Harry Andrews

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Harry Andrews Pencil Portrait
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An accomplished Shakespearean actor, appearing at such venues as the Queen’s Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, and the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in England as well as theatres in New York City, Paris, Antwerp and Brussels, Harry Andrews eventually moved into films, imposing his tall presence in trademark tough military officer roles throughout the 50’s and 60’s. His performance as Sergeant Major Wilson in The Hill alongside Sean Connery earned Andrews the 1965 National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor and a nomination for the 1966 BAFTA Award for Best British Actor.

His raison d’etre was straightforward : “I don’t want to be a star but I want to be a good actor in good parts” and his presence – all granite face and square jaw – made him standout. It was ironic that he had difficulty in memorizing lines. Sometime later co-star Alan Bates thought him very courageous for his obvious triumph over this impediment. Bates further remarked that Andrews’ great sense of humor and no-nonsense personable character made him a favorite with younger actors as a continuous well of encouragement and learning experiences. Though his parts were smaller as he grew older, he filled each of his roles, big or small – over 100 of them – with a giant’s footsteps.

The longevity of his screen life was even more remarkable for the dark secret he harboured throughout his career, a hidden facet to his makeup that could have destroyed him, both professionally and personally. These were unforgiving times………………….

http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2616781.html

Born in Tonbridge, Kent, England, Andrews would graduate from Wrekin College, before rapidly distinguishing himself as a stage actor, noted for his portrayals of Shakespearean roles. He first appeared on stage in Liverpool in 1933 in “The Long Christmas Dinner,” and three years later would make his first appearance on the New York stage in 1936, playing Horatio in “Hamlet” at the Empire Theatre. Though he was often typecast as the tough guy in films, Andrews broke the mold in his brilliant portrayal of a flamboyant homosexual in the 1970 black comedy “Entertaining Mr. Sloane.” Finally, after nearly four decades in his chosen profession, the actor chose to offer an insight into his real personality. it was all there for those prepared to “read between the lines.”

“Entertaining Mr Sloane” was written by the English playwright Joe Orton, and was first produced in London at the New Arts Theatre on 6 May 1964.

Recommended viewing

Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

The Informers (1963)

http://www.british60scinema.net/unsung-films/the-informers/

633 Squadron (1964)

The Hill (1965)

“Now, you’ve all been making a hell of a racket. There’ll be no more of it, or I’ll have the lot of you over the hill. Every damn one of you. Now, if you’ve any complaints, you’re free to see the Commandant. Any more trouble and I’ll read you the Riot Act. You know how long it takes. And if that doesn’t have any effect, I’ll charge the ring leaders with mutiny.”

“Who’s the ring leaders? Every fifth man! Think that over. I don’t waste my breath on idle threats. Now, let’s have you looking like soldiers. Prisoners, attention! Stand at ease! Let’s have that again. Attention! Better.”

Quite possibly his finest moment. Andrews IS the ultimate toy clockwork soldier, half smiling/half snarling, and irrationally determined to follow orders and ensure that orders are followed. Ultimately usurped by his Staff Sergeant Williams, he’s seen roaring at the top of his lungs – “In twenty-five years, I’ve never known a balls-up like it!” I run this place! Me!” I say what goes and what don’t go!”

Running the stockade like the stiff, controlled, tough administrator we all despise and fear, Andrews was well prepared with his script, raising Connery’s game in every scene they share.

The Agony & the Ecstacy (1965)

Entertaining Mr Sloane (1970)