Ursula Andress and Douglas Slocombe

Andress and Peppard

The Blue Max

I recently discovered that George Peppard is dead. Why did nobody tell me? He died in 1994, and all this time I’ve been sitting on a great story involving Peppard and Ursula Andress. With Peppard out of the way, I very much doubt that the two other people involved in the story will complain.

The other two people involved were Ursula Andress, and Douglas Slocombe. Peppard and Andress starred in The Blue Max. Douglas Slocombe was the lighting cameraman, or cinematographer depending upon which side of the Atlantic you call home. The Blue Max was an 1966 British war film about a German fighter pilot on the Western Front during World War I. It was directed by John Guillermin.

On location for Doctor No

Ursula Andress, Dr No

Slocombe might, possibly, still be alive. He was born in 1913, so he’s 99 if he is still pottering down to the pub for a warm pint of bitter. I’m uncertain about this, but I can’t find on Google any mention of his demise.

I met him on TV commercial shoots a couple of times, including one for Dry Sack sherry, with Jack Gold as director, which is a story in its own right, and, possibly, material for another blog.

On location for Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Stephen Spielberg and Douglas Slocombe

The first thing you notice when you meet Dougie is that he stammers. It’s quite a gentle one, and it doesn’t stop the conversation, although, in times of stress, it does get worse. He’s a very decent man, who wants everyone on his shoots to be happy, and is one of those unsettling lighting cameramen who very, very rarely use a light meter. Films of his which you might know include Raiders of The Lost Ark, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and The Blue Max.

The filming of The Blue Max did not go smoothly. Peppard and Andress did not click together. There was constant needle and bickering between the two of them. Was Peppard gay? I can’t think of any other credible reason other than him being out of his mind.

Eventually, the day came when the two of them were to be filmed in a sex scene shortly before Peppard’s character gets killed.

This did not go well

Ursula Andress and George Peppard hating each other

For this scene, the set was cleared, leaving just the director, the camera operator, the continuity girl who was, apart from Andress, the only girl there, and Douglas Slocombe.

Things did not go well. Peppard had deliberately chewed raw garlic the previous night.

Eventually Andress exploded, knowing that there was enough in the can for her not to have to continue with the charade.

She leapt out of bed as naked as the day she was born, and stormed off the set.

As she marched past Dougie, her breasts bouncing up and down, she said, “And the bastard didn’t even get an erection!!”

And Dougie replied, “W,w,w,…we all did, Ursula!!!”

I hope he is still alive. He is, or maybe was, a gentleman of the screen.

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