bfi features

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough was interviewed at the National Film Theatre on 7 September 2003. Hosts: David Robinson, Amanda Nevill, Anthony Minghella.

Attenborough's first film as director is endlessly inventive in transferring Joan Littlewood's 1963 stage musical to Brighton pier, deftly shifting its impressions of the First World War between different levels of fantasy and reality. Most of the British acting profession is on display in what grows to become a grand, elegiac national celebration. Variety, awed, said that 'His work also happens to be dedicated. exhilarating, shrewd. mocking, funny, emotional, witty, poignant and technically brilliant.' As the centrepiece of the Richard Attenborough 80th birthday tribute the bfi welcomed Lord Attenborough back onto the NFT stage, where he was interviewed by David Robinson.

Introduction by Anthony Minghella
Oh! What a Lovely War
In Which We Serve
Playing Christie
Setting up Beaver Films for The Angry Silence
Trade unions and financing films
Making films
The Great clown: Chaplin
The Depths of Emotion: Shadowlands
Beautiful Things, Little-seen: In Love and War and Grey Owl
A Birthday Surprise from the bfi
The Film of a Lifetime: Gandhi
Interview © BFI 2003

Introduction by Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella: Lord Attenborough is a great man, somebody who has worked tirelessly on film sets for more than half a century, but also, with equal passion away from the camera to champion cinema and quietly to support the institutions and individuals who've enjoyed less success, who command less influence. A genuine philanthropist, a tremendously important Chairman of the bfi for more than a decade, during which time he secured a Royal Charter for the Institute, a President of BAFTA, a current Chairman of RADA, Dickie has laboured long and hard in the fields of the good. It's a testament to his fabled generosity and kindness that he's inspired affectionate imitation of his conversational style, peppered, as it is, with unforgettable largesse. He is that most unusual of Englishmen, one unafraid to reveal his emotions, his concerns and his loves, so that each of his films, sometimes unfashionably, always without nodding to the cool or the cynical, bears witness to his sensibility, which is compassionate, life-affirming and always sincere.

An Attenborough film will always assert content over style, often finding inspiration in the life of a great historical figure, approaching his subjects with a passionate interest rather than with an analytical judgement. Dickie makes films for people and not for critics, and people have loved his films, from Gandhi [1982] to Cry Freedom [1987], from Chaplin [1992] to Shadowlands [1993].

He's also a greatly undervalued actor, and ironically one whose darker notes stay indelibly in the mind - certainly in my mind. He refers to these roles as playing 'little spivs' or 'quivering psychopaths' but for my part I remember being haunted by his performances in Seance on a Wet Afternoon [Bryan Forbes, 1964], 10 Rillington Place [Richard Fleischer, 1970] or Brighton Rock [John Boulting, 1947], and perhaps all his poisons were leaked into these riveting screen characters and we've been lucky enough to be left with this tremendous and unique personality of British cinema, this 'idiotic optimist' as he calls himself, whose heart is worn so proudly on his sleeve. So, welcome to this screening of Dickie's first film, from 1969, Oh! What a Lovely War. It's part of a season of eighteen of his films that will be showing at the NFT throughout September and October, many of which will be introduced by Lord Attenborough himself. I want to thank Variety, and also Dominic Smith from Mayfair Cellars, who have kindly sponsored all these events. At the end of the film, I'd love to ask if you could just stay in your seats for a few minutes, after which there'll be a short interval - I feel like a priest now, doing the parish notices - there'll be a short interval in which we'll be serving champagne, courtesy of Dominic, and before we return for an audience with the great man, led by David Robinson, who's wearing a tie - Dickie's not wearing a tie, I've noticed.

My final duty is to ask you to turn off your cell phones and any other electrical appliances other than hearing aids, so please turn everything off, and sit back to watch basically the entire British Equity showing up. How you did that? Every director just looks at that cast list and thinks, My God, that was an achievement, and what a wonderful man, and I'm so proud to have introduced this today. Thanks.

Oh! What a Lovely War
[Screening of Oh! What a Lovely War]

Richard Attenborough: It's too slow, I'm afraid! And undoubtedly it's too long, but it was 35 years ago, and pace and tempo and style of movies has changed a great deal. But at that time, everybody who was involved in the making of it and the creation of it felt very deeply indeed about its content. Many of us had seen the show in the East End, and at Wyndhams, Joan Littlewood's work, and Charlie Chilton, and I might say Alf Ralston, who conducted the show and who conducted the music and wrote a lot of the music for this film version, cared deeply about what he was trying to say. He was a Cockney from the East End, and he was a brilliant, brilliant musician, and he created, I believe, an atmosphere and a feeling about this subject which I'm not sure any other composer could have done in quite the same way. It meant so much to Alf. It meant a great deal to me when Johnny Mills and Len Deighton sent me the screenplay. One of my great sadnesses is that Len did not remain as part of the production for a reason I do not know other than that he had a major disagreement with his partner. And so his name is not on the screen, at his wish. It should be, because he did an incredibly ingenious scheme and way of moving what was a theatre show on to the screen, and then using the pier et cetera and the reality and the juxtaposition of the two. Gerry Turpin was the photographer. He's no longer with us. Ronnie Taylor was the operator, and he lives abroad. The picture was created in its style and its colour and its form by I think one of the greatest production designers this country has ever known, and his name is Don Ashton, and Don is here this afternoon. As indeed is Simon Kaye, who probably is the finest sound recordist in the world, and has recorded every movie I have done, bar one. He is here. I couldn't have got through the movie, unquestionably, had it not been for Annie Skinner, who was continuity girl, who is now a distinguished producer in her own right. And she taught me and helped me and held my hand and got me through what was a ridiculous risk on the part of a lot of people. I actually was got through the movie by somebody we all know in the company as Monky, that's Maureen Goldner, who is now Maureen MacDonald, and she and her husband are here today. An awful lot of people who are not here... You saw some great acting, I believe, and although we mentioned [Laurence] Olivier and [Ralph] Richardson and [John] Gielgud and [Dirk] Bogarde and Kenny More and Jack Hawkins, it was the Smith family that really I believe brought the reality and the truth to what we all wanted to say and how we all felt. And Mary Wimbush, who played Mother, is here. I hope that Corin Redgrave is here. If he's not, he was delayed coming up to London. Wendy Allnutt is here. Angela Thorne is here. Paul Shelley, who played the boy right to the end, is here. Angus Lennie is here, and a number of the boys are not here. A number of the girls too. Some are not here at all. But those that are gave, I think, in their performances a truth and a calibre of integrity which could scarcely be bettered. So we thank you for coming this afternoon - [by] we, I mean all of we - because I would like you to applaud those people who I've mentioned who aren't here and Mary and the players that are here, and I'd like you to take a bow, please, if you will.


