This is a character from a British film called Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs (Stuart Cooper, 1974) starring John Hurt. His sidekick Wick is played by this actor, John McEnery. We projected the film onto our wall, and I was very taken with McEnery’s sculptural face which I think could be cast as anyone from a Roman Emperor to a Russian spy, so I paused it to make this sketch.
The film is not well-known, but is based on a better-known play, directed by Mike Leigh. It features the same cinematographer as A Clockwork Orange and the camerawork is great – really restrained and classical. The theme is masculinity, impotence and fascism – it’s very funny, but dark and shocking too.