Film show has links to Breckland star

A classic film screening by a cinema group in Wymondham, The Rainbow Jacket (1954), will be dedicated to an actor who had a lifelong association with Breckland.

A classic film screening by a cinema group in Wymondham, The Rainbow Jacket (1954), will be dedicated to an actor who had a lifelong association with Breckland.

Edward Underdown was born in 1908 and spent his childhood at both Buckenham Tofts Hall, the site of which is now in the Stanford Battle Area, and at Bodney Hall.

Educated at Eton and Oxford, Underdown eventually became an actor making his movie debut in The Warren Case in 1934. Among the many films in which he later appeared were The Woman in the Hall (1947) with Jean Simmons, They Were Not Divided (1950), The Voice of Merrill (1954) with Valerie Hobson and Beat The Devil (1954) with Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida and Humphrey Bogart.

However, his favourite was The Rainbow Jacket, an Ealing crime drama which also starred Bill Owen, Honor Blackman, Robert Morley, Kay Walsh and Sidney James. Underdown was also a leading amateur jockey, both on the flat and under National Hunt rules, and the Rainbow Jacket was set in his beloved horseracing world. The movie was filmed almost entirely in Newmarket and includes some evocative scenes shot on the streets of that town as well as the racing sequences.


You may also want to watch:


Underdown was also an excellent cricketer, his game having been developed at an early age on the famous hall ground at Buckenham Tofts, and he had a distinguished war record as an officer in the Wiltshire Yeomanry with the 8th Army in Africa.

Despite his success in various fields, he never forgot his Norfolk roots and loved to visit his old haunts whenever he could. In September 1956, accompanied by his wife Rose, he opened a fete in the grounds of Bodney Hall in aid of the village church and returned again in July 1974 to open another such event at Church Cottage, Bodney.

Most Read

Following his death in December 1989, a memorial service was held at Bodney the following March and his ashes were scattered in a corner of the former Bodney estate - an area he had loved since boyhood.

An exhibition on Edward Underdown's life and movie career will accompany the film.

The show will be on Sunday, May 17 (2.30pm) at the old Wymondham regal, now part of the local Ex-Services Club. Tickets are available from Maureen Dodman (01953 605593) or Michael Armstrong (01953 603246) and at the Wymondham Heritage Museum. Prices are �4.50 (concs �3.50).

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter