Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Persistent Petula Likes Movie Role

Cleveland Press August 15, 1967

HOLLYWOOD: International singing star Petula Clark is a diminutive (5 ft., 1 in., 100 lbs.), 33-year old blond who says she'd rather be judged by her work than by any remarks she might make. But she is not unwilling to make them anyway -- that she likes songs with a beat, that she likes to keep working and dislikes the Las Vegas atmosphere for example.

Miss Clark, making her first Hollywood movie, portrays Fred Astaire's daughter in "Finian's Rainbow." And though Astaire is officially dancing without a partner, the English singer does tap out a few steps with him.

"Let's just say that I'm no Ginger Rogers," she said, wrinkling her nose. "Astaire is marvelous to work with though, so thoughtful and such a perfectionist."

The songs from "Finian" are not the type usually associated with Miss Clark who has managed to unearth the best sounding stuff from the cacophony of modern music.

"IT'S KIND OF A COMPROMISE," she opined about her singing. "When I sang 'How Are Things in Glocca Mora' I was sort of nervous. It's been a long time since I've sung a song without a beat.

"It was a little better with 'That Old Devil Moon.' I usually sing everything, even a ballad, with a beat.

"But remember, in this I'm playing a part, an unsophisticated Irish girl. I sing with an accent, so that changes the whole sound of my voice too."

Most of the people on the set refer to her as Pet. She says that in France they call her "Petu" and make her last name "La Clark." In Italy it is "La Petula."

SHE HAS MADE MOVIES before but has a low opinion of her previous work.

"There's a terrible film of mine that I made four years ago in France that is pepping up on television now. I played me and I wrote the music for it.

"After that I wasn't keen on doing another unless it was something I couldn't resist and then this came up."

For this movie she cut short a concert tour. She will do a two-week concert tour in Canada when the movie is finished and then go to London for a few months before returning to the United States for a TV special.

She will do eight television shows for the British Broad. casting Company -- all live. ("Tape takes away from the exuberance.")

HER NEXT MOVIE, strictly dramatic, is "Shelter in the Dark." Meanwhile there are more concert and recording dates and a return to Las Vegas.

"I'm not really a night club performer. I prefer concerts. Las Vegas shows are almost like concerts; you don't do many. I don't like the city though, the whole atmosphere. And it's terrible what the place does to people. It changes them," she said.

Petula is married to a Frenchman, Claud Wolff, an executive with a French recording company. They have two daughters, homes in Paris and the south of France and are building a home in Geneva.

Did she ever consider taking a year or so off to relax and spend time with her family?

"Why? I like to work. I don't think I could relax for a week, let alone a year," she answered.