Saturday, January 15, 2011

How to be a fan in the prehistory?

After the discovery of Robert Powell in Hannay, I decided to find more about him. But how? In the early 90s, in Mexico, for a teenager it wasn’t easy. Had I born in England or the British Islands I wouldn’t have had any trouble to find information about Robert Powell! Everybody know him over there! It was a certitude for me… and ever since every time I meet a British person I always ask “Do you know Robert Powell?”.  
Without the Internet (and even with the Internet it wasn’t that easy!), the only way to find Robert’s filmography was to watch EVERYTHING on tv (British series and films) and read all the credits. I was lucky as this method made me discover: Jane Austen in Manhattan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and … Jesus of Nazareth, which will be discussed in another post. I was lucky too that my father liked films with Michael Caine as in his personal video collection I found The Jigsaw Man and The Italian Job.

Curly, curly, curly, curly... Straight! no wonder why most people think the only film he made was Jesus of Nazareth! (from left to right : Yellow in The Italian job, Pierre in Jane Austen in Manhattan, Phoebus in Hunchback, Jamie Fraser in The Jigsaw Man and the last one you already know).

I scanned the cast of any film in every Tv schedule so I wouldn’t miss a film with him. And everytime I found a film with him I was oooooverjoyed and shouted a victorious “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”. During the 90s then, The Survivor, Il Segno del Comando and Hannay back again were shown on Mexican tv (and of course Jesus of Nazareth, twice a year, but that again will be discussed in another post). Maybe other films were shown but I just didn’t catch them. Ah! I've forgot one! Just once I “found” a film with him on tv and I nearly missed it! I’ve caught The Four Feathers nearly by the end.

Curly Jack Durrance in The Four Feathers and Captain Keller in The Survivor

Newspaper promo for Il Segno del comando (Mexican newspaper Excelsior)
Finally, the videoclubs were an excellent place to find his films! And that was very tiring as I had to search in each video box for the cast, if by any chance Robert Powell was in the film. So I found The Thirty Nine Steps, Harlequin (put in the children section!!), The Asphyx and Shaka Zulu.
Curly again and again! From left to right : Giles in The Asphyx, Gregory Wolfe in Harlequin, Hannay in The 39 Steps and Dr. Henry Flynn in Shaka Zulu
So you can see, without the Internet, without living in England (or any other English speaking country) up to 1997 I’ve seen most of Robert’s filmography. Now things would have been different, I don’t know if they are easier now with the internet or not, as there are too many things now and as I would say “too much information kills information”.
So a part from TV, tv guides and tv schedules, videoclubs, which other source of information was available? Forget the magazines! They only had (and still have) articles about telenovelas and Hollywood stars. What about books? Books? Oh yes! In my school library I found the greatest bit of information for a Powellian fan! Remember the old days in which paper encyclopedias existed and some of them published a “Book of the year”. So in my school library I found the “Book of the year 1982” (even if I found it somewhere in 1994), I searched for Robert Powell just for curiosity’s sake, knowing that I wasn’t going to find anything. However, I was so much surprised to find that a certain Robert Powell had won a prize in the Venice Film Festival for the film Imperative. From that day my big wish (besides meeting Robert in person) was to see this film (which will be discussed in another post).

For several years this was the only image I had of the film Imperative, I found it in a review somewhere in the Internet.
 Thanks for reading.


Irene said...

Thanks for posting!
Amazing, fascinating story. :)
P.S. I sent you pm on Facebook, about "Looking For Clancy" series.

Gigi said...

I'll talk in a future post about Looking for Clancy! Indeed in many interviews Robert has said he was very satisfied by that role. I hope I'll manage to watch it soon!

Anonymous said...

Got to work with Robert on The Survivor in South Australia.I even have a facebook page on the film.Just search The Survivor 1980.