The temp­ta­tion of Cyril Cu­sack

The Irish Times Magazine - - THE TIMES WE LIVED IN - Pub­lished: Au­gust 23rd 1961. Pho­to­graph: Gor­don Stand­ing Ar­minta Wal­lace Ar­chive pho­to­graphs and other Ir­ish Times im­ages can be pur­chased from irish­times. com/ pho­to­s­ales

Acool car, a pretty girl, fabulous head­gear: the sun­shine stream­ing from this pic­ture would re­ally put you in the mood for spring. It fea­tures Cyril Cu­sack and Dany Robin dur­ing film­ing for The Waltz of the Tore­adors, di­rected by John Guiller­min.

So far, so straight­for­ward. Guiller­min took Jean Anouilh’s bit­ter French farce, re­lo­cated it to Eng­land and soft­ened the comedic tale of an el­derly wom­an­iser, Gen­eral Leo Fitzjohn – played by Peter Sellers at his bum­bling best. Cu­sack played Dr Gro­gan and Dany Robin the lu­mi­nous ( or should that be mur­der­ous?) French mis­tress, Ghis­laine.

There is, how­ever, no sign that any of the film was shot in Ire­land. So why this pho­to­graph is in our ar­chive, cred­ited to Gor­don Stand­ing, is a mys­tery.

Ac­cord­ing to the cap­tion Cu­sack was “work­ing to a tight sched­ule in or­der to be free for re­hearsals of his own play, The Temp­ta­tion of Mr O”. In­spired by Kafka’s The Trial, this large- scale mu­si­cal piece had a cast of 46 plus nu­mer­ous ex­tras, and was due to have its first pro­duc­tion at the Olympia The­atre dur­ing that year’s Dublin The­atre Festival.

So maybe the lovely Ms Robin came to Ire­land to re­hearse what a critic de­scribed as her “de­light­ful syn­thetic breezi­ness” with Cu­sack – who, said the same critic, “as the scep­ti­cal physi­cian to the old gen­eral and his wife, adds some nice Ir­ish hu­mour to the pos­tur­ings of these two in their gaunt manor home”.

Or maybe our pho­tog­ra­pher went to Wales, where some of the film was shot, on his hol­i­days. We’ll prob­a­bly never know. But that doesn’t stop us from en­joy­ing the pic­ture. Cu­sack is do­ing his best to look scep­ti­cal. Robin is sim­ply de­li­cious. And spring – surely – is on its way.

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