Talking Pictures TV

Talking Pictures TV, a family-owned, father and daughter-run station with only three members of staff, launched on Freeview about four years ago but it already has over two million viewers.

It IS unashamedly nostalgic with mainly fifties films – which quite often are non colour ones, documentary shorts and TV series of a good few years ago - which seem to have  proved a hit with the public and – we are informed – the Queen.

Available on Sky  328 and on Channel 81 Freeview.

Films such as  1949 classic The Rocking Horse Winner starring John Mills;  episodes of The Human Jungle (1965) with Herbert Lom as psychologist Dr Roger Corder; and last weekend and today the wonderful ‘John and Julie’ from 1955.

Then we had a full run of the Edgar Wallace features -  they were really good – I particularly remember ‘Act of Murder’ in this series which was just superb.

 

Talking Pictures

 

ABOVE A scene from  ‘A Family at War’ which has had a regular slot – a re-run of the 70′s series.

 

Going back to what is on offer on Talking Pictures – below is a taste :

Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray in ‘The Glass Mountain’. The chilling horror of Sir Donald Wolfit in ‘Blood of the Vampire’.

Rock ‘n’ roll of Terry Dene in ‘The Golden Disc’, and  John Bentley as the cum amateur detective Paul Temple.

Horror legend Boris Karloff brings his television sleuth to the big screen in ‘Colonel March Investigates’, ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ star Jack Warner plays an altogether tougher policeman in the Brighton-based thriller ‘Jigsaw’, and Michael Redgrave and James Mason join forces for thegenuinely creepy ‘Thunder Rock’. These are just a few of the many offerings

The family run company headed by Father and Daughter Noel and Sarah Cronin bring to us classic series from  the USA ranging from Westerns to  Dramas featuring such guest stars as Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers, and many others of the day.

Many of these films have not seen the light of day for decades, Talking Pictures has  opened up the  treasure trove which has been stupidly overlooked  and brought this magic back to an  audience who yearn for a  return to that golden age of Thrills and Romance.

Talking Pictures TV

BELOW – a Press feature on Talking Pictures as they prepare to launch in 2015

The 24-hour channel on Sky will see long-lost British classics, including some of Michael Caine’s earliest film work, screened at last. Sarah Cronin-Stanley is the powerhouse behind the channel, along with her father Noel Cronin, who has a tremendous background in British fi lm.

“He started off in 1963 as a postboy at the Rank Organisation, but moved on to be an assistant in the cutting room and eventually became an editor at the Central Offi ce of Information, working with directors who went on to be famous in their own right, such as Peter Greenaway,” says Sarah.

“Then he started a film distribution company called Dandelion Films, then Renown Pictures, which bought up the rights many British films.” Sarah began her career as a freelance foreign correspondent, with special expertise in Africa and the Arab world, and a producer/director, but confesses that being brought up with such a background in classic film and television, it was natural that she would end up working with her father in his business.

“We sold films to the major broadcasters for many years but recently demand from them for the type of films that we specialise in had started to decline,” Sarah says, “but we know that there’s still a sizeable audience for them.

“We don’t hold the rights for the big British classics such as The Lavender Hill Mob, but many films which were probably B-films at the cinema when they were originally screened. That doesn’t make them any less entertaining or historically important, though. Many major movie stars made their earliest appearances in these kinds of films.

“Actually, we’re showing one of Michael Caine’s earliest, Blind Spot, made in 1958, in our first week. It’s always fun to watch the films and spot a future star.”

Talking Pictures TV really has an extraordinary breadth of material for movie-lovers. In its first week it has classic horror movie Blood Of The Vampire, with Donald Wolfit and Hammer pin-up girl Barbara Shelley; a 1963 teen movie called Live It Up!, starring David Hemmings, a young actor called Steve Marriott (who of course went on to be in the Small Faces), with music from acts including Kenny Ball, Gene Vincent and The Outlaws, a group that included Rainbow’s Ritchie Blackmore, and our gardening correspondent Chas Hodges!

