THE TIMES OF THEIR LIVES SIGNED POSTER COMPETITION! CLOSES SEPTEMBER 4TH!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

90'S FOCUS : IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER ... 1995 ...

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
Presents
A CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER
Starring
RICHARD BRIERS as Henry Wakefield
HETTA CHARNLEY as Molly
JOAN COLLINS as Margerite Darcy
NICHOLAS FARRELL as Tom Newman
MARK HADFIELD as Vernon Spatch
GERARD HORAN as Carnforth Greville
CELIE IMRIE as Fadge
MICHAEL MOLONEY as Joe Harper
JENNIFER SAUNDERS as Nancy Crawford
JOHN SESSIONS as Terry Du Bois
JULIA SAWAHLA as Nina Raymond
JOAN AND MICHAEL MOLONEY DISCUSS 'HAMLET'..
Director of Photography - Roger Lanser
 Assistant Director - Simon Mosely
  Music by Jimmy Yuill
   Screenplay by Kenneth Brannagh
      Edited by Neil Farrell
          Produced by David Barron
             Directed by Kenneth Brannagh
                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MARGERITE DISCUSSES THE FINER POINT OF CASTING
The show must go on for Joe Harper.. What with girlfriend problems... Not to mention lack of work... he decides to stage his own production of 'Hamlet'.. But it is no easy task, as he searches for a suitable cast and location. It's a race against time to get the production up and running, in time for Christmas.. Everything that can go wrong..does! In an empty church.. With an unlikely cast.. It's curtain up.. In The Bleak Midwinter!!
(c) 1995 SONY  98MINS  B/W DVD / WARNER ARCHIVE
RECENT DVD FROM WARNER ARCHIVE
Joan loved the script of this labour of love piece by Kenneth Brannagh, who financed the film himself. Joan was paid very little to appear in the film, but as her role was that of an assertive agent, she gladly accepted. Her father Joe had been an agent to the stars, looking after Roger Moore, Dorothy Squires and Shirley Bassey, she was delighted to portray such a character. Brannagh intended to make a film along the lines of the classic early Ealing comedies.
Kenneth commented...
"I don't want any of the major studios telling me what I can or can't do anymore. When I was making 'Frankenstein'. it was a total nightmare! One person would say one thing, then someone else would contradict it. They wanted total control."
Brannagh decided to make the film in b/w on instinct, as he had enjoyed many back stage movies including '42nd Street' and the old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney films, they suited that look. He was a fan of the Woody Allen films that were shot in b/w.
JOAN AND JENNIFER SAUNDERS INHALE A HAMLET!
Kenneth had met Joan at the premiere of 'Frankenstein', they both got on very well together. While casting 'Midwinter', he recalled their conversation and offered her the role..
"We talked about possibly working together.. I often like to cast people who may seem surprising in certain roles. I wanted someone with a real sense of showbiz. That everything that Joe thinks that he wants, is represented by somebody, in this case Joan Collins. That's very easy because she does represent tremendous glamour and a sense of showbiz. But I was rather terrified about working with her to begin with, but found her to be a sweety."
JOAN WITH KENNETH AT THE LONDON PREMIERE.
Joan's co-star Michael Moloney also had great admiration for her.
"She was terrific. She has extraordinary film technique. Extraordinary durability. I mean, she's very, very hardworking. If you consider she is always in the public eye, she also attracts, as a result, a great deal of negativity, a great deal of opposition, usually from her own community, rather than abroad. She has that sort of immense staying power, which I would question if I have it or not! She is able to be and act that throughout her career, whereas many others would have destroyed themselves. For me that is just admirable, absolutely admirable and it was a pleasure to work with her."
UK VIDEO SLEEVE
The film was shown at the 1995 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Osella Award for Kenneth Brannagh as director. It was also nominated for a Golden Lion Award.
VARIETY .....
"A 'lets put on a show' approach is brought to a provincial church production of 'Hamlet', to deleterious effect in 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. Further evidence that Kenneth Brannagh treads into the 20th century on screen at his own peril. This small scale, putatively comic meditation on the anxieties and joy of the theatrical life says nothing fresh about the artistic process and manages to be coy and grating in doing so. Lack of amusement value and largely no name cast, coupled with deceptive title, spells a bleak B.O season indeed!"
SIGNED SCREENPLAY BOOK
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE ....
"After making 'A Midwinter's Tale', the story of a desperate actor determined to mount a ragtag production of 'Hamlet'. Kenneth Brannagh himself admitted his debt to the old Rooney/Garland movies about a spunky bunch of kids who put on a show using nothing but talent, drive and good morals. He owes an equal debt to Woody Allen, whose stark white on black title sequence he borrowed from. Joan Collins plays the sneering agent and is perfect in the role. She keeps the creaky plot turning, still the performances by the cast, who seem to be having a good time, talking at screwball comedy speed, chewing the scenery and taking pratfalls. Making you want to run out and put on a show!"
The film was retitled 'A Midwinter's Tale' in the USA and was well received. It is a charming film, with weird and wonderful characters, Joan is as stylish and highly watchable as ever. Perfect viewing for a cold winters evening!
(C) 2011  Mark McMorrow ...


