Who famously had 6 wives? You guessed it – David Lean, one of the founding members of BAFTA!
Continuing our mini-series celebrating the history of BAFTA, we’ve dug out footage of another of BAFTA’s four founding members – the director David Lean. Lean is perhaps best remembered as the director of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. He was voted 9th Best Director of all time by the British Film Institute’s Sights & Sound magazine. He was also a bit like Henry VIII in that he was married six times throughout his epic and illustrious life. We found this great video in the British Pathé archive of the 1945 ‘British Film Festival’ where David Lean talks with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard (at least we think it’s 1945 as the cast of Wicked Lady are there). David Lean says “When we are shooting a film on the studio floor the film actors are always complaining, that he hasn’t got a live audience to play to, well this afternoon you two are going to play to thousands – what is it like?” – “Very frightening” jokes Celia in her extravagant fur coat. “I love ‘em” says a smug Trevor, “But I’m frightened of newsreel cameras” and he grins at the Pathé cameraman.
Dame Celia Johnson was nominated for 5 BAFTAs and won two in 1969 and 1973. However, the lady who really stole our attention in this clip was the fabulous Welsh actress Tessie O’Shea. What a marvellous personality Tessie had! And we’ve never seen a slice of cake so far. I recognised her face from somewhere, and thought it was possibly Brighton Rock, but The University of Wikipedia soon put my mind at rest – Tessie was in Bedknobs and Broomsticks!