Archive for March, 2019

Scenes that never appeared on the screen – The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952

 

This film is a great favourite of mine – a beautifully made film using a top Director in Ken Annakin as well as photography by Guy Green, Set Design superbly done by Carmen Dillon right at the top of her game on this one, and Alex Bryce as Second Unit Director.

Then to put the icing on the cake – Peter Ellenshaw for Matte Paintings which were just out of this world – and gave the film a story-book feel that it would never have achieved.

The film itself came to us from Walt Disney – who came over and watched some of the scenes being done at Denham – and alse he went to Burnham Beeches where he enjoyed a bite to eat with stars Richard Todd and Joan Rice 

Richard Todd Walt Disney and Joan Rice

Richard Todd Walt Disney and Joan Rice 3

On top of this the actors were all perfect for their roles.

Joan Rice and Elton Hayes

 

However in the process of the filming it would seem that some strands of the film were left out and others replaced by studio sets.

ABOVE – we see Elton Hayes as Alan a Dale with Joan Rice as Marian, walking through Sherwood Forest – which actually was Burnham Beeches. This scene was not in the film – instead they had the two of them walking through studio sets of the Forest at Denham Film Studios.

 

At Burnham Beeches 2

 

Behind them in this shot was Midge the Miller played by Hal Osmond – and here he is in a closer shot – taken at the same time in the same bit of Burnham Beeches – again this bit not seen in the film.

 

Richard Todd as Robin Hood 1952

 

Here Richard Todd evades his pursuers arrows as he scrambles up the bank. This was used but not as the picture shows – this must have been just a still because we can see figures in the background at the top of the picture.

 

Peter Finch - The Story of Robin Hood 1952

 

However a dramatic looking scene which definitely did not make the film shows Peter Finch firing arrows back at the outlaws – how this was going to fit the film I just don’t know. It seems though it might originally have been  filmed and was part of the story – I am not sure on this one.

The Technicolor on this was just about as good as it gets – really lovely and showed the Forest – both Burnham Beeches and the Denham Studio Sets – to great effect and looking stunning and fitting of any childhood imagination for this famous story.

 

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The House on Cold Hill – a Peter James Theatre Play 2019

Author Peter James who gave us  Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple,  is back with the world premiere of this spine-chilling thriller.

This is a Theatre Play touring Britain at the moment – so not exactl a Film of the Fifties though  very reminiscent of the type of ghostly thriller we used to see on screen.    So I have included it here as it fits in quite well I think.

 

The House on Cold Hill 2

 

In the Stage Cast – BAFTA nominated actor - formerly of Heartbeat,  Joe McFadden  and award winning actress Rita Simons from  EastEnders, are joined by actors, Charlie Clements  and Persephone Swales-Dawson  in Peter James’  ghostly story of the Harcourt family, who move into the house of their dreams that has been empty for the last forty years.

Soon, however, their dream home quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares as they begin to wonder whether they may not be the only residents at Cold Hill

 

The House on Cold Hill 4

 

The House on Cold Hill is a modern-day supernatural thriller that will send shivers down your spine and make you think twice about returning home to a dark, empty house after the show – It has a great twist at the end – totally unexpected.

 

The House on Cold Hill

 

Above – a tense scene as the characters witness something very frightening.

 

The House on Cold Hill 3

The House on Cold Hill is a modern-day supernatural thriller – ABOVE the cast

The House on Cold Hill – the Theatre Production currently touring around Englad

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Gene Autry – Picturegoer Magazine July 1953

I have never been a fan of Gene Autry – nor can I ever remember seeing one of his films. To me he did not look like the cowboy hero that he portrayed- However it must be said that he was very successful indeed.

 

Gene Autry 4

 

First he made and starred in quite a number of Westerns – then he went into producing though his companies such TV series as The RangeRider and Champion The Wonder Horse both of which us youngsters in England loved.

Of course Champion was Gene Autry’s horse – I always remember the theme song for Champion The Wonder Horse sung by Frankie Laine – and when he sang the title song the show gained prestige. His delivery was so dramatic.

 

Gene Autry 2

 

His wife said that the key to Gene’s success is that he always stuck to what the public wanted and so he remained just a Cowboy star. He also dressed to appeal to youngsters when in public – he would wear quite colourful cowboy outfits.