Bravo, darling. Bravo, all of you. Bravo. Thank you all so much. And thank you for coming today. Angie, bless you, marvellous to see you here, and to have made such friends with a number of people who were involved in that production. I don't quite know what else to say except that I wish to thank Anthony Minghella, very sweet, for his monstrously overgenerous introduction. I would like to thank you for all coming because so many here are friends of mine and people who've been involved in this particular production. I hope those of you who wish will now go to the loo and have a drink and then come back in because David Robinson has devised a monstrous hour or so with excerpts from about another half dozen of movies some of which you may have seen, some of which I don't think you will have seen. But most important of all is to say that I hope and believe that the idea of transferring that show to the screen, which was the idea, basically, as far as I was concerned, of my longest friends in the business, who is indeed in his ninety-fifth year. And it was he who asked me and I thought he was asking me to play in it, but he was asking me to direct it. I told him he was a raving idiot and I'd never done it and he said, Well, Len and I decided that we should either get somebody who knew absolutely nothing and might try one or two new ideas, or someone who knew absolutely everything, and we don't know why but we settled for the former so it was you. So in ending the welcome to you, I would like you to welcome my oldest friend in the business and somebody to whom I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude, as do everybody in the British film industry, because he granted us stature, he granted us style, he granted us integrity, and he made us believe that the movies actually do have something to contribute in terms of our understanding and our concerns, and that, somehow or other, if we get the opportunity to make movies that have some content, then perhaps the cinema, as far as we are concerned, is an art form - maybe not a fine art - but it is an art form if it touches people's heads and hearts. So thank you all who did participate. I've always believed that the movie is an ensemble operation, and you have made it, all of you who were here today and all those who were not able to come, I thank you very much, and may I ask you please to now welcome this great guy, Johnny Mills.


RA (to John Mills): Everybody's standing up to welcome you. Sit on the edge here. There. Bless you... Johnny, you may not see to the end there, but I can assure you that everybody in this theatre stood up when you came in. And they would wish, I'm sure, to thank you for a marvellous performance and for your courage in setting about this subject, which we all felt so deeply about. Johnny, we shall look forward to your hundredth, which isn't far to go now, and then we'll really celebrate, Johnny, and you and I can dance. Yeah.

John Mills: Now thank you very much for that absolutely wonderful reception. I feel quite moved and it was just marvellous for me because Dickie made a dream come true. I thought Gandhi was a great picture but my favourite film of all time is Oh! What a Lovely War. I just thought it was a piece of magic, and I never really thought I'd see it realised in that way. He did a brilliant job. I'll never forget it. Thank you very much, Dick.

RA: Johnny, thank you so much for coming this afternoon. You're the highlight of our day.

JM: Thank you so much.


In Which We Serve
[extract from Journey Together [John Boulting, 1945]

David Robinson: It's a long time ago. Richard, just pretend for a moment that you don't know the boy. Pretend you don't know him. What do you think of him?

RA: Oh, brilliant.

DR: He's not pretending, you know!

RA: You can imagine playing with this god, you know. I mean, Edward G. Robinson... suddenly, you're 19, and suddenly you're asked to play in a movie with such a man. And I've been so lucky. I made two other movies: one bloody awful with [John] Duke Wayne, called, um... oh, Poppy what's it called? I can't remember - anyway... It was a dreadful movie and he was a wonderful man, Duke Wayne, I mean he really was a terrific man, way to the right of Genghis Khan, but I mean professionally wonderful, and Jimmy Stewart, wonderful. So they were great figures. We tend to knock Hollywood and those real real masters that really knew it backwards. And, as I say, he was a fantastic teacher just for that short space of time he was there.

DR: You're evading my question, aren't you?

RA: Yes. Yes. Well it's a bit OTT. I think, you know. Lip trembly, but that's been part of my scene for some time, I'm afraid.

In Which We Serve was fine, I mean, to work with the great man [Noël Coward], and to work, of course, on David Lean's first film. David was an editor, and it was because Noël thought so, so much of him... they told him a man called - a wonderful man called Doug Ricci told Noël that if he was going to write and direct and play the lead and compose the music and so on, that he ought to have a great editor, and there was a boy called David Lean, and David came on on the movie and within a couple of weeks, Noël was so certain that David was superb that he went to Del DeRicci and said, I must give up my sole directorial credit. It must be directed by David Lean and me. A measure of Noël.

DR: But the performances were directed by Coward?

RA: By Noël. The performances were directed by Noël. And obviously, the shooting was David. Have I got time to tell you a story about Noël? If you've ever seen the film In Which We Serve, but it was about a destroyer in the Mediterranean. My family all know this story. Forgive me. And we had to go on a Carley float, and they built a huge tank in the studios at Denham, and up to about 4 foot 5, 5 foot, and we would all go after about six weeks shooting into the water, which was filthy, covered in oil and sawdust all round and the stench was simply dreadful. And we all used to be bang on the double because you were never thirty seconds late for a Noël Coward appointment, ever, and we'd all go in, Johnny [Mills] and Bernard Miles and Michael Wilding and a gang of people, Philip Friend, I remember, and in the water we would be, and the master would arrive and stand on the edge of the tank and dive into the tank. The most terrible belly flop. And on this last occasion I remember very clearly, and Johnny will remember this, that Noël emerged out of the water with oil coming all over his face and said, Darlings, there's dysentery in every ripple. Sorry darlings!

DR: You know, this isn't so very long ago because in this audience there are two of your leading ladies from this 40s period, and one of your directors. The leading lady - one leading lady we've mentioned already, of course, it's 61 years this week since you acted in a play called London W1, and you played a character called Andrew, and Penny was played by Sheila Sim.

RA: I've got nothing to say about that!

DR: So that's one of your leading ladies from that period. The other one... When you came to do the film of Brighton Rock, in the play, of course, your leading lady would have been Dulcie Gray; in the film, it was Carol Marsh, and Carol Marsh is with us tonight.


