Some pertinent observations by Directors, Producers, and Actors about the Script Supervisor on their film.    These quotes taken from film biographies and histories.


 

 

1942 Betty Curtis & Margaret Sibley on "In Which We Serve"

"Continuity girl Betty Curtis had found that her
work was far too complicated, and she needed
an assistant".  "Margaret Sibley quickly became
an invaluable member of the unit, and eventually,
as the redoubtable Maggie Unsworth, the longest serving member of David's (Lean) team."

from "David Lean A Biography" by Kevin Brownlow.
ISBN 1-86066-042-8

 
 

 

1947-1955 Renee Glynne at Exclusive Films

""….. I had a call from Tony Hinds asking me to
go to Marylebone Studios to work on Exclusive's "Death in High Heels"… having found me, I was continuously employed by them for something
like eight years.   We were in our rented house studios and I just went from film to film……""

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7

 
 

1947-1955 Renee Glynne at Exclusive Films
(at Dial Close)

""We were a very tight-knit crew, with regular directors… I remember us all going down to the
river in the evenings, swimming, punting, sailing.   We stayed in the house during the week….. Monica (Hustler) and I became friends and we shared a room""…..Monica and I had a four-poster bed, with ladybirds on the ceiling, bats in the room and a bolster down the centre of the bed so we didn't touch each other.""

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7

 
 

1947 Peggy McClafferty on "The Fallen Idol"

"……a scene with the boy (Bobby Henrey) running
up the staircase was half-complete on a Friday
evening when the crew broke up……On Monday
Bobby arrived on the set, having been taken for
a haircut by his mother.   The continuity department were horrified; between one stair and another the boy would appear to have lost two inches of hair."

from "The Man Between A Biography of Carol Reed"by Nicholas Wapshott.   ISBN 0-7011-3353-8


 
 

1948 Peggy Singer (later Peggy Robertson)
on "Under Capricorn"

"A respectful calm then prevailed, helped considerably by a young Englishwoman Hitchcock engaged as continuity director for the film."

from "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock" by Donald Spoto.
ISBN 0-00-216352-7

 
 

1952 Angela Allen on "The African Queen"

"…. a long shot was need of Hepburn on the river,
Angela Allen doubled for her. "I was the only
female … I was meant to be on the tiller …
we had to go around this terrifying place
with all those crocodiles lying on the bank.
But I got to direct those pickup shots for
two days" … Huston liked his script girl's spunk
and professionalism. Over the years John would
try to catch her in an error, but rarely
succeeded."

from "The Hustons" by Lawrence Grobel. ISBN 0-7475-0594-2

 

1954-1959 Pauline Wise (later
Pauline Harlow) at Bray Studios

 "Pauline Wise started as a receptionist at
Bray straight from school ……. "

 ""there was a shortage of script supervisors, or continuity girls as they were then called. Tilly
Day was the resident continuity, but they seemed
to be doing two films at the same time.   Very
often Tilly had to prep ….. so they asked me if I would like to train to do continuity under Tilly
for a whole year""

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7

 

1954 Angela Allen on "Beat The Devil"

"…John (Huston) decided to test her breaking point…"
"Angie dear," he said, "we've just done this shot
where Bob Morley and Peter Lorre have walked
one way, where the sea is going right to left. Now
they're coming down another way and the sea is
going left to right ….. won't that make it look as
though the boat's going backwards?""    (Ossie)
Morris said, ""…. Angie fell for it. And she couldn't
make it work. And he rode her and rode her and
in the end, she screamed. She ran up the deck
onto the bridge, threw her script, which is her
Bible, into the air, and passed out cold. John
didn't bat an eyelid.""

""He'd sort of driven me mad," Angela Allen concurred, "trying to confuse me quite deliberately.  I was so naïve in those days""

from "The Hustons" by Lawrence Grobel.
ISBN 0-7475-0594-2



1955 Pamela Mann (later Pamela
Mann Francis) on "Summertime"

(having taken over when Maggie
Shipway (Unsworth) fell ill)

""It was quite frightening" said Pamela. "If you
look at the scene of Katharine Hepburn signing
in at the Pensione, you'll find that the pen goes
from one hand to the other.   I was mortified
when Peter Taylor (the film editor) told me about that.  It never occurred to me to look.""

from "David Lean A Biography" by Kevin Brownlow.
ISBN 1-86066-042-8


1956 Elaine Shreyeck on "The Prince and the Showgirl"

"There is Elaine, the continuity girl, whose job it is to make sure that every scene blends perfectly with its neighbours….. Elaine is cool and competent and I get the impression that nothing will frustrate her."

"Carmen (Art Dir) and Dario (Set Dresser) like to keep adding things up to the last minute, thereby driving Elaine crazy. Elaine actually never loses her cool manner (but she does get very severe).

from "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me - The Colin Clark Diaries" by Colin Clark. ISBN 0-00-255642-1



1956  Kathy Hosgood on "Checkpoint"

"The Rolls-Royce (camera car) was parked on a particularly tricky corner for the cars to negotiate…. Kathy Hosgood, the continuity girl, needed to have a very clear view of the order of cars as they rounded the bend and she'd stationed herself sitting below the camera on the running-board of the Rolls Royce….. suddenly it (Aston Martin) went completely out of control… and crashed into the stationary Rolls-Royce. Poor Kathy hadn't a chance to move… and her legs took full impact of the collision."

from "Lifting the Lid" The Autobiography of Film Producer Betty Box, OBE.

