Video Transcript

A series of interviews to Cecil Beaton in different moments of his life rolls.

Cecil wears a suit and a hat.

The interviewer says MR. BEATON,
YOU'VE BEEN DESCRIBED
AT VARIOUS TIMES AS AN
AUTHOR, A DESIGNER, A DANDY.
YOU MAY NOT REPORT YOURSELF
A DANDY, BUT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE;
A PAINTER, A PHOTOGRAPHER.
NOW, WHICH OF THESE IS
YOUR MAIN PROFESSION?

Cecil says I WISH I KNEW.
I'M AFRAID THAT'S BEEN MY
TROUBLE FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
(GENTLE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
THE VISUAL, REALLY, GUIDES
MY LIFE MORE THAN ANYTHING.

The narrator says THERE IS SCARCELY
A FLATTERING SELF-PORTRAIT,
YET TRUTH BEGINS WITH ONESELF.
OF ALL THE FORMS OF WRITING,
DIARIES ARE THE MOST PERSONAL.

A caption reads "Narration from Cecil Beaton's diaries."

A series of pictures taken by Cecil appears. Among the people photographed appear Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, and Mick Jagger.

The narrator reads and says MY OBSESSION STEMS FROM
THOSE SAME OBSCURE MOTIVES
THAT HAVE IMPELLED ME TO
TAKE SNAPSHOTS ALL MY LIFE.
I EXPOSED THOUSANDS
OF ROLLS OF FILMS,
WROTE HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF WORDS,
IN A FUTILE ATTEMPT TO
PRESERVE THE FLEETING MOMENT.
SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO KNOW
THEIR VOCATION INSTINCTIVELY
AND FOLLOW A SINGLE
PATH THEIR WHOLE LIVES.
OTHERS WANDER IN THE
LABYRINTH OF CHOICE.
I STARTED OUT WITH
VERY LITTLE TALENT,
BUT I WAS SO TORMENTED
WITH AMBITION.
ONCE YOU'VE STARTED FOR
THE END OF THE RAINBOW,
YOU CAN'T VERY WELL TURN BACK.

A man says IT'S INTERESTING
LOOKING THROUGH HIS CAREER
TO BREAK IT UP INTO
CATEGORIES, GENRES.
THE FASHION WORK,
THE PORTRAITURE,
THE FILM AND THEATER WORK.
BUT, IN FACT, THEY
MELD INTO ONE.
IT'S ALWAYS BEATON'S
LOOK, BEATON'S TOUCH.

A scene from the movie "My fair lady" rolls.

Another man says HE JUST GAVE OVER HIS
LIFE TO EXPRESSING BEAUTY,
HOWEVER HE COULD DO IT.

A third man says IN FACT, IT WAS,
IF HE HADN'T HAVE
DONE PHOTOGRAPHY,
IF HE HAD JUST DONE
"MY FAIR LADY,"
THAT WOULD HAVE
BEEN ENOUGH FOR ME.
(ROUSING TRUMPET MUSIC)
(SEDATE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

A caption reads "Hamish Bowels. International Editor at Large, Vogue."

Hamish is in his fifties, with short straight light brown hair and wears a floral suit, a blue shirt and a peach tie.

He HE'S LOOKING
VERY NOSTALGICALLY
TO THE PERIOD IMMEDIATELY
BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR,
THE HIGH BELLE EPOQUE,
EDWARDIAN ENGLAND,
AND IT'S THIS WILD ESCAPISM
THAT IS KIND OF HAND-IN-HAND
WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY
FUTURISM AND MODERNISM.

The caption changes to "David Bailey. Photographer."

David is in his sixties, with short thinning white hair and a stubble. He wears a denim shirt, an ochre jacket and a printed blue scarf.

He says IN FACT, CECIL,
YOU COULD EVEN SAY
INVENTED THE EDWARDIAN AND
GAVE IT A DIFFERENT LOOK,
'CAUSE HE INVENTED IT
WITH "MY FAIR LADY."
'CAUSE NOBODY EVER
LOOKED LIKE THAT.
I MEAN, THIS ISN'T LIKE HER,
I MEAN, EVER.
(HOOVES THUNDERING)

In the movie, Audrey Hepburn's character says COME ON.
COME ON, DOVER.
COME ON.
COME ON, DOVER!
MOVE YOUR BLOOMIN' ARSE!
(STARTLED GASPING)

A woman says OH, MY.

The caption changes to "Philippe Garner. Auctioneer and historian."

Philippe is in his late fifties, bald and clean-shaven and wears a black sweater.

He says BEATON HAD
THIS WONDERFUL EYE
THAT COULD ASSIMILATE
AND DRAW MAGIC FROM
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
THAT HAPPENED AROUND
HIM AND FROM THE PAST,
BUT IT'S THE
APPROACH OF SOMEBODY
WITH THIS RELENTLESS,
RESTLESS VISUAL HUNGER
AND APPETITE FOR BEAUTY.
(GENTLE CHIMING MUSIC)

The interviewer says WHAT
IS BEAUTY TO YOU?

A series of black and white portraits of different ladies appear.

Cecil says I THINK THAT
FRANCIS BACON SAID IT
WHEN HE CONSIDERED THERE SHOULD
BE SOMETHING CURIOUS IN IT.
I THINK THAT BEAUTY
IS ONLY STATIC
FOR SO LONG AND THEN WE
MOVE ON WITH OUR OWN EYES.
I MEAN, IF YOU SEE TOO
MUCH OF SOMETHING TOO LONG,
THEN YOU CHANGE YOUR
ATTITUDE TO BEAUTY
AND NEW WONDERFUL
VICISSITUDES OF BEAUTY APPEAR.

The caption changes to "Tim Walker. Photographer."

Tim is in his forties, with short receding brown hair and a goatee. He wears a striped T-shirt under a denim shirt.

He says HE HAD A RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE IDEA OF THE PERSON,
NOT ACTUALLY THE PERSON.
THERE'S TRUTH IN FANTASY,
AND I THINK BEATON
WAS ONE OF THE PIONEERS
IN THAT CONCEPT.

At another TV interview, the interviewer says WHEN YOU STARTED, AND IT
WASN'T AT ALL THE FASHIONABLE,
TRENDY THING IT IS TODAY
TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER.

Cecil says OH, HEAVENS, NO.
NO, A PHOTOGRAPHER HAD A VERY
AMBIGUOUS POSITION IN SOCIETY.
HE WAS VERY MUCH
LOOKED DOWN UPON,
NOT THAT I REALLY SETTLED
FOR BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER
WHEN I STARTED.
I THINK THAT THAT WAS
REALLY A MEANS TO AN END.
(QUIRKY CHIMING MUSIC)
AS A BOY,
I WAS STAGE-STRUCK
AND I USED TO HAUNT THE OUTSIDE
OF THEATERS LOOKING
AT THE PHOTOGRAPHS
OF THE LEADING ACTRESSES.
AND ONE MORNING, I SAW
THIS PHOTOGRAPH POSTCARD
OF LILY ELSIE, AND I
THOUGHT I'D NEVER SEEN
ANYTHING SO BEAUTIFUL.

Philippe says HE TOOK SUCH INSPIRATION
FROM THE THEATER,
FROM A WORLD INTO
WHICH YOU STEP,
YOU SUSPEND DISBELIEF,
YOU GIVE YOURSELF UP
TO WHATEVER IS
HAPPENING ON THAT STAGE,
AND AND YOU LEAVE IN THIS
SORT OF CLOUD OF DELIGHT.
THAT WAS THE WAY HE
DETERMINED TO LIVE HIS LIFE.

Cecil says I USED TO TAKE
PHOTOGRAPHS OF MY SISTERS
AND I USED TO DRESS
MY SISTERS UP.
THEY WERE VERY GAUCHE, RATHER
UGLY LITTLE SCHOOL GIRLS.
(UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
I WAS ENTIRELY SELF-TAUGHT
AND I'VE ALWAYS
BEEN EXTREMELY BAD
ABOUT ANYTHING
MECHANICAL OR TECHNICAL,
BUT STILL I DID LEARN
EXACTLY HOW I WANTED
TO GET THE EFFECTS
THAT I WAS AIMING AT.

The interviewer says WHEN THE TIME
CAME FOR YOU TO GO TO SCHOOL,
WAS THIS A RELIEF OR DID
YOU FIND IT A BURDEN?

Cecil says OH, I FOUND IT APPALLING.
AT SCHOOL, I REALLY WAS A DUD.
I WAS A VERY BAD SCHOLAR.
I'M PRETTY NEAR UNEDUCATED.
I DIDN'T READ A BOOK
UNTIL I WAS 18, REALLY.
I LEARNED A LOT IN SCHOOL,
BUT NOTHING TO DO
WITH THE THINGS
THAT I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED.
(PLEASANT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The narrator says IN 1922,
I ARRIVED AT CAMBRIDGE.
I SET ABOUT BECOMING
A RABID AESTHETE.
I TOOK A PASSIONATE INTEREST
IN THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE,
IN DIAGHILEV'S RUSSIAN
BALLET, AND, OF COURSE,
IN THE THEATER AND
IN PHOTOGRAPHY.

Cecil says THE NEW DOORS
WERE OPENING TO ME.
THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT
I HAD NEVER KNOWN BEFORE,
AND I WAS THRILLED BY THE
FACT THAT CERTAIN PEOPLE
WOULD GIVE UP THEIR
LIFE TO AESTHETICISM.
I THOUGHT IT WAS LOTS OF FUN.

The interviewer says DID YOU
GO IN FOR THE RATHER
MORE BIZARRE EXTREMITIES
OF THIS STYLE OF DRESSING
IN FANCY CLOTHES AND SO ON?

Cecil says I THINK I DRESSED IN
RATHER PECULIAR GARB, YES.
I WANTED TO SHOW
MY INDIVIDUALITY.
IN FACT, I'M NOT SO SURE
THAT I DIDN'T RATHER
LIKE SHOCKING PEOPLE.

Tim says COULDN'T HELP IT.
I THINK HE COULDN'T HELP
GET IN DRAG AT COLLEGE.
HE COULDN'T HELP HIMSELF,
PUT ON HIS MUM'S NAIL VARNISH
WHEN HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD.
HE WASN'T BEING
PROVOCATIVE AND REBELLIOUS.
IT WAS IN HIM AND IT CAME OUT.

The narrator says DURING
THE THREE YEARS I SPENT
AT THE UNIVERSITY, I NEVER
WENT TO ANY LECTURES.
INSTEAD, I FORMED
THE THEATER CLUB,
DESIGNED SCENERY, AND
PERFORMED IN STAGE PRODUCTIONS.

A series of edgy portraits appear.

The caption changes to "Hugo Vickers. Biographer, Cecil Beaton."

Hugo is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and with short white hair. He wears a striped shirt, a black suit with fine stripes and a printed tie.

He says HE ALSO PROMOTED
HIMSELF HUGELY.
HE WOULD SEND UP A PHOTOGRAPH
OF HIMSELF TO NEWSPAPERS,
SAYING, "THIS IS CECIL BEATON.
"HE'S CURRENTLY
WORKING ON THE SETS
OF PIRANDELLO'S 'HENRY IV,'."
AND IN A SENSE YOU COULD SAY
HE'S ALMOST THE FIRST PR MAN
BECAUSE HIS LINE WAS,
"THE MORE PEOPLE WHO
KNOW ABOUT THE PLAY,
"THE MORE MONEY WE CAN SPEND,"
AND THE MONEY WOULD BE SPENT
IN THE ABSOLUTE PRIORITY
OF SETS AND COSTUMES
BY CECIL BEATON,
WRITTEN BY THE PLAYWRIGHT
AND STARRING THE
ACTORS, IN THAT ORDER.
RUNNING THROUGH BEATON'S
CAREER PRINCIPALLY DEVOTED
TO PHOTOGRAPHING
OTHERS IS AN OBSESSION
WITH PHOTOGRAPHING
HIMSELF, STAGING HIMSELF.
JUST ONE OF THIS WORLD OF STYLE
AND ELEGANCE AND FANTASY
THAT HE WAS CREATING.
HIS LIFE WAS A STAGE.

The narrator says IN 1925,
I CAME TO THE END
OF MY CAMBRIDGE YEARS
WITHOUT A DEGREE,
HAVING FAILED, AS USUAL,
IN ALL MY EXAMINATIONS.

The interviewer says DID YOU
FEEL TOTALLY CONFIDENT
AND SUCCESSFUL IN
ANYTHING THAT YOU'D DONE
OR WERE YOU STILL INSECURE?

Cecil says MOST INSECURE.

The interviewer says WHAT WERE
YOUR AMBITIONS AT THAT TIME?

Cecil says TO BE ABLE TO
DEMONSTRATE THAT I WAS NOT
JUST AN ORDINARY,
ANONYMOUS PERSON.

The narrator says THE TRUTH
IS, I DIDN'T KNOW
WHAT I WANTED TO DO OR BE.
I SHOULD HAVE LIKED
TO HAVE BEEN AN ACTOR,
BUT SOMEHOW, I WAS DIFFIDENT
OR EVEN TERRIFIED ABOUT THIS.
I WANTED TO WRITE PLAYS,
BUT I COULD FIND
NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT.
I LONGED TO DESIGN
FOR THE THEATER,
BUT HOW IS ONE EVER
TO GET AN OFFER?
THE ONLY THING I COULD
DO WITHOUT BEING INVITED
WAS TO INDULGE MY
PHOTOGRAPHIC HOBBY.
(MID-TEMPO INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
MY SISTERS CONTINUED TO SHOW
COMPASSION TO ME IN MY MANIA.

A caption reads "Lady Smiley."

Lady Smiley is in her sixties, with short wavy gray hair and wears a black sweater, a pearl necklace and pearl earrings.

She says BUT IT WAS ABSOLUTE TORTURE
'CAUSE THE MORE I TRIED TO KEEP
STILL, THE MORE I TWITCHED.

The caption changes to "Baba Hambro."

Baba is in her sixties, with short wavy gray hair and wears a black sweater and a pearl necklace.

She says IT WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE, I
REMEMBER, 'CAUSE HE WOULD SAY,
"PUT YOUR HEAD ON ONE
SIDE, STICK YOUR CHIN IN,
"YOUR STOMACH OUT,
CROSS YOUR LEG."

Lady Smiley says "STICK YOUR
(MUMBLES), DARLING."

