence came to the end of the play David said 'and then'. And it seems Arthur Lawrence's face dropped and he said 'I see what you mean'. So he approved of the extra proper ending of the growing up of the woman and that sort of thing. But what I wanted really to say, because I think we have exhausted "Summer Madness", it was a reflection of Korda, Alexander Korda, if he wanted to know something he never got a secretary to ask. Or if he asked you to tell him something, when you rang back with the information it was no use saying to the secretary 'Will you tell Sir Alex so and so'. She would always say 'I think he wants to hear it himself' and you would be very, very quick. And on "Summer Madness" which was one of the first films that Technicolor processed which was Eastman, but we still had stuff on Technicolor on the Matrix printing and we had had quite a lot of problems, because with a Matrix printing, the three different negatives had to be numbered rather like rushes. And they had a man who had been in the cutting rooms, he was a very strange man who had also been a projectionist, and everything, and he was working doing the numbering. And I found that I cut in a colour print where you could only tell synch, because it was on the backs of people, by cigarette smoke, and I was accused of cutting it in out of synch. And I said 'Nonsense' and showed Peter Taylor the editor that I had cut it according to the key numbers. I found that it had been renumbered and I was twenty feet out on the numbering. This man was completely unreliable. But anyway. Everybody had left from the cutting rooms, I was, being under contract, the only one there. And we had terrible problems with sparkle on the prints and we had to have more and more prints. And one day at Shepperton I had a message from Lew Thornburn's office would I ring Sir Alex, one always trembled obviously, what had one done wrong. And he said 'Teddy, when will you have a print because I have to show it for some Japanese buyers'. And I said 'Is it a very important showing?' and he said 'Yes'. So I said 'well, I saw a print yesterday but there is a new one coming off tomorrow which should be all right, is it possible to wait?' and he said 'Yes' and he slammed down the receiver as usual. Later on that day in the afternoon I had to go up to town and go into Alex's office and the producer llya Lopert, llya who was a
John Legard: llya Lopert- how do you spell that?
Teddy Darvas: I I y a L o p e r t. I think I mentioned his name earlier on and his girl friend Sanny Cruz. llya was a very excitable Russian/Jewish/American, screamed and shouted always. And when I went into the office, which was a big anti room, then he started shouting at me about not allowing the print to be shown. And without any of us- well I realised because I was facing Alex's office door- that he had come out and he was standing there silently and he listened to llya ticking me off. And he said 'llya, if Teddy says the print is not good enough to show, it is not good enough to show' and with that he turned on his heels, shut the door and went back into his office. Which was why, of course, you were not afraid to take decisions and it was very good from that point of view. Also, while I was in Alex's office, he had a private secretary assistant, who was a retired naval captain, and he- his name was
John Legard: I think I remember who you mean
Teddy Darvas: The name will come back in a second. He was a terribly nice man and he knew very little about films and he always said that he could judge how good a film was by whether he managed to keep awake during the running or not. And if he managed to keep awake over two runnings it was a masterpiece. And the reason he became an employee of Alex's, because during the war Korda continually flew backwards and forwards to America in these converted bombers. And, in fact, there were lots of articles in the papers 'Why should he be given a seat when he was living in America, one of those who had left Britain in its hour of need'. And, of course, as it's come

p. 48

out now in the book "Intrepid" and things, of course, Alex had set up a spy ring in America and he had opened offices of London Films across Amerca which were really receiving bits for, and in fact, on "Cry the Beloved Country", one day Zoltan Korda said 'You know Alex did not get his knighthood for what he had said for services to the film industry but he got it for something that cannot be disclosed, he did something very important in the war'. But the way this chap, and it's stupid that I can't remember his name at the moment, but I can ring up and find out later on. The reason he became an employee of Alex was that, on one of these trips across the Atlantic, you had to wear oxygen masks and Korda, it seems, had fallen asleep and his oxygen mask had slipped and this naval captain who was on an official trip, saw it and he took his mask and put it on Alex's face and revived him. And Alex said 'If you ever want a job after the job or when you are demobbed, there is one for you' and when he was demobbed he went and he was a terribly nice man. And so that was that. The name begins with an H and I can't remember it. But to go back for a second, one quick anecdote of when I was in publicity.

John Legard: Now, we are going back how many years?
Teddy Darvas: This was in 46/47 when I first worked in publicity. As I said earlier that I did publicity on all the films of that time. British Lion, which Korda had bought, distributed Republic pictures and Republic made the best second features in the business. And they produced dozens of films.
John Legard: That goes right back to before the war doesn't it? They were at Becksonfield Studios and they had their own laboratories and they used to distribute the Roy Rogers .....
Teddy Darvas: That's right. I'm coming to that. This is the anecdote about Roy Rogers. Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger. And when you did any publicity for these films, Roy Rogers and Trigger shared equal one hundred percent billing. As you know one hundred percent means same size as the title. But contractually, in five percent, contractually you had to put under Roy Rogers, 'King of the Cowboys' and under Trigger you had to put 'Smartest Horse in the Movies' and presumably if you forgot it then Trigger would have sued you. And Herbert Yates married a Czech ice skater- Vera Housec who was renamed Vera Ralston - and they tried to do sort of song a hanney(?) films which didn't work. But now she was in every western and with a Czech accent, regardless, playing the leading lady. But also I was told that they produced so many films that, for example, Republic had their own ranch which they ran commercially with herds of cattle, everything. So they could shoot there all the time. But being very small budget pictures, when they had like a posse riding out, they had two cameras from different angles, and that posse was the goodies for one film and the baddies for another film and so they shared the thing. That was all I wanted to say about that. The other thing was that Buckingham Palace had no projection and no theatre till Queen Elizabeth came to the throne when the film industry's present for her coronation was, in fact, the cinema in Buckingham Palace. And until then, whenever the King and the Queen wanted to see a film, privately, they used to come to 141/146 Piccadilly.
John Legard: This was the house they lived in anyway wasn't it at one time?
Teddy Darvas: Well, 145 was the one that was bombed and there was a sort of corridor built across the bombed site which is ? nowadays of course. And so whenever they came the King and Queen would arrive with relations and then an estate car would arrive and any palace servant who was off duty could come and see this film. And Korda would always go away, he would never be there. As he said to my father 'Because if I were there, as I am the host, they would have to invite me back to the palace and I can go to the palace any time'. So he would always go away, always be away. But in his office there would be a bar- Tom Hussey was the naval captainso in Tom Hussey's office there would always be a bar set up. And there was a couple - a housekeeper and his wife who

p. 49

ran the house but he was much more than a housekeeper, he was a very responsible, very nice man, very good friend. And he would, in fact, entertain the King and the Queen and he would say 'Sir and ma'am, if you would like a drink, here it is' and the trick was that, if you wanted to book the theatre in an evening when the King and Queen were coming, there was a formula if you rang up and they would say 'The theatre is not available, the family from across the way is coming' but if you were there for any reason, visiting in the office, because lots of people like Douglas Fairbanks, David Lean, everybody had their offices there, and so you would always say 'But the family from across the way is coming' and they would arrive without any police or anything, like that.

John Legard: An interesting thing, if I can interrupt you there, about the equipment at Buckingham Palace, because I was at an RAF camp in Shropshire and the equipment we had there was actually reputed to come out of Buckingham Palace before the war. It was a very small KV set up ..... whether it was true or not I don't know.
Teddy Darvas: I don't know. Anyway, that was 144 Piccadilly, and of course in 144 Piccadilly, among various people whom Alex employed, when I was in publicity one of the girls in publicity was Clarissa Churchill, Churchill's niece who eventually married Anthony Eden. And, of course, the script editor was Baroness Mura Woodberg who was very beautiful when she was young. I got to know her when she was very elderly. She was an absolutely charming, lovely woman, very, very kind. You could never imagine when she was young that she was a femme fatale. And she specialised in being the mistress of literary people. And I think when she was younger she was either the mistress of Talstoy or Gorkie and she went through a number of very famous writers and everybody knows that she had been one of H G Wells' many mistresses and she was also reputed to have been Alex's mistress at one time. But she specialised entirely in literary people and in France there was this very famous pianist - Catherine Long, Madame Catherine Long, who did the same thing- and specialised purely in musicians and started, I think, when she was younger with Sam(?) Sand(?) and carried on with everybody except Ravel who was not interested in girls. Anyway, that.. ..
John Legard: Apart from that what did Baroness Woodburg do - she was a writer wasn't she. Because I remember she worked with us on a Russian version of a film we had made about London. And when we got the translation, we found the commentator said he couldn't read it because it was all in early Russian.
Teddy Darvas: She was marvellous at scripts and she would read books and she would read things and tell Alex or Korda or anybody who wanted things they would go to Mora and talk to her about it. She was very, very charming. I got to know her. There was a Hungarian pianist called Elona Kabosh who had been married to Kento, Elona Kabosh lived in St John's Wood and she had a sort of salon there where people used to meet. And we used to go there. She was a friend of my parents. I mean, everybody would be there and that's where I met Mora Woodburg, but I mean, Yehuddi Menhuin, Shalty, it was a fantastic Sunday afternoon when you went there for tea.
John Legard: Just one other- while you are on Piccadilly there - 144 Piccadilly - did they have cutting rooms there as well?
Teddy Darvas: In· the basement there were two cutting rooms which were run by a Hungarian whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. I was trying to think of it. He was in charge of foreign prints and dubbing. And much later on, when I was out of work, badly out of work in 59, I had to get lots of foreign versions into synch which had gone out...
John Legard: That's why I asked actually.
Teddy Darvas: And I was paid some money in cash for doing that. And sometimes if you had to do a quick alteration, if you were showing something at 144 Piccadilly, you could disappear down

p. 50

into the cutting room and do a quick alteration or something like that. That was that. And during this - I am now going back into chronology- I can't remember the exact date but it was before

Tape4-SideA(Side7)
Teddy Darvas: I had a feeling a year or so before. Zoltan Korda remade "The Four Feathers" and the title of "Storm Over the Nile" and it was cut by Ray Poulton and it was supposed to have been directed by Terence Young.
John Legard: Is that the one that was done in Cinemascope?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, and this what I think is technically important, that now that they have reissued "Four Feathers" a few weeks ago. Of course, Zollie more or less took over the directing and Terence Young hardly got a word in. I was not on the film. I was supposed to be assembly editor on "Shores, Arms and a Man" and that suddenly wasn't made, I don't for what reasons. And I was put on to doing dialogues on this which I dreaded because I knew that I would be screamed at by Zollie. But the interesting thing was, Zollie himself had, after the war, recut "Four Feathers" by taking out all the pieces that were dated. So that version suited the post war era much better and I don't know in this restoration whether they have put back things that Zollie himself took out. He was, incidentally, always going to do the same thing to "The Drum" and never got round to it. But the "Storm Over the Nile" was made for 201 h Century Fox in Cinemascope and the quality of the photography was so fantastic that all the crowd scenes, everything, was from the original 1938/39 film. Korda employed two camera men on most of these films. The interior photography was the legendry Georges Perinal - Peri - who was a fantastic camera man, terribly nice, who still did lots of films after the war. And the outdoor camera man was a man called Osmond Borrowdale - Bordie - and Bordie when he, after the war, tried to light a film properly, the whole film, called "Saints and Sinners", he wasn't very good at interiors but he was fantastic at exteriors. So it was a very interesting team. Especially colour when you consider what Technicolor cameras were like. Anyway, all the stuff had to be blown up and Ray Poulton did an absolutely amazing job that he took frames of each shot and drew the Cineamascope frame the way that should be enlarged for each shot as it was in the original film that was not recut except that close-ups of the different actors were put in. And Deluxe Laboratories, I think, in New York did the blowing up. And the quality was so fantastic that nobody, if you see the Cinemascope version, you cannot tell that it was blown up from the 35 which is quite, quite amazing. And when "Four Feathers" was remade a few years ago, yet again, because I knew the film Johnnie Goodman asked me, although I was not going to be on the film, and I went ---! through marking up the film, and they were using, again they bought the rights of the original negatives, so that was used yet again, but that was an ordinary wide screen.John Legard: This is the original three strip negative?
Teddy Darvas: Original three strip negative.
John Legard: That's why it was so good.
Teddy Darvas: With Johnnie Goodman I was horrified because he told me what was needed. And in this version they completely cut the whole sequence of the faloukas(?) being dragged up river in the Nile. And I said 'But that is, you know, one of the most fantastic pieces of filming imaginable' and the way it was done on "Storm Over the Nile" you only need to shoot three or four close-ups of, well in "Storm Over the Nile" it was Anthony Steel, I think, and you can use all that sequence and, for some reason, whoever did that version didn't want it. Also cut out all the humour from the film which is the Seorby(?) Smith bit with the pineapple. So that remake which must have been, which I haven't seen, must have been done with very little feeling.
John Legard: They probably left out the famous cricket match too?

p. 51

Teddy Darvas: Yes, but I think, I don't know whether Zollie didn't cut out the cricket match even in his recut version.
John Legard: I gather it is not in the version that's on in the West End now, unfortunately. Somebody was complaining about it.

Teddy Darvas: I think that is right because, if they are using the version that was last released, that was a re-edit done by Zollie to bring it up to date. So it is not a butcher's job by a distributor at all. I thought it was interesting to mention.
John Legard: Very interesting, yes. Wasn't there some problem about certain shots in Cinemascope when it was blown up because, for example, the moon was the wrong shape, it looked like a sort of flat.. ...

Teddy Darvas: Yes, those things, sometimes you couldn't avoid. But I must say that Ray Poulton did a fantastic job. Although the sound was recorded on magnetic the editing was still done on optical so what you did was, each day at the rushes, once they were synched, they were then transferred on to optical and you cut on optical, so the rushes, the optical and the magnetic was numbered the same. And I was put onto doing the dialogues, which meant it was the equivalent of neg. cutting. I did that also on "The Deep Blue Sea" for Bert Bates which was the same sort of attitude. And Zollie could never understand modern, or more modern dubbing methods, even on "Cry The Beloved Country", the fact that dialogues had to be split on to different tracks and that for foreign version anything that was used for a fine version was put on a dialogue effects track. I knew, because of "Cry The Beloved Country", that especially for stereo dub I would have to strip the dialogues even further. And I knew that there would be a terrible row when we got into the dubbing theatre and I said to Red Law and John Cox 'For God's sake you'll have to back me because I am going to be absolutely screamed at', the usual thing. And I was doing this stripping. Ray Poulton, who was going to back me and did back me because he was very, very good, we were working the weekend and one of the preview theatres had two or three heads in it. So Zollie was in one of his good moods when you could say anything to him. So I said 'Will you come into the theatre and I will show you with the charts of how I had put things on different tracks and why because of the stereo left and right etc, etc.' And he was in a very good mood and I explained everything and he accepted it. He arrived at nine thirty on the Monday morning and obviously he had been feeling ill. And he was in a terrible mood. And as he came in he started shouting at me, why I did this, he does not understand when one person takes two steps and talks why the continuation has to be on another track.

John Legard: Why should he worry about the tracks?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, he knew everything and he could do anything ..... Well, he actually did know about it but he just couldn't understand, at least he would never accept why things had to be stripped on to other tracks. So the whole morning, I don't think we dubbed much, but there was screaming and shouting and I was called every name, which I didn't like, obviously. And John Cox was called in and everybody tried to explain to him and Ray Poulton said you know 'But it has to be done that way, it is what the sound department think'. Didn't matter. Teddy had got his bollicking. And this went on until lunch time. And lunch time we were all walking across to lunch. There was Zollie with Ray Poulton and Valerie Leslie who was the first assistant. And I was walking behind, I was never going to speak to anybody in my life, having had this morning's technical - I don't know what you can call it. And so I was there. And Ray Poulton said 'But you know, Zollie, I mean, this was three weeks work, extra work for Teddy, he wouldn't have done it if the sound department hadn't insisted on it'. And Zollie, by this time, was back in his good mood and he smiled sweetly and he said 'Yes, I know, but they didn't mean it'. And so then you had to laugh

p. 52

and your anger was over. But it was still, right the way through the dub, he still couldn't understand, it was still these blow-ups.
John Legard: That was very irrational that, because ..... he was trying to sort of put people on their mettle and get the best out of them ...

Teddy Darvas: No, this was one of Zollie's quirks that you had to know. And, you know, I was terribly upset when I was told that I had to go on to "Four Feathers" because I knew, especially with dialogues, that I was going to be really in trouble. And there was nothing - you were under contract- and when Lew Thornburn said 'You go on a film because there is nothing else'. So on you went.
John Legard: What period are we at now? Fifties?
Teddy Darvas: I think it must have been before "Summer Madness" ...
John Legard: Because that was about 1953 wasn't it?
Teddy Darvas: "Summer Madness" was 54. And I don't quite know, probably 54/55, I am not absolutely sure. And I am not quite sure exactly what I went on to after, but nothing of great importance. I do know that the next major film I did, which was as assembly cutter and dubbing editor, was a film called "Baby and the Battleship", which was originally it was going to be produced and directed by Jerry Lewis and the Film Finance Corporation insisted that Tony Darbera had to come in as the producer. The editor was Mike Doncampo who was a very fascinating man. He was born in South America but he was very, very English inspite of the name and he led, I think he was Argentine, and he led a very rich, young man's life - polo ponies etc. And he got to Hollywood before the war. He became Mary Aster's toy boy who married him. So there was, she was, he was one of the top stars, and there was what to do with the young Mike Doncampo and she said 'Well, put him in the cuttings rooms'. And the first film that he worked on as a trainee was "Nenodska"(?). And about which he told a very interesting story that Lewbitch, was, it was Lewbitch wasn't it in "Nenodska", that Lewbitch had not made big successes. So he was going to do this film and they gave him all the contract technicians whom nobody else wanted. And he knew this. And, of course, when "Nenodska" was this huge success, then next film he made, which was a Jane Crawford film "The Woman With Two Faces" or something like that, the said 'Whom do you want as your camera man, you can take your pie?'. And Lewbitch insisted on having exactly the same crew as they gave him on "Nenodska" and Mike Decampo went over to Canada and joined up and became an RAF pilot. And after the war he became an editor in England and he was under contract with 20th Century Fox with Sid Stone. They were the two contract editors. And they did a large number of films. Mike was a great one for the ladies and was also a pretty heavy drinker and he gradually couldn't get any work and he went over to Rome where he spent a year or so being a dialogue director on film, which is why, as I said, that we had the first time that we looped the modern way. And it was very sad, because when he came back to England, he had been married to a very beautiful model, they were separated, her name was Cindy, and he had a daughter by her. And he came back, having paid her her keep and everything, expecting to have got quite a lot of money saved up, and he came back and he found that Cindy had taken all that money and not paid any bills at all. And so when he got a job, Tony Donborugh gave him the editing of this film ..John Legard: "Baby and the Battleship".
Teddy Darvas: "Baby and the Battleship". He was really the accountant with the Income Tax. He had fifteen pounds a week to live on. Everything else went on back taxes and debts. And Mike was, he became a very, very great friend, I was told 'Oh god, you'll have a terrible time with him and he is never there and he is drunk'. And I was very suspicious of him. In fact, the first time we met, which was to see rushes because they were shooting in Naples, and Tony Danborough and Mike

p. 53

and I at Humphreys. Afterwards we went and had a drink and Mike said to Tony Danborough 'Teddy and I will not go to the studio today, we have got things to discuss, organisational things'. That happened that he knew a very nice club somewhere where we went for more drinks. Then we had lunch in a club in Jermaine Street. Packstone and Whitfield, which was very surprising, for when I asked for cheese they said 'What cheese would you like?' and I said 'What cheese have you got?' and they said 'You mention it' and they had an arrangement, they just went down to Packstone and Whitfield and got anything you wanted. Then he knew an afternoon drinking club, by which time it was six o clock and the pubs were open. And eventually about eleven o clock I managed to get him to a Buckstone Club to have something to eat where we stayed till about one or two in the morning. So those were the organisational discussions and I got home, I lived with my parents, in quite a good state.
John Legard: So how did the film go? Who directed it to start with?
Teddy Darvas: Jerry Lewis directed it. Danborough produced it. Incidentally Tony Danborough I have got his telephone number. He is a person you ought to do for the ...... And Tony, obviously Jerry Lewis and Tony did not get on terribly well, together. Jerry was a very interesting man. He was, I am told, a very big crook as well and he owed lots of money. As far as Mike and I were concerned, he was absolutely wonderful and became a very good fried. And, in fact, he made a very good film. The material, originally the film was going to be made by ABPC and they had shot masses of film. It was the last time that the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy had been together and it was for Lewis Mountbatten when he was Commander in Chief, I think, Mediterranean or First Sea Lord, and it was in the Mediterranean they had this huge sail past, the review of the Grand Fleet. And so we had thousands of feet of material and this material was bought off ABPC when they didn't make the film. And it starred Johnny Mills and Dickie Attenburgh.
John Legard: Was it shot.. ..
Teddy Darvas: It was shot wide screen, not Cinemascope. And, of course, it had, I mean, it had a wonderful cast- Michael Horden as the Captain, Kenneth Griffiths as the ........ and, of course, the lower deck was ....... , on top of Dickie Attenburgh and Johnny Mills, there was Lionel Jeffries, Michael Howard, Clifford Mollison, I think Bryan Forbes, the whole lot of them. And it was a very amusing film. And they shot in Naples for about three weeks and on board this ship. And the rest was shot at Shepperton where the battleship was, in fact, built on one of the stages. The stuff in Naples was shot in pretty good chaos. They went on the floor, not very well prepared and there was a young production manager who was not really up to it. So the whole shooting of the film was pretty good chaos. When they came back then obviously in the studio it was better organised. Michael Howard, who was a very, very funny comedian, and a very plain looking man - who was the famous actress Adams who married a ... ?
John Legard: Jill
Teddy Darvas: Not Jill Adams.
John Legard: Dawn Adams.
Teddy Darvas: Dawn Adams yes, left her prince husband for Michael Howard. But Michael Howard, one day, literally disappeared for two days and they couldn't find him. I mean, all his haunts, all the pubs everything. And this was a big scene in the lower deck where all this mess were lined up and it had to be shot and, even today in the film, they were lined up in such a way that the place where Michael Howard should have stood was never there. You saw four on one side and four on the other side but never the middle bit. And when the film was cut, and it was very funny, but the film dragged terribly. And this is the one case I know because people say that films are saved in the cutting room and this perhaps the only time I know that it was saved. The film was too

p. 54

long and it wasn't all that funny. And one morning Mike Decampo arrived and he said to me 'Teddy, I have solved the problem and I have spoken to Tony Danborurgh on the telephone and we are going to do it this morning. It's the Naples bit that drags'. And in two and a half hours he recut the film and took out the Naples bit, which was most of Dickie Attenburgh's part because Dickie Attenburgh was left behind in the story in Naples when the ship sailed. And by cutting out that bit the film completely came to life and it was Mike who thought it up overnight, he suddenly realised why it dragged and he suddenly saw how it could be taken out completely. And he did it in two hours, two and a half hours. And the film ....
John Legard: It was accepted was it?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Jerry Lewis, everybody accepted it and it was really, and the film was a great success.
John Legard: So quite extensive sequence bit the dust!
Teddy Darvas: Oh, very expensive shooting. I mean there is a bit, obviously, of Naples left in but very little of Dickie Attenburgh's part. And I am told that Johnny Mills complained to Dickie Attenburgh that Johnny's part had been cut and Dickie said 'What a shame' and Dickie never complained about a third or a half of his part being cut.
John Legard: Funny. How did it do the film when it came out?
Teddy Darvas: It did very, very well. And I have not seen it, it's one of the films I haven't got on video and surprisingly it is a very funny film. When we got to the dubbing stage and the music stage Mike Delcampo and Tony Darnburgh would very often disappear as well for days on end, which left me doing things which, in a funny way, it happened on the music session, there was nobody there and I was alone in charge, and the composer had, it was absolutely terrible, because it wasn't a comedy score, it was just not funny, it was like music for a drama. When Mike arrived and this was the first session almost finished, and at lunch I said 'Look, this is disaster because it is killing the film' and Mike, who was a very smooth bloke, didn't like to create trouble said 'I'll listen to it. No, no it's perfectly OK, perfectly OK'. But then eventually Tony and he got together and the music was utter disaster. I fitted it all. Moore Mathieson came and he, of course, agreed. He was always very good at that.
John Legard: Had Moo re conducted it in the first place?
Teddy Darvas: Muir had conducted it. And so he got Humphrey Searle in ..
John Legard: Oh Humphrey, yes.
Teddy Darvas: And Humphrey took whatever music was useable and then we did extra sections and things and that's how the music was rescued. Obviously, as most of the stuff on the ship was shot on the stage, from a sound effects point of view, it was quite a complicated job because you had to build up absolutely everything.
John Legard: Can I ask you, who was the original composer?
Teddy Darvas: I have forgotten his name.
John Legard: Perhaps just as well!
Teddy Darvas: Perhaps just as well! But the sound effects were, I mean, obviously all the Grand Fleet inspection, all that had also been shot mute, so there was really absolutely nothing. And I realised that, to get them from Library, (a) you wouldn't get exactly what was necessary but (b) it wouldn't be as good. So I made out this whole list and I got permission that I could take a sound crew down to Portsmouth and record things there. And our technical adviser was Jackie Broom - Captain Jackie Broom -
John Legard: J E Broom. I remember him well.

p. 55

Teddy Darvas: Who was a brilliant cartoonist, one of the early taverners. And who, of course, figured in this libel case when this man wrote a book accusing him ...
John Legard: About the famous convoy ..
Teddy Darvas: Convoy. Jackie, who had suffered very badly from arthritis. Anyway, he arranged that I could and shoot one day on the Flag Ship of the Reserve Fleet, which turned out to be two cruisers that were moored in the harbour. One had its bottom stove in so it was a floating office, it couldn't actually have sailed anywhere. And another day I went out on a destroyer. Jackie drove me down and told me, I said 'For God's sake, because I know how difficult the Navy is and you have got to behave yourself especially on a Flag Ship, do tell me if I do wrong'. I was very lucky. The sound crew I got was Peter Handford and his lot, so I knew the sound effects were going to be marvellous. And they were driving down on the Monday morning. Jackie and I went to Portsmouth on the Sunday evening. And early on we had a naval tug that was taking us, at our disposal, and that was taking us out to the ship. And I felt a bit like Captain Hornblower, waiting at the top of the steps for this ship to arrive. And when we got, we sailed off. The retired Petty Officer, who was running this tug, and as we got near to this Flag Ship, we saw everybody lined up, the officers, bugler, piping party. And in the Navy, if you have ever been a Commander of a ship, you are always entitled to have pipers, as long as you live, if you go on board ship. So Jackie suddenly got up in the stern of this tug and became completely the Naval Officer from being a friend and he said 'Oh I say, that's frightfully nice of the old man. I never expected this. How frightfully nice of him.' At which a rating lent over the side and said 'Get out of the way Admiral's coming' and we were in the way of the Commander in Chief's boat. So Jackie said 'Oh, that's the first black of the day then'. And so we watched how this Admiral, in pin stripe suit and a bowler hat, went up and he was piped on board. After which we were allowed to get up on board ship. And then I learned, of course, why you should always have a hat if you go on board a naval ship, so that you can raise your hat to the quarter deck, which we didn't have but one bowed slightly and that was it. It turned out the Commander in Chief was an old friend of Jackie Broom's. And after Jackie had gone ashore to fetch the sound crew, he disappeared with his crony to the Admiral's quarters, leaving me in charge, or I was in charge of a Chief Petty Officer and he had, during this time, I was being shown round, I had a list of what I wanted, and he showed me where we could get these effects. He was a very nice man. And suddenly they piped like coffee break, it was almost like a union tea break. And so this Petty Officer said 'Well Mr Darvas, would you like to have your coffee in the Ward Room or would you like to have coffee with us in the Petty Officer's mess?' And I thought to myself 'Now where is Jackie, what does one do?' because if I go to a Ward Room I'm a snob, on the other hand this man wants to be alone. So I didn't know what to do. And I eventually said 'Well, if you are sure I am not in the way, I would much rather go to your mess please' so this is what happened. Later on I told Jackie this and he said 'Thank God you did that, if you had said Ward Room Mess you might just as well have left the ship. There are Admirals who have never been asked to the Petty Officer's Mess for a coffee so you were very, very lucky. So that was my technical adviser. So all the time we never saw Jackie. Lunch time it was arranged that I would be an Honorary Member of the Ward Room Mess that I could buy my round of drinks. And so we had to go there, with the sound crew, and on a Flag Ship there is nobody under the rank of a Commander pretty well. And so I went into this ward room mess and I said 'Gentlemen, would you like a drink on British Lion Films?' At which there was a stampede of officers. Gin was twopence a nip and so everybody drank pink gin. You were very unpopular if you had gin and tonic because that was sixpence, just for the tonic. And I never received my mess bill and I got to know Commander Thorniecroft of the yacht building family who had been recalled as a Reserve Commander for some design job, who's a millionaire,

p. 56

who used to sail over from the Isle of Wight in the dirtiest sweater in his little boat which was a disreputable little boat, park at the other side of the battleship and come on and go to his cabin and change and become immaculate and change back at four o clock and sail back to the Isle of Wight. I was told that eventually Jackie found out that Commander Thorniecroft saw my mess bill being made out and he said 'You can't sent him that bill, I'll pay that'. That entire round of drink only came to four and tenpence and at twopence a nip it was a fantastic round obviously. Anyway, it was very, very helpful and we shot all the effects, absolutely marvellous, great co-operation and everything.John Legard: What sort of effects were you actually recording?

Teddy Darvas: Well, all the sound effects - sea noises, engine room, the tannoy announcements, everything that one needed and I did, because otherwise it gets boring, I went to different parts of the ship to get different, I don't think you can hear it in the end but, one tries to be a perfectionist. So we did everything that we could, in a static ship obviously. And the final rather amusing story there is that we were shooting after lunch, and it is about three thirty, and we are on the second part of this cruiser, back of the two cruisers, doing some sound effect, and suddenly the pipe goes up, the whistle, and so 'Will Mr Darvas please report to the quarter deck?'. So I thought 'Oh God, we have done something terrible, I am going to be in dead trouble'. So when I get there, there are all the officers lined up again, from the Commander of the ship, not the Captain but the Commander, down to the Midshipman, and I am sort of pushed into the line and I said 'What's happening?'. He said 'Well Captain Broom is leaving and wishes to say goodbye to you'. He never came near me where I was shooting. He had a good lunch with the Admiral and - I had been like the Junior Midshipman and he said goodbye to everybody. Said 'Goodbye gentlemen' and disappeared down the gangway. And so that was that. So we carried on shooting and got everything we wanted. It was wonderful. And the following day we went out on this destroyer. The captain of this destroyer was like, if you remember an actor called Waiter Hudd, and it was Waiter Hudd playing the part of a naval captain, he was, in fact, a Flotilla Captain. And he said that he was terribly sorry but we would have to be locked into a radar room because the ship was sailing out to bury somebody at sea, a Rating had got killed and the family were on board and he said 'But don't worry, after we have chucked the body overboard, the family and the chaplain will go to the ward room for drinks and things and just tell me what you want to do and I'll stand the boat on its nose if you like'. And so we were absolutely locked in, we were not to be seen as civilians while this sad occasion went on. And then, after that, we were allowed to do, and I had a list obviously of sailing at speed and getting all the noises. But I made myself terribly unpopular because I needed the sound of the anchor dropping. And I didn't realise that raising an anchor, the anchor has to be washed down as it comes up because of the sea water. And it goes into this locker room. And so we did this effect and the Ratings were looking at me, not very friendly, in not a very friendly way, as the anchor was coming up. And on top of that, the Petty Officer forgot to detail a Rating to go into this chain room and it seems the anchor is what they called Christmas Tree. It didn't go down properly, it wasn't guided in. So they had to drop the anchor yet again and raise it. So at least Peter Handford got two takes of the same thing from two different perspectives. But I was not very popular because these poor Ratings had to raise the thing. Anyway, the dubbing, we had a very, very good dub - Red Law again. And it was a very, very nice and very, very amusing film. It was during this film, and we were postsynching, that Mat Little who was the chief projectionist at Shepperton, rang through to me and said 'We have just heard Alexander Korda has died'. It was a terrible shock. And I rang my father. And he had died very, very suddenly. My father had seen him a few days before and he said that Alex must have felt a premonition because he specially asked my father to go and see him. And he said 'All our friends in Hungary' and, of course, this was during the Iron Curtain days, and

p. 57

journalists and writers were very poor and they were not allowed to work very often. He said 'All our friends, they must need money and what can you do for them?' And father said 'Well, you can't send money but what we are doing is we are sending blankets and things that they can sell on the Black Market and get money on them'. And he said 'Well, will you give me a list of people' which father gave and he said 'How much money would you need?' and father said 'Oh, two hundred pounds will do it' and Alex drew out a cheque book and gave a personal cheque to my father for two hundred pounds. And father was standing up during this and walking around and he saw that when the drawer was open, in the drawer he saw this copy of the book of short stories that he and my father had written. So Alex must have been re-reading and looking back on things. And he said to my father 'Well, what can I do for you, Shimmy?' this was Hungarian diminutive for Simon. 'Let me buy you a house' and father said 'No, no, I don't want anything from you' he was a very proud man. 'As long as Teddy has a job I am perfectly satisfied' and, as father said afterwards 'If he had known that the dreadful Alexa would inherit all the money, he would have taken the money for a house because at least she would have had less money from them'. There was, in fact, a scandal and this ....

John Legard: Was Korda- did he have bad health towards the end of his life?
Teddy Darvas: No, he must have had some heart problem or something which he covered up or something.
John Legard: What sort of age was he?
Teddy Darvas: He was quite young. He must have been 62, I think he was. And his first wife, about whom I had spoken, was a religious maniac and son Peter who never admitted that he was Jewish. They said that if any rabbi came anywhere near they would create a scandal. And, in fact, the memorial service was in St Martin's in the Field. And my father and Vincent went secretly to a synagogue on the next Saturday morning to say Kuddish - Kuddish is a prayer for the dead that is said on a Saturday morning and in secret without anybody knowing it was my father and Vincent who said Kuddish for him. And father went to the funeral as well and I think that's all that one has to say. The chauffeur was terribly upset and was a great friend of Alex.
John Legard: Just to go back on Alex - didn't he at one time own a very large house in Denholm Village?
Teddy Darvas: No, I don't think he owned - he owned a house in Avenue Road and then he lived for many years in a penthouse in Claridges Hotel where he got the Hungarian charlotte to bring him in food.
John Legard: Well, maybe he just rented it for a time. There was a large house, you know, in old Denholm and I remember bumping into Peter Bosonsovy(?) one day and he was jumping up with joy because he said that he had just managed to buy Alex's Den holm house.
Teddy Darvas: Could be. I don't know about that. That must have been sort of 34 or very early on because they had the house in Avenue Road of course which was bombed and then, of course, he was in America. Then he lived in Claridges then he bought this house in millionaires row, Kensington Palace Gate where all the embassies are.
John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: He had a fantastic collection of paintings most of them that Vincent had bought. And the minute Alex died, Alexa wouldn't even allow Vincent in to collect his paintings that were his, that he had painted. And Alexa eventually died of drugs. She married another man and presumably that man got all the money, I don't know. But it was rather a sad ending of that. And there were lots of law suits after that because Peter Korda, Peter De Korda as he calls himself now, had and I think Vincent, Sir Arthur Cunningham and Boxall were the executors and law suits went

p. 58

on for years afterwards. So that was that. And anyway, I was under contract at this time. British Lion had signed up, for peanuts, people like John Palmer, camera man editors and after this, I have forgotten who temporarily took over British Lion before the Boultings and Lorne and Gilliat, but they decided to drop all contracts. And Lew Thornburn said 'You know, we have got John Pal mer for fifty pounds a week. If you drop him in a year's time you will be paying him a hundred or a hundred and fifty pounds and week'. And they didn't listen and that's exactly what . happened. And Bert Bates, all the people under contract, Jack Hildyard and all those people, all the contracts were dropped. And so, for the first time, I had to look for a job. And I had forgotten how to look for a job, because if you are under contract, if an editor says to you 'Teddy will you be my first assistant or assembly cutter or dubbing editor on this film?', you say, 'Well, I'd be delighted, could you ask Lew Thornburn and if he says that I am free, I'll do it for you'. So there it was. And quite by chance I heard that the Boultings were starting a film which Tony Harvey was cutting. Tony Harvey who had been a second assistant under Max Benedict and got promoted very quickly. And he and I were good friends. Tony is now film director but he is, in a way, almost like Zoltan Korda. He is up and down. Very nice. And then has absolute screaming fits and that sort of thing. And, I believe, Tony Harvey's father, somebody Harvey, was a well known actor and died when Tony was very young and I believe his portrait is in the Savage Club.
John Legard: Really?
Teddy Darvas: I am not sure. Tony was very proud ... oy\
John Legard: Of course, Tony was an actor himself wasn't he, he was ...
Teddy Darvas: He was a child actor on "Caesar and Cleopatra".

Tape4-SideB(Side8)
Teddy Darvas: Anyway, so I heard that the Boultings were starting a film. I had only known the Boultings really from Lords but Tony Harvey I had known since he came in to the cutting rooms. So Tony said 'yes please' and I became his First Assistant. With Tony, he wears you out after a time and I was very, very unhappy on the film, although the Boultings were very, very nice to me. Meanwhile I had heard that David Lean was starting "Bridge on the River Kwai". It was after we were off the floor. And I was offered "Bridge on the River Kwai" to go out to Ceylon. Peter Taylor was going to cut it but he was not available. So I was going to go out by myself. And the Boultings, very nicely, they released me. And in those days I thought, if you left a film in those days you never worked for that person again. And it was very interesting that eventually it was, after all, the Boultings who gave me my biggest break. So I got on - because I had to leave - Tony Harvey quite rightly said 'Well, you have got to leave the film now, not just before you go off to Ceylon'. So I was actually paid for three months before, two or three months before I went to Ceylon. I was actually in Sam Spiegel's office and organizing things and Norman Spencer was the Associate Producer on the London side. "Bridge on the River Kwai" was not a big budget film and it was really, at one point during the shooting it nearly got stopped because it was going so far over the budget. Anyway I was not going to be allowed an assistant from England and to take on local staff and Norman Spencer said 'There is a Sengalese(?) boy who is a trainee at Pinewood, an unpaid trainee at Pinewood, called Don Ranasinghe.
John Legard: Don Ranasinghe, how do you spell that?
Teddy Darvas: Don Ranasinghe. So he came to see me and I said 'Fine' and he was going to pay his own fare back on a tramp steamer because he was afraid of flying actually at that time. But Sam Spiegel actually paid his fare back and I, because I am mechanically no good at all, I actually sent him to Moyes(?) and we had the robot joiners in those days and I got him to take a little

p. 59

maintenance course on things. And also, instead of a moviola, there was a new machine called the Westrax Editor which you could take off the back and not very good picture but you could actually project as well. So Sam Spiegel bought this Westrax Editor and Don Ranasinghe went out earlier and built a cutting room. David Lean was staying at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, which was eight miles outside the centre of Colombo, and he didn't want the rest of the unit there. So he stayed there alone, except for me, because he wanted the cutting room next to him. So, although I was only getting paid thirty quid a week and was about on a par with a clapper boy, I had the second best suite in the Mount Lavinia Hotel and one of the few air conditioned ones - not because of my beautiful blue eyes but because of the film, which was absolutely fantastic. And eventually, when Sam Spiegel actually wanted to stop me going out. He didn't want David Lean to have a cutting room there. And I talked to Norman Spencer and I cabled David Lean privately and he insisted that I should go out. And at one time, in fact, David Lean's then wife - Leila- was Indian - she had a nervous breakdown and at one time she was recovering from that, I was going to fly with her to Bombay and settle her with her family and then go on to Ceylon from there but eventually I didn't. I flew out in, I think it was very early December when they had been shooting three weeks, and I had been told that there was terrible trouble with Sessue Hayakawa who was playing Colonel Syeeto(?) because he couldn't remember his lines and you couldn't understand a word of what he was saying. So I flew out with the first three weeks, or two weeks rushes, some stock and a decoke outfit for David Lean's Aston Martin motor car. And that was all my personal luggage. And the shippers - Sam Weller who was the first man who did film locations - he met me out at London Airport which was the old huts in the north terminal. And the faces of people as my personal luggage was checked in, you can imagine, because the weight was absolutely fantastic with all this stuff that I was taking. In fact, when we came back from Ceylon, months later, because everybody had bought things, the production manager - Cecil Ford - had said 'Nobody is allowed any more luggage than the amount they came out with, no more excess luggage will be paid'. And I went to Cecil and said 'Does that apply to me as well?'. He said 'Yes, why should you be different?' and I said 'Have you looked at my airline ticket lately?' and when he saw that I had, I don't know how many hundred of pounds extra weight, that was quickly stopped. Anyway, that's by the way. When I got to Ceylon they were shooting in the prison camp which was the first six weeks was all around there. And meanwhile the bridge was being built. We had a military adviser. Major General Lancelot Perone CBCBE who farmed in Hertwell Bottom, which was a wonderful name, wonderful place. When he came for his interview, bowler hat and everything, moustache, typical General, I said to Norman Spencer 'You can't take somebody like that, I mean, the unit will ...... ridiculous stiff person'. The General, as everybody called him, was the great success of the location. He became everybody's friend, he was the most amazing man and he was terribly nice. He was really a fantastic find. Sessue Hayakawa, who it seems was much older than people realised, he was actually, I believe, seventy five or seventy six and he had been a silent star and when he went for the interview with David he had died what little hair he had and he was very, very trim, very, very with it, but when he spoke, because he had lived in Hollywood for a long time, actually when you spoke to him it was very good. The minute he started acting, especially in speeches, he became almost unintelligible. But the amusing part of it was, and this is where the problems were, that the very first day shooting on which he appeared, which was the first speech he makes after the troops had marched in, and David had everybody lined up and it was a rehearsal and said 'Right Sessue' and he started off and after two sentences he stopped. And David said 'Well, carry on' and there was nothing. And David eventually discovered that, because there was a proper shooting script, and so like the speech it would say 'Long shot, troops lined up over Colonel Saitu speech carries on'.

p. 60

Sessue had marked up every bit of the speeches right through the script, which said it was on him, and those were the lines he had learnt. So there was a terrible problem and on the first day or so they could hardly shoot. Anyway.
John Legard: How did you get on with your cutting room out there?

Teddy Darvas: The cutting room was .... , rushes would arrive once every week or so. And we would ....
John Legard: Projection?
Teddy Darvas: Projection was in a local cinema on a Sunday. And this was the interesting thing, of course, because the Government film unit had no projection and how to project synch sound and I had heard somewhere that, when they had the stereo films, the way that stereo was projected was that, in a commercial cinema the two projectors were interlocked with a cable to keep synch, and so I asked Norman to see about this and we found, and we bought, one of these cables from a cinema. And that was shipped out there so, in this commercial cinema, the two projectors were interlocked and, obviously after every ten minutes, you had to wait till they were ? up. But one ran the sound and one ran the picture. Again, we had sound on optical, although it was recorded on 35 mm magnetic, of course, inner track and the procedure was that I - David Lean like quite a number of directors - Basil Deardon, quite a few of them -they always liked rushes, the Boultings as well, rushes had to be assembled in script order, not in slate order, which, in the cutting rooms you absolutely hated.

John Legard: Of course.
Teddy Darvas: But, because it took twice as long, but actually it is very, very interesting because you can judge how a scene should go much better and, in fact, many years later on, on "Railway Children" as it was Lionel's first film and he couldn't sort of quite see things and I said ..
John Legard: Lionel Jeffries you are talking about?
Teddy Darvas: Lionel Jeffries. I actually instituted that and we ran rushes in specific order.
John Legard: You had quite a bit of delay- it takes much longer preparing the rushes?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, I mean, it does take about a certain amount longer. It depends how shooting has been done. If it's a director who has been shooting all round the scene the,m of course, it can take longer and also if your continuity girl has not given you the running order properly, it is sometimes very difficult.
John Legard: Very difficult.
Teddy Darvas: I mean, Angela Martelli and Maggie Shipway and people like that, if there was a problem you'd find that on the continuity sheets for the day, they would have written out for you the suggested cutting order which was a great help. So what I would do is synch the rushes and we would number them and the nearest Sunday we would run rushes and I would sit with David in the front and everybody else sat right at the back in the circle. So that nobody could hear what his selections were, whether they were artists or camera men or anybody. Obviously Jack Hildyard, if he had anything to say, would say so. Sound mixer was John Mitchell, not the Pinewood John Mitchell, but the other John Mitchell who was known sometimes unkindly as the Drunken John Mitchell. And the reason he got on the film was because there was full employment and there were only two sound mixers available and Norman Spencer called me in and said 'What do you think of these two?' And the other man, whose name I will not mention, was the sweetest man, but he was an ordinary floor mixer of the old school who got useable sound on the floor but never outside and I knew that with David Lean, especially after Peter Handford and that, he wouldn't accept that. So I said 'Drunk or sober, John Mitchell is much, much better'. And John Cox assured Norman Spencer that John was off the booze, etc. etc. And out he went with his crew, three out of the four on it were

p. 61

drunks, the fourth wasn't. But because John Mitchell was writing, he was a good writer, he wanted to go by boat and, of course, it was round about Suez time so he took a long time to get there and obviously on the tramps he started drinking again. And, in fact, in the hotel, the unit stayed either in the Grand Oriental Hotel, the GOH which now doesn't exist any more or the Golf (Gall?) Face. And the Golf(Gall?) Face had a men only bar right by the Gent's loo which was known as the Kadsbarthe Kasbar. And John Mitchell was found the Kadsbar whenever there was no shooting. But, drunk or sober, the quality of John's recording ....

John Legard: Marvellous
Teddy Darvas: Was very, very good.
John Legard: I remember that film particularly well, the sound.
Teddy Darvas: But, I mean, there is one place in the prison camp where he fell asleep during a take and he must have woken half way through and you suddenly hear the surge of sound as he woke up, his finger obviously on the button, sort of brought the sound up. And so after ...
John Legard: Just go back to the rushes. That was the sort of Sunday. You only showed the rushes perhaps weekly?
Teddy Darvas: Once a week.
John Legard: Once a week, so you had a real amount.
Teddy Darvas: David, who was in the next room, while we were shooting just outside Colombo, obviously in the evenings I would wait for him and he would go to his room, have a shower and come in, if he wanted to something or anything. And he would come in his dressing gown and come and see whatever there was. Or I would report to him what had happened. And we would have dinner together most evenings. And, in fact, there were lots of troubles with Alex Guinness. Alex Guinness and his wife came across to the hotel and stayed there. This was just round about Christmas time. The restaurant manageress was a Danish girl who was David Lean's girl friend and, I think, Roy Fowler said that Ronnie Neam or Tony Havelock Alien when you interviewed him, said that David had all the fun of having the girls and they came and cried on his shoulder. He was Tony Havelock Alien. Well, that was my fate over films that, like lnge when David had had enough, she would come into my room like at two in the morning to cry. And so I had all the crying and none of the pleasure but I presume this was part of my job. David was in love with the Far East. He fell in love with India and everything and, as it happens, the Burmese Prime Minister came in his special plane. And he was there for a week. It was Buddhist 4,000 year of Buddha's birth or death. And I had a very brief affair with the Chief Air Hostess whose name was Mypoli. And David was absolutely delighted. He thought that was the best thing that should happen to me. He made me grow up you see. Anyway. When he had seen rushes, and as things got filled in, I did a sort of grand assembly of rushes in script order, took out the spare takes. So eventually that when Peter Taylor took over in England that he would be able to see stuff as selected, like the whole film was going to be in script order. Sam Spiegel was very explosive and short tempered. He kept on saying to me 'Why don't I cut' and I said 'Well, I am not the editor and I can't cut anything without David Lean's permission.' And, of course, I was dying to cut and eventually David ...
John Legard: Of course you were.
Teddy Darvas: David allowed me to do some cutting. I used to go, especially after when they were away from Colombo, I would go down in the middle of the week and stay a night out on the location and he would go through a script, or the continuity sheets, with me. And I wish I had been able to keep the continuity sheets because he would mark cuts for me and make notes. That would be lovely. Notes that he had put saying 'Wherever you like Teddy dear', he would put down so that was up to me. And Angela Martelli who was the Continuity Girl was absolutely superb. She treated

p. 62

me as an equal. And I was greatly in awe of her because she was the legendry great Continuity Girl at MGM etc. And she was wonderful and helped me and it was really unbelievable. So eventually I was allowed to cut certain sequences like the first speech, most of the marching in. But David Lean would say, like the first speech and the second speech, he would say 'Now cut it, don't use the close-up, don't go in closer than medium close shot.' And then Sam Spiegel would see the stuff. He would scream and shout at me and say 'Why has he shot all this, you haven't used any of the close- ups' and you would say 'But David wants to see it without the close-ups'. But all the same this would go on.

John Legard: Was Spiegel there for quite a lot of the time?
Teddy Darvas: He was there most of the time. And David Lean would say to me 'If Sam is being too difficult for you, let me know and I'll sort him out'. But I thought that there were enough problems. Bill Graffe was the Colombia representative on the film, who was a superb, lovely man. And the Production Office was very short of staff because the Second Assistant Director got killed in a car crash and he was not replaced because some thought it would be bad from a morale point of view for a stranger to arrive. So Phil Hobbs who did the catering, Mike Hordern who was the accountant and Bill Graffe acted as extra Production Managers/Location Managers because Cecil Ford, of course, was mainly out on the location. So I was allowed to cut certain things. In some cases David Lean would either send me a message or when I saw him he would say 'There is this scene, as soon as it come in will you cut it together and let me know'. And it was amazing because, especially one sequence, and I went and this was by the bridge site and he said 'What's it like, Teddy?' and I said 'It’s OK, David'. He said 'Only OK?'. I said 'Well, it's not a very important scene.' And he said 'Look you're obviously not terribly satisfied, do say so, because I will reshoot it'. And I thought if I said 'Yes, David reshoot it' then Sam Spiegel would shoot me. It was not an important scene. It really didn't matter. And we were getting over budget and it was not a happy film from that point of view.
John Legard: Well, I can understand it must have been quite difficult, the conditions out there too. Did you have a sort of deadline, were you working to a .....
Teddy Darvas: No, eventually the premiere, that was a deadline, but the terrible problem was that, obviously with artists, there were deadlines. Nobody expected the film to be what it became. It cost three million dollars, I think, was the budget- one million pounds. Which wasn't.. ..
John Legard: In those days.
Teddy Darvas: And the big thing, of course, which one has to say, is the blowing up of the bridge. wasn't there, I was back in Colombo. The general had been an engineer in artillery, I think. He wanted to blow it up himself which, of course, couldn't be done because, in a film it has to be done so that the bridge falls in a place so that it falls where the cameras are. And so some experts from ICI came in who were going to do the placing the explosive. And David wanted the bridge to fall very, very slowly. And it seems that Sam Spiegel wasn't confident enough and he told them to put more explosives in certain places. So out of the five cameras one camera picked up nothing as it happens. And the story of the blowing is that, obviously they built about a mile of railway track along which the train came. And they had this old train and on the other side of the bridge they had built a wall of sandbags so if anything went wrong that would stop the train. On the day they were supposed to blow it up, the engine driver- it was a very old engine I am told where the speeds went by slots, you went speed one, speed two, speed three - in his excitement he went one notch too fast anyway. And also there was a control room built where everybody as they switched cameras on had to press a button and the light had to come on and obviously the button had to be pressed to show that the engine driver had jumped. It was very important. The train was full of very life-like

p. 63

dummies in case the camera would pick up or after the crash that there were bodies in it. The control room was built partly because when the day I arrived in Ceylon, in the evening David Lean drove me back to the hotel and I told him the joke which had just become fashionable about "ready whenever you are Mr DeMille". So I told David this latest joke and we were in a country lane in Ceylon and the hood was down, the Aston Martin, he stopped it and he didn't laugh and he looked at me very seriously and he said 'I see what you mean'. So presumably that's why there were all these safety things were done. And one light it seems, did not come on. So David shouted 'Don't blow'. So the train went across and faster than it should have been and hit the sandbags and got derailed. Overnight I was phoned about what had happened and about trying to get a crane or something. There was an engineer staying in the hotel and he said 'Well, I can organise a crane if they can't find one'. But eventually the engineers of the Ceylon Army handcranked the train back on overnight. And all the explosive was in. It was tinder dry. And a small fire started. You can imagine. And buckets of water, trying to stop the thing. There's this wooden bridge and if it went up. One of the rows I had, funnily enough, with Sam Spiegel was, so I went to David Lean and I said 'While the bridge stands could we have back projection plates or travelling mat plates all the way around' and David said 'Why'. I sai~ 'Well, David supposing something did go wrong or supposing, afterwards, you find that you need a close-up of somebody or something like that, let's hope we never have to use this ....
John Legard: Very good idea, yes.
Teddy Darvas: But, anyway Sam Spiegel objected to this but he did shoot the plates but, as it happens, they were, I am glad to say, not needed. So everything was cranked back on. The following day the train was shoved back. And the bridge was blown properly. Everything went to schedule. There was a great emotional letdown for the unit actually because they got to love the bridge and it was only half way through shooting of course. Now we come to the point of the rushes arrive and I asked for five prints for the five cameras. And the camera was running fast because David was wanting it almost in slow motion. And so, obviously, with approach of the train and everything it was sort of like a five hundred foot, five minutes take. So I get the sound track on optical and I start running the track - obviously no clapper - so I am going to synch to the explosion. And I hear, on the sound track, the train arriving, arriving, arriving and it's now at its nearest point and nothing seems to happen. And I suddenly hear a noise like 'foooop' on the sound track. And I look and it's the end of the take and I thought that they must have cut this off or something, I'll run another take. And I ran all the five prints and there was nothing on it. Sam Spiegel accused me that I had cut it off and I said 'Well, no I checked key numbers everything'. And after a bit of detective work, by looking at the dates of the sound sheets, both the magnetic and the optical, it seems that, but I could check on the roll numbers because there was nothing missing on magnetic rolls and everything. What had happened was that John Mitchell had fallen asleep on the second day and he forgot to record the blowing up of the bridge. And this is a true story and nobody can believe it. So there we were. Meanwhile Sam Spiegel had invited the Prime Minister and the whole Parliament to running to see bits because everybody in Ceylon was terribly interested and, including the climax was going to be the blowing up of the bridge. All five takes were for us and one wasn't. You couldn't get stuff there, you couldn't have things flown out dead easily. So I went to the Government Film Unit and I found they had 1938/39 78 HMV effects discs. And on that there was a tremendous train smash that went on for about twenty five seconds. And I got that transferred on to optical there and that's what I ? to it and it is still the basis of the track, it was on that that Wyn Ryder was the Sound Editor built the rest. Wyn Ryder, as I have said, we had this love/hate relationship because of what had happened. So when I came back from Ceylon and he found that

p. 64

(a) John Mitchell hadn't recorded one sound effect and (b) that he hadn't recorded the blowing up of the bridge, Wyn Ryder did not think much of me at all - not that one had, as an Assembly
Cutter, ..........
John Legard: One had no power.

Teddy Darvas: That was Wyn Ryder though. Anyway, so there we were ...
John Legard: Sounds surprising that until you actually had the rushes in your hand that it was only then that it was realised that the sound .....
Teddy Darvas: Nobody in London listened to anything, you see. So all they transfer bay, well they got the magnetic in transferred what was a print, he obviously covered up, he was not going to admit it. too
John Legard: No I thought his assistant might have ....
Teddy Darvas: No. John was very funny on these things because they bought locally about three tape recorders as well, the big, very hefty tape recorders ...
John Legard: Levers Rich?
Teddy Darvas: Levers Rich, that's right. And I suggested, because I was very sound conscious, I suggested to John Mitchell that he put each of these Levers Riches to different places where the camera positions were, with the microphone far away, not to pick up - anyway it wouldn't have mattered in the explosion -so that one would have had different perspectives. And John Mitchell said 'Who is the Sound Recordist, you or I?' He was very funny John sometimes, he was the most charming man at other times. I mean, like I found, we were shooting eventually in Peradinya which is outside Candy, in the University, and at the back of this University hall, it was built on hills, I found there was the most fantastic echo. And so, because the script said that the shots leading to the blowing up of the bridge, were always echoing right round the hills and if you clapped your hands in this place at the back of this University hall you actually had an echo going right round the hills. And so the general got a detachment of the Ceylon Army and we had big bangers which were special effects made up, we had rifles with live ammunition, people in the villages nearby were told not to worry. And it took me a day to talk John Mitchell to come and record this and I said 'You don't have to go, at the end of shooting I am not interested. John, you record, it's where you park your truck at the end of the day's shooting, it will take ten minutes.' Anyway, we had it all lined up and everybody in the unit were not allowed to have a wash or anything. And at the back I saw him, he was setting up this microphone and I said 'John there's no echo there, the echo is there.' And he said 'No, no, I know better'. And, in fact, I was so proud of these effects that I had shot, it was all there. And, of course, every one of those was unuseable (unusual?). And at the end of the shooting Bill Graffe gave me permission, because there were lots of sound effects we needed, but we had to go like higher up where there were no secardos(?) We also had to go to this place where the flying foxes were. And so I got permission that, with a sound crew, even after everything was packed up, with one Levers Rich, that we would go round the island, take three days, and get all the effects. And I thought it was a marvellous holiday. And John Mitchell point blank refused. And I said 'But John, it's a holiday, we go from one rest home to the other, it's an hour's work a day or whatever it is and we have ( o I not seen anything of the island, wouldn't it be marvellous to do it?' And he point blank refused, so we never got those effects. And, of course, you are an Assembly Cutter, you are not an Editor and also you are very young and you are inexperienced. And also there would have been union problems. In effect, what I should have done is to have let them go and I should have taken, there was a Sound Recordist in the Government Film Unit, Sinhalese, who had been trained at Pinewood, and we could have gone with him and done all the effects. Finally, on the shooting on 'Bridge', because of Sessue Hayakawa, and they didn't want to bring him to England, that I would

p. 65

have to postsynch him completely, one hundred percent, which was, of course, going to be in the Government Film Unit. And the Head of the Government Film Unit Sound Department was an Italian. So I insisted that I would only do it if, one was terribly insular(?) if one had an Italian to do it, so that the sound was going to be OK. In fact, his assistant, this other chap would have been much better because, as it turned out, this Italian was deaf. And when we did postsynch I discovered gradually he was very good at covering it up. But when I said 'Turn over' the needle went twice and when I said 'Cut' the needle went sharp once. And in between he was purely doing mods. And I discovered it because when I said 'Did you understand this?' I suddenly realised that he understood nothing because he wasn't hearing anything. Anyway, with Sessue, when Sam Spiegel said 'You must do this' and he was obviously without David Lean being there, I said to David 'Why don't I, supposing I postsynch three close-ups and fitted them and you heard them, and if they are better, if it's at all clearer, then it will be worth carrying on. But why do the whole thing if it's going to be useless?' I did say to Sam Spiegel that there's an actor in England who can do marvellous Japanese voice for £50.00 a day called Peter Sellers. And Sam Spiegel said 'I want a real Japanese, I don't want a phoney Japanese.' So we recorded these three close-ups which I fitted. It was unbelievably hot in this theatre because the air conditioning had broken down and they didn't have the money to have it repaired. So we did about half a day, obviously I had to synch rushes and I do things otherwise I couldn't be in the theatre all the time. So whenever Sessue was not shooting we would do about twenty to thirty loops in one morning, which was enough for a man in his seventies.

John Legard: I would think so yes.
Teddy Darvas: So when I fitted those three David heard them and said 'Yes, much better, carry on'. So I actually false starts and all, every line that Sessue said I postsynched.
John Legard: Postsynched in the studio.
Teddy Darvas: As you can imagine the thousands of feet as it was not on the loop system, how many rolls of 35 mm magnetic were used. And as it happens, of course, the first speech is almost entirely postsynched but gradually as you got used to his voice and presumably he got better, one didnt use all that much of the postsynch. And, of course, when he was talking normally, when he was not shouting to the troops and that sort of thing, he was more intelligible. But I mean, he was wonderful, Sessue, he was a very, very nice man, very gentle. And at seventy six, I mean, he would play a round of golf in the morning and that sort of thing. And so that was the big thing, all that postsynch I did out there.
John Legard: So you were accumulating a lot of stuff there, weren't you?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, a mound of cut stuff obviously.
John Legard: Did you say you had Don Ranger thingy as your ...
Teddy Darvas: As my assistant.
John Legard: He worked with us for a while.
Teddy Darvas: Poor Don was very unsure of himself and, because - there was a lot of feeling that the locals were treated badly and I was very excitable and if I ticked Don off he would burst into tears.
John Legard: Oh dear.
Teddy Darvas: And I would shout at him and say 'Don't you dare cry over the film because it makes it wet'. I was terribly nasty to him, poor chap.
John Legard: It's all coming out now, you see, Teddy was really quite a ruthless ......
Teddy Darvas: When we came
John Legard: ...... previous editor that he had suffered from ..... a bit of his own back.

p. 66

Teddy Darvas: I did make sure that he became an ACT member. At the end of shooting, when we all came back, David Lean was not allowed to be in England for tax reasons. So Peter Taylor went over and the fine cut was actually done in Paris. And again, because later on David Lean did all his editing, people always said that editors didn't cut for David Lean, Peter Taylor cut most of the film.John Legard: Did he?

Teddy Darvas: David always, as I said earlier, reserved at least one sequence for himself to cut because he enjoyed cutting, but also he said to me 'Tell Peter not to touch from the last morning till the end of the film'. Because everything was shot from every angle, all the approaches, the waiting and sort of thing, from sunrise onwards. And Sam Spiegel was very angry about the amount of coverage but, in fact, David used every shot that he had shot, he had a place for every little thing. Obviously it was much longer and he may have had a complete scene and that shot was only used for one line.

John Legard: Just as a matter of interest. What was the relationship between David and Sam Spiegel out there in Ceylon? Because, I mean, you say that Spiegel was going at you, he must have been .....
Teddy Darvas: He was very difficult but in a way they liked each other because, I mean, they did other films together, you know. But ..
John Legard: Sam was a difficult...
Teddy Darvas: Sam was a difficult man but again he had marvellous taste because whenever he was broke or anything he didn't go for just a cheap film to make quick money but, I mean, when he was at his brokest he made "On the Waterfront" and that sort of thing. So he had natural.. ..
John Legard: This was the first time they had worked together though wasn't it?
Teddy Darvas: This was the first time they had worked together. Originally the film was going to be directed by Guy Hamilton two years before and the money didn't come through. Ray Answerit(?) was going to be Associate Producer. So anyway, I said that we should stay in Ceylon because David was going on a holiday, I suggested that we get a rough cut out with David while we were there with a cutting room and Sam Spiegel actually made a mock of me on that that I didn't want to go home. But I said that we will get home and for three weeks we will sit in the cutting room doing nothing, which is exactly what happened because David Lean wasn't around. Sam Spiegel didn't want the film to drag on, David to cut for a long time. So he suddenly announced a royal premiere with a ridiculous finishing time. And we had masses of Dubbing Editors and things in. And this is why that Malcolm Arnold, in fact, only had about three weeks to write the music. He said this in this programme on television, he worked day and night. And, in fact, apart from March and that quite a lot of the music is not, I think, as up to Malcolm Arnold's standards, but he had literally no time to write the music. My great regret at the end was that, originally the first titles said 'Edited by Peter Taylor, Sound Editor Wyn Ryder, Assembly Editor Teddy Darvas', which for me that would have been a big break. But certain, like Eric Boyd Perkins, everybody else was with, whether they were Dubbing Editors or Assistants and Eric objected to that so when the titles came out my name was, in fact, under my own assistant, which was as big blow for me. And, in fact, the final mix, David Lean trusted John Cox implicitly, so John Cox dubbed it and Sam Spiegel supervised the dub because David, as I say, was not allowed to be in England. David, on his fiftieth birthday in Ceylon, when I congratulated him it was a Sunday, he looked absolutely like death and said that he was now fifty and he had not many years of active left, which I laughed at. And he said 'Here I am at fifty and I have no money, I can't go back to England, I am in debt everywhere'. And, of course, eighteen months from then, two years from then, he was a millionaire and

p. 67

Tape5-SideA(Side9)
John Legard: After you completed your work on "Bridge on the River Kwai" what happened next? Were you still with David Lean then?
Teddy Darvas: The Boultings were finished then because I had left then. This was in 1957 and, of course, as I said, contracts with British Lion had been dropped so one was a free lance now. And towards the end, at "River Kwai" an old mate of mine, Bunny Warren, was the editor for Herbert Wilcox and he was cutting a Wilcox film at Warton Studios and I got the job of dubbing editor on an Anna Neagle film called "The Man Who Wouldn't Talk". It was a dreadful film, memorable for wonderful remark of Anne Neagle's, because Zsa Zsa Gabor was at the height of her fame, husbands and everything, and everybody thought there would be terrible friction between very proper Anna Neagle being the queen and Zsa Zsa Gabor. And Anna Neagle was asked in interview what she thought of Zsa Zsa Gabor and she said 'Well I think she is rather a nice little woman'. And I mean, nobody could ever call Zsa Zsa a nice little girl except Ann a Neagle. Anna Neagle, Herbert Wilcox, for whom I had done publicity in 46/47, in spite of their pretensions of royalty etc and all those things, they were the kindest, very nice people. Wilcox always directed in a city suit with a buttonhole.
John Legard: I can imagine.
Teddy Darvas: Always great politeness. And Anna Neagle couldn't do postsynch, which I think I said earlier on. Although this was a dreadful thing this was the time when, of course, Wilcox was by now running out of steam. But he kept his units going. He was a marvellous employer. And she was absolutely charming, whatever the pretensions were. And many years later, when Wilcox was bankrupt and she carried on working as in "Charlie Girl" and that, to keep them going. And she would drive him to Wardour Street to the Intrepid Fox where he would meet an old publicity man who was a senior exploiteer when I started in the business. And Wilcox would sit all alone waiting for this man in the pub, full of film people, and nobody would recognise him. And if I was in there for lunch I would go there and say 'Hello' and have a chat to him and was so pleased to see you. But any time you saw Anna Neagle, and she had a little car and she would drive up and have a chat, she was always beautifully dressed. I mean, from my point of view, there is a lot of affection, and not of people .....
John Legard: Nice to hear that.
Teddy Darvas: In the industry, owe them an awful lot. And, of course, they tried to employ Mutsi Green as their camera man who loved women, could photograph Anna as she was getting older, most beautifully, and to anticipate many years later, when I was already an editor, but there was a film being done with Orson Welles, Anna Neagle - "Trench's Last Case" I think it was with Orson Welles. And Mutsi Green, Max Greenbaum, who was a brilliant camera man, one of the most charming people and when I got my break from Boultings, again he treated me as though I was an editor, he gave me a lot of self confidence. On this film at Shepperton, and the restaurant was full, and Orson Welles was being interviewed by Kenneth Tynan, and nobody could speak in this absolutely full restaurant because Orson Welles was holding forth. And Mutsi Green, Czech/ German/Jewish originally, and he was sitting at the other end of the restaurant and there was a sudden pause. I think Orson Welles taking a breath. And Mutsi leant back in his chair and said 'Speak up, can't hear you' and absolutely took the pi ss out..... It was actually wonderful. Anyway, this was a dreadful film but now as the dubbing editor for the first time, I had always dreaded it being this because one wasn't on the film before and to come on to a film I think for a sound editor is exceedingly difficult. After that I want straight on - Jack Clayton was then a producer and early John Gillam in films starring Stewart Granger, George Sanders called "The Whole Truth". Again

p. 68

another dreadful film, also shot at the old Warton Studios about a film producer who is falsely accused of murder. It was Gerry Hambling's first film as an editor with Ralph Kemplen supervising him. Again, you see, as a sound editor, I arrived on a Monday morning to find that Stewart Granger's contract expires Saturday week and you have got to clear him by then. So you haven't even seen the film, you don't even know what there are in wild tracks. I think, being a sound editor, I think is the worst job in films, on the cutting room side. And also Stewart Granger is a difficult man and he behaved exceedingly badly to Jackie Clayton on that film. Ralph Kemplen who was a brilliant editor and a terribly nice man, it was very funny because he hated sound by and large. And this was supposed to be in the south of France and, of course, the villa was in a set with a painted backing for the cornice and everything behind the terrace. And so obviously all the footsteps had to be done on stone and that sort of thing and I put cicadas and bull frogs on and like a distant train, which if you have been to the south of France, the trains run along the sea front so you always see them, you always hear them, high up a plane coming in to land. And it is a terribly hard job for a sound editor because your best efforts are killed and Ralph hated sound effects. And he said 'No, kill this, kill that' and I said 'But Ralph if you kill all that you are going to be landed with the studio track of footsteps on wood, as it was'. And that's how the finished film is and it was on television quite recently. And, of course, on television you can't hear it. I was very upset because there was no atmosphere of being in the south of France, no exterior atmosphere whatsoever. But again, things that have changed except on the very biggest films. Even on a smallish film like that, because a lot of the film took part during a party in this Hollywood producer's - Stewart Granger's - villa, that you needed crowd noises. Now a loop of crowd is terrible. Now Jack Clayton gave me permission and I had twenty extras in the postsynch theatre and we got chatter tracks, long shot, close shot, with a mixer, but to get, it's something that again I learned from David Lean, I got the extras to take their shoes off. And so I got them to move so that, with the microphone, you had different perspectives and you had long shot, close shot, everything track and, in a strange way, it does make a difference. But today, I mean, cutting some of the biggest mini series, if you said 'Could I have twenty extras please' they would absolutely kill themselves with laughter saying 'Who do you think we are'. And the other interesting thing that I learned from David Lean, among the many, which funnily enough watching a Jackie Clayton film when he did that American film, I have forgotten what it was, and there was a big party, and there is a good assistant director which he knew, that extras should be in a crowd scene, they should be given a character, even although they say 'Rhubarb', you say 'You are a diplomat', 'You are a this' and 'You are a that'. And, therefore, if you have a tracking shot or something in a crowd scene, that if you record individual lines, I mean, completely trite remarks like 'Haven't seen you for a long time, how are you, hasn't the weather been awful' and if you lay these, now and again, among the crowd track, so if there's a track or a pan you just fade these lines in and out, but not in foreground, just so that you can hardly hear them. And even on a small film like that you were given this capacity. Nobody cares except people like Jack Clayton and that who you care about eventual quality of the film, and it doesn't cost all that much.
John Legard: It's like just giving texture isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: It's a bit of texture that is given and a bit of, I think is it Dickens or somebody who wrote 'giving an air of very similitude and otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative'. Films have no smell so therefore it is the sound that has got to give it.. ..
John Legard: Very good point yes.
Teddy Darvas: Again, as David Lean said 'You cannot have, if you want to show silence in a film, paradoxically you have got to put noise on. Because if you just have a blank sound track you just

p. 69

get hiss'. So therefore the old cliche- you are in a street in the middle to the night, a distant dog barks and that shows that it is quiet. So anyway that was that film. And, as I say, Stewart Granger wasn't easy and in fact played us up on postsynch very considerably. He was at that time married to Jean Simmons and he was going straight off to India to do "Harry Black" and so Jackie Clayton agreed to pay a Saturday overtime so that we could do the postsynchs and he could have a few days with his wife. He refused to arrive in the morning and said 'We'll do two o clock'. He didn't arrive until three thirty and we had to finish at five thirty, galloped through the stuff, which wasn't very much in synch, no performance whatsoever. When he came back we were still not dubbed and he was postsynching at Shepperton and Jackie Clayton said that - meanwhile we had to re-voice an Italian actress and there was some overlaps and Jack Clayton said 'Jimmy is one of my oldest friends, he'll do me these three or four lines, he's in there, Harriet Black, allow us we can go in for an hour or half an hour to pick these lines up and while you are about it just redo those three loops on him coming down those stairs'. Next thing I knew was Jackie Clayton called me into his office and said 'How important are those overlaps?' and I said 'Well, they are not very nice'. He said 'Well, Jimmy wants a thousand pounds to do those'. And a few days later I was - one used to go and have coffee in the sound workshop at Shepperton - and I was having coffee there in the morning and Stewart Granger, Jimmy, was there having coffee as well in the morning break and he said to me 'You see, Teddy, that's what all film producers are like, they always want something for nothing. The minute I want money for it those overlaps are not that important'. And all I dared was say 'Well, it is your performance, you know'. Stewart Granger's the nicest man socially and as a
friend ....
John Legard: But he is not very professional, he wasn't a professional then ....
Teddy Darvas: The minute he - I presume it's insecurity - he becomes very, very difficult and therefore, even for his great friend who had paid out money, I mean, money of the film, budget money to allow him to fly back to see his wife for two or three days, laying on a Saturday overtime in those days, it was not just a four man sound crew, two cutting rooms, two projectionists, but you had to have the canteen laid on with hot food. So it was a considerable amount of money and that's how Jimmy Granger then behaved.
John Legard: No it's an interesting point. I mean, you don't want to be sort of too hard on him because he had a distinguished career and still is acting, but he was that sort of person, wasn't he?Teddy Darvas: This is why I said ...
John Legard: They were few and far between.
Teddy Darvas: That if you, I think the problem is that he is not a really good actor. I think the better the actor the bigger the star, the nicer and easier they are to work with. It was second on "Bridge on the River Kwai", postsynching and Sam Spiegel was there and a certain amount of stuff had to be postsynched for safety and when Sam Spiegel said 'Why are we doing this, why are we doing this, why are we doing this?' Bill Holden, Alex Guinness, Jack Hawkins, all said 'Look we are good at postsynch, if Teddy says for safety we ought to do it, while we are arguing we would have done those loops'. And so this is the other side of the coin, really. I found the bigger the star and the better the actor, the easier it is. And again, to change, it's an amazing thing, when I was a first assistant assembly editor - dubbing editor - that I was allowed to direct postsynch without the director there, that you were trusted. On the first St Trinians film I was very upset that Thelma Connell as the editor insisted on being there, that I was not trusted to do it. Today, Don Sharp, who is a very good director, Don Sharp, whatever the pressure is, would not allow either my sound editor (to?) or me to do any postsynch without him being there. And in a way, my sound editors in that have not got the authority that one had and, in effect, also I learned about directing actors by

p. 70

directing postsynch. And if you were thinking of becoming a film director eventually, in the cutting rooms (a) you did second units as an editor very often and (b) you directed artists in postsynch all the time. So if you had to go on the floor, eventually to direct, it wasn't such a shock because you, in a way, had done it. After this film I became dubbing editor, sound editor, on "Two Headed Spy" which Ray Poulton edited. Ray Poulton was a good friend of mine anyway. And the producer whose name I cannot remember and I was going to actually run the titles for it, he was one of the Hollywood dead end kids, he was tiny and made a number of films here and it was directed by a Hungarian called Andre De Toth, he had one eye and with one eye he had directed the only successful stereo film- it was "Something of the Wax Museum".

