Six degrees of Julie Christie and C.S. Lewis

It has been 42 years since Julie Christie won an Oscar for her part in John Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), and many people think she could win another golden statue this Sunday for her part in Sarah Polley’s Away from Her (2006) — and if she does win the award this year, it will apparently mark the longest gap between Oscar wins in Academy history. (Or so says Shinan Govani.)

That’s an interesting bit of trivia in its own right, but here’s another, which I was only alerted to the other day: Darling marks the one-and-only big-screen appearance of Hugo Dyson, a member of the Inklings and a key figure in the conversion of C.S. Lewis; he was there on that fateful night in 1931 when J.R.R. Tolkien explained to Lewis his belief that Christianity was a myth that happened to be true. (He was also the guy who reportedly said “Oh no! Not another fucking elf!” when passages of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings were read aloud at Inklings meetings.)

I have never seen Darling, but I think I will have to, now. Dyson’s uncredited performance isn’t very big, apparently — in fact, the five-minute video below is supposed to contain all the scenes that depict or refer to his character — but it would be good to see these scenes in the broader context of the entire film.

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Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).


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