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British Film News



Jean Simmons, who has been chosen to play Ophelia in the film "Hamlet," with Laurence Olivier, is only 17.

CASTING of "Hamlet" to be ^~' filmed at Denham by Two Cities, will be headed by Laurence Olivier (in the triple rofe of Ham- let, the ghost' of Hamlet's father and his father alive) and Jean Simmons as Ophelia.

At least seven actresses were tried out for Ophelia's role. The director, Filinpo Gu¡dice, was determined not to have a ____________

"dramatic acad- emy" accent, and one first-class ac- tress was turned

down because her

voice was too affected.

Jean Simmons was originally offer- ed the part but could not take this great opportunity because of her other film engagements. ' However, she has been given Mr. Rank's permis- sion Io do so. At 15, she sprang to fame as the young Estella in "Great Expectations." Since then she has been busy on four different films, the first of which, "Black Narcissus," has just been released.

The part of the first gravedigger was being kept for the great Irish actor.F. J. Mccormick of "Odd Man Out" fame, but he died recently after a brain operation in Dublin.

Others so far chosen for the cast include the following well-known players: Basil Sidney as the King, Felix Aylmer as Polonius. Terry Mor- gan as Laertes. Norman Woolland (B.B.C. star announcer) as Horatio, and Baliol Holloway as the player king.

. Gertrude is to be played by 27 year-old Eileen Hcrlie who is making a great impression in the West End of London with her leading role in the play "The Eagle Has Two


Right: Eileen Herlic, chosen to piny Gertrude in "Hamlet," as Katherine in "Hungry Hill." At 27 she is making a great success of .both stage and screen roles.


the first film to be put into pro- duction by Sir Alexander Korda since "Perfect Strangers" in 1944, is nearing completion. Robert Steven- son, from Hollywood, is finishing the direction that Leslie Arliss began. The star is David Niven.

* * *


of Paulettc Goddard, is to star _ in the film ver

BY Our Own Correspondent

sion of Nigel Balchin's novel, "Mine Own Exe- cutioner," while

his wife plays a leading role in "An Ideal Husband." The two will then go to Dublin to appear at the famous Abbey Theatre in a new Steinbeck play.

* * *

THE general release of an English

language version of the fine French film "A Cage of Nightingales,"

Australian .lohn McCalliiiii plays opposite Googie Withers in "The Loves of Joanna Godden." His likeness to Stewart Granger is notable in this scene from the film, the second he has made in Britain.

lean Simmons as

a young native girl * in "Black Narcis- sus." The new Ophelia has also played in "Great Expectations" and "Hungry Hill."

starring Noel Noel, marks a new pol- icy by the J Arthur Rank organ'sa lion of bringing the best European films to a much wider section of 'he British public than hitherto It is expected that similar, dubbed Euro pean films will be sent to Australia as this new policy is developed

* * *

TV/TR. RANK'S March issue in the -*? -*-"This Modern Age" series, "Coal Crisis" has won the praise of the Government and critics alike. Mr. Emanuel Shinwell, Lord Citrine, officials of the National Coal Board and the Ministry of Fuel and Power sat impressed throughout the special showing given for their benefit. London critics commented: "Every other mining film becomes obsolete with this issue." Australia will shortly have an opportunity of forming a first-hand opinion.

(Last week three of the Modern Age series were previewed in Sydney, the subjects covered being Wool, British aviation and Scotland Yard. They are painstaking documentary films, presented briskly and informatively, without sensationalism.)

''pHE latest 16mm films made by

*? the Australian Film Board have just arrived in London. With- in the next few weeks they will begin their tour of distribution throughout the country to'schools, institutes and service clubs.

The recent .collection includes one 35mm film "Watch Over Japan." which is to be televised. The others are "Cinderella on Strings." "Story of a City" (Newcastle), "Bushland Fantasy." and "Fine Feathers."'

On an average 90 films a week arc distributed from Australia House.

* * *

BRITAIN'S most hard-working film

actress, 36-year-old Ann Todd, has just returned from seven months of "Hollywood comfort."

"After the glamour of Hollywood," she told me, "I was struck by the even of my little Kensington flat. But when I opened the bedroom door the first thing that caught my eye was a very dainty fine wool night- dress laid out upon the bed. Some- one had guessed I might be chilly back in England, and how right they


The donor was Miss Moira Gaskin, of Coogee, Sydney.

Miss Todd is under contract to Rank but will be loaned to Paramount

for a British production. "For Her. to See." Ray Milland is coming from Hollywood to play opposite 'her in the leading role.

Hailed as a promising screen dis- covery, Kathleen Byron, 24, has an important dramatic role in "Black Narcissus." She plays a min who loses her reason when sent to work in a remote Himalayan convent.

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