John Legard: "House of Wax".
Teddy Darvas: "House of Wax", yes. And when he was asked about how a one eyed man could direct a stereo film he said 'Well Beethoven was deaf wasn't he?' But anyway, Andre De Toth was a very bad director and this man, who was a real little Hollywood go-getter, he talked Columbia into this film and was going ... .
John Legard: Wasn't Charles .. .
Teddy Darvas: Not Charles Sneer, no. Before you leave I'll run the titles. Andy Dinelli who died recently was the Columbia representative on the film. And it was like - we dubbed six weeks after we came off the floor. Andy Dinelli warned me. He said 'This man will never OK the film so don't - he'll alibi on you Teddy- whatever happens you have all the sound effects ready etc etc'. And, in fact, by the time we were supposed to go into the dubbing theatre, this man had not approved one single scene, let alone a reel. Ray Poulton was very good on these things. He rode this very well. But because I had nothing to do as a sound editor because of all this drag, having got the sound effects in I had a complete library of war effects. In fact, Peter Handford, who got an MBE during the war for recording sound under fire, I got his entire library of war time sound effects which are brilliant because he recorded literally under fire in trenches and that. I got the whole lot for fifty quid from him for the use of the film, which was ‘58. So, I mean, you know. In effect we needed a lot of library material and I, in fact, did the research for Ray then and I also did the music. It was the only film I did as a sound editor where I went into the dubbing theatre with every reel laid up for four, five days before, never worked overtime. It was a very interesting story "Two Headed Spy" because it was based on fact. It was based on a Colonel Scotland who gave evidence at the Nuremberg war trials and he was in the German army as a spy in the first world war. He was kept there as a sleeper. And he got on to the German general staff in the second world war. His job was to send information, not to sabotage. He had to be efficient. So he actually, in real life, he planned a destruction of his own people. Felix ? was in the film, Gia Scala who was a starlet who was a sweet person who could not remember a line and had more, I think we went for more takes than I ever remember, it went up about sixty takes, she couldn't remember anything, and the assistant director would have a blackboard and you had a sweepstake on how many takes she would go for with Gia. She was a very sad case actually because as it happens, she was born in Liverpool when her Italian parents were on the way to America during the war. And she was in a Columbia Charm School and she did one or two films when she looked very promising and they found that she wasn't all that good but, of course, she was entitled, she was counted on the British quota. So every Columbia film had to have Gia Scala in it. Like "Guns of Navarone" she played a deaf mute where she looked very beautiful, she didn't have to speak. She was a very, very nice girl. It should have been a wonderful film because it was a real psychological story of this man. I mean, having to plan the killing of his own people. Jack Hawkins was very, very good in it. And Andre De Toth made a pretty mediocre film out of it. And I was saying this to my father and he was having his weekly

p. 71

lunch with Vincent Korda and my father said to Vincent 'Who is this Andre De Toth?' And Vincent in his slow way said 'You know, he is a Hungarian with a great talent', there was a long pause and he said 'for marrying well'. His first wife was Veronica Lake and he left her to marry one of the Warner girls, one of the Warner Brothers daughters. Poor Veronica Lake who died as a waitress, penniless. Anyway, he was not a very good director, very nice person. And the film was obviously not very good. But, in effect, this producer, whose name I cannot remember, I mean, when he was supposed to be supervising the editing, the head of Columbia found him on a beach in Cannes and told him to get on a plane and come back to London and what was he doing there on holiday. The longer the film went on the more money he made. Again, I mean, the dubbing of it, the sound part of it was very intricate because it was all war, obviously, and the bombing of Berlin and the final attack, so from a sound point of view it was a very intricate film, it had lots of tracks because of the war time effects.

John Legard: Has it disappeared without trace or have we seen it?
Teddy Darvas: No, that has been on television. I have got a video of it. So I can look up.
John Legard: Oh, you said, that's right.
Teddy Darvas: I was, of course, dying to become an editor by this time and I was really getting to the stage of believing that I was going to stick at being a sound editor. By this time I was one of the, almost, highest paid sound editors in the country. I was getting thirty seven pounds ten shillings as a dubbing editor in 1958, which wasn't bad. And at that time a man called Eddy Knopf who had been a writer and become a producer for MGM who wrote that wonderful thing with Leslie Caron, the film with Mel ? when she is a waif and he was a producer and he was taking over what had been the Douglas Fairbanks' Theatre and he was going to do a series called "The Rendezvous Series". And Ray Poulton had cut a film for him and he wanted Ray, because in those days television obviously paid very little money as television editors, and this man wanted feature editors. And also this series they had bought thirteen episodes of a defunct American series that had never been shown which needed re-editing, because in those days you had people presenting a series. So it needed a certain amount of re-editing in order to fit into this format. So Ray Poulton, very generously, said 'Look, you can't afford me, you won't pay me but if you want feature people and not hacks', television hacks as they were at that time, because you only went into television editing if you couldn't get a job in features properly, 'then why don't you take Teddy who has been location editor of "River Kwai", he has done quite a bit of editing and I will stay and steer him through the beginning of the re-editing of these thirteen things'. Which was very generous of him. Denis O'Dell was the associate producer and it was being made, I think, for CBS and the CBS representative was one of the great war time RAF flying aces Group Captain Bryan Kingcome -wonderful man. And so I got a break as an editor on this and I got on that many weeks before they were going to start shooting, because, of course, these thirteen things had to be re-edited. And, of course, it was very difficult, because in those days with dissolves you couldn't hold frames as you can now to shorten the series. When it was the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, Douglas Fairbanks always introduced a story. This time it was going to be an actor called Charles Drake and he would introduce the stories. And the commercials was in fact the hero of the series doing the commercial Rhinegold Beer, the beer with the real beer taste. And Denis O'Dell said to me, obviously 'You can't be supervising editor because you haven't got the experience' and he gave me one or two names and one of them was Tom Simpson who had been the assembly cutter on my very first film. And so I said 'Well Tom is an old mate, I would be delighted if he were my supervising editor'. So when he arrived I didn't realise that he had promised Maurice Roots, my first editor, that he would be the other editor. So the minute Tom arrived, a terrifying throat cut situation arose because he had promised Maurice the

p. 72

job of editor. And Tom said to me 'I thought you were going to be the sound editor'. And I said 'Well I have taken a salary cut', I showed him my contract, 'I am engaged as an editor Tom.' So somehow he got Maurice in and from then on it was a terrifying period because anything I did, Maurice or Tom, especially Maurice, would be in the cutting room and said 'Well, you know, he's very experienced, it doesn't quite work that way'. And my situation was undermined. And I cut some of the commercials. I told Denis O'Dell that I had worked it out that I would be fired round about Christmas because they can't fire me until the stuff for the thirteen existing episodes was done. Eventually, it was my turn to cut the third episode in this and this, I must say, is something against Pat Jackson because he was a charming man and since then I have got to know him. But he was in a very cleft stick. And I cut an episode that he had directed and obviously I was inexperienced and he said like David Lean and all of them say 'Like love being in the cutting room' and I said 'Come in fine'. I didn't realise, of course, that television series the director never comes in. And the next episode he was going to direct and he was late with his script alterations and, as an excuse, he said 'Well you gave me an inexperienced editor and I had to be in the cutting room' at which I was fired. And Pat has forgotten that episode, I am sure, because he is a terribly nice man. And Bryan Kinkcome went to him and said 'Look you had better tell Eddy Knopf that you didn't mean it that way'. And he said 'Well, I hope I haven't harmed Teddy' and he said 'Of course you have harmed him. He has got fired'. If you say to an American producer what you just said. So I got fired. I had got engaged by this time. I had arranged our wedding for the following Easter so that I would only have to take four days off to have ten days off. And I got fired on New Year's Eve which was a terrible blow as you can imagine on my first break. Pat Jackson didn't mean me to get fired and he was very complimentary. Funnily enough on the Christmas Eve there were drinks before Christmas for the entire unit and Pat Jackson praised my editing and Denis O'Dell said 'You see, Teddy, you are never going to be fired, it's marvellous'. This was Christmas Eve. And I got fired on New Year's Eve. Bryan Kinkcombe and the script editor both Eddie Knopf what had really happened, what Tom Simpson etc had done. The irony is that eventually they had to take on a third editor the minute I was fired because two editors couldn't cope. So there was no need for the throat cutting at all. Eddie Knopf killed the Rhinegold series because it was such a terrible series that they just withdrew from financing the thing. But I was called in - this was New Year's Eve - and I was called into Eddie Knopf's office and he was one of the Knopf publishing family - multi-millionaire - very civilised, great writer. "Lilly" that's the thing that he had written. And he said 'I don't understand Teddy when people get fired they just go quietly, why is that I have a line of people coming in saying that I have done wrong'. And I said 'Well, perhaps because they know the whole story of why I was being fired' and he said to me 'Well, Teddy, you are going to become a great film editor, it is just inexperience, it's one of those things'. And I said 'Well, thank you very much, that's a marvellous New Year's Eve present'. And he said 'Well Teddy, I must tell you a story. They say the trouble about Hollywood is that it has no traditions, to which people answer 'What do you mean Hollywood has no traditions? Have you never been fired on Christmas Eve?' And I said 'Thank you very much' and went out and slammed the door, I was nearly in tears. On this series we had brilliant assistants, one of whom was John Bloom, who is now one of the top editors - Claire Bloom's brother. And John Bloom lived on a houseboat in Chelsea, and Ramona, to whom I was engaged, and I were invited, we had a New Year's Eve Party. John Bloom and everybody were terribly upset and everything. And it was probably the unhappiest Christmas Eve I ever spent. To finish this with Maurice Roots, we eventually, as I said earlier, many years later we became quite good friends. I had to ring John Bloom the following week on a private, personal matter and Maurice answered the phone and recognised my voice and he said 'Is that Teddy?' and I said 'Yes'. He said 'I hear that you

p. 73

said that Tom and I cut your throat' and I said 'Yes, I have said that and that is what you did, I am sorry that's what you did'. And he said 'Well, I must say one thing Teddy that, whereas we would never become bosom chums, I never actively wished you any harm' at which I hung up, which was one of the most cruel things that anybody could ever say really. So.

John Legard: It's a tough old business isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: It's a tough old business.
John Legard: ..... editing and features and television.
Teddy Darvas: Well, there's very little throat cutting of that sort, strangely enough, in features within ranks
John Legard: Television work ...
Teddy Darvas: Well, in Hollywood there is but, by and large, in the freelance business you understand that if you are up against a film, if you are up for a film, four or five of your mates are going to be up for the same film. So you are never going to run down other people, nor are they going to run you down.
John Legard: Because you never know what's going to happen next.
Teddy Darvas: Not because of that, but because it's an unwritten law. If your face fits you'll get the film. You never know why. So.
John Legard: Anyway, that's sort of on the negative side isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: Now we come ...
John Legard: Let's get back to ...
Teddy Darvas: We got married in the fourth month of being out of work. When I came back I got four week's work doing some M & Es and then the chap who was the sound maintenance man on "River Kwai" was now acting producer, head of sound, for the Ghana Film Unit. And his name was Malcolm Stewart. He was very unpopular in Ceylon and I was the only man who got him any praise because he spent time setting up by cutting room etc. And so he came to me and said 'We are starting a newsreel for Ghana and if you are doing nothing else would you like to become editor?' And so I started off the newsreel for Ghana in 1959, cutting at the old Clapham Park Studios.
John Legard: I know it well.
Teddy Darvas: And it was a very interesting experience because, of course, I had a Ghanaian assistant, a lot of infighting and, by and large, European technicians who went to government film units either went to make a name for themselves and made films that the locals didn't want to see but did very well at film festivals which was a sort of ego trip, or they went there to make as much money as possible through fair means or foul. But it was an interesting experience because you had to, not only cut a fortnightly ten minutes ...
John Legard: This was shot 35 black and white?
Teddy Darvas: 35 black and white. But also, in a way, you had to write if what you got was not shot properly.
John Legard: Do a little bit of commentary writing.
Teddy Darvas: And like a thing that I said we ought to have timeless stories like what they said like a visit to the zoo or something like that so if we are short of material then I can have little stories that are pre-cut and you can just drop them in if you are short of time. And off they went. Malcolm wrote me and said 'Yes, unit has gone out and they have gone to safari park to shoot you one of these stories' and I then got the rushes in with a sheet that said 'Yes, we did the story on the safari park but unfortunately we saw no wild animals, can you go to the library and get some shots?' And I went out to Pinewood, the Pinewood Picture Library, and Kip Heron by this time was general manager of Pinewood Studios and I bumped into him and he said 'Hi Teddy, how are you,

p. 74

come into the office, what are you doing here?' And I said 'I am cutting this newsreel' and when I told him that I had a bit of newsreel and I have come to Pinewood Library to get the safari, the wild animals, because they went on safari and saw nothing, he thought it was really funny. So I did that for the best part of the year.
John Legard: How often did they come out?
Teddy Darvas: Once very two weeks.
John Legard: And these were shown widely in Ghana?
Teddy Darvas: In Ghana. They may still be shown because they go out, there is no time with them.
John Legard: I wonder how prints they made of each addition.
Teddy Darvas: I don't know. It was processed at Olympic Laboratories. But it was the time when Nkrumah was the lovely man and, of course, every newsreel was basically about Nkrumah going to Dubai, it was always Nkrumah. It was also the time when the queen cancelled her visit because she was pregnant and Philip went out instead. Meanwhile, Malcolm Stewart left Ghana and a Canadian took over, who was an absolute phoney. And eventually the position came - well he uncovered an amount of cheating etc that went on the Ghana Film Unit.. ..
John Legard: Everybody cheated in Ghana I think.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, I am not mentioning any names who could have gone to jail. But the thing was that it was Film Producers' Guild who administered everything and this Canadian accused, even the Guild, of cheating. I knew that he was in England, this Canadian, and he hadn't contacted me and there were strange things going on. And I was warned about it. And one day this man rang me and said 'Teddy you may reveal anything now or otherwise Special Branch have been informed' and I knew what it was about and the thing that I was very lucky about, because there was an unbelievable amount of cheating in Ghana, I mean, tens of thousands of pounds, because I am very, very lazy. Film Producers' Guild said 'Look take a float and pay for things' and I said 'No, could I have an order book and I will issue an order for anything'. The only cash that went through my hands was, which was agreed in my contract, I had a £3 a week entertainment allowance for which I did not have to account. So when this man was accusing everybody, including the Film Producers' Guild, Cyril Brown was the production manager, not Cyril Brown the sound mixer, there were two Cyril Browns. And everybody was accused of cheating. Cyril said 'Well, you're completely in the clear because no money has passed through your hands, whatever he says'. So anyway I left. At Clapham and everything, I had got Athos, Bert Eggleton used to dub there and so ....
John Legard: So did we. I mean, Bert Eggleton was working for British Transport Films, I think.Teddy Darvas: Yes. By this time it was Athos. Somebody said to me 'Why don't you ring Bert Eggleton, there might be work there'. I rang Bert Eggleton and he said 'Come and see Reg Hughes' and there was a commercial version of a BOAC documentary, three week's work, to cut it down to make it work. It had been directed by a man called Stanley Goulder who had been my assistant. And so Stanley was directing a very secret film that Bert Eggleton was cutting in another cutting room, under lock and key. And I went there for three weeks and stayed nearly three years, because after that there was more work and I sort of cut all the big documentaries and whatever BBC was around. And the interesting thing is, because as I said earlier that David Lean had started as a newsreel editor, during this period David Lean was in London and I rang him and we were chatting and he said 'What are you doing?' and I said 'Well, I couldn't get a job so I am doing a newsreel'. He said 'Best thing that's ever happened to you, that is what will teach you editing. I started newsreel editor.' And, of course, in those days when you had to dissolve and do things very precisely, what newsreel editing had taught you is that, being actuality, you can't have continuity, you haven't got

p. 75

time for dissolves and things like that. So if somebody gets off a plane and the next shot is on a march past, taking the stand at a march past, the other side of the airport, there are no continuity shots to do it. So you had to learn how to cheat cut. (sorry it went silent here) .. ran those cutting rooms as though they were features cutting rooms so any trainee or any assistant that came in there learnt editing procedure and technique really properly. And among my assistants Tony Lawson, people like that, came into the cutting room through Reg Hughes. And they were very, very good employers and it was very- I was very happy there actually. And one film actually I had to take over and direct because it was a film made for Bristol Siddeley Engines and Sir Arnold Hall, when he saw the finished film, decided he wanted a different movie and the director was away doing another film and Reg Hughes told me to go and take over the - put missing scenes in, re-jig what we could use. So I went down to Bristol. Peter Bucknall, one of the trips

Tape 5 Side B (Side 10)
Teddy Darvas: And incidentally you didn't get an extra penny a week for directing, you did that as part of your ...
John Legard: Normal duties, yes, I understand that.
Teddy Darvas: I was getting very frustrated, although I liked editing, and I love documentary, and I thought that I had now been away from features for nearly three years and in those days it was almost impossible to go back. And Toni Roberts was the director of Film Centre who supervised like the BOAC films. She and I got on very well together and I went to see her and she said that I ought to come over to Film Centre and the next job as a producer for Film Centre that she would give me a break. So I was always interested in production so if I couldn't be a features editor I would be delighted to stay in documentary and do that sort of thing. During this time the Boultings were without an editor. Boultings always promoted their editors because Roy himself was a brilliant editor. And they were going to film a book called "The White Rabbit".
John Legard: Oh yes.
Teddy Darvas: Which was the real story of a spy and I got the job - they were going to promote me as an editor- and that film, for various copyright reasons, never got made. And so I was like back at Athos. And then I was told that they were going to start a Peter Sellar's film called "Heavens Above". And so I rang them, their secretary Pam Rippingale who was a legend and a great friend and knew when to tip you off, so through that I rang Roy and asked for the job having been offered "White Rabbit" a year before. And there was a lot of humming and haaaing. Quite rightly because it is much more difficult to cut comedy than it is to cut drama and so the difficulty of promoting me on a comedy was a bigger risk. And there was a lot of tooing and froing and obviously working in Soho Square at least twice a week I used to bump into the Boulting brothers going across to Le Jardin de Gourmet for lunch and every time they saw me they said 'Well, Teddy, we haven't quite made up our minds yet. It's very, very unlike us' the Boultings. So I was on tenterhooks about this film. And one late afternoon the phone rang and it was Pam and she said 'Mr Roy wishes to have a word with you'. Roy came on the phone and didn't say 'We have given you the film'. He said 'Teddy, my dear fellow, come over and collect your script'. That was absolutely ? and I think - they were in Broadwick House in Broadwick Street and I was in Soho Square - and I didn't walk across, I floated across in sheer happiness. I had got, not only a break in a feature but a really big feature. And I went in and Roy and John were sitting there. Roy was behind the desk and John was on a settee. And Roy said, handing me the script 'My dear fellow, here's the script, read it, think about it, digest it. And when you have done that come and tell us what you think is wrong and what you think about it generally. Because not even us, the Boultings, are perfect.' And John said

p. 76

'Oh I wouldn't go that far Roy'. It was a great laugh. And anyway I got the film. It was very interesting going back to features, back to Shepperton. Jack Drake was still running the cutting rooms. John Poyner became my first assistant, at Roy Boulting's recommendation. And the second assistant, Jack Drake said 'There's a young man who has got his ticket but has never been on a feature but if he is at all like his father, he will be very good. And that's how my second assistant was David Woodwood, who now has his editing service. His father was Jeffrey Woodwood who had been an art director and producer of commercials. And David and I are still very great friends. And in those days, which is another thing worth saying is that, if you are looking for an assistant in the cutting rooms, nobody ever thought of ringing the ACT looking for an assistant or a dubbing editor or anything. The real labour exchange was Jack Drake at Shepperton or Charlie Crafford at ABPC. And they recommended people and did absolutely everything for you. And so I got back to Shepperton and obviously one was terribly unsure of oneself. And the new American Moviolas were just coming in. You still had the old Acmiolas at that time and for an Acmiola that was included in the cost of a cutting room and to have one of these new series 20, I think they were called, Moviolas. I think the rental was an extra fourteen pounds a week. I mean the cutting room was only twenty a week or something like that. So when Jack Drake said to me 'I'm sorry Teddy, for the first three days we haven't got a Moviola for you but we will get you one.' I was terribly surprised because I would not dared ask for one. So anyway John Boulting was directing, Roy was producing - they tended to alternate in directing and producing. And it was very interesting because, as I say, my first film and Mutsi Green behaved to me as an equal and talked to me as an equal and was a tremendous help. The Boultings, because they were terribly sure of themselves as directors, apart from seeing rushes, they saw no cut stuff at all. They let you do the cutting
yourself ...
John Legard: I'm surprised.
Teddy Darvas: And they would see a rough cut first of all. I think rough cut incidentally is a terrible expression because it is a first cut and it is more than a first cut. Alan Osbiston used to say that nothing infuriated him more than when he was cutting a big Columbia film and he and the director had worked for six weeks to get a fine cut and then the head man from America would come over to see the film for approval and the director would say to this big shot 'Well, you must realise this is only a rough cut' and it was like a fine cut, you know. Anyway. So from that point of view you were given tremendous feeling of self confidence that they trusted you and after shooting in the evenings you would always meet in John's office and discuss - Mutsi Green, Phil Shipway was the production manager, and you would discuss the day's work and you would say 'How's it going' or anything. Obviously if you had any problems you could ask. Roy Boulting did second unit and it was very interesting that, Roy Boulting being an editor, his stuff cut together much, much more easily than John Boulting's, who wasn't an editor. John Boulting was a deeper director than Roy. Roy's work was slightly more on the surface but Roy's second unit, he shot like there were three processions, like converging three demonstrations. And I thought I couldn't cut this at all because when I tried to cut it everything was like a jump cut. And Roy happened to come into the cutting room saying 'How's it going?' and I said 'Have a look at this, it just doesn't cut together'. And he said 'Well, no Teddy, you see, what you have to do is, it's the three lines converging, they are not meant to be cut within each procession. You do a little bit of this and then the second one and then the third and then you go back to another one. You get them closer and closer.' And without making you feel low or anything, they actually showed you where you had gone wrong. And there was a great help among editors because they used to run things for each other - which now doesn't happen - partly because there are no studios also there is greater secrecy about things.

p. 77

At Pinewood editors didn't show things to each other but at Shepperton it always was. I remember John Shirley when I was saying this saying 'Oh I would never show my first cut to anybody' and I said 'Why not?' Because later on Max Benedict, I would show him stuff that I had cut or Alan Osbistan, they would always help you. It was a terrible summer for the exterior shooting and things were behind schedule and that kind of thing. Because people talk about Peter Sellers. Now Peter Sellers was difficult. He wasn't as big a star then, of course. But Peter was playing up and he wanted to go off to Paris for a weekend and the production manager said 'Peter, I don't think you can and anyway your insurance won't allow to fly, we may be shooting this weekend anyway'. At which Peter Sellers immediately became ill. Sorry, the production manager was a chap called Mike Johnston who was a very wise old bird who said 'I am terribly sorry, Peter, I will get the doctor' and he sent a car, we were shooting about a mile and a half from Shepperton Studios, went out, told John Boulting what was happening and John Boulting and Roy were like father confessors to Peter Sellers. They were the only people who keep him in his performances as well from overacting. And so John came back to the studio and went to his room and after an hour Peter was well enough to start shooting. And as it happens, that was the one weekend when the weather was good and in two days, that's Saturday and Sunday, Roy, with an unbelievable amount of energy, shot four day's worth of stuff and after that the weather came back, I mean, that was a miracle that the thing happened. And so anyway when Peter finished shooting, Peter liked to buy huge presents, it was a way of gaining popularity, and on his last day, we were told that heads of departments were not getting presents. And we were in John's office and everybody was rushing in showing their presents, I mean, third assistant director on his first film got a gold Parker pen and pencil set. The make-up man, this is 1962, got a stereo cassette recorder which, in those days, was everything. John Boulting was sort of watching this and he said 'What are we getting Teddy?' And I said 'Well, we are getting nothing because we are heads of department'. And the two legendary prop boys - Chuck and Bobby - came in with their presents. And he said 'You know what you are going to get from us, the Boultings?' And they said 'What John?' and he said 'Our thanks, if you are lucky', which was always a great joke because Bobby and Chuck were great, great friends. Anyway it is worth pausing for a second about Bobby and Chuck. Bobby and Chuck were not the world's greatest prop men but they were probably worth their weight in gold on a unit and they were, did I say this earlier on - everybody, Carol Reid, David Lean, Anthony Asquith, every director always wanted Bobby and Chuck as their prop men because, if there was heaviness on the set, if there were tempers, they knew when to make a joke, when to do everything. And so they were tremendous, they were tremendous friends, I mean, when you say villains, villains in a very funny way, I mean, on "Guns of Navarone" with the four big stars, they were going to go to America and they went to David Niven and said to David 'We are going to go for a holiday in New York' and so David Niven said 'Well, I'll pay your fares over as a present'. So then they went to Gregory Peck and said 'You know what, David has given us our fare to New York' so Gregory Peck had to say 'Well, I have got an apartment in New York, you can use that'. So they went to Anthony Quinn and said what they had done so he said 'Right, well, I'll give you five hundred dollars spending money'. The went to the fourth star whoever it was and told him this and he said 'Yes, I'll ring my agent, he'll get you tickets to all the shows'. So they bummed out a beautiful holiday. Everybody knew what they were doing and everybody adored them. I mean, Bobby and Chuck were legends. This was during the big freeze up of 1962/63 and we moved into our present house during the big freeze up. There was no electricity, no heating in the house. And Ram on a was about to give birth. She gave birth on 1st January 63 to Jane and there was no heating, there was no light, and you couldn't buy candles. And I said 'Bobby, surely there must in props, there must be some half used candles'

p. 78

and he said 'Leave it to me'. And in the evening he had talked to the property master, whose name I have forgotten, and, wrapped in newspapers, he said 'Now there, put it in your car'. And I got two huge altar candles from "Heavens Above" from the church set. We still have the remains of it today, after twenty nine years. It was wonderful. So that was Bobby and Chuck. When we came off the floor John Boulting said to me 'When will you have your rough cut ready?' and I said 'Well, probably next Tuesday or Wednesday'. And we are going back to when there was more time for editing. And John Boulting said 'All right, Teddy, take another three or four days. You have a look at it before I see it and then you tell me and you put right things that you obviously think are wrong before I see it'. Which was absolutely fantastic. So eventually we decided on when the showing was going to be, which was like 2.30 on a Monday afternoon. And we had lunch together and incidentally whoever was the producer was not allowed to see any cut stuff or rough cut or anything, the other one was not allowed to see anything until a fine cut. So we were in John's office waiting until the 2.30 or 3.00 start and he said to me 'Teddy, who is more worried about this running, you or me?' and I looked at him and I said 'You know, John, I think perhaps it's you'. And he laughed and he said 'Yes, you are right, but I am not worried about your editing Teddy. I am not at all worried about what you have done. But this is such a tricky film, it's on such a tightrope of comedy and drama. I am so worried about whether I had got things right or not.' And it was a very kind thing to say. When we ran the rough cut or my first cut, there is a scene where the black negro dustman is invited by this priest who was Peter Sellers to tea on this day in great consternation among all the locals - the black dustman having etc - and they start playing hymns on the piano and they are singing. And suddenly all the lights went out and it turned out there was a complete power break down, in the entire Chertsey area for four hours, so we had to go home. And the following morning, halfway through the running of the cut and the following morning John Boulting said to me 'Do you know when the power cut came?' and I said 'No'. He said 'Just after Peter had sung "Lead Kindly Light Through the Darkening Gloom", somebody up there doesn't like us'. But again, what was interesting from an editor's point of view, there's this scene where the dustman comes and Peter Sellers is serving tea and they are talking and cutting bread and all that. John said to me after shooting that 'That scene, I should have shot it in over the shoulders but Peter can never remember business, if I had shot it that way you would never have been able to cut it together Teddy, so I have had to shoot it in singles, and you will have problems even then'. And I cut it together and it worked exceedingly well. It's all in singles, medium shots. And when - the sound editor who was Chris Greenham - was recording the movements and the effects I was called on the floor so that Beryl Mortimer, the footage girl and he could take the mickey out of me, because Peter Sellers actually hands over the same cup of tea three times. And because the eye is deceived when you cut backwards and forwards, not being over the shoulder, nobody actually noticed, but, of course, when you are doing movements, you do notice it. And it was very interesting. And so then, of course, as with David Lean, the fun was of doing the fine cut. And it was great because John also said 'Incidentally Teddy when we start cutting, don't say 'Excuse me John but do you mind if I, or if it doesn't matter I would like to say 'There is no time for that', just say 'John this is wrong' because I am not going to spare the time, I am going to say 'Teddy you are completely wrong, there's no time for that, there's no egos involved, you just say what you feel.' And so we got a fine cut and then Roy Boulting came in and the other brother would always do is see the film and then take the cutting copy and retire into theatre for two days, I mean today it is done on a Stein back but in those days you had to go backwards and forwards, run and rerun reels, and then send copious notes of what should be done, like this dragged, that dragged. And John Boulting said 'Typical, I don't understand my brother, when you see any of his films they drag like mad but with me everything is

p. 79

too long. Right I will do the alterations I agree with and I will ignore the ones that I don't agree with'. And so we got to a fine cut. My sound editor was Chris Greenham who, unfortunately, was going through a very bad mental phase and everything, and when he got to dubbing theatre on the day of the dubbing, he hadn't laid up any tracks at all, it was absolute disaster.

John Legard: Oh, interesting situation.
Teddy Darvas: Well, it was, I only discovered three days before going to the dubbing theatre. So we had a very unhappy dubbing session. And on the music, John Hollingsworth, who was by that time very ill,
John Legard: Yes, he had emphysema.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, that's right. And I think it may have been the last film he did. But Richard Rodney Bennett was engaged. He was the wrong person for comedy because he very much composed music for himself. And like, the beginning of the film had a montage before titles, like a mock newsreel and it was cut very much with almost Mickey Mouse music in mind. It was a rhythmic cut, cut, cut, cut and the cuts had to be pointed. And we spent a day out at John Boulting's house and going through the music and all that was pointed out. And when we got to the recording session that music was just general music and I said to John Boulting - he was a very good pianist, a very good musician - 'You know, the humour has gone' and we said this to Richard Rodney Bennett and he said 'Well, after the end of the session I'll record a triangle and you can fit a triangle on each cut'. Which is what happened. But it, in fact, never works. And the music is too heavy for a comedy.
John Legard: The thing is, in those days, there was a bit of a gamble wasn't there - big gamble with music, because we didn't have the chance of listening through - I mean, nowadays composers always give you the opportunity of listening to what they have in mind. I mean, probably they would put it on to tape and run it.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, then you could only play on the piano but you didn't really ....
John Legard: Yes, but you could get a pretty good idea, whereas, you see, so often, with us and our documentaries, we never heard anything until we actually got to the session.
Teddy Darvas: That's right.
John Legard: And if that happened in features, which was much more at stake, it must have been critical. This was a great thing. But we always had Muir in the early days and his judgement was so good that things very rarely went wrong.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. So anyway, it was a marvellous introduction to getting a break. And it was always said that you should get a break on a small picture and this is completely wrong. It is much easier to get a break on a big movie because there is time. It's when you cut a small film and you have got no time for cutting, that's when you need experience because you know how to cut corners. So I was very lucky that one was on a film that had, I don't know - a fourteen week shooting schedule, and then a decent time for editing. I mean, like dubbing dates are not set till you are pretty well near a fine cut.
John Legard: Great luxury.
Teddy Darvas: So that was 63.
John Legard: How did the film turn out, in fact, did it do well?
Teddy Darvas: It was very successful. Not as successful as "I'm All Right Jack". And I think one ought to start skipping through things. The next film I did, the Boultings recommended me - it was the only sex movie I cut- called "Yellow Teddy Bears". Directed by Bob Hartford-Davies. It was a very shocking film at that time. Today I think nobody under the age of twelve would be allowed to see it. It was a three week film produced by Michael Klinger. Bob Stone was production manager.

p. 80

Which was a huge success actually. It was based on a true story and I got pretty friendly with Bob Hartford-Davies. And after that I was going to do another film for Bob Hartford-Davies which I eventually didn't do because Roy Boulting called me into the office. And one's got to go back and say again what an amazing era it was - the Boulting brothers and Laudner & Gilliat owned British Lion and their offices were on the same floor in Broadwick House and there was Pam Rippingale - the Boulting's secretary, Mary Harvey who was Laudner & Gilliat's secretary, Mary who is now Roy Boulting's secretary incidentally. It was open house. If you were one of the Boulting boys or girls, if you were in the West End, you popped up and you had coffee in the ante room. And like you had lunch with Mary and Pam at least once a week. And they were frightfully discreet and everything but exceedingly good friends. And one day, after lunch, Pam said to me 'Where are you going to be at tea time Teddy?' and I said 'I don't know, nowhere, I shall probably go home' and she said 'Why don't you come for tea about three thirty, four o clock, have tea with me at the office?' I said 'Fine, I've got nothing else to do'. And I went up there and I was having tea and Roy Boulting happened to come into the ante office and he said 'Teddy, I am glad to see you here. Come in. I want to talk to you'. So Pam didn't say 'There may be a film for you' but she made absolutely sure that you were there when she knew that you were wanted. And there were lots of small part actors who always had a one or two line part in a Boulting film. Now, whenever film was set, Pam would know and she would get hold of those actors and make sure that they would get their one line part. It was a terribly nice thing. Incidentally on "Heavens Above" the first music running was on January 1st and Ramona had been in hospital for two days - it was during the big freeze up - and I was told to ring at seven in the morning. I rang at seven in the morning and nothing had happened so I went into Broadwick House for the music running and rang at ten past nine and I was told that Ramona had given birth to a baby daughter, mother and daughter were fine, Ramona was being sedated. And so I said on New Year's Day in the morning 'Ramona has just given birth to a daughter'. 'Oh' said John 'I suppose you will now want to go and see the dreadful dreaded wife and the dreaded baby'. And I said 'Well, no John, there's no point, I'll go in the afternoon' and Pam said 'Oh come on John, after all he has just become a father, pull out a bottle'. So we had whisky about nine fifteen in the morning with the first running for Richard Rodney Bennett. But it was all done in fun with the Boultings really, you know. Anyway, this film ....

