Archive for February, 2019

Sir Donald Wolfit – One of the Greatest Stage Actors of the 20th Century

This is the final Post for the Month of February 2019 – and we have saved this one , which I think (and hope)  is rather special as it concernes one of our greatest stage actors of the last century – namely Sir Donald Wolfit.

The last of the actor-managers taking Shakespeare on tour: Donald Wolfit

I have just listened to a half hour programme from Radio 4 in the Great Lives series on Donald Wolfit. Ned Sherrin presented it who had worked in his Theatre Touring Comany as had Ronald Harwood who also contributed and had been Sir Donald’s Dresser for 7 years – so knew him well.

Ned Sherrin described him as a Stage Actor who he regarded as one of the Greatest  Actors of the Twentieth Century – certainly the equal if not better than Olivier and Geilgud.   Donald was not liked by these two or Ralph Richardson who Ned stated was jealous of Donald’s ability to play the great Shakespearean roles which he could not do.

Donald Wolfit took Shakespeare to the people and toured extensively in Britain and overseas. More below about his dramatic lunchtime Shakespearean performances at the Strand Theatre during the height of the Blitz – something that has got to be greatly admired.

Sir Donald Wolfit Hamlet

Donald Wolfit as Hamlet, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, 1936-7

One of the great British stage actors of his era Donald Wolfit was noted for his magnificent portrayals of King Lear and Tamburlaine.

Quite a few years ago theatrical companies in England were run by actor-managers who performed with their own companies in London, at theatres in the regions, and abroad. According to Hesketh Pearson, in his book The Last Actor-Managers, “most of them won their reputations by playing the great Shakespearean characters; and though they often adapted the plays…it was entirely due to them that Shakespeare, or mangled Shakespeare, held the stage from the reign of Charles II to the reign of George V.”

Donald Wolfit with Heather Sears in Room at the Top

Donald Wolfit, born in 1902, was too late to truly be an actor-manager.

In spite of early success working at major theatres like the Old Vic, he always felt himself to be an outsider and yearned for his own company.

In 1936-7 he spent two seasons at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. In his first season his varied roles included Orsino in Twelfth Night, Cassio in Julius Caesar, Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice, Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida and Kent to Randle Ayrton’s magnificent King Lear. His Hamlet gained him national recognition. In his autobiography, First Interval, he wrote about the curtain-call for his first performance: How well I remember that first Hamlet at Stratford, the opening of the great parti-coloured curtain and the step forward to find out whether the great struggle in Hamlet’s sould had really been imparted to the audience.

He became famous for his curtain-calls at which he always appeared exhausted, holding on the curtain for dramatic effect. In 1937 he repeated his Hamlet and added Iachimo in Cymbeline and the Chorus in Henry V.

All called for the vocal skill and powerful personality which Donald Wolfit had in abundance.

During his years in Stratford he met and fell in love with the actress Rosalind Iden, and soon after he created a theatre company of his own using actors who he had worked with in Stratford. From 1937 onwards touring became a way of life for him. He performed right through the war, aiming “to be the switch that could set the electric current of Shakespeare’s poetry and imagery throbbing through a crowded auditorium”.

Between 1937 and 1945 he estimated he had undertaken 2240 performances of 15 different plays in countries including Canada, the USA, Egypt, France and Belgium and continued to tour after the war.

 

Sir Donald Wolfit

Donald Wolfit and Rosalind Iden’s recording of Scenes from Shakespeare

Receiving a knighthood in 1957 brought him respect, particularly abroad. According to Ronald Harwood’s article in the Dictionary of National Biography: Wolfit believed in the theatre as a cultural and educational force. His contribution was immense, for he provided people all over the British Isles, especially during the war, with the opportunity of visiting a playhouse, perhaps for the first time, and seeing Shakespeare with the leading roles played by an actor of extraordinary gifts.

He did have extraordinary gifts, even though his style  has remained somewhat out of fashion here at home.

He undertook a new tour of the provinces and travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia where he and his wife Rosalind performed “a programme of extracts from their Shakespearian repertoire”, for which they became renowned. From 1959-60 They toured to Australia, New Zealand, India, Kuwait and Beirut, a journey of 29,000 miles.  In 1963 he performed in South Africa and Zimbabwe, visiting Harare, Cape Town and Johannesburg, insisting on giving a performance for non-whites.