 

Gene Autry 3

 

He is also a singing star – I think it is right that he is the only artist to have five stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame

 

Gene Autry 5

 

Here ABOVE is a poster for Silver Canyon a 1951 film

 

Gene Autry

Gene Autry relaxes with his guitar

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Robert Newton

Now here is one of the great character actors of Cinema – and apparently also in real life a quite colourful character at that.

 

Robert Newton

 

Robert Newton has been over living in England while filming The Beachcomber at Pinewood Film Studios with Glynis Johns –  in February 1954 when these pictures were taken

He had met his wife Eva Budnick in June of 1952 and from that moment as a promise to his young wife he had given up alcohol completely. Drinking had been a problem with Robert Newton over many years but he had given this up and the couple now had a lovely 10 month old daughter.

 

Robert Newton at Home

 

During their stay here they were living in Thurloe Square, South Kensington. Here they were visited on occasions by Robert Newton’s Daughter Sally from his first marriage.

Sadly he could not maintain his sober lifestyle for that long – He died of a heart attach in 1956 just after finishing his last film ‘Around The World In 80 Days’ alongside his good friend David Niven.

Robert Newton it was said was at his entertaining best after say a couple of drinks – had it stayed at that then all was well but after the 3rd of 4th there emerged a less pleasant person and the entertaining man he was became objectionable.

 

Robert Newton as Long John Silver

 

However we must not dwell on that – it is his performances that live in the memory – he was Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist – but it is as Long John  Silver in the 1950 Walt Disney classic that remains in the memory. Maybe an over the top performance by some standards but I think he realised that was what was needed in  order to lift this film version out of the normal range and put it up amongst the best.

His spectacular portrayal of  Long John Silver in the Disney version of Treasure Island (1950), greatly influenced actors playing pirates in film, radio, television, and theatre, after that – and all tended to use – and still do –  the same  accent that Robert Newton had made his own.

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Hollywood Stars relax – May 1951

Like us all to this day,  Film Stars also enjoy the relaxation of time off at the Weekend particularly in the Summertime.

Theirs is a busy schedule in the week – up early and sometimes in demanding locations – but not a bad life at all in film land I would imagine

Doris Day

Here are a few pictures of these actors at home on their days off- Doris Day above at her home in Bel -Air

Gene Autry reads a script

Above: Gene Autry reads the script of a film in the sunshine in Laurel Canyon

Alan Napier at Home 2

Above: Actress Jennifer Raine, her Mother Gipsy Raine with her husband Alan Napier lying back in the sun

Alan Napier at Home

The patio of Alan Napier’s home Near Santa Monica – not quite on this scan is the Pacific Ocean on the far left

Jean Kent

Our own Jean Kent enjoys her flowers – this picture actually from a Lux advertisement but I though we should have an English Star in there

Brian Aherne at Home

Brian Aherne by the pool enjoys a cup of tea – at home in Santa Monica

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The Great Escape – 75 th Anniversary

What a wonderful film it was The Great Escape – made in 1963 – and to mark the 75th Anniversary of the actual escape there have been screenings around the UK .

The presenter Dan Snow toured with the film and was on hand for the Introduction on the night.

Dan Snow promoting The Great Escape

Above: Dan Snow posing on the actual motor cycle used in the film.

On the 75th anniversary of the events that inspired The Great Escape, Dan Snow hosts a commemorative evening featuring The D-Day Darlings and special guests including Charles Clarke OBE who was held in that same POW Camp, culminating with a gala screening of the remastered 1963 cult film, starring Steve McQueen.

One of the Screenings on 24th March was at The Kinema In The Woods in Woodhall Spa Lincolnshire – and how very apt that would be as this town was the home of the DamBusters.

Charles Clarke obe The Great Escape

 

Pictured here is Charles Clarke OBE who in fact had been held at the notorious pow camp. Myself and my family had the honour of meeting Charles as he had been staying at The Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa earlier this year when we were all resident there.   He told us many stories and was wonderful company.

 

Petwood Hotel Woodhall Spa

Charles Clarke volunteered for the Royal Air Force when he was seventeen years old and flew operations as a bomb aimer with 619 Squadron from RAF Woodhall Spa. His aircraft was shot down on his 18th operation and he became a prisoner of war. He was held at Stalag Luft 3 at the time of the ‘Great Escape’.  As the Russians were advancing the camp, he was evacuated and he gave an account of what became known as the Long March.

