Archive for May, 2018

James Robertson Justice –

I have never seen the picture below before and just wonder when and where it was taken.  Walt Disney came to oversee the production of The Sword and the Rose  in the UK from June to September 1952, and I have a feeling it was during this time. He had, as we know, been here in the summer of 1951  to supervise the production of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

In the picture below however I reckon that James Roberston Justice looks quite a bit heavier than he had on the Robin Hood film as Little John.

James Robertson Justice with Walt Disney

James Robertson Justice may not have considered his past very exciting and instead enjoyed embellishing the truth by weaving stories to his friends about how he was a Scotsman by birth and was born under a whiskey distillery in the Isle of Skye. 

He began his career in films inauspiciously with a number of minor roles for Ealing Studios, one of which was Vice Versa ( 1948 ) directed by a young Peter Ustinov. Robertson Justice was perfectly cast as the gruff headmaster Dr. Grimstone.

In 1952, Walt Disney cast James as the burly Little John in The Story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. 

Justice was an excellent supporting member to the leading actor, Richard Todd, and the following year they were teamed up again in The Sword and the Rose. This time Justice portrayed King Henry VIII. In their final teaming - Rob Roy : The Highland Rogue – James donned the kilt and grew his hair long for his role as the Duke of Argyll, a proud Scotsman acting as a mediator between the British army and the hostile MacGregor clan led by Rob Roy ( Todd ). 

I always think that he had the worst Scottish Accent imaginable in Rob Roy The Highland Rogue

 

He married nurse Dillys Hayden in 1941, but only a few years afterward his roving eye fell on the beautiful Molly Parkin.

She became one of his many mistresses in the coming years. When James and Dillys’ only son, James Jr., drowned in 1949, at the age of four, their marriage fell apart and, although they remained married for nineteen more years, they were living separately. Justice used the payment he received for his role as Lancelot Spratt and purchased a cottage in Spinningdale, Scotland, where he lived for more than two decades.

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Sam Goldwyn

Sam Goldwyn is remembered both as a Producer of some of Hollywood’s most distinguished pictures and a purveyor of malapropisms probably better known and better described as ‘Goldwynisms’

Sam Goldwyn

 

He famously came out with ‘Verbal Contracts are not worth the paper they are written on’ and another one ‘ I had a monumental idea this morning but I didn’t like it’  or ‘Our Comedies are not to be laughed at’

Sam Goldwyn 2

 

Above: Sam Goldwyn with his son Sam Goldwyn Jnr and Robert Mitchum on the set of ‘Man with a Gun’ in 1956.

They look to be having a good time sharing a joke.

Sam Goldwyn receives an Award

Above:  Sam Goldwyn receiving the Oscar he won for The Best Years of Our Lives with Harold Russell and William Wyler.

Below: Guys and Dolls – one of the last films he produced.

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls.

For whatever reason I cannot remember but I recall as a boy being in a Cinema in HULL I think – and seeing this poster in the Foyer. It sticks with me to this day although I never did see the film and I can’t remember why we had gone there on a journey including a ferry crossing. It must have been to something special. However more about the film itself :

Sam Goldwyn produced and cast Marlon Brando in a role that had him sing and dance – which he did not do normally and had not done before BUT it proved inspired casting. He also managed to acquire the services of Frank Sinatra and a young Jean Simmons in  the film.

 GUYS AND DOLLS

Dir: Joseph L Manliewicz. Starring: Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye

Anyone who saw Richard Eyre’s triumphant National Theatre revivals of the classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls in 1982 and 1996 might be forgiven some trepidation in revisiting the 1955 film. Will it still feel as vibrant as ever, or has age dimmed its lustre?

Perhaps surprisingly, it holds up rather well. For one thing, it boasts stellar casting: Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in one film – as the rival New York gamblers (and gangsters) Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit, who place a bet on compromising the virtue of a pious Salvation Army woman, Sarah Brown (played by Jean Simmons).

It’s a feature of real interest in the movie that Brando, neither a singer nor a dancer, does both, having trained himself assiduously to perform Frank Loesser’s songs, while being assisted by the great Michael Kidd’s choreography. Brando wasn’t producer Sam Goldwyn’s first choice as Sky (that was Gene Kelly) but he acquits himself outstandingly.

Of course, the musical numbers in Guys and Dolls are pretty well indestructible. Loesser’s classics come thick and fast: A Bushel and a Peck, performed by scene-stealing Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide, followed by the great Miss Adelaide’s Lament, about a young woman with a cold; the lovely If I were a Bell, sung by Simmons; More I Cannot Wish You, Luck Be a Lady and the joyous, gospel-influenced Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat. And these are just the standouts: the secondary songs in Guys and Dolls would grace most other musicals.Some of the pizzazz of the original 1950 Broadway show remains intact in the casting: the splendid Blaine was the first Miss Adelaide, while amiable, rotund Stubby Kaye also played the small-time gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson on stage.

The other undeniable charm of the film is its dialogue. Its story was adapted largely from two short stories by Damon Runyon, who had a remarkable ear for the speech patterns of the hustlers and faintly disreputable types who hung around Broadway in the Prohibition era. Guys and Dolls may seem wordy for a musical – but what words they are, in gorgeous juxtapositions. All in all, it’s a treat and delight.

 

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Movie Memories – Issue 91 – Spring Edition 2018

Well it was something of a Red Letter Day today – The Wedding of Prince Harry to Megan of course but also after this, the post came and with it  a new edition of the wonderful Movie Memories Magazine came through the door.

If you haven’t got your copy please subscribe to it for £ 16 per year – and you will love every page.

Chris Roberts is the Editor and the person who originated this Magazine – he can be contacted by email  crob.mvm@ntlworld.com

PLEASE contact Chris if you wish to subscribe – or send a message here and we will let him know.

Movie Memories Issue 91 Spring 2018

Lon Chaney Jnr., John Gavin, Vic Damone,  ALSO Burt Lancaster – featured on the Front Cover,  Annie Get Your Gun, Ian Bannen. Miriam Hopkins and so many more PLUS interesting letters from Readers.

Movie Memories Issue 91 Spring 2018 2

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HORROR Double Bill from Republic

Every so often, I seem to come across these older DOUBLE BILL film  programmes – and this comes from Republic Pictures who are known really for their Westerns – some very good ones at that – which they seemed to churn out in great numbers.

THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST and VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES! RARE 1940′s double HORROR bill!

Republic Horror Double Bill

Republic Pictures, were well known for  Westerns and serials but they also ventured into HORROR films.  These are two  from the mid-1940s featuring John Abbott with Peggy Stewart in THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST and Robert Livingston, Adrian Booth and  Ian Keith in VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES. Also featuring Adele Mara and Roy Barcroft.  

Republic Horror Double Bill 2

Republic Pictures. Directed by Philip Ford and Leslie Selander.

Republic Pictures churned out a lot of “B” pictures  during the 1940s, many of which were barely watchable. Some like this one were quite good.   THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST is a low budget horror film with the script written by the legendary science fiction writer Leigh Brackett.

The story has the exotic location of an African plantation with the well mannered John Abbott starring as Webb Fallon, a centuries old vampire now living in Africa and running a saloon. The incidents in the film are quite unusual, most notably an exotic dance performed by Adele Mara in Fallon’s saloon.

An atmospheric film.

These are of course TWO 1940′s  Films.

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