Bogarde, (Sir) Dirk

views updated May 23 2018

BOGARDE, (Sir) Dirk

Nationality: British. Born: Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in Hampstead, London, England, 29 March 1921. Education: Attended University College School and Allan Glen's School, Scotland. Military Service: In Far East, 1940–45: lieutenant; Career: 1939—acting debut; 1947—appeared in West End production of Power without Glory; signed seven-year contract with J. Arthur Rank Organisation; 1960s—moved to France; 1977—published first volume of memoirs, A Postillion Struck by Lightning; 1980s—worked in TV, in France and Britain; 1990—returned to England. Awards: Best British Actor, British Academy, for The Servant, 1963; Best British Actor, British Academy, for Darling, 1965; Honorary D. Litt, St. Andrews University, 1985; BFI Fellowship, 1987; British Academy of Film and Televison Arts Award for "outstanding contribution to world cinema," 1990; knighted, 1992.

Films as Actor:


Dancing with Crime (Carstairs) (as policeman)


Esther Waters (Dalrymple and Proud) (as William Latch); "Alien Corn" ep. of Quartet (French) (as George Bland); Once a Jolly Swagman (Maniacs on Wheels) (Jack Lee and McNaughton) (as Bill Fox)


Dear Mr. Prohack (Freeland) (as Charles Prohack); Boys in Brown (Tully) (as Alfie Rawlins)


The Blue Lamp (Dearden) (as Tom Riley); So Long at the Fair (Fisher and Darnborough) (as George Hathaway); The Woman in Question (Five Angles on Murder) (Asquith) (as Bob Baker)


Blackmailed (Marc Allégret) (as Stephen Mundy); Penny Princess (Guest) (as Tony Craig)


Hunted (The Stranger in Between) (Charles Crichton) (as Chris Lloyd); The Gentle Gunman (Dearden) (as Matt Sullivan)


Desperate Moment (Bennett) (as Simon von Halder); Appointment in London (Leacock) (as Wing Commander Tim Mason)


They Who Dare (Milestone) (as Lt. Graham); Doctor in the House (Thomas) (as Dr. Simon Sparrow); The SleepingTiger (Joseph Losey under pseudonym "Victor Hanbury") (as Frank Clements); For Better, for Worse (Cocktails in the Kitchen) (J. Lee Thompson) (as Tony Howard)


The Sea Shall Not Have Them (Lewis Gilbert) (as Flight Sgt. Mackay); Simba (Simba—Mark of Mau Mau) (Hurst) (as Alan Howard); Doctor at Sea (Thomas) (as Dr. Simon Sparrow); Cast a Dark Shadow (Lewis Gilbert) (as Edward Bare)


The Spanish Gardener (Leacock) (as Jose)


Ill Met by Moonlight (Night Ambush; Intelligence Service)(Powell and Pressburger) (as Major Patrick Leigh Fermor); Doctor at Large (Thomas) (as Dr. Simon Sparrow); Campbell's Kingdom (Thomas) (as Bruce Campbell)


The Wind Cannot Read (Thomas) (as Flight Lt. Michael Quinn); A Tale of Two Cities (Thomas) (as Sydney Carton); The Doctor's Dilemma (Asquith) (as Louis Dubedat)


Libel (Asquith) (as Sir Mark Lodder/Number 15/Frank Welney)


The Angel Wore Red (Johnson) (as Arturo Carrera); Songwithout End (Charles Vidor) (as Franz Liszt)


The Singer Not the Song (Baker) (as Anacleto); Victim (Dearden) (as Melville Farr)


H.M.S. Defiant (Damn the Defiant!) (Lewis Gilbert) (as First Lt. Scott-Padget); The Password Is Courage (Andrew L. Stone) (as Sergeant Major Charles Coward); We Are in the Navy Now (We Joined the Navy) (Toye) (as Dr. Simon Sparrow); The Mind Benders (Dearden) (as Dr. Henry Longman)


