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At the Connaught

Robert Morley

5 May 1983
An Orderly Man 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Chatto, 291 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 7011 2659 0
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... It depends, I suppose, on what you thought of the film Death in Venice. What does? What you think of DirkBogarde’s new book An Orderly Man, Chatto, £8.95. Worth it? When you think of what a meal costs, yes it’s worth it. Well-written? Extremely. Like the first two. A postillion Struck by Lighting and ...


Sylvia Clayton

5 April 1984
Something Out There 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Cape, 203 pp., £8.50, March 1984, 0 224 02189 3
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My Search for Warren Harding 
by Robert Plunket.
Robin Clark, 247 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 86072 071 3
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West of Sunset 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Allen Lane, 248 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 9780713916324
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... or E.M. Forster, to the creatures of her imagination. It is foolhardy of her, though, to take on Kafka, whose work remains a set text for any examination on the 20th century. Both Robert Plunket and DirkBogarde tell tall tales from Los Angeles, where, as Mr Bogarde says in his foreword, anything can happen and anything and everything does. My Search for Warren Harding, Mr Plunket’s first novel, is ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Servant’

9 May 2013
The Servant 
directed by Joseph Losey.
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... As regards these questions we are as much in the dark as ever, even with an elegant new Blu-Ray print to look at. This enduring darkness is the combined achievement of Losey, Harold Pinter and DirkBogarde, but it can’t have been certain from the start that the combination would work, because each of the three specialises in a different, potentially conflicting act. Losey is always a stylist, often ...
21 November 1991
Almost a Gentleman. An Autobiography: Vol. II 1955-66 
by John Osborne.
Faber, 273 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 571 16261 4
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... and had a long career, much of it in B-movies; it’s interesting to think that John Osborne might have enjoyed it in his stead. Osborne as the fourth intern in Doctor in the House, alongside DirkBogarde, Kenneth More and Donald Sinden ... Osborne as a Spartan, as a rugby fan, as Dr Watson ... He would, you feel, have snarled a hole in the screen. A Better Class of Person is written with the tautness ...

Meaningless Legs

Frank Kermode: John Gielgud

21 June 2001
Gielgud: A Theatrical Life 1904-2000 
by Jonathan Croall.
Methuen, 579 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 413 74560 0
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John G.: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud 
by Sheridan Morley.
Hodder, 510 pp., £20, May 2001, 0 340 36803 9
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John Gielgud: An Actor’s Life 
by Gyles Brandreth.
Sutton, 196 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 7509 2752 6
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... apart. They are of much the same size, bear handsome pictures of the actor in old age on the front of their dust-jackets, and are, inevitably, affectionate and indulgent towards their subject. As DirkBogarde remarked when Croall consulted him about the work in hand, ‘everybody adored him, so the book might make rather flat reading.’ Morley’s title emphasises that his version is authorised ...


P.N. Furbank

1 April 1982
You, You and You: The People Out of Step with World War Two 
by Pete Grafton.
Pluto, 169 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 9780861043606
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... recollections of those years. The motivation for doing this was the knowledge that there was a sizable gulf between the British war films that I had been fed on as a schoolboy (Kenneth More, DirkBogarde and Jack Hawkins equipped with Tootal cravats and stiff upper lips against the might of the Nazi war machine) and the often uncritical television documentaries and nostalgic Second World War ...
15 May 1980
The Echo Chamber 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Harvester, 154 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 85527 807 2
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by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 160 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 575 02762 2
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Kingdom Come 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Secker, 352 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 436 06714 5
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A Gentle Occupation 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Chatto, 360 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 7011 2505 5
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Innocent Blood 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 276 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 571 11566 7
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... like to think so.’ Java in 1945, the end of the war, the end of colonialism and the advent of ‘extremists’, is pictured in A Gentle Occupation in remarkable detail – a feat of memory on DirkBogarde’s part. If there are possible inaccuracies – was ‘camp’ ever so flaunted in an Indian Division at the time? – this may not be inadvertent, but the result of processing memory into a novel ...

