The organisers of the Graham Greene International Festival, and particularly our new Festival Director Dr. Martyn Sampson, have been hard at work over the past few weeks putting the finishing touches to the programme for the festival which runs between 20-23 September 2018 in Berkhamsted. The programme itself, in the form of a flyer, will be available next month, so Friends of the Trust watch out for it in your email inboxes or through the post with your May ASON.
However, we will be publicising the festival in other ways as well, not least on this website. It promises to be an exciting and innovative four days of festival-going. The fact that this will be the 20th Year of the Graham Greene Festival is proof enough of the continuing interest shown in this writer.
We are profiling some of the contributors to this year’s festival with some short biographies and synopses of their talks. We hope you will find this an interesting way of trailing these events. Some more biographies and synopses are featured on the Festival 2018 page.
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the making of The Third Man – A Conversation with Angela Allen, MBE
Angela Allen’s illustrious career as script supervisor spanned six decades, her behind-the-scene contribution to the film industry is legendary, let alone her fight for the rights of women in the male dominated world of movie making. She worked with John Huston and Franco Zefirelli, received an MBE in 1996 and the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2005. One of the youngest female continuity professionals in the business at the time, she joined Carol Reed’s crew for weeks of location shooting in Vienna. Seventy years have passed since, and this interview is the rare opportunity to listen to the fascinating recollections of one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of the making of The Third Man. Together with senior script supervisor Peggy McClafferty, Angela Allen was at the very centre of the production.
The first part of the interview will deal with the role of script supervisor in general (no one outside the industry is aware of the importance of script supervisor), the development from originally uncredited, poorly paid “continuity girl” to credited, respected “script supervisor” and Angela’s role in that process. The interview will then move on to the highlights of her career before dealing with her involvement with the production of The Third Man. Even if at her young age she was “only” assistant to Peggy McClafferty, she was at the centre of the production, and she was as close to director Carol Reed as could be. Reed’s role in the production was not only that of the director, he also acted as producer, and even more important, he had very closely collaborated with Graham Greene on the transformation of the original story into screenplay. Despite spontaneous changes on the set, he remained as truthful as possible to Greene’s original plot and dialogue, which is one of the reasons why the film adaptation of The Third Man was wholeheartedly accepted by Greene. Rare production stills will complement the interview.
A short autobiography
Angela Allen: Born 1929 in Maida Vale. Education, Paddington & Maida Vale High school, evacuated to Torquay in Devon during the war. I matriculated from that school at 16. Then a year at the Polytechnic on Regent Street, now part of Westminster University. My first job was with an Actor’s Agency. Then a secretarial job with a film producer. It was at Denham studios that I heard about the job of Continuity. I then knocked on doors and eventually landed a job at the Alexander Korda studios in Isleworth . . . a studio that was demolished after The African Queen. I trained on 3 films there, and then went out on my own. Fortunately the Korda studios called me back and I had the good fortune to be assigned to the second unit of The Third Man. My unit spent a great deal of time in the sewers and on the Great Wheel. When we returned to the London studios I was still on the 2nd unit but used to take notes for Carol Reed every night at rushes and that was one of the most productive times of my film career, learning how editing can change a scene. After that film I was hired to do a film with Ava Gardner and James Mason and then was hired as the youngest person doing the job to work on The African Queen. I subsequently worked on 13 more films for John Huston. In between films I worked on commercials. Worked on a TV film about the World’s Fair in N.Y. Worked for the producer of the stage show Funny Girl and saw Barbra Streisand become a star overnight. I finally got to work for Franco Zeffirelli whom I had admired for a long time and who remains a friend to this day. I have been invited to the Turner Classic Movie festival 4 times and twice to Bologna. As long as I am able to walk and talk I am happy to go anywhere because I still love the world of entertainment.
Angela Allen will be interviewed by Dr Brigitte Timmermann
Dr Brigitte Timmermann is a graduate of history and English literature of the University of Vienna. She is visiting professor of American colleges based in Austria, works in adult education and runs a family business in tourism. A great fan of Graham Greene, it is not surprising that one of her special fields of interest is the making of The Third Man about which she has written a book.
The Book that Greene Never Wrote: To Beg I Am Ashamed
Greene published more than seventy books and, in addition to this long list, he was attributed quite a few apocryphal texts, among which, at least partly, Sheila Cousins’s To Beg I Am Ashamed. According to rare books dealers, their catalogues still announce “co-authored by Graham Greene and Ronald Matthews.” In his book, Matthews himself clearly said that he had acted as a ghost writer for a prostitute who lacked the literary skill to do justice to her “moving and surprising story”. A publisher was quickly found (Routledge) who accepted his proposition to write a book from the woman’s recollections. For three years, he spent most of his mornings, from ten to twelve making notes on this deplorable odysseus. It goes without saying that Graham Greene met her before embarking for Mexico.
Emeritus Professor François Gallix
François Gallix is Emeritus Professor of 20th century British Literature at the Sorbonne. He has presented on many contemporary British authors, including Alan Sillitoe, Peter Ackroyd, David Lodge, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe, Graham Swift, Hanif Kureishi, Will Self and has published several books and articles about them. His research concentrates on the works of Graham Greene. He has recently discovered and published in The Times and in The Strand a detective novella by Greene. He has edited two volumes on Greene, published by Robert Laffont (2011). His research also includes Nabokov and Lolita and Boris Vian alias Vernon Sullivan.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT …
Songs and music by Matt Saxton inspired by the life and work of Graham Greene
Matt Saxton is a rock and folk singer-songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist, who lives in East Sussex, UK. Music has always been a core part of his life. He is classically trained on the clarinet and piano, and is self-taught on the drums and guitar. His early influences range from Leonard Cohen to Mozart. His songs tend to be reflective, incorporating elements of nostalgia and reflections on literature and philosophy. He is a wide reader, and his favourite author is Graham Greene. In 2015, Google featured his guitar piece “Seabird” on their homepage, bringing his work world-wide attention. He released his single “Greeneland” in 2016 on The Animal Farm label, and in
February 2018 he released his album I Wasn’t Looking For Love. The title track is about when Matt first met his wife. In describing the album, Matt has commented that he wished to use the positive themes about love and family that Neil Young touched on in Harvest Moon.