Jack the Ripper was a two-part TV dramatisation of the investigation of the infamous murders of London prostitutes. According to Television Heaven, the original transmission of the opening episode was among the top ten ratings for that week, being watched by 14.1 million viewers.

Four different endings were originally filmed, to keep the conclusion of the investigation a secret, until the show was broadcast.

The two one-and-a half-hour episodes were shown on 11 and 18 October 1988.

Michael Gothard played George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. In the film, Lusk is portrayed as a political rabble-rouser and Marxist revolutionary, and is one of the suspects.

In real life, the activities of Lusk’s organisation mainly consisted of putting up posters and offering reward money.

Casting

In correspondence, the Director, David Wickes says:


"On Ripper, I wrote Michael’s character George Lusk as a 19th century Marxist. One of Lusk’s lines (to Michael Caine) was 'You can’t even protect ordinary working people'.

Most actors would have used a sneering tone and left it at that. Not Michael Gothard. He took me aside on the set and said he wanted to speak the line as if it were something his character had repeated hundreds of times — a mantra for meetings and speeches ... 'ord’ry workin’ peep-ul!'

Brilliant. In one second, we knew that Lusk was a professional activist, a man of slogans and sayings instead of original thoughts. 'Great,' I said, 'Do it'.

Now, that’s what I call an actor.

... Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

More details on Jack the Ripper from David Wickes Productions

Per Digital Fix: “Though they had originally started to film on video with a different cast (with Barry Foster in the lead), a vast sum of money was put up by CBS on the condition they made it into a much bigger production with US recognisable stars in it thus the inclusion of Michael Caine, Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins ...”

Per IMDB: “Michael Caine was persuaded to return to TV for the first time in nearly 20 years because of David Wickes's powerful script. Caine later described Wickes as "the nicest, fastest Director I've worked for, and the master of filming Victorian London."’

This was the second film in which Michael Gothard had worked opposite Michael Caine, the first being “The Last Valley” in 1971.

In 1979 he had worked with Lewis Collins on an episode of “The Professionals”: “Stopover.”

More recently, in 1982, he had worked with Lysette Anthony, who had played Rowena, his unwilling betrothed, in Ivanhoe.

The stunt arranger on ‘Jack the Ripper’, Peter Brayham would also have been well known to Michael, from “Stopover” and “Arthur of the Britons.”

Cast photo

Jack the Ripper cast

IMDB entry
This quotation is kindly offered by Michael Gothard's former girlfriend N.B., from a letter he wrote to her on 23 March 1988.

Michael Gothard had worked with Michael Caine on "The Last Valley" in 1971; when Gothard wrote this letter, he had recently been reunited with Caine, to work on David Wickes' film, "Jack the Ripper."

"My reunion with M. Caine, after more years than both of us care to remember, went affably and smoothly, although the nervous director went an intense shade of pale when he tried to introduce us, and neither of us proffered our hands, and I said "we're old enemies."

You could have heard the proverbial pin crash to the floor for a couple of seconds in that studio, until Caine, ever the diplomat, said "we're always enemies in films."

Return of director to normal life, realising that he had not made the worst career move of his life in casting me. In fact, Caine and me had made our salutations a few minutes before."

Caine and Gothard in "The Last Valley" Caine and Gothard in "Jack the Ripper")

In "The Last Valley", Gothard had played Hansen, a mercenary, who rebels against his leader The Captain, played by Caine. In "Jack the Ripper", Gothard was to play political agitator George Lusk, who is a thorn in the side of Caine's Chief Inspector Abberline, and is also one of the suspects for the Ripper murders.
Marvel Super Special Magazine: For Your Eyes Only on-set report, including an interview with Michael Gothard.

This came out in 1981.

[Contessa Lisl’s] killer in For Your Eyes Only is a cold-eyed assassin called Emile Locque. Played by Michael Gothard, Loque is the film's equivalent of such past villainous henchmen as Red Grant in From Russia With Love and Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are Forever. Gothard is no stranger to cinematic evil – during his career he's played a vampire (in Scream and Scream Again), helped to burn Oliver Reed alive in The Devils and stabbed Simon Ward to death in The Four Musketeers. But he's suffered a lot of on-screen retribution himself.

"I've been killed in so many different ways on both the large and small screens," he said wryly. "I've been hanged, stabbed, strangled, shot, immersed in an acid bath,
crashed on a motorcycle, killed by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine, drowned and – on one memorable occasion – stabbed and drowned simultaneously.

