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VETERAN Wylie Watson and newcomer Susan Shaw, who plays the part of Wylie's daughter in "London
Belongs To Me," discuss the story tvith the author, Norman Collins.
New star fluff eel lines; in
test for part
From BILL STRUTTON of our London office
lt is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Take the stiff breeze which blew on the day Patricia Roc walked out of a film saying her role in it was "too drab." In other words not glamorous enough.
This same breeze scattered shooting schedule papers in the producer's office, and, since the film was ready to shoot, it caused
the director's hair to stand on end too.
THERE was quite a draught
in the wardrobe depart- ment, where the film cos- tumières, intent on creating dresses for Pat, had to put down their sewing, look at each other, and say, "Well what happens now?"
But it blew most pleasantly for Mi« Susan Shaw, an 18-year-old piquant and talented blonde, who was born Patsy Sloots. For it cata- pulted Susan into stardom. Com- pared with the grinding years most stars had to spend learning their art and waiting for that big break, the progress of slim, sparkling little Susan Shaw in British Films has been phenomenal.
She owes a lot of it not only to talent and her face, which camera- men have classed as "ideal," but also to Molly Terraine. the same teacher who groomed Jean Sim- mons for the role of Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet."
Molly, who is head of Arthur Rank's "Charm School." coached Susan when Individual Pictures pro- ducer Sidnev Gilliat, of the famed Launder-Gilliat team, sent out an urgent call for an actress who could
step into Pat Roc's shoes as a city typist Ut "Lonojon Belongs To Me."
Susan, who talked to me in her little prefabricated dressing-room in one corner of the set, said: "I was rushed down to Pinewood
Studios and plonked in front of the camera. I fluffed my lines badly, but got through the test somehow.
"I was out of the place and on my way home before I knew what was happening. That night I howled my way through dinner, because I had made such a mess of my big chance.
"But next day they rang up-and I was in! Sidney Gilliat told me I had to be ready in a week. In that time they propelled me through the make-up department for a series of make-up tests. I went through the wardrobe section lixe wildfire, getting fitted, then rushed through bargain counters of West End stores picking up dresses of the sort a London typist would buy off the hook.
"There were alarms practically every hour When they tried to dye my hair dark-I assure you it is a genuine golden blonde - they found it wouldn't take the dark dye. It streaked, and I looked like a , spotted dog. So the experts com-
promised on a light brown shade, and I like it so well that I may evpn stick to it."
Susan's first leading man is Richard Attenborough. who is play- ing another wicked role after his great success as the vicious young gangster of ' Brighton Rock." Only two years ago Susan was a fan of his, after his first big film success, in "Journey Together." and though
Susan was a photographer's model and pet mascot of a camera club, no such wildly remote thought as that of becoming a film star had flashed through her blonde head.
That is, until a scout spotted one of the camera club's portrait efforts of her. and got her a film test with Gainsborough. Susan was enrolled immediately in Arthur Rank's
"Company of Youth."
Since then she has had time off from lessons under Molly Terrain'' to appear in bit parts. Because she is very photogenic they enrolled her as one of the technicolor dozen and one lovelies who decorated the film
Because she was young. Susan got a larger part in Gainsborough's "Holiday Camp."
Film tipsters started to adopt her as their mascot, too, when they noticed her recent performance in her first big role as a daughter who strayed from the path of virtue in "It Always Rains On Sunday," star- ring Australian John Mccallum and Google Withers.
Susan is a highly strung little ac- tress She knits constantly "to keep the jitters at bay." Her first star- ring role in "London Belongs To Me"
-the first of several now lined up 1 for her-will be a particularly severe test of her ability.
An adaptation of Norman Collins' best-selling novel "London Belongs To Me" relies for its strength on a series of vivid character studies of people inhabiting a house in a typi- cal London street. Competing with Susan for honors in these charac- terisations are Richard Atten borough and veterans Fay Compton, Alastair Sim. Stephen Murray, Joyce Carey, Gladys Henson, and Wylie Watson, all household names in
The older generation of Austra- lians will remember Wylie Watson, who went there in 1913 on a tour with "The Seven Butterflies" and liked it enough to stay nine years. Apart from touring all over Aus- tralia, Wylie ran his own theatre, the Lyric, in St. Kilda, Victoria, and enlisted for World War I in the Third Light Horse.
Wylie Watson was an idol of West End theatregoers, and with a long
I HARD WAY of getting experience is chosen by pretty Cathy O'Donnell, j [ who is shown ivorking in a Hollywood service station in preparation j
for her part as Keecliie in RKO's "Your Red Wagon." Keechie operates \ I a service station as a hideout for a group of vicious bank robbers. j
NAME PAINTED on her studio chair delights new star Susan Shaw, i who jokes about it with one of the studio workers. Susanas big chance .
has come in "London Belongs To Me."
string ot film character roles in Britain and Hollywood to his credit plays Susan's father, the lovable Mr. Josser, the film's central figure.
With Britain's greatly expanding film production, Susan is one of the first of a new constellation of British stars for whom there are opportunities abounding.
An incident at a party which Syd- ney Box recently gave to celebrate his 25th film illustrates the notion that 18-year-old Susan has now be- come a mascot of Britain's film future
A huge property cake was wheeled , in decorated with candles, each rep-
resenting a film box. Gains- ll borough's tubby producer plunged! into it a large knite. where-1 upon a wedge swung open and out fl of the cake's interior stepped Susan j
Shaw, the party's guest of honor
For the benefit of the cameramen j swarming round, Sydney Box gave J a very creditable look of .surprise at 1 this discovery. And Susan, one of the j
first to graduate from the Chaim 1
School with honors, is, he believes, j
a discovery indeed.