Friday, 10 June 2011

Harem dancers: Lisa Guiraut

Lisa Guiraut (Leila) is best known as the dancer who catches the eye of Sean Connery's Bond in From Russia With Love (1963). She also had dance cameos in the TV show Espionage (in the episode The Weakling) (1963), starring Dennis Hopper and Patricia Neal, and in the classic 1962 film The Days of Wine and Roses.

UPDATE [23/02/12]: After months of searching, I have found a pic of Lisa in the "dancing on the yacht" scene from The Days of Wine and Roses! If anyone has a clip please let me know.


She was in a German TV mini-series in the late 1960s, had a walk-on part in a 1982 French farce about a bank clerk "given" a prostitute as a retirement gift. And then ... nothing. Not even a Wikipedia page.

EDIT (31 October 2011): Originally this post featured a clip of Lisa dancing in the 1966 Charlton Heston vehicle Khartoum. Unfortunately, it's been removed because the YouTube account holder had breached terms and conditions. Here is a still picture of Lisa in Khartoum instead:


Her costume here is not at all authentic given that the film is based on General Gordon's ultimately doomed defence of Khartoum in the early 1880s. On the other hand, Laurence Olivier is not at all authentic as the Mahdi (Muhammed Ahmed), and Charlton Heston is not at all authentic as a Victorian Englishman. So at least there is a vein of consistency there...

As soon as I can find another version of this clip I'll re-post it! In the meantime, you can download the whole film from this site: http://jooy.ru/node/22136

Good luck with that if you're brave enough to try it.

UPDATE 21/3/13: Many thanks to Jennifer over at the fabbo Orientalish for reminding me of the description of the real General Gordon's response to Egyptian dance in Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians:
"On his way up the Nile, he was received in state at Khartoum by the Egyptian Governor-General of the Sudan, his immediate official superior. The function ended in a prolonged banquet, followed by a mixed ballet of soldiers and completely naked young women, who danced in a circle, beat time with their feet, and accompanied their gestures with a curious sound of clucking. At last the Austrian Consul, overcome by the exhilaration of the scene, flung himself in a frenzy among the dancers; the Governor General, shouting with delight, seemed about to follow suit, when Gordon abruptly left the room, and the party broke up in confusion."

5 comments:

  1. Hola! Mi madre era amiga de Leila cuando ella actuaba en Mohammedia (marruecos) en los años 60, estoy muy interesada en poder contactar con ella para que mi madre y ella puedan reencontrarse.
    Yo tambien soy bellydancer y acabo de hacerle un homenaje a Leila, en mi video Naima - Raks Mustafa en Youtube.
    Leila te echamos de menos!!! pueden escribir a naimabellydancer@ya.com

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  2. Wow! This is so cool. Here's the English version:

    Hello! My mother was friends with Leila when she acted in Mohammedia (Morocco) in the 60's, I am very interested to contact her for my mother and she can be reunited.
    I too am a bellydancer and I just make a tribute to Leila, in my video Naima - Raks Mustapha on Youtube.
    Leila we miss you! write to naimabellydancer@ya.com

    Leila, get in touch with Naima. I just watched her video on YouTube and Naima is a wonderful dancer who has done you proud.

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  3. Hello I was fortunate to have met Leila or Lisa as she called herself. I was living in Palma Majorca Spain and I met her on a beach in Cala Mayor. She was a truly lovely lady and I miss talking with her. I'm not sure she was using the internet- but I would love to know if she's ok. Lorrie

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  4. Hello I was fortunate to have met Leila or Lisa as she called herself. I was living in Palma Majorca Spain and I met her on a beach in Cala Mayor. She was a truly lovely lady and I miss talking with her. I'm not sure she was using the internet- but I would love to know if she's ok. Lorrie

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  5. Kevin USN 198712 May 2017 at 14:24

    I met Leila at her Bar Dallas in 1987. She was very kind to me. The place was adorned with posters of her career of shows from around the world, and she walked me around and shared her memories of each one.
    One night, the power went out, and a friend and I worked to get it restored. We lit candles and a waitress (Fiona) and I ended up sitting on the bar singing, and keeping people entertained. Such a wonderful memory.

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