Baba says I MEAN, I WAS LIKE A
RUDDY CORKSCREW IN THE END.
(SISTERS LAUGHING)

Hugo says AND HE COULDN'T DO
MUCH WITH THE FATHER,
BUT HE COULD DO QUITE
A LOT WITH THE MOTHER
AND THE TWO SISTERS AND HE DID.
HE WOULD PUT NOTICES IN IF
HIS MOTHER GAVE A PARTY,
AND THAT WOULD GET
PRINTED IN THE PAPER,
AND SHE WOULD BE KIND OF LIKE,
SHE'D KNOW HE'D DONE IT BUT
A BIT SORT OF HALF-IRRITATED
BUT HALF PROBABLY QUITE EXCITED.
AND HE USED TO DRESS THE
TWO SISTERS UP IDENTICALLY,
AND BECAUSE THERE
WERE TWO OF THEM
AND THEY LOOKED QUITE
SIMILAR IN MANY WAYS,
THEY VERY OFTEN APPEARED
IN THE SOCIETY COLUMNS.

The caption changes to "Penelope Tree. Former Model. Writer."

Penelope is in her fifties, with long straight blond hair with bangs and wears a teal blouse.

She says CECIL WAS VERY
VAIN IN A CERTAIN WAY
AND VERY, VERY INSECURE.
I THINK THAT INSECURITY
STEMS FROM THOSE EARLY YEARS
OF NEVER REALLY FEELING THAT
HIS FAMILY WAS GRAND ENOUGH,
OR YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT
THE KIND OF FAMILY
HE WANTED TO BE FROM.

The interviewer says GOING RIGHT
BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD,
YOU COME OF A PROSPEROUS
UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY,
SO IT SEEMS TO ME FROM
READING YOUR DIARIES.
YOU'VE WRITTEN VERY
FULLY ABOUT YOUR FATHER.
NOW WHAT WAS IT THAT
MADE IT DIFFICULT
FOR YOU TO GET ON
WITH YOUR FATHER?

Cecil says WELL, I THINK IT WAS VERY
DIFFICULT FOR MY FATHER
TO GET ON WITH ME.
(UP-TEMPO INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The narrator says MY FATHER INSISTED
ON LIVING IN HAMPSTEAD,
A SUBURB OF LONDON, AS HE
CONSIDERED THE AIR HEALTHIER
FOR CHILDREN.
I WAS BORN IN 1904.
THERE WERE TWO BOYS,
MY BROTHER, REGGIE,
BEING A YEAR YOUNGER THAN ME.
FIVE AND SEVEN YEARS
LATER, MY TWO SISTERS,
NANCY AND BABA, WERE BORN.

Cecil says UNTIL I REACHED THE AGE
OF PUBERTY, SHALL WE SAY,
I HAD AN IDYLLICALLY
HAPPY CHILDHOOD.
I WASN'T CONSCIOUS UNTIL LATER
THAT PERHAPS THERE WASN'T AS
MUCH MONEY AS I WOULD LIKE.
MY FATHER WAS A TIMBER MERCHANT,
AND HE WANTED, OBVIOUSLY,
TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO WAS
GOING TO BE LIKE HIM,
AND I FOUND THAT VERY DIFFICULT.
INTUITIVELY, I WENT
AGAINST MANY OF THE THINGS
THAT HE STOOD FOR AND LIKED.

The narrator says REGGIE WAS
MY FATHER'S FAVORITE SON.
THE TWO UNDERSTOOD ONE ANOTHER.
THEY WERE KINDRED SPIRITS.
MY MOTHER'S DRESSING TABLE
DRAWER OF POWDER, ROUGE,
AND MASCARA HELD AN
UNCANNY FASCINATION FOR ME.
ONE DAY, I STOLE INTO HER
BEDROOM AND PAINTED MY FACE.
MY FATHER CAUGHT SIGHT OF ME.
HE BECAME SO ENRAGED THAT
I WAS LOCKED IN MY BEDROOM.

The interviewer says NOW,
DID YOUR MOTHER KNOW
ABOUT THIS FEELING
OF YOURS AT THE TIME?
DID SHE SYMPATHIZE WITH YOU?

Cecil says IN A VAGUE WAY, BUT
SHE WAS TOO BUSY GETTING
ON WITH THE JOB OF
LOOKING AFTER A FAMILY.

The interviewer says SHE
WASN'T ABLE TO HELP YOU
IN THIS PARTICULAR
DIFFICULTY ANYWAY?

Cecil says NO, NO ONE COULD HELP ME.
IT WAS UP TO ME TO FIND THE
SORT OF WORLD THAT I WANTED.

The caption changes to "Sir Roy Strong. Former Director, National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum."

Roy is in his seventies, with short straight white hair and a Van Dyke beard. He wears a paisley shirt and a black V-neck sweater.

He says I THINK CECIL CERTAINLY
WANTED TO SCALE THE SOCIAL TREE,
AND HE WAS THE FIRST
PHOTOGRAPHER, REALLY,
TO ESTABLISH
HIMSELF IN THE WORLD
OF WHAT WOULD BE CALLED
FASHIONABLE SOCIETY
WITH A CAPITAL S.
IT DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE,
BUT HE WANTED TO BE UP THERE.

Hugo says THE CAMERA WAS, IN A WAY,
I SUPPOSE, HIS PASSPORT
INTO THAT WORLD, BUT WHAT
YOU NEED, EVENTUALLY,
IS A PATRON, AND HE FOUND
THAT IN STEPHEN TENNANT.
(REGAL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The narrator says STEPHEN TENNANT.
I FIRST MET THIS REMARKABLY
POETIC-LOOKING APPARITION
WHILE HE RODE THE PAPIER-MACHE
HORSES ON THE ROUNDABOUTS
AT THE OLYMPIA CIRCUS.
HE WORE A BLACK LEATHER COAT
WITH A LARGE ELIZABETHAN
COLLAR OF CHINCHILLA.
AS HE BLEW KISSES
TO LEFT AND RIGHT,
HE CREATED AN
UNFORGETTABLE SIGHT.

Hugo says STEPHEN TENNANT
WAS RICH, GOOD LOOKING,
BURSTS OF IMAGINATION,
VERY SUCCESSFUL.
HE KNEW EVERYBODY.
HE WAS SURROUNDED BY A
BEVY OF GUINNESS GIRLS
AND BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS,
AND THAT'S EXACTLY THE WORLD
THAT CECIL BEATON WANTED.

The narrator says I BECAME A MEMBER
OF THE BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS,
AND DID SILLY THINGS:
ORGANIZED TREASURE
HUNTS, SPOOF EXHIBITIONS,
AND DRESSED UP FOR NIGHTS ON
END IN FANCY DRESS COSTUMES.
OUR ACTIVITIES WERE ALL DONE
WITH ZEST AND ORIGINALITY.
WHAT A RUSH LIFE HAD BECOME.

A clip rolls with a caption that says "Savay Farm, Denham. 1927."

The clip shows Stephen and Cecil in drag.

Hugo says CECIL BEATON,
I SHOULD THINK,
PROBABLY PHOTOGRAPHED
ALL OF THEM.
WHENEVER HE PHOTOGRAPHED ONE,
ANOTHER ONE WOULD APPEAR.
I MEAN, THEY CAME
IN RELAYS, REALLY,
TO SUSSEX GARDENS TO BE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY CECIL.

Roy says ALL THOSE PORTRAITS
OF STEPHEN TENNANT.
YOU KNOW, ROPES OF PEARLS
AND LOOKING IN A MIRROR.
I MEAN, THEY ARE
TERRIBLY NARCISSISTIC.
THE KIND OF NOIR QUALITY
TO SOME OF THOSE THINGS
THAT GOES BACK TO THE
DECADENCE OF THE 1890S,
AND OSCAR WILDE, AND
ALL THAT SORT OF THING.
HE WANTED TO BE ONE OF THEM.

Tim FORGETTING THE FORMALITY,
AND THE HIERARCHY,
AND THE SNOBBISM OF THE ERA,
I THINK JUST THE BASIC
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS,
AND BEING WITH THEM,
WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING.
JUST THAT YOUTH AND
THAT DAMN ELEGANCE.

Philippe says PART
OF BEATON'S WORLD
OF THE IMAGINATION OBVIOUSLY
WAS THE DRESSING-UP TRUNK.
THE IDEA OF OPENING
THIS THIS TRUNK,
AND PULLING OUT COSTUMES,
AND BECOMING DIFFERENT
PERSONALITIES;
THEY WERE TRAVELING BACK IN TIME
AND HAVING A GLORIOUS
TIME DOING IT.

A picture shows Rex, Cecil, Georgia, William, Stephen, Zita, and Teresa in costumes leaning and sitting on a bridge railing.

Hamish says WELL, I WOULD LOVE TO
HAVE BEEN ON THE BRIDGE
WITH REX WHISTLER AND
THE JUNGMAN SISTERS,
AND, I HAVE TO SAY, I'D
LIKE TO INSERT MYSELF
INTO THAT PICTURE. (CHUCKLES)
BEATON WAS ESSENTIALLY AN
OUTSIDER STRIVING TO GET IN.
STEPHEN TENNANT, OF COURSE,
WAS TO THE MANOR BORN,
AND BEATON DIDN'T HAVE
AN INHERITED INCOME
AND YOU KNOW, HE HAD
TO WORK BLOODY HARD
FOR THE MONEY AND TO
KEEP IT ALL GOING.

A picture of a woman lying on her back guarded by angel statues appear with a caption that reads "Edith Sitwell."

The narrator says I OFTEN
WONDER HOW IT WAS
THAT NONE OF THE
BEAUTIFUL, EMINENT,
OR CELEBRATED PERSONAGES
I PHOTOGRAPHED
RAISED AN OBJECTION TO
BEING SEEN UPSIDE-DOWN,
EMBOWERED IN FLOWERS,
CELLOPHANE CLOUDS, OR
ALMOST ASPHYXIATING
WITH THEIR HEADS UNDER
A VICTORIAN GLASS DOME.
BUT, NO, IT SEEMED I
COULD INDULGE MYSELF
TO MY HEART'S CONTENT.

(ETHEREAL CHIMING MUSIC)

Tim says THE IDEA OF TAKING
SILVER FOIL AND PUTTING IT UP,
I MEAN, SEEING BEAUTY IN
SOMETHING PEOPLE WRAP FOOD IN,
IT'S SORT OF TURNING
THINGS ON THEIR HEAD
OF WHAT THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE.

Cecil says THE SITTER REALLY
BECAME MUCH LESS IMPORTANT
THAN THE BACKGROUND OR
THE WHOLE CONCEPTION
OF THE DESIGN THAT I'D
MADE WITH THE CAMERA.

The interviewer says AND YET, ONE VERY
SELDOM SEES UNKNOWN FACES
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEATON.
WAS THAT A CONSCIOUS POLICY
TO FIND DISTINGUISHED SITTERS?

Cecil says NO, I WOULDN'T SAY IT
WAS CONSCIOUS IN THAT WAY.
I MEAN, I PHOTOGRAPHED
A LOT OF FRIENDS
WHO WEREN'T AT ALL WELL-KNOWN.
I THINK, OBVIOUSLY,
THAT IMPRESSION COMES
BECAUSE IT WAS THE
DISTINGUISHED OR WELL-KNOWN ONES
THAT GOT INTO THE NEWSPAPERS,
AND I DID HAVE AN
EYE TO PUBLICITY.

An article written by Cecil appears. The title reads "My freak photographs. Amazing effects that can be got by gymnastics with a camera."

Cecil says THAT WAS VERY
ASTONISHING FOR MY FATHER
WHO WAS QUITE BAFFLED AT THE
WAY THINGS SUDDENLY MOVED,
BECAUSE VERY SOON
I WENT TO AMERICA.
I WAS CONFIDENT
THAT I WOULD REALLY
JUST TAKE AMERICA BY STORM.

A clip rolls with the caption "America. 1929."

Cecil stands in front of the camera and says WHAT A MARVELOUS THING
GREAT PHYSICAL BEAUTY IS.
IT'S NOTHING LESS
THAN A LIVING MIRACLE.
IT'S NOT THE RESULT
OF ACHIEVEMENT,
SKILL, PATIENCE, OR ENDEAVOR.
IT'S JUST A DIVINE HAPPENING.

The narrator says SOON AFTER
MY ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK,
I PUBLICLY CHALLENGED
THE STANDARDS OF BEAUTY
BETWEEN ENGLISH
AND AMERICAN WOMEN.

Cecil says FOR BEAUTIFUL NECKS AND HEADS,
ENGLAND POSSESSES
THE PRIZE-WINNERS.
THERE ARE MANY WHOSE
BEAUTY SHOULD BE IMMORTAL,
FOR THEIR ALABASTER COMPLEXIONS,
THEIR CHEEKS LIKE
PINK ICE CREAMS,
THE CHERRY LIPS, PANSY
EYES, THE FEATHERY LASHES.

A headline reads "Here's a daring soul among us. British artist hasn't seen a beautiful woman here and he says so right out."

Another headline reads "N.Y. Debs 'Hideous,' says artist seeking beauty."

Cecil says I THINK TO BEGIN
WITH IN MY CAREER,
I WAS TERRIBLY LIMITED
IN MY APPROACH,
AND I ONLY COULD
APPRECIATE CERTAIN FORMS
OF CHARACTER OR BEAUTY.
BUT THE ENGLISH FAIL
BADLY ABOUT FEET AND LEGS,
AND HERE THE NEW YORKERS
WIN, FOR THEIR WRISTS,
THEIR ANKLES, THEIR
LEGS, THEIR MOVEMENTS,
THEY ARE PERFECT AND
ESSENTIAL IN 1929.

The narrator says I FELL IN LOVE
WITH THE NEW ENERGY I FOUND
IN THE STREETS AND
QUICKLY BEGAN RECORDING IT
WITH MY CAMERA.
(SOFT JAZZ MUSIC)
I THINK, WITH EXPERIENCE,
LOOKING AROUND IN LIFE,
THE PHOTOGRAPHER GETS
TO APPRECIATE BEAUTY
IN VERY MUCH WIDER FIELDS.
THERE'S THAT OLD EXPRESSION,
BEAUTY IS WHERE YOU SEE IT.
I THINK BEAUTY IS
THERE TO BE RECOGNIZED
AND I THINK IT'S TERRIBLY
IMPORTANT FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER
TO APPROACH THE SUBJECT
WITH A VERY DEFINITE
POINT OF VIEW OF HIS OWN.
WELL, IT TOOK SOME TIME.
AND IT WAS TOUCH AND GO.
WELL, THEN SUDDENLY
THINGS WENT WELL.
I GOT A TERRIBLY GOOD CONTRACT.
(FRENETIC ORCHESTRAL MUSIC)

Several Vogue magazine covers appear.

