Monday, August 14, 2017


THIS ‘N That:
By Liz Smith & Dennis Ferrara

... ”AH, yes, the sterling Krystle!”  In almost every episode of TV’s epic eye-shadow and shoulder-pad saga, “Dynasty,” Joan Collins, as Alexis Carrington Colby, etc, would make some sort of wisecrack, playing on the name of her nemesis, Linda Evans (aka Krystle Jennings Carrington).

"OH, here, Blake, let me give you a hand with that.  We can bury her near lily pond."    
Those were the good old days when “Dynasty” ruled on Wednesday nights and much of America — and the world — would come to halt for “dinner and Dynasty.”  (This sounded even better in Britain, where it was pronounced “dinner and Dinasty.”)   

Well, if you’ve a hankering for the over-stuffed 1980’s exemplified in “Dynasty,” be aware that CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Video are releasing “Dynasty: The Complete Series” on October 10th.  All nine seasons, 57 discs, 220 episodes. 

Sure, the final three or four seasons lost steam — thanks in part to ABC launching the almost-equally-delicious (if unsuccessful) “The Colbys” off of “Dynasty’s”Nolan Miller-clad back.  Still, there was always fun to be had.Joan Collins, in particular, managed to the end to make her mantra to John Forsythe — “I hate you Blake, and I’ll make you suffer no matter what!” — sound like she meant it.

The first four seasons, in particular, are high art in high camp with everybody either over or under acting hilariously.

Remember the eternally sullen Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon? Or the relentlessly slutty Sammy Jo, played with snarly abandon by Heather Locklear?
Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon.
Heather Locklear as Sammy Jo.
And of course, Diahann Carroll as Dominique Deveraux, “the first black bitch on television!” as Miss Carroll herself joyfully proclaimed.  (In the first scene between Dominque and Alexis, Miss Deveraux shudders at Alexis’ offered goodies — the champagne “is burned ... obviously frozen in the bottle at some point.”  And the caviar?  “This is Ossetra, and I prefer Petrossian Beluga.”  No surprise that a few more episodes in they’d be slapping each other around.) 
Diahann Carroll as Dominique Deveraux.
Sure there were men — Forsythe, John James, Al Corley and Jack Coleman as the often-gay-but-sometimes-not Steven Carrington. (Corley left after the first season, so the producers put the character in a fiery oil rig accident that returned him home, still very handsome and blonde, but looking entirely different in the person of Mr. Coleman.  Back in those days, accidents didn’t disfigure, one just came back in an altered state of attractiveness.) And of course, there were all of Alexis’s lovers and husbands. 
Jack Coleman as Steven Carrington.
But the guys were just around as occasional eye candy and a respite from the phantasmagorical collection of silks, satins, beading and dead animals that were thrown at the ladies.  (Especially Joan Collins, who bloomed under the excess — Collins never met a giant lynx collar, a turban, a Medusa-like wiggy wig or a carton of double-thick false eyelashes she could not wrestle to the floor and dominate, through sheer force of personality.) 

I’m putting my order in now.  I couldn’t possibly wait until October!

They say April is the cruelest month. Perhaps. But August is turning into the scariest.  I need distraction.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Image result for herald sun logo

Screen legend Joan Collins is having The Time Of Her Life — 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Joan Collins on her new Brit flick The Time Of Their Lives and filming in France!

By Anna Smith

What made you want to star in a low-budget Brit flick?

I fell in love with the character of Helen and the whole concept. I play an actress in a retirement home who’s escaped and wants to go to France to the funeral of her ex-lover, who is also the father of the child she’s never seen.

How was filming in France?

France was beautiful, though there was a lot of walking on cobblestones in high-heeled shoes. We did a lot, working 14- or 15-hour days, some six-day weeks. I’m in a lot of scenes, so is Pauline Collins — she’s wonderful to work with, by the way.
We worked together before on Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected and we played two chorus girls in Victorian England. It was years ago. There’s a picture, I think I put it on Twitter. I’ll show you [reaches for mobile phone]. She’s a wonderful actress.
When the director, Roger Goldby, first sent me the script over four years ago, he said would I like to do it? I said absolutely. He said, ‘Who do you see as Priscilla?’ and I said, ‘There’s only one person who could play this role and that’s Pauline Collins.’ He said, ‘Do you know her?’ and I said, ‘Well, yes I do.’ I’m trying to find the picture, it’s a nightmare.

Don’t worry, I’ll look it up… Tell us about your real-life friends and your social life!

I have great women friends. What do I like to do? Normally, go out to dinner. I don’t really like going shopping with women friends. I know my own mind too much. You know, we go to lunch… I have a lot of women friends who come and visit me in the South of France.

Is that where you’re based now?

