Film Double Bills – Fascinating Combinations

I always love to see these old advertisements – they were so exciting as somehow they are able to link the imagination to the film – or what we think the film will be. When you see these advertisements you just want to head for the cinema and see them. As a boy I would pass at least one cinema on my morning walk into school  and love to look intensely at the Front of House Stills from the film.

They painted an even better picture – you really had to go when you saw these – particularly the Colour ones.  There was something magical about entering the foyer of a Cinema, getting the ticket and then been ushered through to your seat to await a brilliant night.

Film Double Bill


It is interesting to see the films that are put together on these programmes – particularly the one above. This must date back to 1959 or just after.

Film Double Bill 2

I have seen Gunmans Walk – an excellent Western with Van Heflin and Tab Hunter but am not familiar with the other one.

Film Programme in England

The One above is for me the strangest combination – and it comes from the release of the wonderful The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men in 1952.

This film had a lot of publicity, even on television where in those days – we only had the BBC Channel – there was a limited service – and Walt Disney had very cleverly produced and released a short 15 min film of the making of this film – called The Riddle of Robin Hood which was shown again and again in the daytime when there was nothing on but the Test Card – something you never see nowadays.

This constant showing in the daytime mainly, meant that the already intense publicity for this film – from when it was being made, right up until release and afterwards – made us all go to the Cinema for this one. I have even heard of youngsters who went again and again to see the film.

I can’t remember many films with this scale of publicity.

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Marilyn Monroe – more pictures

It is always good to post anything about Marilyn Monroe on this Blog – She was a Film Star among film stars.


She was lovely and as they say ‘the camera LOVED HER’

Marilyn 2

One of the Great Stars of any era in Hollywood or anywhere really.

Marilyn outside her Home

Above: Marilyn outside her Hollywood Home

Marilyn in Bus Stop

She did come to England to star in The Prince and The Showgirl

Marilyn 3

One of her earlier roles was in River of No Return with Robert Mitchum – see Below – they seemed to get on very well and enjoyed making the film both studio-wise and on location in the Rocky Mountains.

River of No Return


This is a wonderful publicity still ABOVE for River of No Return


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Hedy Lamarr – New Film ‘Bombshell’

Hedy Lamarr was a beautiful Viennese-born film star who, after laying a trail of scandal and allure with her first international hit Ecstasy came to HollywoodHedy Lamarr 4

Above – A beautiful picture of Hedy Lamarr

In the daytime she was a film star but her hobby afterwards was inventing.

First she told Howard Hughes how to change the shape of his aeroplane wings to increase velocity. Then, with film composer George Antheil, she patented a frequency-hopping system for guiding radio-controlled torpedoes in the second world war to resist enemy jamming. The Navy didn’t take it up though until much later but by then she had let the patent lapse in 1959, thereby losing potential millions or billions — an invention that was the blueprint for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and more.

Hedy Lamarr 5

The new film / documentary ‘Bombshell’ is now out on release in this country. It’s told by filmmaker Alexandra Dean, who raids the archives, the scrapbooks, the photo albums and the cast of family survivors and of course the films. Hedy was fabulously beautiful – in her film career she is best-known role for playing  Delilah of DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature.

These were TWO Film Stars who knew how to pack a punch at the Box Office – and this film was a colossal hit.

Hedy Lamarr 3

Above – As Delilah  in Samson and Delilah 1949

This film is highly recommended.  It’s very well done, with lots of interesting film clips, interviews, and insight into Hedy Lamarr’s life and times.  She may, to a large extent,  be almost forgotten as a Hollywood beauty, and the value of her contribution to modern technology is – or was – even less known - but maybe this film will put that right.

However after this film – and the publicity it has had in the British Press – I think her career will now be much better known – Film Star and Inventor – quite a combination.


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Safari 1956 – Victor Mature

This film was shown the other day on the wonderful TALKING PICTURES Channel. I was pleasantly surprised how good the filom was and it had high production values being filmed partially in Kenya – in Colour and Cinemascope – so we got the full blast. There may have been stock footage which I have seen mentioned but I do not think so – I reckon all that appeared was filmed on the location shoot.

The Story is as follows :-

An expert African guide, Ken Duffield ( Victor Mature) seeks revenge against the leader of a gang of rebellious Mau Mau who killed his family while he was away. His licence revoked for his own good, Duffield is hired anyway by a wealthy hunter, Sir Vincent Brampton, (Roland Culver) who is used to getting his own way and seems quite ruthless.  Also we have Sir Vincent’s fiancée, Linda Latham played by Janet Leigh.

John Justin also stars – he was a big star in English Films years before but he was away fighting for his country – and when he returned he did not seem to have the same status and popularity as before. A pity really as he was pretty good in his role here.

Safari 1956

Safari 1956 with the FOUR quite big Stars of the day – and they were all very good in this action packed film.

Safari 1956 6

Victor Mature in Safari with Roland Culver and Janet Leigh – ABOVE

Safari 1956 5

Victor Mature in Safari – Again with Roland Culver ABOVE

Safari 1956 4

Victor Mature in Safari – chats to Janet Leigh who he is getting close to ABOVE

Safari 1956 3

This is a  wonderful film and not what you might expect.  The scenery is breathtaking and clear and in Cinemascope.  The actors were well up to the job on this film. It was a great blending of talent and location. This film is not a documentary about animals but it . The film had suspense and  action – and COLOUR.

Safari 1956 2

Above: Janet Leigh and John Justin relax at the side of the river then John goes off to talk to someone and Janet Leigh decides to go for a ride on the river in the small boat they have there. This starts one of the film’s most thrilling sequences.

Janet Leigh on the River

Janet Leigh on the River with Hippos

Janet Leigh on the River with Crocodiles

Safari Crocodiles 2

Safari Crocodiles 3

Safari Crocodiles 4

Safari Crocodiles 5

Janet Leigh on the River 2

Janet Leigh on the River 3

Janet Leigh on the River 5Janet Leigh at the waterfall

Janet Leigh at the waterfall 2

Janet Leigh on the River 3

Janet Leigh at the waterfall 4



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An Ideal Husband – Alexander Korda

The well know Oscar Wilde play makes the screen here in 1948

An Ideal Husband - Film Set

Shooting took 66 days. Paulette Goddard’s husband, Burgess Meredith, was making the film  – Mine Own Executioner for Korda at the same time.    After filming, the two of them appeared on stage in Dublin in Winterset

Korda subsequently lent some of the costumes for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

An Ideal Husband - Film Set 3.

These wonderful structures were built at Denham

An Ideal Husband - Film Set 2

Work going on erecting the outside sets.

AnIdeal Husband 1947 Korda

Above: Alexander Korda – typically with Large Cigar in Hand – directing Glynis Johns in a scene from An Ideal Husband 1947

This film was shot in glorious Technicolor. It is a film I have not seen lately if at all if I think about it although it gets good reviews.

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Arnold Ridley

Arnold Ridley who as we all know, became so famous as Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army did have a very long acting career before he got that role.

In the Fifties he appeared in the film Green Grow The Rushes – which we have featured here and also an episode of White Hunter with Rhodes Reason.

He had been injured  during World War I ,and so the young Arnold Ridley was forced to give up a his acting career and turn to writing. He hit the jackpot with ‘The Ghost Train’ which was a great West End success and has been filmed at least twice. He had other plays during the 1920s and 1930s but with the success of The Ghost Train. 

The Ghost Train

The Ghost Train above – Arthur Askey in the Film Version – Very Good it was too !!

Arnold Ridley with his Son

Above – a really lovely picture of Arnold Ridley with his son, Nicholas – Born 1946

In later life he returned to acting, and was cast in  his most famous role as Private Godfrey in the BBC comedy series Dad’s Army (1968) from 1968 to 1977.

The horrors of World War 1  had come flooding back when, in September 1939, he went to war once more, returning to France with the British Expeditionary Force – this time with the rank of major.

In an unpublished memoir written towards the end of his life, he recalled: ‘Within hours of setting foot on the quay at Cherbourg, I was suffering from acute shell-shock again. It took the form of a mental suffering that can best be described as an “inverted” nightmare.

‘I (had) suffered badly from nightmares between the wars. They always took the same form. Somehow or other, my discharge had gone wrong and I was back in the Army again. Not amid shot, shell, bayonet and other horrors, but merely back in France awaiting orders to go up to the front line once more. These dreams were so real that sometimes it would take me an hour or more to persuade myself that what I had dreamed was impossible.

‘Now it was no longer impossible. My dream had caught up with me. My real and conscious life was now my nightmare – a nightmare from which I had no awakening.’

However the picture Below needs no introduction :

Arnold Ridley


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More Pictures from Disney – this time Treasure Island 1950

The Post before this was on the subject of the Walt Disney Classic The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

This starred Richard Todd – and once during a Radio Show he was introducing a clip from Treasure Island – and he said of Robert Newton – ‘What a Voice – and What an act to follow – and I should know because I was the person who did just that in Walt Disney’s next production made in England The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

Richard did indeed follow on in the Disney Live Action Film and The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men was a big success on a World Scale - so it appears Walt Disney chose wisely.

I have heard it said that Walt’s daughters had wanted Richard Todd to be cast as Robin Hood following his success in the The Hasty Heart which had gone so well in the USA.  It would seem that his daughters persuaded their father to cast him – and as a Father of two daughters, I can understand that they would get their way – but they were absolutely right on this.

Coming back to Treasure Island – Below

Again I have recently acquired some superb – and crystal clear pictures of Treasure Island as below :-

Treasure Island 1950

Above: On board the Hispaniola

Treasure Island 1950 3

Above: ‘One More Step Mr Hands, and I blow your brains out ‘

Treasure Island 1950

But of course Israel Hands did not heed the warning

Treasure Island 1950 2

Above: Long John escapes with Jim – who he releases on the shore further down.


Above: Long John chats with Captain Smollett and Squire Trelawney


NVS0616Above: Long John approaches the Stockade and asks for a Truce

Just for good measure, we have included  BELOW this Delightful Publicity Still from the Film – Bobby Driscoll here with Captain Flint

Bobby Driscoll with Captain Flint


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Filming of The Story of Robin Hood at Denham

I have purchased these TWO pictures from the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men  – the one immediately below – and the third one down showing Walt Disney talking to Richard Todd and Elton Hayes.

Quite honestly I am thrilled with them – or more so really with ONE of them.

That is the Studio scene BELOW at Denham Film Studios showing the filming towards the end of the Picture,  in Robin Hood’s Camp –  this is the original photograph and absolutely crystal clear  whereas I have previously seen this one in a smaller less clear version.


I think this scene would be filmed at the end of July 1951  – and I have a feeling that I would be on  holiday with my Mother and Dad and Brothers in St.Albans at  that time – so as a small boy would have been passing the Denham Studios at the very moment this scene was filmed.

 The Story of Robin Hood 1952

 The Story of Robin Hood 1952 3

Walt Disney on the Story of Robin Hood Set 1951

The other picture ABOVE: – with Walt Disney, Richard Todd and Elton Hayes, I have seen many times before.

The Story of Robun Hood Denham Film Set of the Camp 2

Above and Below: Robin Hood’s Camp – Huge Studio Set at Denham

Story of Robin Hood 1952 Robin's Camp

Hard to imagine that the Camp above is a Studio Set – on a scale that could only have been done at Denham at that time.

Below: More pictures from the making of the film :-

Peter Finch being Coached by Rupert Evans

 Rupert Evans gives Peter Finch – The Sheriff of Nottingham – lessons in swordsmanship ABOVE

Story of Robin Hood 1952 Filming

Above: Filming a Scene in the Camp – Richard Todd is seated at the Table and Ken Annakin the Film Director is standing just behind him and to the left.

The Story of Robin Hood 1952 2

A Woodland Scene Above with Allan A Dale – The Wonderful Elton Hayes

Outdoor Set - Story of Robin Hood 1952

Above :  Another picture from the making of the film. This time an Outdoor Film Set of Nottingham Square – and here Robin Hood and his Men plan to free a number of peasants being held captive. A Thrilling Scene.

The Story of Robin Hood 1952 1

An Arrow thuds close to Robin Hood – Richard Todd – in this thrilling sequence – Above





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The Kinema In The Woods

Back again  to the beautiful Lincolnshire village of Woodhall Spa with its unique and very appealing cinema. Anyone who has not been to this village I say – Please go and take a look – and while there walk round to the Kinema In The Woods.

This Cinema is unique.


The Kinema In The Woods 1


The Kinema In The Woods 2


The pictures above are taken from a book on the Kinema which my son and his family bought for me for Christmas recently – it is available and gives a comprehensive historical perspective.

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017

Above – The famous Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa – Home of the Dam Busters Officers Mess – which is still there virtually as it was.

Picture taken at the 40s Weekend 2017 – last Summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 4

Above – Main Street  Woodhall Spa -  the 40s Weekend 2017 – last summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 The Main Street

In the middle of Woodhall Spa -  the 40s Weekend 2017 – last summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 Spitfire Overhead 1

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 Spitfire Overhead 2

At the same event – to add to the wonderful atmosphere - a lone Spitfire swoops overhead with the thrilling sound of the Merlin Engine.




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Burt Lancaster – The Crimson Pirate – on a Double Bill

Burt Lancaster at this point in his career, was at his swashbuckling peak having just see The Flame and The Arrow become a big international hit – film I saw it as a very young boy – and so did former Prime Minister John Major. In his Autobiography he refers to going to the Cinema often in those days in South London, where he was brought up,  and remembering The Flame and The Arrow.

Sometimes films were re-released again after a few years as a Double Bill such as this action packed pairing.  This was a good idea because it was not likely that you would see them again if they did not reappear at the cinema, and I , for one, like to watch some of them over again.

Television was in it’s early days then with only one channel BBC to watch and that came on at 4-30 pm and shut down at about 11 pm – and there were few films shown.

Not sure that I saw either of these at the cinemas though – in fact I am pretty sure I didn’t.

Burt Lancaster The Crimson Pirate

Double Bill 6


The Crimson Pirate


Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate – made in England. and also above Eva Bartok in the film – she had what looked like a promising film career at this time – but after this film seemed to get bogged down in British Run-of-the-Mill films such as her next one Venetian Bird with Richard Todd

The Crimson Pirate 1952

The Command 1954

The Command was a 1954 release, so this Double Bill must have been later in the 50 s on a re-release I would expect.

Guy Madison starred in this one – Below a Signed Front of House Still from the Film – or as they call it in the USA a Film Lobby Card

Guy Madison


Guy Madison – Above – Fighting off the Indians



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