There is also a 1932 crime drama called When London Sleeps, a musical comedy called Every Day’s A Holiday with a cast of what seems to be everyone who was famous in 1965 (John Leyton, Mike Sarne, Freddie And The Dreamers, Ron Moody, Richard O’Sullivan, Liz Fraser), and a 1980 movie called Richard’s Things, with an almost unbelievable cast that you would never see anywhere else. New Tricks’ Amanda Redman, Tim Piggott-Smith and intense Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann.

There is also, a Paul Temple film starring John Bentley, who went on to play Meg Mortimer’s husband inCrossroads, as the suave detective.

If you are over 40 I can hear you salivating at the idea of seeing these gems, but is there a market in these classics from a younger audience?

“I think the vintage boom has been very good for us,” says Sarah. 

“Younger audiences want to see the styles and hear the sounds of the past. I’m very much a vintage girl myself. As well as working here, I run a vintage ice-cream van. 

“I also think that you can learn a lot about film history from old movies. All the special effects that you see in films today started with a smoke effect in something from the 1950s and 1960s.”

However, Talking Pictures TV isn’t just offering vintage movies, restored to a high standard, it also has access to American TV series from way back.

They will be showing Burke’s Law, starring Gene Barry as millionaire policeman/spy Amos Burke, and Honey West – Sarah’s favourite – a 1960s series about a sexy lady private detective, starring Anne Francis. 

They’ll also be showing The June Allyson Show, a series of one-off dramas with an incredible roster of guest actors, including David Niven, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, James Coburn and then-movie star Ronald Regan (whatever happened to him?). 

Sarah says that Talking Pictures TV is currently looking into the rights to show vintage adverts in the “intermissions” between films and programmes, and that they will be interviewing actors from the classic films on the channel. 

Sarah and her father have for many years run a club for fans of B-movies (The Renown B Movie Fan Club) and a company selling DVDs of their films. “I know everybody who’s a member of the club, and I really love hearing from them.

We’ve even got a widow of an actor who is in several of the films as a member, and she always writes to find out if we’re releasing another one of his films on DVD.”

Sarah clearly feels very close to the films she represents, and to the people who enjoy them, and hopes that Talking Pictures TV will resonate with the viewers, of any age. “I hope that people will enjoy spending time with the channel; sitting down with a cup of tea and recalling some happy memories that watching the films and programmes bring back.”

Albert RN

 

ABOVE: A Classic scene from Albert RN – a typical film that has appeared on Talking Pictures

 

 

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Malta Story

Malta Story is not a film I know at all although I do remember it when it first came out.

In this one Alec Guiness is an RAF Pilot and  Anthony Steel plays his commanding officer.

Also  Alec  Guiness has a serious on screen romance which did not happen much in his film parts he had.

Anthony Steel

 

Lord and Lady Mountbatten met up with the stars of the film after an Army concert at St. Andrews Barracks in Malta – and enjoyed a chat with Anthony Steel and Muriel Pavlow

Muriel Pavlow

After the filming Muriel Pavlow went back to England in time to celebrate her wedding Anniversary with her husband  Derek Farr. He however, was appearing in a   play  in the West End, so instead he hurried up to the Film Studios at Pinewood and they managed  a quick champagne  luncheon  together.

She had married Derek Farr in 1947 having first met him when filming Quiet Wedding.

Muriel Pavlow

In  1947  melodrama The Shop at Sly Corner,  Muriel Pavlow was cast as the sweet, violin-playing daughter of shady antiques dealer Oskar Homolka.

Derek Farr, who had been Margaret Lockwood’s leading man in Quiet Wedding, was cast as her love interest – to her great delight. “I nearly fainted because he was my pin-up, believe it or not, I thought he was marvellous, he had such wonderful blue eyes. And the first scene I had with him I had to come flying down the stairs and throw myself into his arms and kiss him. And that did it! I married him three months later.”

Muriel Pavlow 3

ABOVE:  Muriel Pavlow  with her husband Derek Farr.

Muriel Pavlow died earlier this year – 2019 – at the age of 97

Wonderful actress and film star

Muriel Pavlow 2

 

Derek Farr and his wife Muriel Pavlow appeared  in many West End plays together – including the one above.

