‘I am very fond of me, as I have told you’

From The Guardian:

Everdirk_2 What an egregious conundrum Dirk Bogarde was. If anything, the present chunky volume of letters, which appears to be the final instalment of the massive memorial to him masterminded by John Coldstream, former books editor at the Daily Telegraph and author of the standard biography, only deepens the mystery. Probably the most successful British film actor since the war, Bogarde consciously withdrew himself from the arena at the height of his career, when he had starred not only in many brilliant commercial successes, British and international, but also in a sequence of superb films written by Harold Pinter and directed by Joseph Losey, and one of the few films – Victim, about a homosexual blackmailing – which had a manifest effect on British social attitudes. At this zenith, he left the country and took up residence in a land he hardly knew and whose language he didn’t speak, declaring himself disgusted with the film industry, Britain and indeed the world at large, which, he believed, was going to socialist hell in a handcart. He then emerged from this self-imposed rustication from time to time to appear in a number of remarkable films for foreign directors, including the art-house experimentalists Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Alain Resnais, creating a series of bold and subversive performances, while constantly giving interviews in which he trashed the art of acting as trivial, requiring no great skill or effort and, as he put it, “no job for a man”.

More here.