Through Grown Up Eyes – Bobby Henrey

I heard  Robert Henrey interviewed on Radio 4 a few weeks ago.  He has just publised his recollections of making the film ‘The Fallen Idol’

See hisBook below – This film was actually released in 1948 so a bit earlly for this site on the films of the fifties but here goes anyway


Robert Henrey’s autobiography ‘Through Grown-up Eyes: Living with Childhood Fame’

An interesting read I should think – I have just purchased the book so hope it is good.

Bobby Henrey was cast in The Fallen Idol on the basis of a photograph of him which appeared on the dustjacket of his mother’s book A Village in Piccadilly. Studio head Alexander Korda passed on the photograph to director Carol Reed, who thought it exactly matched his vision of the character. The movie took eight months to film, a long time for that era, due to Reed’s exacting standards. Henrey’s second film, The Wonder Kid, was not a great success, influencing his family’s belief that he should return to education

He was the son of Robert Henrey and the memoirist Madeleine Gal and she went on to write about her son’s film career in two of her many volumes of memoirs, the 1948 A Film Star in Belgrave Square and the 1950 A Journey To Vienna.

He went on to study at Oxford University, where he obtained a degree in language and literature.

At age 25, Henrey moved to the United States, eventually settling in Greenwich, Connecticut. He and his wife Lisette had a son, Edward, and a daughter but sadly she died.

Robert Henrey was ordained as a deacon in 1984 and went on to serve as an interfaith chaplain at Greenwich Hospital after his certification in 2001.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Through Grown Up Eyes – Bobby Henrey”

  1. David Rayner says:

    Well, it actually happened. At around 6 pm on Friday, September 6th, 2013, after my long and very tiring journey by train and taxi from Stoke-on-Trent, I finally got to see the legendary Bobby Henrey, by then aged 74, at the Regal cinema, Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire. He had flown over from his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, in the United States to attend at the cinema the launch of his new and long awaited autobiography “Through Grown Up Eyes: Living With Childhood Fame” and to see with a large audience of invited guests, including myself, the screening of his classic 1948 Carol Reed film “The Fallen Idol”. It was arranged by the book’s publisher, Jerry Johns, that I should arrive early, so that I could talk to Bobby (who, of course, is now known as Robert). I thought I was dreaming when I saw him get out of the car. When we shook hands, it was like that scene in “The Robe” where Michael Rennie meets Richard Burton. “I am deeply honoured!”, I told him. “I think the honour is mine!”, he replied. He laughed as I did for him my Bobby Henrey party piece of dialogue from his film: “Oh, look, there’s Mrs Baines on the balcony. Need we go in yet?” and he looked amazed by my Rory Bremner-like impression. I told him that I was his greatest fan and that his performance in the film was totally wonderful.

    Because I was already there when he arrived long before the audience did, I was able to have a good chat with him and we talked of many things. I told him that the Phillipe he portrayed on the screen was a real person and that as long as the film exists, he will never grow any older in it and he agreed with me that the motion picture is the nearest we’ve ever got to having a time machine. He also told me that when my flickr photostream was online, he would pour over it for hours at a time and found it all so incredibly interesting, not just the pictures, but the way I wrote about them. So you never know who’s looking in.

    We posed for some charming digital colour photos together outside the cinema, taken both by his charming wife, Lisette, and by Jerry Johns, the publisher of the autobiography and these photos were sent to me by email as soon as Jerry and Bobby and Lisette arrived back home. I could hardly believe this was happening to me as it seemed so surreal. But it was happening. Because I had helped with stills and information from my collection for the book, Bobby gave me a hardback copy of it, dedicated to me in his own hand. Bobby seemed quite touched and overwhelmed by the reception given to him by all those who attended this ultra special occasion and it was surreal indeed, sitting only a few seats from Bobby, who was sat to my left in the row in front of me, watching him as he looked at himself in his film on the big screen. This was the first digital presentation of a film in a cinema that I had seen and I found the image just as good as from a conventional, projected, 35mm print, but it seemed that whoever was showing the film had not mastered digital projection yet, because the 4 x 3 aspect ratio of the film was stretched out to 6 x 3, which distorted the image horizontally and made everyone look broad and fat. Sir Carol Reed would have thrown his hands up in the air in despair if he could have seen it. But the occasion was so special that the audience put up with it and enjoyed the film despite this.

    The film ended at around 8:35 pm, after which Bobby was to give a speech on the stage and take questions from the audience. Unfortunately, I had to miss this and the ending of the film because I had arranged for my taxi back to Birmingham New Street railway station to pick me up outside the cinema at 8:30 pm. Any later, and we would not have made the 45 miles journey back in time for me to catch the last train to Stoke-on-Trent. So, very reluctantly, I left Bobby sat there, watching his famous film. Now, although I travel okay on a train, it makes me feel very ill to travel in cars. I managed to get to Tenbury Wells from Birmingham without being sick. But on the return journey back to Birmingham, I became increasingly very ill indeed and the taxi driver had to stop the car three times while I got out and was sick on the grass verge, before collapsing back into the taxi. He was very concerned about me and wanted to call an ambulance, but I insisted he carried on with all speed so that we would be back in New Street in time for that last train. From experience, I knew this was going to happen, but, like the brave trooper I was, I went anyway, because I just had to see and talk to Bobby in person. After finally arriving back home at around 11:15 that night, my system was so upset that it took me three more days to recover. It was so very, very important to me to do this and I just had to make it there and back. Was it worth all the trouble of the very long 180 miles round trip journey? Oh, yes, it was and I am so very pleased and happy to have actually met the wonderful legend that is, and always will be, Bobby Henrey. Ironically, the show was originally to have been held at the Film Theatre in Stoke, which is only half a mile away from where I Iive and would have been ideal for me. But they were closed for their summer break and so the venue was changed to Tenbury Wells.

    The cost: Return train ticket from Stoke-on-Trent to Birmingham: £16:50. Return taxi fare from Birmingham to Tenbury Wells: £165. Total: £181:50 and worth every penny! Bobby will be 80 years old on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019.

    • Movieman says:

      David. Many Thanks for this fascinating story about Bobby Henrey. It was really good that you both contributed to his book and also got to meet him in Tenbury Wells. It does seem an unlikely venue I have to say although I know it is a nice place and I am sure that the cinema was up to the mark and so on reflection, maybe a perfect location although not for you as regards the travelling. Great story from 5 and a half years ago. Neil

  2. David Rayner says:

    Thanks, Neil. If there was a way to upload on here one of the lovely photos of Bobby and I together on that day, I would do so. My doctor advised me never to take such a long journey like that again, as I am just not up to it.

  3. David Rayner says:

    Hi, Neil, thanks for your email. I have just sent a photo to your email address. If you can’t find it, look in your Spam folder. David.

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