60s Icons Talking Pictures


60s Icons

Sylvia Syms explores the BBC's archives and chooses a selection of rarely seen interviews that tell the story of the acting stars who made 60s Britain swing.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 60s Icons. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Terry meets Julie.

0:00:160:00:18

Waterloo station.

0:00:180:00:20

Every Friday night.

0:00:200:00:21

Terry also shares a flat with Michael.

0:00:230:00:25

Who is an understudy for Peter.

0:00:280:00:30

And chases the same girls as another Peter.

0:00:320:00:35

And is also good friends with Sean.

0:00:360:00:41

None of these actors had been famous in the 1950s.

0:00:410:00:45

All were international stars in the '60s

0:00:450:00:49

thanks to films like Dr No and Dr Strangelove and Doctor Zhivago.

0:00:490:00:54

And whilst the swinging London of the 1960s

0:00:560:00:59

may have partly been a media created myth,

0:00:590:01:04

there was definitely a sense that everyone who was anyone

0:01:040:01:08

knew everybody else.

0:01:080:01:12

These young British actors would become iconic figures

0:01:120:01:15

who symbolised the decade,

0:01:150:01:18

leaving the film world shaken and stirred.

0:01:180:01:22

I admire your luck.

0:01:220:01:24

-Mr?

-Bond.

0:01:240:01:26

James Bond.

0:01:280:01:29

Sean Connery was the Bond bombshell

0:01:330:01:36

and perhaps the most iconic of the lot.

0:01:360:01:40

He was the cinema's hottest ticket of the '60s.

0:01:410:01:45

And by the time of 1964's Goldfinger, it was Connery

0:01:450:01:49

who seemed to be the man with the Midas touch.

0:01:490:01:53

A few minutes ago you were having a pretty tough time, I saw,

0:01:530:01:56

in a dungeon. I'm glad you've fought your way out to talk to us.

0:01:560:01:59

Do you find this side of filming particularly strenuous?

0:01:590:02:01

Well, no more strenuous than some of the digs I was in in Manchester.

0:02:010:02:05

No, it's all pretty well worked out.

0:02:080:02:09

It's not advisable on top of a heavy breakfast.

0:02:100:02:13

Or a hangover. Otherwise it's all right.

0:02:130:02:16

This is your third James Bond picture.

0:02:160:02:18

I'm sure that as far as picture goers are concerned

0:02:180:02:20

they could see more and more, but how do you feel about this yourself?

0:02:200:02:23

I think it's splendid. I think it's very good entertainment.

0:02:240:02:28

They obviously like it. And one every year, 14 months,

0:02:280:02:31

is a, sort of, good healthy issue rate.

0:02:310:02:35

Now James Bond really conjures up a picture of blondes,

0:02:350:02:38

bullets and booze.

0:02:380:02:39

Do you find that people expect you to be like this in real life?

0:02:390:02:42

I don't meet a great deal of people, really.

0:02:460:02:48

I've been so busy. I'm on my fourth film in one year,

0:02:480:02:50

so the chances of meeting people are pretty remote.

0:02:500:02:53

And other than going to the theatre,

0:02:530:02:55

or going out to a restaurant to eat or something, or driving somewhere,

0:02:550:03:00

I leave the house at seven in the morning

0:03:000:03:03

and get back at seven at night. So the chances of boozing with blondes

0:03:030:03:06

and bullets are pretty remote.

0:03:060:03:08

Connery made spying sexy and sophisticated.

0:03:120:03:16

But in 1965, Bond producer Harry Saltzman thought a less glamorous

0:03:160:03:22

alternative to 007 could also prove profitable.

0:03:220:03:27

And so the Harry Palmer series was born.

0:03:280:03:32

Saltzman cast Michael Caine as an everyman hero who was down to earth,

0:03:320:03:38

even down, and wore specs instead of a tux.

0:03:380:03:43

Morning.

0:03:450:03:47

'The hero is not necessarily a man who is six foot three and can

0:03:470:03:49

ride a horse and shoot a gun straight and all this sort of thing.

0:03:490:03:54

The hero is just anybody who does something heroic.

0:03:540:03:57

What I was was just anybody who didn't even bother

0:03:580:04:02

to do anything heroic

0:04:020:04:04

and was just against the normal type of screen hero that one saw.

0:04:040:04:09

As a young man, sitting there, with glasses, very thin, rather pimply,

0:04:090:04:14

I used to watch the screen and all the men were so big and broad

0:04:140:04:18

and suntanned and handsome

0:04:180:04:19

that they were actually insulting the people they were aimed at,

0:04:190:04:24

which was namely me, and I like to think of myself,

0:04:240:04:27

as complementing the people I'm aimed at.

0:04:270:04:30

Is that my B107, sir?

0:04:300:04:32

As if you didn't know.

0:04:320:04:33

And it makes awful reading, Palmer.

0:04:340:04:36

You just love the Army, don't you?

0:04:370:04:39

Oh, yes, sir, I just love the Army, sir.

0:04:390:04:42

I was in a restaurant and Harry Saltzman,

0:04:420:04:44

who was the partner of Cubby Broccoli in making the Bonds,

0:04:440:04:47

came in. And he sent a note over, it said,

0:04:470:04:50

"Would you have a drink with me?" So, I went over.

