Morgan – A Suitable Case For Treatment | 1966
Could there be a more archetypal Sixties movie, as gorilla-fixated, anarcho-Trotskyist Morgan Delt (David Warner) baits and hounds his upper-class ex-wife Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave, who got an Oscar nomination as did her sister Lynn for Georgy Girl in the same year) and her ghastly new boyfriend (Robert Stephens)?
Their boisterous relationship implodes in their rather nice West London house at 13 Campden Hill Square in upmarket Holland Park.
Morgan’s unreconstructed Stalinist mother (Irene Handl) takes him to pay homage at the tomb of Karl Marx in the East Section of Highgate Cemetery, on the east side of Swain’s Lane, north of Oakeshott Lane, London N6. She speaks fondly of Morgan’s late father: “You know, he wanted to shoot the royal family, abolish marriage and put everybody who’d been to public school in a chain gang. Yes, he was an idealist, your dad.”
The first of Highgate’s famed grandiose monuments were erected in the older West Cemetery in 1839, but by 1854 that was filling up and the East Cemetery, on the other side of Swain’s Lane, was opened. However, the expense of maintaining the grounds meant that the already florid Victorian necropolis became spectacularly overgrown and the cemetery subsequently provided the ideal Gothic backdrop for films such as The Abominable Dr Phibes and Hammer’s Taste The Blood of Dracula.
Cinematic luminaries laid to rest in the eastern section include William Friese-Greene, often credited as the inventor of cinema. Other notable cinematic figures in this section include German emigré screenwriter Lukas Heller, who adapted the original source novels and plays into the screenplays Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Killing of Sister George and The Dirty Dozen for director Robert Aldrich. Heller’s countryman Carl Mayer, who wrote the screenplay for silent German expressionist classic Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari), also lies here.
Britain’s own Max Wall, the sepulchral-voiced, rubber-limbed music hall performer who reinvented himself as a respected straight actor, appearing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky, Hanover Street and, erm, The Nine Ages of Nakedness (well, we all have to earn a crust), is another occupant. Theatre knights Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa and Lynn) are also buried in Highgate.
Determinedly perverse, Morgan is one of the few screen characters who attempt to break into Wormwood Scrubs Prison, Ducane Road off Scrubs Lane, west London. The prison, or at least its entrance, can be seen in loads of films, including The Italian Job and Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy.
Morgan’s crazed campaign involves disrupting Leonie’s wedding reception on the roof terrace of the swanky Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1, before tootling off down Park Lane on his scooter – dressed naturally as a gorilla.
The luxurious hotel was home to villain John Vernon in John Wayne’s only British film, Brannigan; to Bongo Herbert (Cliff Richard) in 1959 pop music satire Expresso Bongo; and it features in 2004 rom-com Wimbledon, Louis Malle’s Damage, and Woody Allen’s Scoop.