BBC Sunday-Night Theatre poster

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre:

Promise of Tomorrow (1950)

 

Writer: Michael Barry

Rôle: Tommy Savidge

Broadcast: 16 April 1950 BBCTV

Synopsis: Marius portrays Tommy Savidge, a crippled poet who longs to compose verse dramas but is forced to write trashy plays for dingy provincial repertory companies to make a living.

Comment: Before this, Marius had only made one other appearance on television (besides 'The Bear' in 1938) and that was in a 1949 short film called 'Box for One' written by Peter Brook.

Promise of Tomorrow review in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo 21 April 1950
Promise of Tomorrow article in The Stage 13 April 1950

Also starring is Jill Balcon as Ann Harlow. She played an ambitious stage manager turned successful producer. Jill herself was the daughter of the famous film producer Sir Michael Balcon and mother of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The Life of King Henry V (1951)

 

Director: Leonard Brett

 

Writers: Royston Marley, Leonard Brett, William Shakespeare (based on his play)

Rôle: Chorus

Broadcast: 22 April 1951 BBCTV

Synopsis: The life of Henry V, as he assumes the kingship from his father Henry IV and wages war against the French, culminating in the famous Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and his courtship of the French king's daughter, Katherine.

Comment: In an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Henry V', Marius portrays the Chorus, a role he had previously played to great acclaim on the stage in 1937 in Laurence Olivier's production.

'The Life of King Henry V' review in The Sketch 9 May 1951
'The Life of King Henry V' article in The Stage 19 April 1951

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The Wild Duck (1952)

 

Director: Tania Lieven

 

Writers: Max Faber, Henrik Ibsen (based on his play)

Rôle: Hjalmar Ekdal

Broadcast: 2 March 1952 BBCTV

Synopsis: Gregers Werle has avoided his father, whom he detests, by spending fifteen years in the family mining concern. Gregers is so unattractive in appearance that he has given up all hope of marrying and having a family; instead, he has become an idealist and goes about advocating and preaching a theme of truth and purity. He calls his mission the "claim of the ideal."

His father, Old Werle, has allegedly driven his sick wife to her death by carrying on love affairs in his own home. He had once had his serving girl, Gina, as his mistress. Arranging her marriage with Hjalmar Ekdal, the son of his former partner, Werle also sets the couple up in the profession of photography. Hjalmar is pleased with his marriage and believes that Gina's child is his own daughter. At present, Old Werle lives with his housekeeper and between them there are no secrets.

Lieutenant Ekdal, Werle's former partner, is now a broken old man. He does odd jobs for Werle. Earlier, the company had appropriated a large quantity of lumber from a government owned farm. Werle placed all the blame on Ekdal who was sentenced to prison. He is now living with Hjalmar and Gina.

Gregers Werle comes to Hjalmar and explains the "claim of the ideal" and tries to make Hjalmar see that his marriage is based on a lie. But rather than making Hjalmar happy by understanding the true nature of his marriage, Gregers only succeeds in turning Hjalmar against his daughter, Hedvig. The daughter, in order to prove her love for her father who is rejecting her, takes a pistol and kills herself. Hjalmar then becomes bitterly remorseful about his behaviour.

Comment: In this adaptation, Marius portrays Hjalmar Ekdal. He had previously played the rôle of Gregers Werle in the same play on the stage in 1936.

The Wild Duck article in The Radio Times 29 February 1952
'The Wild Duck' review in The Sketch 12 March 1952
'The Wild Duck' cast photo 1952

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The Devil's General (1955)

 

Director: Rudolph Cartier

 

Writers: Robert Gore Brown (translation),

Carl Zuckmayer (based on his play)

Rôle: General Harras

Broadcast: 18 December 1955 BBCTV

Synopsis: General Harras, a hero of the First World War finds himself increasingly at odds with the new Germany of Adolf Hitler.

Comment: This is the first of two times Marius would play General Harras, both directed by Rudolph Cartier. The second version was shown on the BBC in 1960.

'The Devil's General' review in the Western Mail 19 December 1955
The Devil's General 1955 review in the Lancashire Evening Post 19 December 1955
'The Devil's General' review in The Stage 22 December 1955
The Devil's General article & photo in The Radio Times 16 December 1955

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The White Falcon (1956)

 

Director: Rudolph Cartier

 

Writers: Neilson Gattey, Jordan Lawrence

Rôle: Dr Thomas Cranmer

Broadcast: 5 February 1956 BBCTV

Synopsis: An examination of the fatal romance between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Comment: Marius portrays Dr Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury) along with Paul Rogers as Henry VIII and Jeannette Sterke as Anne Boleyn. Jeannette would also feature in two subsequent BBC Sunday-Night Theatre presentations with Marius: 'Clive of India' and 'The Lass of Richmond Hill'.

The cast also featured Patrick Troughton as Cardinal Wolsey. He had recently co-starred with Marius in the ITV series 'The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel'.

Paul Rogers as Henry VIII, Jeannette Sterke as Anne Boleyn & Marius Goring as Archbishop Cranmer in The White Falcon 1956
'The White Falcon' review in the Birmingham Daily Gazette 6 February 1956
'The White Falcon' review in The Stage 9 February 1956

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The Cold Light (1956)

 

Director: Rudolph Cartier

 

Writers: Judith KerrElizabeth MontaguCarl Zuckmayer (based on his play)

Rôle: Crystof Wolters

Broadcast: 29 July 1956 BBCTV

Synopsis: 'The Cold Light' is a fictional take on the then recent case of Klaus Fuchs, a German physicist who in 1950 had been imprisoned for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union while working in British and American research establishments in the 1940s. The play's central character, Crystof Wolters, is similarly placed. Zuckmayer portrays him sensitively throughout, depicting the circumstances that led to his treachery. In Zuckmayer's hands, the story becomes an exploration of loyalty, treachery and the politics of science.