I Could Go On Singing (Neame) (as David Donne); Doctor inDistress (Thomas) (as Dr. Simon Sparrow); The Servant (Losey) (as Hugo Barrett); Hot Enough for June (Agent 8¾) (Thomas) (as Nicholas Whistler); The Epic that Never Was (doc for TV)


King and Country (Losey) (as Captain Hargreaves); The HighBright Sun (McGuire Go Home!) (Thomas) (as Major McGuire)


Darling (Schlesinger) (as Robert Gold); Little Moon ofAlban (for TV)


Modesty Blaise (Losey) (as Gabriel); Blithe Spirit (for TV)


Our Mother's House (Clayton) (as Charlie Hook); Accident (Losey) (as Stephen)


Mr. Sebastian (Sebastian) (David Greene) (title role); The Fixer (Frankenheimer) (as Bibikov)


Oh! What a Lovely War (Attenborough) (as Stephen); Justine (Cukor) (as Pursewarden); La caduta degli dei (The Damned) (Visconti) (as Freidrich Bruckman); Upon This Rock (doc for TV) (as Bonnie Prince Charlie)


Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice) (Visconti) (as Gustav von Aschenbach)


Le Serpent (The Serpent; Night Flight from Moscow) (Verneuil) (as Philip Boyle); The Night Porter (Cavani) (as Maximilian Theo Aldorfer)


Permission to Kill (Frankel) (as Alan Curtis)


Providence (Resnais) (as Claude Langham); A Bridge Too Far (Attenborough) (as Lt. Gen. Frederick "Boy" Browning); Eine Reise ins Licht (Despair) (Fassbinder) (as Hermann Karlovich); To See Such Fun (Scofield—compliation)


Act of Love (The Patricia Neal Story) (Harvey and Page—for TV) (as Roald Dahl)


The Vision (Norman Stone—for TV) (as James Marriner)


Daddy Nostalgie (Daddy Nostalgia; These Foolish Things) (Tavernier) (as Tommy "Daddy" Russell)

Films as Actor and Scriptwriter:


May We Borrow Your Husband? (Mahoney—for TV) (as William Harris, + sc)


Voices in the Garden (Boutron) (co-sc only)


By BOGARDE: books—

A Postillion Struck by Lightning, London, 1977.

Snakes and Ladders, London, 1978.

A Gentle Occupation (novel), London, 1980.

Voices in the Garden (novel), London, 1981.

An Orderly Man, London, 1983.

West of Sunset (novel), London, 1984.

Backcloth, London, 1986.

A Particular Friendship, London, 1989.

Great Meadow, London, 1992.

Jericho (novel), London, 1992.

A Short Walk from Harrods, London, 1993.

By BOGARDE: articles—

Interview with G. Gow, in Films and Filming (London), May 1971.

"2 Heures avec Dirk Bogarde," interview with A. Garel, in Ecran (Paris), 1974.

"Dirk Bogarde," interview with Bruno Villien, in Cinématographe (Paris), March 1977.

Interview with Quentin Falk, in Guardian (London), 20 July 1986.

"A Half-Life in World's End," in Independent (London), 19 September 1988.

"You Used to Be Dirk Bogarde," in Independent on Sunday (London), 30 September 1990.

Interview with Gary Indiana, in Interview (New York), January 1991.

"Bogarde redux," interview with John Heilpern, in Vogue (New York), March 1991.

On BOGARDE: books—

Hinxman, Margaret, and Susan d'Arcy, The Films of Dirk Bogarde, London, 1974.

Tanitch, Robert, Dirk Bogarde: The Complete Career Illustrated, New York, 1988.

On BOGARDE: articles—

"Dirk Bogarde," in Films and Filming (London), August 1955.

Whitehall, R., "Dirk Bogarde," in Films and Filming (London), November 1963.

Current Biography 1967, New York, 1967.

Tessier, M., "Dirk Bogarde," in Ecran (Paris), May 1974, corrections in June 1974 issue.