PHOTO OF THE DAY : IT'S IN THE CANNES FOR JOAN AND KENNETH!

To tie in with my 90's focus feature on 'In The Bleak Midwinter'.. Here is a photo of Joan with Kenneth when they presented the film at The Cannes Film Festival.....

ON THE COVER REVISITED : WOMAN'S OWN ... MAY 1982 ..

This cover heralded a feature on Joan's inspirational book 'Katy A Fight For Life'.. Which was Joan's diary chronicling Katy's battle after her tragic accident, which left her in a coma.. Due to Joan's determination and her positive attitude, Katy pulled through....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

BETWEEN THE COVERS : JOAN'S THE TOAST OF THE 80'S!

As Joan has been celebrating the 30th Anniversary of 'Dynasty'.. Here is an exerpt from a 2001 coffee table book issued by People magazine entitled - 'Celebrate The 80'S' .. They asked Joan to write an introduction to the book.. Here is an edited version of that intro..

"Fast cars, gorgeous clothes, luxurious holdays, the 80's were the decade of total excess, which 'Dynasty' epitomised. The credo was, if you've got it, flaunt it. 'Dynasty' had it. On the set we would use only fresh flowers, the finest caviar, Baccaret crystal, Limoges dishes, as well as real silver, linen and lace sheets. We wanted to depict a lifestyle people had not seen on TV before. Michael Douglas captured the mood of the times brilliantly in his "Greed Is Good", speech in Wall Street. I've seen that movie about nine times. It annoys me when people whinge about 'the vulgar gaudy 80's' and the hideousness of the clothes. The clothes were certainly not hideous. I have endless photograph albums of my friends and myself at parties, dinners and on the beach, where everyone looks great. It's not even a question of dressing up, it's a question of dressing well, and that doesn't happen today. The age of glamour and good grooming is gone. As a symbol of all that was rapacious and unabashed in the 80's, Alexis was hugh fun to portray. She wasn't particularly over the top at first. I wore some rather prim clothes, actually little blouses, rather like Princess Diana, before we found the Alexis look, which was big shoulders, a lot of cleavage, tight short skirts with extremely high heels, masses of jewelry, big hair and supreme confidence. At one point I said "I'm not wearing this little tweed suit with the boxy jacket and the little mink collar, thank you very much." Nolan Miller 'Dynasty's' wonderful costume designer, had worked with Lana Turner, Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck. These women knew what they wanted, sartorially speaking. So he was pleased that I was so interested in what I was wearing and how the character should look.
JOAN LOOKS AT DESIGNS WITH NOLAN
I used to spend Saturdays schmoozing around Neiman Marcus and Saks, telling the sales-women, "Hold this. And this. And this. And this!" Then Monday at the studio there would be a rack of clothes that the wardrobe designer had picked up for me. Once they realized I knew what I was talking about, they went along whatever I suggested.
I had some concern that I would be attacked by somebody because Alexis was so devilish. But I used to say. "Blake has murdered two people. Alexis hasn't killed anyone, so why is she the baddie? She just does what all men do in business, which is to be vindictive, manipulative and devious." Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean, probably wasn't the nicest woman on the block, but she certainly created an empire. Roger Moore, a big fan of the show, often called me to ask... "Joanie, how could you do that to poor Cecil Colby?". Cecil Colby was Blake's oil tycoon rival, who had a heart attack while we were making love, in one scene. I could not stop laughing between takes, because his toupee kept falling off!
A lot of the female characters on 'Dynasty' were saying, " I'm feminine and I'm sexy, but don't mess with me in business. I can have it all, the children, the job, the power, the clothes and the hairstyles." But I always thought Krystle was a total wimp. She was so goody two shoes. I don't happen to dig people like that. And I think Linda felt Alexis was overly ballsy and vicious. When Diahann Carroll came in as Dominique Deveraux, she said... "I'm going to be the first black bitch on television." She started to dress in the higher of haute couture. But Aaron Spelling told Nolan.. "Alexis is the one who has to have the most over the top clothes!" That's when my wardrobe went haywire. My clothes had to outdo Diahann's in flashiness. Sometimes they could look ludicrous.

