I recently discovered these two loose pages in what I believe was the Film Review. Unfortunately I do not have a date for the article, but it must have been around 1955, when Richard Todd (1919-2009) appeared as Guy Gibson in The Dam Busters.
After Robin Hood by Richard Todd
“ In some ways I shall always regard my decision to appear for Walt Disney in Robin Hood as one of the most important in my life. At the time I was still living under the shadow of that dour and twisted Scot, Lackie of The Hasy Heart, and I wanted an escape.
Disney’s Robin Hood looked like being just what I was after as soon as it was first mooted while I was in Hollywood; but I was just a little anxious. I felt that I had to be doubly careful.
By this time you’ll have made up your minds about the picture and my performance. But I think you’ll agree that is different, that it has at last laid the ghost of Lackie. And now what?
Well, Ive taken a breather by playing opposite Merle Oberon in Twenty-four Hours of a Woman’s Life (1952), a rather unusual love story. And I’m most happy with my part of Guy Gibson in Dam Busters.
Can I go on finding such varied and interesting parts? I don’t know, but I can try”.
This is a poignant piece. By the end of the 1950’s the the studio system was breaking up, his contract was not renewed, and ‘wheeler-dealing over individual films became the norm. While flirting with television, for which he did Carrington VC in 1960, he became a stage actor-manager by forming Triumph theatre productions and touring middlebrow plays’.
The Guardian Obituary continues... “ He [Richard Todd] became a dairy farmer from 1957, leading to his appointment as president of the Henley and District Agricultural Association in Buckinghamshire. A very British perfectionist, he confessed to a dream that, despite the warnings of his friends and everyone else he talked to, there would always be a market for the best...His success as a businessman/farmer was a double-edged sword as his acting career receded. However, Todd retained his instinct for business. In the 1970s, actors – especially well-spoken and well-dressed middle-class actors who had slipped out of fashion – were having a lean time. An organisation was set up to use such players by touring them in the US and other parts of the world. Todd – the star of 50 films over 20 years – was one of the relatively few former high-powered stars who turned out to support the idea.
Physically small but sturdy, Todd was more of a realist than many actors. He said bluntly that when the film parts dried up and he had returned to the stage, he had been "absolutely dreadful" in a production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband (1965) and had had to relearn the stage technique he had acquired at the beginning of his career. At that time, too, he sold his farm to support himself” .
This site contains over 70 pages featuring Richard Todd including various articles about his life and career. Please click on the links.
|Richard Todd as Robin Hood|
He will always be my favourite Robin Hood.