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Gerald: A Portrait (1934) by Daphne du Maurier

author Daphne du Maurier
publisher Doubleday (1934)
ISBN 1844080668 (2004 ed)

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Sir Gerald du Maurier was the most celebrated actor-manager of his day, knighted for his services to the theatre in 1922. Published within six months of her father's death, this frank biography was considered shocking by many of his admirers - but it was a huge success, winning Daphne du Maurier critical acclaim and launching her career.

In Gerald: A Portrait, Daphne du Maurier captures the spirit and charm of the charismatic actor who played the original Captain Hook, amusingly recalling his eccentricities and his sense of humour, and sensitively portraying the darker side of his nature and his bouts of depression.


Quotes about Hitchcock

At the same time Gerald and Gertrude Lawrence took part in a film, Lord Cambers Ladies, that was being directed at Elstree. His dislike of film-acting increased tenfold during this period, though no one would have believed it to look at him, with his pockets full of tricks and practical jokes that he let fly amongst the feet of cameramen, electricians, and directors in a sort of desperate effort to relieve the tedium. Practical joking during these months developed to a pitch of positive frenzy, until both theatre and studio resembled another Bedlam. The nervy, highly strung Gertie was a boon companion in mischief, and the round-faced Hitchcock a surprising ally down at Elstree. It was a wonder that the picture was ever completed at all, for hardly a moment would pass without some faked telegram arriving, some bogus message being delivered, some supposed telephone bell ringing, until the practical jokers were haggard and worn with their tremendous efforts, and had lived so long in an atmosphere of pretence that they had forgotten what it was like to be natural.

It was a game that could be carried too far, and, settling as it did into a daily routine, ceased before long to be genuinely amusing, and almost developed into a vice. It served, however, as a form of safety-valve, and prevented Gerald from dwelling too deeply on his future, which to his discerning eye appeared to be forbidding.


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