Philippe says BEATON WASN'T THE
FIRST FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER.
HE DIDN'T INVENT THE GENRE, BUT
HE CERTAINLY TOOK IT PLACES.
HE BROUGHT ROMANCE.
HE BROUGHT A SENSE OF STYLE.
HE KNEW HOW TO POSE HIS MODELS.
HE KNEW HOW TO CREATE THE
MOOD, THAT INEFFABLE MAGIC
HE BROUGHT TO THE MIX.
(CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKING)

The caption changes to "Robin Muir. Contributing editor, British Vogue."

Robin is in his fifties, with short straight brown hair and a gray stubble. He wears glasses, a blue shirt and a deep blue blazer.

He says HE'S THE BEST-KNOWN
HOMEGROWN BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER
OF THAT PERIOD,
CROSSING THE ATLANTIC
AND PHOTOGRAPHS
BEING PUBLISHED IN
BOTH AMERICAN "VOGUE,"
AND BRITISH "VOGUE,"
AND ALSO FRENCH "VOGUE."
HE'S SO FULL OF ENERGY. HE FINDS
INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE.
YOU LOOK AT THE SURREALIST
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 1930S,
IT'S VERY MUCH ABOUT
SHADOW AND FOREBODINGNESS,
OR THERE'S SOMETHING IMPENDING.
AND I THINK A LOT OF
THAT IS ACTUALLY TAKEN
FROM SOME GERMAN
EXPRESSIONIST CINEMA.
AND, OF COURSE, HE MAKES
FRIENDS WITH PAINTERS,
TCHELITCHEW, FOR EXAMPLE,
AND CHRISTIAN BERARD,
THE SORT OF FRENCH
NEO-ROMANTICS,
HE BORROWS AN AWFUL
LOT FROM THEM AS WELL.

Hamish says I THINK THAT WHAT HE BROUGHT
TO THE WORLD OF "VOGUE."
WAS SOMETHING THAT NO
OTHER CONTRIBUTOR BROUGHT,
WHICH WAS NOT ONLY WAS HE A
GREAT FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER
AND A WITTY ILLUSTRATOR,
BUT HE WAS ALSO A VERY,
VERY EVOCATIVE WRITER.

The narrator says EACH WINTER,
I RETURNED TO NEW YORK
TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS WITH
A PASSIONATE ENTHUSIASM,
BUT I DID NOT FEEL I HAD YET
EXPRESSED MYSELF COMPLETELY.
I STILL HAD A GNAWING
HAUNTING FOR THE STAGE.
(BIRDS SINGING)
(WIND RUSTLING)

Cecil says I WAS MAKING A LITTLE
MONEY WITH MY PHOTOGRAPHS,
BUT I DIDN'T DESERVE
TO HAVE EVEN A COTTAGE,
AND I WAS STAYING
WITH EDITH OLIVIER,
WHO WAS A GREAT FRIEND OF MINE.
I SAID TO HER, "I
WONDER IF YOU KNOW
"OF ANY LITTLE PLACE THAT
JUST WOULD BE BIG ENOUGH
"TO PUT A POT OF HONEYSUCKLE
ON THE WINDOWSILL."
AND SHE SAID, "WELL,
THERE'S A DESERTED PLACE
"THAT HAD A GROTTO
IN THE GARDEN."
A GROTTO, MY HEAVENS.
THAT'S JUST WHAT WE WANTED.
I MEAN, A GROTTO
SOUNDED SO BAROQUE,
SO SITWELLIAN, SO
ROMANTIC, SO ITALIAN.
SO WE WENT OVER AND
EVENTUALLY WE SAW THIS PLACE,
AND WE WALKED DOWN FROM
THE TOP OF THE DOWNS,
A VERY DEEP DESCENT,
AND WE LOOKED
UNDER THIS MARVELOUS ARCHWAY,
WHICH WAS PART OF THE
BUILDING THAT HAD BELONGED
TO THE HORSES AND COACHES.

Images of the estate in the countryside appears with a caption that reads "1930-1943."

The narrator says I WAS ALMOST
NUMBED BY MY FIRST ENCOUNTER
WITH THE HOUSE.
IT WAS AS IF I HAD BEEN
TOUCHED ON THE HEAD
BY SOME MAGIC WAND.
IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.
FROM THE MOMENT THAT I
STOOD UNDER THE ARCHWAY,
I KNEW THAT THIS PLACE
WAS DESTINED TO BE MINE.

Cecil says ASHCOMBE WAS REALLY
SO REMOTE, AND SO ROMANTIC,
AND SO MYSTERIOUS.
IT WAS MAGICAL, REALLY.
I WAS SO PROUD OF THIS
STRANGE, WAYWARD PLACE
THAT I TRIED TO BRING DOWN
FROM LONDON AS MANY FRIENDS
AS I POSSIBLY COULD TO SEE IT,
AND THEY ALL CAME UNDER
ITS RATHER HAUNTED SPELL.

Penelope says WHEN YOU
READ ABOUT ASHCOMBE
AND WHEN HE WAS
HOSTING PARTIES THERE,
I MEAN, I JUST DON'T
KNOW HOW THE GUESTS
HAD EVEN ONE MINUTE TO BREATHE.
IF YOU WENT TO
ASHCOMBE AS A GUEST,
I CAN IMAGINE THAT YOU'D
BE CRAWLING OUT OF THERE
ON SUNDAY NIGHT,
UNABLE TO EVEN THINK
BECAUSE THERE WAS
SO MUCH GOING ON.

The narrator says ASHCOMBE HAD BECOME
A MUCH-PAINTED BEAUTY SPOT.
MANY PAINTERS, TCHELITCHEW,
WHISTLER, BERARD,
AND DALI MADE
DRAWINGS OF THE PLACE.
TCHELITCHEW, AT
FIRST, INTIMIDATED ME,
BUT SOON CAST AN ALMOST
HYPNOTIC INFLUENCE OVER ME.
SOMETIMES, IN ORDER TO
LOOK AT THE LANDSCAPE
FROM A FRESH POINT OF VIEW,
I WOULD EMPLOY THE SIMPLE
DEVICE I'D LEARNED FROM HIM
OF GAZING UPSIDE
DOWN AT MY PANORAMA.
IT IS QUITE ASTONISHING TO
DISCOVER HOW MUCH MORE CLEARLY
ONE CAN SEE THE PICTURE
WITHOUT PRECONCEIVED IDEAS.
I DECIDED TO GIVE A FETE
CHAMPETRE AT ASHCOMBE.
DRAWINGS WERE MADE OF COSTUMES
THAT MY FRIENDS MUST WEAR.
BEFORE LEAVING MY HOUSE
FOR THE FIRST TIME,
MY GUESTS WERE MADE TO TRACE
THE OUTLINES OF THEIR HANDS
ON THE WALLS OF ONE
OF MY BATHROOMS.
BY DEGREES, AN EXTRAORDINARY
CONNECTION WAS ACHIEVED.
FOR ME, THE YEARS THAT FOLLOWED
WERE THE GAYEST OF MY LIFE.
AT THAT TIME, LIFE TOOK ON
THIS SUDDEN COLOR AND WARMTH.
(SOMBER PIANO MUSIC)
PETER WATSON, HIS ACUTE
SENSIBILITY, SUBTLETY OF MIND,
WRY SENSE OF HUMOR, AND
MYSTERIOUS QUALITIES OF CHARM
MADE HIM UNLIKE
ANYONE I HAVE KNOWN.
I WISH I HAD SOME OF HIS GIFTS.

The caption changes to "Manolo Blahnik. Designer."

Manolo is in his seventies, with short receding white hair and wears glasses, a cream turtleneck sweater and a beige blazer.

He says I READ NOT LONG AGO
ABOUT PETER WATSON.
PETER WATSON WAS
ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING.
AND BEFORE CECIL,
WAS LIKE, "OH!"
HE WAS LIKE A GOD, A YOUNG GOD.
HE WASN'T THAT YOUNG, OR WASN'T
A GOD, OR THAT BEAUTIFUL,
BUT FOR CECIL, IT SEEMS TO
ME THAT HE WAS LIKE THAT.

The narrator says I HAVE NEVER
BEEN IN LOVE WITH WOMEN,
AND I DON'T THINK I
EVER SHALL BE IN THE WAY
THAT I HAVE BEEN
IN LOVE WITH MEN.
I'M REALLY A TERRIBLE,
TERRIBLE HOMOSEXUALIST
AND TRY SO HARD NOT TO BE.

Hamish says THE PETER WATSON LOVE
AFFAIR WAS VERY, VERY TROUBLED.
PETER WATSON KEPT HIM
VERY CLOSE TO HIM,
BUT ON A SORT OF
LIKE NO-TOUCH BASIS,
SO CECIL BEATON WAS KIND OF LIKE
FEELING ALL THE FRUSTRATIONS
OF THE REJECTED LOVER.
WHAT DOES PETER WATSON DO?
HE GOES OFF WITH OLIVER
MESSEL, UNDER CECIL'S OWN ROOF.

The narrator says OLIVER MESSEL
WAS MY FRIEND AND MY RIVAL.
WE HAD SHARED LOVERS,
THOUGH I AM BOUND TO ADMIT,
I DID NOT DO WELL IN THE RACE.
THERE ARE NO REGRETS IN MY
AMOROUS FRIENDSHIP WITH PETER.
I AM SAD THAT IT WAS NEVER
A MUTUAL LOVE AFFAIR.
(BRIGHT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The narrator says MY NEXT STOP WAS
THE CELLULOID OASIS.
AT THIS TIME, ALL THE HOLLYWOOD
STUDIOS WERE A BUZZING HIVE.
NOT ONLY WAS THIS THE
CENTER OF MOTION PICTURES,
BUT THE TALKIES HAD
JUST BEEN INVENTED.
IT WAS A TIME WHEN
HOLLYWOOD WAS ALIVE.

Manolo says THEN WHEN HE WENT
TO HOLLYWOOD IN THE '30S,
HE CAPTURES HOLLYWOOD AND
AMERICAN ELEGANCE LIKE NO ONE.
HE MANAGED TO MAKE IT MORE
AMERICAN AND CHIC AT THE TIME.
COME ON, THAT PICTURE OF
GARY COOPER IS BEAUTIFUL.

A black and white picture of Gary Cooper leaning against a huge gate.

The narrator says TO WATCH THE
ANTICS OF THIS LANKY LAD
IN HOLLYWOOD WAS LIKE
WATCHING AND ENJOYING
THE OBVIOUS DISCOMFORT
OF A CAGED EAGLE.

Manolo says I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HAS
REALLY CAPTURED THE 20TH CENTURY
IN MANY, MANY
DECADES LIKE HE HAS.

A series of portraits of Hollywood stars appear, such as those of Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, and Marlene Dietrich.

The narrator says MY HOLLYWOOD PHOTOGRAPHS
WERE WIDELY PUBLISHED
AND HAD A GREAT INFLUENCE
IN THE FILM CAPITAL.
MEANWHILE, THE UNEXPECTED
IN ALL ITS FORMS
IS ALWAYS LURKING.
IT CAN STRIKE AT ANY MOMENT.
(SOMBER STRING MUSIC)

Captions read "Cecil Beaton upsets New York. Doesn't know how it happened. Anti-Semitism charge denied."

Robin HE WAS OFTEN ASKED TO
ILLUSTRATE ARTICLES IN "VOGUE."
INTO THIS PARTICULAR ARTICLE,
HE INTRODUCED SOME VERY
UNPLEASANT ANTI-SEMITIC SLOGANS,
IN PARTICULAR, THE WORD
KIKE, BUT VERY, VERY SMALL,
AND YOU'D REALLY NEED
A MAGNIFYING GLASS
TO SEE WHAT HE HAD WRITTEN.
CONDE NAST, THE
PROPRIETOR OF "VOGUE."
HAS TO ORDER THE PULPING OF
130,000 COPIES OF THE MAGAZINE.

The narrator says CONDE WAS
VERY EMOTIONALLY UPSET.
HE WAS SO SERIOUS
THAT I HAD TO RESIGN.

Penelope says JUST VERY
HARD TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT HE WAS THINKING,
'CAUSE HALF HIS FRIENDS
IN NEW YORK WERE JEWISH,
AND AMERICAN "VOGUE" WAS
RUN BY JEWISH PEOPLE.
I MEAN, IT WAS,
EXTRAORDINARY THING TO DO.

Headlines read "Vogue photographer fired for race slurs" and "Photographer apologizes for anti-semitic 'joke'."

The narrator says WHY DID I DO THAT?
I WAS BAFFLED.
I CAN ONLY TELL YOU
HOW DEEPLY SORRY I AM.
IT WAS DONE UNCONSCIOUSLY.
I AM NOT ANTI-JEWISH AND I AM
VIOLENTLY HOSTILE TO HITLER.

Tim says WHY DID HE DO IT?
THE INCIDENT WAS CAUSED
BY THOUGHTLESSNESS,
ARROGANCE, A MISUNDERSTANDING
OF THE GRAVITY
OF THE SITUATION, AND GENERALLY
JUST GETTING ABOVE HIMSELF.
AND DOWN HE WENT.
AND HE DIDN'T REALLY WORK FOR
A YEAR AND A HALF AFTER THAT.

A woman says IT WAS A
WAKE UP MOMENT FOR HIM.
HE WORKED VERY HARD
TO OVERCOME IT,
BUT IT WAS SOMETHING
THAT HE DIDN'T FORGET.
HE HAD SOME AMENDS TO MAKE.

