Archive for March, 2019

Big Pictures coming our way – From Associated British 1958

The Picturegoer Magazine of  March 29th 1958 had Two full pages really whetting our appetites for what we would shortly be able to see at our local Cinema.

Film Release News 1958 A

A bit like ‘Coming Shortly’  in between the Big Picture and the Supporting one – when the film trailers came on – I used to love that.

Chase a Crooked Shadow 1958

 

One of those above was Chase a Crooked Shadow with Richard Todd, Anne Baxter and Herbert Lom. I remember seeing this film at the time – and again some time later. It had quite a twist at the end a very surprising one – but I wondered if. once you had seen it, the impact of the film would have gone. However thinking again, that can’t be true because The Mousetrap – that long running thriller – relies on a twist but I have been back to see it a number of times – in fact early this year at The St Martins Theatre in London’s West End was the last time.

As for The Moonraker with George Baker and Sylvia Sims, that was on Television recently and I watched a lot of it including the famous climax filmed at Durdle Door in Dorset – close to Lulworth Cove.

Film Release News 1958

 

Some great films on offer here though – Ice Cold In Alex we all know well but I am not so familiar with Frankie Vaughan in Wonderful Things or HMS Ulysses.

Frankie Vaughan though had quite a film career – first with ‘These Danerous Years’ followed up with ‘The Heart of a Man’ which I remember seeing. Then he went to Hollywood to appear with Marilyn Monroe in Lets Make Love.

 

 

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Duel in The Jungle 1954 – The Jungle in Elstree style

This film is  available on DVD . It gave us a look at Africa and the jungles in full Colour - Technicolor – which I have to say looked very good. Well it always did at that time.

It was a British Made adventure film of its day, much of it filmed in Africa with stock and studio sets of course. This below is a Studio set cut into location film – but this studio sets fascinates me – done at Elstree.

Duel In The Jungle 1954

 

Duel In The Jungle 1954 D

 

Duel in the Jungle A

 

Duel in the Jungle 1954

Towards the end of the film -These TWO pictures from the Elstree ‘Zambezi River’

Elstree Studios: 140 feet of the Zambezi River was built under an iron roof at Elstree Studios, bordered on one side by “jungle”. The water was heated to 70 degrees, and was kept moving by two 10 foot electric paddles at the end of the 150 ft tank.

Duel In The Jungle 1954 A

Elstree Studios: The climatic Scene – David Farrar fights with Dana Andrews on the Banks of the Zambezi – at Elstree

Duel In The Jungle 1954 B

ABOVE – Duel in The Jungle on release  at the Grand Cinema – not sure where though

 

 

 

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Susan Shentall – Follow Up

We have featured this very lovely young actress before – who was spotted dining out with her family in London – and then offered the role of Juliet opposite Laurence Harvey in the 1954 film version of Romeo And Juliet

Susan Shentall loved her time in Italy making the film – and she was apparently very good indeed, but she walked away from being a Film Star.

Susan Shentall left her parents in Derbyshire and made the trip out to Italy to star as Juliet in this major international Technicolor Film – an expensive film at that. She stayed about 40 miles from the filming location in a small hotel at Simione near Lake Garda and travelled to the set by car each day always being ready to go by 9 am.

She had spent most of her spare moments writing letters back to England and seeing that she had an interest in journalism as a career, she would be able to that do very well.

She talked little about money and did not know the salary she was being paid for the film – her contract was with the Rank Organisation and had been overseen and signed by her Father who himself was a successful business man.

However most of the cast and crew who saw her at work as Juliet had no doubts that she could pull this off – and she did.

Incredibly, after what she described in one article as ‘my wonderful year as Juliet’ she turned her back on the film world when she returned to England – got married to Philip Worthington - and raised a family but did not move far away from her childhood area in Derbyshire

Susan Shentall 7

Susan Shentall was born on May 21, 1934 in England. Sadly she died quite young on October 18, 1996 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England.

In an answer in 2007 to a Daily Mail article – Whatever happened to Susan Shentall her own daughter wrotw:

Her Daughter wrote in 2007 :    My mother, Susan Worthington née Shentall, was ‘discovered’ while dining with her parents at the Caprice restaurant in London when she was 18.

She had never harboured any acting aspirations and regarded being cast as Juliet as a bit of fun.

Despite the success of the film and the many offers she received afterwards (including the chance to replace Grace Kelly when the star had to relinquish her MGM contract on marrying Prince Rainier), Susan decided to embrace the life of a country housewife.

She married Philip Worthington and had three children.

Sadly, she died in 1996, aged 62, after a long illness.

As far as I’m aware, the most recent public screening of the film was after the opening of the wonderful Electric Picture Palace in Southwold, Suffolk, five years ago, attended by several members of her family.

Susan Shentall

Susan Shantell samples a local meal – and looks amused but also looks to be enjoying it.

Susan Shentall 2

 

Lining up a Shot in the warm Italian sunshine

Susan Shentall 3

Above: A lovely picture of Susan Shentall – the Director Renato Castellania adjusts her head wear

Susan Shentall 8

 

Above: Susan Shentall listens as  Director Renato Castellania explains what he wants. Mind you heard that he always spoke in French to Susan Shentall. T  hat might be why she looks so serious !

Susan Shentall 4

Mervyn Johns on the set – makes a point to Director Renato Castellania

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True as a Turtle 1957 – John Gregson

 True as a Turtle 1957 is a film that I am not too familiar with although I remember the name from the time of release.

Wendy Toye directed this Comedy – Here she is below on the Set of the Film.