  The 80's were full of larger than life personalities and I am fortunate to have met many of them. Michael Jackson came on the set in about 1982 or 1983. He was so shy, he just stood in a corner for hours, watching and did not say a word. No one was more closely scrutinized in the 80's than Prince Charles and Princess Diana. I first met them in Palm Beach in 1984. Armand Hammer was hosting a charity ball. Diana was sweet, tall and willowy, with eyes the most amazing shade of blue. In 1984 I visited Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House, which was glamorous beyond belief.

This may surprise you but Margaret Thatcher was a physically attractive woman. A lot of politicians fancied her. She was a man's woman, but friendly enought to women. If your house was falling down, Maggie would probably say.. "Go buy yourself some bricks and mortar and get on a ladder and fix it yourself!" .. Which is the way I feel about life. You are responsible for your own desting. You do it yourself. You don't wait for other people to do it for you!

(c) 2001 ..JOAN COLLINS

ON THE COVER REVISITED : WOMAN'S REALM .. FEBRUARY 1994 ..

This Woman's Realm cover features Joan in a shot taken in a shoot for her book 'My Secrets' which was published at that time and was a hugh best seller... ..

PHOTO OF THE DAY : JOAN'S IN FULL BLOOM...

This recent promo shot of Joan looking fab as always, is one I have not featured before...

Friday, July 29, 2011

ON THE COVER UPDATE!! THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN.. 2011

Here is a sneak peak at the revised cover for Joan's new book 'The World According To Joan' out in September... Thanks to Joan for sharing this first look.. When I get a full image will post....

PHOTO OF THE DAY : JOAN RESTS HER SEA LEGS OVER BREAKFAST!


As Joan is currently relaxing in the South Of France, here she is a few years ago, catching up with the news with a  biccy and a coffee..

ON THE COVER REVISITED : WOMAN'S REALM ... SEPTEMBER 1990 ..

This cover from UK Woman's Realm magazine, features Joan who was appearing in 'Private Lives' at The Aldwch in London at that time...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ON THE COVER REVISITED : WOMAN'S WORLD ... OCTOBER 1988 ..


This issue of Woman's World magazine features Joan on the cover to herald a feature to promote her first novel 'Prime Time'...

PHOTO OF THE DAY : FEMME FATALE JOAN!


This wonderful photo features Joan as Helene Junot in the mini-series 'Sins'.. This was a fashion shoot in the series, as Helene was a top model in her younger days..

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PHOTO OF THE DAY EXTRA : CAPRICE GARNERS BEAUTY SECRETS FROM LEGENDARY GLAMOUR QUEEN!

This exclusive photo features Joan earlier today as she lunched aboard tycoon Steve Wynn's magnificent yacht 'Aquarius' in St Tropez... Joan spent some time with supermodel buisness woman Caprice... Thanks to Joan for sharing this photo..

PHOTO OF THE DAY : VAT'S OUR GIRL JOAN!

This fun shot see's Joan taking time out during a visit to a local winery in the South Of France...

ON THE COVER REVISITED : YOU MAGAZINE .. DECEMBER 1984 ..

