Sunday, 30 March 2008

Margaret Lockwood

The first time I saw Margaret Lockwood in film, I was around 15, staying at home with flu from school, and miserably tucked up on the sofa watching The Wicked Lady.

As a young girl, not only did I think she was beautiful, but I loved the typecast roles of a gold-digging minx she played in this film and others. They suited her, but they were a disappointment to her own acting ambitions.

Recently there has been a Lockwood season at the BFI and I have indulged in a couple of afternoons watching The Man in Grey and Jassy. The former is actually a hugely enjoyable film - with a script amusingly identical to The Wicked Lady, but that's okay, because if she had been in twenty films that are a variation of The Wicked Lady, I'd be happy. The second film, Jassy, is a bit daft and unfortunately shot in colour and this doesn't detract from her beauty, but she seems less mysteriously mischevious somehow.

The woman should always have played a gun-toting social climber. In her acting career and in her personal life she was uncompromising. As Phil Norman notes in his book 'TV Cream's Anatomy of Cinema', 'at RADA,
she refused to kowtow to the strangulated 'how verreh verreh love-lay' diction drilled into the other pupils'. Apparently too, she had a filthy, kitchen hand's laugh and a crude tongue that would make a naval officer blush. Less of a wicked lady, more of a minx, in my opinion.

And so...until our next merry meeting 'heroine addicts'...

Margaret Lockwood (born 15 September, 1916 )


dickvandyke said...

Thank you for this. I remember ML (and her beauty spot) very well from a Yorkshire TV court room drama series in the 70s called 'Justice'.

A class apart.

I recall that she liked a drink and died something of a recluse which is a real shame.

Roman Empress said...

Mon pleasir DvD, yes she did become a recluse and couldn't give a monkey's about the films she used to be in. She was questionned about them ('do you ever watch them'?) before she died, and she said something along the lines of, 'oh what's the point, that was sooooo long ago'.
Quite a bit different from Leo Sayer then...

Bedelia said...

Agree with all of the above; good to see that I'm not alone in my fanaticism. Justice is actually my favourite, which made a fan of me as a little girl (which some people find hard to understand!) - the perfect vehicle for her style and presence. She was great in the theatre too.

There's an episode of Justice accessible to view on, if you log in at a public library or educational establishment (not available on private computers).

Roman Empress said...

Hello Bedelia, I haven't seen Justice, but Mr RE has.

I should get to know her later work more, but I'm currently crazy about all those old costume dramas with singular plots that serve her so well.

Sometimes Englishness should be celebrated for just that.

ladylockwood said...

I absolutely adore her. I've watched the episode of Justice at screenonline but would love to see more of it. She was so beautiful, talented and apparently had a wicked sense of humour - what's NOT to idolise?! Of the films I've seen I love The Lady Vanishes, Cast a Dark Shadow, Highly Dangerous, The Man in Grey, Bank Holiday and of course The Wicked Lady. Oh, and The Slipper and the Rose has been a favourite since I was little and Margaret is excellent and extremely glamorous in her final screen role as the (Wicked, naturally) Stepmother. I've thought long and hard about her appeal and I think it's this strange and wonderful combination of being absolutely adorable and incredibly sexy at the same time. Quite rare for those qualities to coexist but when they do it is special indeed. The world is a poorer place without you, Margaret xxx

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