I'm not so sure that younger people today really appreciate the enormous bravery that went into the creation and production of that film, or how important a film at the time it really was.
Only after awhile. After it came out and people began to engage in discussions about the social reflections of the film that I realized it had an importance I hadn't thought of.
If he didn't fall in love he would have never come back near the end of the film. Because, what man is going to dishonor himself so that he comes back in front of the man that took a woman away from him... and warns her to save her life?
And I'm supposed to grab her and kiss her and she's supposed to react. Well, what happened was, Julie was very nervous at that time, given this incredible part which she did beautifully.
I didn't ever think of it as a social thing at the time. I took it as a good story. Maybe because I've always been kind of progressive so I never thought of it, you know.
I was pleased when the picture was over I fit in all right and I spoke well enough as I said before, cause I was scared to death there for a minute. I mean, you're doing a scene with somebody like that or they're watching you or something, you'd better come up with something.
I found out was, by the rhythm of my chewing, how I chewed fast, slow or what have you, I could tell the audience what my character was thinking and feeling.
Well, one of the problems of working on a story with a character that sacred in the religions of the world or in a picture about that person, is that you have to forget about that and play it as real as you can because you can't look at yourself and judge yourself.
Now that was one thing, but from an actor's point of view, this poor young man, crying from the moment I opened the door to the moment he left. Now if an actor did that they would say he's over-acting.
That's not a villain, that's a man whose a victim of being in love with the wrong one.
I had read the novel and I had heard David Lean was going to direct it - and it came as a surprise to me because American actors, if given the chance, can do style as well as anybody and speak as well as anybody.
I made a big mistake with him the first day I shot. We're shooting the scene where I come back from the party, the dance, in the sleigh with Julie Christie and we turn the corner and go past the camera and the camera follows us just a little bit and we disappear.