It's quite a challenge to try and make an impact with a character as restrained and quiet as Locque. I had to act in a sort of straitjacket but I certainly did my best to make him into a menacing and evil presence. Audiences usually remember the Bond villains, and their henchmen, so I'm hoping I won't be an exception."

Speculation:
Some of these on-screen deaths are ones we know about:
As John, he was hanged in Michael Kolhlhaas.
As Kodai, he was shot in Stopover.
As Keith, he was immersed in an acid bath in Scream and Scream Again.
As Terry, he crashed on a motorcycle in Up the Junction.
As Hansen, he was killed (or at least maimed, which resulted in his being killed) by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine in The Last Valley.

That leaves four deaths "stabbed, strangled, drowned and stabbed and drowned simultaneously" unaccounted for.

If, as Michael says, these deaths were on film or TV, they must presumably each have occurred in one of five productions:
- the Armchair Theatre play - The Story-teller - in which he played Brian
- the episode of Menace – Nine Bean Rows - in which he played Pip
- the episode of Fraud Squad – Run for your Money - in which he played Jacky Joyce
- the Thirty Minute Theatre play – The Excavation - in which he played Grady
- the TV series - The Further Adventures of the Musketeers - in which he played Mordaunt.

We don't yet know which death belonged to which character.
In the poster shown below, Michael Gothard's Kai has been depicted looking very much like Hansen in "The Last Valley", not clean-shaven as he actually appeared in "Arthur of the Britons." The artwork must have been from quite an early stage in the production, before Kai's appearance had been decided upon.

HTV publicity 1 small

The poster below shows scenes from some of the earliest episodes filmed: "Arthur is Dead", "Daughter of the King", "The Challenge", "The Gift of Life", and "The Penitent Invader."

HTV publicity 3 small
A new ‘Arthur.’

On 15 June 1972, ‘The Stage’ reported that HTV West was to spend £500,000 on “a new adventure series", and by 17 August 1972, that "Filming ... is now taking place."

‘Arthur of the Britons’ was a re-telling of the story of King Arthur, with some big differences: no shining armour; no castle – just a well-defended village, and Arthur, played by Oliver Tobias, wasn’t a king, but a wily Celtic chieftain, struggling to unite his people against Saxon invaders.

Michael Gothard was cast in one of the lead roles, that of Kai, a Saxon whom Arthur calls ‘brother.’ They were backed up by their adoptive father, Llud of the Silver Hand, played by Jack Watson.
Read more... )
Shooting “Arthur of the Britons” on location.

Filming took place over about 8 months, from June 1972. The first few episodes were shot at Woodchester in Stroud, but the main village set was then moved to Woollard, on the River Chew. Individual episodes were also shot in the Blackdown Hills, the Mendips, on the River Severn, and at Black Rock Quarry, Cheddar Gorge.

According to the Executive Producer, Patrick Dromgoole, the actors in lead roles stayed in hotels or apartments leased for them for the duration, mostly in Bristol, though it seems possible that some of the cast, on occasion, unofficially spent the night in their location caravan.

Michael Gothard as ‘Kai.’

For the first and only time in his career, Michael Gothard played an action hero, and he played it well.

As a Saxon adopted by a Celt, and living among them, often fighting his own people, Kai was sometimes conflicted, but he was neither a social outcast, a political or religious fanatic, a criminal, nor a psychopath. He was a reliable lieutenant, and a good and loyal friend, to Arthur.

This was also one of the few occasions when the character Michael played gets to smile, and have some fun that isn’t at someone else’s expense, in between being forced into situations where he has to fight to survive.

As for how he got the role – the Executive Producer, Patrick Dromgoole had seen him in 'The Last Valley", but the choice of Michael to play Kai seems to have been thanks to Peter Sasdy, the Director of the two pilot episodes, ‘Arthur is Dead’, and ‘Daughter of the King.’

In correspondence, he says: “… I had very little time during pre-production, but I was happy with the casting of the main characters”, “Oliver Tobias was already cast before I was asked to direct the first episode and on casting the final decision was always – and with my full backing! – in the hands of Patrick Dromgoole.”

“As far as Michael Gothard is concerned … I cast him because I thought of him as a very interesting actor, with strong personality and in the right part he’d always give a good performance. He was rather a private person and because of this I didn’t get to know him beyond the set.”

