Video Gallery

John Gawsworth documentary

with the participation of Lawrence Durrell, Alan G Thomas, Kate O’Brien and others

This film, made in 1970, is copyright BBC.

In a Fitzrovia pub, Lawrence Durrell and Alan Thomas discuss their mutual friend John Gawsworth (1912-1970), about whom Durrell is about to write his essay “Some Notes on my friend John Gawsworth” (which was published in 1962 and reprinted in Spirit of Place). They are then joined by Gawsworth himself, of whom there is considerable footage in the programme, including a memorable reunion with the novelist Kate O’Brien.

The programme concludes with Gawsworth’s recitation of his poem “Four A.M. – January 3, 1970 (The Princess Beatrice Hospital)”. It was transmitted on BBC2 television on 9 July 1970, shortly before Gawsworth’s death.

 

Garden of the Gods – 1967

The travelogue/documentary “Garden of the Gods” was made by Gerald Durrell in 1967 for the Natural History division of the BBC (at that time headed by David Attenborough), as an alternative to a version of My Family and Other Animals, which the BBC wished to make, but which was beyond the capacities of the Natural History division (the evolution of the project can be read in Douglas Botting’s biography of Gerald Durrell, pp.335-347).

It featured not only Gerald Durrell but also Theodore Stephanides, and the fourteen-year-old Andreas Damaskinos (son of Corfu’s Director of Tourism) who is today a noted doctor on the island. The ostensible reason for the film was Gerald’s promise to introduce the boy to the landscape and flora and fauna, as well as the history and folklore, of Corfu, suggestive of his own experiences at the same age, thirty years previously.

Copyright 1967 BBC.

We publish the programme here, as part of the DLC Library holdings, due to its inaccessibility in any other medium.

The DLC also holds a copy of the shooting script for this programme, kindly donated by Dr Andreas Damaskinos.

 

Karaghiozi shadow-theatre performance by Eugenio Spatharis, Corfu, 2002

In its inaugural year, the Durrell School of Corfu presented a performance of the traditional shadow-theatre “Karaghiozi” by the legendary authority Eugenio Spatharis (1924-2009), in the Old Fortress in Corfu Town. The performance was generously sponsored by Hellenic Bottling Company, the distributors of Amita orange juice. In view of this sponsorship, Spatharis incorporated references to “Amita” in his script, thus constituting the film as a 45-minute commercial for the HBC company.

The video recording, edited from the two evening performances, commences with a short overview of the features of Corfu Town; there follows a brief introduction by Richard Pine, Director of the DSC. The filming of the performance included the reactions of some of the younger members of the audience whose delight is palpable. It concludes with Eugenio Spatharis (then 78 years of age) acknowledging the audience applause.

Spatharis was the pre-eminent exponent of the Karaghiozi tradition in Greece, and the museum which he established in Kifissia,  Athens in 1991 is a continuing monument to his achievement. It is believed that it was his father, Sotiris Spatharis, whose performances of Karaghiozi were witnessed by Lawrence Durrell and Theodore Stephanides in Corfu i8n the 193os, and which formed the basis of Chapter IV of Durrell’s Prospero’s Cell: “Karaghiosis: the Laic Hero”.

 

2 thoughts on “Video Gallery

  1. Bravo! These excellent videos, both the Karaghiozi and especially Gerald’s warm and personal travelogue are precious and pertinent. I have always though that my affection for Durrell’s Corfu was perpetually literary—a place in a time that has passed. Now I feel the need to go to Corfu to experience the spirit of the place. Thank you for preserving them and making them available.

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  2. Richard, thanks for offering this marvelous documentary of John Gawsworth. A complete delight. I couldn’t pick up all the words, but the accents were like listening to music. I like the clothes, observing that different era of formality: overcoats, jackets, and ties. The wintriness. Good camera angles. Gawsworth making his rounds through London—evoking a time long gone. A very funny scene of him and Kate O’Brien struggling to open a bottle of champagne. She, “We were all lovely once, weren’t we John?” Indeed. Durrell’s presence presides with good humor and kindliness. Charity, you might say—and he did. Thanks.

    Bruce

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