John Gielgud, pictured in 1950 | Jane Bown | 15408
A gay porn film based on a screenplay written by the late Sir John Gielgud has finished production, despite opposition from his estate. Trouser Bar is set in a menswear shop where an orgy takes place and stars Nigel Havers and Julian Clary as passersby. The screenplay was secretly written by Gielgud – known for his roles in Julius Caesar and Arthur – for Peter de Rome. David McGillivray, the producer, told The Guardian:
“Pornography is still a stigma in this country, but Sir John loved porn and, in his letters, he talks about visiting gay cinemas,” he said. “I was shocked when the trust didn’t give me permission. We stuck to Sir John’s script very tightly when we made the film a couple of weeks ago. He was very specific about the clothes he wanted the actors to wear.”
The script, written in the late 1970s, was passed on from de Rome to McGillivray before his death last year. The low-budget feature now risks a legal battle before finding an audience. “They have come down heavily on me,” McGillivray said. “They are using intellectual copyright as an excuse.”
The late actor’s estate are trying to block the film.
The actor and theatre director Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was born on 14 April 1904 and died on 21 May 2000. With Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier, he was one of the trinity of actors who dominated the British stage for much of the 20th century. He was born into a large theatrical family, one of his brothers, Val, securing a job at the BBC as head of BBC radio drama. Sir John’s acting career began in 1921.
After his return from America in February 1937 Gielgud starred in He Was Born Gay by Emlyn Williams. This romantic tragedy about French royalty after the Revolution was quite well received during its pre-London tour, but was savaged by the critics in the West End.
On the evening of 20 October 1953, Gielgud, just knighted, usually highly discreet about casual sex, was arrested in Chelsea for cruising in a public lavatory. Gielgud was fined.