(PHONE RINGING)

The narrator says IN JULY
1939, THE TELEPHONE RANG.
"THIS IS THE
LADY-IN-WAITING SPEAKING.
"THE QUEEN WANTS TO KNOW
"IF YOU WILL PHOTOGRAPH
HER TOMORROW AFTERNOON."
(REGAL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT
MIGHT BE A PRACTICAL JOKE,
THE SORT OF THING
OLIVER MESSEL MIGHT DO.
BUT IT WAS NO JOKE.
MY PLEASURE AND EXCITEMENT
WERE OVERWHELMING.
ANOTHER LEASE OF
LIFE EXTENDED TO ME
IN MY PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER.
I DECIDED THAT OF ALL PAINTERS,
THE MOST SUITABLE TO EXPRESS
THE QUEEN'S PERSONALITY
WOULD HAVE BEEN RENOIR,
BUT THERE WAS NO RENOIR,
AND I WAS TO FACE MY JOB
THAT AFTERNOON WITH A CAMERA.
WHEN I ENTERED THE GATES
OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE
FOR THE FIRST TIME, ON
MY WAY TO PHOTOGRAPH
THAT RAVISHING AND WONDERFUL
PERSON, QUEEN ELIZABETH,
I THOUGHT, HOW DID I GET HERE?

The caption changes to "Susanna Brown. Curator of photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum."

Susanna is in her thirties, with long, slightly wavy blond hair and wears a printed blouse.

She says THAT VERY FIRST
SITTING THAT BEATON HAD
WITH QUEEN ELIZABETH
AS SHE WAS THEN,
LATER THE QUEEN
MOTHER, WAS IN 1939,
AND IN HIS DIARY HE
WRITES ABOUT THE FACT
THAT HE'S EXPECTING THE SITTING
TO LAST 20 MINUTES OR SO,
AND IN FACT, HE SPENT
A FULL THREE HOURS
AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE IN
MANY OF THE STATE ROOMS,
OUT IN THE GARDEN,
TAKING THOSE INCREDIBLY
ROMANTIC, BEAUTIFUL PICTURES
OF THE QUEEN WITH A PARASOL.

Pictures of the Queen Mother appear.

Susanna says SO IT WAS AN IMMEDIATE RAPPORT
THAT HE STRUCK UP WITH THE QUEEN
THAT THEN LED TO SO
MANY SUBSEQUENT SITTINGS
WITH HER FAMILY
AND HER CHILDREN.
BEATON PHOTOGRAPHED
NEARLY 30 MEMBERS
OF THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY,
INCLUDING THE DUKE AND
DUCHESS OF WINDSOR.
BEATON'S IMAGES OF
THE COUPLE TOGETHER
HELPED TO PROMOTE THAT
IDEA OF A ROYAL LOVE STORY
AND THE KING WHO ABDICATED
FOR THE WOMAN WHO HE ADORED.

The narrator says WALLIS
SIMPSON, THE LADY
WHO BECAME THE
DUCHESS OF WINDSOR,
WAS ONE OF MY MOST
FREQUENT SUBJECTS.
FOR THOSE WHO ENJOY GOSSIP,
SHE WAS A PARTICULAR TREAT.

Robin says I THINK IT'S AN
EXTRAORDINARY TESTAMENT
TO HIS STRENGTH OF CHARACTER
THAT HE WAS ABLE TO,
ON ONE HAND, PHOTOGRAPH THE
MARRIAGE OF WALLIS SIMPSON
TO THE DUKE OF WINDSOR,
AND ALSO TO THEN TAKE
PHOTOGRAPHS OF QUEEN ELIZABETH
AND HER HUSBAND,
THE REIGNING KING.
THESE ARE TWO SIDES OF A FAMILY
THAT ABSOLUTELY
DESPISED EACH OTHER,
AND BEATON SUCCESSFULLY
MANAGES TO KEEP IN
WITH BOTH FACTIONS.

The narrator says THE AFTERNOON
LIGHT BEGAN TO FADE,
AND THE QUEEN, WITH ALL
THE WISTFUL SYMBOLISM
OF A CHEKHOV CHARACTER, SAID,
"YOU WATCH, MR. BEATON,
IN A LITTLE WHILE,
"THE SKY WILL BE ROSE-COLORED.
"I SOMETIMES THINK PICCADILLY
IS ON FIRE EVERY EVENING."
HER WORDS, ALAS, WERE
ONLY TOO PROPHETIC.

(SIRENS WAILING)
(SOMBER PIANO MUSIC)
(MUTED BOOMING)

The narrator says THE BLITZ BEGAN IN 1940.
FOR MONTHS, LONDON
WAS TERRIBLY BOMBED.
ONCE MORE, I WAS FACED WITH
MY OLD VOCATIONAL VERTIGO.
IT WAS CLEAR THAT IN ANYTHING
CONNECTED WITH SOLDIERING,
I WOULD BE A REAL SAD SACK,
BUT I WANTED TO BE USEFUL.
I WENT DOWN TO THE CITY TO
PHOTOGRAPH THE DAMAGE DONE
BY SUNDAY NIGHT'S RAID.

The caption changes to "Hilary Roberts. Research curator of photography, Imperial War Museums."

Hilary is in her fifties, with straight light brown hair in a bob cut and wears a black blazer and a printed scarf in pastel shades.

She says THE MINISTRY OF
INFORMATION WAS DESPERATE
FOR INTERNATIONAL
UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT,
PARTICULARLY FROM AMERICA.
CECIL BEATON'S UNIQUE
STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY,
IT WAS FELT, WOULD
CATCH THE EYE.
IT WAS DIFFERENT TO THE
NORMAL PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY.
THEY REGULARLY USED
FIVE PHOTOGRAPHERS,
AND BEATON IS THE
MOST CELEBRATED.
HE STILL FELT THAT
SENSE OF SHAME
FOR WHAT HE HAD DONE IN
1938 WITH AMERICAN "VOGUE."
HE GENUINELY DID
LONG FOR REDEMPTION.

Robin says AND IT'S REALLY
ONLY THE WAR YEARS
THAT SORT OF SAVE HIS REPUTATION
'CAUSE HE DOES GO OUT OF HIS WAY
TO BE AN EXTRAORDINARY
DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER
FROM 1939 ONWARDS.

Hilary says DURING THE WAR,
CECIL BEATON TOOK OVER
7,000 PHOTOGRAPHS.
HE PUBLISHED EIGHT BOOKS,
WRITING FOR INNUMERABLE
MAGAZINE FEATURES AND ARTICLES,
AS WELL AS DRAWING FOR THEM.
THAT BEGAN TO OPEN THE DOOR
FOR BEATON TO MAKE A RETURN,
AND IT CERTAINLY
MADE AMERICAN "VOGUE."
AND BRITISH "VOGUE" THINK
THAT MAYBE THEY OUGHT
TO THINK AGAIN
ABOUT EMPLOYING HIM.

Cecil says I TREATED IT ALWAYS
IN A SORT OF VISUAL WAY.
I THINK IT WAS A MARVELOUS
OPPORTUNITY FOR ME
TO BE DUG OUT
OF MY LITTLE RUT.

The narrator says I WENT TO MOST
OF THE THEATERS OF WAR.
I WENT TO BURMA,
AND CHINA, AND EGYPT.
I REMEMBER A MOST
EXTRAORDINARY SIGHT
WHEN A WHOLE LOT OF TANKS HAD
BEEN BLOWN UP AND LEFT THERE,
AND THESE STRANGE
CIRCULAR OBJECTS
WERE HALF-BURIED IN THE SAND.
THEY JUST REMAINED LOOKING
LIKE A SURREALIST PICTURE.

(SOMBER MILITARY-STYLE
MARCH MUSIC)

Hamish says SO DIFFERENT FROM
CONVENTIONAL WAR PHOTOGRAPHY
BECAUSE HE'S AN AESTHETE
AND HE'S LOOKING
FOR BEAUTIFUL THINGS,
EVEN IN EXTREMIS,
AND DESPAIR, AND HARDSHIP,
WHICH IS VERY, VERY POWERFUL
AND ENDURINGLY SO, I THINK.
IT'S JUST THIS IDEA
THAT CULTURE AND BEAUTY
IS GONNA SURVIVE WHATEVER
THEY THROW AT US.
(SOMBER PIANO MUSIC)

A picture of a bare chested sailor using a sewing machine appears.

Hamish says I THINK HIS SEXUALITY
IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
IN THOSE PHOTOGRAPHS
'CAUSE THE PORTRAYALS
OF THE AIRMEN, AND THE
SOLDIERS, AND THE SAILORS
ARE VERY, VERY LOVING,
AND SOMETIMES EROTICIZED,
AND I THINK THAT'S ALSO
SOMETHING THAT YOU DON'T GET
WITH CONVENTIONAL WAR
PHOTOGRAPHY. (CHUCKLING)

The narrator says IN THE
HANGARS OF AN AERODROME,
I FOUND MORE THRILLING SETS
THAN IN THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS.
IN THE HOSPITALS, THERE ARE
CHARACTERS AND PERSONALITIES
TO BE SEEN, MORE VIVID
THAN IN ANY STAGE DRAMA.
WITH HER LITTLE HEAD BANDAGED,
FOUR-YEAR-OLD EILEEN DUNNE
WAS IN BED WITH WILD,
STARING EYES, IN A GRAY FACE,
AND CLUTCHING A GRAY TOY,
PERHAPS ALL THAT REMAINED
OF HER FORMER LIFE.

Hamish says BECOMES THE
COVER OF "LIFE" MAGAZINE,
AND IT REALLY DOES HELP
PERSUADE AMERICAN OPINION
IN FAVOR OF HELPING OUT EUROPE.

Hilary says BEATON WORKED
EXTRAORDINARILY HARD
AND OFTEN FELL ILL.
HE TRAVELED IN GREAT DISCOMFORT.
HE WAS IN A VERY
SERIOUS AIRPLANE CRASH.

Tim says BEFORE THAT, HE WAS
LIKE A SUGARED ALMOND,
A SORT OF PRETTY LITTLE SWEET,
AND THEN THE INSIDE OF HIM,
HE WAS LIKE A HARD NUT.
AND HE JUST GOT ON A PLANE.
THE PLANE CRASHED.
HE GOT OUT OF THAT PLANE
AND GOT ON THE NEXT
ONE, KEPT GOING.
I MEAN, THAT'S AN
INCREDIBLE FOR THAT SORT
OF FOPPISH DANDY, THAT
FONDANT PIECE OF ICING.
HE WAS, ACTUALLY HAD
A VERY HARD INTERIOR.
(GENTLE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The interviewer says HAVE YOU EVER,
AT ANY STAGE IN YOUR LIFE,
HAD TO DO SOMETHING WHICH IS
REALLY TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU?

Cecil says OH, I'M ALWAYS
HAVING TO DO THINGS
WHICH ARE TOO DIFFICULT FOR ME,
AND I THINK THAT THAT IS THE
THING THAT KEEPS ME GOING.
I'M PERFECTLY WILLING
TO TAKE ON ANY JOB
THAT I THINK MAY HELP
MAKE ME A LITTLE BETTER
AS A HUMAN BEING.

A caption reads "Pelham Place. London."

The narrator says PELHAM
PLACE, MY HOME IN LONDON,
WAS NO LONGER HABITABLE.
THE STREET WAS ROPED OFF
WITH AN UNEXPLODED BOMB
IN THE VICINITY,
SO I WAS PARTICULARLY BLESSED
TO HAVE ASHCOMBE AS A RETREAT.
IT BECAME, MORE
THAN EVER, A REFUGE.

Cecil says WHEN THE TIME
CAME, EVENTUALLY,
FOR ME TO GO AND SEE MY LANDLORD
AND TO HEAR THAT HE WANTED
TO TAKE OVER THE PLACE,
I JUST COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
IT WAS LIKE A DEATH KNELL.
I COULDN'T IMAGINE THAT
I WOULD BE EXPELLED
FROM THIS LOVELINESS
THAT I HAD MADE MY OWN.
(SOMBER MUSIC)
(RAIN PATTERING)

The narrator says I'VE BEEN GOING
THROUGH ALL THE OLD BOXES.
THE PAST COMES ALIVE
WITH SHOCKING VIVIDNESS.
SOME OF THE LETTERS AND
DOCUMENTS MAKE ME SAD,
SOME ALMOST STOP
MY HEART BEATING:
THE TELEGRAM ANNOUNCING
MY FATHER'S DEATH,
THE PIECE OF PAPER
LEFT ON THE HALL TABLE
INDICATING THAT MY
BROTHER, REGGIE, WAS OUT.
HE WOULD NEVER COME BACK
TO WRITE THAT HE WAS IN.
THE EVENING THAT
REGGIE WAS KILLED
BY AN UNDERGROUND
TRAIN, I FELT UNMOVED.
HIS SUICIDE WAS THE CROWNING
BLOW TO MY FATHER'S LIFE.
I THOUGHT, DEAR DADDY, WHAT
A NIGHTMARE ORDEAL FOR YOU.
REGGIE WAS YOUR FAVORITE SON.
YOU'D BEEN SUCH FRIENDS.
I'M THINKING NOW OF
ALL THE DAYS REGGIE
AND I SPENT TOGETHER.
WE GREW UP IN GREAT INTIMACY,
FIGHTING A LOT BUT
REALLY DEVOTED.
I FEEL FULL OF REGRET AND GUILT
FOR HAVING BEEN SO SELFISH.
(GENTLE PERCUSSIVE MUSIC)

Hugh says HIS MOTHER WAS
VERY MUCH HIS RESPONSIBILITY
AFTER THE FATHER DIED.
HE WAS VERY PROTECTIVE
OF HIS MOTHER
AND VERY DEVOTED TO HER.
WHEREVER HE LIVED, SHE
ALWAYS HAD HER OWN ROOM
AND SHE WAS PART OF THE SCENERY.

The caption changes to "Reddish house. 1948-1980."

The narrator says SINCE I WAS
THROWN OUT OF ASHCOMBE,
I HAVE FOUND A SMALL HOUSE IN
THE COUNTRY TO TAKE ITS PLACE.
OF COURSE, REDDISH
HOUSE DID NOT POSSESS
THE WAYWARD ROMANTIC
REMOTENESS OF ASHCOMBE.
THIS WAS THE ABODE
OF AN ADULT PERSON.
IS IT BECAUSE IT IS MY OWN
THAT I LOVE IT SO MUCH?

