Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Caroline Munro Archive: ABC Film Review, March 19

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 an early appearance in ABC Film Review, promoting her appearance in Dracula A.D. 1972 (referenced herein as Dracula Today).

ABC Film Review
Vol. 22 No. 3
March, 1972

It's Back to the Coffin for Caroline by Frank Law

Caroline Munro, who made her film debut in The Abominable Dr. Phibes as the doctor's embalmed wife, has recently completed the sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again — still resting in peace. 'A lovely role for a lazy actress,' Caroline quipped. 'All you have to do is lie in a coffin looking beautiful but dead.'

Caroline Munro shares a tomb for two with Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
You may recall Caroline looking very much more alive as our double-page pin-up last month. She posed for that portrait while making Dracula Today (sic).

In the days when she was a top model, Caroline wouldn't have dreamed of appearing in a studio other than with every hair immaculately in place. Now, however, starting a second career as a serious if more than usually decorative actress, she's quite happy to go before the camera 'all mussed up' if the script demands, and has exchanged the fabulous wardrobe she wore for fashion photographer's like Duffy, for 'most often a blood-stained shroud'. She did, however, have a chance to show off her super long legs and slim figure in one section of Dracula Today where she is attired in what Caroline herself describes as 'an off-beat hot pants outfit with bare midriff and lots of fringe trim'.

In a derelict church, Caroline is involved in rather devilish goings-on, in Dracula Today.
It was Caroline's striking facial beauty which got her into films in the first place. A Scot by descent but born in Windsor 'right opposite the castle', Caroline was brought up at a Rottingdean convent. Disappointed because she didn't have the full academic qualifications for the place at Art School she so badly wanted, her self-confidence flagged. Her mother's solution was a course at the Lucy Clayton modeling school. 'At that stage,' says Caroline, 'I didn't know what to do, but the school made up my mind for me when they fixed my first assignment only days after my graduation.' In fact Caroline was sent on a six-day trip to Malta modeling Acrilan dresses for famous fashion photographer Brian Duffy. 

'I was very green in the modeling business and when I was asked to lie down in the sea fully clad in a dress — well frankly I thought it was a bit absurd,' Caroline recalls. 'However, I did as I was told and that was the shot which the sponsors picked as the lead picture for their campaign.'

Later, when Caroline's photo appeared in the American edition of Vogue, came a cable from the head of Paramount Studios: 'Find that girl and get her tested.' They did, and the result was a role in Talent for Loving (sic) starring Richard Widmark and Topol, in which Caroline plays a Mexican-American girl. 

Unfortunately, due to internal problems, the rest of Paramount's option on Caroline's contract was not taken up, but she says 'frankly I am not too sorry now because this has enabled me to accept work from Hammer. I love working on their pictures—there's a wonderfully friendly atmosphere and everyone wants to help a comparative beginner like me.'

During the breaks between shooting of Dracula Today, Caroline found time to make a whole bedspread in patchwork knitting to adorn her luxury flat in the Water Gardens near Marble Arch W1. However, she doesn't make her own clothes—but prefers to shop for the latest trends not in Chelsea but in Oxford Street. 

She defines the style she most admires for both men and women as 'casual/smart' and likes the occasional really unusual item, such as the red velvet Kaftan she wore in Dracula Today and covets for her own off-duty use.

She likes to see men, including her husband singer Jud Hamilton to whom she has been married 18 months, dressed up when the occasion demands in the more extravagant type of gear such as velvet suits and frilly shirts.

Although 'mad about clothes' Caroline claims to be relatively frugal in her purchasing. 'My only real extravagance is boots which I have to have hand made—because like most models I have Garbo size feet—and can't find the fashionable styles I want in normal ranges.'

Stay tuned for more rarities from my Caroline Munro Archive!

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