David Hemmings


  1. Tom Adams, The Fighting Prince of Donegal, 1965.   The young turks of the hour – Hemmings, Ray Brooks, John Hurt – were in the Disney frame for Henry O’Neill, best buddy of Peter McEnery’s titular hero.  Three years later, Hemmings was King Alfred The Great.  (I first saw David  in pre-West run of Woman in a Dressing Gown, a stage  version of the original Ted Willis TV play and UK film, at the Bournemouth Pavilion two years before).
  2.  Robert  Shaw, The Birthday Party,1968.     Following Blow Up, 1966,  everybody wanted  Hemmings. Or The H, as he liked to call himself.  (Elvis liked to be E, and Madonna had a spell as M). “It’s the best merry-go-round I’ve ever been on,” he told me.
  3. Jon Finch, Frenzy, 1971.  “A good colorful crime spree is good for tourism…” Once upon a whimsy, it was to be Inspector Laurence Olivier suspecting Hemmings  as a  serial killer, with Vanessa Redgrave among his victims.  Not when Alfred Hitchcock started his 52nd and  penultimate film  – his first in Britain for 16 years. So poor Hitch  must have been staggered to be rejected by so many UK stars… Olivier, Redgrave, Michael Caine – and Helen Mirren, who play Mrs Hitch, Alma Reville, in Hitchcock, 2012. 
  4. Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange, 1970.   
  5. Michael York, Cabaret, 1971.     To accommodate Liza Minnelli, Sally Bowles was changed from Brit to Yank in the Bob Fosse musical – and so vice-versa for her pal, Brian Roberts (aka author Christopher Isherwood, called Clifford Bradshaw on-stage). About 20 Brits were seen for Brian including Leonard Romeo Whiting and a future James Bond: Timothy Dalton.  Plus  Hemmings, Tim Curry, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm McDowell, John McEnery, Paul Nicholas, future auteur Bruce Robinson. John Rubinstein was the sole American, when it looked as if York could not  get free in time and Brian would be American, after all.  
  6. Edward Woodward, The Wicker Man, 1973.     Scenarist Anthony Shaffer always saw Hemmings as the dour cop,  Sergeant  Howie.  And he was having a most quiet year. When  helmer Robin Hardy’s choice (the dour Michael York) proved unavailable, producer Peter Snell finally got his way about Woodward. Great as it was, the movie’s negative ended up as landfill under the British M3 motorway… where the negative and every  print of the diabolical 2006  re-hash should be!
  7. Martin Sheen,  The Final Countdown, 1980.    As he would say about the end half of his career:  “People thought I was dead. But I wasn’t. I was just directing  The A-Team.”
  8. Peter Bowles, Colour Me Kubrick: A True…ish Story, 2005.    Died before shooting his scenes; his lookalike son, Nolan, remained inthe movieabout the UK conman who called himself Stanley Kubrick. Bowles was Hemmings’ agent in Blow Up, 1966.



 Birth year: 1941Death year: 2003Other name: Casting Calls:  8