Wednesday, 4 August 2010


A Charming Caper ...

Perfect Friday is a stylish and somewhat underrated comedy caper directed by Peter Hall with the starry presence of Stanley Baker, Ursula Andress and David Warner.

The plot revolves around a dull and frustrated deputy bank manager (Stanley Baker) who, when he encounters an impoverised Lord and his very glamourous Lady (Warner and Andress), spys his chance to relieve his bank of £300,000.  The timing of the robbery is crucial and it must take place, not only on a Friday, but the 'perfect' Friday of the title.

A Visual Foil

TP features in a prominent support role as Baker's immediate superior 'Smith'. He appears very much as a visual foil to the staid Deputy Manager.  Smith is evidently a notch higher up the bank ladder and altogether more handsome and self-assured.  Clearly he is a man going places and this adds further grist to Baker's mill, who, not ony will he rob his own bank, but will also dupe Smith into believing that his wife has been kidnapped into the bargain.

Studio Lights and Theatre Nights

TP enjoys a good amount of screentime as the main set is of a floor of smart offices divided by glass partitions.  His is the office behind Bakers and so he's often in shot wordlessly shuffling  papers and looking altogether pleased with himself.

In reality though, the shooting conditions were something of a struggle for TP as not only was he on set all day but he was also appearing nightly on stage in The Contractor

As TP told journalist Des Hickey while back in Dublin for a brief Christmas break:  "I'd get up at 6.30 in the mornings to drive to the studio.  Some of my scenes were filmed in a roofed-in set like a glass box, with me in one office and Stanley Baker in another.  The temperature would reach 110 degrees and by the end of the day my shirt would be wringing wet.   Then at 6pm I'd drive back to London to be on stage at the Royal Court at 7:30."

There was though the consolation of a nice scene with the beautiful Ursula Andress, not to mention the pleasure of playing with the esteemable Stanley Baker. 

TP would work with him a second time on 'The Changeling', a BBC Play of the Month in 1974.

TP on director, Peter Hall

TP was also highly impressed by director Peter Hall.  "When he finished directing our film at Pinewood in the evenings he would be driven home in a car fitted with earphones so that he could listen to a recording of Wagner's 'The Ring' while studying the score.  He's going to direct it for Colin Davis at the Covent Garden and he's determined to know every note.

"I found him remarkable.  At 39 he has achieved everything yet he has none of that tautness of character which success can bring; he's a real charmer, one of the most incredible men the English theatre has produced."

No comments:

Post a Comment