As Features Editor of British Vogue 1937-45 during the Second World War, Lesley Blanch was on the front line of women journalists covering a wide range of topics with the aim of raising the morale of women. Ack-Ack A.T.S. & others is the second of three special features written by Lesley Blanch documenting the lives of women in the forces, originally accompanied by the photos of her friend the photographer Lee Miller.
The scene is a wild stretch of coast. There are mountains inland, glimpsed nebulously through the icy, blanketing mists which lie low over the ragged, sodden fields. The cold appals. The most leathery-looking sergeant shudders. I am huddled inside a wigwam of topcoats. Stamping and shuffling in their battledress, the A.T.S. are blowing on their hands, waiting for the command to take over the gunsites. Continue reading “Feature Lesley Blanch Ack-Ack A.T.S. & others, Jan 1942”
As Features Editor of British Vogue 1937-45 during the Second World War, Lesley Blanch was on the front line of women journalists covering a wide range of topics with the aim of raising the morale of women.
For Remembrance weekend, held to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars, W.R.N.S. on the Job is the first of three special features written by Lesley Blanch documenting the lives of women in the forces, originally accompanied by the photos of her friend the photographer Lee Miller.
It is an indisputable fact that occupations and professions breed their own particular type. There are occupational faces, as there are occupational diseases, except in the case of the bored, spoiled, overfed idler, now fortunately rarely seen, save at luxurious hotels in ‘safe’ areas, where the face, and its accompanying malaise, might be described as non-occupational. Continue reading “Feature Lesley Blanch W.R.N.S. on the Job, Nov 1941”
After leaving British Vogue in 1945, Lesley Blanch freelanced for a year, and was a regular contributor to Edward Hulton’s The Leader (sister publication to Picture Post). She covered film and photography – still relatively new media – and profiled rising stars; Vivien Leigh, Peter Ustinov and Billy Wilder among them. A fellow contributor and friend, Robbie Lantz, later became her agent when they were both living and working in the US. He also took on her husband Romain Gary as a client. Red Tape and Blue Pencil is one of a series of feature articles by Lesley Blanch being republished that originally appeared in 1945.
Although the British Board of Film Censors is a non-Governmental organisation, appointed by the film industry itself, it appears to bask in a glow of complacency which renders it at once unassailable, unapproachable, and uncooperative. It seems to enjoy an atmosphere of sacrosanctity and prerogative almost as strong as that which the Lord Chamberlain’s office in its function as Censor of Plays. Both are, it seems, outside the law; there is no court of appeal; what they say goes. Continue reading “Feature Lesley Blanch, Red Tape and Blue Pencil: The Autocracy of Film Censorship, April 1945”
Panto has been a unique feature of the British Christmas season for centuries – even when Britain was at War – until the Covid 19 pandemic forced theatres to close their doors. A few months ago hundreds of protesters – including about half-a-dozen pantomime dames – gathered in Westminster to protest against the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although you can’t see a performance in person, Peter Duncan has responded to the lack of pantomimes around this Christmas in British theatres by filming a production of Jack And The Beanstalk.
To get in the mood, this feature by Lesley Blanch, originally published in British Vogue in December 1943, brings alive the joyful fun and fantasy of this very British tradition.
It’s always On the Road to the Middle of Next Week: unless it’s Nowhere in Particular, with Past Events casting their Shadows before. It’s the Enchanted Cavern, the Flying Palace, the Wicked Wood, the Widow Twankey’s Kitchen, or the Fairies’ Home in the Heart of the Rose . . . It’s the Pork-Butcher’s Shop, It’s the Magic Transformation Scene, It’s the Harlequinade — in short, it’s the Christmas Pantomime. Continue reading “Feature Lesley Blanch, Panto, December 1943”