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Lancashire Evening Post (02/Feb/1935) - Madeleine Back Again



Madeleine Back Again

Two terriers, one a black Aberdeen the other a white Sealyham, outside the red door of a dressing-room at the Gaumont-British studio this week, indicated that a famous blonde was once more "in residence."

Madeleine Carroll has taken her place in the cast of "The Thirty-Nine Steps," the screen version of John Buchan's spy thriller which is being directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is over a year and a half since this lovely artist was enduring the "hardships" of war-time hospital life in "I Was a Spy," the film that was eventually to send the moguls of Hollywood tumbling over each other in order to obtain her signature.

Madeleine has travelled a bit since then. She has been to America to star with Franchot Tone in "The World Moves On"; she has been on a well-earned holiday with her husband Philip Astley; she has co-starred with Clive Brook in "The Dictator"; and she has been putting into ship-shape that wonderful oak-timbered week-end home buried in the oak trees of the Ashdown Forest.

Now with her 1935 programme mapped out before her, she is to commence it by starring opposite Robert Donat in "The Thirty-Nine Steps," after which the will probably be teamed with Conrad Veidt in "Redemption," the screen version of Tolstoy's novel "The Living Corpse."

Madeleine's role of Pamela in "The Thirty-Nine Steps" promises to be interesting and amusing. Her first appearance in the story is when she is forcibly kissed by the desperate Robert Donat on the express from London to Edinburgh.

Further scenes will show them handcuffed together escaping for dear life from crooks across the damp dark Highland moors, and the amusing predicament when the two of them, wet through and loathing each other, are forced to spend the night, still handcuffed, in the draughty bedroom of wayside tavern.

Godfrey Tearle Makes His Bow

Where there is a hero so must there also be a villain and Godfrey Tearle, leading man of countless theatrical productions, has made his appearance as the master-spy-criminal and general Public Enemy in opposition to Robert Donat's doughty heroism.

Grim drama has been played this week in a setting representing an old style Scottish country house. Through the tall and stately leaded windows one looks out on to the sweep of desolate moorland, and it is to this house that Donat comes, with the police on his trail, to seek the Professor, who was the very person he should have avoided.

Mr. Tearle made it very plain that he was the villain of the piece by trying to shoot Donat dead this week. Director Hitchcock, to whom realism is everything, watched Robert Donat spin round and crash gasping on the floor eight times before he decided that his leading actor looked sufficiently bullet ridden to convince the critical audiences of this year of grace.

Being a villain, however, is not without its disadvantages, and Godfrey Tearle complains that after a hard day's work of evil doing in the studios he slinks off home to his wife with a complete inferiority complex. His wife, alarmed at finding her husband in such a state, conceived the perfect answer. Tearle's role makes him the master spy for a foreign power, a spy engaged in finding out British secrets for his own country. Her answer, which has so far pacified him, is that if the story had been written from the other angle he would have been the hero and Donat the villain, which is at least some consolation.

Godfrey Tearle was born in New York in 1884, was educated at Carlisle Grammar School and made his first appearance en the stags at Burnley 10 years later as the Duke of York in "Richard III."

To the screen he is certainly no stranger, for he can claim to have been on and off the films for nearly 30 years.