The play's espionage plot is supplemented by a love story, with Wolters discovering that his Norwegian sweetheart Hjoerdis has married during his internment as an 'enemy alien' in Canada during the war. He finds he must work under her husband, the bullish and militaristic Ketterick, who leads the atomic research project. In one of the play's most effective scenes, Wolters must forsake Hjoerdis, now prepared to leave Ketterick, or explain that a note she believes arranges a meeting with another woman does in fact refer to his spying.

 

Comment: Marius Goring, in another of numerous performances for Rudolph Cartier, carries the bulk of the play on his shoulders. He imbues Wolters with an inner torment and the quietly expressed moral turmoil of his position.

'The Cold Light' article in The Radio Times 27 July 1956
The Cold Light review in The Times 30 July 1956
The Cold Light review in The Stage 2 August 1956

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Clive of India (1956)

 

Director: Rudolph Cartier

 

Writers: W.P. Lipscomb, R.J. Minney

Rôle: Robert Clive

Broadcast: 30 December 1956 BBCTV

Synopsis: It portrays the life of the eighteenth century soldier and politician, particularly focusing on his victory at the Battle of Plassey.

Comment: Marius plays Robert Clive, the controversial 'Clive of India'. It is based on a play by the British authors W.P. Lipscomb and R.J. Minney, first performed on stage in 1934 and featuring Leslie Banks as Clive. This play was in turn based on a biography of Clive that Minney had written two years earlier.

The play drew immediate interest from production companies in both Britain and Hollywood. Twentieth Century's Darryl F. Zanuck secured the film rights, and hired Minney to work on the screenplay. Ronald Colman starred as Clive, alongside Loretta Young as his wife, Margaret Maskelyne, in the 1935 film.

Clive of India review in The Times 31 December 1956
Clive of India review in The Guardian 31 December 1956
Jeannette Sterke & Marius Goring in 'Clive of India' 1956 BBCTV
Clive of India article in The Radio Times 28 December 1956
Marius Goring as Robert Clive, Jeannette Sterke as Margaret Maskelyne with director Rudolph Cartier

Synopsis: George, the Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent then George IV), contrary to strict royal protocol, falls in love with a commoner, Maria Fitzherbert, and plans to marry her. Because she is a Catholic, the marriage cannot be recognised.

The events of the play take place from 1784, when the twice widowed Maria was introduced to a youthful admirer: George, Prince of Wales, six years her junior. The prince became infatuated with her and pursued her endlessly until she agreed to marry him.

Comment: 'The Lass of Richmond Hill', also known as 'The Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill', is a song written by Leonard McNally with music composed by James Hook, and was first publicly performed in 1789. It was said to be a favourite of George III and, at one time, was thought to have been written by his son, George IV. It is a love ballad which popularised the poetic phrase "a rose without a thorn" as a romantic metaphor. It was thought at one time that Maria Fitzherbert was the subject of the song but this is now disputed.

'The Lass of Richmond Hill' review in the Liverpool Echo 8 June 1957
'The Lass of Richmond Hill' review in The Stage 13 June 1957

Marius plays Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the Irish satirist, playwright, poet, and long-term owner of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He was known for his plays such as The Rivals and The School for Scandal which is considered one of the greatest comedies of manners in English.

Trivia: Lucie Mannheim, Marius's wife, played Queen Charlotte.

Availability: None of the eight plays that Marius did for the BBC Sunday-Night Theatre series are known to have survived in the archives.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents

(US title: Rheingold Theatre) 1954

 

Season 3 Episode 4: The Rehearsal

 

Director: Lance Comfort


Writer: John Q Copeland


Rôle: Nicol Pascal


Broadcast: 3 November 1954 NBC (US)


Synopsis: Nicol Pascal (Marius Goring) is a retired ballet star who now runs a ballet school with his wife, former prima ballerina Nanette (Lucie Mannheim). Nicol has become obsessed with his young star pupil, Marguerite (Maureen Swanson) leading to conflict with his wife and their old friend, impresario Vanderhof (Frederick Valk). Marguerite has had a crush on her instructor since she saw him dance when she was a child and things come to a head when Nicol, with Marguerite's encouragement, contemplates a comeback to the dance stage after more than 10 years.

Comment: Marius and Lucie are wonderful in this! They spark off each other as a proud, long-married but loving couple. I like to think that perhaps they brought some of their own relationship into the way they played it here. Lucie is particularly charming in it and Marius gets to show off his dance skills.

Availability: A DVD copy of this episode is available online.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents poster

Lilli Palmer Theatre

(US title: Theatre Royal) 1955-1956

Season 1 Episode 6: Mossbach Collection

Director: Desmond Davis


Writers: Giles Cooper, Jon Manchip White and Stefan Zweig (story)


Rôle: Reinhardt


Broadcast: 30 October 1955 ITV (UK)

Lilli Palmer Theatre poster

Synopsis: Reinhardt, a blind man, needs money so he decides to sell his art collection, only to find that, unknown to him, his wife has been liquidating the collection for years.

Availability: This episode is known to exist in the UCLA Film & Television archive.

Lilli Palmer Theatre

(US title: Theatre Royal) 1955-1956

Season 1 Episode 34: Episode in Paris

 

Director: Don Chaffey


Writer: Maurice Edelman (screenplay)


Rôle: Major Edward Carter


Broadcast: 13 May 1956 ITV (UK)


Synopsis: A bored, frustrated housewife goes on a fling in Paris and is almost instantly enthralled by the romantic figure of Major Edward Carter. Then she learns that her neglected daughter back in England has fallen ill.

Availability: This episode is known to exist in the UCLA Film & Television archive.