image CANNES, France — While most Cannes Film Festival-goers previewed such dubious cinematic achievements as Dogs in Space and I Was a Teenage TV Terrorist, the Prince and Princess of Wales swept into town yesterday afternoon to honor British Film Day, capped last night by the world premiere of The Whales of August, directed by their countryman Lindsay Anderson.
imageimageimage imageimageFollowing the film showing, at which Peter Ustinov, Julie Walters, Roger Moore, Michael York and other British stars were present, the royals attended a diamonds-optional dinner honoring Sir Alec Guinness.
image imagePrince Charles spoke at the dinner, recalling that as a child, he went to London’s Pinewood Studios and stood rapt watching Guinness act the part of a meek banker turned gold smuggler in The Lavender Hill Mob.
imageActor/raconteur Ustinov paid tribute to Guinness, 73, the distinguished veteran of 46 films spanning 40 years. Ustinov likened Guinness’ acting talent to that of a “good journalist who invents a story and attracts the truth to it.”
image imagePrincess Diana, in a pale blue Catherine Walker strapless chiffon floor-length gown, listened to Ustinov recount the roles of Guinness, an egoless chameleon who played the beloved everyman in such films as The Man in the White Suit (1952), The Ladykillers (1955) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), as well as starring in the Star Wars trilogy where, in the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was discovered by a new generation of filmgoers and regarded as every boy’s ideal father figure.

imageEmbarrassed at all the attention, Guinness read a list of British-born actors whom he considered greater than himself, including Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant and the late Ralph Richardson.
image imageEarlier yesterday, the royals visited Cannes City Hall, where they were officially greeted by Mayor Anne-Marie Dupuy. Afterward, Diana and Charles were led to the international film market in the Palais, where they visited the British, French and New Zealand stands.
imageFollowing their visit to the film market, the royal couple accepted gifts from festival president Pierre Diot: for Diana, a miniature palm, evoking the trees lining Cannes’ promenade; for Charles, a 40th Cannes Film Festival trophy, a miniature cinema auditorium.
imageWearing a navy-and-white-striped pouf-skirt mini-dress under a white linen double-breasted blazer cut in the style of her husband’s navy blue suit jacket, Diana accepted her palm. Charles graciously received the trophy from Diot and remarked, “As we both greatly enjoy and appreciate the art of filmmaking, we look forward to seeing a film tonight and to meeting the hard- working members of the British film industry who take enormous risks with enormous amounts of money.”
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