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Writing for the movies


Meeting Dr Raphael
Frederic Raphael Writer
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The funny thing is that I've very rarely seen anybody reading in public any book of mine. In fact, I can't remember ever noticing anybody doing it, but we were in Guatemala once in 1974 I think it was, and we were on a bus going to a place called Chichicastenango, which is way up in the uplands of Guatemala - wonderful market - and in this bus were a lot of tourists. And the bus kept stopping for ten minutes by the stall which the cousins of the conductor were selling various Guatemalan articles, as well as to let people pee and all the rest of it, and I got up and was walking out of the bus and I saw there was a book open on the seat, and the book was They Fought Alone by Maurice Buckmaster, the book which I had written. So when we all got back into the bus I went up to the man who was reading the book and I said, 'Funnily enough, I wrote that book', and he said, 'Oh, are you Colonel Buckmaster?' And I said no, no I'm not Colonel Buckmaster, but my name is Raphael and actually he employed me to ghost his book. And the man said, 'Oh, you're name is Raphael?' He was American. 'Your name is Raphael?' Yes. 'That's funny, so is mine'. He was Dr Raphael from San Diego. So he said, 'Listen, any time you're in San Diego, you know, come to my clinic, I'll give you a rate'. But I never took him up on that.

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: Guatemala, They Fought Alone, Maurice Buckmaster

Duration: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014