Connecting Rooms | 1970
Connecting Rooms started out as Marion Hart’s downbeat and sentimental play The Cellist, which throws together middle-aged musician Wanda Fleming and retired schoolmaster James Wallraven in shabby lodgings in London’s Bayswater.
Franklin Gollings’ 1970 screen version (the only feature he directed) is notable mainly for the pairing of Hollywood legend Bette Davis as Fleming and theatrical knight Sir Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa) as Wallraven.
The boarding house where the two protect their respective guilty secrets is 37 Craven Hill Gardens, W2. How times change – 31-35 Craven Hill Gardens was converted into favourite of the stars, the classy, minimalist Hempel boutique hotel (with a Zen garden opposite, which was featured toward the end of Notting Hill).
Wanda shops locally at Whiteleys, Queensway, in Bayswater. London’s first department store, it’s now a huge complex housing an 8-screen multiplex, and is also seen in Ken Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain, Mike Nichols’ Closer and, briefly, in Love Actually.
It’s at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, that Mickey eventually gets his comeuppance. The Hall, named in honour of Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert, is used for the climax of both the 1934 and 1956 versions of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, and is also the setting for the fantasy sequence from The Knack, Ann Todd's concert performance in the 1945 melodrama The Seventh Veil and the brass band competition finals in Brassed Off, with Ewan McGregor (though the interior of the hall was actually filmed in Birmingham Town Hall in the Midlands).
Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2, alongside Leicester Square tube station, was transformed into the ‘Windsor Theatre’ where Wallraven finally discovers that Fleming, rather than playing cello in concert, is busking for small change by the theatre’s stage door in St Martin’s Court.