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Under Milk Wood


by Andrew Sinclair

Published by Timon Films


153 pages (estimated).

Date published: April 2014

Author website: www.undermilkwoodfilm.com

Paperback £6.99

There is a law in making a decent film in this country. The law is, the impossible must always happen. That is why so few decent films can be made over here, although Britain is full of good film-makers.

The impossible always happened in making Under Milk Wood. At times, its luck exceeded incredulity and vanished into Celtic mist. Like a necromancer juggling the elements, any Merlin of the screen has to mix the gold of the backers with the stars in their courses and come up with a horoscope that guarantees fair heavens and a safe return. To go at all, Under Milk Wood had to find a time when Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter O’Toole were all available to work and in this island, which was rather like fixing a weekend between Howard Hughes, Elizabeth the Second and Puck. Then the gold had to be conjured in double-quick time from the state and a merchant bank, both of whom were rightly foolish enough to buck the wisdom of Wardour Street and think there could be profit as well as art in the wild warm words of that people’s poet, Dylan Thomas. Then there had to be hayfield sun in March in Fishguard, which would be a blessing not seen in thirty years. (“Wales in winter!” said the drenched warriors streaming home from Polanski’s protracted Macbeth. “Jesus ! Not only did Banquo blow off his horse, but the bloody horse blew away too.”) Then we had a forty days’ budget about as fat as Our Lord’s when he had the same schedule in the wilderness. What with sixty sets and seventy actors, we had to spend a quarter of our time just shifting from scene to scene; we shot on the run, with the mighty heroes of Lee Electrics humping the hundredweight brute lights as casually as kittens on their shoulders. Everything and everyone had to work too well, beyond normal and halfway to dream. The technicians would mutter about “Andrew the Luck.” And I would answer, “Miracles happen daily.” Frankly they had to, so they did.

Andrew SinclairAuthor

Under Milk Wood