 

He also visited Kenya again, where he was seen by a young Felicity Howlett. His visit there impressed this young girl to such an extent that it virtually changed her life. This is her memory of that visit Donald Wolfit made to Kenya :-

My father was the lighting director at the National Theatre, Nairobi and in 1963 Sir Donald Wolfit and his wife, Rosalind Iden, were invited to Nairobi to give some of their pieces from Shakespeare. They gave some wonderful, nowadays I would think “over-the-top”, performances.  I particularly remember the death scene from ‘Othello’ and the mad Lear. I was about 14 at the time and had never seen anything quite so captivating and I used to stand in the wings watching in awe.  One night as Donald Wolfit came off stage he patted me on the head and said “do you like Shakespeare, little girl”.  I simply nodded, too taken aback, by this great actor actually speaking to me, to say anything!

Sir Donald Wolfit 2

 

When they came to leave Nairobi they presented me with a signed copy of the Complete Works which has become my most treasured possession.  

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Felicity Howlett’s Complete Works open at Hamlet, with part of the original cover

The inscription reads “from another lover of Shakespeare”.

Ronald Harwood’s play and film The Dresser was based on his experiences as Wolfit’s dresser, and his observation, repeated in his biography, confirms Felicity’s impressions and that delightful inscription:

He developed a majestic persona, grandiose, passionate, often pompous. He could be frightening and brutal but also astonishingly kind and genuinely humble.

It may have belonged to a previous era, but his barnstorming style made a big impact, not least on Felicity in whom Wolfit inspired a life-long love of Shakespeare.

She has lived for many years in Stratford-upon-Avon where she continues to follow the RSC’s work, and it is very kind of her to these memories and  share photographs of her treasured copy of the Complete Works.

Donald Wolfit  had plenty of admirers.    The lunchtime Shakespeare shows he put on at the Strand Theatre at the height of the Blitz, heedless of air-raid warnings, were praised for raising Londoners’ spirits. The critic Kenneth Tynan rode to his defence and Edith Sitwell said Donald Wolfit’s performance as Lear left her “unable to speak”.

At this time during the War a German bombing raid has caused great damage to the Strand Theatre

The back of the building lies in ruins. The demolition squad try to  wave away a man who wants to enter the theatre but the man is having none of it.

It was indeed the  great actor-manager Donald Wolfit who has a mission to bring the works of Shakespeare to the masses.

For him, Nazi bombs are an inconvenience but nothing more. The show must go on.

Against the advice of the theatre secretary, he insists that if the damaged curtain can rise, a performance must be given that day.

The curtain, “with many a groan and a shudder”, does rise. And the actor and his company take to the stage.

“There was no heating and no water for washing and we improvised cubby holes around the stage,” Wolfit later recalled in his autobiography.

Despite thsee extremely difficult circumstances, his “lunchtime Shakespeare” programme only grew in popularity.

In the second week the daily shows in the ruined theatre were playing to nearly 1,000 people.

Strand Theatre London

Strand Theatre in April 1942 in the middle of the Second World War

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Air-raid sirens made no difference.

“If the air-raid warning went during a performance Mary Pitcher, dressed as an Elizabethan page, walked on and cheerfully announced: ‘The warning has just gone. We shall proceed. Will those who wish to leave do so as quietly as possible,’” Wolfit wrote.

On another occasion Donald Wolfit was performing the famous To be, or not to be soliloquy from Hamlet when a siren was followed by the drone of a doodle-bug bomb.

“Just as I reached the conclusion the sound of the engine stopped and the monster fell some 100 yards behind the theatre, blowing in the scenery-dock door and rocking the heavy column like a mast in a storm. That was the nearest I ever came to having a performance interrupted by Hitler’s minions,” he declared.

It is hard to think of better examples of  the British stiff-upper lip than reciting Shakespeare with enemy bombs  raining down.

It was certainly the “finest hour” not just of Britain but also of Donald Wolfit, who died 50 years ago last year.

To finish we quote just two of the impressive reviews he received :-

From James Agate the influential Critic wrote :-

“I say deliberately that his performance on Wednesday was the greatest piece of Shakespearean acting I have ever seen”

AND

C.B. Cochran wrote :

‘In Donald Wolfit a new ‘giant’ has arisen .. It is my decided opinion that there has been no actor on our stage since Irving’s great days comparable to Wolfit in the great roles’

Edith Sitwell  after seeing him in King Lear wrote that the cosmic grandeur of his performance left her and her brother Osbert unable to speak

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Technirama

We feature this ‘New process’ at the time in the late fifties – we had had VistaVision – and now this. 