RA: Carol's performance, I mean as Rose in Brighton Rock, was - Dulcie's got marvellous reviews in the theatre, very properly - Carol's performance in Brighton Rock was magic. It was just absolutely terrific. I mean really exquisite, and for somebody like me, who had very, very little experience till that time, she gave the most beautifully judged, sensitive, restrained performance. If you see - thank you - if you see the picture, because I think Brighton Rock is playing in the [season]...

DR: It is

RA: ... you'll see how marvellous she was. The difficulty with the other leading lady is that... we did a movie together called The Guinea Pig [Roy Boulting, 1948], which is also, God help us, in the season, and, Sheila - [it] was one of the very few movies we've done together, and Sheila played my housemistress... Quite right, yes, I mean... It was OK on the set, but can you imagine the Ma'am thing I got in the evening when I got back, and 'Go upstairs' and, 'Yes, darling.' Yes. Sorry, darling!

DR: And that led to one of those ephemeral showbusiness marriages, did it?

RA: Afraid so, yes.

DR: And the director who's here, on 9 April 1943, which was a Sunday, you did a one night stand in a one act play called Women Are Waiting, and it was directed by a young man who'd just arrived from Czechoslovakia, Herbert Lom. And he's here tonight.

RA: Ah, bless him.

Playing Christie
DR: So, as you see, it's not so long ago. Now, unfortunately, we really can't cover the range of your acting so I thought we'd next show one of the nastiest performances you ever gave... Well you heard what Anthony [Minghella] said about it, that you were just working out the bad bit...

RA: It's not true.

DR: But it's fascinating, here you, who can play Santa Claus without any make-up, and you chose to play John Reginald Christie. There must have been a reason to do that.

RA: Well, yes. I am passionately opposed to capital punishment, and I have been all my life. I think it is obscene that we should believe that we are entitled to end somebody's life, no matter what that person has supposedly done or not done. And an MP on the south coast whose name I have banished was about to enter a Private Member's Bill into the House to reinstate capital punishment. And a number of people, including Ludovic Kennedy and Leslie Linder, decided with the backing of, oh, who was that marvellous editor of The Sunday Times? Oh, somebody help me... Harry Evans, bless you. Harry Evans. And Harry and Ludo got the idea that we should attempt to make a movie of Ludovic Kennedy's book about Christie, because, as you know, it was the most ghastly miscarriage of justice, and a marvellous performance in the movie by Johnny Hurt. And that character, the Welsh boy, was hanged.

DR: Timothy Evans.

RA: Timothy Evans, yes, for the murder of his wife, who in fact Christie had murdered. And they got hold of Dick Fleischer, the American director, and we all did it for what amounted to scale, because nobody wanted to finance it. And so we made this film, made it actually in the house where Christie lived. Actually shot within the house and in the garden where he buried all those female bodies. It was very uncomfortable. My - are we showing 10 Rillington Place?

DR: Yes.

RS: Well, there's a, I have a bald pate, and the make-up took something like three and a half hours each day. It was deeply unpleasant because, of course, I had to try in some way, I mean actors either work out of knowledge or out of intuition or out of skill or research or whatever - how do you research to play the man John Reginald Christie?

I met a number of people. I met psychiatrists. I met the people who arrested him. I met the police who dealt with him, and so on. And it seemed to me even at that point to create a man who had solely evil in his being without any possibility of understanding what drove this poor demented character, was short-changing the characterisation. And so I worked very hard, and it meant bearing in mind Leslie's instruction that I had to be believed, I had to believe what this man was capable of doing, and so I didn't see anybody or talk to anybody while I was made-up and I didn't talk to anybody at lunchtime, and the worst time was really going home to Poppy and to the children, because I almost felt unclean. But I'm awfully pleased I did it, however hard - I can't bear to watch it; it's quite horrid, I think. But it did have an impact. It did add to the anti-capital punishment lobby and to that extent I feel proud to have done it with Leslie and Ludo and people who really set about doing it.

DR: To me [it shows] huge courage, not just to do it, but to do something really so nasty. And it's strange, it's a courageous performance, and let's just look at it. A bit of it.

RA: It's not very pleasant. It really isn't very pleasant.

DR: Not agreeable, but...

[extract from 10 Rillington Place]

DR: Does anybody want to say anything or ask anything about this, the earlier period, the acting period of Richard's career? No? All right...

RA: They want to go home!

Setting up Beaver Films for The Angry Silence
DR: Right. It's very sad that we're showing so little of the acting, but you will come back for the films and see the full range of the acting career, I hope. The next extract we're going to show is another wonderful performance but it also represents a career move, because this is the moment when you go into what you call the actor-manager.

RA: The Angry Silence [Guy Green, 1959], yes?

DR: The Angry Silence, yes. How did this happen, this move?

RA: Forbesy [Bryan Forbes], Forbesy's not here tonight because we've got a do at the university, Sussex University, tomorrow night and he's sort of emceeing that, so he's down there; otherwise he would be here, and I would wish him to be here. Because he was a partner of mine for a large number of years, and a marvellous partner and a greatly, ridiculously ignored talent. He writes, I think, probably the bestdialogue in English movies that you could ask for, and he's a terrific director. He hasn't worked for 16, 17 years and it's a great, great pity. He felt in the... how long ago was The Angry Silence? 60s, 50s?

DR: '59.

RA: '69?

DR: '59.

