I remember catching my first glimpse of Ingrid Pitt. Back in the early-70s I was given my first tv set which I’d be allowed to keep in my room. It was a black and white, 6 inch, (analogue, kids) metal-clad affair with a dirty great carrying handle on top. My parents had, after some lobbying from yours truly, bought it for Christmas one year with the express orders that, not only should I watch it every night between 9pm (beddie-byes time) until I could no longer keep my eyes open, but that I should thrash myself within an inch of my life while doing so, when appropriate. Well that’s how I remember it anyway.
It took me a good few months to realise that the tv came with a tiny earphone-jack which would enable me to watch The Sweeney, I CLAVDIVS or The Beguiled without giving the game away to my parents in the next door bedroom. I didn’t actually own any headphones, so guess what was on my Christmas list the following year ? That’s right – an England football shirt.
Back in those heady, sweaty days, there was no internet to amuse me, and no dvd players. The home video age was still several years away. You could buy video recorders but they were the size of Belgium and when played dimmed the street lights outside. So we were left to the whims of the tv executives who decided when and what we were to watch on a Tuesday night from the comfort of our three-piece suite or, in my case, under the blankets in bed. (A duvet was known in my house as a “continental quilt” and I’d have to wait a few years yet to get my bum under one.)
And it was through this tv that I became aware of Ingrid. This blonde, buxom bird who’s face (and often much more) was projected onto my little black and white screen during the hours of darkness. This woman was magnificent. This woman was gorgeous. She was sexy. And she seemed to be in every other movie that I managed to see.
I was only interested in two types of movie: War and Horror (note the distinction). War because, obviously, there was a lot of shooting of Germans to be had. Horror because at some stage during the 90 minutes you could guarantee that some victorian wench would end up starkers and screaming for her life as her blouse was ripped from her lithe, white flesh and she was ravaged by someone in an unconvincing werewolf outfit (where were those bloody headphones ?). Anton Diffring was in all the war movies, Ingrid Pitt was in all the horrors. (They were both in Where Eagles Dare)
As I’d yet to experience any homo-erotic tendencies towards masculine, blue-eyed Germans (and I’m still waiting), my affections lay with Ingrid. Even if I couldn’t. And why not ? Look at the picture at the top of this story. It’s a studio still from Vampire Lovers – the erotic goth horror classic. Ingrid’s on the far left. How sexy is she ?? She didn’t squeak annoyingly like Madeline Smith and didn’t scare the bejesus out of me as did Kate O’Mara. No, Ingrid was the one for me. I spent those nights listening to her soft sensual Swedish voice (well, how was I supposed to know she was actually Polish?) and hoping that soon all her clothes would fall off. I never had to wait long, bless her.
So now sadly, at the age of 73, she has gone upstairs to meet up again with Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and the rest. Perhaps her and Anton Diffring will relive old times ? She might even let Richard Burton’s Broadsword finally meet her Danny Boy.