( lire la version française)
I shared my first important dialog scenes with Martita Hunt, who played Baroness Meinster. That remarkable actress, with an already impressive career on the stage and in the movies (1), sometimes was a little shy with me. That made her very endearing.
She and Terence Fisher had a very close understanding. Quite often, at tea time, one could see both of them enjoy a break with a few drops of sherry on top, and go on shooting a little more relaxed.
BRIDES OF DRACULA was an opportunity to make happy encounters. I got along wonderfully with David Peel, the vampire baron. His voice and perfect elocution were quite impressive.
David Peel and Peter Cushing were exemplary partners. They lived their part so fully that they gave you talent.
David was not a very famous movie actor, but he had a lot of experience on the stage. He also had done some radio. Broadcast plays, some of which were published on records (2).
He was an esthete.
He had a passion for architecture, fine arts and antiques. He very much admired the fantastic set pieces created by Bernard Robinson for the interior of the castle. (3)
David Peel was quite reserved a man, but we finally developed an enjoyable friendship.
Lunchtime at the commissary was an occasion for the whole film crew to relax from the pressures of shooting.
I was not last to resort to some childish pranks to amuse my co-workers. I particularly remember those English green peas, as big as ping-pong balls, that I had fun throwing in David’s plate to surprise him. Baron Meinster then left his aura of mystery at the door to take part in this pea battle !
Peter Cushing, as I’ve often said in interviews, was every bit a gentleman, faithful to his reputation. Very professional and very warm.
I especially recall my first scene of dialog with him, in the coach, after he find me unconscious in the woods. The conviction and strength of his impersonation made you want to give your very best.
At that moment, I thought : I found my character ! I am Marianne, and this man will save me !
(more to come)
The great Peter Cushing joking with me between two takes.
(1) Amongst her most famous movie parts, she was an impressive Miss Havisham in the David Lean classic adapted from Dickens : THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS. The French audience also remarked her in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s LES ESPIONS (THE SPIES).
(2) He is known for a phonographic version of Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece : THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY.
(3) He retired from the movies shortly afterwards to become an antique dealer.