This cover see's Joan as Eve from the famous Life Magazine spread in which Joan portrayed famous women through the ages...This magazine featured images from the shoot...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ON THE COVER REVISITED : YOU MAGAZINE .... SEPTEMBER 1987 .

Joan looks a hip chick in this photograph on the cover of You magazine from 1987...

PHOTO OF THE DAY : JOAN STAYS ON THE SIDELINES LEARNING FOOTBALLERS LINES!

This rare photo features Joan with the crew, taking a break on set of the ITV series 'Footballers Wives' in which she guest starred as looney buisnesswoman Eva De Woolfe in 2005....

Monday, July 25, 2011

DVD ALERT : GURNEY IS NEWLY ON DVD SOON!

Just to mention that the rare 1960 tv series 'The Strange World Of Gurney Slade' starring the late Anthony Newley will be released on dvd for the first time next month.. Anthony of course was married to Joan in the 1960's and was the father of Tara and Sacha, two of Joan's children... You can order this dvd from a link on the sidebar.. A special screening of the dvd will be at the BFI in London on August 11th, with special guests in attendance, including actress Annika Wills....

PHOTO OF THE DAY : WILLING JOAN IS FULL OF GRACE!

This stylish shot was taken for TV Guide to promote Joan's appearance on an episode of the sitcom 'Will & Grace' in 2000..

ON THE COVER REVISITED : YOU SEPTEMBER 2009 ..

I have featured many magazine covers ever since I started the blog and although all of them are in the archived posts, I have got a few mails asking to repost some of them.. So have decided to repost some of Joan's covers on a regular basis.. This cover from 2009 features a stylish Joan from the 1950's with her poodle.. This image was on the cover to herald a feature on a coffee table book of portraits featuring stars and their pets!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PROMO EXTRA : JOAN'S A LEICESTER SQUARE GIRL!


Here is a look at the new flyer/poster for Joan's show at The Leicester Square Theatre... Thanks to David for the images, featuring wonderful shots by Joan's current favourite photographer Fadil Berisha.. see his wonderful work at http://www.fadilberisha.com/ ..

PHOTO OF THE DAY : JOAN IS THE LADY WHO LUNCHES WITH DAVID!

This rare photo from the 90's features Joan with music mogul David Geffen, when she visited him for lunch....

BETWEEN THE COVERS : JOAN WAS NEWLEY WED AFTER SHE MET LESLIE!

This weeks exerpt featuring Joan, is from the 2006 auto-biography 'The Music Man' by legendary songwriter Leslie Bricusse, who along with his glamorous wife Evie (aka- Hammer star Yvonne Romain) are two of Joan's closest friends. Joan first met Leslie after she became introduced to Anthony Newley as you will find out in the exerpt from the book. Leslie is updating the book at present and a revised edition should be out soon! This exerpt is edited..


