PEOPLE who sigh to be film stars, best-selling novelists, famous actors, probably go on sighing for the rest of their lives. In the meantime, those they wish to be are not sighing at all but putting their backs into it and getting on with the job.
No. That's not me laying down the law, It was the theme of a conversation I had this week with a famous novelist and a casting director. The locale was Denham studios and Marjorie Booth, of Paramount, had invited me to go along with herself and Mrs. Long to see some of the " shooting " on So Evil My Lore. You may not recognise in " Mrs. Long ' a famous writer-but if I mentioned the name of Marjorie Bowen, doubtless you would. You may remember recently that Evelyn Waugh mentioned that best-seller, The Viper of Milan. as one of the books that influenced him most as a boy. Mrs. Long uses about five other pseudonyms for her books -Joseph Shearing is the one under which she wrote the novel of this film under discussion. Altogether she has written about 200 books-she has lost count of the exact number-and about five are being filmed in various London studios at the moment. One has just come over ready for the cinemas from Hollywood. So, one way and another, she is providing quite a lot of work for the industry.
Work Begins at 7 THE casting director started it. I know at once. as soon as a person comes into the room whether he or she is.going to make an actor or actress. Far too many come into the profession because they think it's an easy life-staying in bed late in the morning and just walking on to the stage for an hour or two at night. But its not like that at allit's just hard. slogging work."' " People think the same about writing,' put in Mrs. Long. "They don't realise the amount of research that goes to the preparation of a book before you put pen to paper at all. And then there is the actual physical work of writing it." Geraldine Fitzgerald at lunch, told me she's often at the studios at 7 a.m. And I saw for myself how she and Ann Todd rehearsed the same scene over and over again. Their patience was a lesson and so was their intelligent co-operation with the director. Miss Fitzgerald, who is a niece of Sheelagh Richards, famous product of Dublin's Gate Theatre. is a pleasant, witty and companionable person. and looking forward very much to her coming visit to Dublin.
Rainy Portugal pENELOPE Coke (whose name was misspelt last time she appeared in this column) told me something about her visit to Fatima shrine in Portugal when I met her at C.A.G.O. headquarters last week. One of the intentions of the pilgrimage in which 30.000 took part was the conversion of Russia. It was a great moment, she said. when a Russian girl went alone to the shrine and said the special prayer written for the occasion in her own language while the whole 30,000 each said it in theirs.
It was cold and rainy most of the time. The people are happy. though many of them are poor and badly dressed. " But they seem to be able to move about much more freely than the Spaniards, who are continually being held up to show passes and identity cards," added our English pilgrim.
I am sure everyone who knows what great work Carmy Greville has done, and is doing. for the Catholic Action Girls' Organisation, will sympathise with her in the recent loss of her mother.
More about this important organisation later.
Opera for All LET'S hope the days when grand opera was for the few with money and tiaras to show off have gone. Last week the Cambridge Theatre celebrated its first birthday as the home of continuous opera with a party. The host, Mr. Jay Pomeroy, told us how he had realised his ambition of bringing the real thhtg within reach of young working people. Anyone who has seen these productions will know they are not being fobbed off with third-rate stuff. I met Eva Turner there and was glad to congratulate her on her great performance of Turandot at Covent Garden a couple of nights before. And Dino Borgioli told me aU about the school for opera they are starting at' the Cambridge which will ensure a steady flow of opera personnel.