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"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Hedy Lamarr returns to London: UK launch for BEAUTIFUL INVENTION

In 1937, Hedy Kiesler Mandl escaped from her husband and her beloved city of Vienna. She travelled first to Paris, and then crossed the Channel to England. In London, she checked into the Regency Palace Hotel, a few steps from Piccadilly Circus. At the time, it was the largest hotel in Europe--and quite luxurious.

Over time it grew increasingly rundown and even disreputable, but it remained a hotel until 2006, when the site was developed. Some of the original facade is intact.


The former Regent Palace Hotel in Piccadilly


Hedy returns to the hotel she occupied in 1937

Very little is left of the splendid interiors, but the site of the Atlantic Bar & Grill now houses Brasserie Zédel, and its Art Deco décor is restored to its former glory. On the day of the UK launch of Beautiful Invention, I was there for a celebratory lunch.


Entrance to the brasserie


Hedy probably dined here, when it was the hotel restaurant

Champagne on UK launch date

The celebration continued throughout the week, culminating at Fischer's in Marylebone, an Austrian restaurant. My meal there consisted of cuisine that Hedy knew and loved: wienderschitzel and Sacher torte!

Wienerschnitzel

Sacher torte, so named for Vienna's famous Hotel Sacher