RA: '59! And Forbesy and I were, as you've mentioned David, playing silly parts, and we were typecast, and we didn't feel the sort of movies that we were being asked to play in were things we wanted to play in greatly. And we decided to form our own company. And I was playing in, you know, a fairly ordinary picture called Sea of Sand [Guy Green, 1958], directed by Guy Green, which, and I met on that picture an English actor called Michael Craig. And I told Mike that we wanted to go into production and he said, Oh, I've got a great story, I've written it with my brother, Richard Gregson, it's called God Is a Bad Policeman. And I said I wouldn't think that that was the greatest of help in advocating money to make the movie, quite honestly, Michael, and one would hardly call it a commercial title. Anyway, we decided to meet together and we formed a company called Beaver Films, Forbesy and I. And it was story about a boy who opposed a strike. And at that time, being sent to Coventry was a practice which was prevalent in the UK, which I personally felt was undemocratic and inappropriate and improper and usually was brought into play by a group of bullyboys, as, indeed, was the case that we based the movie on. And Forbesy wrote the script, and Guy Green directed it, because he had done Sea of Sand, and Forbesy produced it. We produced it together. And we took it to the Boulting brothers and to Frank Launder and to Sidney Gilliat, and the budget was 137, 138 thousand pounds. And British Lion, which is the company that they ran, said, Look, it's too expensive. It's a risky subject, it's a political subject, it hasn't any of the ingredients of - Oh, God help me, the number of times I've heard that over the years - but it hasn't any of the ingredients that'll bring about a box office success. If you can do it for 100,000 British Lion will put up the money, but no more. And so Forbesy and I started to think about how we could reduce the budget. And we reduced this crowd and we reduced the tempo of shooting and we saved money, we got somewhere. And finally I said to Forbesy, Forbesy, we're being idiots. If we reduce the product, if we reduce the subject matter down to the point that we're now discussing, we are eroding the chance of success of the movie, and if we care about what we're doing, it's very important, we don't do that. There's only one way to do it, and that's to get everybody to do it for nothing. And Forbesy said, Oh, typical, you raving idiot, who are we going to get to do it for nothing? And I said, Well, let's start. We'll start with Guy [Green], and you'll have written it for nothing, and I and you will have produced it for nothing, and we'll get the actors. And we got Bernie Lee, and we got Pier Angeli, and we got Kenny More to play the lead, because I'd given up acting. I was not going to act any more. I was going to produce. Not direct, but I was going to only play in things that were very different to what I'd done already over the years. And Kenny, bless his heart, who agreed to do it, suddenly got a company in America who'd play him money. Cash! And cash to an actor is fairly important. And so Kenny had to withdraw. And there we were with about ten days to go and no leading man. So guess who, you know, played the part? And we went with this example of doing scale work, Equity scale minimum and so on in the salaries, we went to the accountants and the lawyers and the costumiers and to the laboratories and so on, and we got the budget down to 100,000. And so we made it. And it was the first time that I think actors in the UK actually set up a production company of which they were in control. We were not there financed by Rank or by British Lion or whatever, who would come in and say, No you can't do this and you must do that and so on. We had autonomous authority. And it was very important to establish that if you want to make movies that don't fall necessarily into the routine box office bracket. And so we made it just outside Ipswich and at Shepperton and, touch wood, it got marvellous reviews and did very good business and Forbesy and I gave everybody involved a proportion in the movie. So even now people get a little profit percentage every now and again from this movie, people who were involved in it. And it set a new course, which was very important.

DR: So let's have a look at a bit of it.

RA: Bernie Lee, a wonderful, wonderful actor. I don't know if you'd remember him, but he plays the part with Pier Angeli...

[extract from The Angry Silence]

RA: Forbesy got an Oscar nomination and, I think, a BAFTA nomination as well. He didn't win but he should have done. It was a marvellous screenplay. There's nothing more important in making movies than the screenplay. It is the absolute prerequisite and it's such a joy for actors, I mean, we all say, Oh, marvellous actor, marvellous performance. Boy, if you've got lines which just drop off your lips, you know, that come into your reckoning in terms of the performance as it is in those circumstances, that's the writing, and Forbesy is a great, great [screenwriter]. Johnny will agree. Johnny played in a number of movies which we did with Forbesy, and he is a terrific writer.

Audience member: Could you comment, sir, on your relationship with Pier Angeli during the film, because she played a very great role there, I thought.

RA: Well, thank you. That's a very good question. A question about Pier Angeli. Pier Angeli was in the movie called Sea of Sand that Guy Green directed where this idea came up. And of course, in setting down the criteria for the debate, as it were, that took place in those circumstances, you had to inform the audience, because we, Forbesy and I, have said, we don't make movies for two men and a dog in a barn. We want to make movies, not for commercial success but because there are things in most of them which we want to say. So we had to find a new audience, and an audience that was not necessarily au fait or interested in trade union relationships, bullying, Nazism in a way, in terms of force. And therefore we had to explain how that arose and what all the circumstances were and who the various components were in telling the story. And Forbesy had this marvellous idea: say, well, let's cast Pier, who we'd all been working with, because she's a foreigner, and so he, Tommy, will have to explain to her this, that and the other thing. And she had to ask the questions and so on. So he made a dramatic use of Pier's performance and so on by virtue of the fact that we assumed she didn't speak English. She was an enchanting actress, many performances I'm sure you've seen. She had an awful, miserable end to her life, and she committed suicide, and she was absolutely enchanting, tremendous worker, desperate to make something of some value, and I adored her. I thought she was marvellous, as did Forbesy and Guy and everybody else.

DR: Somebody else with a question?

Trade unions and financing films
Audience member: It seems that the subject matter, of the trade unions, is very much for a domestic market, for a British market. I mean, could you see any kind of film like that being made in the future for the international market? Is it such that now it's so difficult to make that kind of film?

RA: It is very difficult indeed. The question is could such a film be made now and would it find an international market and so on? I mean I selfishly have to say that because it got such marvellous reviews in the United States, it was from that that I got the part that I played in The Great Escape [John Sturges, 1963]. The director and the company, United Artists, saw that movie. I'm a passionate trade unionist. I was on my own union council for twenty-odd years. I believe in trade unionism, and I believe in democracy, in democratic trade unionism. And during certain times and maybe, to a certain extent, now, there are, every now and again, those, I believe, on right or left, who take advantage of particular circumstances in attempting to reach their own very confined views and not the general view, and I find that individual rights and conscience should be preserved and permitted, and provided they do not destroy the case that has been made by the unions as such, and merely stand aside, then I think that's fine. Or they leave the union. That's up to them. Making films that has any sort - I want to make a film about Tom Paine. I think Tom Paine is one of the greatest men that's ever lived. He lived in the 18th century, as you all know, he was an Englishman who was involved in the writing of American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the French Constitution, wrote the great book called The Rights of Man - commercial over! But nobody wants to make it. Nobody. Because it's politics, it's period, it doesn't have any of the things that now are supposedly our prerequisites to commercial success. I'm going to make it, provided I'll stand on my feet, but it's not easy, any more than Gandhi was, any more than Cry Freedom was, et cetera. Those movies are very difficult to make, and if you're not prepared or interested in science fiction, which in terms of movies I'm not, if you're not interested in terms of all the CGI stuff that you can now do in the cinema which is quite remarkable compared to the time that I was making movies, 30, 40, 50 years ago, then if you're not prepared to indulge in the pornography of violence or overt sexual [matter], it's very, very difficult. It is hard to raise the money. And so in answer to your question, I don't think it's any easier. It wasn't easy then and I don't think it's become any easier. What I am sad about is that there is now, in America, no equivalent to the art circuit. In other words, if you - the cost of promoting movies, the advertising and promotion of a movie, the budget is almost as large as the cost of the movie. And these huge blockbusters that you see have tens and hundreds of millions of pounds and dollars spent promoting them. And if you don't have something which they believe will reach an enormous audience, then they won't go for it. And so you fall out. And there are companies in the UK, terrific companies, young companies, who made, you know, whether it be Four Weddings [Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mike Newell, 1993] or whatever, or Trainspotting [Danny Boyle, 1995] or whatever, who are having a go, but it is not any easier, in fact I think it's even probably more difficult than it was when Forbesy and I were starting, which is a pity.

Making films
DR: It's difficult, but I mean the really extraordinary thing about your career as a director is that you are the only person who has consistently made films because you want to say something with those films. That it's not just making a picture to sell, but - you want it to sell, you want it to be seen by a big audience - but you do make the films to say something.

RA: Well, yes. This could be very boring, David. Could you cut me short if I go on?

DR: Bore us, bore us, please!

RA: Yes, OK. Well, I come from a (in small 'L') from a very liberal family. I came from a family who believed in, in quotes, the Rights of Man, who believed that in order to justify the sort of luxurious life that the majority of us have, related to the whole world, that you had to do something. You had to put something back. You had to recognise what values really mattered to you and, uh, God, darling, who made the quote that I can never remember? 'All that is necessary' - somebody will tell me - 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' Come on, help me, somebody. It was marvellous. Time of Pain. Middle of the 18th Century... Thank you, darling. Edmund Burke. Well, it was attributed to Edmund Burke; nobody's quite sure that he did say it. But it's a marvellous statement. And I'm not saying that I'm a good man, but I am suggesting that if you have things that you care about and feel are important, I am - Dave'll be angry with me for saying this sort of thing, but - I did not go to university. I left school at sixteen. I was pretty bloody awful. I do not have a brain that I long for in dealing with matters of which I am ignorant, that don't come within my ken and a rationale, a reason, and argument and so on, and I can't do that and I'm not in that bracket at all. I can't write, I can't paint, I don't compose. What I know about is actors. I understand and know about actors. And as you sweetly say, David, somebody who I think was having a go at me said that the problem with Attenborough is that substance matters much more to him than style. It was the most charming compliment that I could ever have been given. Because that is precisely true. I do care about style. I do care, but I only care about style that serves the subject. And there are certain things, and they are evident, obviously, without being boring about it, but I mean obviously, the two evident and easy ones being Gandhi and Cry Freedom, there are things which I do care about very much and which I would like to stand up and be counted. And my making movies with actors who I think are tremendous because I believe that we, all of us, identify with subject not intellectually easily, but we identify with human beings who we believe are real human beings, four-dimensional human beings, that I understand. If I have a skill, it is casting - David, you've very sweetly said it quite recently in your book, I think. I understand how to cast and I understand how to get performances out of actors. And to guide actors and to make circumstances whereby actors work. And therefore it's very important to me that I use what skill, trade, whatever you want to say it, that I have. And that is how I employ my time in cinema, saying things about people who I think have touched us in terms of our value judgement and by example. And therefore there are certain occasions and certain opportunities in cinema which allow me to say the things [I would say] if intellectually I was capable of saying [them] in erudition and so on. No, it's true David, I know you smile, but it is true. I feel it very deeply. And I feel that if I don't do that, you know, of course, you know, the entertainment value of cinema is a prerequisite, obviously. It is a world semi-art form of reaching people, a means of reaching people, and if I don't, if I'm, you know, the comedies and the science fiction and all the other things [are] absolutely fine, great, you know, I don't object to it at all - well, Dumb & Dumber [Peter Farrelly, 1994] I object to - but broadly I don't. And if I ignore that opportunity which, touch wood, has so far been available to me to a certain extent, then I think I'm a bit of a ninny. And I want to make those movies and that's why I want to make them because that's what my parents, as Dave and my brother Johnny here would agree. I mean, they set certain examples, Johnny, to us, didn't they, and we tend to abide by them, I think.

DR: Well, we'll have a bit from Cry Freedom which illustrates this beautifully and it's a very quiet bit. It's not one of the dramatic bits but it does show you using two actors here. You have Kevin Kline and you have John Thaw. Small scene from Cry Freedom.

RA: Marvellous actor, John Thaw. I mean, just wonderful actor. And in this scene which David showed me yesterday ...

[extract from Cry Freedom]

The Great clown: Chaplin
DR: Very often your films have been lives of people who have influenced you in one way or another, like Chaplin.