In August 2010, when Oliver Tobias was asked about the casting, he said that his and Michael’s audition consisted of them, and four horses. Together, they had to ride different horses to the top of the hill and back, a number of times.

“They cast us for who we were at the time. We were allowed complete freedom … Each has a chemistry.” He also said that they improvised a lot of the action.

Of the scripts, Patrick Dromgoole said: “We had enough to start filming, but made a lot of changes according to the performances of the actors and what seemed to make a successful episode as we went along” – so the initial choice of cast was vital to the success and long-lasting appeal of the series.

Trivia: Michael often wears the same studded tunic as Kai in “Arthur of the Britons”, as he wore in “The Last Valley.”

.
Harry Fielder, an actor, extra, stuntman, and stand-in known as “Aitch”, had long career in film and TV, and remembered working with Michael.

"I worked with Michael a couple of times in the past ["When the Spirit Moves You" and "The Last Valley"] and the best one was Ken Russell's "The Devils" ... where we worked for a few months down at Pinewood Studios.

... I loved the way he worked ... "The Devils" was hard work for all the actors and Michael at his best ... Michael was playing a really nasty guy, but off set he was a quiet man and we had many laughs with all the cast and crew.

Michael was always word perfect.

He's still in my memory, good guy to work with."

Aitch on IMDB
The Last Valley: French film trade card: no.2 in the 'Les Fiches de Monsieur Cinema' Card set.

Cinema card 1

Cinema card
Michael Gothard and Madeleine Hinde

Hansen (Michael Gothard) with Inge (Madeleine Hinde). They also appeared together in the "Arthur of the Britons" episode, "Daughter of the King."

Hansen

Hansen has a difference of opinion, and settles it in the usual way.

Last Valley lobby card French

Hansen leads a group of Catholic mercenaries and villagers, to protest about a shrine being moved.

the last valley

This still shows the moment when Hansen realises that his supporters have deserted him, and that he is trapped.

The Last Valley bridge still

The writing on the back of this still indicates that the film was shown at a Gaumont Cinema, in a Spanish-speaking country, where the film was titled "The Sword and the Rose." The still was acquired from someone living in Buenos Aires, so it seems likely that it was used to advertise the film when it was shown in Argentina.
This film came out in 1971, and is set during the Thirty Years War. It looks at what people are prepared to put up with, what compromises they will, and what they are prepared to do, to preserve what they can of their way of life.

The film stars Omar Sharif as Vogel, and Michael Caine as a man known only as “The Captain.” This Captain heads a ruthless troop of mercenaries, of which Hansen is a member.

Near the beginning, we see this group looting a poor and muddy village of what little it has, and terrorising the occupants.


Read more... )
This Island Rod

"… the rapacious Hansen (Michael Gothard) is given to stirring up trouble, eventually raising a rival band of brigands to contest the valley …

The evocation of a blasted, cruel, evil epoch isn’t as ineffaceable or provocative as that in Ken Russell’s 'The Devils' from the same year (they both sport cast member Gothard, with his gift for portraying multiple varieties of creep) but shares some imagery and mood, combined with high-riding sweep of narrative."

Full review


Deitmar Zingl in 70 mm News:

“Michael Caine is especially fond of TLV. It's one of his own favorite movies. He uses a slight German accent for his role as Captain Hauptmann, the cool warrior with a wounded soul.

Omar Sharif is the romantic intellectual, some kind of Zhivago lost in Germany. Per Oscarsson is a religious fanatic priest, wonderfully over the top, as most of the religious fanatics, even today. Florinda Bolkan is the independent woman in a male dominated society and pays a high price for her independence.

More wonderful actors are Nigel Davenport, Arthur O‘Connell and the wild and angry Michael Gothard as Hansen. His performance resembles that of Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" although that came two years later.”

Full review


Ian Christie – Daily Express, 7 April 1971

“…in the hands of director James Clavell, it has an epic quality that never loses its fascination.”


New York Post

“One of the most absorbing film entertainments of the year! A picture that enthralls from start to finish! An historical thriller, realistic in setting, romantically touching and meaningful ...”


Richard Schickel - Life Magazine

“One of the most intelligent movies I’ve seen.”


Vincent Canby - New York Times

“A story of survival set in a magnificent valley like Bertolt Brecht in ‘Mother Courage’, Mr Clavell ses the incredible horrors of the Thirty Years’ War as a metaphor for contemporary horrors … Caine and Sharif are quite good.”


