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INTERNATIONAL FILM STARS gossip by the old stone wall of Fort Denison, historic island in Sydney Harbor, where they are on location for the film "The Siege." From left are Italian Carlo Justini. Canadian Neil McCallum. English Pictor
Maddern and Heather Sears, and American Aldo Ray.
At 40, a shy Sydney nc tor
scores in first screen rote
By AINSLIE BAKER
. From 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. each day Sydney ferry pas- sengers have a new neck-craning interest. They now can watch an international film cast playing "cops and
robbers" on Fort Denison.
HANDSOME Cario Justini climbs a parapet for a dramatic scene in the film. Before coming to Australia, Justini played in "Goya." which stars Hollywood's Ava Gardner.
THE film causing all thc
excitement is "The
Siege," a thriller set in present-day Sydney.
Director is Mr. Harrv Watt, of "The Overlanders" fame,
who also wrote the story and prepared the script for "The Siege" in collaboration with Australian author Jon Cleary.
Most of the film action
takes place on Fort Denison, which is the real "hero" of the film.
This little 30ft. by 120ft. island was fortified in the mid 'fifties of last century, when it was feared there might be an attack bv Imperialist Rus- sian warships, said to be
massine in the Pacific.
Previously it had been known as Pinchgut, a legacy from the colony's early days when prisoners were sent there on a starvation diet.
Fort Denison now is main- tained as a historical landmark by the Maritime Services
Board. There is an official ' caretaker, whose duties include J turnintr on electric fog sirens - and navigation lights ami I recording tide levels.
International stars flown to 1 Australia for the film are:
. American Aldo Ray, who jj
has just appeared in the con- troversial war epic "Thp
Naked and the Dead," and ! goes back to Hollywood to à %
Western-one of three in a row * -with Sophia Loren.
. English Heather Sears, who ,
finished work in "Room at ?
the Top" on a Wednesday
and left London for Sydne\ I on the Friday.
. English Victor Maddern. |
whose next film is "I'm AH r
Right, Jack," the sequel ti ^
. Italian Carlo Justini. who I
ABOVE: Mattrest. unseen to the film camera, cushions a I fall for Justini as he jumps over a wall. Filming at Fort I
Denison is expected to continue until January.
RIGHT: Victor Maddern climbs up to a naval gun on the I island for a scene in which he and Justini threaten to blow j
up Sydney by firing on an ammunition ship.
Island star of British film
expects to make a picture with Anita Ekberg in Yugoslavia
. Canadian-born Neil McCal lum, 28, fresh from playing younger brother to Kirk Douglas in "The Devil's Dis- ciple." Neil had to leave for Australia before his last day's work, and a double completed
Despite this international line-up, the romance and drama of "The Siege" an centred on the presence of î middle-aged man who nev« before had put foot on a filn
He is Dublin-born (Austra lian by adoption) Jerry Dug gan, wbo plays the Fort Deni
son caretaker in the film.
Harry Watt liked the lool of me," Duggan said modestly
in his soft Dublin voice.
There is more to it thai
Duggan's role is a key one and Watt could have ruine< the film he has so long wante< to make in passing over th more experienced actors fo Duggan and the special qualit Watt was sure Jerry had.
Watt made the gamble
big one. He did not eas Duggan into film-making, bi threw him into a series < lengthy, testing scenes on th first day of shooting.
Genuinely anxious that tr retiring, gentle Irish-Australia should make the grade, ca and crew encouraged him wit generous "Well done, Jerry: as the temperature mount« to a scorching 96 degrees.
After three days' shoot in Harry Watt happily ai nounced: "The man's a genii A positive genius."
An engineer by professio «-year-old Duggan has liv ?n Sydney for 20 years.
With Frank Waters : shared a 1955-56 best act award for his performance
Lennie in The Attic Theatre's
production of "Of Mice And
Some months ago an agent telephoned Jerry at the outer Sydney suburb where he
Would Jerry be in town in two hours to apply for tests for the caretaker role?
Jerry was the last applicant
to arrive and the last to see
Harry Watt, who for one hour looked at Jerry and asked questions.
Jerry now has leave of
absence from his firm and will return to England with the unit for final shooting.
Married to a Sydney woman, they have a 13-year-old son.
Il iff h praise
Husky (14st. 81b.) Aldo Ray, who earns high praise for his work in "God's Little Acre" (now an Australian re- lease), is 32. He is no lounge suit hero - by inclination as well as bulk. His second mar- riage-to actress Jeff Donnell -ended recently.
Heather Sears, with upward sweeping dark eyelashes and a wide, ready smile, is deter-
mined to spend every minute I she can on Sydney beaches.
She is married to art direc- tor Tony Masters.
Neil McCallum's wife, actress Judith Whitaker, who is expecting. a baby in Feb- ruary, stayed in England-.
Of Neil, Harry Watt said: "This boy hasn't had a great deal of experience, but I con- sider him the most exciting
screen material I've ever had before a camera."
Handsome, 6ft. 2in. Carlo Justini is 37 and married to
''Just a few months ago in Italy, while working on 'Goya,' neither Ava Gardner
nor I knew we'd both be in Australia for films at the same
ime," he said.
Ava arrives for her role in
Pinchgut: Old setting for modern thriller
ABOVE: Director Harry Watt, icho first visited Aus- tralia in 1945 to make the famous "Overlanders." Mr. Watt's last film, "People Like Maria," won three awards at the Venice Film
BELOW: Mr. S. Adams, care- taker at Fort Denison, and Dublin-born Sydney actor, Jerry Duggan, who at 48 makes a triumphant debut playing the caretaker and father of Heather Sears in
"On The Beach" while 'The
Siege" is still shooting.
Victor Maddern, a pleasant, capable man in his early 30s, is one of the most constantly employed actors in the British Him industry.
He was Jose Ferrer's ser- geant in ''Cockleshell Heroes" and has appeared "in 53 films.
Victor's brother George, his wife and six children live in Perth.
Vic also believes that he has an aunt and uncle, with whom he has lost touch, living in Sydney.
Harry Watt, who is making his third Australian film - "The Overlanders" was fol- lowed by "Eureka Stockade" -keeps his cast happy with a blend of charm and granite.
After two or three gentle reminders to "Keep that door- way clear, please," Watt the amiable suddenly will become
Watt the terrible with a bel-
lowed, "Will you keep that blankety doorway CLEAR!"
Someone among the crew murmurs admiringly, "Harry in action!" and the doorway stays clear.
PRETTY FEMININE LEAD, 23-year-old Heather Sears, with co-star Aldo Ray. The American actor recently appeared in the film version of the controversial war book "The
Naked and the Dead."
YOUNG SYDNEY EXTRAS Jeannie Whittet and Tony Wickert, with make-up . ian Bill Lodge. Jeannie and Tony are with a group of tourists who visit the island in the film.