From the Archive | Lesley Blanch and Terence Rattigan

terence-rattigan-and-lesley-blanch

A leading British playwright of the 1940s and 1950s, Terence Rattigan is chiefly remembered today for The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea and Separate Tables. He also wrote screenplays based on novels, among them Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, James Hilton’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips . . . and Lesley Blanch’s The Nine Tiger Man.

But the film of Lesley Blanch’s only novel was never completed. According to a letter held in the George Cukor papers at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California 90211, dated 14 July, 1972, from 20th Century Fox to the film’s director, George Cukor, 20th Century Studios “have 1,500,000 US dollars in charges in the film and would accept a reasonable offer for the property.

The revised final version of Terence Rattigan’s script-screenplay, dated 14 November, 1966, is also in the Margaret Herrick Library – along with Gene Allen’s script-screenplay based on Rattigan’s, dated 5 April, 1967. Gavin Lambert’s script-screenplay is alleged by Hollywood insiders to be the best version but has disappeared and is, as yet, unfound.  

Terence Rattigan said of The Nine Tiger Man: “Romantic, outrageous, savage and comic . . . It is the purest ironic comedy, almost, let’s face it, black.”

It was to be filmed partly at Belvoir Castle Grantham (Rutland).

News | The Lesley Blanch Estate & Peters Fraser and Dunlop (PFD) Literary Agents

Christmas card sent to friends by Lesley Blanch. Hollywood & Paris, 1961

Greetings to our readers!
It is exciting to announce that the Lesley Blanch estate is now represented by Peters, Fraser & Dunlop.
PFD represents a large number of literary estates of authors of must-read classics . . . including those of Sacheverell Sitwell, Rebecca West, Eric Ambler and Simenon who were friends of Lesley Blanch’s in life.
If you still have not read her memoirs On The Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life, published posthumously by Virago and La Table Ronde, then you’re missing out!

INDEPENDENT: “Sumptuous and captivating”
DAILY TELEGRAPH: “On The Wilder Shores of Love is a truly remarkable book”
STACEY, blogger at IT TAKES A WOMAN: “I rarely read non-fiction books, but when I do, I tend to enjoy reading about women who kick arse, and in Far to Go & Many to Love, Lesley Blanch confirms her membership of this club with her superb, descriptive writing . . . Whether writing about people or places, Lesley Blanch’s writing is arresting and has real life to it – her piece about Vivien Leigh is a particular favourite of mine and, as I said, the whole collection is put together with such love and respect, that it is a fantastic introduction to the work of a remarkable woman”

blanch by beaton and horst
Lesley Blanch by Beaton and Horst

Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 5

Christmas card sent to friends by Lesley Blanch. Hollywood & Paris, 1961

Shusha Guppy interviewed Lesley Blanch at her home in Garavan, before and after a delicious home-cooked lunch consumed in the shade of a fig tree in the garden. September 1988.

Shusha Guppy : It is interesting that your husband was the opposite: he only wrote fiction, and won the Goncourt twice, the second time under a pseudonym. What do you think of his work now?

Lesley Blanch : I don’t read novels. Few last. Romain was not a disciplined writer, but he had wonderful ideas, and sometimes wrote wonderful stories. The one about the strolling players, for example. I thought The Roots of Heaven was fine. It had a momentous theme, like his autobiography, Promise at Dawn, which he wrote in Hollywood and gave me to read in instalments as he went along. Of course he invented a certain amount of that, but basically it was true.

Continue reading “Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 5”

Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 4

Shusha Guppy interviewed Lesley Blanch at her home in Garavan, before and after a delicious home-cooked lunch consumed in the shade of a fig tree in the garden. September 1988.

Shusha Guppy : People like you who are passionate about Russia and Russian literature are usually disappointed by the Soviet Union. But in your book you seem to approve of it. In the passage relating to your trip to Siberia you write most poignantly and vividly about the plight of the convicts in the nineteenth century with their chains and fetters dragging through the frozen steppes, yet hardly mention the millions and millions who perished in Stalin’s concentration camps, in worse conditions. How come?

Lesley Blanch : I think the Russian Revolution was an inevitable move in the context of the twentieth century, just as Khomeini’s Islamic revivalism is today. It is something, a phase, to be gone through. I don’t think it will kill Persia, and it hasn’t killed Russia. You might remember what the Tzarina Alexandra said: “Russia can only be ruled by the knout” – the whip. Yes, that very English, rather silly stubborn lady who was killed in Ekaterinburg in 1918, said that. I don’t know what conclusions to draw from that.

Continue reading “Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 4”