RA: Yes. Yes, people have influenced me a great deal. When I was ten or eleven, I think, we lived in Leicester where my father was Pricipal of Leicester University College. And he brought me up to London, as he had meetings, and he took me to the National Gallery to see a painting by Seurat which the National Gallery had just acquired. And he said then, I know somebody who you'll like very much and I think he's as major a figure as Seurat was, and his name was, of course, Charlie Chaplin. Let's walk along to the London Pavilion, which is what we did and saw The Gold Rush [Charles Chaplin, 1925]. And I was totally shattered by this man who seemed to me to have not only genius but to have a unique genius - perhaps genius is unique, because it applies to a particular person - but he was able to grasp my attention, either emotionally or cerebrally, however he chose. He was able to make you laugh and cry, et cetera. I thought he was just incredible. And so right from that age, I was fascinated by him. Well, you cannot think of cinema now, and you cannot think of cinema in the UK and not place Chaplin in the most extraordinary elevated context, if there can be such a thing, in that he was a genius, he was unique. He was the most famous man in the world in the 20s and 30s, and he used this mass media of cinema eventually, having used it in the most brilliantly subtle way, as well as his comedic stuff, or his comedy turns, I mean the dance of the rolls, the fish, the boot, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, or the end of City Lights [Charles Chaplin, 1931] when he - just absolutely remarkable and wonderful. But in addition, he suddenly had the idea of making Modern Times [Charles Chaplin, 1936] to question whether the world was going in the right direction in forcing human beings into this autonomous, awful ghastly behaviour that was part of factory life. And then, of course, and he wasn't a Jew, incidentally, to attack, when those who want to deride him suggest he was Jewish, he wasn't in fact Jewish, but he decided to go for Hitler, and made The Great Dictator [Charles Chaplin, 1940]. And to me, a man who had that world at his feet, everything he could wish for with all his proclivities, all his problems, all his difficulties, his innovative ideas and commitment to cinema and to something which he really felt was important, I thought was absolutely wonderful. And into that, of course, you take The Great Dictator and then you see him do the balloon thing with the world, and so this great clown, he's not a comedian, he's clown, demonstrated that through laughter, through integrity, and so on, he could make a statement that was as powerful anti-Nazism and anti-totalitarianism as you could wish for. And I thought - he was a god to me. I mean he was an absolute [god.] When you allowed me, David, with all your work on Chaplin, and I will talk about this despite your look... David has written the definitive biography of Chaplin and indeed was our adviser on the whole of the Chaplin film, which was based fundamentally on David's book and David's research. And I have the same respect for Chaplin whom I had the great joy of meeting towards the end of his life, and indeed Oona, who died, bless her, just before we started to shoot. The picture was not as good as it should have been. And, I think, partly it was not as good because I didn't have the degree of autonomy - that sounds arrogant - the degree of autonomy that I would have wished, because the budget was very high and the result was that the company that was financing it made certain requirements as far as the script was concerned, and instead of having a single writer, which is infinitely the best thing to have, whether it be Forbesy or whether it be Bill Goldman or the writer of Shadowlands, William Nicholson. And that's when it works, when you have a writer, not a covey of writers. And we had too many writers on Chaplin. And I so admired the man and I was so fascinated by his origins, his upbringing, his relationship with his mother, then the beginning of cinema, then the advance in cinema, and his sexual perversions, if you want to call them perversions - I don't, in fact; 'proclivities' let's call them - and his political commitments and so on, and I felt they were all related, they all were interrelated and so I tried stupidly to put too much into the movie, and the result was that if it hadn't been for a bewildering performance by Robert Downey, I mean a just staggering performance by Robert Downey, I think the picture would have been a real failure. But his performance was such that, and indeed so was Geraldine's as so were a number of others, and so it was OK, but it was not as good as I ought to have made it and I'm sad about that because I admired him so much and I felt that it's unlikely that anybody else is going to make a picture of Chaplin for another five or ten or twenty years or whatever, and so that one stands, and it was not as good as it should have been.

DR: But I think it's also a great period recreation, thanks so much to Stuart [Craig].

RA: Is Stu here? Yes, I think he is. Yes, that's you. Stuart Craig, who is as good a production designer as [any] in the world and won the Oscar - won a number of Oscars, but one of them being for Gandhi. And Stuart recreated the period of Chaplin and recreated the studios in Los Angeles and so on. And Stu, I owe you a phenomenal debt in not only that movie but in half a dozen others, since we've done so many together, and I'm thrilled you're here, because I'm going to persuade him to come and talk about Chaplin and talk about In Love and War [1996], if you will, Stu, when we show it in the season. Will you? Thank you!

DR: It's also a very nice little chance, isn't it, that Don Ashton was the production designer on your first film and on Chaplin's last film, The Countess from Hong Kong [Charles Chaplin, 1966].

RA: Yes. Stu?

Stuart Craig: I was just going to say, in addition to David's very authoritative book, there's a splendid picture book, actually, by Mark Wanamaker, do you remember? I think it's called One Hundred Years of Hollywood, and it was the most [useful book]... The one thing we didn't have to do was work terribly hard at the research, because of David's book and Mark Wanamaker's. The world was there for us to pick and choose.

DR: But I'll never forget, you had to recreate the Keystone studios from nothing because nobody knew that, and I found this old, old gentleman who, before Chaplin had gone to Keystone, had been a star at Keystone as Little Billy Jacobs. And I took him to your recreation of the Keystone studios, and he came and looked round, and he says, But it's just as I remember it. It's given to very few people to have their memories realised. So I think that was one nice compliment you had. We have to move on. We're falling behind, I'm afraid. Shadowlands.

The Depths of Emotion: Shadowlands
RA: David has asked me, a number of people have asked me and said, What performance do you like best or what's the best film you've made and so on and I don't really have any hesitation that the film I'm least embarrassed by and ashamed of or uneasy about is Shadowlands. And I think it's because of Bill's script. Bill Nicholson wrote it, as you know, for television, for theatre, and so on. It's very rare to get a writer who's prepared to ditch those particular circumstances and those techniques of that form of narration into a new one which is cinema. And again it bears out my conviction [that] it was one writer, with absolutely immovable vision as to what he wanted, and with somebody who's not here again today, Diana Hawkins, who has worked with me on six or eight films. Bill thought she was the most marvellous script editor and she's out of the country but she's going to come back for some of the films later in the season. The screenplay was superb. Absolutely superb. And it was because of Bill's understanding, because he was prepared to understand that dialogue as such is not necessarily the prerequisite for a wonderful scene, that if the actors understand what the writer and the director are after, you very often need a minimal [amount of dialogue] - you're going to show the scene with Deborah? Yes. There's a scene you're going to see now. You will not see better acting in a movie than Deborah Winger and Tony [Anthony Hopkins] in this movie. And 90 per cent of it is silent. And that is partly due to Bill's understanding of characterisation and relationship and so on, in this extraordinary couple.

[extract from Shadowlands]

RA: He [Anthony Hopkins] is extraordinary. He's marvellous. And he's very English, you know. It's tragic, in a way, that he's decided not to come back to the UK. Tony and I made five pictures together, I think, and he has decided to stay in Los Angeles, and he's very unAmerican, in a way. That [scene] and the scene with the little boy right at the end was the first time I've ever seen him actually demonstrate a depth of emotion, born of absolute reality and conviction. And yes, of course, the other pictures that he gets Oscars for and so on, they're a pushover really, relatively, you know. That [in Shadowlands] is wonderful acting. That is understanding of screen acting. He was marvellous in it.

Beautiful Things, Little-seen: In Love and War and Grey Owl
DR: Now, in the '90s, as well as Shadowlands, you made two films which simply did not do very well. I mean, in each case, something outside your control had gone wrong with them, and this is very disappointing because both films, I think, have enormous pleasures to offer and both of them are in the season, and I hope that if you haven't seen them, and there hasn't been all that much chance to see them, I hope that you will see them. These films were In Love and War and Grey Owl [1999]. Both of which have beautiful things in them. The performances in both of them, the main performances, are wonderful.

