“Dietrich is an angel – for the first week that you know her. Thereafter all bets are off. Her self-interest is boundless. Her sense of ensemble non-existent. If she can erase you in front of the camera she will. She is legendary for being very accommodating in other ways, but it barely compensates for the sheer flaming hell of working with her…”
Letter from Basil Rathbone to unidentified lover c. 1940
Darling — Cynthia woke up as I got home so I went to fetch her some water and while I was doing that Ouida came in to the kitchen. I was prepared for the worst. But she was very quiet and calm. I made her some tea and took her back to bed because I didn’t want her wandering the house alone, and I gave her a pill.
I think she knows I was with you. If she had asked I don’t know what I would have said, but she didn’t ask.
She’s sleeping peacefully. Everything is quiet. But I’m listening for every little sound, don’t want to try and sleep, dreading she might wake up or something will happen. Everything hangs on such little threads. I’m praying, just praying this doesn’t become something. She’s been so much better — almost quite normal. I want so much to be able to talk to her and try to find some way — but I don’t dare risk anything. She begs for the truth from all of us and we all smile and lie in our different ways because nothing else is possible now.
I want to crawl back into your bed and never leave.
basil rathbone and nigel bruce, the hound of the baskervilles, 1939 (www.doctormacro.com)
"Well darling, Mrs (unclear, H?) & I have finished a wonderful evening going round locking away all sharp objects and all the medications. It’s 2.30am. Everyone is asleep. C was awake a while ago with a nightmare and soaking wet. We lost her rabbit (the little brown one) and I had to hunt him up before she would settle. She’s fast asleep in my bed now. Such a small sad little thing she looks all curled up.
This is a kind of hell isn’t it. Not sure how its to be endured. God willing we will find some way. —
I’m so desperately sorry my darling [NAME] — for this awful wretchedness when your little cup is already so full. I can’t bear to see you so pale & jumping at every little sound, and worst of all knowing I am only bringing more pain. Don’t fret about me, all is quiet now, promise me you will eat & sleep. —
I’ll call you but not tonight — reach me via the Bruces.
All my love is with you dearest girl
Taken from a post made by Basil Rathbone Tribute
“Basil was an intelligent person and a brilliant actor.”- Vincent Price
“I never worked with a nicer man than Basil, and I never acted with a more unselfish or more cooperative actor.”- Nigel Bruce
Happy Birthday Philip St. John Basil Rathbone (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967)
“like a painting by a Renaissance master (his profile reminds me always of Michelangelo’s study for the head of Leda), with such vibrant colour, such dark grey eyes and sooty lashes, such cream and olive skin, and the lithe body of an athlete. He is perfection, but he has eaten the fruit, is a David, with knowing eyes, and he bestows himself like a royal gift, expecting royal tribute in return…”
JAMES AGATE, THEATRE CRITIC, About Basil Rathbone, 1921
Happy Birthday Basil Rathbone June 13 1892
Purposely Ungrammatical Love Song
There’s honester eyes than your blue eyes,
There’s better a mile than such as you.
But when did I say that I was wise,
And when did I hope that you were true?
Dorothy Parker - about Basil Rathbone c. 1920’s