A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Lady Windermere's Fan
Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I prefer women with a past. They're always so demmed amusing to talk to.
Lady Windermere's Fan - Oscar Wilde

In 1959 while living in Mexico City my mother took me to the theatre to see an adaptation into Spanish of Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan. I remember little except the voice of Dolores del Río who played Lady Windermere. I was electrified by it and by the noise of the opening and closing of her fan with the flip of the wrist. I had never seen her live but had admired her in her films, both Mexican and my favourite of hers in English, John Ford's The Fugitive.

When I posed Ms. Hernandez this morning wearing my grandmother's light green Spanish mantilla and her fan I could almost hear that voice again.

The other haunting image of The Fugitive is played by that other noted Mexican actor, Pedro Armendariz. He was a handsome man with a beautiful face and voice. As a Police Lieutenant he is in search of our whisky priest, Henry Fonda. In spite of it all Armendáriz was able to distill some humanity into what was supposed to be the role of a fanatical unbeliever.

Those who may be regulars of this blog should not expect soon any attempts on my part to pencil in a moustache on Ms Hernandez to pursue my nostalgia for Pedro Armendáriz.


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