Danny Ross as Alf Hall – Brilliant Character !!!

The wonderful Danny Ross, an actor and entertainer who graced the stage and screen – both Television and Films – in the early to mid fifties, often appeared with Arthur Askey and Glenn Melvyn. This clip below from The Love Match has Alf Hall going to see his girl friend played by the lovely Shirley Eaton whose parents are played by Arthur Askey and Thora Hird.  It is a classic scene from a film I love.

Thora Hird and Shirley Eaton Above: Thora Hird and the lovely Shirley Eaton, talking about Shirley’s new boyfriend, Alf Hall – in the film The Love Match.

All the actors mentioned along with Glenn Melvyn formed a sort of repertory club of stage and screen – and were very funny. Years later Ronnie Barker paid tribute to Glenn Melvyn, who wrote The Love Match and many other sketches and stories, saying that it is Glenn that taught him much of what he was later to use in his act – notably the Stammering – which as Ronnie admitted was taken straight from Glenn Melvyn – and you can hear it to great effect in The Love Match.

They met at a theatre rep. company  based in Bramhall, Cheshire. It was here that Ronnie Barker was to meet one of the most influential men in his career. Glenn Melvyn was the company’s leading man and the man who Ronnie Barker claims ‘was to teach me everything I ever learned about comedy’. 

In Fact it was Glenn Melvyn  who  gave the young actor Ronnie Barker  his break into television, offering him a role in I’m Not Bothered (1956).

Going back to Danny Ross, I love that scene, in the early stages of the film when Alf Hall meets Rose ( Shirley Eaton) at a Dance Hall in Blackpool. He asks her if she has a partner, to which she replies – ‘Well I did have but he stood me up’ to which Alf in an incredulous tone replies ‘ How Could anyone stand YOU up?’

I am sure he took the words right out a the mouths of all us men watching,  because Shirley( rose) looked absolutely stunning.

Danny Ross was brilliant as Alf Hall in this film. Been a fan of his ever since.

I have to say also, that I did a post on this Blog on Danny Ross almost five years ago, and out of all the almost 400 articles I have done on here, the one on Danny Ross gets the most visits and the most interest.    I am pleased about that and just a little surprised although it makes me realise how popular he was and how well remembered he is.

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Olympicolor – who knows anything about this ??

This article headed ‘ A Black and White Film that turns to Colour ! ‘ is from the Cinema Studio Magazine of 23 February 1949. I can find no reference to this film process anywhere – it seems like a ‘too good to be true’ claim but if it were to be successful then it would have revolutionised filming at that time. Maybe it was snapped up / bought out by one of the big players who feared what this could do. The article begins ‘ A New Colour system which requires only normal panchromatic stock and processing and which is effective with any camera and projector is being put on the market. By addition of an inexpensive optical unit to camera and to Projector the system, it is claimed, produces full colour from a Black and White positive print’ Olympicolor Process 1949What a wonderful and inexpensive process – Whatever happened to it ? Olympicolor Process Article   This could have – and should have – revolutionised film making and given us many more colour films of the era.

I have looked and looked again throughout records both online and in  print, and can find no reference to this Colour Process at all except for this one in the magazine – except that sadly there is a reference in The London Gazette on both  28 May 1954 and 22 October 1954 with no detail other than the name, which makes me believe that this company went out of business at that time.

I would love to know what happened – as it seems that this simple process could have done so much for us all. Maybe someone bought it out at that point to safeguard the other well known colour film companies. Who Knows ?

However, if anyone has any information, please contact us.

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Moby Dick

I was never a big fan of Gregory Peck but the length of his film career must be testament to his acting and star quality I suppose. I do think he was mis-cast as Captain Ahab but the film was quite good with some spectacular effects. Good cast also.

Moby Dick - The Studio Tank at Elstree 2

 

Above: The Studio Tank at Elstree where some of the climatic scenes were filmed.

