(First Volume) A.V. Andersen

On occasion of her heavenly 88th birthday on February 27, 2024, I would like to share with the inclined audience a small collection of memorabilia of my favourite British actress, the magnificent Virginia Maskell. It`s a rare Danish trio of contemporary cinema programmes that flew to me once. Virginia made only three colour movies for big screen between 1957 and 1967 (apart from her iconic appearance as the ominous lady in Arrival, the first episode of Patrick McGoohan`s legendary series The Prisoner 
(filmed in autumn 66, aired from end of 67); but this was, of course, a TV production).

I Virgin Island (filmed in 1957, released in autumn 58. Danish title: Our little Dream Island)
is a soothing romance and partly the true story of an escapist couple who builds their Raft of Love on a tiny islet, entirely shot on location in four glorious months.
Virginia plays Tina, a lively young lady, who asserts herself between two lads as strong as bears. Watch out! Real drama lurked beyond the blue horizon of the British Virgin Islands: Virginia`s first main role would have almost been her swan song when she overturned her vessel, threatened to drown and collapsed on the beach; but she was saved by Jack and his bunch. She may have confused the sea with the pool where she had filmed the episode Decoy of the TV Buccaneers shortly before as a lost lady in a dinghy
Oh, sinister destiny!

II Doctor in Love(both filmed and released in 1960. Danish title: The little Doctor falls in Love)
is an episode of the popular Doctor series. Albeit rather shallow, the plot gains unexpected depth through Virginia`s appearance as Nicola, our both enchanting and conscientious lady doctor. She comforts a sick little boy and she will get her naughty darling, of course (I`m sorry for this spoiler). Nevertheless, real drama lurked off the Pinewood gates: Her second colour movie could have almost been her last when she overturned her car on the icy alley in January 60. But our tough urchin emerged from the wreckage with just a bad bump and she liked to submerge in her Devonshire retreat.

III Interlude (filmed in the Summer of Love of 1967, released mid 68. Danish title: Erotic Interlude)
is the touching tragedy of Antonia, a mature heroine who struggles bravely against her vain husband`s obsessive relation with a random void girl. The movie was mostly made 
at stunning sites in and off London, reminding of Blow Up for its swinging mood and driving scenes. But, but... Virginia wouldn`t be granted to see her greatest performance due to her premature death. Real drama lurked behind her farm gates at the Chiltern Escarpment: In January 68, after an ominous phase of decay, she drove to a beautiful spot in the country where she took her own life. Nothing remained but legends.

I am a Hun with Danish beech roots and one of Maskell`s rare admirers off the Fairest Isle. She caught my attention some decades ago when I saw Virgin Island on Marina Cay, a little rock that belonged to the author of the literary template and was used as a location in autumn 57. Beyond, I am pleased to say that some sequences were filmed in the bay of Charlotte Amalie, the former capital of the Danish West Indies until they were sold to the US about a hundred years ago (oh, what a loss!).

By the way, the first Danish colour film was made in Copenhagen just in 57: Kispus, a romance of cabal and love, starring Helle Virkner, my second favourite actress, whose moving story (albeit it  lasted longer) has perhaps some parallels with the rise and decline of Virginia Maskell. And since both were heavy smokers, I have oddly to ponder about if they ever met for a ciggie at the Hotel d`Angleterre (I apologize for my cross-connections which sadly won`t be the last). So let`s carry on...

Helle Virkner, waiting for Godot (screenshot from Kispus)


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