Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Ron Moody Remembers Peter Cushing:

"Some scripts are so terribly over the top, there's a terrible temptation to send them up" I said to Peter Cushing. We were sitting in the late summer sunshine outside a very realistic French bistro on the lot of Pinewood studios, between takes on Tyburn films, 'Legend of the Werewolf'. I was playing the zooo keeper, and regarded the whole thing as a bit of a half term holiday, so i was decked out in a stove pipe bowler hat, a black embrosse wig, a ten o'clock shadow and set of buck teeth that made me look like a Neanderthal throwback! Actually, I rather thought I looked like Humphrey Boart. Anyway, if the hero could be a werewolf, why shouldn't the zoo keeper be an ape? Here, I must add, Freddie Francis, the director, thought it was a very funny idea.

Peter didn't. He surveyed me quizzically for a moment, his eyes twinkled. "If you were sending it up" he said, "We wouldn't have you on the film." And he MEANT it. For this sweet-natured, gentle man, dangerously on the verge of sainthood, there could be no mockery of his beloved craft. He played every one of his 'horror roles' with no less dedication then he had applied to his earlier classical career and the stream of powerful dramas that had established him as television's leading actor. His total belief and immersion in everything he did lifted these fantasy / horror tales from the banal to the believable, he commanded respect for the genre, lifted it up, almost single highhandedly, to the level of credibility that made everyone of them a minor classic!

Working with a great actor, something always brushes off! My zoo keeper, hair, hat, teeth and all, was never sent up! In fact, I like to think that my animal man was totally believable, completely identified within film, and had, dare I presume to say it, a touch of Cushing

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