Truth in a young girl's dreams
AT LAST Alan Bates sheds his leather jacket -- symbol of his
touch character roles of the last three years. In "Duel
for Love" he emerges as a flamboyant young romantic -- with
frills on his shirt.
Not since "Look Back in Anger"
started him on the downbeat path has Bates played a dashing young
lover. As Mario in "Duel for Love" he sees a beautiful
and rich girl, Anna (Susannah York) in the woods at daybreak.
He follows her home. Anna slams in his face the high ornamental
gates to her father's garden. But, undeterred, Mario climbs over.
acquaintance confirms the beauty of the vision he's followed,"
said Alan. "But he doesn't intend giving away his feelings
Anna's situation, with dew still on the roses
and hope in her heart, must mirror every young girl's dream.
And Anna, provoking and relenting in turn, makes the most of
it. Only when she hears the truth -- that the impetuous and handsome
stranger is to fight a duel at seven -- does she soften a little
There are only two parts in this play by
a poplar turn-of-the-century Italian writer, Dario Niccodemi.
It is set in the lovely garden of a villa in Southern Italy.
The translation and adaptation are by Robert Rietty. Philip Saville,
the director, said: "The play's attraction today is in its
style and remote romanticism. But 50 or 60 years ago, when first
produced, its impact startled Italian theatre-goers."
Saville directed Susannah York in her first
televised play two years ago. "She has what the part needs
of Anna," he said, "a lucid coolness externally, and
an inflammatory quality underneath.
Alan Bates has just ended a 14-month run
in Harold Pinter's play "The Caretaker." He plans a
motoring holiday in Spain. |||
Last Night's TV
by Clifford Davis
Daily Mirror, Monday, 19.vi.61
Susannah York and Alan Bates set the tiny screen ablaze last
night with two sensitive performances in ITV's Armchair Theatre
play, "Duel for Love."
A simple, romantic story here. The setting
-- an Italian garden; the story -- two young people meeting for
the first time and falling in love.
As lovers do, they teased and they joked.
No one else appeared on the screen. No one else was needed. Philip
Saville's direction and camerawork told everything with an unerring
A memorable evening. |||
A note about Armchair Theatre:
Armchair Theatre came in several guises. Called simply
'Armchair Theatre', it played weekly on the network. In
the Midlands and the North, it was billed as 'ABC Armchair Theatre',
after its makers, the Associated-British Picture Corporation,
which also produced "The Avengers". As the plainer-named
'Armchair Theatre', it continued for many years under ABC's post-1968
London outlet, Thames.
The series, in any guise, was a different
drama with different actors every week, and was the most popular
ABC programme after 'The Avengers'.