16 January 2014

Shirley Anne Field

British actress Shirley Anne Field (1938) has performed on stage, film and television since 1955. The former Miss London has survived and becomes more interesting with the years.

Shirley Anne Field
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1623, 1961. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Progress.

Shirley Anne Field
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin.


Shirley Anne Field was born Shirley Broomfield in Bolton, Great Britain, in 1938. She and her brother were brought up in the Edgworth Children's Home and Orphanage because their mother was unable to care for them. Many years later, her brother, publisher Guy Broomfield, would become a murder victim in the United States.

Field started as a Beauty Queen and was chosen Miss London. She modelled in glamour photographs for magazines, including Reveille and Titbits.

Her first appearance in a film was as an extra in the soap opera satire Simon and Laura (Muriel Box, 1955). According to Brian McFarlane of the Encyclopedia of British Film she appeared “without making much impression beyond that of exceptionally pretty ingénue.”

In the following years followed bigger parts in The Flesh Is Weak (Don Chaffey, 1957) starring John Derek, and the comedy Upstairs and Downstairs (Ralph Thomas, 1959).

She appeared as a murder victim in the violent Horrors of the Black Museum (1959, Arthur Crabtree) with Michael Gough, and she played a temperamental film star in the equally violent Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) with Karlheinz Böhm (as Carl Boehm).

The British critics hated the film at the time, but Peeping Tom is now seen as a classic. The Sunday Times' Dilys Powell, who in 1960 thought it "essentially vicious", admitted in 1994: "Today, I find I am convinced it is a masterpiece".

Then Field was chosen by Laurence Olivier to play the prime female role in The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960), which really made her name.

Next she appeared as Albert Finney’s pregnant girl friend in another British New Wave entry, Saturday Night - Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960). Phil Wickham at BFI Screenonline comments: “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) is the 'new wave' film which has most preserved its reputation with modern critics. Added to critical support at the time and its massive - and unexpected - box office success, it has some claim to be the most significant of the films of this period.”

1960 must have been a top year for Field. She also appeared in the films Man in the Moon (1960), Beat Girl (Edmond T. Gréville, 1960) and Once More, with Feeling! (Stanley Donen, 1960) starring Yul Brynner.

Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1615, 1961. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Progress. Publicity still from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960).

Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1614, 1961. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Progress. Publicity still from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960).

Surprise Box-office Hit

Shirley Anne Field kept busy filming in the first half of the sixties. She played in The War Lover (Philip Leacock, 1962) starring Steve McQueen, and she was the sister of Oliver Reed in the SciFi film The Damned (Joseph Losey, 1963).

A trip to Hollywood for Kings of the Sun (J. Lee Thompson, 1963) with Yul Brynner, proved disappointing. In Italy, she appeared opposite Vittorio Gasmann in Marcia nuziale/Wedding March (Marco Ferreri, 1965).

She continued appearing in British films including the Doctor comedy Doctor in Clover (Ralph Thomas, 1966) and the hit Alfie (Lewis Gilbert, 1966) as one of the girlfriends of Michael Caine.

In 1967 she married former racing-driver and executive jet pilot Charlie Crichton-Stuart. From then on, she would appear incidentally in films such as the South-African production House of the Living Dead/Curse of the Dead (Ray Austin, 1970) with Mark Burns.

During the 1970s she spent some time on the stage, including an acclaimed performance in the South African production of Wait Until Dark. She was out of films for a decade.

In 1985 she returned to the cinema in the surprise box-office hit My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985) about a gay Pakistani/National Front romance. She played Rachel, Saeed Jaffrey's warm-hearted mistress.

She then also appeared in such films as the Hollywood production Shag (Zelda Barron, 1989), the British comedy Getting It Right (Randal Kleiser, 1989) and the romantic comedy Hear My Song (Peter Chelsom, 1991) starring Adrian Dunbar.

On television she was featured in Ken Russell’s Lady Chatterley (1993). Among her many TV appearances are also parts in such American and British series as Shoestring (1979), Santa Barbara (1987), Murder She Wrote (1992), Dalziel and Pascoe (1999), The Bill (2000), Waking the Dead (2003), Monarch of the Glen (2005), and Last of the Summer Wine (2008).

She continued to perform on stage, such as shady lady Lottie Grady in When We Are Married (1996).

Recently she appear in such films as the drama The Kid (Nick Moran, 2010) and the comedy The Power of Three (Yvonne Deutschman, 2011) with Toyah Wilcox.

Shirley Anne Field wrote an autobiography A Time for Love (1991). She has one daughter: Nicola Jane Crichton-Stuart (1967).

Trailer of Horrors Of The Black Museum (1959). Source: OurManinHavanna (YouTube).

Trailer of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). Source: ryy79 (YouTube).

Sources: Brian McFarlane (Encyclopedia of British Film), Phil Wickham (BFI Screenonline), Jim Simpson (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

1 comment:

AlphonseH_Va哲維 said...