Petwood Hotel Woodhall Spa 2

 

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Vanity Fair – BBC 2 and in Colour

The BBC had just launched their COLOUR Television service on BBC2 in 1967 – so this is just out of the Fifties era – but nevertheless quite interesting.

The Forsyte Saga had been made – in Black and White – the year earlier – they wished it had been done in colour as we all do.   This Production was an attempt by the BBC to score another big success but it didn’t have the same impact – although very good.

 

Vanity Fair 1967 Susan Hampshire

 

Susan Hampshire who had played Fleur in The Forsyte Saga played the leading role

Vanity Fair 1967

Vanity Fair (1967) was shown on  BBC 2 over five weeks  -   based on the novel by William Thackeray.

The story follows the lives of two friends, Becky Sharp and Amelia Osborne after they leave boarding school.  Becky Sharp has no money at all, and must live by her wits. Amelia comes from a reasonably wealthy family, but they suffer financial setbacks and–ultimately–bankruptcy.

Any film or TV  adaptation of Vanity Fair depends very much on the actress portraying  Becky Sharp. In this TV series, Susan Hampshire plays Becky, and is excellent.

The role of Becky Sharp needs to be played by someone who is beautiful, and Susan Hampshire very much scores on that requirement.   However, she must not only be beautiful, she must also be intelligent, witty, and, when necessary, deceitful.  This is a great role for Susan Hampshire

From the opening with a puppet show to lovely performances, largely from actors now forgotten, this adaptation still looks good.

Susan Hampshire as Becky Sharp radiates charm with a lovely smile very much in character.

We had a very good friend of the family and a neighbour, who is sadly no longer with us, and he was a great fan of Susan Hampshire. I am pretty sure she reminded him of someone from the past

 

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Nigel Green – Film Actor

The character actor Nigel Green, born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1924, was educated in England and studied chemical engineering before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. By age 24, he was appearing on stage at both the Old Vic and Stratford-on-Avon, and in the early 1950s, he made his film and television debuts.

In 1956, he received serious injuries in an accident, but he fully recovered and established himself as a familiar figure in British film and television.

His  tall, muscular physique was appropriate for playing such characters as Fertog “The Bear” in the television series William Tell (1958), Little John in Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960), and the one I remember him best for –  Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

Jason and the Argonauts - with Nigel Green

Nigel Green as Samson in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

Nigel Green as Samson in Jason and the Argonauts 1963

Nigel Green as Samson in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

Nigel Green

Nigel Green as Little John in Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) with Richard Greene

Nigel Green in Zulu 1964

In Zulu – above – an action  scene

Nigel Green  was always convincing even when tackling the most bizarre subject matter.

Television appearances included The Persuaders, “Read and Destroy,” Jason King, “As Easy As ABC” (both 1971), Sherlock Holmes with Peter Cushing,  and Dr. Finlay’s Casebook.  Also of course The Avengers

 

 ABOVE:  Nigel Green In The Avengers episode The Fog her with Patrick McNee as John Steed of course

Nigel Green had a number of small film roles in the early 1960s until his appearance in the critically acclaimed Zulu (1964), after which his film roles improved. Nigel Green The Avengers

 In addition to a few British horror films, such as The Skull (1965), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), and Countess Dracula (1971), Green also appeared in a number of Hollywood films, including Tobruk (1967), The Wrecking Crew (1968) and The Kremlin Letter (1970).

Nigel Green’s later films brought him international recognition and a chance at stardom; however, his career was brought to an abrupt end by his sudden death in 1972 at age 47 from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

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Suzan Ball – What a Really Sad Story !!

I wasn’t that familiar with this Hollywood Film Star – Suzan Ball – and in reality she did not make many films – but I have come across her in a publication when she had just married Actor Richard Long 1n 1954 Suzan Ball and Richard Long 5

Sadly their happiness did not last long as she died on cancer in just over  a year after they married. She was only 21 years old.

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 2   Suzan Ball and Richard Long 3   Suzan Ball and Richard Long 4

They do look very happy in the pictures above and she talks of their life together.

 

Suzan Ball was born In Jamestown, New York in 1934 In 1947 her family moved to North HJollywood just round the corner from Universal-International. 