RA: Well, I think In Love and War, which had a wonderful performance by Sandy, Sandra Bullock, who the authorities and, the supposed authorities, in cinema didn't want to know about. They wanted her to play the sort of kooky girl next door which was her box office label, as it were, and perhaps they were right and I was wrong. I thought she gave the most wonderful performance in In Love and War. It was a picture that didn't come off, in large measure, again, because of that terrible thing, there were six, seven writers. It was not my own picture and it didn't work. It didn't work. And it's a pity because there was some terrific stuff in it. Grey Owl I... silly, I'm not going to rehearse the sort of silly excuses that I do have. I made one or two very bad decisions and we had some very bad luck under the particular circumstances which affected the whole of the shape of the movie. We had to take a sequence out which we should have had and hadn't got. But again, I thought it was a subject well worth talking about and demonstrating, and Dave [Attenborough] and I, I remember, queued up for hours in Leicester to go and see him [Grey Owl] speak. I mean, a mean master, my brother. He and I lined up and got a book signed and he said it was his and I say it was mine, and simply because it had something to do with nature and all that stuff... Have you got it, Dave, or have I?

David Attenborough: I've got it.

RA: Oh, you've got it.

DR: Richard, I've got a signed Grey Owl book which I'm going to give to you.

RA: Ah! Well, it wasn't a bad movie. It wasn't as bad as [was said.] I mean, critics are bloody fools in the main. They criticize films that they think you ought to have made, not the film that you wanted to make and did make. And in this particular one they had a great time talking because Pierce Brosnan played Grey Owl marvellously, and the silly buggers [wrote] headlines such as 'Double-Oh Seven in Pigtails - Do We Want to See?' et cetera et cetera et cetera and it was a picture that was worth much more than that, I think. It wasn't as good as it should have been but there was one wonderful scene with Renèe...

DR: Which we're going to show you. I don't know, does everybody know the story of Grey Owl, I wonder?

RA: Go.

DR: Well, I remember from being a child, this American Indian, a Native American appeared suddenly and he was a pioneer ecologist. He wrote books, he became a world celebrity, he came to England, he lectured. He was also popular on the BBC's Children's Hour, which is how I knew about him at the time. But eventually it turned out that he wasn't a Native American at all, but a lad from Hastings who was just bewitched by all this exotica. And when you see the film - I shouldn't really have revealed the secret in case you do - you watch this character developing without knowing the secret. Then suddenly, during his world tour, he comes to Hastings. And we see him arrive at a house where there are two old ladies, beautifully played by Renèe Asherson and Stephanie Cole. That's the scene you will see now.

[extract from Grey Owl]

A Birthday Surprise from the bfi
DR: And if you haven't seen that, do come and see it. I promise you you'll thank us.

And also don't neglect to see the exhibition of still photographs in the back of the theatre, which is for the season. At this stage, Richard, I'm going to interrupt proceedings because Amanda Nevill, the director of the BFI, wants to come up and say something, do something...

Amanda Nevill: Lord Attenborough, very quickly. The reason that we have this privilege of this very extraordinary and wonderful event, we mustn't forget, is because, I think, you're celebrating something very special yourself: a birthday. And the BFI felt that it would be a pretty poor birthday if you didn't have some presents, because birthdays you're supposed to have presents. So we've had a whip round and we've got a couple of presents for you. The first is a beautifully bound copy of this book we forced David to write about you and which we have the privilege of publishing, so this is for you. But also, I think, if we're lucky, we might get, here we are, now this is a picture of a rather beautiful rose. It's a white rose with a pink blush but it's got a bit of a problem because it hasn't got a name. It's the rose with no name. And so we've worked with a few accomplices, because we know a bit about films but not a lot about rose-growing, it has to be said, and there's one very important accomplice in this room who is so modest he refuses to be named, but without him we couldn't have fixed this. But our suggestion is that for your birthday that you name this rose after yourself. The other good thing is that of course you get a rose for yourself and a party at Hampton Court and I think we should invite everybody that's here this evening...

RA: Hear, hear!

AN: year, when the rose blooms. And the other thing is: it can also go on sale and a proportion of the proceeds can go towards your charity. So there we are.

RA: That's marvellous. Thank you very much. Have we got much more to do David? I mean...

AN: Yes, I have to do a sharp exit left.

DR: Well, what do we want to do? Do you want to...?

RA: Well, I would just, I would like to... I mean, I didn't know anything about this.

AN: You don't have to do anything. Because I'm going to wreck the proceedings and David has very carefully choreographed this, and we've sorted out my exit and it goes like this: Bye!

RA: We have just touched, David, on the other important thing in my life, which is my family, and I think, if everybody agreed, what I would like really to do would be to call the rose Sheila. As I said, my brothers are here and my three children and their spouses and my seven grandchildren and we all had a fantastic four-days birthday together in France and it has been one of the most precious four days of my life. And I should, in mentioning that, because I talked about the members of the cast of Lovely War, actually the very last line that was spoken in Lovely War was, 'What did Daddy do in the war, Granny?' And that was an 8-year-old youngest daughter of mine called Charlotte who is here somewhere. So, Lottie, I should have mentioned you in the cast and you should have taken a cheer as well. So, darlings, thank you very much for coming, my family, they're very important. So if I may, I didn't know about this, but I'd love to call it Sheila if I may.

The Film of a Lifetime: Gandhi
DR: That's marvellous. We haven't quite finished. We have one more extract to go. If there was one film, Richard, in your life, I mean if all the others, something happened, is there one film?