ISBN 1-85776-489-7
 

 

1956 Penny Daniels on "Tiger in the Smoke"

"Penny had never worked as a continuity girl on a film before… I never had the faintest idea that she was new to the job… whenever I referred to her she came up with the answer without any fuss… she stayed with me for my next four pictures… I couldn't be more grateful, here's why: … on one's left hand are the first assistant director and the continuity girl. The continuity girl will keep close contact with the editor, through them all the other departments will get the current information they need… the simpler the chain of command the easier life will be for the director.   So you see, her as does the continuity is a Very Important Lady Indeed"

from "The Director's Cut" by Roy Ward Baker -ISBN 1-903111-02-1

 

1957 Peggy Robinson on "Vertigo"

"…. came back to Hitchcock as his script supervisor … and her creative energies and tireless loyalty were crucial from that time to the end of his career".

from "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock" by Donald Spoto. ISBN 0-00-216352-7


1960 Pauline Wise (later Pauline Harlow) on "Sword of Sherwood Forest"

 (her first film - going solo) ""They needed someone for "Sword of Sherwood Forest" which they were making at Ardmore Studios in Ireland.   …. They sent me over there, very nervous, reading the script going out on the plane. …. They never told Richard Greene that I'd not done it before.   They told me that one of the big problems he'd had was with the arrows in his quiver.   …. So I made sure he always had arrows.""

""…I do remember one of the very first scenes, where I was absolutely scared stiff …. It was a sort of rape and pillage scene in a monastery… In comes Richard Greene as Robin Hood, and there was this free-for-all and, really, I hadn't got anything written down in my pad. I didn't know who was who, I didn't know who to watch... I seem to have got through that film all right and they told Richard Greene on the last day that I was a new girl"".

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7



1960 Angela Allen on "The Unforgiven"

"Dorothy Jeakins said ""John would not watch the actors during a take, he would listen to their voices. If the dialogue sounded right he'd look at Angela Allen, who would wink if it looked right. And he'd say 'print that'.""

from "The Hustons" by Lawrence Grobel. ISBN 0-7475-0594-2
 
 

1961 Tilly Day at Bray Studios

"Continuity supervisor Tilly Day celebrated her 300th film and was presented with a cake on the set by Tony Hinds."

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7
 
 
1961 Angela Allen on "The Misfits"

"…..Angela Allen reached her threshold as the picture wound down, threw up her script in exasperation, and announced that she was quitting. ""They baited her a lot,"" Arther Miller observed. ""She usually was right. I don't know how anybody makes a picture without Angela Allen.""

from "The Hustons" by Lawrence Grobel. ISBN 0-7475-0594-2

 
 

 

1961 Barbara Cole on "Lawrence of Arabia"

"Barbara had been hired as the continuity girl who would be responsible for keeping a scrupulously accurate record of everything shot and for making sure that no lapses in continuity occurred …. It is a difficult and vitally important job, and the person doing it - almost always women - must have the fullest confidence of the director."

""David was not a man to be hurried' says Barbara Cole.  'I've known him look through the viewfinder for 45 minutes and then I'd tap him on the shoulder and tell him people were waiting…""

from "The Making of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia" by Adrian Turner.

ISBN 1-85028-211-0
 
 

1961 Barbara Cole on "Lawrence of Arabia"

From a letter Barbara Cole wrote to Ann Coates (the film editor)

"…..About Slate 1296 and 1296B.   It really isn't any good at all and probably should have been junked but since it involves 1000 men with horses and camels and is quite an operation I thought it had better be developed and put on records - since it is conceivable that one day someone will say "let's look at that attempt"  and by then people would have forgotten that they had said 'absolutely useless'."

"…… Don't be surprised if you see a strange face suddenly.   If the camels don't go sick or die the men do and we practically rip their costumes from them as they fall in order to at least have the same colours in the same place."

"Most of us went deaf when volunteers were asked for stay on with the 2nd Unit …"

from "Lawrence of Arabia" by L.Robert Morris & Lawrence Raskin. ISBN 0-385-42478-7

 
 

1961 Penny Daniels on "Whistle Down The Wind"

""… from my very first film I was lucky enough to find a second right hand in my continuity girl, Penny Daniels.   Penny had an amazing facility for her difficult and publicly unrecognized job. I cannot count the number of times she saved me from committing basic errors.""