JOAN WITH ANTHONY, LESLIE, EVIE AND SAMMY DAVIS..
'On Monday evening in late September, Evie and I were sitting in Newberg's (Anthony Newley), dressing room after the show,(Stop the World, I want To Get Off.).. We were waiting to go and have supper with Sammy at The White Elephant, when the theatre manager ushered in a couple of celebrities from the audience the handsome American actor Robert Wagner and the extremely dishy Joan Collins. It was an instant classic Hollywood scenario. We had met Joan at the last Royal Command Performance a few months before, with her then fiance Warren Beatty. Since then they had broken up and he was now with Natalie Wood, which had contributed to Natalie's divorce from Robert Wagner! So now here was Joan and RJ, as he was known. They both adored the show, Joan in particular. Just how much became evident two days later when out of a clear blue sky she called Evie, having got our number from God knows where and announced that she had found out that this coming Saturday was Tony Newley's birthday, she would like to give him a birthday supper at The White Elephant for about a dozen people after the show and would Evie please assemble Tony's closest friends for the occasion?
PRIVATE PHOTO OF JOAN AND LESLIE
Evie did so, we all enjoyed a jolly evening together, Joan moved in with Newley that night and that was that. I don't think poor old Newberg ever knew what hit him! A truck could not have done a better job, but then very few trucks look as good or move as fast as Joan Collins, when she has her foot on the pedal. And Newley as I say was run over in spectacular fashion! Joan then as now was an irrestible force. Together they made a spectacular couple and the four of us promptly embarked upon the best four way friendship I have ever known any four people to enjoy. We were all the right age, in the right place, at the right time. The four of us were as inseparable as our busy lives allowed. Joanie was filming, Evie was filming, Newley was doing everything under the sun and Bernie Delfont invited me to collaborate with Wolf Mankowitz and Cyril Ornadel on a new musical to star Harry Secombe as Pickwick. In January, Joanie returned to California and when Newley's two week vacation from 'Stop The World', rolled around in February, she invited him to spend it with her out there. Evie and I saw him off at Heathrow Airport, Newley grumbled that we should be going with him and ten minutes after our emotional farewell, the expression on Tony's face when we walked on to the plane to join him was worth the price of the air fare. It was our first ever Boeing 707 polar flight, London to Los Angeles non-stop. It was Evie's 24th birthday and what Joannie organised for us in the ensuing two weeks showed us more of the Beverly Hills and Hollywood lifestyle than we have witnessed in the 40 years since. Joannie loves and epitomises glamour and she ladled it out to us in huge helpings. The four of us shared a gorgeous little Hollywood Hills house just off the Sunset Strip and the three newly arrived jet-lagged travellers sat open-mouthed listening to Joan rattling off our itinerary for the next 12 days. She then put us through the Hollywood equivalent of a Marine assault course, with herself as the drill sergeant. In those 12 days we had a welcoming dinner party at a beach house in Malibu... A day at Disneyland .. Four days in Palm Springs, where Joanie and Evie fell in love with the innocent looking pineapple rum drinks at Don the Beachcomber's restaurant, got completely legless and had to be carried home!  Three days in Las Vegas at Sammy Davis's guests at The Sands Hotel, where each night he sang the songs from 'Stop The World' and introduced us to the audience. Then after his midnight show around 2.30am he was joined on stage in the Copa Room by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford and we witnessed the now famous Rat Pack Summit Meetings..
JOAN WITH EVIE AND LESLIE RECENTLY IN PALM SPRINGS
 We also dined at Joan's favourite hot-shot Beverly Hills restaurants, Chasens and La Scala, as well as her cheap dives on Sunset Strip and three parties at her house for her longstanding circle of Hollywood chums which included Tony and Judy Franciosa and Paul and Joanne Newman. When Joanie finally poured us back on to the London bound plane 12 days later, we were considerably more exhausted than when we arrived. But the glow from that glorious long ago Hollywood initiation of fire is still visible.


(c) 2006 LESLIE BRICUSSE ...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

PHOTO OF THE DAY EXTRA : JOAN MAKES AN ALL STAR APPEARANCE ..

Last weekend Joan appeared on the BBC entertainment show 'Lee Mack's All Star Cast'.. I did feature a clip from the show at that time, but here is a still featuring Joan on set with host Lee Mack and guest comedian Ross Noble....

PHOTO OF THE DAY : JOAN IS ALL PEACHY AS SHE REVISITS VALENTINO!

Finishing of a week of photo's celebrating 'Dynasty's' 30th Anniversary, here is the last shot from the current issue of HELLO! magaine..Joan found this fabulous outfit from 1985..
"This pale peach chiffon blouse and matching chiffon and sequin skirt by Valentino, looks so good that I plan to take it back to the South of France and wear it to a party!"