No! I’m based here in England. What are you talking about? How can I be based in the South of France when I’m here?

Um, I just assumed because you said they come to visit you in the South of France.

Yah, in the summer. This is the first time in 25 years I haven’t spent the summer in the South of France.

How does that feel?

Sad! But, you know, it’s worth it because this is a really worthwhile film and I think it’s going to appeal to women, and partly women of a certain age. We are not aiming this movie at boys between the ages of 12 and 25, like most films are. We have a great relationship with [co-star] Franco Nero, he’s great fun, and Pauline and I vie for his affections.

Does your character have an expansive wardrobe?

No, they don’t have any luggage — well, I do pack this suit but when I escape from the home I’m in this drab outfit and long skirt and jacket. I also pack my make-up in a little bag.

What are your own packing essentials?

Practically everything I own, mmm [giggles]!

I hear you still do your own make-up?

Yes, absolutely. I always do my own make-up. Why?

Well, a lot of actors rely on make-up artists.

Yah, and this is a different look from what I usually have. She was used to doing the 1960s eyes.

Have you kept any costumes from films or TV series?

Mm, a few, yes. I kept a few costumes from Decadence and I tried to keep some from The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas because they were so amazing, all made of leather, but they wouldn’t let me. I have quite a few Dynasty dresses.

Do you ever put them on?

Put them on?! Oh no. I’m not really into that. Dressing up.

Which movies make you laugh?

Things like, I don’t know, what was I watching the other day? Analyse This, Analyse That, Robert De Niro in any of his comedies, Midnight Run… I watch a lot of movies. I love movies.

Does anything make you nervous?

I was nervous the first day of The Time Of Their Lives. It’s a new character, new crew, new everything. I was quite nervous but I got over it. A lot of actors are nervous but I’m not really any more.

Thank you, Joan Collins

Well, thank you. Pleasure to meet you. 

The Time Of Their Lives is out now on digital download and DVD

Tuesday, August 8, 2017



The Time Of Their Lives is a film about two unlikely friends getting a second chance at life. It’s one where you feel like if it had had its own second chance it could have been excellent, but instead will have to settle for being just good. This is ultimately a light, comedy caper and buddy story about two old biddies letting their hair down on the road.
The story is written and directed by Roger Goldby who has worked on television shows like Call The Midwife. You get the sense that this film would make a better vehicle for television rather than the silver screen. The shots are pleasant enough and the leading ladies are put in fine performances, but entire package is not necessarily worthy of the big screen treatment.
Joan Collins stars as Helen Shelley, a self-obsessed, ageing actress who is living her twilight years in a nursing home. She had made a name for herself in a film called “Morty & Me” last century. When this film’s director and Shelley’s former lover passes away she decides to journey to France in order to gate-crash the funeral and network like hell in order to stage a career comeback.
Pauline Collins stars as Priscilla, a downtrodden English housewife who has been beaten into submission. She is married to a grumpy old man named Frank (Ronald Pickup (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)). The couple had a son who drowned when he was a young boy and it seems like Frank has never forgiven his wife. Frank is a domineering and controlling man who admonishes Priscilla over purchasing biscuits. When Helen meets the pair during a pit stop on a seaside day trip for the home’s residents, she senses that Priscilla could do with an adventure and she’s right.
The pair pool their resources together and journey to Île de Ré in France in a road trip that is not unlike a geriatric Thelma & Louise at times. Along the way they meet a kind and reclusive Italian artist (Franco Nero (Django Unchained)). The old folks get up to their fair share of outrageously predictable behaviour and hijinks. They take drugs, drive on the wrong side of the road and act like dotty pensioners. It’s a pleasant, if slightly predictable story.
The Time Of Their Lives may not deliver this kind of thing to its viewers but it is still a gentle comedy featuring two wonderful actresses. The pair’s unlikely friendship and on-screen chemistry provide some tender and sweet moments even if there are other times where the film required a little more care and attention. This light comedy about ageing, friendship and life choices is an enjoyable, down-to-earth caper that may not be perfect, but at least it doesn’t leave you hanging or riding along the road to nowhere.
The Time of Their Lives hits cinemas on 10th August 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Dame Joan Collins talks to Fiona Hicks about ageing, acting and why you should always keep up appearances.
Dame Joan Collins feels “terrible”. She doesn’t divulge why, but a quick check of her busy Twitter feed reveals that I’m meeting her in a week when the ceiling of her luxury London apartment has collapsed, due to a water leak in her upstairs neighbour’s flat.
A terrible situation indeed—but there’s no making do for Dame Joan. She’s holed up in Claridges and, despite the upheaval, still manages to look divine.
We’re here to discuss her latest film, The Time of Their Lives. In it she plays ageing, down-and-out movie star Helen Shelley, who makes an unlikely friend in downtrodden housewife Priscilla (played by   Upstairs, Downstairs’ Pauline Collins). Together the duo hop-foot it to France for a weekend of age-defying adventures.
“It was a fabulous role,” says Joan who, before this script came along, hadn’t appeared in a film for three years. “She’s a very interesting character in so many ways.”
It’s a role that seems made for her. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to know when the beautiful, strong-willed fictional star ends and Joan begins—but a crucial difference is that at the beginning of the film, Helen Shelley lives in a nursing home. 
“I don’t think it’s likely that I’ll find myself in a nursing home. Although maybe it is, the way I feel right now,” she states, with a slightly bitter laugh. “But I have a family, children, grandchildren, a wonderful husband…” she tails off, implying that none of these people would relinquish her to care.
“I went to two care homes [to prepare for the film], to see how they were, these old people. I don’t know how to say this without attacking the NHS—well, it’s not the NHS, but some of them seemed somnambulistic. The people just sat there; they didn’t have any vitality.”
The more she talks, the more the winsome, slightly coquettish Joan Collins who’s appeared on the big and small screen for more than six decades begins to emerge. It’s clear that she doesn’t relate to these “old people” in the slightest.
“Anybody has a duty to look after themselves, so that they don’t have to expect to be looked after,” she says, straightening a little. “People need to take better care in their youth and middle age, so that they don’t fall apart when they turn 65 or 70.”
Joan herself still exercises religiously, two or three times a week. “If you continue to do something, you’re not going to lose it just because you get older. I don’t feel any physically different to when I was 45. I tell my husband, who’s 51—I think, I never remember—that he’s got to exercise more, because I exercise more than he does.”
Joan’s husband, her fifth, is Percy Gibson. They married in 2002 and are still going strong, despite the media furore about the age gap. He was there at the start of the interview, as it happens, making sure his wife was happy and settled.
Of course, Dame Joan is used to the scrutiny. Since moving to Hollywood in the Fifties, her life has played out in the public eye. “When I came under contract to 20th Century Fox when I was 20, it was just coming to the end of the golden age in which the studios had total control over their stars. There would be one man—I don’t want to say Donald Trump-ish—who was totally controlling of their studio.
“I was told what movies to be in, I was given beautiful clothes—my experience was very positive. I worked with Paul Newman, Bette Davis, Richard Burton…I just took it all for granted.”