Hilary says HE NOT ONLY GREW UP
AND BEGAN TO VALUE THINGS
IN LIFE BEYOND HIMSELF,
BUT IT WAS ALSO THE POINT
AT WHICH HIS LIFE
CHANGED DIRECTION,
WHICH WAS LESS PHOTOGRAPHY
AND MORE ABOUT STAGE DESIGN.
(CHARMING PIANO MUSIC)

Roy says AFTER THE WAR, WHEN
HE DID THAT FAMOUS PRODUCTION
OF THE WILDE PLAY, "THE
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN,"
I MEAN, THAT GAVE A
GLAMOR AFTER 1945,
AFTER THE DREADFUL, DULL,
GRAY, BLEAK, RUINED,
CITY KIND OF ATMOSPHERE,
POST 1945, SUDDENLY
TO SEE THIS VISION
OF EDWARDIAN GRANDEUR, SPLENDOR.
I MEAN, WE NEEDED THAT.

The narrator says IT WAS DIAGHILEV
WHO SET ME ON THE TRACK
OF DESIGNING FOR THE
THEATER AND THE BALLET.
HE WAS NEITHER A DANCER, A
PAINTER, A CHOREOGRAPHER,
NOR A MUSICIAN, BUT
HE HAD THE VISION,
THE TASTE, AND THE KNOWLEDGE
TO EMBRACE ALL THESE THINGS.

The caption changes to "Alastair Macaulay. Dance critic, The New York Times."

Alastair is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short wavy gray hair. He wears a pink shirt.

He says CECIL BEATON WAS INSPIRED
BY THE TWO GREAT RUSSIAN ICONS
OF BALLET WHO CAME FROM
THE SAME GENERATION
AND WERE TOTALLY

OPPOSED TO EACH OTHER,
ANNA PAVLOVA AND
SERGE DIAGHILEV.
BALLET PEOPLE TALK
ABOUT THE WORD PERFUME,
AND ANNA PAVLOVA WAS THE
ULTIMATE PERFUME BALLERINA.
SHE WOULD LEAVE
ESSENCES OF HERSELF,
AND HAD A WONDERFUL QUALITY
OF UPPER-BODY ACTING,
SO PEOPLE FELT SHE
WAS LIKE A FLAME.
THE BALLET I WISH WE COULD
SEE IS THE ORIGINAL VERSION
OF "THE APPARITIONS."
AND JUST SEE
THESE EXTRAORDINARY
SPLASHES OF COLOR
WHERE THE WHOLE CORPS DE BALLET,
ONE SECTION'S WEARING
PURPLE AND LILAC,
ONE SECTION'S WEARING SCARLET,
AND IT GIVES US SUCH
AN IDEA OF PURE BEAUTY.
I DON'T THINK CECIL BEATON
WAS LIKE ANYBODY ELSE
IN THE WORLD OF DANCE
BECAUSE HE WAS A PHOTOGRAPHER
AND HE WAS A DESIGNER.
I CAN'T REALLY THINK OF PEOPLE
WHO DID THOSE TWO THINGS,
BUT HE WAS A
PERSONALITY IN OPINION,
AND HE WAS LIKE ALL THESE
POST-DIAGHILEV PEOPLE.
HE WAS A DANDY.
(UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

Roy says EVERYTHING
ABOUT HIM WAS STYLE:
THE WAY HE DRESSED, THE
WAY THE TABLE WAS LAID,
THE FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE,
ALL THOSE LITTLE DETAILS
OF A KIND OF DANDY.

Hugo says IT GOES
FAR BEYOND CLOTHES.
IT'S A SORT OF ATTITUDE,
AND IN HIS CASE,
THE WAY HE DOCUMENTED
THE WORLD AROUND HIM.

The interviewer says DO
YOU THINK YOU WERE,
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER,
ABNORMALLY SELF-CONSCIOUS
ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE?

Cecil says OH YES.

The interviewer says ARE YOU STILL SO?

Cecil says LUCKILY, NO.
I'VE GOT RID OF THE PAST
EXCEPT FOR THIS HAT.
(CHARMING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
THIS HAT I WEAR
BECAUSE I THINK IT
HAS A CERTAIN EDWARDIAN BRAVURA,
AND ALSO IT HIDES THE
FACT THAT I'M GOING BALD,
AND I DON'T LIKE TO EXHIBIT
MYSELF QUITE BALD, YOU KNOW.

Penelope says CECIL HAD AN AURA ABOUT
HIM THAT REALLY DREW YOU IN.
HE WAS EXTREMELY STYLISH,
BUT HE LOOKED TOTALLY
UNLIKE ANYBODY ELSE.

Truman Capote says HE'S BOTH VERY VAIN AND
VERY MODEST AT THE SAME TIME.
HE HAS A KIND OF SOCIAL VANITY,
WHICH IS AMUSING AND UNIQUE,
AND I LIKE IT, AND
IT'S PART OF HIS CHARM.

Cecil says AM I VAIN?
OH NO, ANYTHING BUT VAIN.
I'M MY WORST CRITIC.

The caption changes to "Nicky Haslam. Interior designer."

Nicky is in his sixties, with short white hair and a goatee. He wears a denim shirt with a white undershirt and an ochre cardigan sweater.

He says I'VE GOT THIS STRANGE
FEELING ABOUT VANITY.
I THINK VANITY'S WHEN
YOU THINK YOU'RE PERFECT,
AND CECIL DIDN'T
THINK HE WAS PERFECT,
AND TRIED TO IMPROVE HIMSELF,
BUT IT WAS HUGELY CRITICAL.
I THINK HE THOUGHT SOME PEOPLE
DIDN'T RISE TO HIS STANDARDS.

The interviewer says WHO IS
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN
YOU'VE EVER PHOTOGRAPHED?

Cecil says UH, I SUPPOSE GARBO.

A clip from the movie "Mata Hari" starring Greta Garbo rolls.

The narrator says I AM
OBSESSED BY HER.
THE MOMENT I WAKE
IN THE MORNING,
I START TO THINK ABOUT HER,
AND SO IT GOES ON ALL DAY,
AND THEN IN MY DREAMS AT NIGHT.

Mata Hari says DON'T SPEAK.
(TENDER INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

Cecil says MISS GARBO, I ALWAYS
WANTED TO PHOTOGRAPH HER,
BUT SHE WAS VERY AVERSE TO THE
IDEA UNTIL SUDDENLY ONE DAY,
HER FATE PLAYED INTO MY LAP,
AND SHE SAID, "IF ONLY
YOU WEREN'T SUCH A GRAND
"AND ELEGANT PHOTOGRAPHER."
(INTERVIEWER CHUCKLING)
AND SO I SAID, "I
SUPPOSE THEN YOU'D ASK ME
"TO TAKE A PASSPORT
PHOTOGRAPH, WOULDN'T YOU?"
SAID, "HOW DID YOU KNOW?"
WELL, THE PICTURES I TOOK
WEREN'T VERY SUITABLE
FOR PASSPORTS.

The caption changes to "Isaac Mizrahi. Designer."

Isaac is in his fifties, with short curly graying hair. He wears a black shirt.

He says THEY WERE THE MOST
BEAUTIFUL PICTURES,
THOSE PICTURES OF GARBO,
AND THEY WERE LOVING.
YOU COULD FEEL THAT HE
JUST ADORED HER, RIGHT,
MORE THAN OTHER SUBJECTS.
THESE PICTURES OF HER
KIND OF SPRAWLED OUT
ON A COUCH WEARING A TURTLENECK
AND THIS AMAZING BRACELET.

The narrator says SHE PUT A
PENCILED LINE ON THE BACK
OF THOSE OF WHICH SHE APPROVED,
AND WOULD ALLOW ME TO PUBLISH
ONE OF THEM IN "VOGUE."
A WEEK BEFORE THE MAGAZINE WAS
TO BE IN ALL THE BOOKSTORES,
GRETA SENT ME A CABLE
SAYING THAT IF MORE THAN ONE
OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS
WERE TO APPEAR,
I WOULD NEVER BE FORGIVEN.
FRANTIC CALLS TO MY
FRIENDS AT "VOGUE":
"STOP EVERYTHING!"
IT WAS TOO LATE.
THE COPIES WERE ALREADY
BOUND AND ON THEIR WAY
THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.
THROUGH A COMPLETE
MISUNDERSTANDING,
IT WAS NOW IMPOSSIBLE
TO PREVENT HER
FROM FEELING
COMPLETELY BETRAYED.
MY ABJECT CABLES,
LETTERS, TELEPHONE CALLS,
AND FLOWERS SENT TO
HER WERE UNANSWERED.

Isaac says THERE WAS A
SELF-DESTRUCTIVE THING THERE,
NOT IN TERMS OF HIS CAREER
OR WHAT HE WAS
DOING AS AN ARTIST,
MUCH MORE ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION
OF RELATIONSHIPS, YOU KNOW?
THIS COMPULSION TO MAKE
THINGS ALL THE TIME
IS WHAT DRIVES YOUR LIFE,
AND YOU SACRIFICE ALMOST
EVERYTHING ON THE ALTAR OF THAT.

Philippe says BEATON
IS A CREATIVE FORCE,
AND IT'S ABOUT CREATING
THIS ILLUSORY WORLD
THAT THE VIEWER IS
INVITED TO STEP INTO.
THE IDEA OF THE SCRAPBOOK,
THE COLLAGE, IS PURE BEATON.

The narrator says SO I HAVE NOW
150 DIARIES AND 97 SCRAPBOOKS,
MEMORIALS OF MANY
VIOLATED MAGAZINES,
REPOSITORIES OF MUSEUM
PICTURE POSTCARDS,
THEATRICAL PROGRAMS,
LETTERS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS
WHICH I HAVE ACCUMULATED
SINCE CHILDHOOD.
IF I COULD BRING ONE THING
TO A DESERTED ISLAND,
I WOULD CHOOSE ONE
OF MY SCRAPBOOKS
BECAUSE THEY'RE FULL OF
PICTURES OF PEOPLE STILL ALIVE
IN MY MEMORY.
FINALLY, AFTER SIX
MONTHS, GRETA CALLED
AND LEFT WORD WITH MY SECRETARY
THAT SHE WOULD VISIT
ME THAT AFTERNOON.
MY HEART STARTED TO
THUMP SO VIOLENTLY,
IT WAS ALMOST ALARMING.

The caption changes to "Leslie Caron. Actress."

Leslie is in her eighties, with short wavy brown hair and wears a black sweater, a long beaded necklace and a printed scarf.

She says YES, I THINK THERE WAS SOME
HANKY-PANKY WITH GRETA GARBO.

The caption changes to "Peter Eyre. Actor."

Peter is in his seventies, balding and clean-shaven. He wears a black sweater and a gray blazer.

He says SOMETHING HAPPENED,
I DON'T KNOW WHAT.
IT MIGHT HAVE JUST BEEN
A RATHER AWKWARD FUMBLE
ON THE SOFA OR SOMETHING.
I DON'T KNOW, BUT
SOMETHING HAPPENED.

Nicky says HE THOUGHT HE
COULD TURN GARBO,
AND I THINK GARBO HOPED
SHE COULD TURN HIM.
BUT I'M TOLD ACTUALLY
CECIL WAS QUITE GOOD
IN BED WITH GIRLS.

The narrator says I HAD KNOWN THAT
WE WERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER.
I ASKED, "WHY DON'T
YOU MARRY ME?"
I'D NEVER ASKED
ANYONE TO MARRY ME,
AND YET TO MAKE THIS PROPOSAL
SEEMED THE MOST NATURAL
AND EASY THING TO DO.
BUT GRETA LOOKED
COMPLETELY ASTOUNDED.

Hugo GARBO, TO SOME EXTENT, MAY
WELL HAVE BEEN A LESBIAN,
BUT SHE ALSO HAD QUITE A LOT
OF RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEN.
THE PROBLEM CERTAINLY ABOUT
HIM SORT OF SETTLING DOWN
INTO ONE OF THOSE COZY
PARTNERSHIPS WAS UNLIKELY
TO WORK REALLY VERY WELL
BECAUSE THERE WAS ALWAYS
SOME INCREDIBLY TEMPTING
LIGHTED CANDLE SOMEWHERE
WHICH WAS MORE APPEALING.
HE HAD THIS VISION OF
WHAT HE WANTED TO BE,
AND HE WAS ALWAYS IN A HURRY.
"ANYTHING FOR THE UPRISE,"
AS HE ONCE PUT IT.
HE WAS VERY, VERY KEEN TO
MOVE IN GOOD SOCIAL CIRCLES.

David says HE LOVED THAT ROYALTY THING.
I SUPPOSE IF YOU
LOOKED AT IT ONE WAY,
IT COULD BE KIND OF ENDEARING
THAT HE WAS SO TAKEN
IN BY ALL THAT STUFF,
AND I THINK 'CAUSE
OF HIS BACKGROUND,
HE WANTED TO BE PART OF
THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE.
IF A PERSON HAD A
CROWN ON HIS HEAD,
HE LIKED THEM MUCH MORE.
HE WAS A TERRIBLE
SOCIAL CLIMBER.
(LIGHT CHIMING MUSIC)

A clip shows images of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second.

The narrator says THE CALL
SAYING THE QUEEN WANTED ME
TO DO HER PERSONAL
CORONATION PHOTOGRAPHS
COMES AS AN ENORMOUS RELIEF.

Susanna says BY THE TIME OF THE
QUEEN'S CORONATION IN 1953,
BEATON WAS ALREADY WORLD FAMOUS.
HE ATTENDED WESTMINSTER ABBEY
FOR THE CEREMONY ITSELF.
HE WAS SEATED VERY
HIGH UP IN THE ABBEY,
UP NEAR THE ORGAN PIPES,
AND HE HAD HIS TOP
HAT STUFFED FULL
OF SANDWICHES AND
DRAWING MATERIALS,
AND HE RECORDED, IN VERY
SIMPLE BLACK SKETCHES,
THE GOINGS-ON IN THE ABBEY
AS THEY UNFOLDED BEFORE HIM.

The crowd chants LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

Susanna says WHEN YOU LOOK AT
THOSE PICTURES OF THE QUEEN,
PARTICULARLY THE COLOR IMAGES,
THERE'S A REAL GLOW ABOUT HER.
THERE'S A SENSE THAT SHE'S
ALMOST RADIATING LIGHT.

Philippe says THE IMAGE HE
CREATED OF THE MONARCHY
WAS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL,
AND HIS ABILITY TO CREATE
THIS SEEMINGLY
MAGNIFICENT, UNFOLDING TALE
OF ROMANCE AND GLAMOR
WAS SO IMPORTANT
TO INSPIRE THE NATION.