John Legard: Yes, what was the film he was going to make?
Teddy Darvas: He wasn't going to make. He had bought, it was an Italo/Franco/German co- production shot in Pakistan called "Kali Yug, Goddess of Vengeance". It was an eastern western. And anyway, he had bought it for British Lion for the UK and Rank had bought it for overseas. And the film ran four hours and in Italy was shown in two episodes. And every actor spoke whatever language he could remember at that time. Roy, being an ex editor, it was very interesting. Marca Hellman's brother Carl Hellman was a producer in Germany. Marca who was Romanian by birth looked after the English interests and Roy Boulting said 'Now, I am sending you to Rome and you will sit in on the Italian dub that you familiarise yourself with the film and there is supposed to be a lip synch translation, but whatever you do, I forbid you to read the script because it has nothing to do with the film'. So I had three weeks in Rome with very little work except to go in at the dubbing sessions. The Italian producer was a man called Renato Dandi who died about a year or so later of galloping cancer. He was a charming, marvellous, gentle person. His son was the production manager. The director was an old Italian hack who wouldn't listen to anybody and the story was about a recurrence of the thugees. They had made a complete mess of it. Anyway, the film ran four hours as I said. The idea was to cut it down and then to dub it into English. So I had these three weeks and familiarised myself being in the dubbing session. But this Italian Dandi

p. 81

would ask me in English if something was wrong like 'What would you suggest we did?'. He said 'I wouldn't say to you say this the director because he won't listen to you'. So if I had a solution to a problem I would say to Renato 'So and so' and then about fifteen minutes later, as though it was his idea, he would go and tell the Italian director, in Italian, and I would suddenly hear this absolute, in front of me, they had screaming, shouting and everything of why he wouldn't do it. I brought the film back to London and sat around, not being able to touch it because the Boulting brothers and Laudner & Gilliat were involved in, there was a takeover by Sydney Box, which they had to fight and Shepperton was going to be shut. So eventually Roy said 'Well if you have any ideas I've no time to look at things, so start cutting yourself and see what you can do'. And eventually he brought in Peter De Suringay(?) to take over the producing of the film, which is where my friendship with Peter stems from. And again this was wonderful because he had to get it as near to two hours. The things were cut in a completely wrong way but also the Italian editing, luckily, was so loose that people stopped speaking and there was a pause, cut, pause, before somebody spoke again. So you could take minutes out by just overlaying the odd word to smooth a cut without losing anything. Max Benedict, who had been the Boulting's editor who was a mentor of mine, a brilliant editor, he was finishing another film and every day he was running one or two reels as they came out of the laboratories to check them. He was very bored with his film and I always had to run one or two reels and he said 'Why don't we have a combined running and you see two reels of mine and I'll see two reels of yours and at least we won't be so bored.' Which is what we did. And, of course, Max was absolutely brilliant, like there was a chase sequence and it just really didn't make sense and he suddenly said 'But that early shot of that caravan, that comes from the end of the sequence' that's a complete mistake.

John Legard: The wrong place.
Teddy Darvas: And so you had an awful lot of help and guidance when you were inexperienced on this. So eventually we cut this down to just over two hours and then we spent five and a half weeks in the postsynch theatre. And I had a theory that the trouble with dubbed films is not so much the difficulty of synching the lips but because of lack of money, the artists are lined up in a line in front of three or four microphones and if it is a long shot the recordist just turns the volume down and you get no perspective. I had a feeling that if you got the right perspective, then everything would seem better. And so John Cox got in Bert Ross who was a marvellous floor mixer to do the postsynch and I got Bert very interested in this. And for five and a half weeks, if an artist on the screen turned his head Bert turned the mike a little bit. It was absolutely perfect. And by and large, it doesn't look badly dubbed at all. But the casting was quite remarkable. The English hero who is meant to be an English doctor born in India 1880s was played by a Frenchman. The English heroine was Santa Berger who was Austrian. Her husband, the British resident, was actually English - Ian Hunter. The Maharajah was Italian. The Maharajah's son was also Italian. The Indian dancing girl was French. And they were all supposed to speak in English, however badly, but as this Italian director completely altered scripts all the time there was no English. Michael Medway was supposed to be dialogue director. He also had a part in the film. He died at the end of the third reel. And actors literally spoke whatever language they could remember at a given moment and they would sometimes switch languages half way through a sentence or a scene. And the lovely story about that, because Roy Boulting thought we ought to leave it in the original, Michael Medwin who was supposed to be a drunken captain and the duty officer runs in and gabbles away in Italian, supposed to be a ? in the British cavalry regiment, and half way through the gabbling he suddenly remembers his English and goes 'bbbbbjdjdjdjdjjk and, in this rhythm, you are Bea Cara Fulla Aura he will pop up and polish you off'. We had more trouble, it was quite easy synching

p. 82

when he was gabbling, but to try and fit that into English and Roy said 'Leave it in the original - it is the funniest line in the history of the cinema' and that was the whole film. Incidentally, the major in charge of the cavalry detachment was Lex Barker, Mr Tarzan who actually acted exceedingly well, except for his accent.

John Legard: What was the title of this film again?
Teddy Darvas: "Kali Yug Goddess ofVengeance, I wish I had a cassette of that. Funnily enough, Roy Boulting had an actor friend who was also a doctor whom he got in to dub Lex Barker and he had exactly the same voice as Lex Barker except an English accent. And once you have put his voice on, that is a really marvellous performance that Lex Barker gave. The film was great fun. We had the best part of a year on it. Poor John Poyner was the sound editor on it. And I was all right because I was only in the theatre with Peter Desaringay directing the stuff. Poor old John, we had something like six hundred and fifty loops, sometimes we had two or three artists on it, to fit all that you can imagine, and then dub it. I have a letter from, at that time, the managing director of Rank Overseas, congratulating me for making the film showable.
John Legard: Really? And how did that do?
Teddy Darvas: Nothing at all. I mean, obviously. I think Dandi went pretty bankrupt in it and it probably cost a fortune. But, I mean, it had fantastic facilities because in Pakistan they had this Emir who still had his own private army. And there was a retired British brigadier who was in his seventies who commanded this detachment. And in one of the palaces, in a museum, they found the nineteenth century uniforms, so they literally just dressed this force in the existing uniforms. And there was a ballroom with gold walls. I mean, the visual values were quite, quite fantastic. So anyway, that was a very great and very lovely experience.
John Legard: Nice location too.
Teddy Darvas: Of course, the film was neg cut and I was working off the picture of a neg cut thing, a print really I was working off. And there were no key numbers, nothing. So I had to go over to Italy to see the thing through Technicolor. So I went over, I thought for two weeks, to oversee this while it was still dubbing. I was there for seven and a half weeks because No. 1 ...John Legard: Not surprising because you were eye matching everything were you?
Teddy Darvas: Well, no, because what I had done was, before I started work, I had everything numbered so I could tell the neg room when there is a jump of fifty feet and it's the real number. I mean, instead of twenty odd reels we are now in fourteen or thirteen. But if it says whatever footage it is we can find.

Tape 6 - Side A (Side 11)
Teddy Darvas: It was quite an interesting technical thing of matching, obviously, and un-key- numbered, married print or cut print, but in those days Technicolor was still a sort of monopoly. I thought it was very easy. I went in to see the managing director of Technicolor, Rome, introduced myself and British Lion Films was a very big company and I said 'I have brought the first three reels of cutting copy here and if we can, start re-cutting now and other reels will come as they are dubbed'. 'Ah' he said 'British Lion maybe big in England but as far as Italy is concerned we know nothing about it, we need authorisation'. So I said 'Well, nothing is simpler, may I ring London' and, of course, this was 64/65, somewhere around then, telephoning used to take you anything up to two hours to get through to London. But anyway, we got through to London, Peter Desaringay, I said 'Look, can you get hold of Technicolor and will they telex through an authorisation that they can start work?' To cut a long story short, it took three weeks before Technicolor, Rome, would accept the authorisation of Technicolor, London. There was also a strike of Italian customs officers, so I

p. 83

had seven and a half weeks with very little work to do, staying in one of the best hotels on expenses, which was a very, very pleasant occupation. So after "Kali Yug" I don't quite know exactly what I did next. I think, by this time, having done documentaries, when I was out of work, I managed always to pick up documentaries, mainly from Pacesetter who were at Shepperton.
John Legard: Oh was that Bob Angel?
Teddy Darvas: It was Ronnie Spencer, Bob Angel came in a bit later. So in between I did various documentaries which I don't think are worth mentioning tremendously for Ford and for various other things. Cut a commercial for them and that sort of thing Great fun and Ronnie is a very great friend so they were very enjoyable and I cut a lot for Pacesetter. The next film, I think, of note was another Boulting film called "Rotten to the Core" which was going to be directed by - I have forgotten his name - very good comedy director who directed a Peter Sellers film about crooks ...John Legard: "Crooks Anonymous"?
Teddy Darvas: Not "Crooks Anonymous" but another film. Anyway this was going be like a follow up to that thing. Anyway he couldn't agree with the Boultings, he walked off the film and at the last moment John Boulting took over. His girl friend was my second assistant - Gaye Coates - which didn't make it much easier and Roy knew that it was not a good film and they selected the wrong leading man. Peter Sellers wasn't available. Anton Rogers played the lead and the film didn't work. Ian Bannen played the stupid army officer and it is the only time I can think of when a film was made even worse in the cutting room because John was very impatient with the pauses and my relationship for a time was very soured with the Boultings because of that. And also it was the first appearance of Charlotte Rampling. The film didn't work very well. Charlotte Rampling had been a model and she was selected for this film. And again, whether one should now say this or not...John Legard: Go on then.
Teddy Darvas: I think we had better, she was completely re-voiced by Olive Greig and so well that I don't think anybody realised that it wasn't her voice and perhaps Charlotte Rampling doesn't know either. I think it's enough years and it's not likely to be published but there we are.
John Legard: It must have been done very well.
Teddy Darvas: Olive Greig was one of the great artists of re-voicing and she did on Kali Yug, and you always called her in if you had any trouble or if an actress was not available as she could get the same voice and the same timbre and do things. I mean, on Kali Yug I think she did about three or four parts. In fact, I recommended her to Rome and she went over and did eight parts in a little horror film there. So "Rotten to the Core" was not a happy experience. Also it was the 60s and John Boulting was going through being a very modern phase and being with it. And he engaged a young composer called Michael Dress. And where John used to be so tremendously involved in the music and with Muir’s music editor he said 'You are not to interfere, Michael has to do it all himself, you must just give him measurements and if he asks you for anything do it. And he is going to conduct the orchestra'. And I said 'Well, has he ever conducted an orchestra?' 'No'. So he was a very, very nice man Michael Dress, very with it, lived in another world in a way, not with it but in a completely .... And he had never done it and he had no guidance, he had no Muir Mathieson or anybody available. And I sent him music measurements etc and then when I said to him, I rang him up to get a shooting order a few days before the music session and he said 'Well, we start at the beginning and we go straight on'. And I said 'Well, no Michael, you start with the orchestra, the biggest orchestra, and through the sessions you work your way down so that if you go into overtime you have fewer and fewer musicians, that \1L is the way one works.' So he said 'All right, well we'll start with "God Save the Queen" because the orchestra knows that'. So I said 'Have you read my music measurements?' and he said 'Yes'. And I said 'Well, there's a close-up like of a tuba

p. 84

and you must make sure that the tuba is playing'. And so it went on. We also, like in all Boultings films, there is always a choir, a church choir or something or in fact it is in a prison. And I knew that a man called Doug Gamley who had been Jock Addison's assistant, had his own choir and did things. So we engaged Jock Addison to bring his choir. The morning of the music session, we had the Royal Philharmonic, and this poor Michael Dress gets on the rostrum and he more or less pees himself. I mean, he doesn't even know how to bring the orchestra in and it's like "God Save the Queen!.

John Legard: Never worked with a ?screen before.
Teddy Darvas: But I mean, he's never conducted properly, never conducted. So it is horror. So he sort of says that the start mark is wrong 'Because John Boulting said to me yesterday your start mark is wrong'. I said 'No, my start mark is right'. And after about half a session has gone we manage to get a take and then we get on to "Deutchland, Uber Alles". And he just doesn't work. It’s disaster. And twelve o clock Doug Gamley arrives with his choir. And I go to John Boulting and say 'Look, Doug used to conduct for Jock Addison, he is a very good conductor'. So we asked Doug and we say to this poor Michael Dress, he says 'Would you just like to come and see if you like the mix and Doug will just do the next section just for you to listen to'. And, of course, there's ? never having seen a score, he goes up and says to the orchestra 'Right of we go to the pitch and it works'. So now it is lunch time and John says 'Right, Teddy, you take Doug to lunch and ask him if he is willing to take over conducting after lunch and we'll fix the fee later, and I'll take Michael to lunch and tell him that he cannot Kerry on conducting etc.' So this is what happened. And the music was pretty bad disaster, because again, it was not comedy music and like in Boulting films when the stupid villains are shown how things are done and you have a cut of a picture to point, all these things, and all he did was like an ad lib timpani thing for six percussion or something like that. It was just mounted in strength, at its loudest, of course, when the first person spoke. And the music was absolute disaster.
John Legard: I must say I think it is rather bad luck on the composer that the Boultings weren't a bit more efficient in not employing Muir or somebody else to do it.
Teddy Darvas: It was the era of the sixties and people felt that the young had to be given their own way, in effect, being experienced was a dirty word. And even John fell into this trap.
John Legard: He fell into the trap.
Teddy Darvas: And it's very sad because a few years later, because Michael Dress was a way out composer and he eventually committed suicide, which is awful. Not because of this film but generally. And I think, with the best will in the world, a lot of people, in the sixties, did talented young people an awful lot of harm by letting them have their own way. A lot of people throughout the businesses, entertainment businesses, did this. So anyway.
John Legard: So anyway, you managed to get it finished and - it wasn't a great success I imagine the film was it?
Teddy Darvas: No it wasn't. And after that I think I did another documentary or so. And then Don Sharp, who had been a very old friend of mine, but I had never worked for him, he had become a director, but I knew him since he was an actor. And he was starting a film for the dreaded Harry Allan Towers called "Our Man in Marrakech". And because and again, Harry Allan Towers - I have got to be very tactful, I had better not say it - anyway Don wouldn't have the editor whom Harry Allan Towers employed. Harry Allan Towers was also known as HAT or El Sombrero or El Supremo and he was famous for the fact that he never paid you. He was always short of money. Production managers were left as security in hotels at ends of location. So anyway Don Sharp insisted on me editing it. And we sometimes got paid and sometimes didn't get paid. Don was

p. 85

shooting entirely in Marrakech with a very good cast. And that film is on television more often than almost any other film I know. Towers wouldn't, there was no money even for Don to see rushes. So the idea was, before he went off on location, we went round to his house and we went through the script, page by page, and Don told me how he intended shooting things. And I had read the script and I asked questions and one of the things like I said 'Do you realise that you are in the casino, on the casino set, for fourteen pages, which is over a reel?'. He said 'I never am'. And I said 'Yes, you just look at it'. And, of course, he was so close to it. He said 'Well an editor can help a director'. And he said 'Oh yes, fine, well it's a great complex that casino, very good, this scene I'll shoot in the restaurant, this scene I'll shoot here, this scene I'll shoot on the terrace'. And he broke it down immediately. And the idea was that I would write him a weekly letter on the rushes and he would write to me once a week. And it worked out exceedingly well because it was a chatty letter that he would write, but reading between the lines, one understood, like Tony- a very good American comedy actor-

John Legard: Curtis?
Teddy Darvas: No, not Tony Curtis? Anyway, he was so funny all the time and I realised like from Don's letters saying about how terribly funny he is and you have to hold him back. So I knew when I was seeing rushes and selecting takes that if there were two or three takes I had to select the least funny one because it was out of character, because it wasn't farce, it was a comedy thriller. And so, in effect, although we were not paid for weeks on end and that sort of thing, Don made a marvellous job of the film, considering what a nothing script it was. When they came back, Peter Manley, who was the production manager, and the accountant, whose name I have forgotten, were left as hostages because they were not allowed to come back until the moneys were paid. And we actually were, one day, about ten days before Christmas, when I arrived at the cutting room, I found a large lock on the cutting room, padlock, and there was an injunction and we were not allowed to touch the film until moneys were paid up and everything was done like that. And the story of these two being held hostages -John Comfort had been held hostage on another Harry Alien Tower's film at another time - but twice a week they had to drive across from Marrakech to whatever the capital is to report to the police chief. And, of course, it is all French speaking and they spoke very little French and twice a week they had to apologise to this police chief about what was happening. And eventually some money arrived. And, of course, the cameras were impounded by one of the hotels. And, meanwhile of course, the rental charge on the cameras was mounting in England. So eventually they get the money to pay off one of the hotels. They get into a taxi. On the taxi ride they take the lenses, which they smuggle into a bag, and deposit now the camera shells with the other hotel, at least they have got the lenses which they can send back. And after a time, all the money is paid and they are allowed to come back to England. They go to say goodbye to this police chief and in their French say 'Merci monsieur' and all that. And suddenly this chap gets up and in very good American English says 'Well, goodbye gentlemen, do have a nice trip home'. And they say 'You speak English?' He said 'Well yes, of course, I was trained by the FBI in Washington'. 'And you allowed us to stammer in French all this time why?' And he said 'Well you were tucking me about so I thought I would fuck you about'. That's the end of that story. Eventually, we always dubbed at Annville, out at Beaconsfield with Harry Alien Tower's films. And Annville knew that Towers always owed money on a previous film. So yes, they were perfectly happy to do the post synch. But then whatever you recorded was not released until a previous bill was paid. So the same happened, we recorded music but I couldn't get the music out until a bill was paid. And then I got the music. When we dubbed we couldn't get the dub out. And Harry Benn, who was Tower's associate producer, I was on the film weeks afterwards because I couldn't get the travelling mats,

p. 86

the opticals, the titles, because nobody would do the work until they got paid. Harry Benn said to me, Don Sharp had started another film for Towers by this time, he said to me 'Our editors normally leave a week after dubbing and you are stretching this film out week after week and that's not like our thing at all'. So I said 'Harry, you pay Annville and I get the dub, you pay Rank and I get the travelling mats, you pay so and so and I'll get the titles and a week after that I am off the film, but don't blame me.' Eventually the film was all put together. And meanwhile, I had heard that "The Dirty Dozen" was starting and they were looking for an editor and I rang, Ray Answerit was the associate producer, and he said 'Look, you may be just the person for us' and Kenny Hyman was the producer, a charming American man, Robert Aldrich was going to direct. And I got the job and I was told 'You are the editor, but, Aldrich is being over his editor who is an editorial consultant, he's not allowed to touch film but you have to do as he says'. And Ray Answerit said 'I told Kenny that, as you survived David Lean and Zoltan Korda, you are the person who can face this sort of suggestion'. I said 'Fine'. I mean, for me it was a tremendous break. When the film started, a week before, I was completely cold shouldered by Aldrich and I didn't quite know. And there were leather bound scripts for the heads of department and there wasn't one for me. And his editor, a man called Mike Luciano, arrived, who was an Italian American who was Aid rich's like whipping boy, I felt very sorry for him, but he was a very strange man, very unpopular in Hollywood as I found it, very nasty to most people including me. And I went on the Monday to meet him. And I found him, I had gone on the floor to fetch him and I was told that he had gone to the cutting room. And I found that he was arranging my cutting room and I didn't say anything, I didn't introduce myself and I said 'Mike I am here just tell me how you want to operate so that there is no friction. I am here to do and cut exactly the way you want' at which the first thing Mike Luciano said to me 'Well, I am cutting this film, how does that bag you, fella?' And I said 'Well, I'm sorry, but I thought I was cutting it'. And Aldrich, it was quite a cynical thing which a lot of Americans did, that they didn't care about Britain. Forget about Teddy Darvas. I mean, the ACT would have allowed Mike Luciano to come and cut it because they couldn't give up the biggest film of the year, just for the sake of an editor. I mean, editors were always sacrificed. But he just said 'All right, you'll just be a consultant, you won't touch the film'. There was no intention. So I was put into a pretty difficult situation except that Kenny Hyman and ? were absolutely superb. I eventually said 'I am sorry this is my cutting room, this is your cutting room, what would you like?' And there was a lot of friction and he upset Kenny Hyman tremendously and Aldrich was a most amazing director. He covered everything six, eight, ten times and he didn't rehearse much but on a long scene he would start off a master shot with two cameras and say 'Right, action' and when people fluffed he would say 'Cut, go back two lines, new number, Kerry on'. And so you had masses and masses of film and after about a week we were miles behind in cutting. So I said to Mike 'Well, let me cut, I have cut under your supervision but, I mean, it's silly'. He was too scared to tell Aid rich that I was also cutting and I was told 'Here's a top American editor who has had Oscar nominations' and I found this man was terrible at cutting films and he wouldn't cut with a magnetic head on the synchronisers and that sort of thing. And there was a terribly nasty scene because

John Legard: ?
Teddy Darvas: A three way Moviola synchroniser without a magnetic head in it, not even a four way. And he wouldn't adapt to any English type of working. I cut the first big establishing scene. And he was afraid to show it to Aldrich because he didn't want to admit that I had cut it, not him. And I said 'Mike, say that you told me to cut it and told me how to cut it, don't worry about it'. Meanwhile Kenny Hyman wanted to see this scene and eventually he said to me, he called me into

p. 87

his office and he said 'Teddy, you've cut that scene haven't you?' And I said 'Well, yes'. He said 'All right, don't worry about it'. And after a set of rushes he said 'I want to see that scene, is it cut' and Mike Luciano said 'Yes'. He said, 'Well I want to see it then'. And this idiot said, when I say 'idiot' I felt sorry for him because he was petrified and he said 'Well, Kenny, you see, as you are going out on the location ask Marvin, if Bob says that you can see this sequence, I'll show it to you'. Now Kenny Hyman is a big producer and Kenny went absolutely white in the face and he said 'Mike, Robert Aldrich works for me, who do you work for Mike?' and got into his car and went away and then, of course, he started shaking and everything and I said 'Mike, please, I mean, I told you, for god's sake, this evening run this cut sequence, pretend that you have cut it, do whatever you like but, I mean, you are letting yourself in for trouble'. Anyway the situation got worse and worse and eventually it was going miles and miles over budget and Aldrich wouldn't like talk to the production office. And Ray Answerit would have to ring me and say 'After rushes could you ask Aid rich if whether we could strike this set?' And so I was the company spy. And I was the producer's editor and Mike was.... And eventually it got very nasty indeed and the unit was rebellious.

John Legard: I can't understand why you couldn't have cleared the air, I mean, it was just only you and him.
Teddy Darvas: Well, there was a thing where, in fact, he did something and he was called in to Kenny Hyman's office and he said 'If you do this once more Mike Luciano, I don't care who the hell you are, you are on the next plane back to America'. And then he sort of apologised to me and everybody. But then he lived entirely but would only work if Aldrich gave him work so it was entirely his thing. And Aldrich would never admit that he was wrong. And after rushes Aldrich and he would get into a car and go away. But if there was a problem, like there was a terrible continuity error, and I would say to Mike 'Look, you've got to ask Bob or tell him about this'. And Aid rich would say to his friend, his great friend 'Who's directing this picture, you or I?' He would never admit that there was something wrong. I mean, Angelanos, the continuity girl, had hysterics because she pointed out a mistake, a continuity error, and Aldrich would take the actor's word against hers. And then the following day when she was proved right and it had to be a retake, it was put down as continuity's girl's error. The first scene of the day had to be retaken because he changed his mind or something and the artists were drunk and that went down as camera man's error. He never took any responsibility for it whatsoever.

John Legard: He had quite a good track record, in fact, didn't he? He made some very good films over the years, he can't have done that.. ...
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Because he could if he wanted to. But when he was on a big film and when he wanted to crucify a producer he did that and he was well known for that. And by and large, what he did was, he shot so that the first cut would be four and a half hours. And then cut down to two hours and he had a very tight picture. By covering ten times but not moving the camera he knew that he could always shorten. And the film had tremendous, I mean, "The Dirty Dozen" had tremendous power ....

John Legard: It did yes, I remember it well.
Teddy Darvas: But, I mean, from working on the film, the unit, everybody, you knew it was a good film. But with the coverage and that sort of thing, he was a very, very strange man ..
John Legard: Sounded like he covered every possible combination and permutation.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, I've got the marked up script and I can show you three or four lines in the picture that I covered twenty four times. But he would do, for example, on a big scene, he would shoot one way one day and then the following day he was shooting the other way, and I was cutting

p. 88

it and by this time I happened to be cutting that scene and the film was all over the place, hundreds of set-ups. And I suddenly realised they were lining up and I saw that suddenly the sergeant was in a completely different position and I though 'Well, there's all that material, I missed the shot where he walked into a new position' so it would take and hour and a half now with an assistant to run absolutely everything. And I suddenly, by that time, I realised that, when he went on the other angle, he changed his mind. And he didn't tell his own editor or anybody and say 'Look, sorry, after such and such a point you can't use the shots I shot the first day' So when I cut it together and I showed it to Mike Luciano he said 'Jesus, why don't you use the shots from the front?' and I said 'I can't Mike, because the sergeant is in the wrong place'. He said 'I don't believe it'. And so I said 'All right, let's go through the rushes'. Absolutely everything out again. Spent two hours running everything. And I mean, that's hours of rushes. Mike Luciano said 'God damn it, he's done it again'. But, strangely enough, I realised that he would shoot a shot over two lines. Now the way I was brought up with people like Boultings, David Lean, all that group of film directors, if there was a shot done for one or two lines, there was a specific reason why the director wanted that. And there was a two-shot for two lines at the end of a scene and I cut to it and Mike Luciano said 'Teddy, you should be on the close-up, why did you go on the two-shot?'. I showed him the marked up script and I said 'Well, Aldrich has shot this just for these two lines so I presumed he wanted to be on it'. He said 'No, shit, go back to the closeups'. I said 'Fine'. So I went back to the way one wanted to cut it. And the interesting thing was that, in all this period of shooting, Aldrich never said, either to Luciano or me, 'But there is a shot I shot and you have never used it'. So it took time to realise they didn't matter if you left half the shots that you didn't use and in some cases it was other editors used to come in, as a laugh, it would be like a reaction shot, which would be shot three times with two cameras and there was no difference. So you had, in effect, six different takes. So if I was re- cutting, to save time I never had to ask to get the trims out, because I just took another take and substituted it.

John Legard: It seems that he didn't really know what he was doing half the time.
Teddy Darvas: He was a great, great operator and when he had to he could shoot to time. He shot in little bits and he knew how eventually it would be put together.
John Legard: He relied very much on his editors, didn't he?
Teddy Darvas: No. Well, presumably he put it together- I was very surprised because the film was then taken to Hollywood for Aldrich's right of first cut and was going to come back and I was going to do Kenny Hyman's cut. And then, during this, I was going to sit in a cutting room for months without anything, and I suddenly had an offer at a moment's notice to go to Paris to cut a film for Victoria De Sica, which was fantastic. And Kenny Hyman, who remained a friend ever since, immediately released me and said 'Anyway, by the time they have finished with it and I am going to fine re-cut it you will be free off the next film'. So I went off to Paris.
John Legard: I'd much rather work with De Sica?
Teddy Darvas: Well, that is the great next moment of my life. But to finish off "The Dirty Dozen", obviously the film was much, much shorter. When I saw the finished film what was absolutely fascinating to watch, that apart from shortening, my cut, the things that I remember that I had cut, and also things that I had remembered that Mike had cut, that, in effect, to the frame it was as we had had it in the early cut. So, in effect, it was shortening and jiggling around but on your editing what you did in the first place, obviously if it was completely wrong it was different, but otherwise, by and large, there were whole chunks in the finished film which were exactly the way I had left it while we were still shooting. It was fascinating.
John Legard: Was he an actor's director, Robert Aldrich? What was his ......

p. 89

Teddy Darvas: Actors as well. I don't know, but Lee Marvin, at the end when I realised he wasn't a friend of Aldrich and one spoke to him, and I said to him 'How is it that you managed in this bitty way that Aldrich shoots, how did you manage to get this consistency of performance?' And Lee Marvin said to me 'The one thing I have learned in my many years in Hollywood, no director like Aldrich can fuck up my performance'. And so he didn't think that he had a tremendous amount of influence on him. I mean, he did very much, very often the way he wanted. He was very sadistic in his directing, his films are very, very sadistic.

John Legard: They are.
Teddy Darvas: And, he must have been a good director, but having worked on a film and being an outsider, looking at it, being unhappy as well.
John Legard: He started off as assistant director didn't he?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, which was amazing that he had no sympathy for the production office at all and just wouldn't - I mean, the young production manager on it, and there was a plane from which they had jumped and that was on a stage and rental being paid etc., and this scene was finished, and the production manager sort of said to him 'Well, couldn't we strike it now?' And he said more or less 'Mind your own business'. It was discovered weeks and weeks and weeks later, suddenly one afternoon that he shot two extra shots. He knew he had missed two shots but he wouldn't say to the production office 'Look we have got to keep part of that plane because I have got to pick up a couple of shots'. He would never admit to anybody. He knew when he had done things wrong.John Legard: He obviously didn't know what he was doing, as I was saying earlier.
Teddy Darvas: It was very a much an Aldrich show, like his own director's chair had to be flown from Hollywood, his own Arriflex had to be brought.
John Legard: So who got the credits finally as the editor?
Teddy Darvas: Michael Luciano.
John Legard: Michael Luciano, yes?
Teddy Darvas: Well, contractually I should have had a credit. It stated in my contract that if, on the producer's view the work had been satisfactorily concluded, I was to get a credit. And Kenny Hyman wrote to my agent to say this that I was entitled to my credit and when Ken Cleveland wrote to Bob Aldrich, Bob Aldrich more or less said 'Let him sue me and MGM'. He was not going to give me a credit. And, of course, in those days you didn't sue MGM or do that sort of thing or even go to the union, because you would never have worked for another big company again any more. You know, these things, you were powerless in a situation like that. But, Ken Hyman told my agent and he has done it and for years afterwards, that he acted as referee for me if I was up for a film with an American producer and Kenny Hyman said 'Yes, Teddy, cut the film'. He was co- editor on it and so he always, always, backed me on that. He was very, very nice indeed. So anyway I arrived in Paris at a moment's notice for the Vittorio De Sica film "A Woman Times Seven". And it starred Shirley Maclaine and was seven short stories, she playing different parts with different leading men. It was an all star film. And it was being made in France. It was an Embassy film. American backed. And they decided that a French editor, they needed an American or English editor because of the style of editing, and this is how I got on the film, a week after they started shooting. One episode had been shot. The French editor was a woman called Madam Victoria Spiri-Mercanton who answered to the name of Toto. She was an elderly lady of Russian who was a great editor. The joke was that the French editor was Russian and the English editor, of course, was Hungarian. And she was a wonderful woman and a brilliant editor. So I was, in fact, put on the film because it was insisted upon by the Americans. De Sica never wanted me on it but I arrived in Paris and I was introduced to him. I said that I was terribly honoured and he took it rather

p. 90

like royalty. He had great dignity- De Sica. He was a fantastic director, fantastically nice man. The script was written by the man who wrote all his scripts and I couldn't believe that a big film, six million or seven million dollar film was going to have this amount of money spent on these scripts. When you saw what he made of those scripts, then you realised and you actually started believing that perhaps you were on a good film - a great film. Actually it's still not a bad film. For me it was the most unbelievable experience. He spoke better English when he wanted to, otherwise you had translators. He had his son in law who was an American assistant director, Peter Baldwin, and a failed Italian/American actor was the dialogue coach. And they always translated. And he had his assistant, a fat Italian lady - a grandmother - called Louisa who had been on every one of his films from the very start, who is supposed to be the sort of dragon that you expected, was the most charming, helpful, lovely, lovely woman. And gradually I got his confidence. I was supposed to be supervising editor. Well I could as much supervise Toto, because that's how Victoria Spiri- Mercanton answered to the name of Toto and she had a voice like 'Zizz', you know. And I could as much supervise a heavy tank as supervise Toto. Anyway she was a much more experienced and better editor than me. And so it was lovely because we took a story each, you see, alternated, so that nobody had to work terribly hard. But on the editing side it was very interesting because the first episode that I cut and, De Sica, after seeing rushes and selecting, he would come and watch on - the French editing machine was a Morrilton - and he would see the rushes again on the Morrilton, and he more or less told you how to cut and he would say 'You cut, there, this, there' everything. And there was one sequence of Shirley Maclaine dancing with Vitorrio Gassman and when I saw the rushes I thought 'I don't know how to cut this together' because it looked like a series of jump cuts. And, of course, when he showed you how to cut it, it went together like butter. He covered very little and everything was worked out beautifully. But I was cutting this and, of course, it is the great De Sica, and you suddenly realise you want to double cut something. And I didn't know. And I went in to Toto's room and said 'Toto, this thing, I feel that I ought to do this which is different from what De Sica had said, what do you think?' She said 'Well, I don't know him very well either, I really couldn't give you any advice'. So eventually I thought I would take a deep breath and I'd do it. He's bound to shout at me. Especially after working for Aldrich. And incidentally, after having had Mike Luciano I decided that I'd be very nice toward Toto and now the situation was reversed. And when we ran this cut sequence on the Morrilton for De Sica, neither Toto nor I were watching the screen, we were watching De Sica's expression to see what he would say when he found that I had cut it differently from the way he had said it. Not tremendously but a little bit. And, of course, it went straight through, no reaction. And we realised that you could do whatever you wanted to. If he didn't like it there would be no great scene, drama. He would say 'No do it another way'. And to say one thing about Toto. When I arrived it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday morning, they were in shooting. And Monday had been a holiday- they weren't shooting Tuesday and I was reading the scripts in this cutting room and Toto arrives from her country home quite late and I get up politely and say 'Hello'. And the first words she said to me 'Are you a nice person?' and I said 'Oh well, I think I am charming'

Tape 6- Side B (side 12)
Teddy Darvas: So anyway. It was very interesting once you realised that De Sica was completely amenable to suggestions and everything. Very early on he came into the cutting room once and there was nobody there to translate, he was on his own, he didn't have his entourage with him, Toto wasn't there, and on this story I discovered that there was, I thought, structurally, there should have been a shift in some sequences. So there was De Sica. And I had only been in Paris about two

p. 91

weeks or something and so I said to him in my terrible French 'J'ai un idee tres revolutionaire' and he said to me 'Dit moi'. In this terrible French I tried to explain about the shift of this thing. And I could see behind his thick glasses, his eyes were twinkling, I could see. And so when I got to the end, sweating, he said 'Dit moi encore'. So I had to go through the whole thing again. And when I finished the second time he said 'Bon, faits a'. The second time he had thought about it, he said 'Yes, do it, absolutely no problem' which was absolutely terrific. And the funny thing was, because it was Monsieur De Sica, Monsieur Darvas, then it became he started calling me Teddy. So I started calling him Vittorio. And suddenly he called me Darvas just like that. So one evening, his son in law Peter Baldwin - was giving me a lift back into house, I said 'Peter, what have I done wrong? We were on Teddy terms and suddenly he's calling me Darvas'. What's wrong?' He laughed like anything, he said 'You have been accepted in Italy. That's the right thing. You are now a member of thing.' Then I realised that Louisa would stand in the middle of a corridor and just yell 'Sica' like that, you see, she would call him never Roberto but De Sica. So it all went on, it was very, very pleasant, it was a great experience because cutting it was, in a way, easy, but in a way, your time was taken up on timing, you didn't have to worry about how do things cut together. And one of our great enjoyments, in mind, was that sometimes in order to explain what he wanted, he would act the scene for you and he would act every part and you would be on the Morrilton and then he would get up and he would say 'Then Shirley walks there' and he would do as it was in the shot and he would walk like Shirley and then Shirley smiles, close-up, and he would do exactly the smile that Shirley had done. And so we always tried to encourage, Toto and I, to encourage De Sica to act the scene for us. It was wonderful. I mean, a fantastic experience. The film was, of course, running over budget, it was obviously not going to be very good, and there was quite a lot of backbiting with De Sica. But Toto and I were very happy on it and it was very interesting to see, I mean, there was one scene, the idea was because Toto had fitted some music to the first Peter Seller's thing, a Brassband(?) song which fitted that perfectly, and De Sica had a brilliant idea and he said 'Marvellous, I'll start each story with a long introduction, panning or tracking shot, and we'll get a different composer for each story', which would have been wonderful. The Beatles were going to do two numbers, Brasshands were going to use that etc etc. And in the long run- who was the head of Embassy, mighty atom, little producer? - the Americans actually doublecrossed De Sica because they said about an Italian composer and De Sica said 'Yes, fine, I know the maestro very well, he'll do the music for the Italian two sequences very well'. 'No, no, we think he can do all of them but don't worry, if you don't like it we'll let you go back to your idea'. And, in effect, their next thing, there was the contract, and they had signed this man, and the music was the same song played 32 times. And, in fact, Embassy killed their own film, because if they had had five or six different composers, each one with a different, good song, if two of them had been hits the film would have recovered its money. So by double crossing, De Sica, was very hurt, they actually double crossed themselves because they didn't listen to him. But one of the sequences which was a very American type, it was a skit on the snobs in Italy who go to the first night of the opera and having to have the only dress of that sort, and they rebuilt a very famous women's hair dressing salon in Paris and I have forgotten it's name. That was rebuilt as a set. And De Sica, it took a day to shoot, he went right round this salon in one shot. Can you imagine how many mirrors and things there are, right round the salon and ended up on Shirley MacLaine reading a magazine and she suddenly throws the magazine down. Spent a whole day doing that. Eventually we had to do a jump cut because the music, you know it was done to do a number to allow a song for the minute there was just this music, the whole thing didn't hold so you had to shorten it. But what was interesting, because everybody said that he was old fashioned and that, and he did every modern sixties trick but

p. 92

because he knew what he was doing, as opposed to Dick Lester, when he did these things, the cuts were - John Victor Smith had to cut things together because otherwise they wouldn't cut together. And so everybody thought that was very modern. De Sica did exactly the same sort of thing like a slowed down camera speeded up camera. And like in a quarrel Shirley MacLaine and Patrick Wymark, they would be shouting at each other and in the middle of a sentence, as it went on, they were two miles away in a Rolls Royce driving and the scene carried on. And, in fact, he switched complete thing in a sentence. But because he knew what he was doing it looked like an old fashioned cut. And yet it was something that was great innovation, you know.

