• Tue
  • Sep 30, 2014
  • Updated: 4:09pm

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am

Roald Dahl has been posthumously ruffling feathers on Twitter after a trust in his name began the dubious task of raising a staggering HK$6 million just to relocate the garden shed in which he wrote most of his famous stories. The second world war flying ace (below), whose legacy includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tales of the Unexpected, has sold more than 100 million books in 50 languages. The Welsh-born Dahl's Norwegian roots are reflected in his being named after Nordic explorer Roald Amundsen ...

The first man to undisputedly reach both poles did so using materials and techniques that were innovatively retro for the time. He was the first modern-day explorer to favour of animal pelts, instead of heavy woollen clothing, and, to sustain him on long land journeys, he would take a large pack of dogs to pull his sled and eat them along the way. Amundsen, whose body lies undiscovered in the frozen wastes, was brought back to life in the film The Red Tent, portrayed by Sean Connery ...

The former coffin polisher earned a reputation as a hard man in his hometown of Edinburgh when he single-handedly took on a ruthless gang and won, violently. He achieved a similar feat years later when, filming in London, his co-star Lana Turner's gangster boyfriend, suspecting the actors of having an affair, showed up on set and thrust a gun in his face. Connery not only disarmed him, but knocked him out and had him deported. The humiliated mobster in question was one Handsome Harry, aka John Steele, aka Johnny Stompanato ...

During a particularly vicious argument with Turner back in Hollywood, Stompanato was stabbed to death by the actress' 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, who escaped punishment when the court declared the killing 'justifiable homicide'. Stompanato, a former marine who had gone bankrupt running strip clubs in Tianjin, China, is portrayed as a killer who is murdered while awaiting prosecution in the novel LA Confidential ...

The 1997 film adaptation of James Ellroy's classic book holds an impressive rating of 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, describing it as 'seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted'. The director chose to make a contemporary film with many scenes shot in real locations, including the notorious Frolic Room bar, on Hollywood Boulevard, the door to which opens onto the Walk of Fame star belonging to Gary Cooper ...

Having started out as an extra, Cooper ascended the Hollywood ladder with his understated portrayals of strong, silent types. Despite his stoical stage presence, Cooper had a temper. Fearing the damage an illegitimate child would have on his career, the married actor lashed out and struck the face of his pregnant mistress, Patricia Neal, while demanding she have an abortion. Luckily for Neal, she would go on to find true love - and have five children - with author and inventor Roald Dahl.


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