Quite a few big sprawling epics were in Technirama.

Technirama

One of the first British ones was The Hellions with Richard Todd – filmed in South Africa – followed later by Zulu which had a much bigger impact – again filmed in South Africa.

The  clarity and depth of the SUPER TECHNIRAMA-70 image on the giant screen at the time marked s a major step forward in film presentation.

The process combined special systems of photography and projection to be shown  on a giant curved screen. The image which was claimed to be  much superior to any other process in use at that time.

The lens system for SUPER TECHNIRAMA-70 was designed by Professor Dr. A. Bouwers of N. V. Optische Industrie de “Oude Delft” of Holland.

It was developed by the Technicolor Corporation under supervision of Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus, president.

 

Technirama 2

SUPER TECHNIRAMA-70 is the only completely universal photographic and projection system. It was claimed to reach the peak of perfection when shown in theatres equipped with SUPER TECHNIRAMA-70 projectors

In fact films that were produced in Technirama were rarely shown in 70 mm at the time because few cinemas had the equipment – and possibly the 70 mm print was not quite of the quality claimed above – although it was, apparently, very good.

It seems to me to have been very similar to VistaVision – the process just before this one – which again was very good.

VistaVision Camers

ABOVE – A VistaVision Film Camera

In 1959, Walt Disney used Technirama in the production of his animated feature Sleeping Beauty.

Disney wanted be involved  in the 70mm  format used on a number of  films of that time. U

sing optics developed by Panavision, Inc., Technirama’s 35mm horizontal negative was printed in Todd-AO compatible 70mm with six track magnetic stereophonic sound.  It was that which meant the 70 mm print although good was not quite as sharp as the 35 mm.

Over the next few years, a great many Technirama films were released in 70mm under the trade name SUPER TECHNIRAMA 70.

Gina Lollobrigida

1959 also saw the 70mm release of Solomon and Sheba, memorable only for the death of Tyrone Power, the scant costumes of its coproducer and star, Gina Lollobrigida, and Freddie Young’s wonderful photograpthy.

 

 

 

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Elvis – The King and Queen of Thailand and Flaming Star

Elvis with Juliette Prowse pictured with The King and Queen of Thailand – BELOW

Elvis with King and Queen of Thailand

The King of Thailand  and the king of rock, Elvis Presley. The meeting came when lifelong music fan Bhumibol and his wife, Queen Sirikit, visited Hollywood’s Paramount Studios in 1960, while Elvis was filming the musical G.I Blues.

Elvis with The King and Queen of Thailand

Late King Of Thailand Renowned Jazz Musician – BELOW

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (1927 – 2016) passed away on 13th October, 2016. He was 88 years old. 

He had a passion for artistic pursuit and known as a dedicated photographer but more importantly he was The Jazz King and at ten years old learnt to play the clarinet. He was a talented prince and similarly mastered the trumpet and saxophone. 

 It would have been an honour for both Elvis and Juliet Prowse to be seated with The King and Queen of Thailand

This Pictures was taken at a different time of course – Elvis looking quite furtive as he is surrounded by reporters and photographers – BELOW

Elvis and Photographers

Elvis on set – BELOW Flaming Star

Elvis with Dolores Del Rio - Flaming Star

 

Elvis with Dolores Del Rio chatting on the set of Flaming Star – ABOVE

This film starred Barbara Eden – a very talented Stage and Screen Actress who had made quite a few film appearances before this one, and indeed went on to appear in many more. She was active in her long career in Films, Television and in the Theatre.  More about her is a later article.

Barbara Eden

ABOVE – Barbara Eden – a beautiful film star was in Flaming Star – and many other films

More Scenes from  Flaming Star – BELOW

Elvis in Flaming Star

 

Another Action Scene from  Flaming Star – BELOW

Flaming Star

Elvis in a more familiar scene Flaming Star  Singing – BELOW

Flaming Star 2

ABOVE: Elvis enjoys a song and dance.

