“to feel that they are children, and lead children’s lives”*

*Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby (1839).

Image: The prison scenes in The Italian Job (1969) were filmed at Kilmainham Gaol. (Wikipedia): “Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the orders of the UK Government.”

From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

“Coward had other commitments in 1934; that April he accepted the presidency of the Actors’ Orphanage charity…A distinct stigma attached to the place; Roy Williams, who was there from 1929 to 1940, has only recently been able to admit it. He tells a fascinating tale of Noel rescuing a modern-day Dotheboys Hall…A teacher named Austin ruled with the cane…(Noel) took direct action, and in 1938 the school moved to Silverlands in Chertsey, Surrey, with a new headmaster, and ‘the place became much kinder…’

(1968) In August he filmed his final movie role, The Italian Job, with Michael Caine, almost unimaginably removed from his first celluloid appearance, more than half a century ago, in D. W. Griffith’s Hearts of the World. The director was Peter Collinson, an old boy of the Actors’ Orphanage. Coward played the criminal mastermind, Mr Bridger, who runs his empire from inside his prison cell, where he is treated like a king. ‘Look at him move…like God’, said Collinson to a reporter. The filming was ‘great fun’, and he enjoyed playing with Caine, whom he found unspoilt.”

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