John Legard: Did you complete the whole thing out there, dubbed it in Paris?
Teddy Darvas: Everything in Paris except music was recorded in Rome. The postsynch we had to dub things. We had Anita Ekberg, all sorts of things, they were looking for an actor, they couldn't find the star and, having worked with Lex Barker, they needed a big, stupid, conceited man to play a conceited writer of popular fiction. And they went through everybody and I one day said 'Vittorio I have worked with Lex Barker and he is not a bad actor, he is a terribly nice man' and he said 'What a wonderful idea' and when the Americans objected that you can't use him, he's Tarzan, De Sica actually climbed on a chair and went like MMMMMMMMM give me Tarzan'. And so he cast Lex Barker who was so honoured to act on a De Sica film he was willing to pay his own fare over for a test. I mean, he was a charming man, Lex Barker, I liked him very, very much. And Michael Caine did one part where he didn't have to speak a word, he just had to follow Shirley MacLaine and Anita Ekberg down the Bois de Boulogne and everything like a private detective. He did it as a favour because he was a great friend of Shirley MacLaine's. And he said 'If I would have had to learn a line I wouldn't have taken the part'. So we recorded the music, we had dubbed in Paris and I told you how marvellous the dubbing theatre there was, how far ahead of its time it was. And De Sica was very ill. He was a great gambler, of course, he was always in debt which is why he made so many bad films or acted in bad films.
John Legard: Really, I didn't know that.
Teddy Darvas: It was a disease. And he was suffering from terrible pains, gall bladder stone. And as soon as we were off the floor he had the operation. And Shirley once played him up on postsynch and didnt turn up and he took all that very nicely but he got his own back very, very subtly. Anyway, when the film was finished and I said 'Goodbye' to him the last time, you always had to help him on with his coat and everything and it was like royalty. He knew he was the great film maker and he accepted tributes like that and, I mean, he did say about that film, he said 'You know, I have made my great pictures, I now just want to make little films of entertainment' and he knew that the film would be slated because it wasn't a "Bicycle Thieves and again it was a very nice thing about him, a bit like David Lean. There was one scene where there was no cover and it dragged like anything. It was one of the stories that Toto cut. And there was no way of like cutting it. And Toto had an assistant, a rather attractive French girl, called Katrine, and she said to Toto 'I think you could possibly cut from here to there and it wouldn't be a jump cut' and Toto said 'Right, I'll do it, let's have a look at it'. And it worked and she said 'OK' and when De Sica came in she said 'Look Katrine had this idea and it loses a minute and a half and have a look at it and see if you like it' and he liked it and he went up and he embraced Katrine and he said 'You are my greatest film editor, thank you' and she walked on air for days. There was a tremendous dignity and a tremendous niceness and one doesn't want to Kerry on too much about the anecdotes .....
John Legard: So this film got completed and shown- it was shown ..
Teddy Darvas: 1967.
John Legard: Didn't you say it got bad reviews?

p. 93

Teddy Darvas: Yes.
John Legard: But it's been shown on television.
Teddy Darvas: It’s been on television.
John Legard: I thought it was quite entertaining.
Teddy Darvas: I think it's entertaining.
John Legard: Very enjoyable.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, but you see, if that had been directed by Joe Bloggs everybody would have said 'Charming, light entertainment film'. The minute it's De Sica or Carol Reed or Hitchcock or anything like that, that is not accepted.
John Legard: Yes, but De Sica in fact only, he made about three or four great films, didn't he? I mean, there was "Bicycle Thieves on the Roof" and "Two Women" and one or two others.
Teddy Darvas: And "Umberto D". Now "Umberto D", when I saw it, luckily it was a double feature programme in a cinema in Tottenham Court Road and it was on with "A Night at the Opera" because after having seen "Umberto D" the only thing you can do is go and commit suicide. It is the most depressing film, I mean, it makes "Bicycle Thieves" into a comedy. And, in effect, Shirley Maclaine had never seen it so De Sica laid on a theatre for her to see it in Paris and one morning when she was not required for shooting and they couldn't shoot on her in the afternoon because she cried so much that her face was swollen. She just felt, I am told she sat in the limousine and just sobbed. I mean, you just couldn't talk with her. It is a terrifying film. I don't think I would ever sit through it again. But when I actually ....
John Legard: And before that, of course, he had been directing, didn't he make films of opera, Italian films of opera?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, and of course he starred in "The Four Just Men". But for money. He had a very high regard. He considered Basil Deardon, one of the great dirertors, which he was funnily enough and I cut for Basil, I cut his last two films and I was very fond of him.
John Legard: Sorry, I am digressing.
Teddy Darvas: Shirley was a strange mixture. She was a chorus girl, every second word was a swear word, she was terribly nice to you one moment, she could be a bitch the next. And one day she complained about the camera man and she was going up, they were shooting in the opera, and I sent a message to the assistant director, to Peter Baldwin, I said 'Watch it because madam is going to be playing up'. And the following day De Sica said to me 'Is it really so bad that closeup?' and I said 'Well, I think yes, I think it is pretty awful'. And sitting at rushes and I was sitting right behind De Sica taking selections, Toto next to me, and Shirley Maclaine was sitting behind me with her make-up and hairdressing. And De Sica started up suddenly and he said 'What is wrong with it, it is very good'. Lights went up and he said 'I don't know what you are talking about'. He went on, and I was sinking in my seat and I thought 'Right, you have gone too far' and it was mounting into a tremendous crescendo and it took me about three or four minutes to realise that, in fact, it was not directed at me, but at Shirley behind me. And he got louder and louder and he said, he got up with a cigarette and he choked on the cigarette, had a heart attack, tried to put on his coat and I tried to help him and he shrugged me off and he staggered out of the theatre and he said 'If you no like, get another director' and he went out and there was a dead hush. By this time I realised it wasn't me and so I sneaked a look back at Shirley Maclaine and Shirley was sitting there and she was ashen and crying, I mean, she had never had this in her life before and she withdrew to her dressing room, dead hush. And Peter Baldwin arrives, the son in law, and hears all this hush and he said 'What's happening Teddy?' And I said - my cutting room was at the end of the star dressing rooms, like a corridor intersection. And I said 'Well, there's been rather a scene, Shirley had thought about this

p. 94

close-up etc etc' and he said 'Tell me, did he try and light a cigarette and couldn't and choked on it and have a heart attack?' and I said 'Yes' and did he try and put on a coat and couldn't and then stagger out?' and I said 'Yes'. He said 'Oh I know that performance'. He had done it before. And in the evening in the production office I was there he was saying to the production manager 'Today I gave a great performance but if you want me to do it again you have to pay me I am a professional actor you know'.

John Legard: Of course he is yes.
John Legard: I guessed it was a performance, I must say.
Teddy Darvas: But Shirley ...
John Legard: She didn't.
Teddy Darvas: She didn't. Neither did I. I'll tell you I was pretty, pretty scared. The fact that I wasn't originally wanted on the film and when they were going over budget etc and there was a question of sending me back to England before everything was finished. Bob Porter was the representative of Embassy Films. De Sica, it seems, said to him 'I did not want Darvas on this picture, you made me take him but he is now my valued collaborator, he stays'. And they couldn't - with the Americans because they always have this back-knifing etc ...
John Legard: Post mortem and things.
Teddy Darvas: And so that was really that. With Shirley one was friends one moment and other times it was different. There was one day she didn't turn up for postsynch and De Sica was just out of hospital and he was sitting there in the afternoon and it was found that she had gone to a Pierre Cardin dress show. And a message came 'Yes mother MacLaine will be with you at five o clock, five thirty'. And De Sica just sort of sat in his chair and said 'OK, OK, we wait'. Five minutes later he starts little sniffs and feeling where his operation is and he said 'Oh, oh Teddy I am not feeling very well, please' and I was helping him on with his coat and he said 'I must go home, you Kerry on Teddy and my apologies to Madam MacLaine, I will see her in the morning'. So there was Peter Baldwin and this power lock coach and I knew I was in trouble because Shirley, who considered De Sica as a father figure, she was going to play up on postsynch because she was going to have a guilty conscience. So I re-jigged the order of post synch and there was a whole sequence where she, in one of her parts, was running through the Bois de Boulogne sobbing with camera noise and everything on it, I knew that she wouldn't object to doing the sobbing. So we started off on that when she arrived, I had apologised for Vittorio. And so we get through that, which she does. And then we get on to other stuff and then it all starts. And these two Americans, they didn't know how to treat really, that you don't tell actors the real reason sometimes of why you do postsynch or why you do things, I mean, so she started. And while we were doing this, and I sort of said 'It’s all right Shirley we'll leave it and we'll ask De Sica whether he wants it done'. We came to one scene and these two Americans said to me 'Yeah, Teddy, why are we doing this?' I couldn't say 'It’s because, when Shirley was dancing with Vittorio Gassman she wouldn't speak up and there's going to be a loud band in the background and we have to do it because you couldn't otherwise hear her', because you couldn't say that in front of 149 an artist. So I knew I was lost anyway. So we went on and we finished postsynching about nine thirty and, by that time, I had quite a lot. One had taken quite a bit, however much one liked her, and you didn't have the backing from the Americans. So when I got into my cutting room at the end of this star dressing room corridor, my assistant Annie was there and I was really het up. And I said 'That effing bitch Shirley, that so and so', I really let rip. The walls in this studio were paper thin and I forgot, of course, that Shirley's dressing room was right next to my cutting room. So I put on my coat and opened the door and there are two steps down from the cutting room to the corridor and she times it beautifully and she opens the door just

p. 95

as I come out. And I thought 'Oh God what's going to happen now?' And she just looks at me and says 'I'm sorry Teddy darling' and puts her arms around me and we walk out in perfect friendship. She knew she had played me up. And she didn't mind having heard that because that's how she behaved, you know, sometimes. But it was very, very scary for me, you know, when you realise she had overheard it. So anyway, I came back from Paris, after seven months, glorious seven months because I've got friends in Paris who got me a very nice apartment. Ramona had given birth on 27 November to Anna and she, having had miscarriages and things, she could never come to Paris, so I was a bachelor for seven months. And I came back at odd weekends. And when I came back I wasn't even like thinking about looking for work but somebody told me that Sammy Davis and Peter Lawford were starting a film and they didn't have an editor and they were starting in two weeks time. I rang my agent and he said 'Well, yes, but, my client - Peter Thornton, a colleague of mine, was also under contract to Ken Cleveland. Peter is going to do it.' Peter Thornton was a man who, if he had two or three offers, he would say 'yes' to every one and he wouldn't even tell his agent and so I knew that Peter Thornton was not doing it but the way an agent works is, once a client has been put up he can't put up another client until the first client has been turned down. So I forgot about it. There were queues of editors, I remember Peter Musgrave and people all being interviewed. And I went out to Shepperton to see Ronnie Spencer and various friends after seven months in Paris. And Andy Donnelli, he had switched and was then like head of production for United Artists, and we had been friends since he was a production accountant, and he said 'Hello Teddy, I haven't seen you for a long time'. I said 'Well, I have just come back from Paris, etc. etc'. 'Have you got a film lined up?' and I said 'No' . He said 'Right, hold on a second, there's this film director and he wants a way-out editor, hold on'. He came back and 'I told him you are the most way-out editor and you go in and see him'. And this was a Thursday. Peter Musgrave was there waiting for an interview and I waltzed in and I got the film starting on Monday. And that was the first film that Dick Donner directed who then did Superman.

John Legard: Richard Donner?
Teddy Darvas: Richard Donner. And Richard Donner, who learnt I think on the "Salt and Pepper", and it was an unbelievably unhappy film.
John Legard: What was the title.
Teddy Darvas: "Salt and Pepper".
John Legard: "Salt and Pepper". Don't think I ever remember that one.
Teddy Darvas: Well, he also made a "Salt and Pepper 11". It was done by Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis's own company for the United Artists. But the producer was, in fact, Peter Lawford's business manager, a man called Milton Ebbins. And it was 1967, with the with-it time. And Dick Donner was shooting off the cuff and that sort of thing. Sammy Davis and Peter Lawford didn't learn their lines, were late, they were drunk, they had been up all night partying - it was their own money, I mean, it was their film. The unit was probably the unhappiest unit of all time and it was terrible. The assistant director was being crucified by these two people. I couldn't cut scenes together, I mean, Sammy Davis and Peter Lawford would, when they forgot lines, would ad-lib. So fifteen second shot would sometimes run forty five seconds, with no cut-away. Either they would refuse to do cover. But Dick Donner didn't know enough to break down the scene into smaller bits so as to get over that. And the film was horrific. And when Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, when that lot are called the Rat Pack it was the most brilliant publicity thing on their publicity people's part to turn it into affection thing. The American press called them the Rat Pack because they were rats. They misbehaved, they were really without conscience and, I mean, it was an horrific episode. I was lasting pretty well but with Dick Donner, when you suggested something, he would say 'No,

p. 96

that's production value, you can't take that out, you can't do this, you can't do that'. Milton Ebb ins, everybody was horrified about what was happening. And eventually you have got to put your trust into somebody. Milton Ebbins said 'Look, don't argue, do exactly as he says, just keep me informed and when he is off the film I'll give you three weeks to put it right'. Because there was just nothing that you could do about it. And so it went on. The film was completely disorganised. I mean, like Sammy Davis wouldn't do postsynch, just suddenly wouldn't turn up for postsynch. Or he wouldn't do any cover on postsynch. If he had a long shot he wouldn't do postsynch the closer shot. They just acted up. Peter Lawford, after lunch, was normally half asleep.

John Legard: It doesn't really sound as though this film is worth talking about a lot.
Teddy Darvas: Well, except that it's an episode of the sixties. But just to explain ..
John Legard: We don't want to dwell too much on .....
Teddy Darvas: What happened with that film was that Dick Donner shot Sammy Davis's number like a Beatles number, hand held everything and he never, there was not one shot where Sammy Davis was kept in shot right the way through. And he said to me 'If there's one conventional cut in this sequence you are fired' and this we are coming back to editing. So I said 'Look Dick, do you mean it, because I know how to cut, I've cut that sort of thing.' Milton Ebbins ...

John Legard: Documentary training.
Teddy Darvas: Milton Ebbins, well I've also cut another - it's in the volume of the world's worst movies which I had skipped called "Gonks Go Beat" for Bob Hartford Davies. I am very proud of that, it's in the book of the world's worst movies and I cut one of them.
John Legard: Oh great.
Teddy Darvas: So I'd cut pop numbers and I cut it. And it worked very well as Beatles' numbers. Milton Ebbins and Sammy Davis went completely spare. Because what they wanted was like a cabaret number. And I said 'Well I can loosen it for you but never will this scene become a conventional number'. So we got to showing the rough cut. The head of UA came over from America. I wasn't invited to the showing. I was there at the showing but I wasn't invited to lunch. And I was told by somebody at the lunch that this American said that this was the worst rough cut he had ever seen in his life. If I had have been there I would have agreed with him. So I was fired that afternoon and Jack Slade took over. And I got back to Shepperton a week afterwards on a documentary for Ronnie Spencer and Jack Slade said 'Teddy, I'll tell you, I've taken a dupe off your number because I can't really alter it, there's no other way of doing it except that they way you have done it'. I only dwelt on this from a point of view of, when you are in the middle of something, it is always the editor who is the one person who cannot get out from under ...
John Legard: He's the man between isn't he?
Teddy Darvas: He's the man between. Milton Ebbins said to be the Sunday before when Sammy Davis didn't turn up for postsynch and could I get an artist suddenly because they had booked it. So I said 'Yes'. I rang Ken Cleveland and he got two artists in who happened to be clients of the same agency. He said 'You are the only good thing that's happened to us on this film' because I got fired that next Friday. So I immediately after that went and started doing documentaries or a documentary, I have forgotten what it was, for Ronnie Spencer. Thelma Connell had, at the same time, been fired off a Bond film where she had her throat cut and, as Bert Bates said to me 'Only the best editors get fired but when you are like me you have an eighteen week guarantee and if they feel like firing you after nine weeks and they realise that they have to pay another nine weeks, it's quite amazing how the quality of your editing immediately improves'. Anyway, the thing was, Thelma rang me while I was doing this documentary and said did I know that she had been offered a film by Michael Relph and Basil Dearden, she had been after a film, and they are looking for an

p. 97

editor, she couldn't do it or whatever it was. So I immediately rang my agent, Ken Cleveland, who was then with CMA, John Redway, Denis Sellinger, and I said to Ken Cleveland about this and he said 'Well, there are clients, I put your name forward weeks and weeks ago' and I said 'Well they have obviously forgot about me so how about it?' So the following day I went round to Pinewood to have an interview with Michael Relph. Basil Dearden was shooting, I think "Khartoum" still..John Legard: Oh right. Yes.

Teddy Darvas: I think it was "Khartoum". And I was given the script by Michael Relph and he said 'Read it over the weekend, come and see me Monday', which I did. And obviously I'd have to be approved by Basil Dearden. And I had read it and there was a lot of research to be done on historical film because there was sort of little bits that had to be put in and I said 'Have you got that material?' and he said 'No, we haven't, that's one of the problems and there isn't any money yet until we go on the floor, there's not an awful lot of money to do the research which has to be done'. And I said 'Well, if you did give me the film, eventually, I am quite happy to do that work on half whatever the salary is that you agree with my agent'. And he said 'Well that's a very generous offer from you'. So I thought I would try him and I said 'Would you like the script back?' thinking if I was to hand the script back I would know that I haven't got it. And so I said 'Would you like the script back?' and he said 'Yes, I would like it back but that doesn't mean that you haven't got the film, it's just that we are short of scripts at the moment'. So I went back and about a week later I got a phone call to say that I had got the film. Basil was still on location but he said 'OK, fine, take him'. So I started on "Assassination Bureau". Charles Orm(?) was associate producer, very remote, frightfully English man, people thought he was a snob, I got to know him very well and we became very good friends and he was actually quite shy and he was wonderful on the film. I had heard that Basil Dearden was an absolute terror and he had a reputation for shouting and being quite rude. So, having been fired off a film, my self confidence was at its very, very lowest, you know. I met Basil who more or less said 'Hello' to me and hardly anything else. And we started shooting and the first day's shooting was in this French brothel, which Michael Relph, as art director who had also written the script, he really indulged himself and when I saw that set I realised that this was what you came into movies for. I mean, all this kitchen sink stuff, this is what you want- 1912 French brothel, three stories high etc., etc. And so I sort of started on the film. Every time I was asked to go on the floor I trembled because, having been fired I thought, especially with Basil's reputation. Geoff. Farnsworth was the camera man. And the interesting thing with Charles Orm was, and it's a great shame that editors normally nowadays start on the day that you go on the floor, because I was doing this research and I happened to be already on the pay role, when there was a pre-production meeting I was invited there and it was very interesting. There were a lot of special effects. Charlie Stafoll(?) who was the special effects expert and that sort of thing. I was sitting there, not opening my mouth, and the interesting thing was, you see, that Geoff Farnsworth and Charlie Stafoll would be chatting about some problem and Stafoll would say like 'Well, one lens won't Kerry this so we can't do that' and then Geoff Farnsworth would say 'Well Teddy can you think of a cut-away or a close-up of something so that we can get away from that?' So, in fact, your presence on the film, ahead of shooting, saved money in the overall run which very few accountants and things can understand. And Geoff, who was my favourite camera man of all, the quality of his work, anyway, was fantastic. I was called on the floor, there was the big scene, and Geoff said 'There's a little discussion going on between Basil and me about whether this shot should be a single or an over the shoulder'. And I hadn't seen what they had shot or anything. 'So it's up to you Teddy'. So I looked agonisingly at Geoff because I knew that whatever he said must be right and he gave nothing away. So I said 'Well, speaking purely as a cutter, I don't like over the shoulders, I'd rather have a single'

p. 98

and Geoff said 'Right, single it is, camera there, boom, boom, boom'. Basil walked away. Geoff comes up to me and said 'Over the shoulder would have been better Teddy'. I said Geoff 'Why didn't you give me some inclination of what you wanted, I'd have said that'. He said 'No, it was your choice, fine, marvellous, fantastic'. And again the art of direction, which very few people now know, and Basil Dearden and people like Don Sharp still know. This big scene which ran fourteen minutes originally, there was a huge round table which was the big conference with all the principals there. It was four days shooting. On the first days shooting Basil Dearden arrived and gave the continuity girl a complete break down of every shot for that scene. It was something like 120 different shots and he said 'Right' and we'd shoot. One, four, ten, fifteen, twenty five like that. And he worked out that he could shoot a fourteen minute scene, shooting everything one way without having to swing the walls out. From my point of view it was terrible because I could not start cutting till the whole scene was finished. So one was falling behind in the editing. But to work out a scene exactly and when you say that somebody who doesn't know which way it should go, Basil knew absolutely how everything should go. And then I was called on the floor- it was a Friday- so that you know that you are going to be fired. I was called on the floor and I'm trembling and Basil is there and he is very tight lipped and he calls me aside and he said 'Do you think that I restrict you too much in the way that I direct?' and Basil was famous that he was so impatient that he said 'Action' before the clapper boy was off the screen. I mean, on "Man Who Haunted Himself" there is a shot where, if it's not on wide screen, and if you look you can see the clapper boy last three frames disappearing. And he would say 'Cut' sometimes almost before an actor would finish a line. And he said 'Do I restrict you too much?' And I said 'Well, Basil, no. I cut the way a director directs, it's up to you. I quite like it because it allows me to time things as opposed to having to work out how things should go'. He said 'I'll tell you why I direct this way. When I started at Ealing every editor directed from behind so I have evolved a system of directing whereby no editor can muck me up'. And then somebody had overheard, one of my assistants had overhead Basil say to Michael 'Oh he obviously knows what he is doing' so I knew then. And gradually I realised that Basil was very shy, very lonely. I had known his wife, Melissa Scribbling, from the Buxton Club for many years before but had only met Basil once or twice there. The film was brilliant, I thought it was brilliantly directed. I still think it's, of all the films I worked on, it's the film I can watch more often.

John Legard: Did we get the title?
Teddy Darvas: "The Assassination Bureau".
John Legard: And it was what year?
Teddy Darvas: 1968.
John Legard: Right yes.
Teddy Darvas: The editing went exceedingly well and it was done very, very nicely and it was real friendship and real joy. Basil was unbelievably quick. There was one scene which one couldn't shorten, it was dragging. And we tried every way and so eventually he said 'All right, we will have to leave it this way'. And I suddenly had an idea that, by overlaying a line over shoulder shot, which is a completely different line, that I could get out of it. And so I said 'I've got an idea, I'll do something' and he said 'What are you going to do?' I said 'No, I think the best thing is that I did it'. It was in the cutting room. 'Because if it works it's OK, if I tell you in advance you'll notice where it is'. So I did it and it worked and then he said 'Now, show me, what did you do?' And I explained that I...

Tape 7 - Side A (Side 13)

p. 99

Teddy Darvas: So anyway. I overlaid this line an over the shoulder shot from a different part of the scene. And when I did it I showed it to him and he liked it and said 'Now what did you do?' and I showed him and explained to him. And the next film I cut for him, a similar problem arose and I said 'Well, you can't shorten that because there's no way of doing it and he said 'Oh absolute nonsense, you can overlay the line over another over the shoulder shot'. So Basil remembered what one had done and was very quick and was telling you what to do by the next film. In "Assassination Bureau" it was the end of the era of the big American involvement and "Assassination Bureau" was eventually shown without much publicity and was not a success and it was also very badly reviewed because, of course, everybody wanted to be very modern and this was 1911 period and Basil had directed it in period.

John Legard: By which you mean it ...
Teddy Darvas: The style of directing was in period and not hand held cameras ....
John Legard: Yes, but not in the style of 1911.
Teddy Darvas: No, no, but it was directed so as to go with the period that it was done. We did have historical film in it. I still think it is a very nice film. This was when yet another one of the big slumps in the British film industry started. We had terrible problems on the special effects in the travelling mats. Rank Laboratories were going through a very bad phase and we had about two hundred and fifty, two hundred and seventy travelling mats super-impositions models shots and Rank said that all these would be delivered by September 15th and on September 15th I had seen three and rejected three. So I stayed on the film till the end of January, which was very embarrassing, because one eventually just accepted shots that were not really up to the mark. When the film is shown on television you can't see that the stuff is bad at all but on a bit screen, you can.John Legard: What was the nature of this particular special effect?
Teddy Darvas: Well, we had, because the special climax of the film is in a Zeppelin that gets shot down so you had the Zeppelin built on the stage. It was fantastic where the balloons are that part of the Zeppelin was built sort of two thirds of the size and an engineering firm built a sort of rocker thing where it could be tilted and you could get the feeling of it swaying as though it was a ship and obviously all the points of view and everything had to be done by travelling mat. And it was just the system wasn't working very well, they had a lot of dust problems in the department. And it was a very, very big problem and the music by Ron Grainer was excellent.
John Legard: Sounds as though they needed a few more weeks experimenting on the special effects before they perhaps ..... - under-budgeted was it?
Teddy Darvas: No. I mean, it was just Rank Laboratories, travelling mats had been going for a number of years, it was not an innovation. It was just that the man who - Vick Malgatty(?) - and the department was going through a very bad phase and their room was a complete mess and it was not dust free and so really, because of that, and the longer you go on with travelling mats, the more there is shrinkage on the mat part so that you don't get such a good superimposition.
John Legard: The registration begins.
Teddy Darvas: The registration ...
John Legard: So you get a movement.. ...
Teddy Darvas: It begins to look and you can see....... A lot of it is terribly good. It was a great shame that it was not properly publicised and built up. One interesting thing about the music, there is a chase in the film in a French Paris brothel round about 1911 built a bit like Toulouse Lautrec set and Ron Grainer adapted the theme of the film and made it into like an Offenbach can-can. It was brilliant because the chase it fitted absolutely perfectly. After the music was recorded, Michael Relph who was the producer said 'The first part of the chase goes on too long and it should be in a

p. 100

different order' and I said 'Well, if you re-cut it Michael you'll have to get the big orchestra back because this was the biggest orchestration and it cost thousands.' And he said 'Well, I want to do it anyway'. So I said 'All right, I will try to fit the music'. And, as it was very, rhythmical, I re-cut it, still keeping the tune going but taking the tune from different parts of the film and it worked absolutely perfectly. Michael said 'Well we'll now re-cut the second part of this chase sequence as well.' And I said 'Well, look that was a miracle musically, you can't make it work twice'. He said 'Well, you've done it once, you can do it again'. So I re-cut the music again and I ran it and the tune went properly but suddenly it sounded like a wrong note because somehow or other Ron had changed key in his original orchestration. And I thought 'Right well, that's it we've had it' and I put the music to the picture and where the wrong note, because it was

Teddy Darvas: wrong key, came in, something happened on the screen that made it look as though Ron had meant it to be like that. So we got away with that as well. And I thought that Ron Grainer would never speak to me again having killed his music. But he was very sweet about it and, in fact, we made friends till he died. He rang me about a week before he died, about fifteen or so years later.

John Legard: Did he do much film music? I know he did the music for "Our Terminus" because he was mainly television.
Teddy Darvas: His first big break, I think, was the Maigret series. That's where he started. He did quite

Teddy Darvas: lot of things but he was, at one time, in fact after "Assassination Bureau" he left England to go and live in Portugal because his eyes - he was going to go blind and he was going to get this tunnel vision and he bought a farm house in Portugal because they said in bright clear light his eye sight would last longer. And so he left England. Then his wife left him. He had to come back to England without his wife. His wife got the farmhouse and he lived in Brighton and never actually went blind but he brought their child back because the wife just gave up everything. And so I think probably because of that he did less. I worked with him again many years later on a film that Diana Baker - a film called "Second Star to the Right", it was an allegory on Peter Pan and I shall come to it much later. And that was, in fact, his last film. Anyway so after this there was one of these big slumps in the British film industry - 1969.

John Legard: What, another one?
Teddy Darvas: Well, yes. Since I came to the cutting in 1948 the first collapse of the film industry started in 1949 and one went through at least three or four major ones, one of which is today in 1991-92. So I couldn't get a job at all. I did odd little fill in jobs. They were not even documentaries. And it was during this time that Bryan Forbes was appointed head of EMI which EMI had just taken over ABPC. And during this period out of work, very briefly one must say that somebody offered me a few days work because an American sound editor, the head of CBS sound department, was coming over to postsynch Richard Harris in "A Man Called Horse" and this man had never been to England before and would I look after him. It turned to be a man called Jack Findlay, known as Tiger Jack Findlay. He was a very famous retired American footballer. He was one of the gentlest people imaginable. And Richard Harris and the American director, whose name I have forgotten, he was a real, neurotic, very talented, had two telephones going at the time and wore out a carpet a day by walking up and down. He and Richard Harris hated each other and instead of doing three days postsynch I had eighteen or nineteen days 1)9 work on daily rate because every day when we went into the postsynch theatre, Richard Harris and this director had - David somebody- just screamed at each other. So in about four days we did about twenty five loops and Jack and I sat in the background enjoying these absolute screaming matches.

p. 101

John Legard: Really.
Teddy Darvas: And eventually they went back to America without having done all the postsynch. It was
Teddy Darvas: very funny episode.
John Legard: Was this a director called Elliot Silverstein?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, Elliot Silverstein, that's right. Very talented, very, very nice. But, i mean, like one day they were standing there, screaming at each other, and suddenly Richard Harris shouted 'I haven't got any cigarettes, who's got some cigarettes?' and nobody was a smoker. So as I was not really on the film, I went out to the nearest tobacconist, bought sixty cigarettes and two boxes of matches, got back and they were still screaming at each other, and I just handed him the cigarettes and the matches which he snatched from me without interrupting his shouting match. And the following day we were running sequences and peace seemed to be reigning. And I saw Richard Harris's chauffeur come in with a bottle of whisky which he handed to Richard Harris. I thought 'Oh well, that will be the end of another day if he starts drinking the whisky'. And when the lights went up, he got up, with the bottle of whisky, came up to me and shouted at me 'Did you buy me those cigarettes yesterday?' and I was scared of him because he was a big man and said 'Why, what, yes I did'. He said 'There' and handed me a bottle of whisky.
John Legard: How nice.
Teddy Darvas: So I said 'Oh Richard, you didn't have to do that. He said 'F off' and walked out of the theatre and that was the end of that day's work. That was en passant.
John Legard: How extraordinary, yes. So he treated everybody in the same way.
Teddy Darvas: It was very funny.
John Legard: He was quite fun actually. He was obviously doing it with tongue in cheek I suppose.
Teddy Darvas: As an interesting side line as well with Jack Findlay - I had an American friend here as well, it was about half past eleven going through Piccadilly Circus and, of course, it was full of people. Theatres and cinemas had just finished. And he, coming from California, he said 'What are all these people doing in the streets, walking?' and we said 'Well, it's normal in England, you know, you walk around'. And because of the danger nobody in cars, he was so amazed that when we took him back, he was staying at the Hilton in Park Lane, and we said 'Good night' to him and I got a taxi back home and my American friend was staying with Stirling Moss in Shepherd’s Market and he walked home. And the following day it turned out that Jack Findlay couldn't go back to his room, he wanted to walk. So he went out by the back entrance of the Hilton so that he shouldn't meet us again and he walked down Curzon Street just for the sake of walking and found Cunningham's Oyster Bar where he went in to have a bag of eels just for the fun of it because of the joy of walking around without fear. So anyway. This was an awful year for me.
John Legard: 1970 we are talking about.
Teddy Darvas: This is 69. Bryan Forbes, to try and get the studio working again, because ABPC was completely Scottish accountant administered and was really creaking and for people like me who had grown up at Shepperton where even, during the worst union period, there was co- operation if you wanted something from props you asked the prop master 'Can I have this or that' and he would do it for you without a works order. Bryan, to get the studio working, he got Basil Dearden and Michael Relph to do the first film, which was a film called "The Man Who Haunted Himself" starring Roger Moore who wanted to get away from his "Saint" image. It is a very strange doppelganger type story. So I cut the first film in Bryan's short reign. It was a great tragedy that Bryan failed. Part of the reason I think was that he got himself very much involved in little things

p. 102

instead of letting John Hargreaves, who was his number two, to run the studio like Korda would allow Lew Thornburn to run the studio and would only go in on major matters. Also, because he, as a director, Bryan as a director, had been interfered with so much by front office he felt that, when he gave people the money to make a film, it shouldn't interfere and because of that he gave young people a chance and brought in, sometimes inexperienced, technicians. And because he didn't interfere, a lot of those films under his reign were flops, also he was told to make so many films instead of being told you have got money to make a number of films when you get the right story. A lot of films, I think, were made for the sake of being made. "The Man Who Haunted Himself" is a pretty good film, really. The ending is very unbelievable. And Roger Moore was most conscientious. Basil Dearden was a bit scared of him because of the "Saint" image and was afraid to sort of pull him up because Roger Moore did the sort of raising the eyebrows, he used to do as the Saint. But eventually they became very good friends and it became a joke that you just had to be told that that was the saint and it was a great laugh. And on it went.
John Legard: So how did it do in the cinemas?
Teddy Darvas: Not very, very well.
John Legard: I see that Leslie Haliwell didn't care for it terribly. He reckoned it would have made a very good Hitchcock half hour, thought it was too long.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. It was a short story I think by Jack London, I can't remember who wrote the original.
John Legard: Anthony Armstrong.
Teddy Darvas: Anthony Armstrong. That's right. It is interesting because Basil's directing, about which I have spoken earlier, Basil was so impatient that he would say 'Action' before the clapper boy was off the screen sometimes. And he would say 'Cut' sometimes even before an actor had finished a line. And, in fact, there is one shot in "The Man Who Haunted Himself" if you look carefully on a full screen, where you can still see the last three frames of the clapper boy disappearing off the screen because there was no cover and you had to use it. Bryan Forbes was a very old friend of Basil Dearden. He was on the floor one day and I was standing there and just to take the mickey out of Basil he said 'Tell me Teddy, is he giving you enough frames to put your scissors in at the beginning and the end of a shot?'.
John Legard: He knew.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. That was Basil. It was, in fact, Basil's last film. He was going to do another film immediately in France and the French star, I have forgotten his name, was also a singer, his chauffeur was murdered and they thought that he might - Alain De Lore(?) - they thought that there was a danger of him being arrested for murder, so the people with the money withdrew because they were not going to take a risk in their star being arrested. When this was finished I very much wanted to do a film that Bryan was going to do with two American producers who had only done commercials. A wonderful script called "Forbush and the Penguins".
John Legard: Yes right. That's a well known film yes.
Teddy Darvas: With a script by Anthony Shep- Tony Shep - and Tony's was a very old friend of mine. didn't get in, I was very disappointed and Bernard Gribble got it.
John Legard: Bernard got it yes, I remember.
Teddy Darvas: Bernard and I became very great friends. I was terribly upset about this. And I got "The Railway Children" instead and Bernard was always ? because then we had running ....
John Legard: You got the good one I would have thought.

p. 103

Teddy Darvas: It so happened. Yes. I didn't realise. These two Americans made such a mess of "Forbush" that eventually it was a co-production with British Lion and eventually Roy Boulting rewrote the script and half was redone with Roy directing and the film is a pretty bad ...
John Legard: A real hotchpotch, isn't it? There is some lovely material, there was the penguins. But the actuality stuff.

