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Moving to Greece


Settling down in Rome
Frederic Raphael Writer
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I had the idea we would go and stay in Anzio, which I took to be somewhere like Fuengirola in Spain, but it wasn't. In the end we went back to Rome and we found a house, or not a house, we found a flat, thanks to a… I suppose he was an Arab or he may have been an Iranian called Mr Awad. In those days, all those foreigners were just kind of all those foreigners. I never knew one from another, frankly. He was very nice. And he found us a flat with a Contessa in the flat. There were Contessas of all kinds in Rome. I mean, there had always been a plethora of Contessas. Our Contessa had a Fiat 1100 driven by a chauffeur with a proper uniform and a cap. And she was also, because she was Italian, I suppose, quite indulgent with the idea of having two small children in this furnished flat. And in we moved.

And I wrote a film which was later called Nothing But the Best. And, once again, I'd had a bit of experience with Leslie and with writing the thing for Dickie Todd, but this was an original. The story of The Best of Everything was ended with the bad guy being discovered. David Deutsch had suggested that perhaps it could go a bit further than that and I could find a new plot, and I did, where the guy actually… he actually survives by various nefarious means. It was sort of against the ethos of morals in film at that time.

Anyway, I wrote the script and I created two very good parts. In particular, one very good part, later played by Denholm Elliot, of a sort of remittance man who stayed at home. The son, in fact of the boss of this great agency who had gone off with some money and all the rest of it, and he was paid… he was the guy who turned out to teach Alan Bates how to be a gentleman.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: The Best of Everything

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014