Nell and Pauline is a short film currently in post-production based on the conversation between Nell Dunn and Pauline Boty in 1963 documented in Dunn’s book Talking to Women.
The film is directed by Zoé Ford Burnett, with Helena Wilson playing Nell and Hannah Morrish playing Pauline. The three have all worked together in different capacities over the years, both at the National Theatre and RSC, but it was whilst in lockdown that they found themselves recommending the Pauline Boty conversation from Talking to Women to each other and talking about how moved they’d all been by it: “It was a time of feeling scared and creatively stunted, but reading that conversation reinvigorated us and reminded us of the need to create even in difficult times” explained Hannah.
Shot over two days in the summer of 2021 on a shoestring budget, the filmmakers were given permission by Dunn to use the conversation transcript verbatim for its dialogue. Many of the team worked for free as they felt it was such an important story to tell.
A final £2,000 is now needed to pay for editing, music composition, a premiere screening featuring a panel discussion on Dunn and Boty’s lives and work, and film festival submissions. All donations will be thanked with a special mention in the film’s credits, any publicity for the film, and at the film’s premiere screening, along with free tickets to the premiere screening.
Further information is available at the fundraising page here: [link]
In Boty’s first and sadly, only, film role she appeared briefly as the manageress of a dry cleaners where she and Michael Caine’s Alfie share an embrace as they disappear behind racks of clothes – “And I was getting a suit clean in the bargain. Well. You can’t turn sometime like that down!” The images show Boty and Caine both in their roles inside and in conversation outside, presumably with director Lewis Gilbert on Earl’s Court Road where the building was located. In addition to Caine, the film starred Millicent Martin, Julia Foster, Jane Asher, Shirley Anne Field, Vivien Merchant, Eleanor Bron and Shelley Winters and had its premiere at the Plaza Theatre in London on 24 March 1966. . The contact sheets are currently available for sale on eBay – the listing’s description includes the following: “Alfie (1966). A unique important collection of 70 original silver gelatin contact sheets. Provenance: from the collection of the director and producer of the movie; Lewis Gilbert. A total of 70 contact sheets containing a complete sequence of images from ‘ALF 1’ through to ‘ALF 1,481’. The BFI (British Film Institute) has around 300 stills from the movie in their archive – here there are 1,481 across the 70 contact sheets. Essentially a museum/exhibition piece with the ultimate provenance. Alfie is the seminal ‘Swinging Sixties London’ movie that turned Michael Caine into a movie superstar and global icon, and likewise the breakthrough movie for Lewis Gilbert who went on to direct three James Bond movies and later worked again with Caine on Educating Rita. The images are a mix of frames from the movie, outtakes and photography stills, on set scenes, off set, production team, movie promos etc, probably many never seen before..
In very good condition, some with very slight imperfections from gentle handling. Probably never removed since 1966 from their original album sleeves until now for listing photography.
Absolutely unique and rare with second to none provenance.”
More images of the sheets uploaded to Instagram can be seen by searching the hashtag #alfiecontactsheets