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Film Stars have time to Relax

 

Well, of course, the film stars of the day did have a life outside of movie land – and generally they were all family people as these pictures show.

They went about their business as normal and then relaxed in whatever way they each wanted to.

The Stars Relax

 

ABOVE – Richard Greene and his wife Patricia Medina at their Hollywood home when he was filming ‘Forever Amber’

They later divorced and Patricia Medina  went on to marry Joseph Cotton – and they had one of the happiest marriages in Film Land over many years.  Patricia said in an intyerview that her and Joseph Cotton had spent only one night apart during their thirty years of marriage and she said that it was terrible for them  to be apart.

They loved one another to the day he died – and she continued to love him after he had gone.

The Stars Relax 2

 

ABOVE – Glynis Johns took Director Ken Annakin’s Daughter Snicky, to see the Sea Lions during the filming of ‘Miranda’ at the London Zoo

 

The Stars Relax 3

 

ABOVE:  Phyllis Calvert and her five year old daughter Auriol

 

The Stars Relax 4

 

 

ABOVE : Ava Gardner selects another record

 

Stars Relax

 

ABOVE:  Ann Todd walking with her daughter Francesca

 

Stars Relax 2

 

ABOVE: Lauren Bacall with her pet

 

Stars Relax 3

 

ABOVE:  Rosamund John star of ‘Fame is the Spur’ with her son John. Her husband Russell Lloyd having fun joining in.

I am puzzled however by this picture because within a short time of this picture being taken Rosamund John had divorced Russell Lloyd and married the politician John Silkin who she had met through her interest in politics. He was nearly ten years younger that Rosamund but they soon had a child – a son – and went on to live a long and very happy life together. He became an MP and was in the Labour Government of Harold Wilson – she frequently attended Parliament to listen to him speak.

I can’t find any mention of the son John, pictured above.  I will look further into that.

 

Stars Relax 4

 

ABOVE: Paramount star Gail Russell studied commercial art before she entered the world of films

 

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John and Julie on Talking Pictures

 

 

What a charming gem of a film this is – with Eddie Calvert’s haunting melody played to great effect throughout the film and at it’s climax.

 

The story is quite well known – of two young children who run away to watch the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 – and the many adventures that they have in London.

John and Julie 9

 

When it becomes apparent that their parents can’t take them they run away together to London and the film is the story of their adventures and the things that happened to them, and the characters that they meet along the way – Excellent British actors and actresses who brought humour and sensitivity to the characters – Colin Gibson and Lesley Dudley were ideally cast as the children.

 

Film Premier

 

ABOVE – The Film Premiere  

 

Australian actor Vincent Ball also had a small part along with Moira Lister, Noelle Middleton, Syd James, Megs Jenkins, Constance Cummings, Wilfred Hyde Whyte, Peter Sellers and the brilliant Colin Gordon The background music for the film is very wonderful – recorded by Eddie Calvert – the man with the Golden Trumpet.

 

 

John and Julie   John and Julie 2   John and Julie 3   John and Julie 4   John and Julie 5   John and Julie 6     John and Julie 7   John and Julie 8  

ABOVE – With a very much younger Andrew Cruickshank - than when he appeared for all those years as Dr. Cameron in Dr.Finlays Casebook on  BBC Television in England – one of my all time favourite programmes

 

Lovely to watch this heart warming film as I have so many times over the years If you would like an enjoyable, satisfying and nostalgic look into the Fifties – a simpler world but a lovely one at that – then just see this film. It is  one of my own  favourite films even today after fifty years.

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The Lancaster swoops low – almost film land

 

Just imagine the scene – a Lancaster Bomber swoops low over a small town and as it does the crowds below are thrilled with the sound of those iconic Merlin Engines which become louder as the large Bomber speeds away.  The Scene from a War time film you would say – and it well could have been.

I actually filmed the Lancaster as it swooped low right above the main street but I cannot seem to upload it here

 

Lancaster

 

 

 In fact this happened yesterday at 40′s Weekend held in in the beautiful town / village of Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire.