Boofy’s Bill

Alex Harvey

18 September 1997
... a documentary to mark the 30th anniversary of the legalisation of homosexuality, I was struck by the very Victorian restrictions on the lives of gay men in the Sixties. Victim, the film in which DirkBogarde plays a married barrister blackmailed because of his affair with a young man, had once seemed merely melodramatic – and hard to reconcile with more usual images of Sixties permissiveness ...

Lost in Beauty

Michael Newton: Montgomery Clift

7 October 2010
The Passion of Montgomery Clift 
by Amy Lawrence.
California, 333 pp., £16.95, May 2010, 978 0 520 26047 4
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... life in his screen persona. Yet in the glare of later revelations, it can at times seem as though all his work can be explained by his concealed passion for men. Clift could be seen as the American DirkBogarde, both 1950s poster boys with something to hide. There’s the beguiling possibility that, had he lived, Clift might have taken on roles that drew more directly on his sexual identity, as ...
12 November 1987
For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... antagonism to common humanity’, is loathsome. He holds this view strongly, as we’ve seen, and it accounts for his view of Lowell (‘irresponsible obscurity’) as well as for his praise of DirkBogarde (‘irresistible’), Edward Blishen (‘lose no time in starting’ to read him), D.J. Enright (‘a champion of ordinary existence against the whimsies of the over-educated’) and Craig ...
16 October 1997
Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... sales plummeted. Although circulation never fell below 20,000, for a time it looked as though the magazine would sink. Peter scurried round friends and admirers in the literary and theatrical worlds (DirkBogarde, Jane Asher, Lord Faringdon and others) and drummed up another crucial few hundred pounds for the Eye. These people then became ‘shareholders’, though most of them never claimed a ...


Robert Irwin: The Best Thing since Sex

2 December 1993
... perhaps my day on skates has presented me with an accurate allegory of my life, as I glide effortlessly on well-oiled wheels through place after place, almost always alone. Whatever. I have heard DirkBogarde describe the period between sunset and the failing of the light as l’heure verte. Before the melancholy of the green hour has time to steal upon me, I return to the word-processor. At last ...
24 June 1993
Daphne du Maurier 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 455 pp., £17.99, March 1993, 0 7011 3699 5
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... hindsight rather than of prescience, which weakened it (‘I always thought we went a bridge too far’), but it was the conclusive line. Lady Browning was not satisfied, however; according to her, DirkBogarde, playing her husband, said it in a murmur. On his retirement from the Army Boy was appointed Comptroller of Princess Elizabeth’s household and spent the rest of his working life at Court ...


Diana Stone: Nightmares in Harare

7 March 2019
... t disinfect the water, but the taste is much improved. I vow to add gin to all my drinking water on returning home.My grandmother, as the music swells over the final minutes of Death in Venice, and DirkBogarde lies, dying and alone, on a deckchair on the sand: ‘Didn’t we used to have chairs rather like that?’My grandmother, watching a protracted sex scene in a gangster film: ‘And to think I ...

Trying to Make Decolonisation Look Good

Bernard Porter: The End of Empire

2 August 2007
Britain’s Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation, 1918-68 
by Ronald Hyam.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £17.99, February 2007, 978 0 521 68555 9
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The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 559 pp., August 2007, 978 0 7139 9830 6
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Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain’s Asian Empire 
by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper.
Allen Lane, 673 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 7139 9782 8
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... I can hardly believe,’ wrote one official turned away from the Naafi in postwar Singapore because he was Chinese, ‘that racial discrimination still exists.’ One young army captain (later DirkBogarde) recalled, on his arrival in Calcutta in 1945, seeing an Indian porter being beaten by ‘a fat, ginger-haired, moustached, red-faced stocky little major … Screaming. Thrashing at the ...

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