original story was simple. It was about Margaret Mee and her life beginning
with her background in England to the moment of fulfilling her greatest ambition.
After many political adventures in Europe and Brasil she wanted to paint the night
flowering cactus Selenicereus wittii in the night-shrouded heart of an
Amazon forest. The story of the search and the painting that has become known
as the Moonflower is told elsewhere on this site. In preparation for the story
Tony Morrison made many voice-only tapes as Margaret related her experiences.
They are the only such recordings of her at ease.|
The first set of
voice tapes were made with the help of Bob Nadkarni a professional sound
recordist and film maker with his own Brasilian company based in Rio de Janeiro.
As a young media person Bob worked on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey,
before setting out for a career in television.
used a Nagra recorder and broadcast quality microphones. These voice tapes include
Margaret Mee's memories of early days in São Paulo. Bob who is also an
artist had lived in Rio for some years and knew her socially through her exhibitions
and other gatherings. After Margaret's death Bob also made short pieces of film
for Tony particularly at a memorial ceremony held in the Rio's superb Jardim Botânico,
[Botanical Garden]. The ceremony was attended by many of her friends and
particularly by Roberto Burle Marx, the internatioanally famous Brasilian landscape
Morrison's preparation for the film and the book later given the title 'In
Search of Flowers of the Amazon Forests' continued through early 1988 at all
hours of the day and often into the night. More voice recordings were made on
a small personal recorder with excellent quality and these are of random subjects
occasionally punctuated by the sounds of household activity. Tony also created
a time-lapse sequence of the flower opening.|
The' pilot' sequences
for the proposed film were made by Brian Sewell a noted cameraman and director
who has his own Brasilian based film company. Brian used a brodacast quality camera
to record on Betacam tapes - the standard in those years in the NTSC format. Seven
tapes were made including one of Margaret Mee introducing the viewer to the environmental
problems facing Amazonia.
1989, the year after Margaret's death Brian also filmed the Return to the Moonflower
journey when Greville Mee, her widower made his first Amazon journey. This
report was made on professional Eastmancolour 16mm negative film.
In November 1988
on Thanksgiving Day in the USA Margaret was interviewed by Robert MacNeil
for the MacNeil-Lehrer Hour on PBS. His long and friendly televised meeting was
illustrated with short clips from the tapes made for the pilot film which are
also copyright material. A transcript and streaming video of the interview are
available elsewhere on the web.
: In the interview Margaret refers to a planned return to the Amazon forest -
that was said cautiously as the she was aware the idea for a tv film was not widely
Margaret died the story came to an abrupt halt. Ideas were tossed about for using
a narrator or another woman traveller to lead the way through Margaret Mee's Amazon.
Margaret had been such an remarkably talented person with a flair for acting so
without her the plot could not be the same. Clips of the sound and video are on
this site - see the menu [left].|