View Blue Plaques in a larger map

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Joseph Losey (1909-1984)

The last of our trio of American refugees is Joseph Losey - commemorated in Royal Avenue one of the unfinished Wren works originally meant to lead the eye to the Chelsea hospital. Losey was one of all too many leftists caught up in the HUAC witchhunt in the 50s. He had joined the Communist party in 1946 feeling that being useless in Hollywood, that he had "been cut off from New York activity and I felt that my existence was unjustified. It was a kind of Hollywood guilt that led me into that kind of commitment. And I think that the work that I did on a much freer, more personal and independent basis for the political left in New York, before going to Hollywood, was much more valuable socially." After Howard Hughes took over RKO had instigated a purge of leftists. He left the States unable to work and made a home in London where he made some strangely English films - notably The Servant (1963) and The Go-Between (1971) both collaborations with Harold Pinter and both nuanced, subtle pieces redolent with the hidden, the unobvious. This psychological darkness maybe reflects Losey's exile.It must be quite horrific to be barred from your home country - even voluntarily. His Royal Avenue home is situated just off of the Kings Road - a centre of 60s swinging London - a location that may well have to be revisited in this years Open House London in September. The walk also took in Brompton cemetery - another one of the magnificent seven municipal cemeteries that the Victorians initiated - sadly there was little time to investigate - I did spot Richard Tauber and some truly OTT monumenst to Britains imperial past - sadly however I didnt see Peter Rabbett - or any other of Beatrix Potters inspirations - she herself is memorialised just around the corner - yet another reason to return as I missed the rather picaresque plaque dedicated to her

No comments:

Post a Comment