Cap of prolific English language dubbing director/voice artist Richard McNamara, in a scene from Roman Polanski’s 1972 ribald sex comedy, WHAT? Several interesting Jess Franco connections here. First, McNamara is the credited English language director of Franco’s 1972 monster rally DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN.
McNamara had a somewhat folksy delivery and voices protagonist Seward in the readings of his “Diary”, a track which is heard only on the US English language version. Seward is played onscreen by Alberto Dalbes. McNamara arrived in Italy with the American Army at the end of World War II, staying there to work in the film industry until the end of his life. He started acting in and dubbing films in Rome during the 1950s even before the equally prolific Ted Rusoff and Nick Alexander. He died in 1998.
Roman Polanski originally wanted Britt Nichols, who played in a number of early 1970s Franco films (THE DEMONS, DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN, LA FILLE DE DRACULA, THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN), to play the lead role in the film, an American tourist who is pursued by a group of sexual deviants in a Mediterranean villa. He contacted Franco to inquire about contacting the actress, but her husband refused to let her take the role. Polanski later cast Sydne Rome, who has her back to the camera in the cap.
The villa in which most of WHAT? takes place may have been the same Carlo Ponti villa where scenes in Franco’s VENUS IN FURS (1969) were lensed several years earlier. The cap is taken from the new SEVERIN FILMS Blu-ray. The film looks absolutely gorgeous in this presentation, which is highly recommended.