Athol Fugard films etc 1960s





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Fugard emerging and being discovered by the BBC.


1968 Mille Miglia

"I don’t know which had the greatest shame, the man or the car…people say he was driving to kill himself"
"A thousand miles to get nowhere"

A surprising Fugard piece written by Fugard for the BBC, and later in 1970 repeated as part of their Wednesday Play series. It is about motor racing with Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson preparing for the race at Mille Miglia "I can still see it so clearly…the pit crew were nervous…the mechanic with the petrol fumbled…Lindemaier’s overalls were in flames".  Tom Stoppard (in Stephen Grey´s Athol Fugard) says "the scenes where they sat side by side at a table, Moss miming at a wheel, Jenkinson signalling like a machine, shouting the kilometers and mimicking the horn...had the weird perfection of pure sound made".

Written for the BBC during a difficult time for Fugard "Really feel the loss of my passport for the first time these past two weeks. Re-examining and reworking Mille Miglia for Robin Midgley in London. The BBC have invited me to London for the filming".  It was filmed in colour, but because technology was then not good enough to shoot in colour on location, it meant the entire story had to be filmed indoors.  Stirling Moss objected to his portrayal which led to restrictions on the film being shown.  Michael Bryant played Stirling Moss, Ronald Lacey played Denis Jenkinson and the rest of the cast were Guy Deghy (Alfred Neubauer), George Roubicek (Hugo), Douglas Ditta (waiter) and Fabio Galvano (radio commentator).  The TV play was been adapted for the theatre as "Drivers" by David Muir.


1967 The Blood Knot

A BBC filmed play production.  In Notebooks Fugard says "Back in S´Kop after five weeks in London for BBC TV production of The Blood Knot. Myself as Morrie, with Charles Hyatt as Zach. Robin Midgley directing.  Midgley reduced the play to 90 minutes...Midgley did manage to dig up things that had been missed in all the other productions. Most exciting was his treatment of the letter writing scene - ´Address her` -which he turned into an essay in literacy...Zach sweating as the words clot in his mouth..."


1964 The Occupation

"There are no anchors. Nothing is heavier than time"

A television script but never filmed. The camera enters a ruined house at about the same time as four tramps, Barend, Koosie, Serge (Sergeant) and Cappie (The Captain) enter. These white ex-soldiers explore the house "stinking rich is you ask me…Wealth doesn’t stink, Sergeant" and what remains from the previous inhabitants "This…is another man’s memory, and what’s the bet he hates it".

Fugard in Notebooks says "My next idea was a group of white hobos I saw one day in Johannesburg. At first I thought of a play covering one of their days from start to finish- yesterday I suddenly saw the play covering only the end of their day- in an empty, partly demolished house. The Occupation. What is it about? Walls, I suppose. Why we build them, imprison ourselves and live out lives away behind them, why we hate, need, even destroy them."



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