(CROWD CHEERING)

Isaac says I DON'T KNOW IF HE EVER BECAME
AN INSIDER HIMSELF,
BECAUSE I THINK
THAT HE ALWAYS SAW HIMSELF
AS BENEATH HIS SUBJECTS,
ESPECIALLY THE ROYAL FAMILY.
HE JUST FELT SO
PRIVILEGED TO BE NEAR THEM
IN THE SAME ROOM, YOU KNOW?
AND I ALWAYS FOUND
THAT A LITTLE SAD,
BUT HE'S ENGLISH, SO
HE KNOWS HIS PLACE.

Hamish says THE BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM
IS A VERY, VERY INTERESTING
AND STRANGE ANIMAL.
IF YOU WERE BORN OUTSIDE
THAT WORLD, THAT WAS JUST IT,
AND YOU COULD BE A COURT JESTER,
AND YOU COULD BE A
SORT OF ENTERTAINER,
AND A RECORDER OF IT, BUT
YOU WERE NEVER GONNA BE
INSIDE THAT WORLD.

Hugo says UNDERNEATH IT I THINK THERE
WAS ALWAYS AN INSECURE PERSON.
YOU KNOW, HE WAS
NEVER, EVER CONFIDENT
THAT PEOPLE WERE ACCEPTING HIM,
BUT THAT'S ALSO A DRIVING FORCE.
(UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

Hamish says HE PUBLISHED ABOUT
38 BOOKS IN HIS LIFETIME.
SOME OF THEM OBVIOUSLY
WERE VERY VISUAL,
SOME OF THEM WERE
MORE LIKE DIARIES.

Philippe says I THINK THERE ARE
PHOTOGRAPHERS, AND STYLISTS,
AND CERTAINLY DESIGNERS WHO
HAVE REFERENCED BEATON HEAVILY
THROUGH THE YEARS.

Robin says THAT INCREDIBLE
BOOK, "THE GLASS OF FASHION."
CHANGED MY LIFE.
HE'S ABLE TO DO THESE
INCREDIBLE DRAWINGS,
AND IT'S GREAT WRITING.

A picture of Coco Chanel leaning against a wall by a statue appears.

Tim says I WAS 18 AND I GOT
A JOB AS AN ARCHIVIST
IN THE "VOGUE" BEATON ARCHIVE.
IT WAS MY JOB TO LOOK
AT THE NEGATIVES,
HOLD THEM UP TO A LIGHT,
AND TRY AND CHOREOGRAPH
THEM TO THE BEATON PICTURES
ON THE PAGE IN THE MAGAZINE.
OF COURSE IT RUBBED OFF ON ME.
(RAPID INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
I THINK IT WAS BEATON'S
ROMANCE THAT ATTRACTED ME.
HUMAN BEINGS FEED OFF
ESCAPISM AND FANTASY
IN A REACTION TO THE
HARSHNESS OF REALITY.
I THINK THERE'S A SORT
OF NOBILITY TO FANTASY
FOR THAT REASON.

The caption changes to "David Hockney. Artist."

David is in his eighties, with short white hair and wears glasses, a red shirt, a yellow tie and a forest green cardigan sweater.

He says HE OPENED MY EYES TO
PHOTOGRAPHY, AND I THEN REALIZED
THERE ARE SOME GOOD
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Philippe says BEATON USED THE CAMERA
IN A VERY PARTICULAR WAY.
REALLY WHAT MATTERED TO
HIM WAS ALWAYS THE SUBJECT.
SEIZING, FREEZING,
HOLDING THAT BEAUTY,
THAT GLAMOR, THAT IDEA,
CREATING THIS BEATON UNIVERSE.
IT'S NOT THE WORLD
AS HE FOUND IT,
IT'S THE WORLD AS HE TRANSFORMED
IT, AS HE WISHED IT TO BE.
(ROUSING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

A clip from the movie "Gigi" rolls.

Leslie says ONE OF THE GREATEST
CONTRIBUTION TO THE QUALITY
OF "GIGI" IS THE FACT THAT THE
PRODUCER HIRED CECIL BEATON
TO DO EVERYTHING
VISUAL IN THE FILM.

Isaac says CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT
THAT WAS LIKE FOR CECIL BEATON?
GOING TO A SOUNDSTAGE WHERE YOU
COULD JUST CREATE ABSOLUTELY
ANYTHING, CARTE BLANCHE.
THAT'S LIKE A FANTASY.
THAT'S LIKE BEING
IN THE BIGGEST SPACE
IN THE WORLD AND
SOMEONE SAYING, LIKE,
"JUST CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY."

Gigi walks in a room and says HELLO, GRANDMAMA.

Grandma says GIGI, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

Gigi says PLAYING IN THE PARK.

A male character on the back of a coach says ARMENONVILLE.

Cecil says A LOT OF THE PICTURE
WAS SHOT IN PARIS, AND THEN
WE WENT BACK TO HOLLYWOOD
JUST FOR THE INTERIORS.
IT WAS THE FIRST TIME
THAT I'VE EVER WORKED
AS A DESIGNER IN A
MAJOR HOLLYWOOD STUDIO.
YOU CAN ASK THE IMPOSSIBLE
AND IT SUDDENLY APPEARS.

(GIGI CLEARS THROAT)

Gigi flaunts her dress and says LOOK, GASTON.
FOUR YARDS OF
MATERIAL IN THE SKIRT.

Leslie says CECIL
DIDN'T MISS A MINUTE.
HE WAS THERE EVERY DAY
FROM SEVEN O'CLOCK ON.
AND THEN WHILE WE WERE SHOOTING,
HE WOULD TAKE PICTURES.

The narrator says MORE
THAN ANYONE ELSE,
LESLIE CARON POSES THE QUESTION,
"WHAT MAKES A FACE PHOTOGENIC?"
IN LIFE AND ONSTAGE, WE SEE
A DELIGHTFUL LITTLE FROG.
IN THE TWINKLING OF A FLASHBULB,
WE SEE A PHOTOGRAPH OF A BEAUTY.

Isaac says BEATON ENTERED INTO
MY REALM SUBLIMINALLY
WHEN I WAS A KID.
I THINK THAT, OF THE FILMS
THAT I LOVE OF BEATON'S,
THE ONE THAT I LOVE THE
MOST IS "MY FAIR LADY."
("ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE")

Cecil says WHEN THEY CAME TO ME
WITH "MY FAIR LADY,"
I JUST KNEW THAT I'D
REALLY GOT SOMETHING
THAT I'D ALWAYS
BEEN WISHING FOR.
IT WAS REALLY A
QUESTION OF DELVING DOWN
INTO MY YOUTH, INTO MY
CHILDHOOD, INTO MY ADOLESCENCE.

A clip from the movie "My fair lady" rolls.

Hamish says MY MOTHER TOOK ME
TO SEE "MY FAIR LADY."
AND I REMEMBER THE
CREDITS COMING UP.
I ALSO REMEMBER THINKING THAT
HE'D GOT IT ALL HORRIBLY WRONG
BY GIVING THE ASCOT LADIES
THOSE KIND OF EARLY '60S
CLEOPATRA WINGED EYES.

The cast sing a song that says PULSES
RUSHING
FACES
FLUSHING

Hamish says AND I
COULD ALREADY SEE
THAT THAT WAS ENTIRELY UN-1912.
I HAVE NEVER
BEEN SO KEYED UP
SO I WAS A LITTLE BIT TUT
TUTTY ABOUT THE WHOLE THING.
BUT I, WHICH IS A
LITTLE BIT SCARY
CONSIDERING I WAS SEVEN
OR EIGHT, I THINK,
BUT OF COURSE, I
LATER CAME TO REALIZE
THAT AS AN ENSEMBLE, IT
WAS QUITE REMARKABLE.

In the movie, Eliza says THE RAIN IN SPAIN STAYS
MAINLY IN THE PLAIN

Professor Higgins says I THINK SHE'S GOT IT.
I THINK SHE'S GOT IT.
THE RAIN IN SPAIN STAYS
MAINLY IN THE PLAIN

Hamish says YOU COULD ARGUE
THAT AFTER ELIZA
DOOLITTLE LEARNS HOW
TO SPEAK PROPERLY,
CECIL CARRIES THE REST
OF THE FILM COMPLETELY.
AND IT'S ALL VISUAL,
REALLY, AFTER THAT.

Isaac says ON TOP OF BEING
A PHOTOGRAPHER,
ON TOP OF BEING A
WRITER, HE WAS A PAINTER,
AND THAT COLOR SENSE THAT
BEATON HAD WAS MARVELOUS.
FOR ME, IF YOU GET THE
COLOR RIGHT, YOU HAVE IT.

The interviewer says BUT THE ONE PRODUCTION
THAT ONE TENDS
TO ASSOCIATE WITH YOU ABOVE
ALL OTHERS IS "MY FAIR LADY,"
BOTH THE PLAY AND THE
FILM, WHICH WON YOU,
I THINK, TWO OSCARS.
I GOT THE IMPRESSION THAT WHEN
IT CAME TO DOING THE FILM,
YOU WERE LESS
HAPPY IN HOLLYWOOD.

Cecil says I LOVED THE PREPARATION.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE
MOST EXCITING THING
BECAUSE I WAS RETHINKING
THE WHOLE PRODUCTION,
BUT UNFORTUNATELY, ONCE
WE STARTED SHOOTING,
I FELT DISAPPOINTED
WITH CERTAIN PERSONAL ASPECTS
OF THE WHOLE SET UP.

Nicky says HE WAS QUITE WOUND UP
WHEN IT WAS IN LOS ANGELES,
'CAUSE HE HATED IT.
"OH, THAT TERRIBLE GEORGE CUKOR.
"SUCH A NIGHTMARE."

An interview with George Cukor rolls.

A caption reads "George Cukor. Director, My fair lady."

The interviewer says I GATHER
THAT YOU REALLY DIDN'T GET
ON VERY WELL WITH CECIL BEATON.

George says NO, I DIDN'T.

The interviewer says WOULD YOU
LIKE TO EXPAND ON THAT?

George says NO, NO, IT'S A BORING SUBJECT.
I'M SURE HE'S BORED
WITH IT, AND SO AM I.
NO, NO.

The interviewer says BUT THEN...

George says EXCEPT HE DID
PICK MY POCKETS, AND HE
ATTEMPTED TO STRANGLE ME,
AND HE'S A FORGER,
AND EVERYTHING.
NO, NO, IT JUST, WE JUST
DIDN'T GET ON VERY WELL,
AND I WAS RIGHT.
(GENTLE PIANO MUSIC)

The narrator says I REALLY
SUFFOCATED IN HOLLYWOOD.
IT IS UGLY BEYOND BELIEF,
AND THERE WERE VERY FEW PEOPLE
WITH WHOM I COULD SPEAK
THE SAME LANGUAGE.
IT IS TWO YEARS SINCE THAT NIGHT
WHEN AT THAT STRANGE LOCALE,
AMONG THE BLACK LEATHER TOUGHS,
ONE VERY BEAUTIFUL FAWN-LIKE
CREATURE IN OLIVE GREEN
SMILED THE SWEETEST, MOST
TENDER OF SMILES AT ME.

Nicky says I THINK CECIL WAS VERY MUCH
IN LOVE WITH KIN HOITSMA.
HE WAS LIKE A
SCHOOLGIRL WITH KIN.
HE WAS ALL, I
REMEMBER IN THE POOL,
AND KIN WOULD SORT OF
PICK UP CECIL IN HIS ARMS,
AND GOES, "YEAH," LIKE THAT.
I MEAN, HE WAS SO SORT
OF GIRLY WITH KIN.

The narrator says HE WAS A
CONTINUOUS DELIGHT TO THE EYE,
FULL OF LAUGHTER, UNSPOILED,
ENCHANTINGLY YOUNG AND COLTISH,
AND CEASELESSLY BEAUTIFUL.
HE WAS MY MOST
PRIZED POSSESSION.

Robin says I DON'T THINK THAT
KIN BROUGHT OUT THE BEST
IN CECIL BEATON.
AT THAT POINT, CECIL
WAS EXPERIMENTING
WITH A WHOLE NEW GENERATION,
A WHOLE NEW LIFE.
HE MUST HAVE FELT THAT
THIS GAVE HIM A SORT
OF A GREAT YOUTHFUL BOOST,
BUT THAT'S NOT A VERY GOOD BASIS
FOR A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP.

The narrator says KIN'S EXIT
WAS AS IF TO AN EXECUTION.
I LIKE TO THINK IT WAS
AS BAD A MOMENT FOR HIM
AS IT WAS FOR ME.
I WENT BACK TO BED, NOT TO SLEEP
BUT TO MOAN AT MY LOSS AND
TO FEEL DESPERATELY SAD.

Nicky says I THINK HE ALWAYS WANTED TO
HAVE A LONGSTANDING ROMANCE
AND IT NEVER REALLY WORKED.
I MEAN, THE HE REALLY WAS
IN LOVE WITH PETER WATSON
ALL HIS LIFE, I THINK.
KIN WAS NOT UNLIKE PETER
WATSON IN A FUNNY WAY,
SAME SORT OF LOOK.

Hugo says CECIL BEATON SEEMS
TO HAVE HAD A KNACK
OF BEING A PRETTY BAD CHOOSER,
AND MAYBE WE SEE A LITTLE THREAD
GOING THROUGH ALL
THIS THAT PERHAPS,
SUBCONSCIOUSLY, HE
DIDN'T REALLY WANT
TO SETTLE DOWN WITH ANY OF THEM.

Ray says CECIL BEATON, I SUPPOSE,
WAS BASICALLY A HOMOSEXUAL
WITHOUT A DOUBT, BUT
HE ALWAYS REALIZED
THAT HE WAS ON THE
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY.

David says CECIL IS DEFINITELY
GAY IN A TIME
WHEN IT WAS AGAINST THE LAW.

The caption changes to "Ray Gurton. Former butler."

Ray is in his eighties, balding and wears a striped shirt and a black sweater.

He says HE DID HAVE A PHYSICAL LIFE,
BUT IT WAS VERY
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.
HE HAD ONE REGULAR
BLACK GENTLEMAN
THAT USED TO VISIT
QUITE FREQUENTLY,
BUT HE WAS VERY
DISCREET ABOUT IT.