Martha Deane - WOR Radio

“One of the most profound, impressive and important films as seen. I was continually moved by its theme and performances.”


David Goldman - WCBS Radio

“The acting is first rate with Michael Caine doing the best work of his career. An unusual movie-going experience.”


WMCA Radio

“Right in the class of Ben Hur.”


Other reviews

DVD Talk
In Stereo
New York Times
Cane Toad Warrior
rtbot
One of a number of posters, some with different text, but most featuring Michael's character, Hansen, bottom left.

Poster 3

Plot synopsis

synopsis
In this story about the Hundred Years War that ravaged Europe, Michael Gothard played Hansen, one of a band of marauders led by The Captain (Michael Caine).

“The Last Valley” was filmed at Halliford Studios, Shepperton, England, and in Trins, Tirol, Austria.

Filming seems to have taken place during 1969, because there were 40th Anniversary showings on 24 and 27 September 2009.

Per an uncredited source, he may have got this role as a result of his performance in “Michael Kohlhaas.”

"In [Michael Kohlhaas], Michael Gothard played the part of a young soldier who joined Kohlhaas' band, but who, refusing to obey, looted for his own gain, and finally died by hanging. His truculent performance, especially in the last scenes with Anita Pallenberg, earned him a very similar role in “The Last Valley”, James Clavell's ponderous allegory."

Quote taken from Michael Gothard Tribute Site

It also seems likely that Michael’s performance in “The Last Valley” may have led to him being cast as Kai in “Arthur of the Britons.” He even wears the same studded tunic in both productions.

“The Last Valley” was the second project on which Michael appeared with Brian Blessed (who played another mercenary, Korski) – the first being “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers”, and the third being “Arthur of the Britons.”

Harry Fielder, a stuntman/extra/stand-in with whom Michael had worked on the “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” episode, “When the Spirit Moves You”, was an uncredited pillager in “The Last Valley”, and would later work with him on “The Devils.”

Michael Gothard would also work with Michael Caine again, on “Jack the Ripper.”

Incidentally, Michael Caine has confessed that (unlike Michael Gothard) he is a terrible rider, and was lucky to escape unharmed during “The Last Valley.”

"I am absolutely useless. I act as though I can ride. In “The Last Valley,” I led a charge. If I'd have come off, they'd have all run over me.”
Full article.

Watch "The Last Valley" on Youtube:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

Details on IMDB

Reviews

This Island Rod

"… the rapacious Hansen (Michael Gothard) is given to stirring up trouble, eventually raising a rival band of brigands to contest the valley …

The evocation of a blasted, cruel, evil epoch isn’t as ineffaceable or provocative as that in Ken Russell’s 'The Devils' from the same year (they both sport cast member Gothard, with his gift for portraying multiple varieties of creep) but shares some imagery and mood, combined with high-riding sweep of narrative."

Full review

Deitmar Zingl in 70 mm News:

“Michael Caine is especially fond of TLV. It's one of his own favorite movies. He uses a slight German accent for his role as Captain Hauptmann, the cool warrior with a wounded soul.

Omar Sharif is the romantic intellectual, some kind of Zhivago lost in Germany. Per Oscarsson is a religious fanatic priest, wonderfully over the top, as most of the religious fanatics, even today. Florinda Bolkan is the independent woman in a male dominated society and pays a high price for her independence.

More wonderful actors are Nigel Davenport, Arthur O‘Connell and the wild and angry Michael Gothard as Hansen. His performance resembles that of Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" although that came two years later.”

Full review

Other reviews of “The Last Valley.”

DVD Talk
In Stereo
New York Times
Cane Toad Warrior
rtbot
Released in January 1971, filming of “The Last Valley”, at Halliford Studios, Shepperton, England, and in Trins, Tirol, Austria, seems to have taken place during 1969, because there were 40th Anniversary showings on 24 and 27 September 2009.

Michael's role as Hansen may have come as a result of his performance in “Michael Kohlhaas.”

Review from unknown source:

In [Michael Kohlhaas], Michael Gothard played the part of a young soldier who joined Kohlhaas' band, but who, refusing to obey, looted for his own gain, and finally died by hanging. His truculent performance, especially in the last scenes with Anita Pallenberg, earned him a very similar role in “The Last Valley”, James Clavell's ponderous allegory.

