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DOUBLE INTERVIEW FOR THE WIND AND THE LION

"They were cute," Darrell Fetty said of the actual lions, "but they stayed in their cage."
In the John Milius historical sand-swept classic THE WIND AND THE LION, President Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Keith) deals with the abduction of an American woman in Morocco by Berbers thanks to Sean Connery's cutthroat yet valiant Raisuli...

The President's daughter, Alice, was played by child actress turned teenager Deborah Baxter while BIG WEDNESDAY alumni Darrell Fetty portrayed naive American diplomat Richard Dreighton...
INTERVIEW WITH DEBORAH BAXTER (ALICE ROOSEVELT)
How was it filming the birthday party scene with Brian Keith and John Huston?

The Birthday scene was the very first scene shot. John Milius had a few friends too as extras. He asked me to start filming as he thought that I would relax everyone and do it well! I didn’t know who Brian Keith was nor John Houston, can you believe! Yes we were all at the table. How amazing is that! This scene was shot in a hotel in Madrid, night shooting. Such fun having breakfast before going back to our hotel for a day’s sleep!

The next scene where Brian Keith is looking at the sketches of the bear – and you laugh when he says: “the bear looks like a hairy cow” – and then he stands up on the table and imitates the bear…What are some memories of being involved in this scene?
Deborah Baxter as Alice Roosevelt
The growling bear scene went quite smoothly. Although one of the actors couldn’t remember his lines and was a bit weird, I don’t know who he was! A very bland and staccato way of speaking. Maybe he was a friend too!

When I first started filming they said that they would definitely be dubbing my voice as my American dialect wasn’t very good! Carolyne McCoy – John Milius’ secretary and Darrell Fetty’s girlfriend at the time – took great pain in going over my lines and my intonations. It worked… They used my voice!
Deborah Baxter with Brian Keith
Was your line “Growl again, father” adlibbed or scripted?

Yes my line was scripted. ‘Growl again, Father!’ Father was always a difficult word to say, I always put too much R on Father.

What do you remember of the gun range scene?

I don’t have many memories of this scene however I do remember sitting with John Milius, John Houston and Brian Keith between scenes on their director’s chairs and John Milius talking about the next scene.
INTERVIEW WITH DARRELL FETTY (RICHARD DREIGHTON)
Where were your scenes in THE WIND AND THE LION filmed?

When I first arrived in Madrid, they were filming some of the White House scenes with Brian Keith as Teddy Roosevelt at The Palace Hotel. Man, it was exciting to be there – a major, old-time Hollywood production starring Sean Connery with an International cast and a huge European crew. The American train sequences were also filmed in Madrid at an old Spanish rail station.

My palace scenes were at the Alcazar in Seville. Originally a Moorish fortress, after Ferdinand II conquered Spain in 1248, the Alcazar was renovated as the palace for the Kings of Castille. Seville was a beautiful location. The polo match was in an Alcazar courtyard. That's legendary stuntman Terry Leonard crashing the bikes in the beginning of my scene there. Terry did practically all the stunts in the movie.
Darrell Fetty as Richard Dreighton
How long did it take to shoot the carriage scene?

That scene took most of the day. I remember waiting a long time all set up and ready to go, with John being frustrated because our unflappable British cinematographer Billy Williams wouldn't shoot until the sun was just right. Billy shot several classic Ken Russell films (including WOMEN IN LOVE) as well as the famous Iraq opening of THE EXORCIST. He can be seen in THE WIND AND THE LION's opening scene as the white-haired English Nobleman having tea with Candace Bergen just before he gets shot by the marauding Berber bandits and mutters an exasperated, "Damn."

The men playing the slaves pulling the carriage were U.S. Marines stationed in Spain. They were good guys and great sports about doing that scene. They were in some military sequences as well. In fact, because those scenes were so authentic, even though it's a period movie, the Marine Corps still uses some of the footage in training films.
Genuine looking scenery in THE WIND AND THE LION
That memorable shot of the front of the train (in the palace): Was this a part of a real train?

That was built by our great Production Designer Gil Parrondo, who won Oscars for Art Direction on PATTON and NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRIA – but I think he used part of a real train in the construction.
Roy Jenson, Steve Kanaly, Geoffrey Lewis and Darrell Fetty
One of the coolest shots is where you, Geoffrey Lewis, Roy Jenson and Steve Kanaly are framed against that picture ("World at war... World War… Now that would be something to go out on")... How many takes for this?