Penelope says I THINK HE WAS GENUINELY
CURIOUS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE,
AND FELT INSPIRED
BY GREAT ARTISTS.
HE SAW HIMSELF IN THAT
SORT OF CONSTELLATION
OF GREAT CREATIVE PEOPLE.

Robin says YOU DIDN'T HAVE
TO BE MADLY BEAUTIFUL
TO APPEAL TO CECIL BEATON.
WHAT HE LIKED WAS PEOPLE
WHO EXPRESSED THEMSELVES.

Pictures of Gertrude Stein, Mona Bismarck, and Diana Cooper appear.

Peter says BUT HE WAS A VERY
GOOD FRIEND TO HIS FRIENDS,
AND HIS FRIENDS WERE
VERY, VERY LOYAL TO HIM.

An old clip rolls with the caption "Diana Vreeland."

Diana is in his fifties, with short black hair and wears a black power suit.

She says FROM THE BEGINNING, I'VE
KNOWN HIM ALL MY LIFE.
HE'S A FRIEND OF A LIFETIME.
HE ALWAYS WANTED
A VERY GOOD LIFE,
AND HE REALIZED THERE'S
ONLY ONE VERY GOOD LIFE,
AND THAT'S THE LIFE
THAT YOU KNOW YOU WANT
AND YOU MAKE IT YOURSELF.
THAT'S WHAT HE'S DONE.
DON'T YOU THINK?

Truman Capote says YES, WELL, HE'S A
TOTAL SELF-CREATION.

Diana says MM, TOTAL.

Truman says THERE ARE VERY FEW PEOPLE
IN THE WORLD THAT ARE
TOTAL SELF-CREATIONS,
AND HE CERTAINLY IS ONE.

Diana says YOU SEE, WHAT
I LIKE ABOUT CECIL,
HE'S GOT A GREAT DEAL OF
THE OUTRAGEOUS IN HIM.
HE LIKES ALL THE
LIMITS, DOESN'T HE?

Truman says WELL, HE CERTAINLY
GOES TO EXTREMES.

Diana says YES.

Truman says HE CAN BE EXTREMELY
KIND OR EXTREMELY RUDE.
HE CAN BE THE RUDEST
PERSON I'VE EVER KNOWN.

Diana says YES, AND HE PICKS HIS ENEMIES
BEAUTIFULLY, DOESN'T HE, HM?
HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING
WHEN HE'S DOING THOSE THINGS.

Truman says I WONDER, THOUGH, REALLY.
I MEAN, HE CERTAINLY
GATHERS ENEMIES
LIKE OTHER PEOPLE GATHER
ROSES. (CHUCKLING)

Diana says THAT'S RIGHT.

Truman says I'M NOT SO SURE THAT
HE PICKED THEM WELL.

Diana says BUT HE'S VERY POSITIVE,
HE'S NOT A NEGATIVE PERSON.
HE LOVES, IT'S VERY
EASY FOR HIM TO LOVE.

Truman says WELL, HE POSITIVELY LOVES
YOU OR HE POSITIVELY HATES YOU.

The interviewer says ARE
THERE ANY CLOSE FRIENDS
FROM EITHER SCHOOL OR CAMBRIDGE
THAT YOU'VE CARRIED RIGHT
THE WAY THROUGH WITH YOU
AND ARE STILL CLOSE
FRIENDS TODAY?
Cecil says YES.

The interviewer says ENEMIES?

Cecil says YES.

The interviewer says NO NAMES,
I SUPPOSE, NO BACK TRAIL?

Cecil says I DON'T MIND GIVING A
FEW NAMES, IF YOU WANT.

The interviewer says TELL ME
A FEW NAMES OF FRIENDS
AND ENEMIES WHO'VE BEEN
WITH YOU ALL THE TIME.

Cecil says WELL, EVELYN
WAUGH IS MY ENEMY.
WE DISLIKE ONE
ANOTHER INTENSELY.
HE THINKS THAT I'M A
NASTY PIECE OF GOODS,
AND, OH, BROTHER, I FEEL
THE SAME WAY ABOUT HIM.

The narrator says AS FOR NOEL COWARD,
I ADMIRE EVERYTHING
ABOUT HIS WORK.
WHY THEN HAVE I HATED HIM?
PERHAPS I WAS ENVIOUS OF
THE SUCCESS OF HIS CAREER.
I'VE ALWAYS DESPISED THE
BURTONS FOR THEIR VULGARITY,
COMMONNESS, AND CRASS BAD TASTE.
RICHARD BURTON IS
AS BUTCH AND COARSE
AS ONLY A WELSHMAN CAN BE.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR IS
EVERYTHING I DISLIKE,
COMBINING THE WORST OF
AMERICAN AND ENGLISH TASTE.
KATHARINE HEPBURN'S
APPEARANCE IS APPALLING:
A FRECKLED, BURNED,
MOTTLED, BLEACHED,
AND WIZENED PIECE
OF DECAYING MATTER.
SHE HAS NO GENEROSITY,
NO HEART, NO GRACE.
SHE'S A DRIED-UP BOOT.

Cecil says OH, YES, I CAN HATE.
I CAN HATE UNREASONABLY.
I MEAN, I'M VERY
CONSCIOUS OF THAT.
AND THEN A LOT OF
THE TIME I FEEL,
WELL, I'M ONLY DOING
IT JUST FOR A GAG,
THAT I REALLY DON'T
HATE THIS PERSON,
THAT IT'S JUST A SORT
OF GAME I'M PLAYING
WITH MYSELF ABOUT THEM, THAT
CLEARLY, THEY'RE NOT TOO BAD,
BUT I TAKE A LINE ABOUT
CERTAIN PEOPLE AND STICK TO IT.

Peter says I THINK HE COULD
BE VERY DISAPPROVING.
YOU WOULD SUDDENLY SEE A
LITTLE FLASH OF BITCHINESS.

David says THERE'S A WAY THAT THE
ENGLISH HAVE OF BEING RUDE
IN A NICE WAY WHERE YOU
ACTUALLY QUITE LIKE THEM
BEING RUDE TO YOU, AND CECIL
DIDN'T HAVE THAT RUDENESS,
HE JUST HAD RUDENESS. (LAUGHING)

Penelope says I ACTUALLY REALLY LOVED CECIL.
I HAD A HUGE SOFT SPOT FOR HIM.
I THINK THAT WAS SOMETHING TO
DO WITH HIS MELANCHOLY SIDE.

Peter says HE NEVER
GAVE THE IMPRESSION
OF BEING A HAPPY PERSON,
ALTHOUGH HE HAD A LOT OF HUMOR,
AND HE WAS HE ENGAGED WITH
PEOPLE VERY, VERY EASILY.
I THINK THAT PROBABLY
LOVE, OR THE LACK OF LOVE,
WAS AN ENORMOUS
PART OF HIS LIFE.
MAYBE HE DIDN'T OPEN
HIS HEART VERY MUCH.

Penelope says HE WAS VERY HARD TO READ,
AND I THINK LIKE PROBABLY
MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE
IN THE WORLD, HE WAS JUST
THIS SORT OF MASS
OF CONTRADICTIONS.

Roy says LET'S FACE IT,
HE WAS TWO-FACED.
I REMEMBER ONE WEEKEND I WAS
STAYING WITH CECIL BEATON
AND HE SPOTTED THIS
WOMAN OUTSIDE THE DOOR,
AND HE SAID, "OH, IT'S
THAT FUCKING WOMAN!"
OPENING THE DOOR:
"MARY, DARLING,
"IT'S SO WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU."
THAT GOT HIM IN ONE.

The interviewer says SUPPOSING
YOU HAD TO JUDGE YOURSELF
FROM YOUR DIARIES,
WHAT SORT OF MAN
DO YOU THINK YOU'D FIND THERE?
WERE YOU A BIT SHOCKED WHEN YOU
LOOK BACK ON THE EARLY ONES?

Cecil says I REALLY LOOKED UPON THEM
FROM A TECHNICAL POINT OF VIEW.
I CAME ACROSS THIS HOARD
AND I STARTED READING THEM,
AND I WAS APPALLED BY THE
PERSON THAT WAS REVEALED THERE,
BUT SUDDENLY, THERE
WOULD BE A LITTLE PATCH
THAT I THOUGHT HAD
GREAT VITALITY,
THAT STILL SEEMED TO BE VALID,
AND SO I COLLECTED
THEM TOGETHER,
AND EVEN IF I CAME OUT OF THEM
IN A PRETTY UNBECOMING LIGHT,
AND I THOUGHT THEY
WERE INTERESTING,
THEN I LET THEM GO IN.

Robin says OF COURSE THE MOST
NOTORIOUS EXAMPLE OF THAT
WAS WHEN HE PUBLISHED HIS
DIARIES ABOUT THE AFFAIR
WITH GRETA GARBO,
BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT
WAS A VERY IMPORTANT
PART OF HIS LIFE
AND IT COULDN'T BE IGNORED.
WELL, SHE WAS A VERY,
VERY PRIVATE PERSON,
AND THAT DID NOT GO DOWN
WELL EITHER WITH HER,
OR WITH A GREAT NUMBER OF
OTHER PEOPLE WHO CONSIDERED
THAT HE HAD NOT BEHAVED
LIKE A GENTLEMAN.

Cecil says I DO FIND THAT MY
OPINION CHANGES VERY MUCH
AS TIME GOES BY, AND I'M
ALWAYS SORT OF RECONSIDERING,
AND I THINK PERHAPS I'VE
BEEN MUCH TOO OUTSPOKEN
ON RATHER TRIVIAL SUBJECTS.
(PLAYFUL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

An old clip shows Beaton taking pictures of a young model in a yard with the caption "Beaton by Bailey. 1978."

He says THAT'S MARVELOUS,
PENELOPE, JUST LIKE THAT.
GOOD, YOUR FINGERS STRAIGHTER.
AND HEAD A BIT HIGHER.
THAT'S RIGHT, NOW THEN
WILL YOU FOLLOW ME?
I WANT YOU TO LOOK ECSTATIC,
YOU MUST BE INSPIRED.
DON'T SMILE, NO, VERY SERIOUS.
(PENELOPE SCREAMING)
(BOTH LAUGHING)
JOLLY GOOD, JOLLY WELL DONE.
I THINK YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY SUPER.

Penelope says WELL, I WAS WITH DAVID BAILEY
WHEN HE DECIDED TO DO A
DOCUMENTARY ON CECIL BEATON.
(CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKING)

David says YOU KNOW, I DIDN'T
LIKE HIM, CECIL.
HE WAS SUCH A SNOB,
BUT I THOUGHT HE
WAS A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER
AND A GREAT DESIGNER.

A clip shows a young photographer taking Cecil's pictures and saying THAT'S ABSOLUTELY MARVELOUS.

(CECIL SPEAKS IN
FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

The photographer says OH, BE...

Penelope says CECIL WAS VERY PATIENT
WITH BAILEY, BUT I
THINK THAT BEATON
ABSOLUTELY LOATHED BAILEY.

Cecil says YEAH, ALL RIGHT?
NO, YOU HAVE IT ALL OUT?

David says IN A WAY, YOU HAVE TO
SORT OF GET THE PERSON
IN THE FILM WHEN YOU'RE
MAKING A FILM ABOUT THEM.

Cecil says THANK YOU.

The photographer says GOOD,
AND WALK TOWARDS ME.

Cecil says WALK TOWARDS YOU?

The photographer says YEAH.
DRAG THEM IN, IN A WAY, EVEN
IF YOU HAVE TO ANNOY THEM.
GOOD.

Cecil says THAT'S RIGHT.

The narrator says BAILEY,
YOUR FILM IS ENTERTAINING
AND IS OF GOOD VALUE, BUT
IT IS NOT A GOOD FILM.
(CECIL YELLING PLAYFULLY)
IT IS INCONCLUSIVE
AND SUPERFICIAL.

David says WELL, I GOT HIM THEN,
DIDN'T I? (LAUGHING)
RIGHT ON THE HEAD.
MAYBE IT'S TOO CLOSE
TO HOME, CECIL,
IF YOU'RE LISTENING
UP THERE WITH GOD,
DECORATING HIS FRONT ROOM.
(UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

Penelope says LOT OF PEOPLE JUST
DISMISSED YOUNGER,
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
AS BEING FLASH-IN-THE-PANS
OR POP CULTURE,
BUT CECIL, YOU KNOW, HE
KNEW WHAT TALENT WAS,
AND HE FOLLOWED THAT.

Philippe says HE WAS PHOTOGRAPHING
THE GREAT MODERN ARTISTS
OF THE POST-WAR YEARS:
BACON, AND FREUD,
AND GILBERT and GEORGE.

AND YOU'RE GOING TO
STAND IN FRONT OF...

David says WELL, HE LOVED
ANYTHING, ANYTHING NEW.
LOVED YOUTH.

An old clip shows Cecil taking pictures of a young David Hockney.

Cecil says GOOD,
JUST LEAN FORWARD
LIKE THAT AWFUL ADVERTISEMENT
FOR YOUR CIGARETTE, SIR.
THAT'S RIGHT.

David Hockney says HE CAME
IN THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF
ART WHEN I WAS A STUDENT.
I KNEW HE WAS AN OLD QUEEN.
I KNEW A FEW THINGS ABOUT HIM.
THEN HE TOLD ME HE WANTED
TO BUY THIS PAINTING.
HE OFFERED ME 40 POUNDS FOR IT,
WHICH I HAD NEVER HAD 40
POUNDS FOR A PAINTING BEFORE,
AND SO I USED THAT MONEY
TO COME TO AMERICA.
THE FIRST TIME, YEAH.

Cecil says LOOK OUT
OF THE FALSE WINDOW.

The narrator says IT STAGGERS
ME HOW THIS YOUNG MAN
CAN BE SO AT HOME IN THE WORLD.
HE HAS THE GOLDEN QUALITY
OF BEING ABLE TO ENJOY LIFE.

Cecil says SCINTILLATING.

The narrator says HE IS NEVER BLASE,
NEVER TAKES ANYTHING
FOR GRANTED.
LIFE IS A DELIGHTFUL
WONDERLAND FOR HIM.

Cecil says AND THEN
JUST LOOK AT ME.
THAT'S RIGHT.

