Friday, October 08, 2010

Roy Ward Baker 1916-2010

The director of A Night to Remember and two of my favorite Hammer movies, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and The Vampire Lovers, has died. In this season when I watch Hammer movies with more frequency than any other, it's sad news to hear.


Tallulah Morehead said...

Martine Beswicke, the star of Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, is a dear friend of mine. From time to time, the subject of Roy ward Baker would come up in our talks, and she always got a misty look, a big smile, and said: "Ah dear Roy, what a delightful man." Martine adored him. Apparently he was a joy to work with.

Roy directed Hammer's The Anniversary, one of the funniest, campiest movies of Bette Davis's whole career, and given her career, that's saying something.

The Anniversary was an adaptation of a stage play, and most of it was set in this large living room set, with a huge stairway for Betty to make her entrance down. It went into production with a different director, but his work was bad, and he was fired after five days of shooting. When Roy was brought in, the first thing he did was order the stairway be moved from the middle of the set over to the side of the set.

When asked later why he insisted the set be changed, he gave a simple answer: "So they could not use any of my predecessor's footage, and thus, there would never be any doubt as to who directed all of this movie."

Johnny Yen said...

"A Night To Remember" was, with a few exceptions, pretty faithful to Walter Lord's book. One of the points that he hammers at is the fact that the poor, in steerage, were pretty much doomed.