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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Neal Lofthouse

Moira was given Ballet-hoo
"Shearer's the best thing Britain's ever sent us," said Sam Goldwyn

From the Picturegoer January 12, 1952
Donovan Pedelty reporting from Hollywood

Ballyhoo met Moira Shearer like the breath of a furnace. The welcome laid on for her was a sizzler.

Moira came to play la bella ballerina in Sam Goldwyn's version of 'Hans Christian Andersen', also starring Danny Kay, as her hopeless admirer, and Farley Grange, as her happy husband. Her arrrival was spectacular. Nobody knew that she would be having a baby and withdrawing from the film.

So, naturally, in one small dressing-room on her arrival there were producer Goldwyn, "husband" Farley, British Consul-General Robert Henry Hadow, four wee lassies in full Highland rig (members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Ancient Order of Scottish Clans), their not-so-wee mammas, five big bouquets, seven Press photographers, one illustrator, four newsreel cameramen, one TV camera, Frank Mitchell of British Information Services, and this correspondent in person.

And, of course, ballet-dancer Moira Shearer, who stood out like a flame in a film bin.

She propped her slender frame, sheathed in shotgreen velvet, against the edge of a desk.

Her brilliantly blue eyes gleamed. Her tomato mass of hair flamed. She looked what she is - Britain's red-white-and-blue gift to Technicolor.

"Best thing Britain ever sent us," yammered producer Goldwyn, having combination camera- and mike-fright for the occasion. "Here's Farley, your screen lover".

Up came the wee Highlanders to present bouquets. Every last lass of them was born in Los Angeles. Their Scottish accents, picked up from Hamilton parents, are as thick as porridge.

Moira, born in Dunfermaline, thanked them in the thinest Oxford English.

"I couldn't have imagined so much fuss," she told me. "We don't do it in Britain. Not over ballet, anyway".

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