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Sable Ranch – Film Location for Bells of Coronado – Roy Rogers

 

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The Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, has been destroyed by the latest wildfire. One of the films shot there was the Roy Rogers picture Bells Of Coronado (1950). Directed by William Witney and shot in Trucolor  — and it’s the only Trucolor Roy Rogers film to get an official release on DVD.

 

 

With the previous item being on Stunt Men in Western Films – here are a few action shots from Bells of Coronado – where they would have been at work I suspect

Bells of Coronado

Above: A fall from a horse in the film

Bells of Coroado 2

A more leisurely Stagecoach ride – looks very peaceful

Bells of Cornoado 3

Dramatic fall from a horse drawn carriage at speed in the Film

Sadly the  Sable Ranch at Santa Clarito , a popular Southern California location for film and TV shoots, burned to the ground recently in a wildfire that has consumed more than 20,000 acres.

California Wildfires

 

The ranch, near the Angeles National Forest and an ideal location for Westerns with its old Spanish-style hacienda, stables and various out buildings, has been used for countless films and series, from TV’s Maverick to The A-Team and many more including the Roy Rogers Film above ‘Bells of Coronado’

 

 

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Stunt Men in Films

Well, the last item I did on here was about filming behind the scenes in Westerns. In a way this is an extension of that as we feature the very important work that Stunt Men did in many Westerns – and indeed other films too.

Earlier we mentioned Jack of Jock Mahoney who is reputed to be one of the finest stuntmen ever. He is not featured here but some real action stunts are – and let us say, these films could not be anywhere near as effective and impressive without their work

Stuntman Whip Wilson

 

Above – Whip Wilson uses his Bullwhip to swing and crash through a saloon bar window – from the Monagram film Haunted Hills

Stunt work in films

 

Above - A scene from from the Monagram film Lawless Code – a dangerous stunt when the rider transfers from a galloping horse to a hard driven wagon

 

Stunt work in films 2

 

Above - A scene from the Republic  film The Arizona Cowboy  - a tricky stunt dropping from a high rock into the saddle of a standing horse.  Really hope the horse is well prepared for this too.

 

Stunt work in films 3

 

Above - A scene from  the Monogram  film Sonora Stagecoach  - This time the rider is jumping from moving stagecoach to a galloping horse

Stunt work in films 4

 

Above - This time from   the Republic  film Redwood Forest Trail -  This is a very difficult and dangerous stunt and one that requires a lot of preparation and rehearsal for effect but most of all for safety purposes.

 

Stunt work in films 5

 

Above - In  Columbia’s The Bog Sombrero -  Spectacular stunt in which the driver of the trap pulls the whole lot over on top of himself. Very worrying is this for the horse but maybe they are used to these stunts.  Hope they were all ok.

 

Stunt Men in films

 

ABOVE: We see stunt men at work in the Film Studio in a Bar Room fight that involves at least one of them crashing through the bannister on the first floor, down to the Bar Room Floor – in fact the camera has got him half way down on his fall and he looks like ending up on the round table below

 

 

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Westerns – Filming those Action Packed Scenes

Filming locations for Westerns often took place at the Studio’s own Ranch facilities – many of the Film Studios had such property particularly in the early 50s when so many Western films were made

 

 

Warner Brothers Film Ranch   Above – We see The Warner Brothers ranch in the Casabasas Hills being used for a big scene in Only The Valiant Only the Valiant   Only the Valiant 2

And above two shots from the scene being filmed in Only The Valiant

Only the Valiant 3

 

Below – We see outdoor action scenes actually being filmed :

Stampede

Stampede released in 1949 - This  was the big fight scene which takes place in a River between Rod Cameron and Don Curtis as we see it on the screen

Stampede 2  

Above: Behind the scenes a shivering Rod Cameron watches as Director Leslie Selander along with Don Curtis – shows them how he wants the next take to be done.

Stampede 3

 

The bottom picture shows how the bedraggled fighters take a breather before going back in the water to do it all again or maybe just add another clip.

 

ABOVE Three Scenes from Stampede released in 1949       Best of the Bad Men filming 1951

Claire Trevor above in Best of the Bad Men – a Technicolor film

Arizona Roundup Filming 1951

 

Arizona Roundup – above.