Teddy Darvas: Bernard was very, very unhappy. He went in one day to these two Americans and he said something which I always give him screen credit for but I say this in front of directors and producers, always naming him. He went in and he said 'You know you had a six month option on my goodwill and that has just expired'. So I think this is a nice thing to say. "Railway Children" was the - I got "Railway Children" instead. Basically because Bob Lynn was the producer whom I have known as an assistant director, the son of Ralph Lynn - Relph Lynn. It was going to be Lionel Jeffries' first film as a director. When I met Lionel, I had known him as an actor of course, but he had never been in a cutting room or anything and I said to him before we went on the floor 'Lionel, when you see rushes and you select things, the following day or the day after you will probably see the first cut of that sequence. If it is not to your liking don't shout or get upset. Just say to me how you want it. Tell me what the alterations are and then I will go back and I will do the alterations for you'. And we became very great personal friends and it worked out exceedingly well, especially because I had to go on the floor every morning and he would draw me little pictures of what he was going to shoot that day and ask if I had any comments which he would either take or not take. Sometimes it would work out, other times he would say 'I want to shoot it this way'. He would say sometimes like 'I want to do this in one shot or this way, I don't want to do any further shots'. And I would say to him because I think that if people really believe in something they ought to do it. I said 'Lionel, if you really believe in it, do it and don't let anybody talk you out of it'. Arthur Ibbotson was the camera man. Arthur was a lovely man but he had a very sour sense of humour and he upset Lionel because he made some sort of funny remarks like 'Well, if he wants to do in this sort of .....John Legard: Oh I know the thing. This is the British way.

Teddy Darvas: I think he is a great talent and it is a great shame that he only made three films. And because he's difficult sometimes the money people wouldn't give him any more money to make films. Because he had this amazing insight that, for example, the composer had recorded on the piano three or four themes for us to listen to and Lionel would sometimes, during shooting, to get the right mood, he would have it on a tape recorder for the crew to listen to or even during a rehearsal. And actually when I cut stuff I, on some things at the beginning, I actually put some music on and did a rough dub in the theatre so when they saw cut stuff Lionel could see it. The scene, for example, where Bobby has her birthday, and Lionel kept on saying for days, 'If you read the book it says that Bobby felt as though she was floating, and how do I achieve this? And nobody gave him an answer. And he suddenly had this wonderful idea and he put -what was the name of the actress who played - Jenny Agutter - he put Jenny Agutter on the little seat on the dolly on which the focus puller normally sat, and swivelled it so that she is in front profile, and she went with the dolly as people said 'Happy Birthday' to her. And the whole scene was shot in two shots. There was only one cut in the entire scene and she really is floating. And it's wonderful. And that is the real sort of talent.

John Legard: Creative.
Teddy Darvas: I went up to location once or twice.
John Legard: Where did they shoot it? Was it up in Yorkshire?
Teddy Darvas: Up in Yorkshire. The Worth Valley Railway. The Keighley to Howarth railway. In fact, the doctor's house is the Bronte vicarage which looks too grand for what the doctor in the book

p. 104

was supposed to have. Lionel, as an actor, he's bombastic but quite afraid of getting hurt, and so the actual landslip .....
John Legard: That was a wonderful sequence.
Teddy Darvas: But it doesn't work properly because it was done - the children were supposed to be down by the railway track and the art director had designed it in that way, and of course, the trees, when they slid down, they were on some contraption that you could pull them up again. And suddenly Lionel got terribly scared that the children might get hurt and made them stand above, looking down, so the trees going down are not as good as they were designed.

John Legard: Yes, but the first shot actually, there's a shot from the side, I remember it vividly, you can see that tree beginning to move and it is a stunning image. I have never forgotten it. It is still unexpected.
Teddy Darvas: But it doesn't work. And also because he was scared, instead of spending some time getting little pick-up shots of things moving, I had to use, literally, sort of after cut, if there was smoke and sometimes an odd little rock came forward and one was very, very short of material. But it works OK. But again, to say, which I think is amazing talent and this is why, as an editor, we should never say 'Well, you don't know. I know as an editor it cannot be done another way.' The scene in the film where Bobby is watching the train by herself and the train goes by and everybody is waving the newspapers and she doesn't understand why. That track coming out of the tunnel and going past was on a bend and there was a limited amount that you could show with the train. And Lionel shot the train three times, each time with two cameras. And in rushes, of course, it looked marvellous. And I cut it. And Lionel said 'This is one of the great emotional moments, milk it'. So I milked it. And I thought 'Well, it's as far as I can go without the train jumping backwards'. He said 'No, no, no, no, it's not as good as it was in the rushes'. I said 'Yes, because you saw it six times Lionel. I'll see what I can do' and I went back and I lengthened it as much as I dared. And I showed it to him proudly and he said 'No, it was better in rushes'. My first assistant was David Luward(?) and he said to me 'Look, he doesn't know anything about editing, Teddy, just tell him it cannot be done'. And I said 'No, that's not the way to do it, I'll tell you what we'll do. I'll show him. So let's get all the trims out.' And without looking at the picture I just took almost from the train appearing and I put everything in, the whole lot. And I thought 'When I show that and the train will go past three times, Lionel will realise' and I put it all in without looking at it in the movieola, joined it up and I ran it on the movieola and it was perfect, and against all the laws of editing, it is magic. And I said to David 'You see you must never argue' and from then on I have never argued with a director on doing the impossible because if you are talented and dramatically you believe in something ...John Legard: Yes, he's got it in his mind and that's how he wants it to be.

Teddy Darvas: And, of course ....
John Legard: You can forget the grammar, that's the thing isn't it?
Teddy Darvas: And we still had, of course, the old ABPC sound people - Len Shilten - and that sort of thing. And a lot they wanted to postsynch and there was the shot of her when Bobby runs towards her father and say 'Daddy, my daddy'. And, of course, it couldn't be postsynched and they said 'Oh no you can't use the original'. But we did use the original and we just had to melt it in. But with the sound department they were very, very stuck in the groove at ABPC still and it had to be done the way they felt. The train, of course, stuff was marvellous because I suggested, when the didn't have a sound recordist, I suggested that there was only one person to do trains and that was Peter Handford because, of course, he does LPs of trains.
John Legard: He's the expert.

p. 105

Teddy Darvas: Peter agreed, but he only picked a location, he wouldn't do it in the studio, there was another sound recordist who had to come in. But, of course, I knew, having worked with Peter before, that I would have all the train noises and that they would be absolutely superb, which they, in fact, were. Lionel said 'This is the best thing that will have happened to you, Teddy, as a film editor, this is going to be a classic.' And I though 'Ha, ha, ha, thank you very much, it's a nice children's film and it's very, very nice'. And nobody really believed in the film as such. And we had a running - I mean, Peter King who was managing director of I think it was distribution side of EMI, when he saw "Railway Children" at eight in the morning, all alone, he was not allowed - not even I was allowed into the theatre. And you don't see a film like "Railway Children" alone. The moment I think that there was a realisation that perhaps the film was something special was, we had the running and Bernard Delfont and his wife came as well and various, it was an official showing, and the cinema was full, the private cinema in Golden Square. And, at the end, when the lights went up, Lady Delfont just said 'Excuse me' and ran for the loo because she had cried so much that her massacre and her false eye lashes had come off and I think Bernard Delfont must have realised shrewdly that perhaps there was more to this little film than one had thought. The music, Johnny Douglas was absolutely, frightfully good and those piano tracks - Lionel was not there for the music recording, there was a mix up and I was alone doing the music. And I begged Johnny Douglas to keep the piano going as a solo rather than orchestrating it.. ..
John Legard: Where do you record?
Teddy Darvas: It was done at EMI on the scoring stage. And I begged him to do it on piano as I said it was such a sentimental tune that the harshness of the piano, in a way, takes the edge off it. And he wouldn't - he said 'Well I'll do it both ways' and I said 'You are wasting your time because as Lionel isn't here I am only going to lay the piano anyway'. And we laid it and it's? in the finished version because the orchestral really made it just over the top, too sugary. But the recording on the scoring stage with a proper pianist, did not have the emotion that Johnny's own recording onTeddy Darvas: little tape recorder on top of the piano, and in spite of union everything, musician's union, ACT rules, because nobody knew, I laid the original and nobody knew and in fact.. ..
John Legard: You recorded it anyway.
Teddy Darvas: So then, of course, the film was a great success.
John Legard: Mm, I would like to see it again.
Teddy Darvas: I can lend it to you.
John Legard: I would live to see it again. You know the scene, the final scene, it is a highly emotional scene where the father appears through the steam, well that's become a classic shot, there's a commercial running -they have copied it.
Teddy Darvas: Everybody says to me, and including family, 'You have cut it the wrong way round because the first time you see the father out of the smoke is in medium close-up and the next time it's in medium shot and it looks as though he had gone backwards.' And I was fully conscious of that. The trouble was, it was the same shot actually, shot with two cameras. But you could slightly see his outline in the longer shot, so as to get the effect of the ....
John Legard: to see clearly
Teddy Darvas: I thought 'I know it's wrong but I have got to do it as a close-up first and then go to the longer shot' and it is wrong but it was the only way to do it really. But that's one of those things. And, of course, Bernard Cribbens was absolutely brilliant in it. I mean, it was a Chaplinesque performance. It was for that film that I got the BAFTA Award for Best Editing.
John Legard: Oh you did.

p. 106

Teddy Darvas: Bernard loved the film so much, he was chairman of the Guild of Film Editors and whether he just decided that I had won and forget who had voted was another thing. And at the Awards dinner I didn't want to go, Lionel was actually the guest of honour and when he opened the envelope and he said 'Now nobody will believe that this isn't a fix- Teddy Darvas for "Railway Children". And Kip Heron was there, who had been an old Korda boy and I had never one anything, I had not prepared anything, I didn't know what to say, and I suffered from stage fright. And I went up and I thanked everything and then I said 'And this just goes to prove that to be Hungarian is enough as opposed to the old Hollywood saying to be Hungarian is not enough'. And for anything to fall flat on it's face, that was my remark, because only Kip Heron knew this anecdote and all the members of the Guild and their wives and guests looked at me in stony silence saying 'What the hell is he saying?', you know.

John Legard: But they had kept ??????? That's nice yes.
Teddy Darvas: And I was the second to win an award. Bert Bates was the first one, I think, for "Battle of Britain". And the following year Bert Bates won the award again and he came up to me and he said Well, it's all right Teddy, we'll just take alternate years and we'll just get the awards that way'.
John Legard: What about Lionel Jeffries, because you said that was his first feature he had directed, the first film he directed, and you said that he only made three altogether? Did you work with him again?
Teddy Darvas: I cut all three.
John Legard: Oh you did?
Teddy Darvas: He did a couple of little things much later but which were not really even shown. But the next film he made was a film called "Baxter". After this I did various fill in jobs and things like that and Milton Subotsky asked me to cut a horror film called "Tales From the Crypt" which Freddie Francis directed. And I went off to do that. And meanwhile John Hargreaves had told me that Lionel was going to do this film called "Baxter". In fact, Milton Subotsky very kindly let me go three weeks early in order that I could do "Baxter" as well. "Tales From the Crypt" - another horror film addict but Milton said that it was going to become one of the classic horror movies. And so it has proved. It is a very - it is five stories of which one of the stories, I think, is brilliant, and Freddie Frances, being a camera man, when the films that were completely pictorial, the stories that were more pictorial, they were absolutely ? , one of the stories with Nigel Patrick is fantastic where a nasty man takes over a blind people's home and the blind take a terrible revenge on him. It was a very - I mean it was very pleasant to work on in a way except that I don't like horror films. Milton Subotsky was a most honest, most wonderful person, very loyal to his crews. But he couldn't make films that were real. He didn't mind disjointed hand dripping blood throttling somebody. That he giggled away at quite happily. But let's say a film like "The Deer Hunter" or things like that which showed reality, he hated.
John Legard: Escapism he preferred. Or fantasy perhaps.
Teddy Darvas: That's right.
John Legard: He had a very good reputation with turning out many films sort of low budget...Teddy Darvas: And always very well organised, it was very happy units, exceedingly well art directed always. And he was professionally terribly good and he realised that you could rent the silent stage at Shepperton for half the price of a sound stage. And sound recording was improving, and by the time you built sets on it you could record sound there. So like on "Tales From the Crypt" you had two or three contra(?) sites built on that huge stage and he saved themselves a lot of money. He also realised, on casting, that especially when you had short stores, you could use the

p. 107

top actors because you only needed them, like he needed Ralph Richardson for two days, that cost him three thousand pounds. But what a name to have above the?,. When you see the cast list of "Tales From the Crypt" it's an all star, it looks as though it was a very expensive movie. But, I mean, you know, a Joan Collins episode took four days to shoot so Joan Collins on four days is not all that expensive.

John Legard: It must have made a lot of money over the years that film.
Teddy Darvas: It did yes.
John Legard: Because it probably didn't get a bit launching ...
Teddy Darvas: Not, but it has never been shown again. It’s one of the films that I haven't got on tape.

John Legard: We have seen it on television, haven't we, because I seem to remember. ...
Teddy Darvas: There was a film on Cable called "Tales From the Crypt" a few months ago but it's another film, it used that title, which I think is strange that you are allowed to do it.
John Legard: Well, maybe it's an American one.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, it was an American one. And so I am trying to speed up a little bit.
John Legard: No, that sounds very interesting that. I mean, there are nice little stories here - complete entities. We can use one of these for next time we have our session playing excerpts, you know. Perhaps this time next year.
Teddy Darvas: And so we now go to - I went back to EMI on "Baxter". "Baxter" is the story of an American boy with his divorced mother who comes to live in England. He has got a speech defect, can't pronounce his R's and she was a very lonely, dreadful mother. And he has a complete catatonic breakdown. And it had Patricia Neale, Britt Ekland, Jean Pierre Castell, brilliant young boy. And I think of the three films that Lionel has directed, "Baxter" is the minor masterpiece. It has an emotion which is quite out of this world. And when we finished the film, it turned out that Bernard Delfont couldn't bear films with children's illnesses in them. And so the film was shelved and didn't come out until after Lionel's

Tape 7 - Side B (Side 14)
Teddy Darvas: Yes. So after "Tales From the Crypt" I went back to do this "Baxter" and it is medically a correct version of a child's catatonic breakdown but the emotion that Lionel got after it was fantastic. The camera man was Geoff Handsworth with whom I had worked on "Assassination Bureau" and for my money Geoff is, or was, the greatest camera man of all. I think he was fantastic. And his wife, Maggie, was the continuity girl. It was a very, very happy film- "Baxter". What was wonderful with Geoff, when they shot round Knightsbridge when the boy's wandering around at night, completely lost, and was done with long focused lenses and every time, once the boy had cleared the screen and Lionel had said 'Cut', there was the most amazing out of focus light from the cars and traffic lights and that sort of thing. And I said to Geoff 'Gosh, that is really sort of nightmarish, I wish I had more of it'. He said 'Don't worry, you'll get them' and he just kept the camera rolling that much longer so that one could do these very, very, strange shapes. And, in a way, I think from Lionel's career point of view, it's a great shame that "Baxter" was sneaked out eventually after "Amazing Mr Blunden" because he was labelled as a director of children's films and if "Baxter" had come out in between and if it had been pushed, people would have seen that he could do the great romantic or the great emotional grown up film as well. He had a tremendous empathy with actors and, of course, being an actor he knew in the casting, he knew people, some of whom have now become much more famous since then. But in "Baxter" there's the part of a top model who befriends this boy and she and her French boyfriend. And it was most sympathetic,

p. 108

lovely part and Lionel said 'I am going to cast Britt Ekland' and I said 'But Lionel', because by this time Lionel and I were very great friends, I said 'But Lionel, Britt Ekland, she is beautiful and everything but she can never get this emotion out'. And Lionel said 'I know Britt, I can get something out of her, it's in her'. And Jean Pierre Cast ell who played the boyfriend who was absolutely brilliant and Britt Ekland gave a really marvellous, really great performance. And that part worked exceedingly well. And if people like Paul Eddington as a homosexual, quite sadistic school master in the American school in St Johns Wood, who was unknown at that time and, of course, he was very, very good in it. And eventually "Baxter" was sneaked out, put on the ABC circuit after "Amazing Mr Blunden" without any publicity and, of course, it flopped and had to be taken off. It was, of course, a film that should have been put on today, it would have been put on the sort of specialist market in smaller cinemas and shown in discreetly and more discerningly. So after "Baxter" I think it must now be 72 or 73, after a short gap, I went straight on to "Amazing Mr Blunden" which was Lionel's third film. That was done at Pinewood and it was a small budget film. Again the casting was excellent. But Kip Heron was general manager of the studio and, in order to get the business in, this is where he was such a fantastic person, he gave a budget price to get the film, on which he wasn't going to make all that much money but, of course, you do make money on the side because of stores and because of the construction and by keeping your overheads down. And he even allowed, the back of the house was double clad, the back of the old house at Pinewood and was set on fire one night and he built a road to lead up to the back of the house, of the old house, which is still there, so that a carriage could be driven up there. And it's a very, very nice ghost story which was a very big success. Again in casting, Lionel, there was part of an old Haridan in the 18th century, flea bitten, toothless, dirty and he got Diana Dors, who was his very, very old friend, and he had talked Diana Dors into playing that part and she was very amusing in it. I don't think there is an awful lot more to say about it really. As I say, the terrible shame is, of course, Bryan Forbes by that time had finished with EM I. He was on his way out. And I went back to EMI to tidy up things that were left over and John Hargreaves paid me, including, there was twenty thousand feet that was shot for a film that was never made that Leslie Norman had shot. He wanted to make a film about a story about people in The Azores who go out fishing, hunting whales, but still rowing a boat and hand harpooning. This film never got off the ground but there was twenty thousand feet of film and John Hargreaves said 'Could you see if you could make a two or three reel film out of it?' which I managed to do. And it went out, it was very successful, it went out with "The Go Between" which I think was the last film made under Bryan Forbes' control. I mean, the sad thing about Bryan Forbes' regime is just when he was running into form, like having done "Railway Children", "The Go Between" and, of course, what was the ballet film, just when the films were beginning to be successful the rug had been pulled from under his feet. We did this film. My assistant was David Gowing who eventually became a documentary director and he hanged himself and committed suicide.

John Legard: John Clam per worked with him, he used to talk about him.
Teddy Darvas: Well, David, he wrote a rough commentary and it was so good that I talked John Hargreaves into letting him write the commentary eventually. And the music that I fitted for it was Sibelius' second symphony and, although we were working for EM I, we couldn't get permission to use a commercial recording and, today of course, all libraries have symphonic music. But the fact that you were working for EMI, that one department of EMI wouldn't let you use a very old recording of Sibelius' second. So what to do about the terrible, I didn't want to use the ordinary library music, and a friend of mine who lived opposite us, Alexander Ferris, the composer who later on wrote "Upstairs Downstairs" and I said to Sandy one day 'Can you write Azorean folk

p. 109

music?' and he said 'What is that?' and I said 'Well, there isn't any but will you write some and you can make about one hundred and fifty quid out of it, you won't make much out of it and it was only about eight instrumentalists etc, come and see the film'. And, of course, he liked the film. And so he wrote the most wonderful music for it with guitars and about an eight piece orchestra. When we were recording the music John Hargreaves came, obviously for the music recording, and the music was so tremendous and Sandy was running into overtime - he is known as Sandy for Alexander. And John was so pleased that he said 'Go on the stage and just whisper to him not to worry about the overtime, we will cover it'. And so we finished that, the music was really terrific. And the payoff of that is that, as the film was released as a three reeler with "The Go Between", it made a tremendous amount of money and in December ...

John Legard: Can you give me the title of this film again?
Teddy Darvas: "Beleia! Beleia" it's a three reeler. Sorry I didn't mention that. And "Beleia! Beleia" went round the world with "The Go Between" and in December a van from Berry Brothers and Rug drew up outside our house with a fantastic bottle of vintage port and, with a note from Sandy Ferris saying I have just had my PR returns and they are all down to you and they are frightfully good so I thought we ought to celebrate together.
John Legard: How lovely.
Teddy Darvas: And, in fact, he made quite a lot of money out of that.
John Legard: Can I ask you how do you spell that film?
Teddy Darvas: B a I e i a! B a I e i a! "Baleia" is "whale" in Portuguese, I think.
John Legard: So in other words, it was a film made for, it was a sponsored film, was it?
Teddy Darvas: No it wasn't. It was just using up material which Leslie Norman ...
John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: And the sad thing is that there are a lot of objections because when these fishermen go out and hunt the whale, they row and save in those little boats. And when they mortally wound the whale, the whale is spurting blood and on the sea and they just wait for the whale to die in calm seas and it is very, very moving. A lot of the audience objected. They thought it was cruel. Completely misunderstanding the point of the film to say that it is cruel and it is awful but at least the fisherman and the whale have a tremendous sympathy because they risk their lives as well and they get killed. It is a man to man type of effect. And, in effect, they should have, by cutting out the gorier bit, and it was done by somebody without any feeling for it whatsoever, it needed perhaps two shots cut out, it really, when I saw it I was very upset because it killed something that was very, very moving and it was wrong to - and that was, of course, in those days circuits and distributors, anybody who objected, they didn't think 'Oh not but that's integrity, you mustn't touch it, oh yes we must cut it'. So after. ..
John Legard: How long were you on that for? Was it just a few weeks presumably?
Teddy Darvas: No, it was quite a long time. I'm sorry, I've got it wrong. That's right I did this. And after that, as I say, I am not very clear on what happened chronologically, but at that time I did quite a number of documentaries for Pacesetter. Also I did my first film ...
John Legard: Sorry, that's Pacesetter, is that Bob Angel ....
Teddy Darvas: Bob Angel, Ronnie Spencer. 1t was presumably Ronnie Spencer's firm. Bob Angel came in and was his number two. I cut a number of documentaries for him, or for them, includingTeddy Darvas: film for Ford, for which I got Dennis Norden in and he starred it, which was very amusing. But I think that is en passant. At that time David Eadie asked me, round about this time, to cut a film for him for the Children's Film Foundation and the Children's Film Foundation, which

p. 110

now doesn't really exist any more, they had a special arrangement with all the unions to pay permanent minimum rates and they made films for the Saturday morning matinees.
John Legard: Under the jurisdiction of one Henry Geddes.
Teddy Darvas: Henry Geddes, from whom I had a letter funnily enough over Christmas. Henry, who was a funny old stick, but totally dedicated to children's films and children's entertainment, and there were a lot of people who considered him an old fogie. He had a lot of common sense i.e. his attitude was that Saturday morning matinees were occupied entirely by children, grown ups were not allowed in. So children couldn't ask their parents to say 'What did he say, what did he mean, or what is happening'. And, therefore, he insisted that there were inserts on everything, that the sound had to be paramount and, to my mind, a lot of things that he did were completely right and there were a number of directors who took his money and then sneered, including later David Gowing as well which was a great disappointment because if they listened to him you could get away with it. And I also cut a Children's Film Foundation film that Ronnie Spencer directed called "The Copter Kids". I did another as well - two for David Eadie. The first one I cut was a film called "The Hostages" and which is actually, at that time it was a great advance for the Children's Film Foundation because it showed criminals as being really nasty and it was, we were almost in a bit of trouble about that. Again it had an exceedingly good cast and actors used to love doing it. I mean, Robin Asquith like started with Children's Film Foundation as a kid and they were always willing to do films for them. They are most rewarding to do and with Henry, if you gave into him on his little quirks, you could get away - he would listen to you on a major thing. And there was, in a panning shot, or in any shot, he hated flares in the camera, he was very old fashioned. So the modern beautiful shots of flares. And when I got to know him better as I had worked quite a bit, it was very funny because when we used to run rushes with him there would be two takes of a car going past and the second take the sun had come out and there was a lovely flare, and I would say 'Well I would like to use that shot but I know Henry you want the first one'. He said 'That's right'. I said 'You would say you are wrong but I'll use it'. Or David Eadie would ring in and say 'Tell him, slate No. 144 is specially for him' and there would be the insert showing whatever it was. And so if you took the mickey out of him gently he understood it as a quirk. He's very elderly now but he fought for the Children's Film Foundation. There are some films that I was not involved with which I think were minor masterpieces and there were some films that were made that were absolutely out of this world. And they are, of course, being shown on television now. And I was involved in trying to save the Children's Film Foundation. Alan Saffer, David Putnam, various people to try and keep the Children's Film Foundation going.

John Legard: Well, that became a problem didn't it because the audiences diminished anyway because of television.
Teddy Darvas: Well, the trouble was that there was a trust thing and the way that the exhibitors and everybody had agreed it couldn't go on television and we said 'But it's a fund of children's television for years to come and if one was allowed to sell it the money coming in from that would finance the Children's Film Foundation and why not make it for television?'. They are still making some films, there is a sort of a Children's Film Foundation but it's much bigger budget and the thing was again with Henry Geddes that you had to keep, you had twelve or thirteen weeks overall if you were in the cutting rooms, and you had to come in during that time, otherwise the people who got the money had to pay the extras, or if you didn't do what Henry wanted to do, then he would take over and he would make somebody else do it and you had to pay for it. You were not allowed like dubbing editors and things like that. And when it sort of more or less finished and I know ...

John Legard: When did it wind up, in fact?
p. 111

Teddy Darvas: 1970s. But, I mean, the first film under the new management, not John Trumper but another ex Ealing editor, he'll be in his seventies now. But already there they went weeks over on the post production, they had sound editor in and everything. So the whole ethos of very compact things was allowed to slip.

John Legard: To diminish yes. And, of course, one of the other things too was that those films were made for very much audience participation. It was the big cinema, Saturday morning, big crowds of kids. Those films wouldn't look so good on television.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. That's right. But they do. I mean, I saw "Copter Kids" on television and, you know, Ronnie Spencer had three helicopters and it was about rustling cattle and that sort of thing. And I mean, it was quite amazing, what you could do on that budget if you planned efficiently and if you knew what you were doing. One Children's Film Foundation film, I was heavily out of work and it was the beginning of January and the phone rang and Henry said 'Are you doing anything? I said 'No'. He said 'Well, you've got, there is a disaster movie and I am going to read the riot act and I want you to take over, I wanted to know whether you are free, don't leave home, you are going to get a telephone call'. It was a film that was shot in Lesotho in 16 mm and somebody King, the producer was the man who owned Cine Europe, somebody King, and his son was a brilliant young director and has done very well since. He went off to direct this film. His brother was a doctor in Lesotho. Lesotho is completely primitive and you cannot shoot there really and it was made on 16 mm to be blown up to 35. This young man went off with a documentary crew who had never done features or 35 really i.e. they didn't know about shooting ratio and they shot academy. And they didn't send film back. No sound came back on rushes so it was an absolute disaster. The editor had not been allowed to do anything because he had no sound, nothing was synched or anything. And Henry Geddes had seen all the rushes, mute, and he realised that probably there wasn't a film there. So my brief was to take this over, synch the rushes and get an assembly and see if there was a film there. I had Mike Sloan, John Sloan's son as my assistant, so I had a very experienced assistant. And we synched the thing up and it turned out that the director was off on a location. He came to run rushes to select things and there were no continuity sheets, nothing, and one didn't know where shots should go. So I said, when this chap was free, he was doing a film for the BBC, I said 'Well, let's go through the rushes and you tell me' and I just wrote the slate numbers against the script itself. And sometimes he didn't know. And it was like eight o clock in the evening and I said 'Well, let's go home, we'll continue tomorrow' and he said 'Oh no, no, no, tomorrow I am going to India or somewhere on location, I wont' be back for three weeks'. I said 'But you never told me this, you can't leave here until we go through the film'. We ran rushes until midnight to try and find out where things should go. And so Mike and I assembled this and then in script order and ran it. We broke out stuff for each sequence - no we left it in the right order but I made out a list for a scene number and we broke out what we needed and then I assembled that and we broke up the next scene. And we were wondering, at the end, would we be left with anything or not, because we didn't know what was happening at all. And it was to our surprise actually, we had used everything, when we assembled it. But this director, not having done features before and because he had peasants and amateur actors he shot dialogue scenes in medium or medium long shot over people's backs so that you should have no lip movements. And, of course, drama there wasn't. At the end, have a look at it, is there a film there? And there isn't a film. So what do you do? Henry Geddes said 'Well, do I write off' because they have spent most of the money, 'Do I write off the forty thousand pounds or whatever it was or can we make a film of this somehow?' And I said 'Well', I was so angry I said 'Well, my own opinion is you are going to lose forty thousand you might have to risk an extra amount but I would like to show these people because they have taken you for a

p. 112

ride, they did not listen to your instructions, they completely ignored things and it would be marvellous to make a film of this somehow and show them that, yes, a film can be made'. So we got David Eadie in. We wrote a new story and put spacing in where the linking scenes were going. And, in fact, half the film had to be shot again, it just wasn't there, close-ups and everything. And so Peter Manley was free, David and Peter went out there. They found for
Teddy Darvas: start that you didn't have like to drive eight or twelve hours and live in the rough to get these things, because these people didn't know because it was meant to be set in the wilds. And, in fact, an hour and a half outside Mazuro which is the capital, there was the same sort of terrain and you could shoot there. So they transferred the location quickly.
John Legard: So what about the artists? Were they able to .....
Teddy Darvas: Well, they were all amateurs. The problem was most of them were badly treated by this lot and they were - like the doctor was promised money for his hospital and that was not set. They cheated the native character who was one of the leads, they didn't pay him. And obviously David and Peter, I mean, David just said 'Out of my money I guarantee it' to the doctor etc. So with great difficulty they were talked into carrying on.
John Legard: That's good.
Teddy Darvas: And again, to be technical and this is again where proper film direction comes in, that clippings, of course, had to be sent.. ..
John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: Or they went out with clippings of how things finished and notes were taken that so and so exited camera right and there was the set up and come in. David went off and I should think they shot a further three weeks and came back. Dudley Sutton, the sound, everything was suddenly quite different because it was a professional operation and the camera work was much better. One of the problems was because the camera man who was documentary and it wasn't his fault and television, nobody had said to him and they didn't know how to shoot wide screen ratio. So some of the shots, you couldn't use because the heads were cut off.
John Legard: You said earlier they shot it all academy masking.
Teddy Darvas: That's right. And the film is not as good as the story should have been ....
John Legard: But nevertheless ...
Teddy Darvas: Never mind, it was made.
John Legard: What was it called?
Teddy Darvas: I have forgotten what it was called, completely. David Eadie could tell you.
John Legard: Well, next time we see David Eadie I'll ask him. Shot in Lesotho - what part of Africa is this?
Teddy Darvas: Lesotho is within South Africa but it is an independent kingdom with a king. Mazuro is the capital. And we cut it together and the interesting thing was that, when it was blown up to 35, mm how good the quality was and the interesting thing, technically, is, I think, that if everything is on 16mm and everything is blown up you get used to the worst definition and that sort of thing. It’s when you intercut 35mm and 16 then you'll immediately see.
John Legard: In fact, Technicolor have been doing a blow up - presumably it was blown up by Technicolor was it?
Teddy Darvas: Yes.
John Legard: They were doing blow up as far back as 1949-50. We used to do stuff at Crown which was shot on 16mm and the whole of the Everest film and ? ? was shot on 16 obviously. We used to have terrible variation in quality.
Teddy Darvas: Yes definition was terrible.

p. 113

John Legard: Later on it became much better.
Teddy Darvas: This was really remarkably good for quality. It was very, very surprising when you saw it on a big screen.
John Legard: You use different system -wet printing and all that.
Teddy Darvas: That's right. I mean, obviously we had to postsynch everything and it was an interesting exercise and at the time, which was another world of big slumps in the industry ....John Legard: It helped you along.
Teddy Darvas: Although it was minimum permanent rate ....
John Legard: Yes, but I mean ...
Teddy Darvas: Mike Sloan and I were on the film something like six or seven months.
John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: So it was the equivalent of a big major film that we were on because ..
John Legard: The editing budget must have been a very considerable proportion of the total.Teddy Darvas: Well, on minimum rate, it didn't.
John Legard: Yes, but everybody was working on minimum rate anyway.
Teddy Darvas: In proportion it was a lot but actually from a financial point of view, it was worth spending the extra money because at least it recouped itself. Because on Children's Film Foundation the entire cost of the film would have been a total write off and at the end of it when nothing to show for it...
John Legard: I would love to have see it having heard this .....
Teddy Darvas: Yes. I would quite like to ....
John Legard: And David Eadie he must have .....
Teddy Darvas: David Eadie is a very under-rated director in that sense. He has never had the big breaks and that sort of thing. But he, again, you see, is an exceedingly good technician.
John Legard: Highly professional man.
Teddy Darvas: It’s much easier when you are an ex-film editor. And this is why when it was who should do the extra directing, that Henry Geddes and I immediately thought of David Eadie because you needed an ex editor who understands and who can remember how these things would go. So after this, roughly, I am not exactly sure again of the order of things. I think after this I was asked to be the silent stand by editor on a film that Billy Graham's film company was doing. I think it was not "No Hiding Place" but something like that. I had about three or four weeks on it and I wasn't allowed to touch a piece of film. A young American film editor who worked only for the Billy Graham Organization. And it was a very interesting experience although they did not have prayers in the morning before you started shooting, which I believe on another film they did. But the story of the film was based on the autobiography of a English actress who had various nervous breakdowns and she was about to commit suicide. She had starred in William DouglasHome comedy in the West End and that. She was literally about to put her head in the gas oven when friends rang her and said 'We are going to see this funny gospeller at Harringay Arena, why don't you come along?' So she thought 'What have I got to lose?' and she went. And, of course, when they were called forward, she was in this emotional state and she went there. The fascinating thing about it is, which is why I have a certain amount of respect for Billy Graham, that she was standing in line and all the young people were processing these people and she suddenly thought to herself 'What the hell am I doing here, I want to commit suicide' and she left the line and went towards the exit. And suddenly a woman came and stopped her and said 'Come with me, I think you ought to talk to somebody' and it was Billy Graham's wife, and took her straight into Billy Graham. And Billy Graham's wife was watching what was happening and she realised that there is the person

p. 114

who is really in need of help and so they chatted and everything. Billy Graham was going to do a film and they were talking. He had a film producer who was continually employed there but permanent operation going and when they thought of who should play the lead, they said 'Well, what about that funny little English actress, let's get her in'. And to cut a long story short, she married the producer and is blissfully happy and wrote her book.