0:04:500:04:52

He said, "Have you read The Ipcress File?"

0:04:520:04:54

I said, "I'm reading it now. Isn't it great?"

0:04:540:04:57

He said, "Would you like a part in it?" I said, "Yeah."

0:04:570:05:00

And he wanted to make a spy who was a bit more really like a real spy.

0:05:000:05:05

I've played a lot of winners who look like losers.

0:05:050:05:08

Harry Palmer looked like a loser.

0:05:090:05:11

You knew he wasn't going to go up against the Russians

0:05:110:05:13

and win for Pete's sake, but he did. But, I mean,

0:05:130:05:16

we carried it to such an extent that we scared the executives.

0:05:160:05:19

First of all, I wore glasses.

0:05:220:05:24

You know. And then I'm shopping in a supermarket for button mushrooms.

0:05:240:05:28

And everybody's going, oh, so sissy.

0:05:280:05:30

Champignon.

0:05:300:05:33

You're paying 10p more for a fancy French label.

0:05:330:05:36

If you want button mushrooms you'll get better value on the next shelf.

0:05:360:05:40

It's not just the label.

0:05:400:05:41

These do have a better flavour.

0:05:410:05:43

-Of course.

-You're quite a gourmet, aren't you, Palmer?

0:05:430:05:46

And then, the final straw was when I cooked a meal for the girl.

0:05:460:05:50

You're very professional.

0:05:550:05:57

Yeah, so are you.

0:05:570:05:59

Do you need all that?

0:06:020:06:04

Well, it's as easy to cook for two as it is for one.

0:06:040:06:06

I thought you might join me.

0:06:060:06:08

No, thanks.

0:06:100:06:11

I'm not hungry.

0:06:120:06:13

Bond was the spy as a hero.

0:06:150:06:18

The Ipcress File and the Harry Palmer series

0:06:190:06:22

was the spy as victim.

0:06:220:06:23

How he equated me with Harry Palmer, I don't know,

0:06:230:06:27

but I think what he liked was I wore glasses.

0:06:270:06:29

He wanted a hero with glasses.

0:06:290:06:31

This is typical of what a real spy does.

0:06:310:06:34

He just sits in a car for hours doing absolutely nothing,

0:06:340:06:37

waiting for something to happen.

0:06:370:06:38

These guys are lonely people.

0:06:400:06:43

Caine wasn't lonely in his next role.

0:06:470:06:49

He took off the glasses and made a lot of passes,

0:06:500:06:55

playing a confident cockney Casanova.

0:06:550:06:58

Well, you all settled in? Right, we can begin.

0:06:580:07:01

-My name is...

-Alfie!

0:07:010:07:02

Alfie.

0:07:040:07:05

Michael Caine always seems totally comfortable with movie stardom.

0:07:090:07:14

A natural.

0:07:140:07:15

Someone with a more complicated relationship with fame

0:07:160:07:19

was his good friend Peter Sellers.

0:07:190:07:21

As one of The Goons,

0:07:230:07:24

Sellers had turned British comedy on its head.

0:07:240:07:28

He'd enjoyed movie success in films like The Ladykillers

0:07:280:07:32

and I'm All Right, Jack,

0:07:320:07:34

but the '60s saw his movie career really take off.

0:07:340:07:37

There were two highly praised performances

0:07:390:07:42

in the Stanley Kubrick films Lolita and Dr Strangelove.

0:07:420:07:47

But it was the bumbling French detective, Inspector Clouseau,

0:07:470:07:51

that really made him an international star.

0:07:510:07:54

Clouseau's a special sort of character, you know.

0:07:540:07:58

There are people like Clouseau all over the world.

0:07:580:08:01

He's a sort of man with great in-built dignity, you see.

0:08:010:08:04

Great, great dignity.

0:08:040:08:06

He's an idiot but he knows that.

0:08:060:08:08

But he wouldn't let anyone else know that, you see.

0:08:080:08:10

He's very, very keen.

0:08:100:08:12

So that if something goes wrong, you see,

0:08:120:08:14

if he falls over or something awful happens,

0:08:140:08:17

he immediately suspects that someone said, yeah, bleeding idiot.

0:08:170:08:22

But, you see, he wouldn't let that disturb him.

0:08:220:08:24

He would say, "What was that, what is that you say?

0:08:240:08:26

"I heard that. What was that?"

0:08:260:08:28

And someone, you know, some schlepper,

0:08:280:08:29

would say, "Nothing, sir."

0:08:290:08:30

He'd say, "Yes, of course, nothing, yes, yes."

0:08:300:08:34

Like if there's a phone call and they say,

0:08:340:08:35

"There's a phone call for you, Inspector."

0:08:350:08:37

He'd say, "Ah, that will be for me," because, you know...

0:08:370:08:40

LAUGHTER

0:08:400:08:41

He wants to be one up all the time, you see.

0:08:410:08:44

An awful lot of people like that about.

0:08:440:08:46

I believe everything.

0:08:460:08:49

And I believe nothing.

0:08:490:08:51

I suspect everyone.

0:08:510:08:54

And I suspect no-one.

0:08:540:08:55

I gather the facts.

0:08:570:08:59

Examine the clues.

0:08:590:09:00

And before you know it, the case is solved.

0:09:020:09:07

Oh, yes, there is much here that does not meet the eye.

0:09:070:09:10

That is quite obvious.

0:09:100:09:11

What was that you said?

0:09:150:09:17

Nothing, monsieur.

0:09:170:09:19

All right.

0:09:190:09:21

You can go now.

0:09:210:09:22

There is a famous story about how Michael Caine

0:09:250:09:28

discovered the Swedish actress Britt Ekland had just arrived in London

0:09:280:09:34

and dashed to her suite at the Dorchester Hotel, hoping for a date.

0:09:340:09:39

When he knocked on the door, Peter Sellers answered,

0:09:410:09:45

saying, "Too late, Mike.

0:09:450:09:46

"You've got to be quicker off the mark than that."

0:09:460:09:49

Ten days later, Sellers and Ekland were married.

0:09:530:09:56

A whirlwind romance so extraordinary even BBC News was fascinated.

0:09:560:10:02

Less than two months later, Sellers suffered a huge heart attack,

0:10:030:10:10

which meant a year away from Hollywood

0:10:100:10:13

but not from the news cameras.

0:10:130:10:16

Peter, when you had your heart attack last year

0:10:190:10:21

you were very close to death.

0:10:210:10:22

Now, this must have changed the tempo of your living.

0:10:220:10:24

Has it changed your way of thinking, your approach to your career?

0:10:240:10:28

No. Of course, one has to go through a year of convalescence, really,

0:10:280:10:32

to get back to normal, completely back to normality.

0:10:320:10:35

Where I'm pleased to say I am now.

0:10:360:10:39

A year of concentrated exercise and all kinds of things, you know.

0:10:390:10:42

Has it affected your sense of humour, for example?

0:10:430:10:45

Are jokes about death no longer funny?

0:10:450:10:47

No, it hasn't at all.

0:10:470:10:48

I think they're even more funny.

0:10:480:10:50

When you play these characters, or someone like Inspector Clouseau,

0:10:500:10:53

are you consciously amused by the character while you're playing him?

0:10:530:10:58

Yes, that's a great problem with me.

0:10:580:11:00

I'm a terrible giggler.

0:11:000:11:01

And if I dare stop to think about the character being funny

0:11:010:11:04

I'm finished.

0:11:040:11:06

I can't go through it. I just have to do it until I'm sick of it

0:11:060:11:09

and then try and get down to it.

0:11:090:11:12

For example, Clouseau amuses me, not because he falls over things,

0:11:120:11:15

but because he's so serious and has such great dignity.

0:11:150:11:19

Great integrity.

0:11:190:11:21

He thinks. He thinks he's the greatest detective in the world.

0:11:210:11:23

And it's because of this that I find him amusing, you know.

0:11:230:11:27

It must be... This habit of yours of giggling over the character

0:11:270:11:29

you're playing must be easier when you're shooting a film,

0:11:290:11:32

the one you've just done, for example, What's New Pussycat?

0:11:320:11:35

Now, I've heard this is a kind of surrealist farce.

0:11:350:11:38

Are you breaking new ground again in comedy here?

0:11:380:11:40

I honestly don't know what it is.

0:11:400:11:42

It certainly will be very new.

0:11:420:11:44

And certain parts of it will be certainly very surrealistic,

0:11:460:11:50

I should think. It's a potpourri of all kinds of things.

0:11:500:11:55

Is it true that you do a send-up of Sir Laurence Olivier?

0:11:550:11:58

Yes, in one, Peter O'Toole has a nightmare,

0:11:580:12:01

and I wear this long wig that looks like a Richard III wig.

0:12:010:12:05

In fact, Sir Laurence Olivier wore in Richard III.

0:12:050:12:08

But except I do it in a German accent.

0:12:080:12:11

I do now is the winter of our discontent, in a German accent.

0:12:110:12:14

I haven't seen any of it,

0:12:150:12:17

but they all seem pretty happy about it so I hope it turns out well.

0:12:170:12:21

It didn't turn out particularly well,

0:12:240:12:27

especially for Sellers co-star, Peter O'Toole,

0:12:270:12:31

who many critics said should avoid comedy

0:12:310:12:34

and stick to what he did best.

0:12:340:12:37

And there was no denying that O'Toole was one of the best

0:12:370:12:41

when it came to straight acting.

0:12:410:12:43

On screen and off, he had a magnetic quality,

0:12:430:12:48

and the role that transformed his life

0:12:480:12:50

was that unforgettable portrayal of Lawrence of Arabia,

0:12:500:12:55

in David Lean's 1962 classic.

0:12:550:12:58

I'll give an example of how I came to it.

0:13:020:13:05

I remember...

0:13:070:13:09

..sitting in a black tent in a place called El Jaffa.

0:13:110:13:17

And we were talking about Lawrence to a lot of Arabs.

0:13:170:13:19

And someone said Abdi would know better

0:13:190:13:24

and they shouted for this man,

0:13:240:13:28

and in clanked a huge Sudanese gentleman of about 80.

0:13:280:13:32

And he was a slave, a now freed slave, whom Auda Abu Tayeh,

0:13:340:13:40

who was one of Lawrence's chief warriors,

0:13:400:13:42

gave to Lawrence to look after him.

0:13:420:13:44

And someone said, "What did Lawrence look like?"