This is very close to Coningsby where  the Lancaster has its home – so it would not have far to come.

Woodhall Spa 2019

 

Woodhall Spa 2019 2

 

Petwood Hotel 2019

 

ABOVE:  The Iconic Petwood Hotel at Woodhall Spa – Home of the Officers Mess of 617 Squadron – The Dambusters – in Wartime

Petwood Hotel 2019 2

 

American Vehicles at the Petwood Hotel

Kinema in the Woods

 

ABOVE - The  famous  Kinema In The Woods over this weekend was showing among other Films – The Dam Busters and Lancaster Skies

 

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Martita Hunt buys Fish and Chips

 

Maybe because the cast have just finished filming ‘Treasure Hunt’ one of the stars Martita Hunt is obviously feeling hungry – and celebrates with an ideal meal.

Martita Hunt

 

This film which also starred Jimmy Edwards was made by Romulus Films and this picture appeared in a magazine towards the end of 1952.

Treasure Hunt

 

Her role in Great Expectations (1946) would be her most famous .   As Miss Havisham, she had reprised her role from a  1939 stage adaptation.   Her performance in the film met with great acclaim – in a film which was wonderfully well cast throughout – her performance was at the very top of the list.

On critic wrote that she dominated the film’s early scenes, playing Miss Havisham as a  shabby figure, dressed in crumbling lace and linen.

She appeared in so many films and stage plays throughout her career – She was memorable as Queen Eleanor in Walt Disney’s The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

There was a wonderful scene in this film actually Sherwood Forest ( Burnham Beeches)  where her party were ambushed by soldiers posing as Robin’s outlaws – and when she climbs from her carriage, she, in regal style, speaks to one of the ‘outlaws’ and says ‘ Down on Your Knees you treacherous dog’

At this point Robin  and the real outlaws speed onto the scene and rescue the Royal party.

 

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Princess of the Nile 1954

This film, has really good  performances from Debra Paget as a princess,  Michael Rennie as the villain, and a handsome young Jeffrey Hunter.

The film is a  colourful adventure – the sort of thing we all loved in those days – and maybe still do.

Princess of the Nile 1954

 

There was also a very good supporting cat of classically-trained actors such as Michael Ansara, Edgar Barrier, Wally Cassell, Jack Elam and Dona Drake not normally found – you would think – together in one “B” film ;

 

Debra Pagett

 

This is the film that made Debra Paget a star, and rarely has an actress dominated a film so completely. From the moment she is first revealed–practicing an exotic dance, no less–to the the last scene of the film, Debra Paget remains the apple of the camera’s eye. Whether dancing seductively before spellbound soldiers, bargaining with duplicitous courtiers, or swinging a scimitar she brings the film’s  character to life with a cinematic charisma that is  spellbinding.

While the film is generally remembered as a showcase for Debra Paget’s performance  and impact, it is in fact a fine all-round action film.

Jeffrey Hunter and Michael Rennie are effective as the story’s hero and villain, and their rivalry builds to it’s inevitable conclusion. There’s never a dull moment either, and between the marauding soldiers under Rennie’s banner,  and a bunch of  heroic thieves, the story moves on at a pace.

Princess of the Nile

 A

BOVE – with Jeffrey Hunter Princess of the Nile 1954

An excellent adventure from the days of classic Hollywood, Princess of the Nile is as enchanting as it is exciting and a colourful showcase for the wonderful talents of Debra Paget.

 

Debra  Paget should have had a longer career. She appeared in some well known  films such as  “The Ten Commandments,” “Love Me Tender,” “White Feather,” “Demetrius and the Gladiators,” and the list goes on – I had almost forgotten ‘Broken Arrow’ with James Stewart.

White Feather

White Feather – again with Jeffrey Hunter ABOVE

 

 

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An Array of Comics – From the Films or should have been !

As all of us – of a certain age – know here in England we had quite a lot of Comics that came out weekly – Dando, Beano, Eagle to name just a few and some of them were film themed – maybe some came from the USA but we still got them.

Eagle

 

The ABOVE comic – Eagle – was one of the best and in truth a little ‘up market’ on the others of the day. Well drawn and imagined with a variation of stories throughout.