90'S FOCUS : DECADENCE ... 1994

MAYFAIR ENTERTAINMENT
Presents

 A CAPITOL FILMS RELEASE
DECADENCE
Starring
JOAN COLLINS as Helen / Sybil
STEVEN BERKOFF as Steve / Les
TERENCE BEESLEY as Givanni
With The Entourage
CHRISTOPHER BIGGINS
MICHAEL WINNER
MARC SINDEN
EDWARD DUKE
ROBERT LONGDON
DAVID ALDER
TIM DRY
IMOGEN BAIN
BILL DUNBAR
SUSSANAH MORLEY
VERONICA LANG
MATILDA ZIEGLER
HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE INVITE
Director of Photography - Denis Lenoir
 Art Director - Wilbert Vandrop / Ulli Hanisch
   Music by Stewart Copeland
    Screenplay by Steven Berkoff From his own Stage Play
      Edited by John Wilson
       Produced by Lance W Reynolds / Christopher Habnheiser
             Directed by Steven Berkoff
                                          ~~~~~~~
Helen is upper class, who is having an affair with Steve, who has attended the right schools and is married to Sybil, the daughter of an East End scrap merchant! However Sybil is aware of Steve's affair and is intent on revenge, to the point of hiring Les, an East End private investigator, to follow his every move. Sybil starts an affair with Les, her plot to destroy Steve thickens! Will Helen and Steve survive to continue their decadent lifestyle? Will Sybil finally get her jealous revenge? Will Les overthrow the upper classes? Degenerate.. Disgusting.. Deliciously Funny! It's pure Decadence!!
 (c) 1994 CAPITOL FILMS  116 MINS   COLOUR ...
Steven Berkoff adapted his popular stage play into this highly entertaining film in which he co-stars with Joan to make a memorable pairing. Steven's regular theatre partner Linda Marlowe was his first choice to play the lead role, as she had on stage, however the producers insisted on a more starrier name. Helen Mirren and Miranda Richardson were in the frame, but were rejected, with Diana Rigg turning down the film.. Steven had also sent the scripts to several actresses whom he thought might be suitable, however many of them refused to read the script or in some cases, couldn't read it! Joan was also a little reluctant at first about it as she found the dialogue a little salty and the rhyming slang dialogue hard to master. Steven however read through the script with her at her Belgravia flat, finally persuading her to do it.

JOAN IN THE FASHION SCENE
Steven recalled....
" Joan filtered through my mind when I wrote it. I wanted someone with extraordinary sexual powers, enormous magnetism. The character I created was of such an exotic nature, a bizarre combination of a woman who was very arrogant, very elegant, someone who was accustomed to this life. Joan was one of the very few actresses you might find hanging about in England who I felt could play Helen, she did it so well, the film is a remarkable tribute to her talent."
Joan is exceptional in the dual roles of Helen and Sybil, as she goes from elegant to tawdry.. She found it difficult at times working with Berkoff, who incidentally co-starred with her in the lavish 1985 mini-series 'Sins'. But she did admire him as an actor and had only good things to say about him...
"When Steven asked me to do the part, I was taken aback when I read the script. I thought it would be terribly difficult to do and I did not see myself in it. But after Steven came to my flat and read through it with me, I got an inkling of how it could work. He is an enormous genius. I think a great many actresses in England would give their eye tooth to do this part. I am just a jobbing actress who takes on parts I like!"

JOAN AS HELEN IN THE FASHION SCENE
The film had a budget of £1.3 million and was financed by money from Germany and Luxembourg. It was shot in Luxembourg at a small studio in Cheam. It was so compact that filming had to be halted anytime it rained, as the rain drummed on the corrugated roof and even nearby construction work played havoc with the soundtrack! Filming was also done at an old RAF hanger near Dusseldorf. Joan was happy with the finished film and commented.

"In general, the material I've had as an actress had not been very good throughout my entire career. That is why I am happy with 'Decadence', because the material is there and I do a pretty good job with it. But I do have a certain pride in that I started as a teenager and I'm still working. I can't really think of many actors or actresses that have done that. It's something that I am not given a lot of kudos for."

UK VIDEO SLEEVE
'Decadence' was not a commercial success as it was labelled an art house film. But it did get a release in the USA, although the American release was considerably shorter than the original cut. Originally running almost two hours, it was shortened to eighty eight minutes.. The full version was available as a video release from Curzon Films in the 90's.. Although not available for years, Steven Berkoff recently approved a DVD release through his own website, given viewers a chance to see this unique and most watchable production..
 DVD RELEASE COVER
The recent dvd release issued by Steven Berkoff's East Productions is the shorter American print.. Check out http://www.stevenberkoff.com/ to order it....Well worth seeking out!

(c) 2011  Mark McMorrow...