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Held in MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, between the 15th and 17th October 2010, the festival is a 3-Day UK Movie Convention featuring a terrific range of movie-related events that include Guest Interviews, Discussions, Panels, Special Events, Presentations, Auctions, Artshow and Poster Exhibition, Dealer Room, Themed Dinner, Parties and of course an AMAZING number of movies..... the old and the new run alongside each other throughout the festival.
For more details and to register for the event,  CLICK HERE  to go to their website.


I think I have missed a week, but never mind it’s summer and many people are on holiday. It has been a good summer in the UK on the whole and I am back in the US for a little while - it’s 90 degrees here about mid 30’s Centigrade. LOVELY.

I was angry and sad to read about a book coming out about Vivien Leigh, another "tell all" book, describing of the darker side of her life and, from what I’ve read, distorted as usual for maximum effect. I played Vivien Leigh in a one woman play which takes place on the last day of her life. The production was staged in Atlanta, Georgia in celebration of a major anniversary of the publishing of “Gone With the Wind”. The play was written by an excellent writer, now gone, Meade Roberts, who got much of his material from Peter Finch, who had been very much in love with Vivien. Meade had also worked closely with Tennesse Williams in whose play “A Streetcar Named Desire” Vivien Leigh gave one of her greatest stage and film performances as Blanche DuBois. I felt privileged to have played her and gave what I hope was a good impression. I never met her, but was a fan and had a huge crush on Laurence Olivier, when I was 13. I felt that Meade’s material was excellent and accurate. It seems this new book talks about her horrific bouts of manic depression (bi-polar disease in modern jargon), her bouts of TB, a symptom of which, is a heightened and indiscriminate sexual appetite and the terrible electric shock treatment she went though.

The play represented her as an extremely intelligent woman, describes her great love for Laurence Olivier and her acknowledgement that she often drove him to distraction with her various problems. She talks with wit and humour in the play about how difficult it was for a woman regarded as one of the most beautiful of her time, to have to watch herself aged 40+ as a young woman in “Gone With the Wind”, at endless new showings of the film over the years. Also it describes her frustration at not being taken seriously as a stage actress in England. She is portrayed as closely as possible as the troubled but highly intelligent and witty woman, which I think she was.

I have got that off my chest having been angry about it for two weeks now. Of course any book being released currently, will be to some extent overshadowed by Tony Blair’s book. I, probably like everyone else, was outraged by his sheer gall, but having seen him interviewed on television recently was fascinated by his Machiavellian intelligence. Iraq aside, I do think that it’s outrageous that he allowed the feud to go on between him and Gordon Brown for so long and then to have foisted Mr Brown on to the country, knowing his abilities and personality. But of course, that’s like commenting on a marriage without knowing the true state of affairs.

Like so many people of my age I am busy trying to get rid of ‘stuff’. My homes in the UK and the US are very small and there’s not much room. I was lucky when my close friend Jenni lit on a painting sitting on the living room floor of my flat in London and said it looked interesting. It had hung in various homes since I was a child and was like part of the furniture. Long story short, it turned out to be a painting by quite a famous German artist and I sold it at Christies for a very happy making sum. It must have been one of those brought over by my grandparents when they escaped Germany. it obviously slipped past their attention as they sold everything they had of value to survive. My father smuggled several Duhrers (my grandfather’s favourite) and a Renoir out of Germany in his suitcase, which was brave of him. When he took them to sell he was told they were fakes and not worth that much. This was a ploy of unscrupulous art dealers at the time in England and there was not much a refugee could do about it. So they had to sell their beloved treasures at much less than the true value. So there we are, wickedness abounds in all places at all times, such is life. I suspect my grandparents were upset, but still so grateful and relieved to be out of Germany under the Nazis, that it was no more than a minor upset in their lives, especially when they learned that my father’s sister, their daughter Lise-Marie had been taken to Auschwitz during this period.

I have never been to Auschwitz, I have never had the courage after seeing the model of it in The Imperial War Museum. And now I understand it has become a sort of tourist attraction with souvenirs, gift shops etc, so I think maybe I never shall.

Next week I will meet the Director and crew for our next Chilling Tale Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”, which we will make here in Boise, provided we get the money. Fingers crossed. I am trying to get distribution for the first one but it’s a slow business and failing that we will start distribution through Amazon, or similar and our own  NEW CHILLING TALES WEBSITE  If you read this and think our ideas for distribution are good please let me know at "janemerrow@janemerrow.net". Thank you!

Bye for now friends. Jane
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