John Legard: What's her - can you mention her name?
Teddy Darvas: I have forgotten her name unfortunately. I have got the book at home. I can find it. It’s purely a personal thing because the Buxton Club, this theatrical club where we all met, it seems she was at the Buxton Club with Diane Hart two or three times a week. And when she saw me she remembered me, absolutely completely, remembered everybody - Dickie Wattis - and total recall. And I had - she must have been so shy and such a repressed person - I never, never, could remember having seen her. Anyway from there I went off during that time I went off to India on this film called "Shalimar" . To finish off the story of the Billy Graham thing. When I came back from India about five or six months later, I received a gold embossed invitation to the European Premiere of the Billy Graham film at the Wembley Conference Centre and it said 'Black tie and everything'. I thought 'How absolutely terrific'. Because I had said to the editor 'Although it's in my contract that we have co-editors, I haven't done anything, forget about my credit, I'll give it to you in writing or my agent will write to you.' He was very christian and he said 'No, no, no. You deserve it you have got to have it'. So I have full credit on a film on which I have not cut two shots together. I rewound some rushes actually to help the assistant.
John Legard: How long were you there- were you a consultant in a way?
Teddy Darvas: No, no, no. You had to have, by union rules, ............ you were a shadow editor.John Legard: Right, yes, I see.
Teddy Darvas: And this chap wouldn't allow me to synch rushes. I sort of rewound rushes for the second assistant editor just to help him.
John Legard: Your presence really wasn't it. You were just there.
Teddy Darvas: Had to be there, yes.
John Legard: I think it probably makes up for the time in your earlier career when you didn't get a mention when you should have done.
Teddy Darvas: That's right. But anyway. I had this gold embossed invitation, black tie and everything and I thought 'Well, that is really charming' and it said 'Please turn over' and I turned over and it was thirty five guineas a ticket. I was not being invited because I had worked on the film as the editor, they expected me to pay. So we did not go to the premiere. During this time Peter knew that I would be going to India. I was a great friend with an Indian called Ranveer Singh who was a third assistant director at Pinewood, known as Ronnie Singh, a socialite, and he suddenly turned up and rang me that he was producing a film in India and, to cut a long story short, he offered me the film which I accepted. And it was a story written and directed by a man called Krishna Shar. The film is called "Shalimar". Krishna Shar was an Indian who went to America and became a script writer and directed episodes for "Man from Uncle" and that sort of thing. And he has a thesis at university, had written a thesis on "The Caper Movie" the league of gentlemen type of story. And he had written this to be shot in America and the West Indies. And he raised the money from India and went back to India to do this. But he never rewrote the script, so the script was a terrible mess. I got out there after they had done two weeks shooting and there was a Hindi version as well as an English version. And the Indian editors just couldn't cope with this sort of operation and they just couldn't. It was a complete mess. The clapper board system between Indian and English version was different, the laboratories couldn't differentiate and, of course, shared

p. 115

material had to be printed double. And we could actually never, I never got things straight. The Indian editor who is now in England called Ameed Bush became a very great friend. It wasn't his fault but it was just beyond his capabilities because, in India stock is so short that even the big films there is very little coverage. Krishna Shar, as he was in control and Ronnie was really under him, in a way, had no control and was too kind and gentle. Krishna Shar completely lost all his self control and he just shot off, wouldn't listen to anybody, continuity girl or anybody. He also employed people he knew in New York and in Hollywood without a knowledge of what was required to do i.e. the assistant director was a man who had been a production manager on commercials in New York. He had never been on a location. And I mean, he had to cope with a unit of three hundred, four hundred people, various nationalities. He was pot smoking. His wife, very pretty, became wardrobe mistress, she had never done wardrobe. She kept remarkably well. The camera man was an American who was not a hasbeen but a never-has-been and he was very rude to the Indians and screamed and shouted and really ran them down. He was very unpopular. We had a chief make up who was also chief of special effects whose name I have forgotten. But I am pretty sure he was an illegitimate son of Earl Flynn. He looked like him, he was drunk all the time like him and on pot and everything. And you can't be chief make up and do special effects because when you are wanted for one you are not available for the other.

Tape 8 - Side A (Side 15)
Teddy Darvas: On "Shalimar" in India, it was going to be a production with a Hindi and an English version. The Hindi version was obviously going to be an hour or so longer because all of Indian films have to have dances, songs etc. Krishna Shar, the director, never rewrote his script to suit India, having been written for an American location and the West Indies and the hero, who was supposed to be a New York little crook, turns out to be, in fact, the police inspector. And so we had one of the top Indian stars trying to talk bad New York slang. The heroine was an Indian girl who was a top Indian star and she had to say words like "Shit" etc which an Indian girl would not say. Rex Harrison starred in the film. I presume he only took the job because, as he was getting older, he felt this was playing a crook and a character part was the right thing for him to do. The idea was exceedingly good but Krishna Shar, as I have said before, just wouldn't listen. To the extent that when I arrived, they had been shooting two weeks, and on the Sunday I went to see him to meet him for the first time and I said 'Could we go through the script and you can tell me what you want and if you want any input from me, but at least I know which way you wish to go' and we never actually had a meeting like that. As I said before, the crew was very, very peculiar. The Indian technicians who were run down by the Americans tremendously, a lot of the Indian technicians were far better than the American technicians who had been brought in.
John Legard: Really.
Teddy Darvas: The camera operator who was a top Indian camera man and our American camera man swore and shouted at him all the time. The chief electrician, a man called Datar, would have made a fortune in the west or in America because he was one of the great gaffers of all time. The second unit camera man, because I had to take over doing a certain amount of the second unit photography, he was absolutely marvellous. But the tragedy was with a good - and we had the Maharajah's palace in Bangalore which is an empty shell. The Indian art director had built towers and things and had done the garden up to the extent that it was the Indian editor- Amit Bose who is now an editor in England. When Amit took me round I didn't realise that the towers were built by the art director. I thought they had been there.

p. 116

John Legard: This is interesting isn't it. I mean, this proves the point about the great tradition of the Indian film industry ....
Teddy Darvas: They are fantastic and, of course, people from the west arrive, especially Americans, and

John Legard: They think they know all the answers.
Teddy Darvas: But also somebody like Krishna Shar who went on publicity, like he was going to show the Indians how to make films. And he is an Indian but he created a lot of antagonism. But the problem was that, one of the interesting things about Indian film making, which might be worthwhile to talk about. India makes over five hundred films a year, some very small films, some really major films. But every actor, every technician is working at least three or four films at a time, and so if you have a top star, the top star's manager will ring a producer and say 'Indian Joe Bloggs has next Friday and Saturday free' so the producer will set up two day's shooting and the actor may not even know what film he is on which is why their performances are all very, very similar. Now because of "Shalimar" was going to be the first American/Indian co-production and the big Indian stars are so rich, they are such powers, they are like maharajahs. The only thing they want is recognition in the west. So a lot of them agreed to give up all other films and they were full time on this shooting. And we had some American actors - Vera Miles, people, good actors. And we were shooting and even if you are importing stock, you could only through Customs, get so many thousand feet at a time. So we overshot to such an extent that we were literally like one day that we were shooting on short ends because nothing else had arrived and nobody watched the performance, they whole body was watching the footage counter on the camera, in case we ran out. But I studied the script and it sounds like self praise but I had realised that the story proper only happened on something like page 50. Now, most editors know continuity girls can time and our continuity girl who had timed and said more or less the same thing. But from an editor's point of view, if you read the script and if you want to time it, on average if you say one page of script is forty to forty five seconds, that is probably quite near the truth. And I went to Krishna Shar and said 'Do you realise the first major scene doesn't happen till thirty five, forty minutes into the story' and his favourite expression that he developed during the next ten months, was either 'What sort of a shit do you think you are?' or 'What sort of shit are you giving me?'. And I said 'This is not a criticism of the script. This scene happens on page 50 so at forty seconds a page it is a physical fact.' As we were over budget the first half an hour of the film or twenty minutes of the film was taking place in Bombay which was anyway unnecessary. And we could have got back on budget by him listening and he would not listen. Would not listen to anybody. And, of course, in my first cut, that scene arrived fifty five minutes into the film. The shooting was absolute chaos. No organisation because the assistant director had never done anything before. The special effects man, who was also chief make-up, as I said before, probably an illegitimate son of Errol Flynn, his idea of an explosion was filling a plastic bag with petrol, putting an electric charge on it, putting it in a hole and then blowing it up. He nearly blew up all the principals at one place. When I took over second unit we had to do the explosions. There was no need to do the explosions because, by cutting in four frames of black into the negative, I could have achieved exactly the same thing, because if you looked at the rushes, these explosions were so fierce that from one clear frame you went to a complete white burnout and then back again. So the film staggered on. For me it was a pretty unhappy experience. And we went to Bombay and carried on shooting. We were running out of money. And the film was quite obviously disaster. We came back to England, had the Hindi version, the English version. Krishna Shar reverted to go back into the womb, became more and more Indian and like we have to use the Indian from the Indian version, to which I said 'Fair

p. 117

enough, do you want to do an English version of an Indian film because that works exceedingly well?' He couldn't make up his mind. And in England, with a large crew, we eventually finished the film, the two versions. The footwork going into all the details. The film has never .....
John Legard: So it was a dubbing process was it, I mean, ....
Teddy Darvas: Well, we had the English version which was English speaking but we also had the Hindi speaking. We had some of the top Indian stars. And I think the film has never been seen. Some of us, I mean, while I was in India, I had a third of my salary on, I was going to be paid on first monies coming in. Well, I have never been paid, obviously, although it has been shown on American television. The Hindi version as well was a flop which I think in India was greeted with great joy because he told them that he was going to show them how to make a film, an Indian film. It is a sad thing, because I think the finance, for many years, of making co-productions, has because of that stopped because Americans and British said 'You cannot make films in India'. Yes, you can, if it's well organised and if you have sympathy with the local people, if you don't run them down. Anyway at the end of that film, I can't remember what I did next. But afterwards f g s
John Legard: Sorry, you were just saying, you said that it was never shown anywhere except in America on television, is that right?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. The Hindi version.
John Legard: The Hindi version yes. And it flopped there.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, as well. In fact, a school friend, an Indian school friend, of my younger daughter's had actually seen "Shalimar" in a cinema in Southall. But it was a waste ...... Q: Of course, yes, it would be there.
Teddy Darvas: It was a tremendous waste of originally a good story. Funnily enough, Krishna Shar had always said to me that Roy Boulting was a friend of his and as I had my break from the Boultings and I couldn't get my own way and the film was obviously disaster, I asked Krishna 'Why don't we show it to Roy Boulting who is a great film editor etc etc?' And we showed the film to Roy Boulting and Roy took us out to a very expensive dinner. And Roy winked at me and said to Krishna Shar 'Krishna, now you have got to forget that you wrote and directed and you have got to be very self critical and be an editor and you have got to be ruthless at cutting'. And he took the trouble three days later of sending Krishna Shar something like twenty pages of comments.
John Legard: Ah, right.
Teddy Darvas: The first of it was like drop reel one, which was Bombay.
John Legard: Goes back to what you were talking about earlier.
Teddy Darvas: Which was the thing. And, of course, Krishna Shar wouldn't even take his friend Boulting's advice. And it was a great shame because a lot of money was spent with fantastic facilities. The Indian art director who was not allowed, in advance, to know what was happening, in spite of that, produced some wonderful things, and he was a person that you could have any western production, normal production, he would have done a fantastic job. Apart from having maharajah's palaces and all that sort of thing. And also, I mean, like for complete amateurishness, Krishna Shar took an assistant director because he looked right and gave him a speaking part and he had to be a good horseman and he had never been on a horse before. On the second unit thing when there were explosions he had to jump and the explosion with this man on special effects went off too early and went off under the horse and the horse fell, the horse had to be put down and this poor man he got very badly burned, not his testicles luckily, but other things and, of course, they hadn't bothered to insure him because they took no notice of people. I mean, I would love to go back and I nearly went back to India on a film. I would love to go back on a proper film in India because they are beautiful. The technicians are good.

p. 118

John Legard: Are they?
Teddy Darvas: You have got to realise it's much slower. Because labour is so cheap, instead of getting
Teddy Darvas: crane to put something up, you get twenty coolies to haul something up by a rope and that breaks and it falls down and it breaks. In the heat people work more slowly. I mean, the second unit camera man said to me 'I like working with you because you come on the floor, you have a list of what you want to shoot, and we go and do it'. Now that camera man would work well with any western director but he needs being told, like a camera man wishes to know.
John Legard: It doesn't say very much for the director though does it? We have already established that the director really is a good example of so many people in the film industry and the film industry throws up people who, you know, have very high opinions of themselves but aren't really very good.
Teddy Darvas: Well, it's question of ...
John Legard: Every now and then.
Teddy Darvas: One of the things about the caper movie, think of "League of Gentlemen" which is the prime example of a caper movie. The setting up is you have all the principals on a big conference and the task is set, we are going rob the Bank of England, we are going to - in "Shalimar" it is robbing this ruby. The art director, and in the gardens of the palace in Bangalore, there was this fantastic garden with grapes and everything growing. And the art director had built, and their were cages, golden cages with white pigeons - doves, everything in it, all absolutely the most beautiful set. And I went on the floor and this was the one day when all the principals were there, lined up. And Krishna Shar said to me in the morning 'I have decided I will start the scene' which ran twelve or fourteen minutes, 'I will start the scene' we then moved them into position' they'll all be in position and I'll shoot it in individual shots'. And I said 'But Krishna, how can you do that, I mean (a) you need some movement for a twelve minute scene, you know, and to show the set'. And he shot off two top shots, which had no synch sound with it, which one couldn't use. And they had twelve fourteen minutes of individual shots going round the people, already sitting in .. . And there was this art director's work which was fantastic and if you think of production value. And we had this huge maharajah's palace. And when the people arrived, the coach bringing them in, they drove in on the left hand side of the cart of the palace, straight into the courtyard. There was no physical reason why they shouldn't have come from the right hand side and you could have driven right along and introduced the whole palace. So instead of seeing this fantastic palace, you didn't see the full palace for another twenty minutes. So you lost everything, all. And he used rooms in the palace like little sets, you could have shot it in any studio much more cheaply.
John Legard: Doesn't sound as though he had much experience in film making or even of film viewing.
Teddy Darvas: There was a courtyard which had like a seat in it made of ceramics. The most beautiful ceramics. The flowers and everything. Which he never used. When I came back from India and I showed my photographs to my crew they said, My God, we've seen more interesting stuff in your funny stills than we have seen in the entire film.' Now if you have got the maharajah's palace and you don't use it...
John Legard: What happened to him next, where did he go?
Teddy Darvas: He has actually made quite a big career in America. He has got a distribution company.
John Legard: Really. Yes.
Teddy Darvas: He was a very, very, very nice man.

p. 119

John Legard: He's obviously got an enormous amount of energy and ideas, but at that time, he wasn't able to make the best of them as it were.
Teddy Darvas: He's now a distributor. It’s a great shame, because, although we quarrelled, he was basically a very, very pleasant, decent person. Anyway, that's finished that.

John Legard: How is the Indian film industry financed? Is it all private money going in?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, all private money. And the other interesting thing is that the big stars, who make unbelievable money, and they are like gods, which is awful. I mean, you cannot go out into the street with a star because of a crowd of a thousand around. And like the star we had, a chap called Dharmendra, known as Darum, and he, it seems, had had a drink problem and in Bangalore we were in the same hotel and I asked him for a drink and the bar was L shaped and he took a drink and he went into the bottom of the L where nobody could see him, because the Indian press being what it's like, if anybody had seen Dharmendra having a drink there would have been headlines in the paper saying "Dharmendra is back on the booze". Also they are tremendously generous and if you say something - like I saw the gold bracelet that he and his cousin who was his manager were wearing, and thinking of presents for my children and that I asked how much that would cost. And gold was very expensive and he said like four thousand rupees and I said 'Oh well that's too much for me'. The cousin would say 'Well, Dharmendra will buy, how many do you want?' and you had to say 'No thank you very much.' They are unbelievably generous. And like we showed rushes in a cinema and the owner of the cinema invited us to lunch, there was a big lunch, from which we couldn't escape and it was non alcoholic and we had to drink ordinary water and we all that we were about to die - Delhi belly! And we all dashed back to the hotel about quarter to four and we all had Tom Collins' until about eight at night, which must have disinfected us because ...
John Legard: Yes, a very good antidote.
Teddy Darvas: But anyway Dharmendra was there as well. And we said to the barman, and there were ten of us, and we said 'Make a note of whose round it is and at the end we will pay you'. And about eight o clock at night Dharmendra and his cousin had gone and we all said 'Right, how much do we pay?' and the barman said 'Oh no, Dharmendra has paid for it all'. And he paid probably about two or three hundred pounds in English money and you try to explain to him because like when I bought him a drink at the bar and introduced him to some businessmen who were there with whom I had been talking, when I came to pay the bill he had paid the bill, not only for me, but for the two businessmen as well. And I explained to him, I said 'Sorry Darum, if I ask you for a drink I know you have more money than I have but English tradition is you must not pay for me, and you must not pay for those businessmen. We ask you to have a drink as a friend. But they are tremendously generous, very nice, exceedingly pleasant. From that point of view. I mean, it is an experience, its very difficult but it is an experience.
John Legard: How about their equipment?
Teddy Darvas: You had to bring stuff from England, we had Panavision cameras. And again, a wonderful thing - it was Samuelsons and the Panavision camera - the main camera - had gone on the blink and a telex was sent. Samulesons had a replacement camera out at London Airport in four hours, it was on the next plane. The fact that it took forty eight hours to clear it through Bombay Customs was another matter, but the efficiency was fantastic. But they were still, at that time, working on optical film, they were cutting on optical. Movieolas were hired by the hour or Steenbecks and Indian editors would run rushes and then mark up their cuts and do their editing on a synchroniser even without a magnetic or ....
John Legard: Oh yes.

p. 120

Teddy Darvas: They would cut completely blind from their marks. AND they still have the cement joins. Or if they had the Indian joiners they just sort of cut back with scissors and that sort of thing. They didn't have the proper thing. They worked under amazing limitations and yet produced masses of good films. One has also got to remember the tremendous poverty of India. But however poor you are you could get two rupees and go and see a movie. And films of thirty years ago were still shown in the mornings. And some of the cinemas were the old movie palaces like the Gaumont State, Kilburn.
John Legard: Really?
Teddy Darvas: And a place like Bangalore, which is like Aldershot, had 130 cinemas and some of them were marbled palaces and some were fleapits obviously. But that was the only way. And this is why a lot of Indian films are successful in England, or in the west, are not successful in India because they don't want to see realistic films, they don't want to see a starving person in the street, they don't want to see a thing like "Bicycle Thieves". They want to be taken out to a fairy story. They want to see poor boy marries princess or poor girl marries prince. They want songs, dance. They want something fantastic. Which is completely understandable, actually. But it is. An interesting thing is that the people who make all the money, the big stars, all become producers and directors or build dubbing theatres and cutting rooms and they put their money back into the industry and as one dubbing theatre and preview theatre we went to, you had to take your shoes off, as in a Hindu temple. But, I mean, that had fantastic equipment. And they are fully booked, I mean, you have to book weeks ahead to go in for a couple of hours. And they do make even more money and they probably live in a villa within the ground. They build dubbing theatres in the grounds of their villas.
John Legard: Really.
Teddy Darvas: It is quite, from that point of view, it is remarkable.
John Legard: Of course, the great thing about India is that these films are made for the cinemas because people go to the pictures there and as you say there were 130 cinemas in Bangalore 190 but, I mean, that's not probably all that less today because not many people, only a small proportion of the population, have television.
Teddy Darvas: The poverty is such that ordinary people will never be able to afford television sets. In the villages where perhaps their isn't even electricity and the mobile cinema comes in. But even if eventually you may have one communal television set in a village. So in the foreseeable future, and unless something fantastic happens to the economy of India or anywhere in the Far East or Africa, you are not going to have television which has the same power. The cinema is still the only way out.
John Legard: Absolutely. It is one of the few countries where the cinema has got mass audiences.Teddy Darvas: Well yes.
John Legard: .... was in the very late thirties wasn't it?
John Legard: Just after the war, during the war yes.
Teddy Darvas: I mean, people don't realise ....
John Legard: .. pictures were so cheap and so wonderful.
Teddy Darvas: People don't realise, you see like before the war, people's homes were, by and large, unheated, there was poverty and you lived in discomfort. For sixpence you went to a palace where it was warm ...
John Legard: Double feature programmes.
Teddy Darvas: Double feature programmes. It was warm, it was pleasant, it was a way of life. After the war, before television got a foothold, and I said it earlier, many hours earlier in this

p. 121

interview, when I was in publicity, that the cinema owners on the circuits never put their profits back in. So when television started the cinemas were uncomfortable, unmodernised, bad projection, bad sound and we killed ourselves. And why should the cinema industry expect people on a cold, wet, windy, winter night to go to a cinema which has bad sound, bad projection, which is dirty, has no facilities, and which is less comfortable than your home which now has central heating and a large screen television set. And this is the arrogance which the film industry had in the late forties and in the fifties and we killed, or the powers that be killed the cinema.
John Legard: Very sad. I ~ I
Teddy Darvas: It is now coming back how it was because it is now accepted as a respectable thing, it's an art form now. And the young, especially, are going back to the cinema because television is like radio was, it's part of the furniture.
John Legard: And the new multi-flex cinemas like the Whiteleys, they're properly furnished
and ....
Teddy Darvas: Properly furnished and good sound. It has a licensed bar, it has snacks and in these complexes there are restaurants so you can do an evening out, you can park your car, you can be in comfort and, yes you do want to go out. But in India I think there is no way out except for the cinema.
John Legard: So anyway, that's very good. Now can we go on Teddy to the next stage after - we are now in 1970s?
Teddy Darvas: After this, I think, and I am skipping whatever document is whatever I did, the next thing which is of importance that I was introduced to an American film star called Diane Baker who was producing a film, which was an allegory on Peter Pan. I can't remember if it came out under "Never Never Land" or "Second Star to the Right". It was renamed. And Diane Baker, who is a very beautiful woman, had such great ambitions to be a producer, is still a friend to this day, and she did this with very little money. And it was a film that wasn't a success, partly her fault in selling it when she ran out of money. And it was directed by Paul Annette who was a very good director. It is very difficult to get on with Diane because she wants to be in control of everything, and I say this as a friend. But it was a lovely film which is two children left by their father with an aunt and an uncle and they meet some runaway children and they set up in a derelict house and that's where they live. There's an old 90 year old lady in the park who knows what is happening. It’s a very, very lovely little film. So that was my first.. .... Diane ran out of money and I said 'Look I'm willing to Kerry on with you' and somehow one actually finished the film and it came - it was a very sentimental film. It could have been a Lionel Jeffries' film actually.
John Legard: Yes.
Teddy Darvas: And I now suddenly realise where chronologically I went wrong. Before India and before that. I did a film called "The Blank Panther" which was about this mad murderer ....
John Legard: Oh Yes, right. I remember that one.
Teddy Darvas: And which was never really shown because people objected.
John Legard: Was it Neilson, was it?
Teddy Darvas: Not Neilson. It was ..
John Legard: One of those nasty characters.
Teddy Darvas: But the director of that, and I got this film again running out of money, reminded me ....
John Legard: Ian Merrick.
Teddy Darvas: Ian Merrick. Ian Merrick who has never done anything since but he had a natural ability and he made, when I got the film, and I thought it was going to be a sensational film, and he

p. 122

said 'No, I want to make it properly' and he did, which probably killed it. If he had made it into a proper horror film it would have made a lot of money. He made an exceedingly good job of that film. And Richard Arnell, Tony Arnell wrote the music for it. And he always showed it at the film school about film music. That was a very similar operation of running out of money, as an editor of course being at the end of the line the money has been spent and somehow you have got to force it through. So after "Second Start to the Right" or "Never Never Land", I think I entered another period of being heavily out of work. And, in a way, I felt that perhaps I would never come back as one is getting that much older. And one had the odd fill in job. Somewhere during this bit I also worked for the Shell Film Unit for various periods, which is another experience because, of course, you made some exceedingly good films. But because you had to have approval showings if the person who had to approve the show was not available you just sat in the cutting room doing nothing. And on one film that David Eadie directed, my assistant and I sat in the cutting room for ten weeks with nothing to do. And you are not allowed to touch anything because the gentleman concerned was too busy to see you. And

John Legard: ???
Teddy Darvas: No this is out at the Shell Centre.
John Legard: Oh the Shell Centre.
Teddy Darvas: Is it of any interest to talk about this.
John Legard: Yes, of course, yes. Shell was an important film industry.
Teddy Darvas: Shell had cutting rooms, producers, everything. But you still were under this sort of civil service type organisation. So as an editor you were probably a Lance Corporal. But the producer Dora Thomas is lovely, I mean, I got on very well with her. She was a higher grade than you were, she had to be on the sixth floor, where we were on the first or the second floor. And it meant two lifts to get there. So if she wanted to see anybody it was a route march for her to come to you. Now you also had a free three course lunch, for which you had a ticket.
John Legard: Down at the basement they had this ...
Teddy Darvas: Down in the basement. But Dora Thomas, being that much higher, had to eat on the twentieth floor. So, if she decided - and we always showed rushes at twelve or twelve thirty in the basement - so if Dora wanted to have lunch with us she had to ask for a guest ticket from her own production manager, although she was head of the organisation!
John Legard: Hierarchical.
Teddy Darvas: Hierarchical. Again the thing was, if there was a business lunch, like the film that David Eadie had directed which was like nobody had known how do people live on an oil platform. So that was, in fact, a week in the life of an oil platform. And one of the men in charge of an oil platform, who was actually a master mariner, it was like being captain of a ship, who was the hero of this and also did the voice over. When he came to see us, for us to go to lunch, Dora Brown couldn't take us upstairs to her restaurant, so we had to the Arch Duke Wine Bar where she had to book a table, so Shell had to pay outside because the hierarchy would not agree for her to take us upstairs. When I was not employed by Shell, she could invite me up to have lunch with her, but the minute I became a Shell employee it was like in India. Which incidentally, I referred to doing a documentary for Ford. Did I speak about this ...
John Legard: Yes earlier. With Leon ???
Teddy Darvas: But they made fantastic films. And I cut a film which Thea Richmond directed about what happens when oil and coal run out, which is power of the future. And everything that you read about today in 1991-92 is already in that film, like nuclear fusion and things like that.

p. 123

Unfortunately, the film unit- at Shell Film Unit a lot of the work was not done as an advertisement for Shell, it was done as a service to the public. And, of course, I think like your ...
John Legard: And also it was .....
Teddy Darvas: ... Transport and it all -there's no money to do that any more.

John Legard: Pity.
John Legard: Yes they didn't have a great sort of outgoing thing did they? They were internal. But they made very elaborate, very expensive films which were acquired for either internal or sometimes to, you know, massage some foreign potentate, you know, the oil company in Nigeria ...Teddy Darvas: Also they went out to Women's Institutes .... Quite a lot of them went on to theatrical as well.
John Legard: Yes there was one that Ralph Sheldon made called "Hard Flight" which was a history which did get shown very widely. But they very rarely, if ever, got shown in the cinemas, although they had big production value.
Teddy Darvas: That's right.
John Legard: But they were shown very specialised and in very specialised situations.
John Legard: I worked for Shellmex just before the war and we had mobile cinemas, and all our films were Shellmex amphitheatres and we used to do programmes about an hour and a half or two hours long, ten o clock in the morning, it's children's, all Texans(?) (texts?) used to come and see how oil came from the earth, you know. (sorry this was rather faint)
Teddy Darvas: Of course, Shellmex was Shell and BP UK. Shell Centre and the Shell Film Unit were Shell International. So Shellmex and BP used independent producers much more. Whereas the Shell Film Unit was Shell International. And, in fact, if you were doing a film, like one film I did was, in fact, the Shell Film Unit was like an independent producer for a production that BP and Shell paying for.
John Legard: I don't think the Shell Centre had been built before the war because ...
Teddy Darvas: No it wasn't. It’s one of the most hideous buildings. It’s awful. So this was a period unemployment again and during which I did various fill ins and then I worked for a certain time forTeddy Darvas: firm called Mediciny who do medical films and I cut about three or four films there - one for Ronnie Spencer, one for David Eadie, one for - what's the name of that Indian married to De Normanville
John Legard: Sara,
Teddy Darvas: Sara, who will never work for Mediciny again because she was so upset by the way they treated her.
John Legard: I thought she was a bloody good director actually.
Teddy Darvas: She was a very good director and a very nice woman.
John Legard: Wonderful person.
Teddy Darvas: Anyway, so then, out of the blue, Diane Baker came back and she had set up a mini series -a big mini series -"A Woman of Substance" and having ....
John Legard: Barbara Taylor Bradford?
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Having felt that my feature career was over, back I came and I cut this six hour mini series and which was exceedingly successful.
John Legard: What year are we talking about?
Teddy Darvas: This must have been seven years ago- so ...
John Legard: 83-84.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. Anyway. Originally there was going to be a woman director and Diane Baker, although we were friends, said 'I am not pushing you to edit this film' but eventually she introduced

p. 124

me to this woman director, and I got the film. And the woman director, who shall remain nameless - I have forgotten her name - she was a very nice woman, not a good director but she couldn't cope with this size of production and out of the blue she was off the film and Don Sharp came in to direct it. Don made a great success of this, it was exceedingly well acted, there were great frictions, it was made for Portman Entertainments, producer Ian Warren with whom I became great friends which is why I carried on working quite a lot with Portman afterwards.

Tape8-SideB(16)
Teddy Darvas: So "A Woman of Substance". Now, of course, I think mini series have taken the place of what used to be the ordinary first feature and when they are directed properly on film standards, I think they are as good as the old first feature used to be. "A Woman of Substance" which had various problems - Jenny Seagrove did very well, Deborah Kerr, I think she had some sort of illness a year or so before but her memory was bad ....
John Legard: I saw her on one of these awards - she looked as though she had something like Parkinson's Disease.
Teddy Darvas: She is iller now. A very, very nice person. I think, from the point of view of this, "A Woman of Substance" is upper class soap. it had a great sense of style and it had a certain amount of validity, like "Upstairs Downstairs" as a series. I don't think that Barbara Taylor Bradford's work is - it is very similar- but the film itself, the six hours, were exceedingly good. I think the only thing that's worth talking about, and that's in general, which is working for television, I mean, in the old days with features, no film could be more than ninety five minutes but you had a certain amount of licence. You now have to cut depending on to whom you are selling, especially in America. You are completely and utterly stuck about where commercial breaks have to be. And I think it's worth sort of saying like on "A Woman of Substance" and for certain of these things that like where commercial breaks come, if you have the right script writer, they should actually write it in acts like a stage play. Now, according to the American performances, no act can be less than eight and a half minutes or more than eighteen and a half minutes. The beginning you have to have a break within three and a half minutes. You are allowed to show nudity but you are not allowed to show a nipple. You are allowed to show a man's bare bum but not the cleft in the bum.
John Legard: Oh really!
Teddy Darvas: And you have to watch that exceedingly carefully.
John Legard: This is interesting.
Teddy Darvas: There are these strange sort of restrictions. And, of course ...
John Legard: But in the majority of programmes you are not filming that sort of area.
Teddy Darvas: Well, in all these mini series you have to have - it's almost written into the contract, I think, you've got to have a nude scene, you've got to have a seduction scene, preferably you ought to have an attempted rape scene. And in every one of Barbara Taylor Bradford's books you will find that is written in. I am not being derogatory about her but I think in American mini series and any one that you watch, this sort of formula applies. But I think, from a story telling point of view, sooner or later, television must grow up in the sense that films grew up when you were allowed to have three hour movies if necessary. This thing of absolutely having to cut to the frame does restrict because sometimes ...
John Legard: Of course it does. This is an interesting element.
Teddy Darvas: Sometimes you have - I am trying to talk about the technique bit
John Legard: Yes, how you arrive at these exact timings.

p. 125

Teddy Darvas: Yes, which is funnily enough, if you have a director who is a good technician you can actually work it out. And, of course, also you have like second feature time in post production, an actual amount of time that you are allowed to do things. So it is really difficult. As time has gone on shooting time has reduced but editing time and dubbing time and that sort of thing, rerecording time, gets shorter and shorter and shorter and, basically, the people you are working for do not care about the final quality, which is very depressing because I think with the old producers even second feature producers there was always the belief that you actually made the best second feature ever. And now you very often work for people who say quality doesn't matter - not Don Sharp, not Diane Baker, one has to say, because you have go to keep your .... But if you think of a thing like - and this is where the interesting bit I think come in from an organisation point of view- with "A Woman of Substance" I was told it was three times two hours but that Portman also sold one hour segments, six times one hour which is easy to do because those territories don't have to be so exact. So as long as you make sure that there is a suitable break within the two hours you are OK and you just add extra titles. It then turned out that in America, because it was being sold to a combine of independent stations, some of the stations needed twice three hours. Now twice three hours, you couldn't do it that way because you found that with the two hour segment the hours worked out in a different way. So you suddenly found that you had to cut so many minutes out of the first three hours to make it into three hours and then put back so many minutes in the second three hours. And the cost of dubbing the extra segments, etc is horrific. And it is very, very difficult.

John Legard: Purely from a physical point of view it must have been very difficult because you are working on 16mm anyway aren't you?
Teddy Darvas: That's right.
John Legard: And so you have a sort of margin of error.

Teddy Darvas: Yes.
John Legard: And because of the particular size.
Teddy Darvas: But I think also obviously you have the problem that you are shooting on 25 frames a second here and in America it's 24 frames a second ...
John Legard: Is that so, I never knew that.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. But when you transfer, luckily now even in America, if you had to deliver picture negative to America then you are in trouble because you use 25 frames a second all the lengths go wrong. But normally now they accept the one inch masters, so you just transfer to the American standard and it's the right length. And I think one ought to talk generally about transferring film to video.
John Legard: Yes. Can you, just before you do that, can you talk about dubbing a 16 ml when I said that I mentioned a phrase 'margin of error' I always found it difficult from the point of view of synching tracks on 16 ml because of the one sprocket per frame.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. That's right.
John Legard: Once certain critical things you ....
Teddy Darvas: Two and a half frames up.
John Legard: Yes. Right.
Teddy Darvas: Now, funnily enough it is something that I found quite by chance when I was doing this film in Lesotho, I think it may have been called "Lesotho Adventure" and as it was 1 OOo/o postsynch how do you get a postsynch looks really rubbery on 16 ml and somebody told me that you could get 16 mm magnetic with 8 mm sprocketing. So you had two sprockets per frame. And so we transferred on to that. So when you are fitting the postsynch, instead of a slippage of 2.4 frames, you only have a slippage of 1.2 frames.

p. 126

John Legard: Yes, Yes.
Teddy Darvas: And a documentary, which I did not talk about, which I did for Cyril Randell, for the Navy, I did quite a number which I forgot about for the Navy at various times and there was one film about survival at sea ...
John Legard: With the music by Kenneth V Jones.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, that's right. And again, 100% postsynch and it was by doing it on this 8 mm sprocket.. ..
John Legard: 8 mm ....
Teddy Darvas: that you could fit that much better. So on all 16 mm stuff I make the dubbing editors fit postsynch on the 8 mm sprocketed stock. On this Cyril Randell film Delane Lea, the man who was in charge there, who did all the stuff, refused to get the 8 mm sprocketed stock in and it needed the man in charge of naval films to insist before I could get it so that we could fit it properly.John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: And you know when you are speaking of 100% postsynch..... So in effect on 16 mm as well you can now get pretty, pretty close on it. It is not as good. I mean your original synching is not that good.
John Legard: No, that's the problem.
Teddy Darvas: I think, if I ever do another film, feature type film on 16 mm I will have to find out from the sound people, because there is an argument that 8 mm sprocketing makes the stock that much weaker that you can, but, of course, now with the sort of nylon type base it doesn't tear. I am wondering whether one shouldn't actually have everything transferred on to that stock. The big danger, technically, is that when you have spacing, if you make a mistake and cut halfway in the frame and everything runs off, you have got to be terribly sure that you only cut on the frame line. Unless you can get spacing which is 8 mm.
John Legard: Which is also sprocketed in the same way.
Teddy Darvas: One presumes one can. But this complete -the commercial requirements for mini series on television are so stringent that, never mind the quality, feel the width. I mean, it's by the yard. Basically what you have to do is fill the gaps between the commercials. So during this, and I am now ....
John Legard: Is this the first time you had worked on a mini series presumably, was it?
Teddy Darvas: This was the first time I had ....
John Legard: A new discipline for you.
Teddy Darvas: Yes.
John Legard: My goodness.
Teddy Darvas: Also, for the American backers who were - it was a group of independent stations - to compete with the network would form themselves into a loose alliance i.e. they can then buy three hundred of them, they can back a major series or whatever it is. But, of course, they have different requirements. But it is a tremendous drawback on having this complete requirement on length etc. But...l can't remember what I was going to say.
John Legard: This is what you were talking about - the timing of the commercials and ....
Teddy Darvas: Now, for this group of - I think the networks just stop the projector - it's all on video of course- and the commercials come and they restart on magnetic. For this lot you actually had to cut in and if it said two minutes and three seconds of commercials you actually had to cut in two minutes three seconds of black spacing. When you ran it you sort of sat through vrrrrrrrrrrrr!John Legard: ...... commercial break ... .

p. 127

Teddy Darvas: Just a little bit of commercial break because you just had black spacing for about two minutes three seconds exactly to the frame. Anyway I got on very well with Portman, Ian Warren. And he said 'I'll introduce you to the director, we're doing an Anglo French eoproduction and it's going to be four main parts, and all the actors are going to be bi-lingual - English and French. We have got to do two versions, it's a co-production, it's entende deux. ' And I said to Ian Warren 'I went to India some years ago and it was a complete disaster, unless one can really organise it and he said 'Do you know how to organise it?' and I said 'Yes'. And the director was very, very nice and he got cancer or something and he had to retire from the film and died about a year later and Peter Duffel took over, he did a marvellous job. The film eventually came out as "Letters to an Unknown Lover" and Peter Duffel was again a very underestimated director.

