Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Caroline Munro Archive: Caroline in Film Review - Part 1

by John Scoleri

Welcome to the latest installment of this semi-regular feature on bare•bones in which I share rarities from my Caroline Munro collection. This time out we look at several of her appearances from the UK Film Review magazine, including a great interview from 1975. Caroline was frequently featured in Film Review, so watch for future updates as I acquire them!

Film Review
Vol. 25 No. 5
May, 1975

The 'double life' of Caroline Munro by Iain F. McAsh

Caroline provided the most interesting curves in the round trip in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
It is always a pleasure to watch the delicious Caroline Munro on our screens—and doubly so to meet her in person. Last year she played Sinbad's winsome slave/girlfriend in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Before that she as glimpsed briefly as the wife of the abominable Dr. Phibes (Vincent Price), and has even provided a tasty morsel for a couple of blood-sucking Hammer vampires.

Hardly a month goes by without her shapely figure appearing in TV commercials, or seeing her stare at us from the front cover of glossy magazines or giant poster hoardings. For curvaceous Caroline leads a double life as an actress and top model girl—with equal success in both careers!
She is always eager to watch other actors at work and to learn from their performances. When we met recently at Pinewood Studios, she was watching co-star Joan Collins playing a grisly scene in a child's nursery for an exciting shock-thriller with supernatural overtones called I Don't Want to Be Born.

Caroline's shapely figure has adorned the pages of Film Review on many occasions, and I was happy to tell her that our readers are always asking for "more Munro". She smiled and brushed her long dark hair out of her hazel brown eyes before replying: 'I don't remember exactly when I first wanted to be an actress. It wasn't until I made Dracula—A.D. 1972 that I suddenly felt I really wanted to act. I had very little to do in that film, but I loved making it and it spurred me on. None of my family have been actors. My mother is rather psychic. She predicted I would soon make a film, and within a week I was cast for I Don't Want to Be Born.

'Modeling has definitely helped me with my acting. It helped me be aware of the camera. The biggest difference in film acting is that you have to pretend the camera isn't there.'

Caroline is famous as the bewitching girl in the Babycham and Lamb's Navy Rum poster ads. 'Even for modeling you're really acting a part', she believes. 'Those posters make me look quite tough and aggressive, but I'm not really like that at all. At home in front of a mirror there are no problems, but I do tend to get scared acting in front of the crew on a film set. Atmospheres and vibrations do affect me terribly—especially with people. I've always been terribly shy of meeting people for the first time, ever since I was a little girl. Which makes it all the more strange that I should have wanted to be an actress, which is not a profession identified with shy people. 
So far Caroline's film appearances have tended to be on the light side. 'No, i haven't done any heavy drama', she told me. 'My first film A Talent for Loving, was a comedy. I had marvelous people to work with. Richard Widmark and Topol were the stars—with Derek Nimmo as my lover.t fie The girl I played was an innocent but fiery Mexican-American.'

The title A Talent for Loving was also appropriate for another more personal reason. 'I met my husband, American actor Judd Hamilton, in Spain on that film', Caroline smiled. 'He played my brother in the picture. Then he went back to the United States. I knew him for two years before we got married. I used to fly to America to stay with his parents in Los Angeles. Our marriage ceremony was very memorable. It took place in Las Vegas during a stage show. I was just 19 at the time.'

Caroline and her husband now make their permanent home in London, where Judd is a singer and producer. Although she has no children of her own, Caroline does have two step-children by Judd's former marriage—a boy and a girl, named Chip and Tami.

Caroline believes that the turning point in her film career came when she played in Dracula—A.D. 1972.

'It's the favorite of my own movies,' she explained. 'I came closest to being believable, which is what acting is all about. Belivability! Although I got killed off by Christopher Lee, it was fun making the film.'

Caroline's most recent role was a starring one in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, opposite John Phillip Law in the title part. 

'I was among all those fabulous monsters created by Ray Harryhausen', she remembers. 'Of course, there were no monsters when we were filming on the set and we had to pretend to look terrified at a blank space where one of Ray's fantastic creatures would be edited into the final film. When I first read the script, I didn't think of it as a glamour part at all.'

Which brings Caroline's movie career right up to date with  I Don't Want to Be Born at Pinewood. 'I'm one of the few characters who don't get murdered,' she says happily. 'I play a West End nightclub girl who gets caught up in a series of shocking events.'

Caroline has never appeared nude in her films, and says she has no intention of breaking this strict self-imposed rule. Although some of her scenes may have appeared daring on screen, she has a firm no-nudity clause written into each of her movie conracts. 'My long hair covers up most of me when I'm supposed to be naked', she admits, 'and for the rest I wear a flesh-coloured bikni. Judd won't let me do nude scenes, so I agreed to compromise.'

Caroline admits she needs a lot of encouragement to overcome her genuine shyness when she is acting. 'I'd love to talk to an actor like Rod Steiger because I'm sure he would give me the kind of encouragement I need', she says. 'I admire actors like him who really study and can get right into the skin of the characters they play.'

'I need a director who will coach ad coax me,' she went on, 'because I need encouragement all the time. I think it's all right if a director bullies you a bit, but they should be sensitive to your feelings. I could accept a director bullying me into a rage or tears. I like a director to tell me straight out whether I've done a scene well or badly.  It's when he doesn't say anything that I feel insecure. I might prefer bullying to that because it might bring results. An actres must know where she stands, but saying nothing just leaves you uncertain and out on a limb. When I finish a film I always seem to have one regret that I can't go back and do it all over again.'

As her surname suggests, Caroline is of Scottish parentage, although she was born in Windsor, right opposite the famous Castle. In person, she appears much taller than she looks on the screen. 'I'm 5 feet 7-1/2 inches,' she agreed, 'but it depends on what heels I'm wearing. I do seem to look much taller in my films.'

Caroline is a natural home-grown beauty who has the happy knack of being able to display sex appeal and glamour on the big screen. Let's hope that 1975 will be the year when some perceptive producer decides to give filmgoers 'more of Munro' by signing her up for a starring role in movies.


Film Review
Vol. 26 No.8
August, 1976

Caroline as the princess of a subterranean tribe in At the Earth's Core (an Amicus Production released by British Lion).

Film Review
Vol. 27 No. 7
July, 1977

Caroline Munro who has graced our pages on previous occasions, this time turns up as a femme fatale. She plays Naomi, the strong-willed girl friend of the kinky mastermind Stromberg (Curt Jurgens).

Stay tuned for more rarities from my Caroline Munro Archive!   

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