RA: Well, you were sweet enough all to sit through that very long film this afternoon - gosh, it is extraordinary, isn't it, the difference in tempo? I mean... It was too long and it was slow. The impact of television on the style and tempo of cinema, cinema is so, cinema has accelerated to such a point that I really did feel the longeur was a bit worrying this afternoon. It's a very, very special film because, obviously, it was the first one that I did, not intending, as Johnny [Mills] knows, to direct at all. I wanted to direct a film about Gandhi. And I was happy to produce and play with Forbesy, and I was totally content and couldn't ask for anything else, and then this Indian civil servant, a great man called Motalil Kothari, sent me this biography of Gandhi and I've mentioned this before and so forgive me if you've heard it, but it is true, I read the definitive biography in which there was an incident in which Gandhiji was in South Africa. He was in his late teens, well, nineteen he was. And he was walking along the pavement with another Indian, and towards him came two white South Africans, and, as was the custom in those days, Gandhi, without any show and problem and so on, simply stepped into the gutter to allow the two white South Africans to walk down the pavement. And when they'd gone by he turned to his colleague, without, as I say, any bitterness or anger or anything, and he simply said, You know, it is always a mystery to me that men should find themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow human beings. I thought, That's some guy, aged nineteen, you know That summarises so much of what I care about and believe in. And so that's how I decided, not to direct, but to direct a film about Gandhi. And at boring length, and everybody in the theatre knows it, it did take a hell of a time. It took twenty years to try and raise the money. And I always remember the last time in Hollywood when I really gave up because there was no industry money in the film at all, it all came from private individuals and institutions in the UK. And I remember going to the head of Fox at that particular time and, forgive the language but it's what he said, and I told him about the subject matter, and I said what I thought this wonderful story was, and he said, Dickie, we've made a number of movies together and we owe you a great deal for the performances that you've given and we'd love to be able to walk with you, but, Dickie, who the fuckin' hell do you think is interested in a little brown man dressed in a sheet carrying a beanpole? And I thought, Well, you know, I mean... And I'm a stubborn bugger and I was so angry at this. It reinforced my determination, and so, in a way, I have to say that if there was a film that meant so much, because it transformed my life. It transformed our life together darling didn't it? I mean it occupied our, we went bust practically at one time trying to finance it and raise the money and so on and so it was part of Sheila's and my life for a long period of time, with all the ups and downs and therefore, because it had this extraordinary acclaim... And don't let anybody tell you that the Oscars don't matter. Boy, they matter. I mean, if, in promoting a movie that nobody knew anything about and nobody wanted to see, that nobody was interested in, when those nominations came out, and the eight Oscars, wasn't it, eight Oscars the picture got, more than or as many as any British movie has ever had, it was extraordinary. And it transformed my opportunity to work, overnight. I mean it meant that I could quite suddenly do the things I wanted to do and make the movies I wanted to make, good or bad. And so it holds a very, very special place. And people like Stu [Craig] and Terry Clegg, bless him, if he's here. Is Terry here? I don't know. Hello, Cleggy, darling. Cleggy was what we call the line producer but what that really means is that he and Diana [Hawkins] and so on produced those films. I mean, I had a name on the title, but the real person who did not only that movie but a number of other movies, was Terry. And indeed Terry is going to run these marvellous studios we're going to build in Wales. And with Stu and with various other people who, Simon [Kaye] who I can't work without, we all had a tremendous satisfaction from battling through to get it made. Particularly when, I remember, in Poona, Cleggy, do you remember? When we had an Indian backer who lived in this country - I won't mention his name; I'd be put in the clink. But we were in Poona, and we had a hundred and sixty crew, and we got a Telex, as I say, whatever you do get in those days, which said: Very sorry to inform you but unfortunately the funding which he had promised for the last third of the movie was not available. So Cleggy, I remember, and everybody else on the crew, we had to sit in Poona, and I remember [former British Prime Minister] James Callaghan was visiting the set and we literally hadn't got the money to pay the wages on Friday night. And Jake Eberts, who founded Goldcrest, came to the rescue again with various other people, and the money was supplied. And we didn't think we were going to win anything. We were absolutely sure that Steven Spielberg's picture, E.T. [E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Steven Spielberg, 1982] was going to win everything. And by some extraordinary miracle, not only the Oscars but indeed the American - which I perhaps think is - I care about the BAFTA award very much, because those are colleagues, and I care very much about the fact that the American Directors Guild Award I got that year, and that's from directors, other directors. So that meant a great deal. And after all that struggle, it was a tough go but it did occupy our lives, as I say, for that length of time, and it did transform our whole future, because now, I mean, when the picture's suddenly sold for dvd or something, and I don't have to worry about paying the gas bill, I mean, I really, it really is possible. So if I had to select one, David, but I feel you're drawing to an end, David, so I'm going to embarrass you now for a moment, if I may. May I thank on your [the audience's] behalf David, who is such a wonderful [critic] - he ought to be the critic of every major newspaper in the country. He really adores cinema, and he has a knowledge [of it] and it holds a fascination for him, and he places it in a particular context, and he speaks with such authority, and his grace to me and kindness to me, and to Sheila, particularly during the making of Chaplin, has established a friendship which I value very much. And this book, David, dear, which you've so sweetly written about me, will be very precious indeed, and I'm immensely grateful. And at the same time, I'm sure you would wish us to thank the bfi because it's... I care about institutions like the bfi and BAFTA and so on. I care desperately about movies. I really do believe that movies have a tremendous place that it can occupy, and I think that if all we make... in the old days they were thugs in America, many of them were, Jack Warner and [Louis B.] Mayer and so on, they were devils, but they were there because they adored the movies. They were mad about movies. And you could go in and talk to them about them. The horror now is that the accountants and lawyers, particularly the accountants in the huge conglomerates, no major company stays in one conglomerate for more than ten minutes, and you face a new set of accountants and so on, and all they care about is what's on the bottom line. Yes, of course we've got to be responsible if we borrow that amount of money, of course we have to try and get the money back for them because it's their investment, but for that to be the sole prerequisite as to the decision to go forward, to go ahead with something which is really important, something really, which is entertaining, it is commercially focused, but really has some content... To not be able to continue to do that is tragic. And the bfi and BAFTA and such organizations and writers such as David help to make that possible. So, David, I do thank you and I'm sure you'd all wish me to thank Susan Picken who has spent so much time organizing this evening for us all to be able to be here together and for the whole bfi and for Anthony Minghella and so on. And so, as I say, I'm sure you're coming to the end and I know what you're going to show and isn't it lucky that I selected Gandhi?

DR: Yes, it is. We're going to show an extract from Gandhi and I think Richard will still be on stage at the end and at that point we can all demonstrate our gratitude for him, but I would just like to anticipate that by saying Richard, we're very grateful for you being here and doing this beautiful performance for us. We're very, very grateful to you for teaching us all how to reach eighty years old and not be old. That's a miraculous thing to have done. We're grateful just because you're Dickie Attenborough, national treasure. And we're grateful for this extract. Can we have it, please?

[extract from Gandhi]

[Final applause]


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