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Colin Clark, The Prince, The Showgirl and Me | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

The Prince, the Showgirl and Me | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Introducing the latest addition to the Slightly Foxed Editions list, No. 61:

Colin Clark

‘MM doesn’t really forget her lines. It is more as if she had never quite learnt them – as if they are pinned to her mental noticeboard so loosely that the slightest puff of wind will send them floating to the floor . . . This is very disconcerting to the other actors . . .’

It’s Tuesday, 14 August 1956, and through a combination of chutzpah and some useful contacts (he is after all the son of Lord Clark of Civilisation), the young Colin Clark has got himself a job. He’s now a ‘gofer’ or general dogsbody on the Pinewood Studios set of The Prince and the Showgirl, a light comedy starring Sir Laurence Olivier (abbreviated in the diary Colin is beadily keeping to SLO) and Marilyn Monroe (MM) as the two leads.

This unlikely combination proves to be a disaster. Marilyn fails to turn up on time and can barely remember her lines, while Sir Laurence is completely out of his depth with both her and her entourage. Marilyn is a troubling enigma – impossible to deal with, yet possessed of some indefinable magic that made her irresistible on screen when the ‘rushes’ come through, often upstaging Sir Laurence. The film does eventually get made and sinks without trace, but fortunately Colin Clark is there to record the agonies of its making in this sharp and hilarious diary.

The Prince, the Showgirl and Me is published on 1 December, but we’re pleased to report that it’s available to order now, with copies ready for dispatch later this month. And we look forward to sending glad tidings of the new winter issue of Slightly Foxed magazine next week.

With best wishes, as ever, from the SF office staff
Anna, Hattie, Jess & Jemima

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Sunday, 3 June 1956
Now that University is behind me, I’m going to get a job – a real job on a real film. At 9 a.m. tomorrow I will be at Laurence Olivier’s film company to offer my services on his next production. The papers say it will star Marilyn Monroe, so it should be exciting.
Two weeks ago, Larry and Vivien came down to stay at Saltwood for the weekend. Mama told Vivien that I wanted to be a film director. I was mortified, but Vivien just gave a great purr and said ‘Larry will give Colin a job, won’t you Larry darling!’ I could see Larry groan under his breath. ‘Go and see Hugh Perceval at 146 Piccadilly,’ he said. ‘He might have something.’
So that is where I have an appointment in the morning. And every night I am going to write this diary. It could be fun to look back on, when I am old and famous!

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