Production Notes

Lawrence (Ian McKellen) sight-seeing in Mexico5038.jpg (22731 bytes)

"The splendid panama hat was typical of the care of our costume designer, Anthony Powell. Before each shot he checked my clothes, particularly around my face when in close-up. He taught me that the brim of a hat should always be parallel with the ground, if it was to look good from all angles. The temptation is to push hats back off the forehead, which may reveal the face nicely but looks sloppy from the side."

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Lawrence (Ian McKellen) off to bed

"This scene showed me candlelit moving round the marital bed — in shadow I displayed the first erection ever seen in a mainstream movie. This was achieved with a dildo and a great deal of sticking-plaster."

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Frieda Lawrence (Janet Suzman) at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s (Ava Gardner) ranch in New Mexico

"The 'New Mexico' scenes were actually shot in Mexico — saving time and money. New Mexico is blessed country. I first went there in the aftermath of 'Priest of Love,' with what I feared was hepatitis because I had all the symptoms and my doctor (I was immediately before Santa Fe in San Francisco) prescribed total rest. But I had to get to Santa Fe. Once there, my spirits and body were rapidly and magically restored to their usually healthy state and there have been no repercussions." – Ian McKellen, August 1999

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Riding with amanuensis Brett (Penelope Keith) on a painting expedition.

"Lawrence was a considerable amateur painter — 'Priest of Love' opened with the banning of a London exhibition of his oils, on the grounds of obscenity. Acting on horseback is not easy — the animal is so resolutely itself, unabashed by the camera's attention, whilst the rider has to be in control, yet relaxed enough to remain 'in character.' I had learnt to ride safely when I was initially cast as Ned Kelly for Tony Richardson's film about the Australian outlaw. Mick Jagger eventually played the part."

More Behind the Scenes of "Priest of Love"