HOLLYWOOD – Sir Edwin Fluffer once again delves into his personal memoirs – soon to be published as ‘Not THAT Kind of Fluffer!!!’ – to recall Marlene Dietrich.
I knew Marlene Dietrich before the operation, and I have to say that she was a lot more fun in those days. An ingrowing toenail is no laughing matter, just ask Claude Rains, but there was something about her that changed and in her later years she was largely absent from the screen. Our last and first picture together was Witness For The Prosecution, based on the play by Agatha Christie. I got the moustache wax out and greased up ready to give my best Hercule Poirot only to be told in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t in it.
To be perfectly honest with you I think that the director missed a trick there, but he had what I’d call an ‘artistic temperament’ and he also insisted on setting the whole thing in a courtroom rather than on a train.
I was convinced that audiences weren’t ready for an Agatha Christie with no Poirot and no Orient Express, but dear old Marlene said ‘give it a go, darlink’ and so I did. As my character spent most of his time in the dock I didn’t really think it necessary to wear any trousers as it can get rather warm under all that lighting, but then Charlie Laughton said ‘if Neddy’s not wearing his breeches then neither am I’ and off they came!
|Where are my gaspers?|
Marlene thought this was all a tremendous lark, put Charlie’s trousers on and refused to take them off! We had the devil’s own job getting her out of them, and in the end Elsa Lanchester had to sit on her chest while Henry Daniel and I tried to grab her legs. The trousers were quite badly ripped, but what annoyed Charlie more was that he had a packet of cigarettes in one of the pockets. We looked everywhere for them! It must’ve been nearly twenty minutes later when we eventually found them under Norma Varden. Unfortunately when the producer heard out about the damage to Charlie’s trousers fingers were pointed and I got the blame. Yours truly was sacked and Tyrone Power took my role and played it much better than I ever could.
Every year on my birthday Marlene would send me a new pair of Oxford bags, but I didn’t see the funny side.
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