Film Directors with Everything Off: La Bruce

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Bruce Robinson goes porno in KLEINHOFF HOTEL.

“I’ve never seen it. It was basically high-class pornography. A Baader Meinhoff terrorist on the run — me — checks into a hotel to kill himself. Meanwhile, for whatever reason, this beautiful French woman in the next room is watching this man through a crack in the adjoining door, and she decides that she wants to fuck him. [Italian accent] ‘Try and get an erection, Bruce.’ I’m like, ‘Fuck off! Get an erection, with fifty people standing here?’ One lunchtime one of the prop men comes up to me with a box that looks like it contains duelling pistols, and there are all these fake dicks in there and he wants me to strap one on. I thought, ‘Christ almighty! I’ve been to drama school! No!’ It was a very rude film. Lots of ridiculous sex scenes that were the most unusual things I’ve ever done.”

From Smoking in Bed, Conversations with Bruce Robinson, edited by Alistair Owen.

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Yeah, the film really isn’t very good. Robinson already had his writing career up and running, though, so this was virtually his swan song to acting.

On to nobler things, such as Universal horror limericks! We’ve been chronicling the adventures of the SON OF FRANKENSTEIN in rhyming form over at Limerwrecks, and my contributions are here and here , while I sing the praises of Joseph H Lewis’s THE BIG COMBO here , here, and especially right here (continuing the oral theme from above).

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12 Responses to “Film Directors with Everything Off: La Bruce”

  1. Personally, I would not be averse to seeing the lovely Bruce Robinson in a porn movie. And no doubt Franco Zeffirelli feels the same…

  2. Well Bruce Davison is fine in Truffaut’s Adele H. as this nasty English soldier in Nova Scotia, and he has an amazing acting moment at the end when Isabelle Adjani walks past him.

    And then he moved to greener pastures with Withnail and I though he wasn’t a bad actor at all.

  3. Robinson apparently felt he was lousy in everything he did as an actor, and his “failure” to perform for Truffaut clinched it. Probably just youthful insecurity: when he returned to the screen in Still Crazy, he enjoyed himself and felt he did a good job.

    Barney Platt-Mills’ semi-improv Private Road shows how self-conscious Robinson was, but it kind of works for the film: also shows where he got the idea for How to Get Ahead in Advertising. And there’s a scene featuring Michael Feast, one of the models for the real Withnail, which breaks the style of the rest of the movie entirely, and BR finally starts enjoying himself in the company of this hilarious livewire friend.

  4. David Boxwell Says:

    Love the Mingo ‘n Fante verse.

  5. “Failure to perform”? HIS BEAUTY IS PERFORMANCE ENOUGH!

  6. I guess for Robinson it didn’t carry the authenticity he craved. Plus it meant fighting off Zeffirelli’s advances for months at a time. He gets a bit homophobic in the book cited above, and doesn’t give Tam Lin it’s due as a gloriously strange artifact, though he acknowledges that Roddy McDowell was sweet-natured, not vicious like Franco Z. But on the other hand he did give us Uncle Monty, and treated unwelcome homosexual advances in a hilarious yet compassionate manner in Withnail & I — he was very careful to keep Monty sympathetic.

  7. Quite true. As for Zefferelli, he’s quite a piece of work. There’s a hilarious passage in Farley Granger’s memoir “Include Me Out” about the shooting of Senso. Visconti had finally decided to dump Zefferelli as a boyfriend (while keeping him on as an a.d.) Zefferelli decided that Visconti had done this because of Farley. This was of course not at all true. Visconti was most respectful of his star, and no fool when it came to mixing business with pleasure. Anyhoo, Zefferelli plotted to secretly dye Farley’s hair blonde in order to get him thrown off the picture. Needless to say it didn’t work.

  8. Wow. He really is a maniac. Wonder if he was inspired by the CIA plot to make Castro’s beard fall out. I guess that wasn’t public knowledge yet. A case of “great minds think alike.”

  9. david wingrove Says:

    For what it’s worth, I think Farley Granger would look glorious with blonde hair! Great story, though!

  10. La Faustin Says:

    Mingo to Fante (verbatim): “The cops will be looking for us in every closet!”

  11. An ex-student of mine on the famous Richard Conte descent out of shot moment: “He’s just tying his shoelace.”

  12. And Jean Wallace thinks it’s the most incredible shoelace tying EVER.

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