 

The Palomino filming

 

Up close to a fist fight in The Palomino

 

The Palomino 1950

 

This is the shot they got ABOVE

 

 

The Palomino 1950 2

The Palomino 1950 3

 

The Film Stills  for the film The Palomino 1950

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War Drums 1957 Lex Barker

Eleven films after Lex Barker made his final Tarzan appearance in Tarzan and The She Devil, he made this Western in which he again appeared similarly clothed but this time as an Apache Indian in War Drums 1957. It was filmed in Colour and also starred Ben Johnson and Joan Taylor War Drums

There was an action packed climatic sequence that was really exciting and very well done.

 

War Drums 1957

 

On the bill above War Drums was the main feature - OR as we used to say ‘the big picture’

 

War Drums 1957 2

 

Joan Taylor who was top billed here is nowadays best remembered for two Sci-fi films from the 1950s:  Earth vs. the Flying Saucers  (1956) and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).   Both of these films were made at a similar time to this Western.

 

 

Lex Barker with his son Zan in England

 

Lex Barker’s son Zanpictured above in Englandhad this to say about his famous father

 

It always amazes me that he made such an impact in his role of Tarzan, and that people primarily remember him for portraying the jungle hero. I’ve met countless people whose lives were improved because of him, for example, there is a gentleman who lived in South Africa and who as a boy played in the jungle with friends, was even swinging from vines. He was in great shape and still followed dad’s instructions on isometrics to this day — employing isometrics in the early films of the fifties. These were exotic for their days.

I think one of my favourite films starring my father is War Drums with Ben Johnson and Joan Taylor.

Below Larry Chance with Lex Barker in War Drums 1957

Lex Barker with Larry Chance War Drums

Lex Barker fishing in Africa whilst filming Tarzans Peril 1951

Tarzans Peril 1951 also know as Tarzan and the Jungle Queen – Lex Barker relaxes during filming in Africa

Lex Barker War Drums 1957

Lex Barker ABOVE in War Drums 1957

Lex Barkers son Christopher had these touching words on the occasion of his Father’s Birthday

Christopher Barker:

1. I am glad to see that my father is still present on the screen and that he is well remembered by a lot of people all over the world. He left the legacy of a great body of memorable work, but mainly the image of a kind and gentle hero, defending right against wrong — a symbol of an era where these notions were still clearly defined. I miss him personally and because of what he meant for so many people!

Happy Birthday Dad!!! Much Love from your children and grandchildren.

2. I like watching my father on the screen and, of course, I have a few favourite parts that he played. Among those are the part of Chief Mangas Coloradas, Tarzan, or Old Shatterhand, maybe because they represent the ideal of tolerance and freedom among the people of our world. Also, his part as the writer in Woman Times Seven, as it fits his personality in real life!

3. I have fond memories of my father (I prefer to let the sad ones slip away). I remember his amazement at the feat of having landed men on the moon and that he said, somehow he would never look at it the same way again; or his kind and warm look full of love when I was sick on his yacht. Also, his look of pride at teaching me how to dive with a spear to catch fish (…and his subsequent disappointment that the fish I caught was so small!). I can almost relive those moments as if they happened yesterday! Time stands still and my father is very much a part of me now… I will always treasure those memories.

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Satellite in the Sky and World Without End 1956

Now I don’t think that these two were released in the Cinema as a Double Feature – but it seems the Video or DVD was released that way – and when I look back and think of these two films which I saw at the cinema, it does seem a good idea to release them together. They are produced in the widescreen Cinemascope format that they were made in.

Satellite in the Sky

I seem to remember Satellite In The Sky under a different name but the more I look the more I think I may be mistaken.

With Quite a big budget,  and some good actors, it proved to be both fascinating and enjoyable.

Satellite in the Sky has quite a  controversial plot. The film was also made at a time when Britain was  in the space race -  It’s the story of mankind’s first trip into space, launched from England.

After the initial tests are successful, the mission gets the go ahead but what the crew don’t realise is that the government have plans for a secret payload to be installed in the huge rocket ship.

The mission does not  run smoothly. The long launch ramp is very similar to When Worlds Collide although the rocket in Satellite in the Sky  seems to use less runway and the take off sequence is not as long – I think it should have been because that could have been much more impressive. It was good to be fair.

The extensive use of  models  and matte paintings, Cinemascope and colour make this a definite ‘A’ picture.

 

Satellite in the Sky 9

 

It’s marvellous to see Lois Maxwell in a leading role, playing a reporter who is  against the expensive project and she manages to stow away on the Rocket Ship – a preposterous story if ever there was one.

