Transcripts

10 February 1978: The Universe

The Lady Still Keeps Her Husband Guessing

In The Guardsman (Lyttelton) the green-eyed monster dons a hussar's uniform. Nandor (Richard Johnson) sees his wife, Ilona (Diana Rigg), peep through curtains at a street where soldiers stroll. Nandor is jealous. He loves her and considers himself the cat's whiskers as a husband.

The place is Budapest, the time 1910, the Emperor Franz Josef rules and, as everyone knows, his subjects spent their whole lives drinking Tokay, waltzing and flirting.

Nandor and Ilona are Budapests's star actors: every man and boy in the city adores the lady. And - if I may say so - as played by Diana Rigg, no wonder.

Nandor, a handsome fathead, decides to test Ilona and disguises himself.

The lad, as he is, might pass for a personable Italian rugby player: he transforms himself into a hairy blond Anglo-Saxon cricketer in a uniform like the Blackpool illuminations tailored in Savile Row. And the crafty fellow woos his wife.

Does she fall? Not she. But the leery lady sways a little and just leaves him wondering while she takes another peep through those curtains.

Miss Rigg - a past-mistress at the mischief bit - is exquisitely funny, Mr. Johnson agonisingly so. From Philip Stone - as a drama critic, so help me - witty footwork. Witty theatre.


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