Considering this illustrious record, it’s interesting that her advice to young people wanting to enter the industry now would be, “Don’t. It’s the toughest, hardest, most vicious profession in the world. Out of every one person who becomes Eddie Redmayne or Tom Hiddleston or Emma Watson, there are thousands and thousands of others who are waiting tables. It’s incredibly competitive and you have to have a huge amount of luck.
“Sometimes I see things on television and I think, How did that person get that job? They’re really bad. A lot of it is luck, because it certainly isn’t talent.”
Joan’s own career has been “very up and down”. After a hopeful start, appearing in The Girl in the Red Velvet SwingThe Opposite Sex and Island in the Sun, she never quite made it to studio-favourite status, famously losing the role of Cleopatra to Elizabeth Taylor (“That’s when the studio started to go downhill,” she quips). After taking a few years out to raise her three children, she had bit-parts until she hit the big time again in the Eighties, playing the glamorous Alexis Carrington in TV series, Dynasty.
It’s the part that would define her career, and to some degree, her—as the perfectly coiffed image of Joan is one that was cemented during those heady years of TV success. She famously did her own make-up for the part and has since released her own line of cosmetics.
“I think taking care of your appearance is very important,” she says, fixing me with that arresting wide-eyed stare. “You present yourself, or at least you should, in the way you want the world to see you. My aunts and my grandmother and my mother were all extremely glamorous. In the Forties and Fifties people didn’t go around in jeans with their knees sticking out and t-shirts with slogans. That doesn’t mean I don’t have jeans—not with holes in the knee though.”
Her image has certainly contributed to her enduring appeal, and the public’s fascination with her. Looking back on her life, Joan says, “Other than the fact that I managed to raise three children—none of whom became drug addicts or committed suicide or became alcoholics, which is what a lot of children of famous people do—I’m most proud of the fact that I’m almost the longest-working actress in film.”
She gestures to a picture of Doris Day on the wall. “She’s alive, but she’s not working. Sophia [Loren] isn’t working, but she started after me anyway. I’m quite proud of that.”
So what does she feel she has left to achieve?
“I couldn’t call myself a driven person,” she muses. “I do what I like.” She flashes that movie-star smile, her collapsed ceiling obviously forgotten for a moment.
“I just enjoy life—I’d like to keep on living.”

'The Time Of Their Lives' is out on DVD/BLU-RAY  from July 31st!