Kieron Moore  plays the rocket captain. Not that much of a part really. The previous film he had made was a favourite of mine The Blue Peter 1955 with Sarah Lawson, Greta Gynt and Mervyn Johns.  It was a story set at an outward bound school and filmed in Aberdovey – and beautifully filmed there.

This gave him and the others good roles to play. Quite thrilling too.

Back to Satellite in the Sky 1956 – we have that  grand thespian Donald Wolfit  – BELOW  who, to me, is the most interesting character in the film – and gives the best performance.

Satellite in the Sky 7

Another crewmen is a very young Bryan Forbes.

Donald Gray  actor and former Newsreader is featured in a ground based role – he does not go into space – so he doesn’t get much of a chance to deliver a performance.

Satellite in the Sky should really have a far higher profile in British sci-fi history, or even as a classic British film but somehow it is a forgotten relic – which I think is unjust for such an expensive and, at times, impressive film.

Here it is anyway on a DVD release with World Without End

 

Both films on the DVD  are presented in  2.35 widescreen (from Warner Home Video).

World Without End 1956

World Without End when viewed as a young lad at the time, was really gripping and at times scary – good colour and Cinemascope for them both.

World Without End 1956 2

World Without End

Satellite in the Sky 2

 

Satellite in the Sky

Satellite in the Sky – Start of the Take-off

Satellite in the Sky 2

Satellite in the Sky – The Spaceship speeding up the Ramp

Satellite in the Sky 3

Satellite in the Sky – We have lift-off

Satellite in the Sky 4

Satellite in the Sky – The Spaceship cruising along in space

Satellite in the Sky 5

Satellite in the Sky 6

One scene in Satellite in the Sky on the big wide screen that remains with me to this day is a brief shot when Keiron Moore looks out of the space craft from a side viewing area, and we are looking back with him towards the earth and other planets – and that was extremely well done although you could see that it was fake - it didn’t seem to matter anyway as the film was so enjoyable.  Now I see it again – as above – still pretty good, I would say.

 

Satellite in the Sky 8

Kieron Moore and Lois Maxwell on board the Spaceship

 

 

 

 

 

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Julie Adams has died

Julie Adams died earlier this month in Los Angeles, her son Mitchell Danton has said.  Her most famous – and most remembered role would be in The Creature From the Black Lagoon 1954 with Richard Carlson – and The Gill Man

Years ago when my daughter was small,  she had woken up and come through to watch the TV with me when this film was showing as a late night film. She was scared stiff when the Gill Man came up beside the trapped boat on the River in this film. His entrance from the water was really quite scary and very well done.

My daughter mentions it on occasions to this very day.

Julie Adams 6

Above – A very lovely picture of the beautiful Julie Adams

 

Her career spanned  six decades in film and on television – she starred with Donald O’Connor in Francis Joins the WACS (1954), played opposite Elvis Presley in Tickle Me (1965) and appeared with Dennis Hopper in The Last Movie (1971) and with John Wayne in McQ (1974).

Much later came  Murder, She Wrote where she played  Eve Simpson on the long-running Angela Lansbury series, and in the early 1970s, she portrayed James Stewart’s wife in the legendary actor’s first foray into starring on his own series.

Julie Adams Where the River Bends

IN Where The River Bends – she was billed as Julia Adams which she very soon after changed to Julie.

Above with James Stewart

Where the River Bends

 

Julie Adams – then Julia Adams  – had starred alongside as Arthur Kennedy in Bright Victory (1951),  James Stewart in  Where The River Bends (1952), William Powell in The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952), Rock Hudson in The Lawless Breed (1953) and Van Heflin in Wings of the Hawk (1953).

As a publicity stunt, Universal Studios once declared her legs “the most perfectly symmetrical in the world” and insured them for $125,000. And in “The Case of the Deadly Verdict,” a 1963 episode of Perry Mason, Adams’ character had the notable distinction of being one of the lawyer’s few clients to be found guilty.

Then the actress was offered the role that assured her a place in monster-movie history.

Julie Adams

Seeking to cash in on the growing popularity of 3D films, Universal began production on Creature From the Black Lagoon. Jack Arnold, who had just done It Came From Outer Space, directed this one.

Julie Adams 2

The studio wanted Julie Adams to star as Richard Carlson’s girlfriend, Kay Lawrence, who would become the creature’s object of desire. However at first Julie Adams considered the whole thing a step down in her career.

