- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

Critical reviews

The late British movie legend Dirk Bogarde reckoned Richard Attenborough was an “idiot” and John Gielgud struggled to understand Shakespeare, letters published yesterday in London revealed.

In the caustic correspondence, newly acquired by the British Library and revealed in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Mr. Bogarde attacked the film industry and several leading players.

In one letter, Mr. Bogarde, one of the most versatile and accomplished actors of his generation, described many of his fellow actors as “dreadfully dull and boring and eccentric and full of something called Valium.”

He was particularly critical of Lord Attenborough, whom he worked with on “Oh! What a Lovely War” (1967) and “A Bridge Too Far” (1977).

In a letter dated 1988, Mr. Bogarde said he was dreading an approaching celebration where he was to be honored by “that idiot Attenborough.”

He also said Vanessa Redgrave was “utterly beastly” to his friend Joseph Losey and “such a ninny.”

On working with Mr. Gielgud on Alain Resnais’ 1977 film “Providence,” he said the two actors could not understand much of the French director’s script.

“Mind you, he [Mr. Gielgud] claims that he doesn’t understand half of Shakespeare,” he added.

Mr. Bogarde died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 78.

His distinguished career involved more than 70 feature films, ranging from the lighthearted “Doctor in the House” series (1954-1963) to classics such as “Death in Venice” (1971) and “The Servant” (1963).

Not in Namibia

A Namibian tourism official said Saturday he may have been duped into believing that Britney Spears was considering having her baby in Namibia.

Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister Leon Jooste said he made his original public statement after receiving a phone call from the United States on June 12.

“Somebody told me that she [Miss Spears] is interested in coming to Namibia and that they would contact me in the next two weeks,” he said Saturday.

But the connection was so bad, he said, that he never got a name or contact information for the person.

Still, Mr. Jooste went public with the information.

“She has shown interest to come over to Namibia,” he said at the time. “Nothing has been confirmed yet, but there is a definite possibility of that happening.”

That prompted Miss Spears’ New York-based publicist, Leslie Sloane Zelnik, to send an e-mail to Associated Press on Friday saying: “Not true.”

Asked if the call might have been a hoax, Mr. Jooste said: “It is really possible.”

Mr. Jooste, who is vacationing in neighboring South Africa, said he plans to look into the matter when he returns to Namibia next week.

“I am actually going to call and invite them to see if they would like to come,” he said.

Miss Spears, 24, is expecting her second child with husband and aspiring rapper Kevin Federline. The pop star, who has taken a beating in the tabloids recently over her parenting skills, might appreciate the privacy Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoyed when their daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, was born last month in the southwest African nation.

The Namibian government shielded the Hollywood couple from the paparazzi, even insisting that foreign journalists wanting to cover the story must first obtain written permission from the couple to get visas.

“We have a little niche tourism market that we are developing now,” Mr. Jooste said, adding jokingly that he might “resign and start a company marketing celebrity holidays in Africa.”

Compiled from wire reports by Kevin Chaffee

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