Moby Dick 3

Close up of the Great White Whale – in an action shot

Gregory Peck

This film though, does get great reviews on the imdb site – many people just love it – and you have to say that there was a great deal of work went into the making of it.

Just look at these scenes below :-

Filming of Moby Dick

Captain Ahab

Captain Ahab 2

 

Above: Captain Ahab suitably deranged closing in on the Great White Whale.

One thing about the film is the remarkable depth of character actors who appear, sometimes in the smallest of roles, like Bernard Miles as a Manxman crewman, and Francis de Wolff as the captain of the whaling ship the Rachel, glimpsed only in distant long shots and yet still affecting in pleading with Ahab to aid him in searching for his missing son.

Richard Basehart was a bit too old for the part of Ishmael—at 40, he was two years older than Peck—but it’s certain that John Huston cast him for his open, yet weathered looks and rich baritone, which makes for a stirring voiceover.   The whole cast, even German actor Ledebur as Queequeg, seem chosen with such care they almost seem born for their roles.

 

 

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Richard Greene

Well it was the TELEVISION series The Adventure of Robin Hood which went out on ITV in the mid 1950s that really made Richard Greene a major star – OK he had been around a long time and had a film career behind him – but it was this series that went so well both in the USA and here that really cemented his fame.

I have to say, he was very good in the role.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood

ITV tried hard to latch on to their success here – and next we got The Adventure of William Tell with William Conrad but although it was good, it didn’t quite have the impact of this one.

Richard Greene and his Wife Patricia Medina 1949

The Above is an earlier Picture from February 1949 – Richard Greene and his wife Patricia Medina pack before flying to the USA.

They  were actually divorced just over two years on from this picture being taken, and much later, in 1960, she married film actor Joseph Cotton, a marriage that lasted until he died.

He was in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, Richard Greene  described it as a ‘golden age’ and ‘quite, quite mad,’ his friends included - what could only be described as a Who’s Who of Hollywood -  Greta Garbo, Tyrone Power, Ronald Colman, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable.

With the fortune he later would earn from the worldwide syndication of 143 Robin Hood episodes in the 1950s and early 1960s, Greene became a tax exile in Ireland and ran a luxury racing yacht and country mansion.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood

Richard Greene as Robin Hood 2

He also bought a 400-acre stud farm and within three years became one of Ireland’s leading breeders. He  later sold them all before returning to Britain 10 years ago for a limited stage and television comeback.

His daughter, Patricia, said that, at the time of his death in  Norfolk at the young age of 66 in 1985, that ‘He still had quite a fan club and was receiving letters requesting signed pictures,’

Greene, who lived alone after being separated from his second wife, Beatrix Summers, in 1980, received treatment for a brain tumor three years before he died.

I always think of him as , one of the actors whose career was badly affected by the Second World War in that he joined up and saw service for his country, but after the War he didn’t have the same prestige, although he came back with a bang with Robin Hood.

Maybe though we have to turn this around and say that, at least he did come back from War unharmed, unlike so many, and he did also come back to a job and a career – so I have reassessed the above comments – and have to say, he was VERY lucky.

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Elvis and Dolores Hart

Much has been written about the very beautiful Dolores Hart, who starred with Elvis Presley in Loving You and King Creole – two of his first films who then, after a pretty good film career, gave it all up and found ultimate happiness becoming a Nun and serving The Lord in a capacity that she has given her life to.

Dolores and Elvis on film, look the perfect couple, and from what we know Elvis thought a lot of her.

Out of all the Elvis films, I think that King Creole had the strongest storyline. It is adapted from the book “A Stone for Danny Fisher” and Elvis Presley plays a rebellious kid  who leaves school and takes up singing at a night club in New Orleans, only to get mixed up with a group of thugs (headed by Vic Morrow) and their crime boss (Walter Matthau).

Elvis considered this melodrama his best film. Directed by Michael Curtiz, with very good actors in their roles. Dean Jagger, Walter Matthau plus Caorlyn Jones and Vic Morrow.   The Songs include “Hard Headed Woman,” and “King Creole” itself.

The best music performance though is Elvis’ with “Trouble”

Then of course we have the very lovely Dolores Hart

Elvis and Dolores Hart 2

Dolores and Elvis – above

Elvis and Dolores Hart

 

Dolores Hart

Dolores Hart 2

Dolores Hart above – Two Lovely shots of her

Elvis and Dolores Hart 3

Dolores and Elvis

Elvis

Elvis in typical pose – Above

Dolores Hart and Don Robinson

In Real Life: Dolores and her fiancé Don Robinson – Above.

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Cars of the Stars – around 1950

We featured some of these Cars of the Stars a little time ago. More pictures  Below :-

John Mills, Family and Triumph Roadster

John  Mills and his Family in a Triumph Roadster

Dirk Bogarde with Sunbeam Talbot

 

Dirk Bogarde and his Sunbeam Talbot which has apparently a Special Body of which only TWENTY were made

 

 

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Renown Film Festival 2018 – Not to be missed !!!

The Renown Pictures Festival Of Film

Sunday 11th February, 2018

THE 4th RENOWN PICTURES FILM FESTIVAL
Sunday 11th February 2018 A whole day celebrating the h istory of British film.
at WATERSMEET, High Street, Rickmansworth, Herts. WD3 1EH
Stars appearing include,

RITA TUSHINGHAM (A Taste of Honey, A Place To Go, The Trap) JOHN HANNAM interviews MELVYN HAYES (It Ain’t ‘Half Hot Mum, Summer Holiday)
BRIAN MURPHY(George & Mildred, Last of the Summer Wine)
LINDA REGAN Actress (Hi-De-Hi, Doctors) & Crime Writer
SHIRLEY ANNE FIELD(Lunch Hour, Beat Girl, Alfie) DERREN NESBITT (Where Eagles Dare, The Amorous Milkman)
“Behind the Camera Talks” 2017 BAFTA Award Winner BOBBY WARANS 5 decades of film & TV set dressing.
TIM LANGLEY Talking about the British Film Studios RENÉE GLYNNE Film Continuity & Script Supervision For over 60 years!
£15 non members £10 members
Doors Open at 9:00am – Event Closes at 6pm

Variety of Stalls inc; film memorabilia, books, DVDs and Refreshments Café.

Renown Film Festival 2018
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Carmen Dillon – Famous Film Art Director

Carmen Dillon achieved International fame as a Film Art Director.

Carmen Dillon

In fact in  1948, in recognition of her design of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, she became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for set decoration.

Although Roger Furse was credited with the art direction on Hamlet, it was mainly Carmen Dillon who realised what was required for Elsinore Castle - she always felt that her architectural background was helpful in her film career – she was right I am sure !

Her interest in the cinema came about when she met several art directors, including Vincent Korda and Alfred Junge, while studying in London at the Architectural Association. She liked, what she called, “the arty side” of films. She began in the industry working on  films, which she found very exciting and great fun to do – with as little as £100 to spend on sets.

Carmen Dillon 1

Carmen Dillon 2

Above we see Top Picture a street set in production and below the completed set for the film  ‘Miracle in Soho’

She was born in Cricklewood, north-west London, the youngest of six children.

To me , she attained her greatest prize when Walt Disney handed her the job of Art Director on The Story of Robin Hood made at Denham. As the Director Ken Annakin stated in his Autobiogrpahy, Walt Disney put great faith in Carmen Dillon on this project and she designed and built some of those huge sets that are as impressive as you would ever see in film land.

C armen Dillon, Perce Pearce and Alex Bryce 1951

She then went on to do the same for Disney on The Sword and The Rose and Rob Roy The Highland Rogue but it was her earlier work on Robin Hood that, to me, is the peak of her career. Those sets were simply breath-taking – the enormous 250 ft wide Robin Hood’s camp, Nottingham Castle and the woodland scene where Robin fights Little John on the bridge – that is wonderful and the best I have ever seen for this legendary encounter. Also, a little later in the film when Robin meets Friar Tuck and wades across the stream – again all a beautiful studio set – but there was so much attention to detail – one thing that sticks with me is that in those scenes,there was a slight breeze which rustled the leaves on the trees and the hair of the actors just to add to the realism.

Robin against Little John on the Bridge

 

Above - Robin meets Friar Tuck above. On a Bridge over the stream in the woodland – beautiful studio set.

More Studio sets from Walt Disney’s  The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952 – Below :-

Robin and Friar Tuck

Robin's Camp

Story of Robin Hood 1952

In the Woodland

Carmen Dillion went on to do the Art Direction on Richard 111 as well as The Chalk Garden, and The Prince and the Showgirl – with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier, but there were many more than these.

 

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Lease of Life with Robert Donat 1954

Again, this film was on the Talking Pictures channel over Christmas – it is a film I knew but have not seen for years.

Lease of Life is a 1954 British film drama made by Ealing Studios. It is the type of film I really like – lovely colour and locations, a story where nothing much happens and the story just fades away at the end and yet, it is compelling viewing seeing the interaction of  the characters, the style of the period and the languid way of life.

It is  one of Ealing’s 13 colour films  and is photographed by Douglas Slocombe (one of British cinema’s finest cinematographers). It is  Robert Donat’s only Ealing appearance and it’s filmed in the East Riding of Yorkshire, an area that rarely appears in British films.

In fact Below is an actual shot from the Film of Beverley in East Yorkshire where Robert Donat preaches :-

Lease of Life 1954

The village of Lund had a starring role in the film Lease of Life, made in 1954. The village was chosen by Director Charles Frend for the rural sequences in the film and Lund became the fictional village of Hinton St John. The cast included Robert Donat, Adrienne Corri, Kay Walsh and Reginald Beckworth.  “Lease of Life created quite a stir in the village and it is said that some women washed their doorsteps several times a day so that they could have an excuse to watch the film stars at work”. (Yorkshire Times July 11, 1969, Lund -a quiet village full of contrasts).
Villagers were not allowed to pass through the centre of the village during filming and farm workers had to return to work via the B1248; however Mr Teale, the blacksmith, continued to work even when action was taking place in a two walled ‘cottage’  which was constructed on the green outside his forge.
Between ‘takes’ the stars passed the time at the Wellington Inn – pictured above -where they were entertained by the landlord Cyril Bradley and his wife Mary.

Lease of Life 1954 - with Standard Vanguard

Another scene above – Robert Donat walks past a Standard Vanguard of the era – past the Wellington Inn in Lund

The location filming is one of the film’s strengths, selling the small village community of Halton (shot in Lund, East Yorkshire) and the larger cathedral town of Gilchester (filmed in Beverley, East Yorkshire).  Both locations look strikingly good in Eastman Colour.

 

Release Date   19 October 1954 (1954-10-19)

The film was designed as a star-vehicle for Robert Donat, representing his return to the screen after an absence of over three years during which he had been battling the chronic asthma which plagued his life and career.[

It was a prestige production which was generally respectfully, if not over-enthusiastically, received and gained Donat a nomination as ‘Best British Actor’ at the 1955 British Academy Film Awards.

 

 

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The River 1951

I love this film with its lavish Technicolor, filmed entirely in India and directed by Jean Renoir – and beautifully directed and photographed at that.

Rumer Godden and Jean Renoir Here Rumer Godden who wrote the book, and Jean Renoir are seen on the set during filming. She was there for all of the filming and really admired the work of Jean Renoir on this one.

Rumer Godden and Jean Renoir on set The River 1951

The wide River Hooghley in India

The Caption on the picture ‘ The Wide River Hooghley’ and this is that River above.

The River 1951 Advertisement

The River 1951 8

 

Adrienne Corrie and Thomas E Breen

The River 2

The River 4

The River 5

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