Friday, June 8, 1973
THE SUMMER DAILY
Rex Harrison memoirs to
brim with chill and charm?
By WILLIAM GLOVER.
Rex Harrison makes it quite clear about
those memoirs he is writing. "They will
be published," he says, "if I get them ex-
actly as I want them."
For anyone familiar with Harrison's
lifetime addictions to privacy and per-
fection, that means the autobiography may
brim with all the excitement of media-
tions by Marcus Aurelius, and seethe
with the emotion of an internal revenue
"There are two kinds of actors," Har-
rison says, "those who exploit their pri-
vate lives for advantage and those who
prefer only to rely on talents."
Harrison delivers such dicta in tones of
carefully cultivated chill and charm,
which are as familiar to millions as the
imperial profile seen in uncounted stage-
screen roles as the personification of
kings, popes, scoundrels, rakes and the
ineffable Henry Higgins of My Fair Lady,
his most famous part.
In the stardom process, the man born
in a British village has remained more
aloof than most of his peers while amas-
sing a tidy fortune along with five wives.
Just how much Harrison possesses is a
royal secret, though an Italian villa.
fashionable town house in London, Rolls
Royces and post-performance libations of
Isom Perignon champagne at S21 a bottle
are hints of more than common comfort.
Preparation of memoirs, upon which
he has been at work for several years, is
the immediate self-assignment this sum-
mer during "long rest" at Portofino. An
editor, representing waitiag publishers
in New York and London, goes over the
script, "naturally," says the author. He
disclaims ghostly collaboration.
The stint follows a recent "rigorous
workout" of 16 weeks through Canada and
the United States in Pirandello's Emper-
or Henry IV. It was Harrison's first ap-
pearance on stage this, side of the sea
since 1960. In October, he plans to take
William Glover is a drama writer for
the Associated Press.
the production to London, where he hasn't
performed in three years.
During the extended hiatus. from the
theatre, there have been a number of
films for Harrison.
Just turned 65 and ready to mark next
year his 50th anniversary of theatrical
activity, the tall star, whose lank frame
shows some signs of the thickening influ-
ience of a gourmet diet, gives an impres-
sion of a man bemused by time, left in
exquisite loneliness by changing popular
taste in entertainment.
A recent magazine biographer said of
Harrison, "He sometimes had the look
of a man who has left the train at the
wrong station." Another individual long
associated with him professionally sums
Harrison up with, "he's the strangest man
I ever met."
Many have remarked on the natural
affinity between Harrison and Henry
The absorption of the man into the
actor, noted by more than one of his four
previous wives, continued perhaps sub-
liminally in his decision to perform in
Emperor Henry IV.
It is the story of a latter-day Italian
nobleman who for years persuades family
and retainers into believing that a head
injury has caused permanent delusion
that he is an 11th century German ruler.
When finally ready to admit deceit, he kills
a man and to escape punishment must
ever retreat into feigned hallucination.
Harrison became so fascinated with the
fantasy that he obtained performance
rights after plans to do the play at the
Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds ' fell
through five years ago. He then had a
fresh translation done.
"I like to do things that have never
been done," he says. Early in his career
with the Liverpool Rep, Harrison had one
joust with Shakespeare. He has since
avoided that classic canon and the Res-
toration comedies "which I'd like to do
but would be a bit boring because every-
one else has."
A4 rit s
Rex Harrison (right) in a scene with Linda Darnell and Kurt Kreuger from
Preston Sturges' 1948 film "Unfaithfully Yours."
Record Release !?amblings ..
sake (Wooden Nickel BWL1-0145)
Gliding into the grooves of this
album is a pleasureable experi-
ence similar to breathing in the
freshness of spring, remember-
ing moments and questions that
are yet deeply meaningful.
"Megan's music," John Denver
has written, "makes me think of
sun showers in the afternoon and
quiet days in the mountains-of
whispering leaves and laughing
streams and the sky deep with
stars-all the times and all the
places that make you want to lay
back and think about things."
Now, that gives her credentials.
Throughout most of the album,
Megan delivers a clear, soft
sound that peaks high and flows
gently downward. It is a soprano
reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. And
yet there are also times when
she belts out a fairly deep bluesy
sound, singing "there's going to
be a revelation of love." (In
"Chances 'R' ").
Four cuts off the album are
written by McDonough and re-
flect the thoughts of a woman
fulfilled by her music. She be-
comes as the album's title sug-
gests, at times nostalgic. Never
the sort of nostalgia that dis-
colors the present, but rather the
soul-felt remembering that helps
to shape the future. In "Hold
On," she sings:
Hold on to your memories
Wherever they may lie
Hold on to the things you know
And never let them die
Hold on to the love you have
Abiding in your heart
The old world's a-comin' to an
And the new one is about to
There are moments, to be sure,
in her profession, that are less
than pleasant . . . lonely nights
in strange motel rooms. The pic-
ture is painted in "Texas Motel":
And in between the clean
And in between wrapped soap y
Comes a silent mental wish
You wish there were wrapped
And all of those memories that
And out the door -
Comes a quiet question
Who and what for
And you-.. .
Don't have to be hungry to
And ya don't have to be jailed
to be barred.
Reaching further into the mel-
ancholy are her renditions of
songs written by other artists
songs like Paul Williams' "Where
Do I Go From Here," Daniel
Fogelberg's "Stars," and "Angry
Eyes" by Ken Loggins and -Jim
Backing Megan's rich voice and
singular lyrics are lightly orches-
trated instrumentals, featuring
the gentle strains of violin and
viola, and the pounding rhythms
of piano and guitar, seasoned by
heavy smog, wispy flute and the
jingle of a tambourine.
The album is a gem, sparkling
with Megan's powerful soul-felt
voice and the polished sounds of
over a dozen musicians. Misted
over lightly with nostalgia and
colored with a personal honesty
that rings clear with universal
truisms, it is a keepsake t h a t
should easily fit into any com-
prehensive collection of mellow-
ed-down music. . °E
-GLORIA JANE SMITH
LEMMINGS-A parody of the rock s
culture heroes, containing all the
ities that delight the readers of t
Lampoon's Lemmings comes to P
tre June 18. Tickets are availab
and Pine Knob box offices.
STEELEYE SPAN - Parcel of
Rogues (Chrysalis 1046)
Steeleye Span is one of those
rare groups who are so good
that you want to play their
record for the world to hear . . .
but you refrain, taking pride in-
stead in being a member of the
ever-growing cult of "Steeleye
Their latest album, Parcel of
Rogues, contains, as does their
previous album Below the Salt,
traditional English, Scottish, and
Irish material. An offshoot of the
British gro'ip Fairport Conven-
tion, Steeleye Span electrifies
their songs-in both senses of the
Lead singer Maddy Prior is the
five- member group's crowning
glory, belting out the multi-track-
ed a cappella "The Weaver and
the Factory Maid" or joining in
Maddy Prior on the stirring a cappella har-
mony of "Rogues In a Nation."
"Alison Gross" is a rascinating
piece about the "ugliest witch in
a Nthe north country" who tries to
seduce the song's hero and, fail-
ing in the attempt, turns him
into "an ugly worm !" Liner
notes claim that "Cam Ye O'er
Frae France" derides German
scene and its counter- George I for whoremongering,
but unfortunately-and this is the
indescribable absurd- album's only flaw-the lyrics are
the magazine, National not printed, and thus the brogue
remains a mystery.
mine Knob Music Thea- With bass, goitar, mandolin,
ble at Fisher Theatre fiddle, and drums (for the first
time), Steeleye Span has suc-
ceeded in tapping the archives
- - ,,,,, for material and arranging it
themselves in an amazingly ex-
citing up-tempo album,