In Remembrance: Claudette Colbert and Diana Rigg


Happy heavenly birthday to Claudette Colbert! I only managed one restrained viewing a long while ago, but at least once a year I think of the beginning of “Three Came Home” (1950) where on an otherwise tranquil Borneo night, Agnes and Harry Keith (Claudette and my lifelong crush Patric Knowles) talk about the uncertain future as the Japanese join WWII. Arguably one of Claudette’s finest performances (and in her own words to director Negulesco, the happiest experience of her entire career), her Agnes is wonderful in every way: alternately/simultaneously a woman of steel and – as she admits in her half-breathless and trembling, warbling voice – often more like ‘tin foil,’ she endears you immediately to her very humanness. “Three Came Home” is as much a passionately anti-war film as it is a tribute to human endurance in times of Fog and Twilight (to borrow from the old Prussian), full of subtle, sensitive performances from every lead (including a slightly older Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Suga). It is also very mercifully titled, in reference to the heroine, her husband, and son delivered at the end in Moses-basket/Exodus proportions (recently I saw an alternative title on an old Italian poster, “E La Vita Continua,” and I thought I liked that too) Xo



And rest in peace Diana Rigg (1938 - 2020), you’ll always be our theatric “Avengers” heroine in colour, all glimmering grace and sure-footed strength – may you share a heavenly toast with Patrick Macnee for us :’) Xo