Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Quartet 1948

I have seen Quartet before in my childhood in 1948 when RC Sherriff collaborated with Somerset Maugham to bring four  of his short stories to the screen, later extend in Trio and Encore. The stories were portrayed by an extraordinary array of  stars, many in  the making/

In the Fats of Life Jack Watling is a teenage Tennis player who goes on his own to a Tennis tournament in Monte Carlo with his  parents (Angela Badderly and Basil) Radford warn him against women, gambling and lending money to strangers which he does when he meets Mai Zetterling at the casino where he wins substantially and take a sofa  at her flat when it is too late to return to the hotel. She takes his money  thinking he is asleep  placing in a vase which he takes back only to find that there is significantly more than his own. And the moral is? James Robertson Justice, Naughton Wayne and the creator of Bond Ian Fleming also have parts.

In The Alien Corn  Dirk Bogarde plays a  young man of a good family who shocks his parents on his birthday announcing he wants to become a professional pianist. His cousin played by Honor Blackman proposes an acceptable compromise in which Bogarde goes to study in Paris for two years at the end of which an independent expert will say if he is good enough to become a soloist. The man congratulates on his technical abilities but declares he lacks virtuoso talent. He kills himself while cleaning a revolver. The Inquest concludes  the death was accidental. Was it?

George  Cole, Hermoine Badderly, Susan Shaw, Mervin Johns and Bernard Lee star in the Kite. George and his father have spent their free time flying kites, a hobby which he continues when he marries much to the dismay of his bride. When his wife destroys his latest kite he not only moves back home to the delight of his mother in particular who dislikes he wife, but refuses maintenance which leads to his imprisonment. A prison visitor on learning the story takes upon himself to resolve the situation so that when Cole leaves the prison he finds that his wife, Susan Shaw, is on the common flying a kite.

In the fourth story, The Colonel’s Lady Cecil Parker as the Colonel discovers via a copy provided by his mistress that his wife has written an audacious and successful book of poems about a passionate relationship with a younger man He learns that the poems must have been based on a real affair in which according to the book, the young man dies. Reluctant to raise the subject with his wife at first he eventually learns that the poem about himself as the death is that of their love.  Others in the piece are Nora Swinburne, Felix Aylmer and Wilfred Howard White.

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