In 1985 Lawrence directed Romance on the Orient Express, described as a British romantic drama television film, starring Cheryl Ladd, John Gieldgud and Stuart Wilson, supported by Ruby Wax and Julian Sands and written by Jan Worthington.

Recollections of Romance

By Lawrence Gordon Clark

In 1985 I was involved with making Romance on the Orient Express which was a coproduction with Yorkshire Television and NBC Los Angeles. Frank von Zerneck was the American producer and I had to fly out to LA to be vetted by Frank and a terrifying NBC executive called Tony Misuchi. Frank was all for me and produced a trailer with clips of Jane Seymour in Jamaica in which had the required effect and I was adjudged to be suitable material to direct the film. I spent three very pleasant days by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel while I waited.
The film which starred Cheryl Ladd, Alan Ladd's daughter, and late of Charlie's Angels and John Gielgud as her lover's father was shot on the Orient Express and locations in Venice, Carcasson, Paris and in studio in Leeds where we built the interior of the train. We started shooting in 
Venice and as we flew in, Frank, who was still very nervous about the Misuchi factor told me the first days shooting would be crucial for me.
'Any advice?' I asked. 
'Shoot the shit out of Venice,' he replied.

Aided by our superb lighting cameraman, Peter Jackson, we followed his instructions and didn't hear from Misuchi again until the film was completed.

One of the highlights of the filming was meeting with John Gielgud who was the unlikely casting for Stuart Wilson's, the lead actor’s, father. He was so lame he could hardly move but he told the most wonderful theatrical stories and regaled us after shooting at the Balmoral Hotel in Harrogate where we were staying. His had been an epic King Lear. I remember Mum taking me to see it when I was a bit young but his entrance with the dead Cordelia in his arms was the most moving thing I've seen in theatre. He gave the most poignant howl of grief that raised the hairs on the audiences neck. His later advice to an aspiring but slight actor who was undertaking the old king? ‘Get yourself a light Cordelia.’

I sent a photo of Gielgud, sitting with Stuart Wilson and myself to my mother. She replied that she'd received the photo of Sir John and myself and after cutting out the actor with the big plain face, framed it and put it on her mantelpiece.



1Lily (Cheryl Ladd - Now and Forever) and her friend, Susan (Ruby Wax - Tara Road), having spent some time in Venice are taking a journey on the Orient Express. It is 10 years since Lily last travelled by train in Europe when on a journey to the South of France she met Alex (Stuart Wilson - Ivanhoe) and fell deeply in love with him as they ended up holidaying together only for him to suddenly leave with no explanation. But to her surprise Alex is also on the Orient Express and it is no accident as he tracked her down and wants to explain why he just vanished without reason all those years ago. Not that Lily wants to listen to what he has to say having managed to put the heartbreak behind her. The past and present intertwine and despite the revelations and dramas, love finds its way.