Country Dance (film)

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Country Dance
Country Dance (film).jpg
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Written byJames Kennaway
Based on Household Ghosts
by James Kennaway
Produced byRobert Emmett Ginna
Starring Peter O'Toole
Susannah York
Michael Craig
Cinematography Ted Moore
Edited byWilly Kemplen
Music by John Addison
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
22 April 1970
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Language English
Budget$3 million [1]

Country Dance is a 1970 British drama film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Peter O'Toole, Susannah York and Michael Craig. [2] It is based on the novel Household Ghosts (1961) by James Kennaway which became a three-act stage play in 1967. It was released as Brotherly Love in the United States.


The film's sets were designed by the art director Maurice Fowler. Shooting took place in Perthshire and County Wicklow.


A tragicomedy set in a fading Scottish aristocratic family, in which the drunken Sir Charles Henry Arbuthnot Pinkerton Ferguson, Bt (Peter O'Toole) has an incestuous relationship with his equally eccentric sister Hilary Dow (Susannah York).



The stage play version played at the Edinburgh Festival in 1967. James Kennard wrote the female lead with Susannah York in mind; she was a cousin. Edward Fox played the male lead on stage.

In December 1968 James Kennaway, author of the novel, was driving home from a meeting Peter O'Toole to discuss the film version when he died in a car accident. [3] [4]

In February 1969 it was announced O'Toole would make the film with Susannah York under the direction of J. Lee Thompson. [5]

Filming took place in Ireland in mid 1969. [6] York said "it was the happiest film experience of my life." [7] O'Toole drank heavily through the shoot and at one stage was arrested. [8] Brian Blessed recalled it as "a delightful experience" but admits O'Toole could be difficult. [9]

At one point the film was called The Same Skin. [10] Then it was changed to Brotherly Love. [11]

In April 1970 producer Robert Ginna announced he would make another film with O'Toole and Thompson from a Kennaway novel, The Cost of Living Like This, but it was never made. [12]

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  1. Freedland, Michael (1982). Peter O'Toole : a biography. St Martin's Press. p. 136.
  2. Chibnall p.331
  3. JAMES KENNAWAY, NOVELIST, 40, DEAD: Scot Wrote 'Tunes of Glory' and Screen Adaptations Special to The New York Times. New York Times 25 Dec 1968: 31.
  4. British Author Killed in 4-Car Auto Crash Chicago Tribune 25 Dec 1968: b11.
  5. MOVIE CALL SHEET: Brill Will Film 'Obsession' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (11 Feb 1969: d15.
  6. Hollywood Today: New Addition NORMA LEE BROWNING. Chicago Tribune 10 July 1969: b1.
  7. Susannah May Get the Squiggles, but She Knows Where She's Going in Films: Movies Servi, Vera. Chicago Tribune 16 Aug 1970: e4.
  8. Wapshott, Nicholas (1984). Peter O'Toole : a biography. Beaufort Books. pp. 154–156.
  9. Blessed, Brian (2015). Absolute pandemonium : a memoir. Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 94.
  10. On the film scene The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Boston, Mass. [Boston, Mass]06 Feb 1970: 8.
  11. Film Title Changed Los Angeles Times 23 Mar 1970: e23.
  12. A Kooky Time for Coco: Kooky Coco By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 12 Apr 1970: D13.