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gertrude

July 2018

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Alan

Film Star Glamour: John Mills



The other evening I watched Sir John Mills’ Moving Memories
and I learned a lot. For all the films I’ve watched and admired John Mills in, I had no idea that he started out as a song and dance man and also excelled at all sports. No doubt that explains how he was still so spry at ninety. Oh, and he played the piano, too. Wearing a bright yellow v-necked pullover, looking very dapper with his white hair and neat beard, Sir John spoke to camera about his life and career, with many anecdotes about films and film actors. What made this extra interesting was that he took a lot of film himself so we saw not only his family but the stars relaxing and clowning for his camera. That’s where the glamour comes in. Not a word you’d usually associate with John Mills but seeing this brought home just how glamorous a film star’s life was in the 1950s and 60s. Imagine you were one of his children (I’ll be Hayley, please) and the weekend guests included Laurence Olivier, David Niven or Rex Harrison. You’d fly in luxury to exotic places like Tahiti. You’d have wonderful boating holidays. You’d live in beautiful houses. Yet your parents would try to make your life as normal as possible. It looks now like a dream world and John Mills hadn’t a bad word to say about anybody.

John Mills made his first film in 1932 and his last appearance in 2001. Did you know he had an unattributed part in The Parent Trap, playing a golf caddy? I noticed it in the lengthy filmography. I always associate him with This Happy Breed, Ice Cold in Alex and so on. Richard Attenborough said that his best role was in Hobson’s Choice, which I’ve never seen. So off I go to request it from LoveFilm.

Comments

I once stood in a queue behind John Mills - and, years later. Hayley shopped in our tiny shopping precinct near Teddington
Coo! Sounds like something from Chris Evans' Top Tenuous.
Don't know Chris Evans well enough to understand that - but one of the endearing things about that family is that they've always seemed so "ordinary" to me - using local shops, queuing with everyone else -
More than anything I've always admired the way he looked after his wife. From epxerience I know how difficult caring is especially if someone has dementia and yet his wife was at home until she died. I am sure he had excellent help but even so - it says plenty about the person he was. He was an old school gentleman and I wish they still existed.
Yes, yes, yes. There was such a sad moment at the end of the film. He was playing the piano and singing an old song. His wife sat beside him, her face a complete blank like she hadn't a clue what was going on. When Sir John had finished, he kissed her cheek. And she smiled. It brought tears to my eyes.
I'm a big fan of John Mills. So many great films; I think I agree about Hobson's Choice. I love that film and have seen it many times. Then there's Way To The Stars, Great Expectations, Ryan's Daughter and the films with his daughters. He always seemed such a nice man with a lovely family.
He did seem a really nice man.
I love The Way to the Stars; I've lost count of the number of times I've seen it.
I must have seen Hobson's Choice when I was young because I have a memory of Charles Laughton in the drunken scene. I also saw the play at the National Theatre in the sixties with Colin Blakely, Billie Whitelaw and other luminaries.
Hobson's choice was on the TV a lot when I was younger so you must have seen it. I have the dvd now so I can watch it when I'm in an 'old movies' mood. What a treat to see the play with such a good cast!

Love Alan Rickman, btw :)