John got a lot of coverage for that scene. I think it was shot in some old Embassy building in Seville. What I remember most is hanging out with the guys – Geoffrey Lewis (Clint Eastwood's sidekick in a bunch of movies, among other notable roles in his long career), Roy Jenson (bad-ass character actor in dozens of classic films including CHINATOWN), and Steve Kanaly who was closer to my age and just starting out as well.

After the movie was released, I had an actor friend remark that he thought that was my best scene. Since I had no lines in that scene, I thought it was kind of a dubious compliment – but he said because of how I listened and reacted, he thought I was the focus of the scene – that my character was planning something important – he could see Dreighton's inner life, his political aspirations and future schemes… or maybe it was just a passive/aggressive dig and my friend was jerking me around. If I was really doing all that and pulling focus from what it was supposed to be about, I screwed up the scene!
In the film's most memorable and perhaps important scene as the troops gather with a gorgeous matte in the backdrop

How much did you witness of the MARINE INVASION scene?

Epic filmmaking at its best. Part of it was shot in Seville and the rest in Almeria, Spain, where Sergio Leone shot his famous Clint Eastwood westerns. It took several days, and I watched a lot of the filming. When I wasn't working I was usually on the set, because it was fascinating to watch the work and spend time with all the amazing people involved.

I mean, imagine, besides Sean Connery, Brian Keith, and Candace Bergen, I got to hang with legendary writer/director/actor John Huston! I later did a movie called THE MADDENING starring Burt Reynolds and directed by John's son Danny Huston, who is also a fine actor, most recently co-starring as Sam Adams in HBO's JOHN ADAMS mini-series.
Darrell Fetty stands to the left of fellow Milius regular Geoffrey Lewis
The shot of the American Naval fleet in the harbor was one of the few matte shots (special effects) in the film. There was also a scene in which a number of cardboard human cutouts were planted in the crowd of extras to make it seem more like even larger masses of people.

Remember, this was all before CGI, so otherwise the movie was all real people and real locations.
Darrell Fetty in THE WIND AND THE LION
You appeared in two very different kinds of John Milius films, THE WIND AND THE LION and BIG WEDNESDAY… Did John's style differ on each?

John likened directing a film to being a General leading a military campaign. And he was a great general – always in charge but fun, easy-going, approachable… and tough when he had to be. He knew what he wanted but trusted his "troops" and specialists to do their jobs.

I don't remember any tension on the set. John loved being there and doing what he was doing… although it did become more stressful toward the end of filming in Spain. After the final shot, John was helicoptered out of a remote location, which he compared to escaping the fall of Saigon.
Darrell Fetty as the iconic Waxer in BIG WEDNESDAY
On all his movies John pays close attention to details and authenticity because of his vast knowledge and respect for history. I would say the script was followed more exactly on THE WIND AND THE LION than on BIG WEDNESDAY, which, within specific contexts, allowed somewhat for a more improvisational style.

That coming-of-age/surfing story epitomized much of John's personal experience when he was growing up, so it was a major passion for him. He had a lot of fun chronicling (with fellow surfer and co-writer Denny Aaberg) that era for the ages.
Deborah Baxter on movie dad Brian Keith along with Steve Kanaly, Darrell Fetty, John Houston & her director John Milius
BRIAN KEITH: He was always very kind and an extremely warm person. I enjoyed working with him very much. I really felt like his daughter. JOHN HUSTON: It was amazing working with him, after I found out who he was! STEVE KANALY: He was fabulous and I got very friendly with his girlfriend. They visited London and came to supper, I remember! I kept in touch with his girlfriend for a long while. She told me when he had done a pilot for a new television drama in The States and was hoping it was going to be a success… The Drama turned out to be DALLAS!

JOHN MILIUS: We got on very well. He had fallen in love with me in A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA [pictured below] and sent for me when he was casting in London… I remember my agents calling me with a very short time to get myself prepared! I was wearing my kilt that day and really didn’t have time to get ready for a casting! I definitely think he had a very soft spot for me! I also tried to keep in touch with him but with difficulty. I don’t believe he ever got my letters. He did say that he was working on another project that I would be perfect for but it never materialized. DARRELL FETTY: I knew his girlfriend [Carolyne McCoy] very well... We spent a lot of time together. Unfortunately I lost contact but thanks to you I will be able to get in touch again.
Deborah Baxter in A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA circa 1965
John Huston, Brian Keith and Deborah Baxter
Brian Keith as President Teddy Roosevelt with Deborah Baxter's Alice Roosevelt
A shot with John Milius (as a German arms dealer) and Darrell Fetty together
Darrel Fetty works out a deal in THE WIND AND THE LION
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