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April 25, 2005


John Mills directed (and acted with) Hayley in her first performance, a love story -- which would unfortunately probably not be taken straight today -- between a wild young man in trouble and a ten-year-old tomboy. "Tiger Bay" -- in black and white -- have you ever seen it? Mills pére is the police inspector who gently interrogates the child who is protecting her friend, the sailor (a darkly beautiful Horst Buchholz) who is wanted for a crime of passion. It's ravishing.

I'm dying to see "Tiger Bay" and will look to see if it's on DVD. Did you know the scene where Hayley Mills tells the police about the murder she saw was completely ad-libbed? She made another dark film with her dad called "The Chalk Garden" where she was allowed to veer from her sweet Disney image. God, they knew how to make interesting movies back then. What's happened?

Any post that contains both Hayley Mills and gribenes (we pronounded it "grievens") has got my vote. As for the marital strife, how would I know anything about that?

Hayley, my childhood heartthrob, was at her best in THE PARENT TRAP and also in WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, which has a similar plot to TIGER BAY: kids discover escaped con Alan Bates hiding in a barn, think he's Jesus, protect him from the authorities.

And I had no idea till two minutes ago that WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND was recently made into an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in the 1990s.

The news -- which I also thank you for -- that Hayley is still acting, and still good at it, gladdened my heart.

BTW, John Mills was also terrific in TUNES OF GLORY, in which Alec Guinness was equally but more charismatically great. The two play competing commanding officers in a Scots regiment. One of the heights of realistic British b/w filmmaking.

And did you know that "Whistle Down the Wind" was written by Hayley's mom, Mary Hayley Bell? What a family! Mary is still with us but sadly has Alzheimer's. She and John Mills were married from 1941 to his death last week: 64 years!

See Jane Wyman in 1956 movie "Miracle in the Rain". (Yikes! With Van Johnson again! Enough already with Van Johnson?! NEVER!!!) Anyhoo - Jane is very sweet in this one!

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