It is well known that my old friend Dame Shirley Williams auditioned for the part of Velvet Brown in National Velvet. What is not so well known is that a number of scenes were shot with Shirley Williams before the decision was taken to cast Elizabeth Taylor instead.Those interested in Lord Bonkers' memories of the cinema business should read his tribute to Elizabeth Taylor and Fred Titmus.
Film historians have long thought these scenes to be lost, but one of them turned up in the Library here at Bonkers Hall the other day. (It was found among a collection of leaflets from Welsh county council by-elections of the 1960s.)
One of the scenes shows the climactic running of the Grand National. In it the young Shirley arrived at the winning post some three hours late.
Another scene shows her looking as if she had been dragged through a hedge backwards - as indeed she had been.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Lord Bonkers on Shirley Williams and National Velvet
Lord Bonkers writes exclusively for Liberal England: