Picturegoer – Aug 25th 1951

Bogarde Takes to the Boats

The star of “The Blue Lamp” is on the run again – in “Hunted”. On location in Scotland he had to put to sea, so “Picturegoer” followed him for a close-up of the filming of the big chase.

Ancient corduroy trousers, seedy leather jerkin, rough old sweater and four days’ growth of beard. Not exactly a smart line in wear for a film star in public. Not exactly the approved get-up for any visitor to a Scottish hotel. But Dirk Bogarde, at Port Patrick for location shooting, wasn’t worried. He pushed streaks of over-hanging hair from his eyes and began a zestful assault on a pair of kippers.

“Disgraceful to sit down to breakfast like that,” murmured a hotel guest at a near-by table. You’ll understand that Dirk didn’t see it quite that way. For those clothes and that beard are for him a sort of passport he’s waited a long time to get. A passport to his biggest and most important screen part.

He’s making a new film called Hunted, and it means much more than top of the bill for him. He’s a man who has committed the crime passionnel. He is on the run from the police.

Yes, yes, you’re probably objecting. We’ve had all that before in Blackmailed and The Blue Lamp. Is Bogarde always to be a fugitive from justice? And what’s different about it, anyway?

Lots, it seems. Hunted. I’m assured by producer Julian Wintle, is a very different matter. It’s packed with drama and human interest and apart from a few rapid flashes of Kay Walsh and Elizabeth Sellars, it’s Bogarde, Bogarde all the way. An unkempt, untailored, disgraceful-to-sit-at-breakfast-like-that sort of Bogarde.

And proof of the importance of the part is the fact that fifty film technicians had moved into Port Patrick for his benefit. Headed by director Charles Crichton, of Ealing Studios repute, they were out to get him roaming around in stirring exteriors.

“So you see,” said Dirk as he hurried unabashed through the toast and marmalade, “I stand or fall by this picture.”

Enter A Lady

He went to work first of all on the quayside of the little fishing harbour. The herring fleet was in. The gulls were circling overhead. It was atmosphere for Crichton and the unit – confusion for the 500 inhabitants of Port Patrick.

“Better go and find my leading lady,” said Bogarde. He led the way to her dressing-room. On the way he rolled up his sleeve and then suddenly plunged his hand into a bucket of salt water. And out came the leading lady – Louella, the lobster.

“She’s very important,” said Dirk. “Louella’s in lots of scenes with me. It was a little touch the director put in at the last moment.”

I imagine Crichton had second thoughts about that little “touch.” After four days of non-stop filming, Louella was limp, wilting and well past her first bloom.

Man who procured Louella for the unit and one of the most important people concerned with the Scottish location filming of Hunted, is thirty-five year old Alec Doman, of Port Patrick.

Weather-beaten, ex-Navy man Alec is the skipper of “Mizpah,” a small fishing vessel which figures prominently in the high-tension ending of the picture.

Dirk, in a final bid for freedom, steals the boat and sets course for the Atlantic and high seas.

And to get all this on celluloid we also had to set course for the Atlantic and high seas. The camera was lashed to the stem of the “Mizpah,” oilskins were donned and Bogarde was given a few hints on steering, by skipper Doman.

Louella came along for the trip, too.

Wind-swept Action

If the discomfort experienced by everyone on board is anything to go by, then picturegoers can stand-by for an action-packed fade-out indeed. Everything became wind-swept and foam-flecked.

As Crichton yelled “action,” everyone in camera range dodged down out of sight. Dirk staggered from the wheelhouse and made his way along a tilting deck as best he could.

“Now make your way back again!” roared the director.

Dirk did-and with such realism he put his elbow clean through the wheelhouse window.

That bit doesn’t come into the picture. .

“Now steer the boat,” shouted Crichton.

Puffing, Dirk didn’t feel too sure about that.

Real Cops!

“It’s easy,” encouraged the director. “Anyone can steer a boat.”

“Maybe. But not to your specifications,” cracked Dirk.

Anyway, with the help of Skipper Dornan, who dodged down out of sight as the cameras rolled, Bogarde did quite a nifty trick at the wheel. and we returned to port a happy-and relieved-crew.

Back in harbour we got down to some The Blue Lamp stuff. Police Constable James Leslie, of the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary – the local “copper” of Port Patrick – was signed up for a part.

He meets Dirk face to face when Bogarde least wants to see him.

That scene called for lots of atmosphere. “Background action” is what the film people call it. And into the “background action ” came locals Alan Rankin and James Smith and a few more hand-picked types. Fishermen’s smocks were borrowed from nearby trawlers. They got busy stacking fish boxes and lugging lobster pots.

They were all set-except for Louella. “She’s pretty seedy,” said the assistant director.

Dirk, always the gallant where leading ladies are concerned, coaxed Louella from her bucket. She didn’t look at all good.

Up popped continuity girl Barbara Cole to make a check.

“She’s lost her freshness all right. I don’t think it’ll notice. Besides, there’s not another lobster to be had in Port Patrick today.” Louella had been specially “potted” for the film.

Anyway, temperaments are the least wanted commodities on locations. Louella had to play.

And play she did until the end of the day. And as we trooped back to the hotel they gave her a clean bucket of water and some bits of herring as a special compensating dish.

Death of A Star

Over our dish of roast duck Biggarade (“Well, I don’t mind, but I wish they’d get the spelling right,” commented Dirk). Crichton and producer Julian Wintle discussed next day’s shooting.

It was decided we should move to the east wall of the harbour. More shots were required of Dirk and Louella doing the hunted stuff.

And then came pandemonium. Louella wasn’t available.

Fame had come too late. For Louella the lobster in the bucket had kicked it- giving up the unequal struggle with stardom just around the corner.

It really was so very. very sad.

David Marlow