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Talking Pictures narrated by Sylvia Syms

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Talking Pictures narrated by Sylvia Syms

Postby » August 9th, 2014, 10:44 am

In the UK we have a usually weekly series called Talking Pictures on BBC 2, which usually followed by a movie starring the subject of the series. Subjects have included Hollywood greats Bette Davis, James Stewart and Clark Gable and British stars Richard Attenbourgh and John Mills. It's brilliantly narrated by elderly actress Sylvia Syms, who when younger was a starlet of the British Film Industry. It usually shows clips from the artists career and interviews they gave on British television, The (Michael) Parkinson show providing much of the material.

However, on the Bette Davis epsiode, we at first see her interviewed by Brit actor Derek Bond in the 50s, where her daughter also joins in for a while, giving the impression mother and daughter had a good relationship. (Bette also gave the same impression on the Dick Cavet show, not shown on this series) then there was the Parkinson show in the 70s when she and Michael redid the famous cigarrette scene from Now Voyeger. Then finally The Wogan Show shortly before her death, where she plugged her final book. For James Stewart we had a Guardian interview, Parkinson and Wogan.

Today it was John Mills, again a Guardian interview, Parkinson and an interview on the set of The Thirty Nine Steps. But what interested me was how Sylvia Syms was going to narrate a Biopic of a life she played an important part in. Right enought she narrated that Johnny and I did 3 films together,incuding Ice Cold In Alex, which included a naughty scene, some of which was cut out of the final film (Sylvia had filmed the love scene with
several buttons of her blouse undone). An interesting thing from the Guardian interview was while filming the movie Tiger Bay with daughter Hayley. The tee tototaller director called cut and odered everyone to go to lunch. The director then took John and for a drink in a pub and told him, (Regarding Hayley) that was the most exciting days filming of my whole career.

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Re: Talking Pictures narrated by Sylvia Syms

Postby moira finnie » August 9th, 2014, 5:22 pm

Stuart, I really wish that the BBC Two would let this be seen internationally, but, the copyright laws apparently won't allow it--LOVE John Mills' performance in the excellent Ice Cold in Alex (1958) as well as Ms. Syms in that movie and the groundbreaking Basil Dearden movie, Victim (1961).

I sometimes wonder if J. Lee Thompson (the director of both Tiger Bay & Ice Cold in Alex) would have been better off staying in Britain and continuing to make his more interesting, small scale human stories rather than the Hollywood epics he chose to make instead.
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