Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square and a number of buses pass close by, including
the 14, 19, 24,
29, 38 and 176.
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Filming Major Barbara
a talk by Barbara Roisman Cooper
with readings by Stephe Grief
Shaw was 84 by the time filming of the Hollywood film of Major Barbara began in 1940.
The Second World War was at its most disruptive and locations were often reduced
to rubble before filming was complete. Shaw was frequently on-set and according
to Michael Holroyd “pulling handles …. spreading silent but expensive chaos”.
Holroyd recounts that some of the best acting came from GBS in a three-minute visual
prologue made for American audiences. Shaw recorded a preface that was seen by many
Americans as a rallying call for them to come and fight.
Ronald Neame was the cinematographer on Major Barbara and it is the ghost-writer
of his autobiography Straight from the Horse’s Mouth, California-based Barbara Roisman
Cooper, who is the speaker at our May meeting. She writes “Ronnie photographed
GBS for the introductory remarks that were handwritten by GBS and then the signature,
in which Shaw’s hand can be seen.” Barbara has some delightful anecdotes about
Shaw and film stars Rex Harrison, Wendy Hiller and Robert Morley. These will be
read by actor Stephen Grief, known for his roles as Travis in Blake’s 7 and Tooting
mob-boss Harry Fenning in the hugely popular UK sitcom Citizen Smith.
The evening will provide entertaining insights into a magical period in Hollywood
history that so captivated Shaw with his love of all things photographic, mechanical
and futuristic. The talk will be followed by an open discussion between the audience
and the speaker.