The Ingrid Pitt interview
Published: WED - Unofficial homepage
Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 Q: How did you get the role to play Heidi in "Where Eagles Dare"?
Q: What did you think of getting the role?
A: Obviously delighted. That sort of role doesn't come along often.
Q: Did you, in your career as actress, have any special use of having played Heidi in "Where Eagles Dare"?
A: I suppose the couple of war films I did after that might be considered off-shoots. Who Dares Wins was produced by a couple of old friends, Chris Chrisofis and Euan Lloyd. Hannah's War came through another friend Otto Plaskiss. I think I made a mistake travelling the world doing the publicity for the film. I should have done what Clint and Richard did and look for more work while the film was still on the circuits.
Q: Did you get to shape the role yourself in any way? How? Clothes, dialogue etc? Or were you just bound to the script and certain directions from the producer?
Q: In the novel by Alistair MacLean, there is an escalating love affair between Heidi and Schaffer, and it ends with their wedding. In the movie we see nothing of this. Were there any love scenes between Heidi and Schaffer filmed?
A: When I read the script I think there was a certain coziness between the two. By the time we were on location changes had been made and my role reduced considerably.
Q: Did Alistair Maclean visit the filming? How was he? Do you know if he liked the way the movie turned out?
A: Yes, Alistair was there quite a bit. He was a lovely man and he got on with the cast and crew very well. I don't think he was too happy about some of the changes but he kept his thoughts to himself.
Q: How long did you yourself work with the movie?
A: On and off I was with the movie for six months. A lot of that time I spent in the Hilton . When the film wrapped I was asked if I would like to do a publicity tour and that lasted another couple of months.
Q: Are you personally satisfied with your appearance?
A: Why? Aren't you? I thought it went quite well.
Q: Heidi is a very popular character of the movie. Why, do you think?
A: I suppose because I wasn't around long enough to muck it up.
Q: You, Mary Ure and Olga Lowe are the only actresses in the movie. Heidi, Mary and "the nurse" are three very different kinds of women. What do you think of this? How would you compare this to other contemporary movie portrayals of women?
A: I thought they were all three fairly positive characters. When WED came out the cinema was beginning to realise that there was a place in films for strong women . Women in war films usually played a supporting role. Either suffering or betraying. Even the Biopic of women like Odette Sarson and Pearl Witherington were based on how the men stoically allowed the little woman to drop into enemy territory and how they muddled through in spite of the fact that it was against their nature. I think WED showed that the fairer sex could operate in an hostile environment without being patronised by men.
Q: Did you talk specially with the other women?
Q: Any special anecdote from the filming that you would like to tell?
Q: What was the greatest moment during the filming, in your opinion?
A: That's easy the intro to the film. The Junkers 77 or whatever it was flying through the mountains. I was in Holland for a convention and they showed the film on a big screen. I was sitting in the front row of the balcony. It was the nearest thing to being there you can imagine.
Q: What was worst about the filming?
A: Again - easy! The cold.
Q: Are you still in touch with any other persons involved with the filming of "Where Eagles Dare"?
A: I play golf regularly with stuntman Peter Brace. I think he told me he was shot seventeen times during the film. I did have dinner with Clint the last time he came to England and went to a party on his yacht at Cannes. Other than that I can't think of any hangovers from the film. Most of the cast and crew seemed to have died or left the industry. I did have a German bloke come and see me at a convention. He told me he was the pilot of the Junkers.
Q: There have been rumours about a possible new filming of "Where Eagles Dare". If so, of all present actresses, who would you like to be the new Heidi?
A: I've not heard that but if they can decide to do a remake of The Wicker Man I suppose there will be someone around who mistakenly thinks he can improve on Where Eagles Dare. Heidi? I guess anyone with an interesting decollete could play the part.
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