CONT. FROM P5
together that‘s a real comedy. and the only movie that really is a love story. about two men who spent thirty years in jail together. thought they hated each other by that time. and then go out and adjust to the world and find that they miss each other. So. the story has a lot of analogies to Burt and me in real life.
We‘re not always together but we‘ve been friends for forty years and we are still talking to each other. which I think is something in itself.‘
Despite the record of forty amicable years. Douglas reveals that their initial encounter was far from auspicious. ‘I thought he was a pain in the ass and I think he thought the same about me.‘ he states bluntly. ‘We started in I Walk Alone but we didn‘t really become friends until the second picture that we did. called (iunﬁghtat the OK Corral. When we made that movie we were shooting on location in Tucson. Arizona. There wasn‘t much to do. so after shooting we‘d have dinner and keep talking until one or two in the morning. then have to go to bed to get up early the next day. The producer. IIal Wallis. a rather taciturn fellow. came over to me once and said. “Kirk. what do you and Burt find to talk about for so long?" That‘s rather a sad question because conversation between friends is endless. one thing leads to
another and it‘s always been that way
with Burt and me. We don‘t see each other a lot. We used to play golf. but I play tennis now.‘
The individual careers that separate I Walk Alone and Tough Guys include similarities and wide disparities; both men have produced and directed with variable results. Lancaster has been the more dedicated in extending his range. working with Visconti. Louis Malle and Bill Forsyth. Douglas left his mark on a string offilms that entertained and conveyed a message — Paths of Glory. Lonely are the Brave. Posse. Lancaster has the ()scar. Douglas has yet to win.
The fascinating way in which both men have matured is knowingly reflected in Tough Guys. ‘Burt is much more serious than I am. He has that quality. It‘s easier for me to play a buffoon. I think we both liked
Tough Guys because when you read the script there was no doubt; I don‘t think Burt could play Archie and I don‘t think I could play Harry. It was his statement. and what I was playing was my statement.
On screen in Tough Guys Douglas works out. energetically beds an aerobics instructress. disco dances. runs along a train top and visually mocks the association ofhis age (70) showung no hint of feebleness or decline. In person he is equally vital. claiming he will be a tough guy until death but. more seriously. outlining his belief that it is important for someone in his position to acknowledge the passing of the years. ‘Nobody lives for ever. God. I‘m constantly reminded ofthat.‘ he reflects. ‘Cary Grant died. Danny Kaye died. Robert Preston died. Tough Guys. and a film I did called Amos. deal with aspects of how people react toward old people and what we define as old. When I did Amos I became interested in the whole question ofelderly abuse. I did a lot ofwork in trying to focus attention on the sad conditions that existed in nursing homes. You have to remember that by the end ofthe century there will be more elderly people than there will be young people. So. that problem ofelderly abuse is a problem for the young people of today. but when you‘re young you can‘t ever think ofbeing old. We may have devised ways that we can live longer. but. more importantly. we have to devise ways to live better.‘
‘I play tennis now’
Douglas has recently played Sir Alexander Korda in the film version of Michael Korda‘s Queenie and is now contemplating a television remake oflnherit the Wind in which he would co-star for the first time with Gregory Peck. In between acting. he is diligently writing an autobiography. Retirement is clearly not a word in his vocabulary and he enjoys the good fortune of a profession where age limits do not apply and only the public are allowed to indicate when it is time to exit. ‘As long as somebody sends me a script and I‘m enthusiastic about it and excited about doing my work. I think it‘s all in your mental attitude. I work out every day and I enjoy what I do. Nothing will make you old faster than to have a job that you don‘t enjoy doing. It was fun to do things like Tough Guys where you run across the top of a train.
It‘s a childish profession really. but ifyou retain that open-eyed way oflooking around and absorbing things you can manage to stay young enoughto function.‘
Tough Guys opens at Edinburgh and Glasgow Odeons on 24 April.
Nuna Espert directing Yoko Watanabe
Scottish Opera begin their Silver Jubilee celebrations with Madame Butterﬂy directed by Spanish actress/director Nuria Espert. making her operatic debut. She talked to Sally Kinnes.
‘We are all very very young in Spain‘, says Nuria Espert ‘because we are ten‘. she counts the years since Franco‘s death. ‘no. eleven years old now. In 1976 a new life started for all ofusf
Before they were young they were old in the years under Franco. Spain‘s experience ofcivil war and its consequences have obviously affected Espert deeply. Her father was an anarchist and therefore on the losing side in the civil war. "I‘hat was in the atmosphere around me all my life. Now it‘s finished. It‘s finished inside me because I don‘t want to continue with those feelings.‘ For her time spent on bitterness is obviously time wasted. but she is aware ofwhat has been
lost. As she savs in her attractive and heavily accented English. ‘We are very strong now and trying to do things quickly. to take again this lost time.‘ Nuria Espert is best known to British audiences for her productions of Lorca. the Spanish poet and dramatist. In London she took the lead in his play Yerma in 1971—‘the most beautiful thingI ever did‘ — and it was revived last year for the Edinburgh Festival. Most recently she has directed Lorca‘s House of Bernarda Alba now in its 32nd week in London. for which she won the 1986 London Evening Standard Award for Best Director. Currently in Glasgow to direct Puccini‘s Madame Butterﬂy this will be her opera debut.
6 The List 17 — 30 April