Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 20 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Press Officer. As a German citizen, and former journalist, Peter's father, "Klop", had been working at the German Embassy as a press officer. It was while he was employed at the embassy that he was approached by British intelligence agents.
Von Ribbentrop. Originally young Rudolf Von Ribbentrop had been meant to enter the hallowed halls of Eton. However, Eton refused to have him and he was enrolled in Westminster School instead. Peter describes him as "an overgrown and shy fellow with glasses, reddish hair and freckles, who kept to himself." On arrival at the school both Rudolf and his chauffeur had a quick discussion and then gave the Nazi salute and shouted "Heil Hitler".
Westminster. Peter attended Westminster School for a year and a half along with most of the sons from the families belonging to the Members of Parliament who were close by. One of his first tests was to debate in favour of the death penalty, something he was strongly against.
|When Peter attended school he was often taunted because of the foreignness of his name. Which part of his name caused the majority of taunts?||Peter Ustinov: The Early Years
Von. Peter's full name was Peter Alexander Von Ustinov. He attended the school between the wars and received either congratulations if a German won something, or commiserations if they lost; especially if the winner was English.
|Peter's parents were connected to people from all over the world. Which African ruler was invited to Peter's home in 1922?||Peter Ustinov: The Early Years
Haile Selassie. On a visit to England to buy some armaments Haile Selassie was invited by Peter's father, 'Klop', to dinner. The "Lion of Judah" accepted and arrived with a large retinue of staff. 'Klop' immediately contacted his employers at the German Embassy for help and a fleet of Mercedes were sent with food for the guests. To cover the lack of food until the embassy food arrived, Peter was woken up from bed and pressed upon to entertain the Ethiopian Emperor.
Swiss Cottage. Swiss Cottage is in the London Borough of Camden. The area received its name from a tavern called "The Swiss Tavern" which had been built in 1804. Peter's mother, Nadia, had given birth at a nursing home in Adelaide Road after arriving in the UK in 1921. She had travelled to the British Isles from St. Petersburg via Holland.
A parrot. As a child Peter was in the care of a succession of nurses who turned out to be highly unsuitable to look after an infant. One of these nurses, a twenty-something Irish girl, used to leave Peter in his pram outside a house while she went into the basement for an assignation. To keep the child quiet he was given the company of a parrot in a cage. The parrot did what parrots do and imitated the child and the child, being a child, imitated the parrot. After a while the nurse would return with a jaunty step and a smile on her face and returned Peter to his parents. However, Peter's mother became suspicious and had them followed and the young lady was found and dismissed.
|Peter, for those who never saw him interviewed, was a witty and charming guest on many talk shows. In his book he refers to his first steps in learning his vocabulary skills by learning which word, which he had seen on a big advertisement hoarding?||Peter Ustinov: The Early Years
Oxo. Oxo is a brand of stock cubes used in the UK. Like Bovril it can be made into a beef tea. According to Peter he was able to say Oxo at the age of nine months while travelling on top of a double-deck bus as he was passing by Victoria Station in London.
|On Peter's mother's side of the family there is a character called Jules-Cesar who had a successful career in cuisine. He eventually was appointed "Maitre de Bouche" to which European monarch? ||Peter Ustinov: The Early Years
Emperor Paul I. Originally from a village in France Jules-Cesar became an apprentice pastry cook instead of the family trade of being a schoolmaster in the village. He started the ladder to greatness by being the pastry cook to the Duc de Montmorency. After emigrating to the Netherlands, in the company of the Duc, they both then went to St. Petersburg and parted company. Jules became chef de cuisine to the Dutch Legation before becoming Maitre de Bouche to the Emperor Paul I of Russia. Ustinov compares the Russian Emperor to Nero though some historians and much more kinder to his memory. The Emperor, like Nero, was a target of assassins and was killed in his bedroom after he refused to abdicate.
Delivering mail from British prisoners of war to the allied lines. The uncle, whom Peter was named after, was crossing 'no-man's land' in his aeroplane to deliver post from British prisoners of war. Normally those planes which had white streamers attached to their wings were not to be fired upon. However the British anti-aircraft gunners were blinded by the sun and did not see the streamers. Peter's uncle and father had entered the German army at the start of the Great War before transferring into the Air Force.
House of Regrets. The play centres on the lives of Russian émigrés living in wartime London. All the answers are plays written by Peter; the most successful of his plays was "The Love of Four Colonels".
|Peter's first movie role was in a "semi documentary" playing a Dutchman called van der Lubbe. The title of the movie refers to which famous book?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
Mein Kampf. The full title of the movie is "Mein Kampf- My Crimes" and Peter's role was that of the man charged with setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933. Marinus van der Lubbe was a Dutch communist who was charged, and executed, for the Reichstag fire. He received a pardon from the German authorities in 2008.
|During the filming of "School for Secrets" (1946) Peter, who was directing for the first time, had to use all his acting skills to delay the filming to spare the leading actor's dignity. Which great British actor had Peter to delay for?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
Ralph Richardson. Ralph Richardson loved motorcycles and air planes but had been known for destroying said machines resulting in the loss of several teeth which resulted in the use of some bridgework within his mouth. On the third day of filming Richardson arrived on set minus the bridgework and bellowing his hale and hearty welcome to all. However the loss of the teeth resulted in the appearance of a whistling sound coming from Richardson on certain sibilants; some that he was totally unaware of. So the 24 year old director, Peter, panicked and told the famous actor that the camera was broken, which the cameraman denied landing Peter in hot water whereupon he said that he had made a mistake because of his inexperience and that it was the sound-mixing machine which had broken down. The sound-man confirmed this as he had been on the receiving end of a number of the piercing whistles emitted by Richardson. Meanwhile the assistant director hastened to the phone to call Richardson's home to deliver the missing teeth.
|In 1949 Peter appeared in the movie "Private Angelo". This was one of the few occasions when both he and his mother worked on the same project. What was it that his mother did on the movie?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
Costume Designer. Peter's mother, Nadia Benois, was an accomplished artist who was born in St. Petersburg in 1896. Her many accomplishments included collaboration with Marie Rambert, and the Rambert Dance Company, in the designs for the ballet "Dark Elegies". She started her career in art under her uncle Alexander Benois who was the designer for the major Diaghilev ballets. She also had several exhibitions in Britain to showcase her paintings.
|During the Second World War Peter wrote several plays and films one of which was called "The Way Ahead". What character did Peter play in this film?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
Rispoli. Using his abilities to affect a foreign accent Peter plays the character of Rispoli, the café owner, who is caught in the middle between the British and German forces somewhere in North Africa. This film is based on Ustinov's previous offering, "The New Lot", and was released in 1944.
|During a sea voyage to North Africa Peter met, and nearly fought, a former heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Who was this pugilist with the short temper?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
Jack Sharkey. The "Boston Gob" had been drinking one night during the voyage and was in the mood for a fight. In the bunk above Ustinov was an officer who had lost a leg to a land mine and was now using the latest artificial leg which had been made in the U.S.A. The one-legged officer brandished his artificial leg at the sozzled fighter who howled with fear and staggered away.
|Due to the fact that he was a private while his colleagues were all officers in the army, Peter had to become an officer's servant. To which famous Hollywood actor was Peter the batman to?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
David Niven. Both Burton and MacNee served with the British Royal Navy whilst Hawkins served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, though he spent some of his time producing entertainment shows for the troops serving in India.
|During 1942 Peter started in the Royal Sussex Regiment before being attached to the Army Kinematograph Service in Wembley Park. One of the first projects that this group was asked to do was a training film for new army conscripts. What was the name of this film?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
"The New Lot" (1943). The film was written by Peter Ustinov and Eric Ambler and was directed by the great Carol Reed. The film centred on the lives of five conscripts as they were called into service. Amongst the cast was Robert Donat and Bernard Lee.
"In Which We Serve" was a film about the Royal Navy and starred, amongst others, Noel Coward. "The Way Ahead" starred David Niven and was a worthy successor to "The New Lot". "The Goose Steps Out" is a spy comedy starring the British comedic actor Will Hay and Peter Ustinov.
|At the start of the Second World War there were many false air raid alarms as the British populace expected the German air force to attacked. What was this period of the war called?||Peter Ustinov: The Middle Years
All three of these. From September 1939 until April 1940 the people of Britain expected the famed Nazi "Blitzkrieg" to be unleashed on them. Believing that attack was imminent many children were evacuated out of the major cities. As time went along many of these evacuees were brought back home. Meanwhile the Battle of the Atlantic and the Nazi consolidation of Poland began. It was Churchill who called this period "The Twilight War" while the Germans referred to it as "Sitzkrieg", "The Sitting War". The identity of the person who coined the phrase "The Phony War" is not truly known though it has been attributed to an American senator called William Borah.