David Hockney says I MEAN, I DID GET TO
KNOW HIM QUITE WELL.
I HAD TO SKETCH HIM FOR
"VOGUE" AND HE PHOTOGRAPHED ME,
SO THE DRAWINGS
TOOK A LONG TIME.
I REMEMBER IF HE LIKED
THE DRAWING, I DIDN'T.
IF I LIKED THE
DRAWING, HE DIDN'T.

Penelope says HE
NEVER REALLY RESTED.
I DON'T SEE HOW
HE DID EVERYTHING
AND WENT OUT EVERY NIGHT.
IT'S EXTRAORDINARY
HOW MUCH HE GOT DONE.

The narrator says I HAVE
ALWAYS COMPLIMENTED MYSELF
ON MY STAMINA, AND CAN WEAR
OUT EVEN MY YOUNGER FRIENDS
WHEN IT COMES TO WORK OR PLAY.
I CAN STILL THINK OF MYSELF
AS A RATHER APPEALING
BRIGHT YOUNG THING.

A young man at a party says LOOK AT HOCKNEY, YOU
SEE HE'S GIGGLING AWAY.
I LOVE HIS GREEN SHIRT.

David Hockney says I WENT TO CECIL'S PARTIES.
GET HIM OUT OF HERE.
I MEAN, I MET ALL
KINDS OF PEOPLE THERE.
I MET VIVIEN LEIGH
THERE, LAURENCE OLIVIER,
LOADS OF FILM PEOPLE.
THAT'S WHERE I MET MICK
JAGGER, AT CECIL BEATON'S.

Mick Jagger says I FIRST MET CECIL
BEATON IN PART OF MOROCCO
WHICH WAS LITTLE-KNOWN THEN.
I WAS WALKING IN
THE MEDINA ONE DAY
AND I SAW THIS BEAUTIFUL FIGURE
CLAD ALL IN A WHITE SUIT
WITH A BEAUTIFUL FEDORA HAT.
IT WAS VERY NICE.
TAKES SOME NICE PICTURES.

The narrator says MICK JAGGER IS
SEXY, YET COMPLETELY SEXLESS.
HE IS BEAUTIFUL AND UGLY,
FEMININE AND MASCULINE,
A RARE PHENOMENON.

Robin says CECIL BEATON HAD
A KNACK OF ALWAYS BEING
IN THE RIGHT PLACE
AT THE RIGHT TIME.
YOU KNOW, HE WASN'T HAVING
A SIESTA IN THE HOTEL
WHEN THE ROLLING STONES CAME BY,
HE WAS OUT THERE
AND HE SAW THEM,
AND HE TOOK THEIR
PICTURES BY THE POOL.

Cecil points at a photograph and says TERRIBLY GOOD OF ANDY WARHOL.
I LIKE THAT ONE THE MOST.

Hamish says HE CONTINUALLY
EMBRACED WHAT WAS EXCITING,
AND NEW, AND MODERN, AND
HAPPENING, AND OF THE MOMENT,
AND UP TO THE MINUTE, AND WITH
IT, AND SWINGING, AND HIP.

Cecil says DELIGHTFUL.

Hamish says THE MIND BOGGLES TO THINK
WHAT HE COULD HAVE MADE
OF TODAY'S INTERNET,
INSTAGRAM, SELFIE WORLD.
I'D LOVE TO SEE A BEATON
PORTRAIT OF KIM KARDASHIAN,
AND I'D PARTICULARLY LIKE
TO READ THE DIARY ENTRY.
(GENTLE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

The narrator says I COME
DOWN TO THE COUNTRY
BY THE EARLIEST TRAIN POSSIBLE.
THE LANDSCAPE IS
EVERYTHING I LOVE,
WITH DRY GRASSES IN THE HEDGES
AND ALL THE COTTAGE
GARDENS ABLAZE.

Ray says WHEN YOU FOUND THE REAL
CECIL, IT WAS DELIGHTFUL.
THE REAL CECIL WOULD COME OUT
WHEN HE WAS HOME AT REDDISH,
IN THE GARDEN WITH HIS
OLD GARDEN CLOTHES ON.
HE WAS HAPPY.
THERE WAS NO GRANDEUR.
HE REALLY WAS HIMSELF,
WHICH WAS VERY NICE TO SEE.

Cecil says HERE'S MY LITTLE CAT.
HE LIKES VERY MUCH STAYING
IN THE HERBACEOUS BORDER.
I WONDER IF I MIGHT
BE ABLE TO GET YOU.
COME ON, TIMOTHY, YEAH.
OH, I'M SO PLEASED TO SEE YOU.
NICE CAT.
TIMOTHY WHITE.
TIMOTHY
WHITE.
I HAVE NO PLANS FOR
SETTLING DOWN AT ALL.
I THINK MY IDEA OF
A PEACEFUL OLD AGE
IS CONTINUING TO
EXPERIMENT, AND DEVELOP,
AND TACKLE EACH NEW
HURDLE AS IT COMES ALONG.
(RAPID PERCUSSIVE MUSIC)

A caption reads "Cecil Beaton retrospective, 1968."

A newscaster says LONDON'S
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
IS PAYING AN
UNPRECEDENTED COMPLIMENT
TO CECIL BEATON
WITH AN EXHIBITION
OF 700 OF HIS
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS.

Roy says IT WAS A LANDMARK SHOW.
IT PUT BEATON BACK
IN THE LIMELIGHT.
IT PUT THE NATIONAL
PORTRAIT GALLERY,
UP UNTIL THEN THOUGHT OF AS
THE DOWDIEST GALLERY IN LONDON,
AT THE HEIGHT OF
GLAMOR AND EXCITEMENT.
AND NO NATIONAL
COLLECTION HAD EVER STAGED
AN EXHIBITION OF A
LIVING PHOTOGRAPHER,
SO IT PUT PHOTOGRAPHY ON
THE MAP AS NEVER BEFORE.

A clip from the movie "On a clear day you can see forever" rolls.

The narrator says BARBRA STREISAND,
SHE HAS STAR QUALITY.
SHE'S A NATURAL.
SHE IS ABOVE ALL
ELSE, INTELLIGENT.
HER BRAIN WORKS SO
CLEARLY, SO HEALTHILY.
SHE COULD BE A LAWYER.

The interviewer says WOULD YOU
HAVE LIKED YOUR LIFE ALL
TO BE DIFFERENT RIGHT NOW?

Cecil says VERY DIFFERENT, YES.
I THINK THAT I WISH
THAT I WERE ABLE
TO DIG DOWN DEEPER.
I THINK THAT I RELIED
ON MY INSTINCT AND TRIED
TO PERFECT MY INNER
SENSE OF REALITY,
BUT I DON'T THINK
THAT I HAVE MADE
AN INTELLECTUAL ENOUGH APPROACH
TO MY WORK AND MY LIFE.

At the Tony Awards 1970, a presenter says AND THE WINNER IS
CECIL BEATON FOR "COCO."
(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

Cecil says THIS IS SIMPLY SPIFFING.
(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
I'M VERY LUCKY TO GET THIS.
I'M LUCKY BECAUSE I DON'T
THINK ANY OTHER DESIGNER
HAS EVER HAD SUCH A
MARVELOUS INSPIRATION
TO WORK TO AS
MADEMOISELLE COCO CHANEL.

Susanna says BEATON'S
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE V and A MUSEUM
BEGAN WHEN HE WAS
INVITED TO STAGE
AN EXHIBITION CALLED
"FASHION: AN ANTHOLOGY."
IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS.
IT WAS WILDLY POPULAR, AND IT
INCLUDED GARMENTS AND CLOTHING
FROM VIRTUALLY EVERYONE
CECIL BEATON KNEW.

Robin says CECIL
GOT A CBE IN 1957.
THAT'S COMPANION OF THE
ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE,
AND FOR A LONG TIME
HE WASN'T KNIGHTED.
BUT WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID WHEN
HE DID GET KNIGHTED FINALLY
IN 1972 WAS, "OH, IT'S
PRACTICALLY POSTHUMOUS."

Cecil says GOOD, AND THE HANDS, GIVE
IT A LITTLE MORE SORT OF THIS.

The narrator says AS THE
YEARS PASS, I HAVE FOUND
THAT I MUST WORK HARDER
THAN EVER I DID BEFORE.

Cecil says IT'S GOOD,
IT'S VERY NICE.

The narrator says THE WHOLE
PROBLEM OF THE FUTURE
IS ONE OF ANXIETY.
(THUNDER RUMBLING)
(RAIN PATTERING)

Philippe says AFTER A VERY INTENSE
WORKING CAREER,
BEATON SUFFERED HIS STROKE.
HE WAS GREATLY DEBILITATED.

Penelope says HE WAS PARALYZED
DOWN HIS RIGHT SIDE,
AND HE NEVER REALLY GOT THE
USE OF HIS RIGHT HAND BACK.
(RAPID INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)

Hugo says WORST OF ALL PERHAPS FOR HIM
IS THAT HE LOST HIS
PARTICULAR ELEGANCE,
AND THAT HE RESENTED VERY MUCH,
AND HE WAS VERY,
VERY, VERY DEPRESSED.

The narrator says IT IS
AWFUL HOW EASILY I WEEP.
WHY HAVE I NOT ANY SELF CONTROL?
SUDDENLY, I REALIZED I WAS
APPALLED BY THE SADNESS OF LIFE.
I WAS WEEPING FOR
MY OWN LOST YOUTH,
AND I WAS WEEPING FOR ALL
THE DEAD PEOPLE I HAD LOVED:
MY MOTHER, AND MY
BROTHER, AND ALL
WHO HAD BEEN PART
OF MY CHILDHOOD.
WHY SHOULD I FEEL
SAD ABOUT THE PASSING
OF SO MUCH RATHER THAN GRATITUDE
THAT SO MUCH HAS BEEN
FITTED INTO LIFE?

Peter says HE WAS ON THIS ENDLESS
QUEST FOR SOMETHING,
NOT IMMORTALITY BUT
TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING
THAT HE WAS PROUD OF,
BUT I FEEL IN SOME KIND OF WAY
THAT NONE OF THE THINGS HE
DID REALLY SATISFIED HIM.
I DON'T THINK HE
THOUGHT THAT HE REALLY
WAS ALL HE COULD HAVE BEEN.
HE WAS SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING,
AND SO MUCH MORE CURIOUS,
AND SO MUCH MORE
COMPLEX AS A PERSON,
BUT I THINK THAT COMPLEXITY
HE HAD IS WHAT ARTISTS HAVE.
IT'S NOT FOR THE ORDINARY.

A picture of Cecil with Eileen Hose in the garden appears.

Robin says HE GAVE
UP WRITING DIARIES
WHEN HE HAD THIS BAD STROKE
IN 1974, BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY
A POST-STROKE DIARY AS WELL,
BECAUSE WHEN I WENT TO SEE
CECIL AND EILEEN, HIS SECRETARY,
THEY TOLD ME THAT THEY'D
HAD THIS TERRIBLE DRAMA
BECAUSE THE CAT,
TIMOTHY, AFTER 17 YEARS,
HAD HAD TO BE PUT TO SLEEP.
AND WHEN I ACTUALLY GOT
MY HANDS ON THE DIARY,
THE LAST THING CECIL
BEATON EVER WROTE WAS,
"SO TIMOTHY HAS PASSED
THROUGH TO OBLIVION.
"IS HE PERHAPS THE LUCKY ONE?"
AND EXACTLY A WEEK LATER,
HE HIMSELF GOT FLUSTERED IN
THE NIGHT AND OUT HE WENT.
CECIL BEATON DIED
AT REDDISH HOUSE
ON THE 18TH OF JANUARY IN 1980.
THERE WERE THREE PHOTOGRAPHS
IN HIS ROOM WHEN HE DIED.
ONE WAS OF PETER WATSON,
ONE WAS OF KIN HOITSMA,
ONE WAS OF GRETA GARBO.
THOSE WERE THE THREE PEOPLE
THAT HE CONSIDERED THE
GREAT LOVES OF HIS LIFE.

Roy says WELL, I WAS SAD
FOR HIM BECAUSE I KNOW
HE WOULD HAVE HATED DYING.
HE LOVED LIFE TOO
MUCH, AND IT WOULD,
HE WOULD HAVE FELT HE WAS
MISSING SOMETHING BY BEING DEAD.

Philippe says HIS LIFE WAS
ABOUT LIVING FOR THE WONDROUS,
LIVING FOR BEAUTY,
REJECTING THE BANAL,
REJECTING THE
COMMONPLACE, AND BELIEVING
THAT YOU CAN CREATE A LIFE,
YOU CAN CREATE A PERSONALITY,
YOU CAN CREATE A WORLD FOR
YOURSELF AND THOSE AROUND YOU.

David says NO ONE HAS HAD
THE ABILITY TO WAVE THE WAND
AND SCATTER THE MAGIC OVER
SOMEBODY LIKE CECIL BEATON.

Hamish says HE WAS
UNIQUELY CONNECTED
TO SO MANY DIFFERENT WORLDS,
AND IT'S ALWAYS FASCINATING
HAVING HIS PERSPECTIVE,
THE POINTED OBSERVATION THAT
SOMEONE ELSE MIGHT HAVE MISSED.
IT'S VERY INTERESTING
TO GET THE UNVARNISHED
TRUTH SOMETIMES,
AND I THINK HE COULD ALWAYS BE
RELIED UPON TO FURNISH THAT,
EVEN IN HIS MOST
PRIVATE WRITINGS.

The narrator says IF I KNEW
ANYONE HAD READ THIS,
I'D ALMOST GO MAD,
AND YET I FEEL I
HAD TO WRITE IT.
PERHAPS I HAVE
DIGRESSED IN LIFE,
BUT WHAT IF ONE DOESN'T
WANT TO SPECIALIZE?
BE DARING.
BE DIFFERENT.
BE IMPRACTICAL.
BE ANYTHING THAT WILL
ASSERT INTEGRITY OF PURPOSE
AND IMAGINATIVE VISION
AGAINST THE PLAY-IT-SAFERS,
THE SLAVES OF THE ORDINARY.
WHAT IF ONE IS A DREAMER?
(BRIGHT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC)
(SOFT CHIMING MUSIC)
(MUSIC INCREASING)

The title reads "Love, Cecil."

Music plays as the end credits roll.

A film by Lisa Immordino Vreeland.

Narrated by Rupert Everett.

A Fischio Film Production in association with Sotheby's, Matador Content, and Hot and Sunny Productions.

Copyright 2017, A Bandy Production LLC. All rights reserved.