1945 - 2003
If you are looking for VHS or R0 DVD copies of any if... or O Lucky Man! or have any of her films I need please email me.
Articles | Biography | Resume | Pictures | Stories
Here's one of the only known articles about her.
Scan of her from the article
Too Stark for Mr. Chips
Sunday Telegraph 12/15/68
"He was stark naked and I was stark naked, but we were both so busy fighting that I can't remember what he looked like in the nude."
Christine Noonan describing a memorable scene from her first film, Lindsay Anderson's if.... which opens in London this week. In real life, Christine reacts to the scene in a completely matter-of-fact way, she's a pretty matter-of-fact girl, and says she identifies with the aggressive, strong side of the character she acts. Anderson asked whether she would mind doing it and she agreed because she felt that it was "in context for the whole film." Her husband who teaches drama was at first put out, " 'Oh god, you're not going to be one of those titty actresses.' But when I explained the point of it to him, he agreed."
Christine is 22 and like all the films non adult actors, she is an unknown. She is currently selling wool in the Army and Navy stores. "I'm out of work and I'm broke. If you don't work, you just go in on yourself and ferment - this makes a break and it's only till after Christmas."
Christine Wright was a dark haired beauty with
exotic looks and I know little else about her early life. In high school she was in the
plays "Saint Joan" and "Pride and
Prejudice". The main story I do know comes from Malcolm
McDowell's stories from if.....
This was Malcolm and Christine's first film. Their audition was held at the Jimmy Edwards Comedy Playhouse, in
London on January 5, 1968.
Malcolm quickly scans his scene, then walks onto the stage still holding his script. He explores Jimmy Edwards's props with suddenly intense eyes. His movements are precise, yet natural. He approaches the girl, who stands behind a table, our pretend cafe counter. He raps the table hard (Malcolm knocks on the podium), still reading from the script. He ogles her as she mimes pouring coffee. Then without warning, not looking at the script, he grabs her round the neck, pulling her across the wide table and kisses her hard and long. He looks at her, smirking, as she lies half off the table.
The actor picks up the script to find out the next action when without warning, the girl rears up and smashes him in the face with her fist. Her fist! he repeats. He reels across the the stage, hurt and shocked. What's happening? He studies his script again and goes to a bookshelf and works it like a jukebox.
'Go on, look at me.' says the girl. 'Look at my eyes. I've eyes like a tiger. My eyes get bigger and bigger...' Then the clip from the film is shown. Malcolm continues talking over it.
The actor smells the girl. They are animals. What's happening? Bites, blows, bodies thumping on the boards. Struggling on the floor, he tries to turn the next page to see what's coming next. The girl tears into him, tugging out his hair, ripping the script in two. Maddened, he retaliates, wrestling, breaking the girl's bra under her sweater. Malcolm adds with a smirk, 'An accident.'
'The jukebox has finished,' Lindsay calls to break the battle. The actress gives a final blow and a shriek of laughter. The actor rolls in pain. I go onto the stage, pick up my shredded script and call across to Lindsay: 'I wouldn't bother to go on auditioning. You've got Mick and the girl.'
'Oh, you wouldn't bother, would you Sherwin? That's a brilliant way to cast a film. Piss off.'
I repeat, 'They're brilliant.'
'Then fucking well tell them. Their names are Malcolm McDowell and Christine Noonan.'
Malcolm concludes, "I always think it was because of that slap that I actually was cast and went on to have a movie career. It was a Zen moment in my life." And the rest was history. To this day Malcolm still credits her with his film career.
During the filming Malcolm was only 24 and suggested to Lindsay that he and Christine do the tiger scene at the cafe in the nude. Lindsay agreed, but only if Malcolm asks her himself. After the feistiness of the audition he is wary, but she agrees straight away when Malcolm says that's what Lindsay wants. When it comes time to film she strode on set completely nude and totally unabashed. Malcolm was the one who was utterly mortified. Her lines were, "Yes? Black or white? Sugar. Go on - look at me. Look at my eyes...I'll kill you...sometimes I stand at the mirror and my eyes get bigger and bigger, and I look like a tiger. I Like tigers. (growls) I like Johnny. Stone. Scissors." All her other scenes have no dialog.
After working on the movie she was out of film work and had to work in an Army Navy Store. She acted in three other small roles at the rate of one a year and since she was part of the Lindsay Anderson acting family she was brought back into the multiple role epic O Lucky Man! in 1973. She is first seen very early in the film as the coffee packer on the assembly line that Mick hits on. She has one line 'Frightening, isn't it?' About a half hour later she plays Mavis, the girl who sits on the Police Superintendent's lap at the Nightspot club where the chocolate sandwich takes place. Her only line here is to Mick, 'Happy to greet you.'
Christine appeared with Warren Clarke (from O Lucky Man!) in a play at the Royal Court Theatre called 'Insideout'. It was written by Frank Norman, directed by Ken Campbell (the first he directed there) and opened on 11/24/69. Tommie White is serving his first year in prison and is befriended by a long term prisoner who sets him up with his old gang when he leaves. The old prisoner, Tools, is set up by the warden who plant illegal cigarettes in his cell. There are a couple of young male prostitutes who mainly speak in the slang of that time and they are friendly with a gay officer. Tools bullies a disabled prisoner who subsequently hangs himself. Tommie's girl who promised to wait for him doesn't. White leaves prison to return to crime. There are 23 male roles, 2 female. A review appeared in the 2/70 Plays & Players magazine cover story.
After this is where facts disappear. Perhaps with the collapse of the British Film Industry she left the business like many lesser known actresses and actors. She did get married to David very young, took the name Noonan and had 3 children including a daughter, this explains why she didn't go for Malcolm's advances on the set. It seems she chose raising a family instead of acting. Many times over the years I was asked, "Where is she now?" It was a great question. She had family in Canada who contacted a friend of mine in 2002 to say she was living in London. I asked Malcolm around this time if he knew anything, but he had not kept in touch. Then in September 2004 a contact told me she had died of cancer. I didn't want to post it in an effort not to repeat the Rupert Webster fiasco. Then I received confirmation from Malcolm himself in November 2004 as her family came to visit him at his National Theater tribute to Lindsay Anderson. Malcolm said then with her different look the industry didn't know what to do with her.
Michael wrote: Her school class of 1961 had its first reunion in London on Sunday December 1, 2002 and I was happy to be part of it. Of the 22 kids in our class 12 have been accounted for and 10 showed up for the reunion. I went to school with her from age 11 to 16 until we both left school. I did two school plays with her.
I've been told she was in a series of Victorian melodramas on ITV in the '70s that were hosted by Michael Ripper. If anyone knows anything else please email me.
|Oh! What a Lovely War||1969||Mill Girl|
|Casanova - Mini Series||1971||Barberina|
|She Would if She Could||1972||Play|
|O Lucky Man!||1973||Coffee Packer/Mavis|
|Macbeth||197?||Play as Lady Macbeth|
The Girl's first shot noticing the boys
The Girl waves to Mick from her window
Mick and The Girl on the school roof with guns
if.... Publicity Shots
Exclusive color shot
Malcolm and Christine Noonan looking at each other smiling
Malcolm and Christine Noonan looking together
Christine lounging at work 12/68
O Lucky Man!
Coffee Packer & Mavis
I first met Christine when I played her
sister in a restoration comedy tour "She Would if She Could" by George
Etheredge, run by the Nuffield Theatre company Orbit at Lancaster University in
1972. We traveled around with the show, mostly up North and I got to know Chris
then. We got on really well and after the show finished we kept in touch. I
worked in Manchester for a bit and then came down to London and stayed with
Chris in her flat in Holloway Road. It was a council flat she had got when she
was first married. They had split up by now and she was involved with someone
else. She was pregnant with her first child by the new guy and I stayed with her
until she had to prepare the apartment for the baby when she more or less had to
throw me out. She gave me a deadline that I had to be out by the end of the
week. It was the best thing she could have done as it literally changed my life.
I had been really drifting and didn't know how to get out of it. Chris's
ultimatum led me down a new path, which eventually took me out of the
professional theatre and through which I met my husband and started a family of
my own. It was somehow typical of Chris that she had the courage to deliver a
wake-up call at the appropriate moment, without malice but at the same time
pulling no punches. I think she did something similar for Malcolm McDowell when
she slapped his face in the audition for if…
After that we still kept in touch for some years. She had three children that I know of - a boy and twin girls, who would be in their thirties now. Eventually, sadly, we lost touch - it was difficult to keep the same rapport when I was no longer involved in professional theatre (for which we both shared a passion). I only heard that she had passed away by chance, searching her name on the Internet and finding your site. I was terribly sad to think that I hadn't known she was ill or anything.
She was a lovely person and we had great long talks about anything and everything. The qualities I remember most, apart from her beauty, were honesty, sensitivity, her sense of humor, intelligence and courage. She had a down-to-earth East End quality mixed with a kind of ethereal aestheticism, which was both unusual and extremely disarming. She didn't have much use for the glitzy, promotional side of the business and her honesty and lack of pretension may have put shallow people off and actually held her back from greater success. She was a talented actress with great instincts. I saw her play a wonderful Lady Macbeth in the 70s in a theatre up North - I don't remember which. She would never put on airs - she once went to take a part in a film, being put up in a posh suite in an expensive hotel. She said she felt very out of place luggage-wise when she saw all the matching ensembles - all her possessions were contained in one carrier bag. This would not have thrown Chris, however. She was gutsy and determined to be herself and nothing more. - Carolyn 9/07
This page © 2004-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net