Julie Adams 3

“I thought, ‘The creature from what? What is this?’” she said in a Television interview in 2013, “because I had been working with some major stars and so on. But I read it and said, ‘If I turn it down, I won’t get paid and I’ll be on suspension.’ And then I thought, ‘What the hay! It might be fun.’ And of course, indeed it was. It was a great pleasure to do the picture.”

BELOW – On this Link View the Thrilling Trailer to the film:

Creature From the Black Lagoon has become a cult classic, with Gill-Man joining the pantheon of Universal legendary monsters alongside Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and The Mummy. It spawned the sequels Revenge of the Creature (1955), also in 3D, and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).  Julie Adams did not appear in those.

In her Horror Society interview, she offered one reason why the first film remains so popular. “I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the creature. We feel for him and his predicament,” she said.

She had made her film debut in an uncredited role in Paramount’s Red, Hot and Blue (1949), and after that was cast in a number of Westerns. Then known as Betty Adams, she served as the female fixture in The Dalton Gang (1949), then played the heroine Ann in Hostile Country, Marshal of Helldorado, Crooked River, Colorado Ranger, West of the Brazos and Fast on the Draw — all released in 1950.

She wrote her Autobiography a few years ago

Julie Adams 4

This Book was published only about 8 or 9 years ago

Julie Adams 5

Julie Adams Autobiography would be a fascinating read I think – and I will now probably go out and buy it. There will be some real insights into her famous life and also details of films and film stars she met or worked with along the way in her six decades long film career.

 

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The Lone Ranger 1956 Film and the follow up

The Lone Ranger Film Version 1956

The Lone Ranger

Above: Hi Ho Silver.

The Lone Ranger 2

In 1956  Warner Brothers brought us a full length film version of  The Lone Ranger,  starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.

Shot in WarnerColor

“The Lone Ranger” was the first of two feature films made in the 50s starring Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. It was of course, based on the long running TV series that began in 1949 and ended in 1957. It was produced by Jack Wrather who also produced the TV series.

The story here has the Lone Ranger and Tonto trying to find out what’s really going on in the town of Brasada as local rancher Reece Kilgore (Lyle Bettger) seems to be defying statehood for the territory against the wishes of the territorial governor (Charles Meredith). Kilgore has a hot headed foreman named Cassidy (Robert Wilke), who turns out to be a real enemy of the local Indian tribe and puts a number of his henchmen to work disguised as Indians so that the blame falls on the local tribe.

This, the first of two full length features to star Clayton Moore as the legendary masked

This film was quite successful at the Box Office so in 1958 there was a follow up

The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold 1958

 The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold 1958

“The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold” was the second of two features made in the 50s starring Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. As in the previous film, there is an excellent cast of veteran western performers.

The “Lost City” of the title is an old Spanish city of gold hidden away on Indian tribal lands. There is a five piece amulet that when assembled, will show the location of the treasure. The holders of the various pieces begin to turn up murdered by a gang of hooded riders and it falls to The Lone Ranger and Tonto to solve the mystery and bring these people to justice

In many ways this story reminds me very much of a particular favourite of mine mentioned often on this Bl0g – The Secret of Treasure Mountain 1956 – where the hidden Braganza Crosses lead to the gold in Treasure Mountain.

I now have this film – The Secret of Treasure Mountain 1956 in 16 mm film form  - and on DVD I am pleased to say – as I reported below a year or two ago :-

The Secret of Treasure Mountain 1956 – NEWS

This is a film I have been searching for for years – and I am not alone in this search either. I know people who have read this Blog –  a previous Post on this film – and have commented about their looking for it for ages. As stated before, the plot fascinated me as a youngster when I saw it but due having to catch a bus to the remote village I lived in, I missed the climatic ending so never knew the outcome.  For some reason I thought that it involved an Inca treasure but that was not the case.

The Secret of Treasure Mountain 2

 

The film was released in 1956 and was a B movie with a running time of 68 minutes.

These scenes are from the 16 mm film – long lost. The News is GOOD in that I have found a 16 mm print of the film which as we speak is on its way here – I had better be wary and say that with luck it will be here within a week.

This is GREAT NEWS for films fans I know. I may have to arrange a new WORLD PREMIER in the UK – new for this century I would guess !!  

 

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