Quote taken from Michael Gothard Tribute Site

.
“The Further Adventures of the Musketeers” was a BBC drama series, based on Alexander Dumas' "Twenty Years After."

The sixteen episodes were broadcast on BBC1, at 5:25 pm on Sundays.

Michael Gothard appeared in ten of the sixteen episodes.

He plays Mordaunt, formerly John Francis de Winter, the vengeful son of the executed enemy of the Musketeers, Milady de Winter.

Episodes in which Michael appeared, with the introductory quotation from the Radio Times:

3. Conspiracy (4 June 1967)
“I see a man, a Royal Prince, defying bolts, bars, and fortress walls. I see him free … two days from now. At seven o’clock.”

4. Conflict (11 June 1967)
“The King’s name is no password here. To the sword, sir!”

5. Peril (18 June 1967)
“There is only one man in France I would trust with these secrets. You must destroy these papers … or die.”

6. Abduction (25 June 1967)
“People like us, madam, must not trust even our own two hands.”

7. The Boy King (2 July 1967)
“Monsieur D’Artagnan, you are under arrest. The King has vanished.”

9. Escape (16 July 1967)
“Your Majesty, I promise that anyone who has the audacity to touch you will die.”

10. The Oath (23 July 1967)
“You cannot live without me, my love. I am your star, your protector, your husband. We will make this true before God.”

11. The Trial (30 July 1967)
“Never doubt me again, Athos. I vow to take upon myself all that concerns the delivery of the King.”

12. The Scaffold (6 August 1967)
“We are about to separate before the most desperate adventure of our lives – the most glorious! We shall not fail.”

13. Treachery (13 August 1967)
“Athos, you are becoming imbecile. Do you realise our situation? It is kill or be killed.”

Brian Blessed's memories

This was the first of three productions on which Michael Gothard worked with Brian Blessed, who played Porthos in "The Further Adventures of the Musketeers." (The other productions were "The Last Valley", and "Arthur of the Britons.")

I met Brian in 2011, and showed Brian some pictures of fans dedicating a tree to Michael. Brian didn’t even know Michael had died. I told him he’d killed himself in 1992. He became serious, and said that he was sorry. It was hardly surprising he missed the news, given how little coverage it got at the time.

He said that Michael was depressed when he knew him. Michael used to say, “Oh, Brian, I don’t know if I’ll make it as an actor. No one seems to like me,1” and he had a lot of bad luck – some bloke he’d paid to decorate his house left the job half-finished.

Brian mentioned working with Michael on the “Further Adventures of the Musketeers.” He said: “We killed him in the end.”

1 It was not clear to me whether Michael thought no one seemed to like him professionally, or personally, though the former seems more likely.

Series availability

Brian Blessed seemed to think that “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers”, was available on DVD but he must have been confusing it with the previous BBC series, which is.

I have made enquiries about the series.
Lisa Kerrigan at the BFI Curatorial Unit informed me that the series: "does exist on film in the BBC Archive. Due to copyright restrictions any DVD release of this title would have to be licensed or produced by the BBC as the series was a BBC production."

Joss Ackland, who appeared as D'Artagnan in this series, later played D'Artagnan's father in "The Three Musketeers," in which Michael Gothard played John Felton.

Excerpts from reviews on IMDB:

“This TV version of the Dumas novels was made during the golden age of the BBC Sunday teatime classic serial, and I still have fond memories of it forty years later. Like its predecessor, 'The Three Musketeers', the whole thing was played straight and not as a jokey camp fest like so many of the movie versions.
It is actually a very good story, and if played straight with outstanding actors as was the case in this BBC version, can make for thrilling and at times moving drama. Let's hope that the original tapes are still lodged safely in the BBC vaults and have not been wiped, since this is a true classic.”

mkb-8

~~

“This fine 1967 series is a sequel to the fine faithful BBC 1966 version of The Three Musketeers. Has most of the same cast as 1966 Three Musketeers except that Joss Ackland took over for Jeremy Brett as D'Artagnan. Michael Gothard does an excellent job as Mordaunt né John de Winter the vengeful son of Milady de Winter.

Michael Gothard always is cast as a villain or a fool in movies. Joss Akland I don't think could ever give a bad performance. Fine performances by both actors.

Faithful this version sure is.”

FromBookstoFilm

Complete reviews

IMDB entry

.

Profile

michael_gothard: (Default)
michael_gothard

October 2013

S M T W T F S
  1 2345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 19 Aug 2017 05:24 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios