Archive for October, 2013

Forrest Tucker

 

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Forrest Tucker (February 12, 1919 – October 25, 1986)

Here is a still of Forrest Tucker from the Regalscope picture The Quiet Gun (1956). One of the better Regals, and one of Tucker’s better parts of his many 50s Westerns.

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The Abominable Snowman

This is a film I have been after  for ages and located it on DVD in a most unlikely place. Watched it the other evening and it is a good film – made in wide screen and Black and White with Peter Cushing on brilliant acting form. This was a Hammer Film which came out only weeks before the one that made Hammer a world movie name – The Curse of Frankenstein – so maybe it didn’t get the chance it should have got at the Box Office being overshadowed by that one.

                                                                                          

Doctor John Rollason played by Peter Cushing, a botanist, is on a Himalayan expedition with his wife Helen, and assistant Peter Fox.
They have been staying at the monastery of Rong-ruk, high in the mountains, where the Lhama has shown them great kindness and granted every facility for their work.
But the Lhama is aware – through a mysterious power of mind transference – that a second expedition, led by a ruthless adventurer called Tom Friend played by Forrest Tucker is advancing towards the monastery. Rollason, too, is aware of this expedition – and its mission. He has kept secret from his wife Helen played by Maureen Connell his ambition to join it – and he politely disregards the warning of the Lhama when he tries to dissuade him from linking forces with Friend. Friend’s party arrives. It consists of a tough ex-trapper, Ed Shelley, a Sherpa guide named Kusang and a likeable Scots photographer, McNee.

Maureen Connell  as Helen – below


Helen quarrels bitterly with Rollason when she learns that he and Friend plan to climb into the high valleys in search of the mysterious half-beast , half-human monster known as the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. She denies its existence, but Friend shows them a strange silver flask containing an enormous human tooth – the tooth of a Yeti.
The Lhama confirms that the flask was stolen from the monastery many years ago but Rollason is not satisfied with the gentle monk’s deliberately misleading explanation of the tooth, and is convinced that the Yeti really exist when the Lhama eventually hints at ‘A race of super-intelligent Beings who will take over the world when humanity has destroyed itself’. The five men leave Helen and Fox at the monastery and set out for the high peaks, existing on food and supplies cached by Friend along the same route a year before.
After a long hard climb, the party discover the giant footprints of a Yeti.
At this point – almost it seems by an unseen influence – disaster strikes at the party. McNee’s leg is badly injured in one of Shelley’s bear traps and at the same time, Rollason discovers that Friend’s interest in the Yeti is only a commercial one.
The squabble between Friend and Rollason ends in an ugly fight and, not long after, the half-crazed McNee is killed in a fall and Kusang the guide flees in panic from the camp to make his way safely back to the monastery.But Friend is determined to carry on – especially when Ed Shelley actually succeeds in shooting a Yeti – a gigantic creature almost eleven feet high, but with a curiously wise and gentle expression even in death.
It is obvious to them that the other Yeti to revenge their slain comrade – and Friend persuades Shelley to act as live bait in an ice-cave rigged with a steel net to trap the invading creatures. But the trap fails. Shelley opens fire but Friend has loaded his gun with blanks – his greed has been too strong even for friendship – and Shelley dies horribly…
Weather conditions are now appalling. Menaced by a blizzard and terrorised by the strange and unearthly powers of the Yeti, even the rugged Friend is ready to pull out – taking the dead Yeti with them on a sled.
But the Yeti are relentlessly closing in – separating the two men by their uncanny powers. Demented with panic, Friend tries to shoot down the Yeti as they come for him, but his gunfire only starts an avalanche that buries him forever in the frozen wasteland.
From his refuge in the cave, Rollason watches as the huge, dim shapes of the yeti gently pick up the bodies of their comrade and depart.At the monastery, Helen and fox realise that the expedition has failed as Kusang staggers into the courtyard.
They set out with a relief party to rescue Rollason and the others and Helen is overjoyed when she finds her husband is still alive. Wearily they help him back to the monastery and it is here that Rollason shows he understands the mysterious mission of the Yeti – and the need to protect them from civilisation until their time comes to rule the world.
In the final frames of the film the Lhama asks Peter Cushings character what evidence he has found of the Yeti and he answers that they have found nothing.

Nigel Kneale – above –  that great TV and film playwright was responsible for the script and of course he had dome the famous Quatermass TV serials late made into films.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hopalong Cassidy – Memorabilia

I recently visited Herberton just inland of Cairns in Queensland Australia – and there is a wonderful tourist attraction -  a village back in the time of the old mining settlement of the town and among the many many attractions such as houses shops, school etc was a display of items of memorabilia of which  this one caught my eye, from the 50s or maybe slightly earlier. 

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 A Hopalong Cassidy radio set  – so this actually may date back to the 40s. It was certainly an early marketing of the famous western star and the promotion of this radio by using his name. Quite clever stuff at the time no doubt.

I have since found out this information below :-

The Arvin Model 441-T or “Hopalong Cassidy” radio, originally priced at $16.95, was manufactured in 1950 using two styles of embossed, paper-backed, aluminum foil fronts. One “Hoppy” front shows his horse Topper rearing with both forelegs in the air, as shown in Figure 1. The other style, shown in Figure 2, has Topper with one foot on the ground and the other in the air. The Topper with two legs in the air version was the earliest design and was ordered by Arvin on February 22, 1950.

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The Silver Whip 1953

Good cast in this Western – Dale Robertson, Robert Wagner and  Rory Calhoun.

The story involves

THE SILVER WHIP.  20th Century-Fox, 1953.  Dale Robertson, Rory Calhoun, Robert Wagner, Kathleen Crowley, James Millican, Lola Albright.  Based on the novel First Blood (1953) by Jack Schaefer.  Director: Harmon Jones.

Rory Calhoun was not a Great Actor by any stretch of imagination, but within his range quite competent and even memorable on occasion. He appeared with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum in The River of No Return

Later on he did cameos in  B-movies like Angel, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Motel Hell, and Roller Blade Warriors, all of which are better than they sound. They’re worth a look, as is:

The Silver Whip, an occasionally interesting western with Calhoun as a rough but proper Sheriff, Dale Robertson  as his less legal-minded but heroic buddy, and Robert Wagner as the identity-seeking youth torn between the two role models.

The Silver Whip (1953).

 

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Directed by Harmon Jones Screen Play by Jesse L. Lasky, Jr. From a novel by Jack Schaeffer Director of Photography: Lloyd Ahern Musical Director: Lionel Newman

CAST: Dale Robertson (Race Crim), Rory Calhoun (Tom Davisson), Robert Wagner (Jess Harker), Kathleen Crowley (Kathy Riley), James Millican (Luke Bowen), Lola Albright (Waco), J.M. Kerrigan (Riley), John Kellogg (Slater), Ian MacDonald (Hank), Burt Mustin (Uncle Ben), John Ducette, Chuck Connors.

 

This is a  strong story built around a few key action scenes, given plenty of punch by editor-turned-director Harmon Jones.

Race Crim (Robertson) is a stagecoach guard who recommends young driver Jess Harker (Robert Wagner) for his first major run. It goes horribly wrong when Slater (John Kellogg) and his gang shoot up the stage. Sheriff Tom Davisson (Calhoun) and Harker go after the gang, trying to get to them before Race, who’s out for revenge, does. This creates an interesting three-way conflict with both justice (Calhoun and Wagner) and vengeance (Robertson) going after Slater. I won’t go any further than that — this is a good film.

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Dale Robertson and Rory Calhoun are terrific but the film belongs to Dale Robertson, whose change from Calhoun’s best friend and Wagner’s mentor to a bitter, obsessed rival gives The Silver Whip a lot of its strength in the last few reels. Robert Wagner seems so young — he was still three years away from The True Story Of Jesse James (1956) – I well remember him in Prince Valiant in Cinemascope – made about a year later.

The Silver Whip  is out now on DVD.

 

 

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