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Surprise gift for
Diane Glentor trip to Australia
. Her forthcoming holiday in Australia is one of the biggest thrills of Diane Cilenro's married life, because it came as a surprise Christmas present from her husband/ Sean Connery, who, for most of their life together, has been tied up in the demanding machinery of being James Bond.
By BETTY BEST, m London I
"HHHE other night Sean
J- walked into the house and said, 'Di, I've got a surprise for you. I think we'll all go to Aus-
tralia for Christmas!'"
When Mrs. Connery told me this, her face glowed with pleasure and she looked hap- pier than she had since they were first married.
The Connerys, with their four-year-old son, Jason, are due to arrive in Sydney by plane on December 18. Diane's ten-year-old daugh- ter, Gigi, by her first marriage
to Italian writer Andre
Volpe, is already in Aus- tralia, holidaying with Diane's sister, Dr. Ruth Smout.
They will all spend Christ- mas with Diane's parents, Sir Raphael and Lady Cilento, at their beachhouse at Mooloolaba, Queensland.
It is no secret that both Sean and Diane had tired of the Bond image and its encroachment upon their private life.
They had tried to break out of it by planning to make a film together in Australia for years, but the plan was
foiled time after time and
"Now we are really free to plan our work and lives the way we want them - and it's done wonders for both of us," said Diane.
"Sean has made two films since the Bond thing, and I think they're both great.
"We bought a place in Spain, which we both love,
and where the climate is
"I have written more this year than ever before, and I'm loving it. Oh! the whole scene is quite, quite different, and we feel like new people."
The first of Sean's films is the magnificent period Wes- tern "Shalako," and he and Diane will attend the Sydney
THE CONNERYS, who will be in Aus- tralia for Christmas. Gigi, Diane's daughter by her first marriage, is already holidaying with Diane's sister, Dr. Ruth Smout.
premiere on December 19 before they head for Queens- land and the Cilento family
In "Shalako" Sean plays an ex-Confederate Army colonel who becomes a scout after the Civil War and saves a safari of aristocratic Euro- peans from an Apache rising.
It is a demanding role from the famous Louis L'Amour story, and gives Connery an opportunity to show how much more he is capable of in both character- isation and humor than the James Bond hims gave him.
Under Edward Dmytryk's direction he drops suave sophistication for some full blooded action, magnificent riding, and a romantic love affair with Brigitte Bardot, which, for subtlety, knocks all his previous film love
scenes into a'cocked hat.
"He also had a lot to do
with the way the script fin- ally came out," said his wife proudly.
"He had always put his own ideas into the Bond films, but in 'Shalako' the story gave more opportunity to contribute something of imagination.
"Sean has never been en-
tirely satisfied with being an
actor. It has never been
enough for him.
"Now he has involved
himself in production, and this year, for the first time, he has directed a film of his
"It really shows how good he is. I think he will, more and more, turn to directing
- and I think that will make
him really happy."
Sean's first directing job was "The Bowler and the Bonnet," a 48-minutc docu- mentary which he created right from the beginning.
Listening to an after dinner speech in his native Scotland, Sean, who has always taken an interest in industrial problems, heard the story of a new diversifi- cation scheme being tried out at a Clyde shipyard.
Intrigued by its possibili- ties, he approached the speaker, Sir Iain Stuart, in- troduced himself, and invited him to dinner the next night.
Sir Iain, now a friend of the Connerys, came dashing into the Putney house with Sean while Diane and I were
talking and took up the story: "Over dinner Sean
simply said, 'I like this idea, I I want to make a film about I it.' I
"Just like that, without I any fuss. I could hardly be- I lieve my ears. Sean put up the entire money, brought his cameras into the shipyard and into the men's homes, and turned out one of the
most professional jobs you can imagine."
The most fascinating pan of this story is that there was never any publicity about the project, either while it was shooting or afterward.
The film was shown on Scottish television and in other parts of the British Isles, but not in London.
The story of the original James Bond making his first film slipped by unnoticed the final proof that Connery himself has always avoided publicity whenever possible.
There is so much happen- ing in the Connery family that catching up on their news is rather like zig- zagging across a wet road in
a fast skid.
In the guests' cloakroom in the hall, for instance, I saw two playbills with "Sean
Connery Presents" printed in I small type at the top.
SCENE from "Shalako " with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot. The aristocrats on safari set up a magnificent feast in the desert, but Shalako tells them a band of Apaches are in the area. "Shalako," released by BEF Distributors, will have its Australian premiere in Sydney on December 19.
These were plays which
he and Diane had seen in
Oxford during the year and felt should be brought to London - so Sean went into the theatre production management business.
In Diane's "den" there is another very important facet
her life-her writing.
After her first novel, "The Manipulators," Diane knew that writing was going to be important to her.
'I don't know how it really started. I just woke up one morning and knew that I had to write more than just a translation or adaptation of a play, which
I'd done before.
"I enjoyed doing 'The Manipulators,' and, of course, it was very pleasing when it was a success, but this new book of mine is a mu rh bigger and deeper novel altogether.
It's about a boy of mixed blood, West Indian and European, who comes from an island atoll off Jamaica. The island has no topsoil, so the boy grows up with a great yearning to learn gardening and import topsoil
to his island."
Diane went on outlining the plot of "Hybrid," as she « calling her novel, and as .ne spoke I realised her extraordinarily methodical and ordered approach to writing.
For those who meet her casually at a party it might
T . _
be the biggest surprise of all. Socially she is gay and stimulatingly scatty.
But for anyone who has watched her manage the complicated life of being actress, mother, housewife, and travelling companion to a famous film star, it makes
Like a juggler, she seems to be able to keep several balls in the air at the same time - and does it with enormous panache.
When I asked how she managed to fit in the giant task of writing a novel with all the rest of it, she said:
"Well, I'm rather good at not seeming to be writing a book at all, if you know what I mean. I don't go around the house in a daze or talk of nothing else.
"When Sean was in America this year making 'The Milly Maguires,' I was living on a little isolated, windswept island in Pensyl vania and I had plenty of
time to write.
"Then after that I headed
for Spain, which is ideal for
me to concentrate."
Running a house, handling
SEAN CONNERY as Shalako, the ex-Army officer with an un- rivalled knowledge of the Indians and the frontier. After five Bond films he chose the role as a new phase of his career.
many of Sean's overseas 1 business calls, and finalising
the interior decorating and ; furnishing of both the : Spanish and Putney Heath ; homes-none of these com , mitments are regarded as i full-time enough to stop ¡ Diane writing.
Her novel is by no means ; her sole project in that field. I She has just finished the
first draft of a screenplay ( she has written around one of
the Kafka short stories - it's about a man who turns into
a gorilla (in the original story he was an insect).
"I'm rather excited by this one, because Richard Burton has read it and says he wants to do it next year.
"Hungarian Peter Madek, the young director who did my last film, 'Negatives,' will direct it, I hope. With him and Burton, it would be terrific."
Last year Diane, with screenwriter Derek Prowse, wrote a screenplay on the Jamaican historic figure "The White Witch of Rose Hall."
"When we showed it to the American companies, they said it was too inflam- matory, so now Evan Jones, the Jamaican writer who did 'King and Country,' is redoing it for us. I hope to ba making it by next
The role of Annie Palmer, the "White Witch," will be one of the most taxing and fascinating of all Diane's screen parts. It was research on that which gave her the
idea for her novel.
*Tve always been mad about growing things and when I got to Rose Hall and saw the spindly sugarcane growing there, I told the
owner-an American million-
aire^-it was no good.
"I'd lived in Queensland long enough to know the difference between good and bad sugarcane. He's chopped
all the old stuff out now and
replanted and it's going
Diane has applied her hor- ticultural abilities to their new home in Estregona, near San Pedro, on the Costa Del Sol.
"We've got ten acres there, and I've planted it with grapefruit, oranges, auber- gines, tomatoes, peanuts, mandarins, avocados, beans, and we even had strawberries this year."
As soon as Diane comes back from Australia after
Christmas she goes into a
new television series written for her by Peter Wildeblood called "Rogues Gallery."
"It's going to be great fun, I think. I play a marvellous character who is in Newgate Prison for body-snatching.
Meanwhile, Diane was
DIANE CILENTO'S SURPRISE GIFT (from previous page)
letting no grass grow under
Sean had been busy with a ten-day television stint with Sir Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, and Paul Scofield for a charity they all wanted to support.
This kept him working at the studio for ten days, so Diane shot off- on her new career - journalism.
She had two assignments:
The first from the Ameri-
can magazine "On View," in which famous people write about other famous people.
The magazine flew Diane from London to Paris for the day to write about thc American Negro tennis player Arthur Ashe.
"Had I not known Lew Hoad and his wife, Jennie, so well, I'd never have had the
background," she said. "But I'd never do it again.
"It was fascinating, of course. I followed Arthur Ashe around all day, and we went up the Eiffel Tower and
talked in the restaurant over
lunch, and half the things he told me were not for print."
I pointed out that that was the way she and I had always worked together.
Diane had the grace to laugh.
Her second assignment was writing a feature for the new English magazine "Fashion."
She had been asked to write about "Love."
Her description of the way she tackled the subject was professional to a degree.
"But," says Miss Cilento, "that will be the end of journalism for me. I never realised the agony you go
through. I never knew how
hard it would be to take
things in and observe and try to write notes all at the
"For me, it is too difficult and too confining."
"And it uses up too much nervous energy?" I asked.
Has grown up
In that single syllable was the sign of a completely rounded, grown-up human being.
I told her so, and said I thought that she had grown up and developed a great deal since we had last talked some two or three years ago.
She agreed. Then with great enjoyment and excite- ment went to get one of her father's books-"Triumph in
the Tropics," by Lack and
Cilento-to read to me.
? It was a fascinating account of the area where she and Sean will spend their Christmas - Mooloo-
Soon she will be there, on that very soil, with Sir Raphael and Lady Cilento, wini sisters Ruth and Mar- garet, brothers David and Carl, and all their children.
She and Sean from Lon- don, and Spain, and Holly- wood, and New York, and Europe in general . . . there they go, like any daughter who hasn't seen her family for six years, and any son-in law who has never met his parents-in-law.
If ever I heard of a
triumph in the tropics, this