It's Kildare -by a K.O.
The autumn peace of a field in Buckinghamshire is assaulted by a Regency crowd baying for blood. Two men, toe to toe, battle with bared-knuckle savagery for the mob's approval.
They kick, gouge, and butt. But the real surprise punch in this vicious scene for the film "Lamb" is the identity of the buck in the frilled shirt.
It is, in fact, the gentle Dr. Kildare of television, the homosexual Tchaikovsky of Ken Russell's lurid movie, and the most romantic Hamlet of recent years -Richard Chamberlain.
The young American actor is, as his past screen image suggests, a pacific man. "I am repelled by violence," he says.
It took ten hours of punishing work with fight arranger Bob Simmons -he trained Sean Connery- before Chamberlain was equipped to go into the ring with Roy Stewart, who plays a professional pugilist and is a body-builder in private life.
Chamberlain is lord Byron, poet, lover, adventurer, to Sarah Miles's Lady Caroline Lamb.
Panting, and nursing a dislocated thumb, Chamberlain says after his big scene: "Byron was extraordinary physically. He could fight all day, make love all night, and spend the rest of the time writing."
"I knew nothing about boxing, although I wouldn't mind being able to box moderately well purely as a matter of self-defence."
"At first I felt self-conscious and awkward. Boxing takes a special kind of balance and co-ordination. The big problem is to keep a little poise in order to slow down the action rather than flail about uselessly."
"One thing I've learned from this is that the really dangerous people are the relaxed, watchful ones."
"Byron could fight like a cat -something he was forced to learn at school because he was mocked about his deformity. He had a club foot."
"In this scene he is literally fighting for three gold sovereigns to pay for his supper. He was a very impoverished peer."
"Lamb" is the first film to be directed by playwright Robert Bolt, husband of Sarah Miles.