From "A Divided Life" by Bryan Forbes. ISBN 04-34-26-8283

 
 

1964 Renee Glynne on "Fanatic" (starring Tallulah Bankhead) (retitled "Die Die Darling")

"Renee Glynne also remembers Bankhead. …. ""She defied me on continuity on one occasion 'No, I had my legs crossed this way and my glass in this hand'. 'Oh, Tallulah, you had them that way.'   'Oh no I didn't' - and she was quite nasty to me.   However, later that day, she tottered across the set … bringing me a glass of whiskey as a peace offering.""

from "Hammer Films The Bray Studios Years" by Wayne Kinsey. ISBN 1-903111-44-7

 

        
         1964 Rita Davison on "A Hard Day's Night"
         (starring The Beatles)


         Rita's notes from the chase-to-the-train scene
         that opens the movie:
         "First shot taken while I was in the ladies toilet. 
         I have no idea who was in it.   I think they were
         the Beatles but they were wearing the clothing
         they came in, and not what was supposed
         to be worn.   It was photographed by the director.
         I trust this is not the way we intend to go on. 
         God help me.
"


        from: "That's Hollywood" by Peter
        Van   Gelder.

        I
SBN 0-06-0965122-6

 

1965 Ann Skinner on "Darling"

"… Lord's cricket ground, where on a spectacular summer's day hoses supplied rain, with disastrous consequences for the continuity sheets maintained by Ann Skinner; photographs survive showing Dirk (Bogarde) and Arnold Schulkes on their haunches with her in the middle of the hallowed turf, pegging pages of the script out to dry."

from "Dirk Bogarde" by John Coldstream. ISBN 0-297-60730-8 

 
 

1966 Pamela Davies on "Accident"

"In order to extract genuine tears from the small girl playing Clarissa, (Joseph) Losey had secretly assigned a member of the crew to hide…and pull a string trip as she came running… the girls tears were genuine.    (Dirk) Bogarde's account of this incident has Pamela Davies striding across to Losey 'like a colonel', yelling at him 'like a sergeant', and even striking him."

from "Joseph Losey A Revenge on Life" by David Caute. ISBN 0-571-16449-8

 

 

1970  Phyllis Crocker on "Ryan's Daughter"

""We filmed three scenes,"" said stills photographer, Ken Bray," "and were ready to do a close shot when the continuity lady protested once more", 'You cannot have a close-up,' she said, 'because Sarah Miles's horse is a stallion.' … in an earlier scene Ryan had given his daughter a mare. David (Lean) called on Charlie Parker, the makeup artist, and he went to work on the horse with camera tape and grease paint and performed a sex-change in thirty minutes."

from "David Lean A Biography" by Kevin Brownlow. ISBN 1-86066-042-8

 
 

1970 - Ann Edwards on "There's a Girl in My Soup"

(Roger Lewis' interview with Roy Boulting)

"Sellers could be very cruel.   First day of
shooting he took a dislike to the continuity girl. 
He said she'd given him a look"    "" She's
evil … I want her replaced"" …. 'Really
Peter?' - I took it calmly.   Next day he said
"" She's still here''' … 'Peter, far from having
evil thoughts about you. She's had several
job offers lately, and she chose this film to
work with you, because she admires you so
much'.   So then they were friends."

 

from "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" by Roger Lewis - ISBN 1-87126-3801-6
 
 
 

1978 June Randall on "The Shining"

"Kubrick always made it clear, often through continuity person June Randall, that the pages given to the actors were not the "script", but just something to use to find the real scene…."

from "Stanley Kubrick" by Vincent LoBrutto. ISBN 0571-193-935
 
 

1984 Maggie Unsworth on "A Passage to India"

"Sandy Lean said…..""She was so calm and wonderful, Maggie, half Mother Teresa and half mother hen.""

from "David Lean A Biography" by Kevin Brownlow. ISBN 1-86066-042-8

 
 

1984 Pat Rambaut on "The Emerald Forest"

"More crew have left, and morale is still low, but around the camera is gathering a group which takes pride in surviving this misery……Pat, the continuity girl is incredibly tough."

"Pat Rambaut has a very painful swollen foot from a sting ray, but she remains one of the ever smaller club of people who never missed a day's work."

from "Money into Light" by John Boorman. ISBN 0-571-13772-5

 
 

1987 Nikki Clapp on "Cry Freedom"

""….a director of course can make the most appalling errors on the shooting floor by omitting an absolutely vital shot or simply getting something wrong……you are saved over and over again by continuity girls of the calibre of Nikki Clapp"".

from "The Actors Director Richard Attenborough" by Andy Dougan. ISBN 185-158-6725
 

1996  Penny Eyles on "The Secret Agent"

 (during post production)

"… I was watching a screening with the continuity supervisor, Penny Eyles, and I said, 'There's something about this ending which doesn't work,' and Penny said, 'Why don't you think about compressing it?'"

(this is what they did)

from "Hampton on Hampton" edited by Alistair Owen. ISBN 0-571-21418-5

 
 

1996  Pauline Harlow on "Morse"

"Despite being the fall guy for many of his jokes, Pauline was devoted to John (Thaw) and he to her. On set she learned to prompt him with a gentle 'Did you mean to say that?' rather than 'You got that line wrong'.    If he had no faith in the current director, after a scene he would look at Pauline for a nod of approval or a signal that 'no, you could do better'."

From "The Two of Us, My Life with John Thaw" by Sheila Hancock. ISBN 0-7475-7020-5