John Legard: I thought he did some very good films. He did a marvellous film called "England Made Me".
Teddy Darvas: That's right. Who is a very frustrating man because he never went on from then and he is a very bitter man. He is a very nice man, very good director. Ian Warren is an interesting man because he's not a technician. He is now in his late seventies. But he is the sort of person who says 'I don't know about this, explain it to me'. And he listened to you. And when I explained to him the problems I had on co-production because I was too late, he said 'All right, you go over to Paris and you organise it' and he left it to me. And I was never afraid of taking responsibility on that sort of thing. And the French unit were absolutely marvellous when I explained what I wanted. He said 'why this, why that?' When I explained, and the French are logical, and they accepted it. And the film worked tremendously well and like, two editors and I said 'That is another problem'. And I got in like a junior editor. Somebody who spoke very, very good French because again the action sequences were only being shot once, so they had to be cut exactly the way I had cut it. They had to be copied because also economically if you have an action sequence it is much cheaper to have it neg cut and then duped rather than having each shot made into a dupe negative and then dubbed. And I got in Mike Crowley who is a dubbing editor, who wants to be an editor. A very good friend. And he had to cut the French version as near as possible to the way I had cut the English version, which of course doesn't work because the French language is slightly different. And Mike Crowley, when we were fine cutting and Peter Duffel, made me do some alterations which Mike considered, let's say, that mine was better. He said 'Do I have to follow that?' and I would say 'Yes, Mike you have to'. But the film is a very underestimated film and it is a very sad thing because ...

John Legard: Sorry, what's the title again?
Teddy Darvas: It came out as "Letters to an Unknown Lover".
John Legard: Right.
Teddy Darvas: Channel 4. But entende deux, it was at a festival and Gaumont wanted it for cinema release because it was so good. The book was written by these two French professors who wrote Clousseau's film "Les Diaboliques" and this story is like "Les Diaboliques". And entend deux wouldn't allow it to go on the screen, so it never went on the screen in England either - the English version. So it was a great shame because it was a lovely film. And Peter Duffel was a tremendous success in France. And the French and the English actors, who are bi-lingual, it was wonderful because you didn't have to change casts. If you started with the English version, once you got a good take on take 5, take 6 became French, which is disorganised. I said 'Forget about different numbers, forget about this' and they put an E if it was the English version and an F on the board. Peter Duffel is very musical. And within the story, the heroine teaches the piano and the pupils, they play the music that she is teaching, they are all sort of classical bits. And it all went as part and it overlapped flashbacks and it is the most beautiful mood picture. And the composer was a French

p. 128

composer- Alexandro Something - I have forgotten his name, I can look it up - wrote a beautiful, beautiful score. And the whole film, if it had gone on the screen, would have been really well, it does not look, it was shot on 35, it does not look like a television film and it plays in Lyon during the war. And it has a wonderful mood and a wonderful soundtrack. The music as out of reality and into reality. It is something that is very, very underestimated and if you want to see it I have a cassette.

John Legard: You have got a copy? Yes. I'd love to see it.
Teddy Darvas: So after this one ....
John Legard: But then you had some more episodes of ...
Teddy Darvas: We went on the next one which was Don Sharp again doing "Hold the Dream" the next Barbara Taylor Bradford ....

John Legard: Was that a year later. ...
Teddy Darvas: It all follows on with little gaps ....
John Legard: But had you planned that the set had been planned in advance?
Teddy Darvas: No. It happened .....
John Legard: Depending on the success of the first.
Teddy Darvas: Yes. And then "Hold the Dream" was set up and obviously I was going to do it and I was almost like staff editor for Portman by that time. I was told I was a friend of the family but obviously I'm a step son because after a time you find that you are not actually being - you become part of the furniture and people forget to put you forward even for a film. Anyway I did "Hold the Dream" which Diane Baker was not involved with but Bob Bradford - Barbara Taylor Bradford's husband - became the producer.
John Legard: Oh really?
Teddy Darvas: And there were lots of strains and stresses.
John Legard: Were there?
Teddy Darvas: Yes, because budgets are getting tighter, people are being forced to do things in much less time and by and large now and even at Portman which is very, very sad, the financial people they say 'We don't make any more money out of a good film, as out of a bad one. The only thing that matters is if it comes in under budget'. Which is very disheartening because I think if the people above say 'We don't mind what it's like' you're telling bad technicians if they are willing to be like that and a lot of them are being done like that people without any conscience whatsoever and says 'lt doesn't really matter'. The minute they think it doesn't matter they are not going to try that much harder and there are things that one knows about where this has actually happened. So we had various problems on "Hold the Dream" because of that. We had an American line producer who was more interested in his position as a producer than what was going on the screen. And we wasted - this is the trouble - that you waste an awful lot of money and one has always said 'You are employing me as an editor' or 'You are employing me as a camera man, you are paying me really an awful lot of money and then you don't listen to my advice.' Especially Americans, they do not believe that you have only the interests of the film at heart. But anyway. Don Sharp and I, who worked together exceedingly well, the schedule was so tight that we had, I think we had four weeks to find cut four hours.
John Legard: God.
Teddy Darvas: And I mean, that is to get the thing to the right frame, not just the right time, the right fraction of a second. With Don, who was a professional, it is not so difficult because he understands the problems and he is very methodical. But it is a tremendous problem because, of

p. 129

course, as an editor you also have your problems with your sound editors and your poor old composer who has got one and a half minutes to compose the score.
John Legard: Sounds like an absolute nightmare.
Teddy Darvas: Oh it becomes a nightmare. And if you can work it out efficiently possibly it does work out. The interesting thing is, of course, after every one of these films you have to transfer to one inch master. And going back to "Letters to an Unknown Lover" and you have got a perfectly graded laboratory print and you go into the studio to transfer to one inch master. In theory, once you have got the first two shots the right grade it should run right the way through because the film ....... You find that you have to re-grade every shot pretty well. And you really get yourself into terrible problems. For some reason .....

John Legard: You're talking about- you are cutting the neg. now aren't you?
Teddy Darvas: You have cut your neg. You have got an answer print. You have got your perfect.. ..John Legard: You go to an answer print do you? You don't grade in the .....
Teddy Darvas: No, but having got your perfect graded print, when you transfer to video it doesn't work that way and you still have to start grading - that's two blue, that's too red, that's too blue.John Legard: There's another system which I was involved in - the Unitab - where you simply graded from the neg ....
Teddy Darvas: Which I cannot bear.
John Legard: It’s almost like a dubbing session. And you go through shot by shot.
Teddy Darvas: I only did it once which is on the sequel to "Chasing Shadows", the? film. Because you have to grade you can't have second thoughts and when you actually do the transfer and you suddenly realise you have left something too red, the cost of going back to redo that is so horrific that you are, in fact, landed with something that's not so good. And you
John Legard: We seemed to get it right without much difficulty, in fact, on the stuff that I was dealing with which was the Chinese films for BBC and we did that on the Unitab principle ....Teddy Darvas: Well, Van Der Valk and those are all done on Unitab. The trouble is, if the negative is pretty good it is all right. Much more on documentaries that I shot here, there and everywhere, the grading gets much more complicated but also, for some reason, if your grading half way through one day and you go in the following day over twenty four hours the computer grading thing seems to have slipped and you have to start all over again. That part is a nightmare. So after "Hold the Dream", out of the blue, I got a job to go to Germany to Berlin to cut an American film starring Sean Penn and Martin Sheen, directed by Sean Penn's father. I went off to Berlin without even knowing the title of the film ...
John Legard: I remember you going off to do that.
Teddy Darvas: and expecting the worst, and being Jewish etc, going with great preservations, and I found I had an unbelievably happy five and a half months with very good German technicians, very nice people, no sense of humour, nor did the Americans have it.
John Legard: What was the film?
Teddy Darvas: The film was called "Judgement in Berlin".
John Legard: Oh right, yes.
Teddy Darvas: And again, by the time it was shown it was almost out of date. It is a fascinating story. Leo Penn, Sean Penn's father, is a very sweet man who directed masses of American television stuff - I think a pilot for "Colombo" and a pilot for "Kojak". During the war he served as a pilot, American Air Force. He came over here in a play at the New Lindsay Theatre - a charming man. Couldn't cope with the court room drama. He was 68 at the time, ran out of energy by about four o clock. A sweet man, one shouldn't criticise him. It was an amazing story- a true story - of an

p. 130

American judge who was brought in. An American court room was built at Templehof Airport because legally it was American territory to try some German's who had hi-jacked a plane into Berlin. And Martin Sheen was the judge. Eventually it worked out exceedingly well. As I said, I had a very, very happy film there. It was amazing. The German producer spoke very good English - a woman called Ingrid Vindisch, absolutely efficient, very, very good. Technically speaking we had an Italian camera man who turned out to be Hungarian who was 72 who started in England in 1935-36 under Freddie Young. Sound continuity was very, very second rate. The terrifying thing was the standard of sound re-recording and that sort of thing was very, very primitive.

John Legard: Really?
Teddy Darvas: And the Germans believe that to save money you shoot on 35 mm film but 17.5 mm sound.
John Legard: Oh my god.
Teddy Darvas: 35 mm cut down the middle. Now I managed to get a Compeditor across there and, in fact, Acme have Compeditors and you just push it in and it automatically goes to 17.5 but you always run off the sprockets anyway. And also filing trims, especially if you have a director who, in a court scene, shoots off eight minute takes, to try and wind up 35 and 17.5 together is absolute murder.
John Legard: Oh, I don't believe it!
Teddy Darvas: Then, of course, on music you cannot have triple track sound so you have no control of base and that sort of thing.
John Legard: Oh right.
Teddy Darvas: So these are tremendous limitations plus also Germans do know things better than you do and you have problems of saying 'No this does not work and this is not how it is done'. My cutting room was, in fact, in the laboratory. The owner of the laboratory was a very nice man called Manfred Wolf with whom I became friends. The man in charge of the labs was a real German who came and sort of spoke to you and when you said 'This dupe is terrible' he would explain to you that it is not really negative, it's off your cutting copy and you would have to say 'Yes, Herr Tanenberg, this is not the first film I have done, I have done dupes before, the previous dupe you have done is fine, this - I cannot see the face in it, it's so light'. And he would go away and do it again. But the attitude to music and to things like that is very strange. Like the composer goes away and composes on his own and when you say 'But I want to be there when it is recorded, I want to talk to him' they look at you with amazement.
John Legard: Sounds as though they are years behind.
Teddy Darvas: In some ways, yes. But I think because the war has now been demolished one has got to say this because it was a fascinating experience to be in West Berlin. And I was put up in the best hotel. Our composer came from East Berlin. Now in those days, for an East Berliner to come over the wall was almost impossible. He had to wait a year for a passport. This man had
Teddy Darvas: permanent passport where they all waited like eight years for an old car, one of these plastic cars. This chap had a twelve cylinder Jaguar. It was quicker for him to come over the wall to fetch us and take us back than for us to get across. And when we went across the first time, he drove us across and the boot was examined in the same sort of way and he was very good tempered about it- a charming man. Drove like a lunatic. Anyway in this twelve cylinder Jaguar in East Berlin, you got to the suburb and by one of the lakes and there was his yacht, and this shows that people were more equal than others. There was his yacht. And we went into his house which had the latest American kitchen and latest equipment, everything. His wife and baby. And we went across. There was this other building which had his own studio with the latest American recording

p. 131

equipment, the whole lot, studio big enough for a 25 piece orchestra, synthesisers, everything. There was a third building and I said 'What is this?' He said 'But that's the guest house and Teddy, if you and your wife want to come and have a holiday any time just drop me a note and there's the house and you can have my boat and we have a spare car'. So in East Berlin he was living better than equal, you know. As I said, he composed music - nothing fitted - but he was a terribly nice man. But every time he came to see me in the cutting room in West Berlin, he brought my crew and everybody because the East German beer was far better than the West German beer because they had the proper trick, everything, lager. So he always brought us bottles of beer to taste. But it was a fantastic experience to be there.
John Legard: What about the old UFA Studios in Dresden?
Teddy Darvas: I never went there. I passed the studios on the way to Potsdam which were the old UFA studios, it's now in the paper they are going to rebuild. The studios in Berlin were pretty clapped out, the West Berlin ones - we went to one studio where we shot. The units were pretty efficient. The co-operation from the municipalities is much greater. I mean, as opposed to London where it's almost impossible to shoot our police, will not give you permission or if you shoot without permission you can but they can move you on or something. In Berlin, if you wanted to shoot you paid quite a lot of money for it. But, the police made sure that there were parking meters, there were notices that you are not allowed to park here. And if you said 'We are going to shoot from six in the evening until ten o clock at night, then the street was cleared, everything, all facilities were given for you. Municipality made money out of it but you had all the facilities, at ten o clock you had to finish. That was all right. That was it. And from that point of view it was very good the co-operation you got. As I said, by and large, the unit were very good. My crew were excellent. My assistant spoke no English - a girl called Karen, but my German came back quite quickly. I had a sound editor called Uve(?). Now, I can't edit properly on a Steenbeck with the best will in the world. I don't think you can fine cut and overlay tracks in that way.
John Legard: No. No. It’s all right for certain types of picture but not...
Teddy Darvas: Uve cleaned up my dialogues and things because the director Lao allowed everything to overlap and actors spoke different things and I had to cut half way across a word sometimes to make a cut and continue that word from another take.
John Legard: So you are dealing with absolute precision.
Teddy Darvas: And this Uve cleaned up my tracks in a way and on a Steenbeck and he could fit postsynch absolutely brilliantly. But again the German mind, and Uve and I are still friends, he comes to see me in London, but when we were dubbing and doing a dialogue premix I heard some sound on a track, it fitted perfectly but it was not the performance I had and I said 'That's not the sound track.' He said 'No I substituted form another take because of this.' I said 'Uve, you must not do that.' He said 'But it is better sound.' I said 'No'.
John Legard: That's not the point.
Teddy Darvas: 'You must come to me if you think that. I could have used the other take why did I use this take? I know the sound is not so good but the performance is better'. 'Well in Germany we are allowed to do this.' I said 'I'm sorry it is not allowed to do it with me, I will sometimes use an off mike line because the performance is right. You had no right to substitute it.' And he accepted that. But I looked at the dubbing chart and this is the terrible thing and I saw he had written on the dubbing chart 'Line substituted by Uve without Teddy Darvas's permission'. I went to him and I said 'Uve, It’s not a punishment, you don't have to put it on the dubbing chart.'
John Legard: German mentality.

p. 132

Teddy Darvas: It’s a German mentality and he felt he had to sort of like put it in writing that he had countermanded my order.
John Legard: Isn't it interesting, yes.
John Legard: Instantly(?) engineering things require authority.

Teddy Darvas: That's it.
John Legard: As long as it's technically correct, that's the one.
Teddy Darvas: Technically it was so good ...
John Legard: As opposed to artistically or creative.
Teddy Darvas: But in everything else he found where I had done things and in England we would have said 'OK, it's not right but because of the overlaps we have got to take it.' He found a way of correcting it from out-takes from things. He was absolutely brilliant. But he did not think like 'why is he using a complete take which has worse sound, there must be a reason for it.' So instead of saying 'Wouldn't you like to substitute another take which has better sound?' In which case you say 'No, because the performance is better in this.'
John Legard: That's why you employ a good editor who takes care of these things. In this country we do.
Teddy Darvas: A good director will say 'I know photographically or the focus is not quite right but I am using it because the performance is so much better' or whatever it is. This is the sort of logical mind that you are looking purely, as you say, the technical thing ....
John Legard: However, in this case this was patronised incident and on the whole you got your own way in this film.
Teddy Darvas: Well, you did, but also, as I say, with Uve with all that, we were very, very great friends. We became great friends. He understood. He wants, in fact, to get the money to buy a Compeditor because he realises that you can actually work better on it. I think, while I'm on the German film, I have got to say that I had a reputation in the cutting rooms here and it was largely insecurity, partially because I am a person who blows up quickly but I hold no grudges that I was considered to be quite a hard editor to work for because I screamed and shouted very often. I had this awful reputation and in Berlin I was suddenly, both by the producer Ingrid Vindisch and other people that they had never come across an editor like me and I said 'Why?' and they said 'Well, you have no tempers, you come in and you start work, you are always calm.' And I said 'Could I have this in writing because there are 200 people in England who will not believe this?' The top editor in Berlin is a man called Peter Shegoda(?) whom I never met and I was dying to meet him and something had happened and I said 'Well what would Peter Shegoda have done in this situation' because they said 'you were so calm I don't understand'. Ingrid Vindisch said 'Well, Peter Shegoda would have been on top of the table screaming and shouting and would have walked out of the film and would have walked out of the studio for a day, so we can't understand how calm you can be.' So when I came back to England.

Tape 9- Side A (Side 17)
Teddy Darvas: So that really is all that one has to say about the Berlin film. Again I think one thing, with the sort of backing of both cinema and television ABC Network, you had a tremendous amount of front office interference and at one moment, because especially the beginning of the film did not work very well, I was told that the hatchet man was coming - Vice President of ABC circuit. And one had to do whatever he said and as an editor you fear hatchet men. I insisted that, because Martin Sheen's company was involved in the production of the film, one of the producers was Martin Sheen's associate, very nice man. I said 'Well, he had better be in Berlin while the

p. 133

hatchet man is there because they might have to have fight things out.' The hatchet man arrived who turned out, of course, to be a fellow Hungarian. He turned out to have known- didn't know my father - but knew a lot about my father and said 'Did you know so and so?' and he had known all my father's friends and instead of him being the hatchet man he eventually protected me against Martin Sheen's producer. So, in fact, the hatchet man was my friend. It turned out the other way.John Legard: How wonderful.
Teddy Darvas: Wonderful man, Hungarian, who had been in the cutting rooms and an amazing life who had been - he had originally fought because he was a Hungarian he was recruited and ended u pin the German Air Force and was decorated and defected and, I think, flew for the American Air Force and got decorated by the Americans as well, and he is probably the only one who, in the same war, got decorations from both sides. Anyway that's by the way. So after I came back to England, the next film I did .....
John Legard: What year have we got to now? 1985?
Teddy Darvas: 1980? Later. The next thing was Don Sharp again was going to do another Barbara Taylor Bradford - no, Don Sharp then said 'I am doing a small romantic Barbara Cartland type film, Mills & Boon thing.'
John Legard: Oh.
Teddy Darvas: For Peter Snell. 'Would you like to do that?', which I did, which was a film called "Tears in the Rain" which is real romantic novelette, except again the story was slightly advanced for Mills & Boon because it looks like incest.
John Legard: A bit more explicit than Mills & Boon.
Teddy Darvas: No, but of course it turns out not to be incest. Anyway it is all straightened out. It was a very, very entertaining film to do and I think again to talk technically - nowadays if you are in the cutting rooms you are always cut down on assistance, you are cut down ....
John Legard: You are indeed ...
Teddy Darvas: on time, everything you want is too much. The line producer Ted - I have forgotten, Peter Snell always uses him - Don Sharp had said 'It’s very small budget, everybody(?) has to take a salary cut, I've still got my money was it good enough?' So when I went out to see- I wish I could remember his other name, whom I had known since he came into the film industry - I expected to be told you can't have a second assistant, you can't have this, you can't have that' and I was presented with a schedule and staffing like two assistants, three dubbing editors, absolutely everything and I looked at him and I said 'I think that is fantastic and I can save you money on this because I don't think the editor doing the footsteps, the dubbing editor doing the footsteps, by that time I won't need my second assistant and I can put that on etc etc.' And on a small budget film efficient proper budgeting is very interesting because it is the only time in my life that, as an editor, I came out smelling of roses, because as far as Peter Snell was concerned, the cutting rooms came out well under budget and as I said to them 'The reason is because you budgeted properly and if you trust your editor and you have budgeted properly you can save money. The trouble is now you are under budget and so when the editor has to say 'I need an extra sound editor, I need an extra three days in the dubbing theatre' you are always the baddie. Because you have budgeted properly I could cut down where I could see that it was not necessary. And I am told by the accountant that I saved a tremendous amount of money, which again paid off, because when you had to go in for extra days or to do extra things, Peter Snell would ring up and say 'But, of course, you know, we will pay you for that because there is money left over.' And it is, I think because it .....
John Legard: It’s common sense isn't it really?

p. 134

Teddy Darvas: It is because you have not got proper production managers nowadays. Not the experience ...
John Legard: They haven't got the experience ..
Teddy Darvas: coming through and they have no sympathy. And, therefore, you budget the wrong way and you have no sympathy for the cutting rooms and if you are over budget on the shooting the money for the post production has gone, the composer, everybody suffers. So after this Don's next film was "Act of Will" which is again Barbara Taylor Bradford and which had even a smaller budget and the finishing schedule was even more ridiculous. And the composer who had done two films for us before- Barry Guard-

John Legard: Oh I met him.
Teddy Darvas: Yes, he is a Savage now. I met him as such. His wife died a few months ago. Anyway. The finishing schedule was quite, quite ridiculous and we had, from rough cut, we had less then four weeks to find cut four hours.
John Legard: Oh crazy.
Teddy Darvas: Which was quite, quite crazy. And apart from the fact that it left the composer like two and a half weeks to write the music for four hours. From fine cut date to dubbing date, we had like four weeks - three and a half weeks, which for four hours it was madness. But again, and one has got to praise somebody who is a professional like Don Sharp and who I said is a very under- rated director. He made, of the novelette, I think it is a remarkably good job. But again, partly because he is a friend, one has worked with him so long and so what we did was, although it was going to be shown in twice two hours, but you also had to have the one hour version, I broke it down, the script was not done in hours, I broke it down into where the things were going to be and Don approved that. He and Warren approved where I had made each hour. And what we did was, in spite of this terrible only four weeks for fine cutting, we fine cut an hour, got Barry Guard in, the music things, ran for the dubbing editor and handed over an hour and then went into the second hour. So thereby we gave everybody that much extra time. We gave them those extra weeks, as we handed over each hour. And, on top of that, we also had a delivery time which was impossible and I said 'We can postpone the dubbing if we can have the negative cut as soon as we have fine cut, which I did from "Woman of Substance" onwards which actually, from an editor's point of view, has a tremendous advantage. The producer cannot change his or her mind because it has already been neg cut. So actually it is not a bad thing but it does give the dubbing editors and the musician the extra week, because you can be neg cutting and you can have mute answer prints, you can have breathing(?) scenes and a mute reel or something while you are still dubbing. Which is what we did. So we handed each one up and, in effect, what happened was at the end of "Act of Will" that I would leave the dubbing theatre and go over to Rank and run our grading print and then go back to the dubbing theatre and then Don eventually approved it all. And so everything came through with remarkably little overtime.
John Legard: Of course this is the advantage of having a sort of deadline like that is that the fussy producers or whatever don't have the opportunity of buggering you up and it also it particularly helped with the dubbing editors. They're the people who suffer most if there is an alteration.
Teddy Darvas: I mean, of course, this is what very, very few people realise and a little throwback to "Assassination Bureau" with Michel Relph and, of course, it was a very big budget film, and the climax of the film, and we had 35 effects tracks John Poyner had, ....
John Legard: Did you really!
Teddy Darvas: and the dubbing ..... well, when you think of a fire in a Zeppelin with explosions plus the noise of the engine, plus this, plus that, plus the inter-cutting, you soon get 20-30 effects

p. 135

tracks. And the dubbing mixer couldn't balance something where there were no explosions and Michael Relph decided to re-cut in order to shoot the dubbing mix and I fought him like anything. And I said, because the dubbing mixer is not getting it right. The reason I fought him was because I knew that the alteration that Michael Relph wanted would take me four minutes to do but three dubbing editors worked all night to alter 35 effects tracks. And this is what if producers and a lot of directors are not technical, they don't understand. They say 'Take four frames of it' and that's not even as bad as 'Put four frames on that'.

John Legard: Yes, that's right. It’s even worse yes.
Teddy Darvas: And old editors, if you remember, when they used to say, a director would say 'Add four frames on to that' because they disagreed with that they would put a cut four frames from their existing cut. So when it went on the projector there was the join and the director or the producer would say 'Much better' and the editor would say 'Yes, isn't it, yes, you are quite right.' So, in effect, that was that. And as a joke on this, on a commercial Ronnie Spencer either slacked - I was doing a documentary for him, was doing a little cigar commercial, it was a medium long shot, medium close shot and a peck(?) shot -three shots. And, as with commercials, there were eight takes printed of everything. And the rushes came in and as I slacked Ronnie said 'Will you cut this together?' and because the backers always want alterations Ronnie said to me 'How long will it take you to cut this together Teddy?' and I said 'Half an hour, an hour, I don't know' there were three cuts. He said 'As a joke Teddy, shall we - how many different ways can this be cut?' and we found there were three different ways this could be cut. And all takes, one take was as good as the other, and the pack shot, of course, was one long take - 200 feet of the same ..... so Ronnie said 'As a joke Teddy, let's flabbergast them. Cut all three versions, A, B and C and you go up to the client' this was an advertising agents near Paddington Station, 'I won't go, you go and you run the three versions and see what happens, because they can't then criticise'. We ran that for these precious advertising people. I ran it. And version A. I said 'There are two versions' it was all on the same reel, obviously this was a one-made(?) commercial'. The second version came up and the third version came up and the third version 'Could we see it again?' I said 'Of course'. And there's nothing to criticise, which do you prefer. After a long deliberation they said 'Well the first version is the best' which was quite obvious. And I said 'Yes'. They said 'I think if you used longer shot from the second version and a closer shot from the first version and the pack shot from the third version, that might be better. I said 'Yes, I see what you mean', went back to Shepperton, unpeeled versions B and C, never touched anything else and the following morning took back that version and they said 'Yes, now that is much better'. And I said 'Yes, aren't you right, yes, I can see exactly'. And Ronnie and I had the most wonderful laugh because it was wonderful because they - especially with the pack shot which was the same shot. Anyway, after this and now we are at the end I was out of work, or I had just finished "Act of Will" and a friend of mine rang me and said 'A girl called Naomi Gryn whose father is a very famous Rabbi, she had made a documentary and the editor had a nervous breakdown and everything and she was left, after four months, money had gone, he said to her that I would do it, whatever money she has got left. And I went in, and after four months, this editor - they didn't even have a rough cut. And it was a complete mess and Naomi, and she won't mind me saying this because she knows, she is a real neurotic young girl as I said to her that I told Diane Baker that she wasn't a neurotic but she was and oldrotic! But Naomi, after lots of fights, produced what I consider an extremely good documentary ...
John Legard: Called?
Teddy Darvas: "The Chasing Shadows". But I think as a little personal note, because life is very peculiar, I went in on this documentary which is the story of a town called Berahovo(?) which was

p. 136

Hungarian/Russian/Czech/you name it, very poor, half Jewish, half Christian, where they lived together for hundred of years, the communities, never mixed really, the common denominator was extreme poverty. And when I met the Rabbi - Hugo Gryn - a remarkable who was Hungarian as well - and I said to him 'My mother must have been born very near this town.' And he said 'Where was she born?' And I told him. And he said to me 'That's less than two kilometres from this town. So this film that I took over, partly to earn a little extra money, and partly to help this girl out, became something exceedingly personal.

John Legard: Absolutely.
Teddy Darvas: But the interesting thing about "Chasing Shadows" and, at the same time, they shot a film which the title eventually was "The Star, the Castle and the Butterfly" which is the story of the Jews of Prague. The interesting thing was this American documentary series about the American Civil War and all the reviews said 'Unbelievably fascinating, stills and drawings it was like moving pictures, what a great innovation.' Now in England, or in Britain, in documentaries, we have done that all the time, there is nothing new about this. And "Chasing Shadows" is more advanced in that technique than the American series was because the interaction of present day plus old drawings, historical film, everything, I think works together in an amazing way and the personality of the Rabbi, I think he is wasting his time as a Rabbi because I think he is much better as a presenter, works together so well that I am exceedingly proud of that. The Prague film which is less personal, which again it has the same interplay of present day action, present day shooting, intermixed with drawings, sketches, paintings of different periods, which works together, I think, in a way that Grierson and these documentary makers really started and, in fact, as you said that we have too much talking heads, which original documentary makers did not do, not on the whole,John Legard: They did invent it, let's be fair.
Teddy Darvas: They did invent it.
John Legard: They invented it with housing problems.
Teddy Darvas: In a way, the top class television documentary is now doing and is in the straight tradition of the British documentary ..
John Legard: From the early 30s.
Teddy Darvas: From the early days. And again with good music and Naomi a choice of music of traditional Jewish music ...
John Legard: That was very good, I liked ....
Teddy Darvas: And Smetana and Dvorak and that sort of thing, the intermixture, we are back, and one of the reasons, apart from personally involved in the "Chasing Shadows", not so much with the Prague film, it is that one has done documentary, in the traditional, I think, wonderful sense and no other nation has ever equalled it.
John Legard: I think that's absolutely right actually and it's tailored for the television screen rather than the cinema, I would have thought. I mean, I would have thought that if it had been made for the cinema, as you would have made it some years ago in the days when documentaries were made for the cinema, alas they no longer are, you would have probably done it slightly differently because you wouldn't have had so much talking. The convention is different now and I ....
Teddy Darvas: Again you had more time in those days i.e. you are quite rightly saying that there's too much of Hugo in "Chasing Shadows", not so much in the other film. But it's also because of the amount of time for shooting plus the amount of historical material and drawings that you could get. There wasn't enough in order to cut away. And sometime you found a picture or a drawing or and old photograph which was not necessary but you had to put it in in order to cut something out. So sometimes you have to do cuts for mechanical reasons rather than for dramatic reasons.

p. 137

John Legard: Oh yes, yes.
Teddy Darvas: But I think that, in a way, ...
John Legard: And again, of course, you were working to a time schedule presumably it had already been planned as a fifty minute or a fifty four minute ....
Teddy Darvas: Oh yes. That's the contract. And you cannot, however good your material is, you can't have any more nor can you have any less.
John Legard: Nor can you have any less and this is one of the problems on television. Films aren't allowed to find their natural length.
Teddy Darvas: And funnily enough you saying that "Chasing Shadows" was too long for you ...John Legard: A little bit.
Teddy Darvas: And, in a way, if we had been allowed to be five minutes longer it probably wouldn't have felt that much longer ...
John Legard: Probably would have been better actually.
Teddy Darvas: Because you cut out stuff, if you would have carried on which would have been interesting and which would suddenly have held your attention.
John Legard: Yes, it would have enriched it a bit probably, different texture.
Teddy Darvas: What I think, absolutely, to finish, because we are talking about television and film. And now that I am doing this certain amount of lecturing to film course ...
John Legard: Oh right, you are ....
Teddy Darvas: I went in during an out of work period and I was chief editor on the BBC's film director courses which is a brilliant course incidentally, and what one has always got to say - television technique developed because obviously a television screen was small, definition was bad. So in drama, and talking purely of drama, you did an establishing shot and you went in to close up, very, very quickly. And so you are in complete very big close up all the time. And when you are teaching people now people go in very close and I keep on saying to them 'A close up from a David Lean/Carol Reed/Hitchcock version and now that television screens are good quality, a close up is sort of shoulder up to top of head'. What you go into, which is the big head, and David Lean always used to say ' That is the big bertha, the first world war, the big gun, the atomic bomb.' If he used that more than twice in a film you have ruined it because you have got nothing left in your armoury. So you have got to dramatically think of sizes of what you are going to do. It’s no use going to a close up. And also with television, and when you have got talking heads, and that's a thing, and people are talking extempore, you have, and all the people that you talk to you, when you are teaching, think it is very funny when you say 'The noddy shot' because the interviewer (sorry interviewer was talking over Teddy here) at each set of questions he said off screen you have these questions that are done after your interviewee has gone but then you have him listening and he goes nod, nod, nod, nod, because he is a bad actor. He actually acts. Whereas all he would have to do is look. And then you have to have what used to be the old funny cliche among editors, 'when in doubt, cut to the moon'. Because if you didn't know what else to do for god's sake. And as I explained in the training what you have to think about - I cut a face to face with Jo Mercenyatta(?) and they went to Kenya and interlock had broken, there were all sorts of problems, but the director, and this is where if you are a good director or a bad director, instead of just noddy shots - and face to face you didn't have noddy shots because John Freeman would never himself to be shown.John Legard: He was always off screen.
Teddy Darvas: So you were stuck, like you were out of synch and that sort of thing. But the director, Joe Mercenyatta, always had a fly whisk in his hand and when he was sitting he was flicking this fly whisk and that sort of thing. So the director took so many feet of that sort of thing

p. 138

and the garden where he was sitting. So when you were in trouble you could actually cut to something that didn't look as though 'My god, ...... You had to do it'. It looked quite natural. Film and television technique is getting closer and closer together and more and more television directors are going back to film technique, whether it's documentary or feature, but you need the directors like the Don Sharps, the Peter Duffels and that who direct for television, they are using television technique even on film by using two cameras, like to save time, they would have two cameras, one will be close up and one will be in medium shot. So you have got two set ups i.e. you are giving the editor and the audience the choice of sizes, you are increasing the drama possibilities, inspite of the reduced shooting time. But, in a way, sooner or later, I think, the big head, except for interviews and that, we will be back to what we started with ....
John Legard: Of course, with improved television screens, larger screens and so on, you are getting nearer to the cinema screen but I always had a theory that you could get away, and in fact I am sure this is true, obviously you get away far more with close up on the television screen because it is a small screen. And the classic example in recent years - the two versions of Henry V. Because when I saw Henry V the Kenneth Brannagh version and the bit screen I thought 'this is too much, you know, it's overpowering because he was constantly in close-up with his main characters and himself. And I said 'I look forward to seeing this on television, which I did, at Christmas, and it came on, and it looked far better on television than it did on the big screen.
John Legard: .... original Henry V?
John Legard: Well, I think they are both very good in their own way now.
Teddy Darvas: They are completely complimentary.
John Legard: That's right. But Olivier's version was marvellous for the big screen and.
Teddy Darvas: And even on the small screen.
John Legard: And it's still good on the small screen.
Teddy Darvas: But I'm keeping both of them because it is too versions and this the greatness I think of Shakespeare, and this is the greatness, I think, of the really top film director and that sort of thing, that I think Olivier's version, which perhaps is less, now they say it is war time propaganda, it isn't, it's the traditional Henry V and that is it's a great battle and it is the romantic version. For the 80s and the 90s Kenneth Branagh, because Vietnam and that we know how awful war was and that's the thing. He has put Henry V back and has shown the dirt and people were dirty and he has shown, and he did not have the money or the facilities to do 20,000 people but within that I think he did a quite fantastic job.
John Legard: He did. Yes.
Teddy Darvas: And you need both versions in a way.
John Legard: You do yes. But Olivier said when he directed Henry V he said 'You have got to keep the camera back, you can't go into close up too much because you cannot clutter the audience with too strong visual close ups with Shakespeare dialogue. We said that people will never be able to take it all in, well this is when he was talking about the cinema screen and the big screen and that was absolutely valid but you can do it now with the small screen because the impact is not so great for the talking head. Anyway, the Branagh version in some ways is I think is rather better than Oliviers's. He gets the realism, his intimate scenes with Catherine towards the end, you know, they are marvellous, they stand up very well with Olivier's.
Teddy Darvas: Olivier played it far more for comedy.
John Legard: He was playing it, yes he was more formal actually, his version was much more formal. And beautiful English, the actual English was superb. Branagh made it more colloquial, he identified with him more.

p. 139

John Legard: He directed that himself.
Teddy Darvas: He did. That's why it is parallel with Laurence Olivier ....
John Legard: And I am sure those to films will be very good for film schools in the future.Teddy Darvas: Anyway, that's finished, end of Teddy Darvas.
John Legard: Congratulations Teddy, I think you have done a great job, this is a wonderful story you have told us. Many thanks.
Teddy Darvas: Thank you.

p. 140

Biographical