In 1951 she got a small uncredited part in Mongram’s Aladdin and His Lamp – and later that same year she signed a contract with Universal-International.  She appeard in Untamed Frontier.

Universal-International

 

In 1953 she fell deeply in love with Anthony Quinn during the filming of City Beneath the Sea but he was married at that time. The continue their relationship for about a year

City Beneath the Sea

There have been many sad stories come out of Hollywood and Suzan Ball’s is one of the saddest.

 ABOVE -with Anthony Quinn in City Beneath the Sea

Suzan Ball B

 

ABOVE:  With Anthony Quinn

It was whilst she was rehearsing a dance number for East of Sumatra (1953) that Suzan suffered an injury to her right leg. She ignored the injury, but a short while after that she was a passenger in a car that was side-swiped and the same knee struck a door handle. It was painful but she still did not see a doctor about it.

 

Later that same year she made War Arrow with Jeff Chandler and during the shoot the leg began to give her serious trouble. She reluctantly sought medical advice and was informed by doctors that the limb had developed tumours. When she slipped on some spilled water at home and broke the same leg, Suzan was rushed to hospital and operated on to remove the tumours. The operation was not a success, however, and on January 12, 1954 her leg was amputated. She was still only 19 years old.

 

Suzan Ball D

with Anthony Quinn again in East of Sumatra (1953)

Suzan made only one picture after the amputation, a western with Victor Mature titled Chief Crazy Horse (1955). In it she played Black Shawl, Crazy Horse’s wife. A double was used for scenes that required her to walk. For close-ups in those scenes she would move her shoulders to simulate a walking motion. The producers wanted to replace her with Susan Cabot but director George Sherman flatly refused to do so.

Suzan Ball with Victor Mature

with Victor Mature in Chief Crazy Horse (1955)

Suzan Ball with Victor Mature 2

 

Suzan Ball C

She had become engaged to Richard Long who had stuck steadfastly by her and, in April 1954, they were married.

 

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 6

 

The bride insisted she walk down the aisle unaided - fitted with an artificial limb beneath her wedding dress.

 

However, two months later she collapsed and doctors found that the cancer had spread to her lungs.

 

‘I felt no pity for myself’, she told an interviewer. ‘Nor have I any feeling of regret. Sometimes I pondered, ‘Why has this thing happened to me?’ But it was never in terms of a complaint. I sought a real answer. It is not an easy one to find, and perhaps I will never know.’

 

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 7

with Richard Long

Universal rented a sumptuous home to enable Suzan to spend her final weeks in luxury.  The pressure on her husband was intense.

She died six months after her 21st birthday on August 5, 1955.

Just a few days earlier  Robert Francis  had died at 25 in a plane crash, and in September, 24 year-old James Dean would be killed in an car accident.  A tragic three months in Hollywood’s history.

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 8

 

Richard Long later married Mara Corday who had been a close friend after they had met during rehearsals for a play ‘The Big Knife’

They went on to have three children together

In 1974 Richard Long suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 47.

 

 

 

 

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Richard Burton and his Wife Sybil 1955

These Pictures and the Article accompanying them were in the magazine Photoplay of August 1955

Richard Burton and his Wife

ABOVE and BELOW  - with his wife Sybil

Richard Burton 2

 

At the time of the Interview for Photoplay Magazine he was filming Alexander the Great in Madrid

Alexander the Great 1955 A

A big Cinemascope Production

RICHARD BURTON is quite impressive as Alexander the Great.

FREDRIC MARCH is in excellent form as his father, but when he dies midway through the film suffers.

CLAIRE BLOOM is really good in the leading role and has a few memorable scenes

Richard Burton uses his voice effectively at times, but it’s not one of his best performances.

Alexander the Great 1955

 

 Alexander the Great also starred Claire Bloom – she had been in Richard 111 with Sir Laurence Olivier just before this – so she would be well used to Shakespearean Actors.

Prior to that in 1952 she was with Charlie Chaplin in Limelight

Richard Burton

Richard Burton ABOVE – looking very relaxed.

Richard’s wife Sybil – formerly Sybil Williams was herself an actress and had met Richard on the set of The Last Days of Dolwyn - they  married when she was just  20 ears old. They remained married for 14 years and had two daughters together.

 

Richard Burton 3

 

ABOVE: Richard Burton enjoys a pint at his Welsh local pub – with his father Richard Jenkins and brother Ifor

 

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