"Dirk Bogarde," in Ecran (Paris), February 1978.

Bodeen, DeWitt, "Dirk Bogarde," in Films in Review (New York), November 1980 and February 1981.

Medhurst, Andy, "Dirk Bogarde," in All Our Yesterdays, edited by Charles Barr, London, 1986.

Gray, M., "Dirk Bogarde," in Film Monthly (Berkhamsted, England), October 1990.

Parra, D., "Dirk Bogarde: rester au sommet," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), December 1990.

Davies, Terence, in National Film Theatre Programme (London), January 1991.

Billington, M. "Dirk Bogarde Journeys into 'Nostalgia'," in New York Times, 7 April 1991.

Watson, W., "The Bitter Tears of RWF: Fassbinder Bogarde Letters," in Sight and Sound (London), July 1992.

* * *

Dirk Bogarde's career is a classic case of a gradual rise from light matinee idol roles to ones requiring depth and maturity—the latter eventually earning him a knighthood for his contribution to British and world cinema.

A quiet and retiring person in private life, Bogarde started his acting career in 1939 on the stage, only to have it interrupted by war service. After the war, the British Rank Organisation gave him a contract (they were grooming young and promising actors and actresses), and from 1947 to 1961 Bogarde appeared in more than 30 British films. Assuming the nom de screen "Dirk," a sort of Continental variation on the Hollywood "Rock," "Troy," and "Tab," he starred in a succession of featherweight movies designed to launch him as a teen heartthrob image—which, for years, caused him to be perceived by most critics as a glamour boy of minor talent. He became one of the team of young actors who appeared and reappeared in the highly successful Doctor series of comedies—Doctor in the House, Doctor at Sea, Doctor at Large, and, later, Doctor in Distress. Like most actors who had seen war service, he was in demand for a seemingly endless turnover of war films from Desperate Moment, They Who Dare, and The Sea Shall Not Have Them to Ill Met by Moonlight, H.M.S. Defiant, and The Password Is Courage. He did further service in another action genre, the British crime film—which American audiences tended to find tepid and dull in comparison with American films in a similar vein.

Approaching his forties, Bogarde began to show his maturing capacity to handle more complex and demanding characters in Anthony Asquith's adaptation of Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma and Basil Dearden's Victim, the first British film to deal seriously with the problems of a homosexual in public life. Public recognition of his excellence as an actor was really to come, however, when he teamed up with Joseph Losey to play the key role in The Servant, a part into which he injected a new, dark vein of subtle, insinuating evil as the manservant who secures a Mephistophelian hold over the rich young man he serves. The performance won him a British Academy Award as Best Actor. Now in his forties and independent, Bogarde embarked on a series of singular performances. He was the defending officer in a court martial in Losey's Paths of Glory variation, King and Country—and the Oxford academic with complex professional and emotional problems in Losey's Accident. As well, he appeared effectively in such notable films as John Schlesinger's Darling—for which he won his second British Best Actor award—Losey's Modesty Blaise, Jack Clayton's Our Mother's House, Richard Attenborough's Oh! What a Lovely War, and Alain Resnais's impressive film Providence. Widening his scope still further, Bogarde appeared in a series of arty and experimental films made abroad: Visconti's controversial The Damned, about the impact of Nazism on a vicious upper-class family; the same director's exquisite version of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice; Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter, as a former Nazi SS concentration camp officer; and, in marked contrast, Fassbinder's extraordinary film Despair, as a survivor of the Holocaust.

Although Bogarde continues to act from time to time, he has turned increasingly and successfully to writing. Besides novels, he has written four volumes of memoirs, A Postillion Struck by Lightning, Snakes and Ladders, An Orderly Man, and Backcloth, the second volume covering his film career up to Death in Venice (with fascinating details in particular of working with Losey and Visconti) and the third including accounts of the making of Night Porter, Providence, and Despair.

—Roger Manvell, updated by John McCarty

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