Insomnia can have its advantages. In the small hours of this morning I came across this video of a Mr Robert Henrey addressing the Greenwich Retired Men's Association.
Robert Henrey turned out to be the child actor Bobby Henrey, some 66 years after he shot to fame for his performance in Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol.
Listening to him today there is no hint of the gorgeous French accent he had as an eight-year-old, but his voice still sounds more English than East Coast American.
The Fallen Idol is one of my favourite films, though I suspect I may have seen it once too often.
This morning I also came across a really good blog post about it by The Nitrate Diva:
The fact that a twitchy, rather selfish child has to navigate this labyrinth of moral quandaries not only heightens the suspense, but also hints to what extent these kinds of human heart dilemmas bewilder us all and reduce us to little more than children.
When Phile cries out, “We’ve got to think of lies and tell them all the time!” at a key tense moment of the film, he’s actually articulating the code of the adult world, a protocol of deception, running the gamut from genteel fibs to half-truths to full-on backstabbing.
Like his character Phile, Bobby Henrey also encountered an adult world far too soon. The French-born only child of two writers, he grew up in the bomb-shattered London of World War II. No wonder he had the attention span of a “demented flea,” with bombs going off around him during his formative years!