 

 

Film comic

 

ABOVE – Just seen this Rod Cameron comic – I can’t remember this one at all. I wouldn’t have thought he would be in a comic. He seemed a bigger star but maybe they just cashed in on  the success of these publications.

Film comic 2

Casey Ruggles ABOVE. There was no film connection here. This character to my knowledge did not appear in a film but I have included it here because – with a name like that – he really should have done. It is a name that seems ‘made to measure’ for the many B Westerns of that era.

 

Film comic 3

 

ABOVE – Lash Larue – Now here is someone who had the most famous and popular of all the ‘film themed’ comics for quite a few years. He invented a style and developed it in a range of films that did well at the Box Office and when these comics came out they proved to be one of the most successful ones – if not THE most successful.  They are still very collectable today.

 

Film comic 4

 

ABOVE: Wild Bill Pecos  – Again a very good name but no films

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Freddie Jones has died

 

That great actor of Stage and Screen – Freddie Jones has died. He was 91 years old and had been appearing in a main role in Emmerdale on TV for some years. In fact he was acting up until the end almost

 

Freddie Jones in Juggernaut

 

He made many film, stage  and TV appearances – however I remember him mostly as the mad bomber on the cruise ship in the film ‘Juggernaut’ in 1974 with Richard Harris and Omar Sharif.

A number of bombs have been planted on an ocean liner. The man who has planned and put all this into place is played by the great Mr Freddie Jones and it is the best portrayal of a psychopath I have ever seen in films.

Freddie Jones in Juggernaut” is the madman’s madman. Clever,conscience – free and ruthless. He brings to the part a quiet confidence – a masterclass in emotional detachment and studied indifference.

When I had first seen the film  – and when I see it again now – the character and the performance that Freddie Jones gives is the one we remember long after we have forgotten the other actors. When I think of Juggernaut – I immediately think ‘Freddie Jones.’

 

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On Holiday – and on location maybe

 

An interesting picture here of Richard Todd with his first wife Catherine and two children Peter and Fiona.

 

Richard Todd with Family

 

They look to be on holiday – possibly Ibiza where he owned a holiday property in the days before the island became popular – they all look happy here.

On the other hand it could be during the filming of ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’ in 1961 but looking again the two children look older than they would have been in 1961 when this film was made,  although they don’t look too warm here.    If it was during the filming of Don’t Bother to Knock then this would be at West Wittering in Sussex.

As only Fiona of the above is still alive, it may be something that we will never know.

It is funny that when doing an article for this Blog, how a picture like the one above leads to speculation as to where it was taken, a nd then linking that to a film and after that coming up with a NEW Cinema IN Sheffield   – with its very first film ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’  - as below:

 

 

ABC Sheffield

 

The ABC Sheffield was opened on May 17th 1961 with Richard Todd in “Don’t Bother to Knock”. It was the most modern cinema of its day, fully equipped with 70mm facilities and full six track stereophonic sound system with a 60ft wide screen (one of the largest in the UK). For the opening week, a Hammond portable organ was installed and was played by Albert Brierley.

Built in a stadium style with a large stalls area and more steeply raked lounge area with more luxurious seats at the rear, the total seating capacity was 1,327. The yellow house tabs spread half way along the side walls and were illuminated with concealed fluorescent lighting, while the silver screen tabs were illuminated with flood lights along the deeply curved stage edge and coloured lighting up the sides.

Don't Bother to Knock 1961

ABOVE A scene from Don’t Bother to Knock’

This film opened in Sheffield at the New ABC Cinema – and as Richard Todd said the audience reaction was very good – but at a previous London showing the Press hammered the film. Coupled with that Richard Todd who had produced the film decided on  a Summer release – it turned out to be a lovely summer and the crowds did not go to the cinema – certainly not to see this one.

He had turned down an Easter release which is usually good for film takings – so it just makes you think ‘stick to what you are best at’

Richard Todd may have been a gifted actor and a successful and, I would say, a lucky one – however this ability and luck did not seem to follow him into the world of business

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