0:13:460:13:49

And he pointed at me and said, "Him."

0:13:490:13:51

Well, needless to say I grabbed him. We talked and talked and talked.

0:13:530:13:58

He worked on the picture. He made the coffee, in fact.

0:13:580:14:01

And one day I was playing a scene.

0:14:010:14:04

And he said...

0:14:060:14:07

I was sort of talking to someone,

0:14:110:14:13

being rather remote and looking all over the place. And he said...

0:14:130:14:18

"A batal" - a hero - "doesn't look here or there or up or down.

0:14:180:14:24

"He gives someone the plane of his face."

0:14:240:14:26

And I remember two things I'd read.

0:14:260:14:30

One Graves told me, that Lawrence apparently never looked at anybody.

0:14:300:14:33

He made a sort of inventory of everyone's clothes.

0:14:330:14:36

But Kennington, the sculptor,

0:14:380:14:40

who sculpted him a lot and did all the illustrations for Seven Pillars,

0:14:400:14:45

said this remarkable thing which I'd never understood before,

0:14:450:14:47

which was that Lawrence reminded him of a middleweight boxer.

0:14:470:14:52

And at that moment something very important clicked.

0:14:540:14:57

And I knew exactly what Abdi meant by the plane of his face.

0:14:580:15:04

Which was this.

0:15:060:15:09

And the eyes didn't travel over the clothes

0:15:100:15:14

but they were aware of the hands.

0:15:140:15:16

And aware of everything that was going on.

0:15:160:15:20

And it was at once withdrawn, as a boxer must be,

0:15:200:15:23

and at the same time very penetrating.

0:15:230:15:27

And this one physical thing...

0:15:270:15:28

..really clicked and it made a whole difference to the way I played him.

0:15:310:15:35

Now this is the way I work. I can't work a sort of...

0:15:350:15:38

-A sort of exact science.

-Yes.

0:15:380:15:39

GUNSHOTS

0:15:400:15:43

Jiminy!

0:16:010:16:03

Never seen a man killed with a sword before.

0:16:030:16:05

Why don't you take a picture?

0:16:060:16:07

Wish I had.

0:16:070:16:08

What about his height, Peter?

0:16:100:16:12

He was a very short man and you're a very tall man.

0:16:120:16:15

Do you make any effort as an actor to think like a small man?

0:16:150:16:20

No, no. I've always said whenever anyone asks me about Lawrence,

0:16:220:16:24

his inches. I always say it's a question for his tailor,

0:16:240:16:27

not his interpreter. And that's probably a bit flip.

0:16:270:16:30

But there's nothing I can do.

0:16:300:16:31

I don't think it's really all that important, anyway.

0:16:310:16:34

And I'm certainly sure he never thought as a small man.

0:16:340:16:37

And I happen to be eight foot five,

0:16:370:16:38

as you clearly imply.

0:16:380:16:41

I can't chop off my legs and roam around on bloody stumps,

0:16:410:16:43

so I've really had to disregard.

0:16:430:16:45

O'Toole was another key member of the acting clique

0:16:490:16:51

that dominated the decade.

0:16:510:16:54

A drinking buddy of Caine, Albert Finney,

0:16:540:16:57

Richard Harris and Terence Stamp.

0:16:570:16:59

Stamp's big break came in the 1962 film Billy Budd,

0:17:000:17:05

directed by Peter Ustinov.

0:17:050:17:08

He was a new type of heart-throb

0:17:080:17:11

and success changed his life completely.

0:17:110:17:15

When I started, Tony Curtis was good-looking,

0:17:290:17:32

and Rock Hudson was good-looking.

0:17:320:17:35

And curly hair was good-looking.

0:17:370:17:38

So I wasn't...

0:17:380:17:39

I was really an ugly duckling.

0:17:410:17:43

I think the style changed

0:17:430:17:45

and I woke up and I was good-looking.

0:17:450:17:48

I imagined that it would be,

0:17:480:17:50

that famous people would live in another world.

0:17:500:17:53

And when I became famous I would be somehow magically moved

0:17:530:17:59

to this other world where everything would be somehow more glamorous

0:17:590:18:05

and more colourful.

0:18:050:18:07

And on the morning that I woke up and I was famous and the phone rang,

0:18:070:18:14

I expected it to be Brigitte Bardot, in fact.

0:18:140:18:18

And it was my mother.

0:18:180:18:20

LAUGHTER

0:18:200:18:22

It brought me back to a kind of reality.

0:18:240:18:26

Stamp did end up going on a blind date with Bardot years later,

0:18:300:18:35

but it was a one-off.

0:18:350:18:37

His most enduring relationship was with the model Jean Shrimpton,

0:18:390:18:45

and together they made one of the decade's most glamorous couples.

0:18:450:18:49

Before Shrimpton, he'd also dated Julie Christie,

0:18:520:18:56

arguably the actress who best captured the spirit

0:18:560:19:00

of swinging London in the 1960s.

0:19:000:19:03

There were bigger names out there

0:19:060:19:09

but Julie Andrews was too wholesome,

0:19:090:19:12

Liz Taylor too glamorous and removed.

0:19:120:19:16

Julie Christie just had it.

0:19:160:19:19

I suppose the...

0:19:200:19:22

I go back to the Beatles, I mean, really, isn't it?

0:19:220:19:25

You know, we were lucky enough that they were quite cool and hip.

0:19:280:19:31

And there weren't an awful lot of cool, hip people around.

0:19:310:19:34

Not a majority.

0:19:340:19:36

And they became idols.

0:19:360:19:37

And like any idol they were copied.

0:19:370:19:39

And so...that's why London paps is now cool and hip.

0:19:390:19:44

Christie's big film breakthrough came in 1963's Billy Liar

0:19:490:19:53

alongside Tom Courtenay.

0:19:530:19:55

But things really came to a head two years later,

0:19:550:20:00

Life magazine calling 1965 "the year of Julie Christie."

0:20:000:20:07

She starred in David Lean's very important film Doctor Zhivago,

0:20:080:20:14

and Darling, playing a model

0:20:140:20:16

who rises through London's jetset society.

0:20:160:20:19

The role earned her an Oscar for Best Actress,

0:20:210:20:25

and meant a level of fame that she wasn't entirely happy with.

0:20:250:20:29

Miss Christie, you yourself recently said, "I am a bit of a fluke,

0:20:330:20:37

"just a passing fad."

0:20:370:20:39

Even if you fear that this might be true, you must hope it's not.

0:20:390:20:43

Isn't it perhaps a form of self protection saying things like this?

0:20:430:20:47

Um, well, yes, of course.

0:20:470:20:49

Um... Why I said I was a passing fad is because it's quite extraordinary,

0:20:520:20:59

as I said, this sort of constant flight of mine upwards,

0:20:590:21:05

which has culminated in the Oscar,

0:21:050:21:07

which is, does...

0:21:070:21:09

doesn't seem to have any real explanation.

0:21:090:21:11

You feel it can't last, is this the feeling inside your bones?

0:21:110:21:15

Well, I've got to a point now where I've got to come down and start,

0:21:150:21:18

I hope, to carry on just absolutely normally.

0:21:180:21:21

But I hope it'll last.

0:21:210:21:22

But there's every chance of it not doing so.

0:21:220:21:24

I mean, I have 50 for me, 50 against, really.

0:21:240:21:28

This normality, isn't this going to be increasingly difficult?

0:21:280:21:31

Because although you will rather loudly proclaim

0:21:310:21:34

how much you hate all this star stuff

0:21:340:21:35

and project a sort of anti-star image,

0:21:350:21:37

the fish and chips round the corner with your mates and so on,

0:21:370:21:40

isn't this a lost battle now that you're a famous face?

0:21:400:21:43

I hope not, because...

0:21:440:21:46

I do... I hope you can go on just working at your job and not getting

0:21:480:21:52

embroiled in all the publicity and star system.

0:21:520:21:54

I shall certainly go on trying

0:21:540:21:56

because I wouldn't be very happy if I lost the battle.

0:21:560:21:59

But you see, inevitably aren't you a product of the system

0:21:590:22:02

and aren't you a part of it?

0:22:020:22:03

Don't you have to adjust to the realities of this new situation?

0:22:030:22:06

I don't think so any more. I think that's unnecessary.

0:22:060:22:09

The only thing that's difficult is sort of denying the press

0:22:090:22:14

what they want so much, and they seem to want an awful lot of me.

0:22:140:22:18

-What's that?

-Well, you.

0:22:180:22:21

Me. I mean, they seem to want me of me.

0:22:210:22:24

-What, a sort of carcass, you mean?

-Yes.

-To devour you?

0:22:240:22:26

Yes, and that's what's difficult but I don't think it's necessary.

0:22:260:22:29

I don't think it's in the least bit necessary.

0:22:290:22:31

Obviously you hate that. What are the other things that you hate most

0:22:310:22:34

about being suddenly projected into this glare of publicity?

0:22:340:22:36

Well, it's that. It's the fear it's bred.

0:22:380:22:40

The fact that you can be praised as well as criticised,

0:22:410:22:45

but with no retort of any sort from yourself.

0:22:450:22:49

So just by remote control you can be criticised and praised,

0:22:490:22:54

and I don't mean, sort of, my work. I'm not talking about my work now -

0:22:540:22:58

that's my job, to be criticised and so forth, in my work.

0:22:580:23:01

But when your private life is scrutinised

0:23:010:23:04

and made public and everything,

0:23:040:23:06

that absolutely terrifies me and I seem to have no defence against it.

0:23:060:23:09

Miss Christie, are you an ambitious person?

0:23:090:23:11

I mean, how would you like to think life is going to be for you

0:23:110:23:15

in, say, ten years' time?

0:23:150:23:16

I'm not particularly ambitious.

0:23:190:23:20

I'd like things to not go downwards, to stay upwards,

0:23:200:23:23

but I really don't know.

0:23:230:23:26

I don't know what happens in ten years' time.

0:23:260:23:28

You can't go on being what they call "a symbol of one's generation"

0:23:280:23:31

forever and ever.

0:23:310:23:32

In 1967, Julie Christie and Terence Stamp were reunited on screen

0:23:340:23:39

for the first film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel

0:23:390:23:43

Far From The Madding Crowd, directed by John Schlesinger.

0:23:430:23:47

Christie played the beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene.

0:23:490:23:53

Stamp was the dashing rogue, Sergeant Frank Troy,

0:23:540:23:59

a bit of casting that Stamp's female fans approved of strongly.

0:23:590:24:04

I think that... I think Hardy is a really, you know...

0:24:090:24:13

..he's a really romantic writer, and his stories

0:24:150:24:19

are for the true romantics.

0:24:190:24:22

And I think... I think women are sort of more romantic

0:24:220:24:27

than men at the end of the day.

0:24:270:24:29

One of the film's most famous moments,

0:24:310:24:34

as Sergeant Troy dazzling Bathsheba with his sword skills,

0:24:340:24:40

the scene that very nearly ended in disaster.

0:24:400:24:43

-You're the enemy, right?

-No!

0:24:450:24:47

You're not scared, are you?

0:24:480:24:49

-No.

-Because if you're scared, I can't perform.

0:24:510:24:55

I promise I won't touch you. Don't move.

0:24:550:24:58

Is it very sharp?

0:24:580:25:01

No, it's got no edge at all.

0:25:010:25:02

Hold still.

0:25:040:25:05

Ooh-la!

0:25:110:25:14

Schlesinger had discovered that cavalrymen at that point

0:25:140:25:19

were not left-handed, and so I had to...

0:25:190:25:23

And I am a natural lefty,

0:25:230:25:24

so I had had to learn all that sabre stuff with my right hand.

0:25:240:25:28

When we started, I was really proficient.

0:25:280:25:31

I felt really comfortable with the sabre.

0:25:310:25:34

I had also built a very good relationship with Nicholas Roeg.

0:25:340:25:38

-The cinematographer?

-Yeah, I didn't get on too well with Schlesinger.

0:25:380:25:41

And I heard that he pushed you in that scene

0:25:410:25:44

to slice so close to her face that you almost touched her face?

0:25:440:25:47

I did, I did. He just kind of...

0:25:470:25:51

He saw that I was very adept with the sabre

0:25:510:25:54

and during this scene where I slice a piece off her hair,

0:25:540:25:58

he kept saying, "Surely you can get closer than that,

0:25:580:26:00

surely you can get closer than that." And at a certain point,

0:26:000:26:03

I actually slashed and I felt the sword hit something...

0:26:030:26:06

..and she was...

0:26:080:26:11

Christie was a real trouper, like, she didn't move,

0:26:110:26:15

and I nearly passed out.

0:26:150:26:17

I knew I'd hit her face.

0:26:170:26:19

And in fact, I'd cut the skin, and I just touched the bone.

0:26:190:26:25

But an eighth of an inch shorter,

0:26:250:26:27

I would have probably broke her jaw, because they are very heavy,

0:26:270:26:30

those Victorian sabres, you know?

0:26:300:26:32

And I hope Schlesinger felt really guilty?

0:26:320:26:34

I don't think so. He used the shot.

0:26:340:26:36

You know, the shot where I hit her is the shot that he used.

0:26:360:26:40

Miss Everdene, you do forgive me, don't you?

0:26:410:26:45

-I do not.

-How can you blame me for your looks?

0:26:450:26:49

A woman like you does more damage than she can conceivably imagine.

0:26:510:26:55

Please go away, I'd rather you didn't talk to me again.

0:26:560:26:59

Madding Crowd was...

0:26:590:27:01

It was the end of an era for me, because it was...

0:27:020:27:06

I suddenly... I'd done everything that I wanted to do.

0:27:080:27:13

All my fantasies that I'd had as a boy had been realised,

0:27:130:27:17

and with the ending of Madding Crowd, I...

0:27:170:27:21

I had to rethink my life, really.

0:27:220:27:25

Because I thought this is what I've always wanted and in fact,

0:27:250:27:29

having lived it,

0:27:290:27:32

I discovered that it wasn't what I always wanted.

0:27:320:27:34

I didn't... It didn't give me a great...

0:27:340:27:39

Yes, it didn't give me any real happiness.

0:27:390:27:42

It was nice and it was wonderful for a while, and then when,

0:27:420:27:47

about the time of Madding Crowd, I began to wonder...

0:27:470:27:50

..you know, what else I had to do in order to feel right.

0:27:520:27:56

Terence Stamp wasn't the only star who was feeling disillusioned.

0:28:000:28:06

By the second half of the 1960s,

0:28:060:28:08

Bondmania was second only to Beatlemania.

0:28:080:28:12

Its influence was clear to see in television,

0:28:130:28:16

and in other films of the period.

0:28:160:28:18

The posters for 1967's You Only Live Twice declared,

0:28:190:28:25

"Sean Connery is James Bond."

0:28:250:28:28

But the man himself had other ideas.

0:28:290:28:31

I've had a long sort of innings,

0:28:360:28:39

as it were, a very intense innings,

0:28:390:28:42

and I wanted to change direction now and take another breath

0:28:420:28:46

and do something else.

0:28:460:28:48

So, this is your last Bond film?

0:28:480:28:49

Yes.

0:28:490:28:51

I'm very tired, because I've been...

0:28:510:28:52

As I say, it's a long uphill grind.

0:28:520:28:55

The man given a licence to follow Connery

0:29:000:29:04

was 29-year-old Australian model, and a former used-car salesman,

0:29:040:29:11

George Lazenby. Not an actor, and out of his depth.

0:29:110:29:15

On Her Majesty's Secret Service has grown in reputation

0:29:170:29:21

since its release in 1969, but the public didn't take to Lazenby.

0:29:210:29:27

There were reports that he'd fallen out with his leading lady,

0:29:270:29:30

Diana Rigg, so badly that she deliberately ate garlic

0:29:300:29:34

before one of their love scenes.

0:29:340:29:37

And the fact that he wore a beard for the film's premiere

0:29:380:29:43

was seen as an indication of how out of step with the Bond world

0:29:430:29:48

he truly was.

0:29:480:29:49

What about the reports that you were deliberately awkward and hostile?

0:29:530:29:56

Well, they were true, in a way,

0:29:560:29:58

because I was very uptight lots of the time

0:29:580:30:02

because I didn't understand exactly what was going on.

0:30:020:30:05

And the only person you could ask,

0:30:050:30:08

the only person who knew what was going on, was the director,

0:30:080:30:11

and the director was very busy with his technical things

0:30:110:30:14

and has control of two units and a whole lot of things,

0:30:140:30:18

and he didn't really feel that an actor was important in the role.

0:30:180:30:23

He felt that you could get any guy,

0:30:230:30:26

I think he mentioned it on BBC Radio,

0:30:260:30:28

that you could get any guy, put him in that part

0:30:280:30:30

and make him James Bond, providing he looked similar

0:30:300:30:33

to what the public feel James Bond looks like.

0:30:330:30:36

And this came, that vibration,

0:30:370:30:39

came off the director on to me all the time.

0:30:390:30:41

One of the biggest examples of that so-called hostility was the very

0:30:410:30:45

much-publicised rift between you and your co-star Diana Rigg.

0:30:450:30:48

Now, what was the truth behind that?

0:30:480:30:49

I said to the director, "Diana doesn't speak to me."

0:30:490:30:52

He said, "I think you had an upset with her some time,

0:30:520:30:55

why don't you apologise?" And I did and it was a bit late

0:30:550:30:57

then to apologise and the whole thing didn't work,

0:30:570:31:00

and it was down.

0:31:000:31:01

But since then, we do speak.

0:31:010:31:04

You know, we have spoken since and...

0:31:040:31:07

It was pretty bad that that came up but that came up just by

0:31:070:31:11

remarks from the studio about that garlic thing, which she had...

0:31:110:31:15

But it wasn't as troublesome as it was all made out to be.

0:31:150:31:20

I mean, it didn't bother me!

0:31:200:31:21

This was when she had eaten garlic before a love scene?

0:31:210:31:23

Well, like, she took precautions, like she said.

0:31:230:31:26

But it was all built up into a big thing and it was nothing.

0:31:260:31:30

You know, I... I enjoyed the whole scene anyway.

0:31:300:31:35

I love you. I know I'll never find another girl like you.

0:31:370:31:40

Will you marry me?

0:31:450:31:46

-You mean it?

-I mean it.

0:31:570:32:00

You went on a publicity tour of the United States,

0:32:110:32:14

which you paid for yourself. Why?

0:32:140:32:17

On principle.

0:32:190:32:20

I was promised a tour of the United States to publicise the film.

0:32:200:32:24

I was looking forward to it.

0:32:240:32:25

Because of my beard and long hair, I wasn't allowed to go.

0:32:260:32:29

I was allowed to go on the condition I would like James Bond,

0:32:290:32:33

and I said, "Well, anyone can understand that James Bond

0:32:330:32:36

"isn't a real person and they're not going to mind the fact

0:32:360:32:40

"that I haven't had a shave for a month."

0:32:400:32:42

Everyone knows that James Bond must have a beard,

0:32:420:32:44

even though you never see it on the film, if he doesn't shave!

0:32:440:32:48

And anyway, it all ended up they sent Diana Rigg.

0:32:480:32:51

So I went on afterwards and arranged my own tour,

0:32:510:32:55

which was fun and games, because I've never been to America

0:32:550:32:58

and I was more or less going up to television companies

0:32:580:33:01

and knocking on the door and saying, "Hey, excuse me,

0:33:010:33:03

"can I go on your television show?"

0:33:030:33:05

And they would say, "Who are you?!"

0:33:050:33:07

I said, "Well, I've got this film coming out in a month."

0:33:070:33:09

They said, "But you haven't done anything yet,

0:33:090:33:11

"we can't let you on the show without you having done something.

0:33:110:33:13

"The people want to see someone who's done something."

0:33:130:33:16

And I said, "Well..." and I chatted them into letting me on there

0:33:160:33:19

and had a lot of fun.

0:33:190:33:21

Someone else looking for fun was that man Michael Caine again.

0:33:240:33:30

Bond may have been faltering, the Beatles may have been splitting up,

0:33:300:33:34

but Caine fancied finishing the decade with a smile on his face,

0:33:340:33:39

and what put it there was The Italian Job.

0:33:390:33:43

I was looking at the What's On one night

0:33:440:33:47

and I just wanted to go and see a fun film

0:33:470:33:50

and not worry about anything, not to be preached at,

0:33:500:33:53

not to have to use my brain at all.

0:33:530:33:55

I was just tired and I just wanted to sit back and be entertained,

0:33:550:33:59

and the whole idea of making the film sprang from that,

0:33:590:34:02

in as much as I just wanted to make a big, fun film.

0:34:020:34:05

I didn't, as a star would normally do, who sets up a picture,

0:34:050:34:09

which is what I did, I set up the script,

0:34:090:34:12

I got the 3 million to make it and everything,

0:34:120:34:14

I didn't do it in order to push myself over on the public.

0:34:140:34:20

I wanted to have the biggest car chase.

0:34:200:34:22

I wanted the car chase to be the star of the thing.

0:34:220:34:25

I wanted to have Noel Coward in it.

0:34:250:34:27

I wanted it to be really, more or less, the way it is.

0:34:270:34:31

Well, one would always want it to be better than the way it is.

0:34:310:34:35

But it turned out to be a fun picture,

0:34:350:34:38

which gives a tremendous amount of entertainment to a lot of people,

0:34:380:34:41

and it's very successful on that level.

0:34:410:34:44

I never at any time tried to get the Academy Award with it or do anything

0:34:440:34:48

else with it except to have a laugh and a bit of fun, that's all,

0:34:480:34:51

of which it struck me there was very little about.

0:34:510:34:54

It's also a film, something which I liked about it,

0:34:540:35:00

is films are full of violence against people...

0:35:000:35:03

..and always have been, actually.

0:35:060:35:07

I was just about to say nowadays but they always have been.

0:35:070:35:10

Gore Vidal once called it "the pornography of death."

0:35:100:35:13

And I just thought, for a change,

0:35:130:35:15

instead of all these machines killing people,

0:35:150:35:18

it might be a change,

0:35:180:35:20

just for fun, to have all these people killing machines.

0:35:200:35:23

And I dislike cars intensely.

0:35:270:35:29

And if you go and see the picture, you'll see it coming out,

0:35:310:35:34

because we destroy cars left, right and centre...

0:35:340:35:37

..which also brings about its own type of violence.

0:35:380:35:42

In as much as if you see an actor killed or tortured

0:35:450:35:50

or beaten up on the screen,

0:35:500:35:53

the effect is there for the moment that's happening to him,

0:35:530:35:56

but you do know that they haven't actually done this to him.

0:35:560:36:00

But if you destroy objects, the audience can actually see

0:36:000:36:04

that you really are destroying a Lamborghini Miura

0:36:040:36:07

and an Aston Martin and five E-Types and...

0:36:070:36:10

..15 Minis we had!

0:36:120:36:14

We destroyed every make of car you can possibly think,

0:36:140:36:19

in very spectacular ways.

0:36:190:36:20

It wasn't just the car chases and car crashes,

0:36:540:36:57

The Italian Job also left audiences dangling

0:36:570:37:01

with one of cinema's greatest "how did they get out of that?" moments.

0:37:010:37:08

I'm sure you've encountered this,

0:37:140:37:15

but it's a kind of popular parlour game,

0:37:150:37:17

whenever film bores get together,

0:37:170:37:19

is to work out what happens next after the final scene.

0:37:190:37:22

You're suspended in the coach, on the edge of the cliff,

0:37:220:37:26

you turn around and you say...

0:37:260:37:28

Hang on a minute, lads, I've got a great idea...

0:37:280:37:31

-And the idea is?

-You turn the engine on,

0:37:350:37:37

you all sit exactly where you are till all the petrol's run out,

0:37:370:37:40

which changes the equilibrium.

0:37:400:37:42

The guys all go up the other end, they jump out,

0:37:420:37:46

the gold goes over the cliff,

0:37:460:37:48

and sitting at the bottom is the French mafia,

0:37:480:37:50

sitting waiting for the gold,

0:37:500:37:52

and then you're off on a chase trying to get it back.

0:37:520:37:54

Just like that final image from The Italian Job,

0:37:570:38:01

British cinema was hanging in limbo as the swinging '60s

0:38:010:38:04

made way for the serious '70s.

0:38:040:38:07

The excitement around Britain's acting talent was stalling

0:38:080:38:12

and, of course, those once new, fresh faces

0:38:120:38:16

were now part of the establishment.

0:38:160:38:19

But fast forward a few decades

0:38:190:38:21

and these names are now acknowledged as icons,

0:38:210:38:25

cinematic symbols of one of the most exciting decades

0:38:250:38:29

in modern memory.

0:38:290:38:32

And as long as we gaze back at them,

0:38:320:38:35

we can still feel that we are in movie paradise.

0:38:350:38:40

Sylvia Syms explores the BBC's archives and chooses a selection of rarely seen interviews that tell the story of the acting stars who made 60s Britain swing. We find Sean Connery wrestling with the pressures of Bond-mania, and the man who replaced him - George Lazenby - talking about the pressures that came with his licence to kill.

Peter Sellers discusses his affection for Inspector Clouseau and Peter O'Toole explains how he got into character for Lawrence of Arabia. Julie Christie, the actress who personified swinging London, talks about her stunning rise to Oscar-winning stardom, while her ex-boyfriend Terence Stamp describes how he nearly killed her when they co-starred in Far from the Madding Crowd.

Finally, and friends with them all, is Michael Caine, who talks here about how secret agent Harry Palmer was the anti-Bond, how he wasn't living the life of Alfie and how he came up with the plan for one of the decade's great feel-good films, The Italian Job.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS