Dirk Bogarde coverage in the Dirk Bogarde collection

The previous post looked in detail at some aspects of the collection as a whole.  I’d now like to briefly turn to some of the Bogarde-related content I found, especially UK fan magazines. As predicted in the 4th post of this series which outlined the categories I chose for my spreadsheet, I found various types of coverage. Some of these were largely visual – i.e. an appearance on the cover of a magazine, a portrait, a film advertisement. Text about Bogarde was at times especially related to films he was appearing in (such as fictionalisations of films and reviews) but also touched on his career and personal life: gossip, and articles of varying length. Items which particularly engaged with magazine readers were quizzes and readers’ letters.

Tamar Jeffers McDonald, in Doris Day Confidential: Hollywood, Sex and Stardom (2010), has written of the way some fan magazines employ ‘saturation’ or, more rarely, a ‘star trail’. While saturation means that several pieces on a star appeared in a magazine, the star trail is more specific since this lead up to a large article (pp. 39-40). Both of these occurred in relation to Bogarde in the collection.  For example, saturation is seen in the 1st of February 1958 issue of Picture Show which includes a portrait of Bogarde, further pictures and captions, a short biography and gossip relating to his work with Yoko Tani in The Wind Cannot Read (pages 4 and 7).

More sustained coverage was present in Picturegoer (28th of September 1957). Bogarde is referenced in a letter (p. 3), with his role in Campbell’s Kingdom also covered (p. 5). The history of Pinewood Studios which includes mention of Bogarde’s roles in Esther Waters and Dear Mr Prohack (p. 10, and p 13), his role in A Tale of Two Cities and as a UK actor possible going to Hollywood (p. 11), Advertisements for A Tale of Two Cities (p. 12), The Wind Cannot Read (p. 7) and Campbell’s Kingdom (back page). Significantly, in addition to this extensive amount of material about Bogarde (in what is only a 28-page magazine) there is also an article, ‘Four Steps Down’, credited to Bogarde himself, completing the star trail.

One of the most visually impactive representations of stars are magazine covers – a feature which plays an important part in attracting buyers. Bogarde appears on several in the collection, including on his own in Picturegoer (27th of January 1951) and Picture Show (2nd of May 1959). He was on the cover of Picture Show many times, most often with other stars. These included Dinah Sheridan (14th of March 1953, in Appointment in London), Susan Stephen (20th of November 1954, in For Better, For Worse), Margaret Lockwood (8th of October 1955, in Cast a Dark Shadow), Donald Sinden and Muriel Pavlow (16 of March 1957, in Doctor at Large), with Barbara Murray (21st of September 1957, in Campbell’s Kingdom), Dorothy Tutin (22nd of March 1958 in A Tale of Two Cities), and Yoko Tani (16th of August 1958, in The Wind Cannot Read). In addition to signalling Bogarde’s popularity, these introduce the idea of Bogarde in a broader context: how he was paired with female co-stars.  This related to another aspect of fan magazines Jeffers McDonald has written about: shared coverage (2010, p. 40). This is when stars appear alongside other stars.

Bogarde also shares coverage with female stars in more detailed fan magazine coverage.   It was particularly notable that this was often with non-UK stars.  For example, when Brigitte Bardot appeared with Bogarde in Doctor at Sea, Bogarde was credited with writing an article ‘She’s the Minx with A Jinx’ about her (in Picturegoer, 10th of November 1956). Another female French co-star, Capucine (in Song Without End), was also connected to Bogarde. Since the film was made in Hollywood it is unsurprising that the pair was featured together in the US women’s magazine Cosmopolitan. They appeared on the cover and in an article about Capucine, ‘The Unknown Star From France’, in the April 1960 issue.  Fellow British star and Francophile Charlotte Rampling was also linked to Bogarde.  After they both acted in the Italian films The Damned (1969) and co-starred in The Night Porter (1974) Rampling included coverage of Bogarde in an issue of French Elle for which she acted as editor in chief (23rd of September 1985). He was among English writers an article considered, and the subject of an interview conducted by Rampling. Furthermore, coverage on both Bogarde and Rampling occurs in the 21st of March 1992 issue of Madame Figaro – guest-edited by Rampling’s then-husband, Jean-Michel Jarre. We can see that this connecting of Bogarde with non-English stars begins before his move to France (and his move into European cinema) but that after both these occur he is dealt with in relation to this in French magazines.

Surface information such as the dates of magazines and recurring authors (and their genders) can be examined further. For more detail, though, it is best to turn to main articles.  These especially provide comment on Bogarde’s screen image (his film roles) and his star image (the construction of him as a ‘real’ person). Single articles are interesting, and in addition to co-stars include details of his home.  This is especially of interest to me, given my Amersham connections and indeed Bogarde’s move to France and European cinema appearances. Several series of articles also appear. One such instance is the 4 part ‘Man on a Tightrope’ in January 1957’s Picturegoers. This was written by Margaret Hinxman who, in addition to contributing other pieces on Bogarde in fan magazines, was co-author of the The Films of Dirk Bogarde in 1974. Between July and August 1955 4 linked fictionalisations of the latest Doctor film credited to Bogarde, were published in Picturegoer.  I have already cited Bogarde supposedly writing an article about Bardot ‘She’s the Minx with a Jinx’ and himself in ‘Four Steps Down’. Many stars are stated to have written material for fan magazines, such a claim, after all, is meant to link the readers closer to the stars. While this might not always be the case, Bogarde seems to be credited a lot as a writer making further investigation of this worthwhile. This is especially because he later wrote memoirs and autobiographies as well as novels.

Please add comments or email me, Sarah Polley, on sp458@kent.ac.uk to post your views – especially on fan magazine content and any insights on Dirk in these publications.

In the final post of this series I’ll consider Bogarde beyond the collection – including additional archives, non-magazine material, and the broader context of British Cinema and its stars.

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