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LOVE, LIFE &

MOVING PICTURES

by 
Terence Sharkey



                                                                                                                                         

So what have we here?
A romance?
A technical film-commentary?
An historical look at mid 20th century London, its jazz clubs, its cruel underworld?
The actors' backstage world behind London's west-end theatre curtain?
How 19th century child-labour laws affected child-actors in the 20th?
Snatches of biography of some 1950s film actors - ghosts, long-dead yet still familiar faces on today’s television screens.
Tales of theatre ghosts.

It is all these things but above all it is the story of a young actor who found unexpected romance on a foreign film location, where off-camera events were to be more dramatic than any taking place on the sands of the Sahara.

From the pen of a young actor stepping from the ‘family’ of a long-running West End musical to the film factory that was Pinewood, his experiences of mid-20th century theatre and film-making are interwoven with a romance that came to the desert film location – literally – on wings of fire. A youthful romance which follows him back to London and is the theme of this memoir.

 

Rosemarie and I had climbed up into the sandstone corridors of the Roman ruin. From somewhere she had borrowed shorts which showed off the longest smoothest limbs I had ever seen. The Drury Lane chorus were famed for their appearance and I suppose that I fancied my years there had made me a connoisseur and here were legs that seemed to go on for ever. Below us, in the vivid yellow Sahara two German actors Anton Differing and Frederick Jaeger were playing out a scene. We could hear the guttural German. “Eines zwei drei. Alles ist klar.”
“Will they subtitle that?” Rosemarie whispered as we peered down to the amphitheatre.
“No I think the idea is that it’s simple German conversation, easily understood and is more realistic if they leave it that way.”
Suddenly the quiet scene below was rent with a mighty roar and a jet aircraft screamed low across the open desert sky. Rosemarie gave a cry of terror and clung to me, trembling and sobbing. I could feel her heart pounding and her breasts pressing into my chest.
“Rosemarie, it’s nothing. It’s the Americans. They’ve got a base, Wheelus Field, the other side of Tripoli. They fly over the location to see what we’re doing. It’s just a nuisance, nothing to be worried about.”

She stayed clinging to me for some minutes giving little sobs, then drew away. It was hard not to notice beneath her blouse her erect nipples straining against the smooth white silk. Trembling, she took my handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes.
“Such a noise, it reminded me….It was all noise. And no one could move. The door on my side had jammed against the sand and I couldn’t open it. Then the steward got us to the door on the other side but an African chief’s robes got caught. Oh it was horrible. There was an old lady strapped in and people trampling over her and the floor had come up and the seats had collapsed and people’s legs were trapped. And the flames. Oh God the flames.”
Her body racked with sobs and again she held me tightly, her nails biting into my shoulders. Then, suddenly aware of our proximity she drew away, letting go of me and blushing. “I’m sorry. That jet, it just brought it all back.”
I took both her hands in mine. “It’s understandable. It’s going to be like that for a long time I think.”

SYNOPSIS
From the pen of a young actor stepping from the ‘family’ of a long-running West End musical to the film factory that was Pinewood, his experiences of mid-20th century theatre and film-making are interwoven with a romance that came to the desert film location – literally – on wings of fire. A youthful romance which follows him back to London and is the theme of this book. Available in both paperback and Kindle.

Love, Life and Moving Pictures recalls what life was like for a boy-actor not only in the Libyan film-location but also in a London recovering from the war. A world of coffee bars, jazz clubs and the seamy gang-rivalry of Soho which pervaded London’s theatre-land.
(43,000 words)


By the same author and soon in Kindle.
Jack the Ripper. 100 Years of Investigation
Ward Lock London.
Dorset Press. New York 

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