DATELINE: Truth as Shocker
Snapshot of Margaret & Bindon
John Bindon was a 1970s British character actor who played a series of dangerous thugs in movies like Performance (with Mick Jagger & James Fox) and Man in the Wilderness (with John Huston & Richard Harris).
He was also real-life gangster in London, a violent shakedown artist. He mutilated and thrashed men and abused women. His acting chops were not far removed from his life on the street.
There was one big difference for him: when he met Princess Margaret, the royal bad girl before Princess Di, he was smitten. She had a thing for younger men. They vacationed together in posh resorts and spent time in magnetic attraction. She never met anyone quite like the witty mobster.
He was a Jekyll/Hyde character: he could be as witty as Oscar Wilde—amusing the Princess often, or as scary as Jack the Ripper—chopping off an arm of another mobster in retribution.
His life, as it was, is show-cased in The Princess and the Gangster—a documentary that reveals how Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, immersed the Royals in scandal.
When it was rumored that he had compromising photos of Margaret in flagrante delicto—the British secret service threatened him with extermination if he were to breathe a word or sell the pictures.
When he went on trial for murder, someone pulled strings—and he walked free, the jury compromised apparently.
When he died of AIDS before he was 50 in the scourge of the 1990s, the crime world was shocked. Yes, he was known for his foot-long talent, which he displayed often in bars to win bets, but he must have used his prowess on more than the Princess and a few queens.
It is a staggering story, deftly told in this short film.