Veteran actor McDowell to star at next month’s Port Townsend Film Festival

PORT TOWNSEND — Veteran actor Malcolm McDowell will be the featured celebrity guest at next month’s Port Townsend Film Festival, organizers announced today.

And a Port Townsend woman is one of two people who correctly solved a four-week riddle to identify McDowell and then won a drawing to meet him.

Desiree McGowan and Gregory R. Rivett of Snohomish won the festival’s Guess-the-Guest contest and will get to hobnob with the actor during the Sept. 15-17 event.

Their names were randomly drawn from among 34 others who also figured out the cryptic clues that led to the British-born McDowell, who is noted for his performances in “A Clockwork Orange,” “If . . .” and “O Lucky Man!” — among his more than 40 films and numerous more TV appearances.

Weekly clues solved

The contest took place during July with clues to McDowell’s identity released each week.

The first clues were worded in such a way as to discourage use of the Internet to find the answer, said Peter Simpson, festival director.

For instance, the first clue — “Howard Schultz [owner and CEO of Starbucks Coffee] has nothing on our guest” –referred to the fact that McDowell was once a coffee salesman.

The second clue — “another kind of tailor” — refers to McDowell’s legal name: Malcolm John Taylor.

In the third clue — “. . . not when” — contestants were expected to complete the phrase: “If, not when.”

“If . . .” (1968) is the title of one of McDowell’s most highly regarded films.

After the first three weeks, no one had correctly guessed McDowell’s identity, Simpson said.

Then came the fourth and final clue:

“Our guest appeared in two films in Entertainment Weekly’s list of 25 most controversial films.”

“Finding that list on Google is easy,” said Simpson of the popular Internet searche engine.

“Then all they had to do was search through the list to find two films in which a single performer had appeared. That’s a little harder.”

McDowell’s two films on that list are “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), ranked No. 2, and “Caligula” (1979), No. 24.

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