Too idle to shave myself. I employed the hotel barber, who had little to say, even about the weather. D. and I reflected upon my next film until 11.15. Lunch a bit late, and then we dashed off in a taxi to catch the 2.10 steamer France for the tour du lac.
|Two views of the steamer France|
There are one or two fine mountains in full view (7,000 ft. or so) but I found it impossible to be enthusiastic about lake scenery. It is like living in a picture postcard, especially when there is full sunshine.
|Picture postcard of the lake steamer|
The steamer calls at all sorts of places, little places. Menthon was the best. We stepped off at Duingt because Noel Coward had given such an enthusiastic account of it to Dorothy. Not bad, but suffering from the disadvantage of being seriously cut off by hills from the sun both east and west.
Noel must have been there in love some hot August.
“He is the Congreve of our day,” I remarked of Noël Coward after seeing the first production of Private Lives in 1930. Coward, who was never really at ease with either Elizabethan or Restoration comedy, may not have welcomed this judgement - yet it seems, now, to be the right one. The reviews I contributed to the New Age and the London Evening Standard testify to my skill as a predictor of literary survival; my valuations of Swinburne and Chekhov being particularly farsighted. I treated Private Lives with respect, unlike most of the critics, who complained of its “brittleness” and “thinness.” Ivor Brown set the tone in the Observer: “Within a few years the student of drama will be sitting in complete bewilderment before the text of Private Lives, wondering what on earth those fellows in 1930 saw in so flimsy a trifle.” The “trifle” is now almost 70 years old!
After tea, we climbed a little way up the hill below the church and sat, and I made a slight sketch of a lake-and-mountain composition (the first interesting one I had seen). Then another steamer back, arriving at 6.30 at Annecy.
I then reflected for one hour on my film and I got a real notion or two. My story "Punch and Judy" intended as the basis for a film by Alfred Hitchcock has recently been rediscovered and published. It was never filmed. Maybe Hitchcock and I had too much in common (including a great deal of self-esteem) to be completely compatible as collaborators.
After dinner I read about 50 pages of Keyserling's "Europe". I was prepared to disdain it but did not utterly.