Wendy Toye

This film was directed by Wendy Toye who was one of the few women directors of the era.  Featuring  actors John Gregson and June Thorburn,with support from Cecil Parker, Keith Michell and Avice Langdon.

 

Wendy Toye remembers  one particular scene that she was directing which involved quite a lot of film crew and actors on board a small boat.  John Gregson had to climb the mast of the boat.  This is he did and the shot was safely in the can – he climbed down – and no sooner had he done so  the mast cracked and came crashing down. Luckily no-one was hurt but John Gregson was very relieved as were the people on board who had all escaped any injury.

True as a Turtle

 

John Gregson, June Thorburn, Wendy Toye and Keith Michell ABOVE

True as a Turtle

“True as a Turtle” provides an enjoyable look back at sailing and society in post-war England.

True as a Turtle 2

The boats are beautiful, the sailing  fascinating, and the people delightful.

The Film is a real treat particularly for those who like to sail.

True as a Turtle 3

ABOVE – June Thorburn wrestles with the sail.

True as a Turtle 4

Another Action shot – as they set sail. Looks quite precarious

 

 

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John Gregson – 100 Years today since he was born

John Gregson at Home 1956

Christmas 1956  ABOVE

John Gregson at Home 1956 a

 

 

John Gregson at Home 1956 C

 ABOVE At Home with the Gregsons December 1956

Talking Pictures are running quite a number of John Gregson’s Films this week to commemorate 100 Years since he was born. He sadly died at a young age but leaves behind him a really great selection of Fifties films – and later – that he starred in very successfully

John Gregson - Star Billing in this one

 

John Gregson takes Star Billing above Anthony Quayle and Peter Finch – The Battle of the River Plate 1956

 

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Cinema Film Projection

One of the great things about going to the Cinema, was seeing the flickering shaft of light from the Projector above you, usually in those days, with Cigarette smoke drifting up through it.

Cinema Projection Equipment

I always think also of showing my old cine films which are 8 mm with the whirr of the projector as the film was shown – which in itself was exciting. I always loved the colour that these old cine films could get – to me that colour has never been bettered.

8 mm film projector

ABOVE: A film projector like my own – endless hours of pleasure from this

Ready to Show the Films

And BELOW – the 8 mm film we used to have delivered through the post – back from Kodak. There was then a scramble to set up the Projector and see what we had filmed – Great Days.

RCA

Above – A Magazine Advertisement for RCA sound equipment in the Cinema.

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Elspeth Bryce (Gill ) – daughter of Alex Bryce Film Second Unit Director for The Story of Robin Hood 1952

A few years ago I managed to make  phone contact  Elspeth – the Daughter of legendary Film Director Alex Bryce.   She was very pleasant and  shared some of  her memories of those days with her father while he was filming The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men at Denham Film Studios and nearby Burnham Beeches during the summer of 1951. Elspeth’s father was in charge of the Second Unit, which specialised in all the action shots and fight scenes of the film. These included the ambush of the royal coach, the rescue of Scathelock in the market square and Robin’s various battles with the Sheriff.

She was about sixteen years old at the time and remembers the filming very well.

 Elspeth Gill on the set of Robin Hood 1951

 

“At the age of sixteen, Elspeth had the enviable experience of watching the filming of Robin Hood at not only Burnham Beeches but also the huge sound stages at Denham Studios. During that period she was living in a house approximately four miles from the studios. When Elspeth entered a fancy dress costume at that time, she was lucky enough to be allowed to borrow one of Richard Todd’s Robin Hood costumes. She won the contest-of course! And afterwards rode her horse all the way to the Denham Studios. The security men on the gate were apparently pre-warned of her arrival!

Elspeth Gill actually was on the set with her Father whilst filming  The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men. One thing that struck me was that she seemed to be so very fond of father and was with him much of the time he spent on those Walt Disney Films.

Elspeth Bryce with Richard Todd 1951 Robin Hood

She told me that he suffered a stroke only a few years later while he was on the continent filming The Cockleshell Heroes in 1955.

She had been an extra on Rob Roy The Highland Rogue – and danced with Richard Todd in one scene. She also said that it was her father who had persuaded Walt Disney to employ Ken Annakin as the film director for Robin Hood so he was the one that set Ken on his way to becoming  an International Film Director.

Elspeth Bryce on the set of Robin Hood 1951 2

Although it was over sixty years ago, she could vaguely remember meeting Walt Disney and described the Art Director, Carmen Dillon, as a formidable woman. Richard Todd she said “was such a lovely, lovely, man.” He became a friend of the family and Elspeth had fond memories of Scottish dancing with him during the making of the later movie, Rob Roy The Highland Rogue

Her father, she explained, loved making those live-action Disney movies.”

“Elspeth could also remember being somewhere high up during the filming of a scene in Nottingham Town Square. But she kept feeling something hitting her body and when she looked around, she realised it was Peter Finch (Sheriff of Nottingham) throwing pebbles at her!” It was a memorable experience for me to be able to talk to Elspeth about her fond memories of those golden days. She was a charming and remarkable woman.

One other thing also – I sent her a picture which had the caption ‘Mr and Mrs Perce Pearce’ and she immediately said ‘ That’s not Perce Pearce’s wife – it is Carmen Dillon.

Riding to Denham Film Studios

ABOVE – Riding to Denham Film Studios – on Horseback.

She did go on to gain a Diploma in 1956 at RADA – so presumably following her father’s influence and, maybe the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – she decided to try her hand in the acting profession/

She was right of course. One of the few people I thought were still around who had actually been there throughout – seems I was wrong as she sadly died in 2012 but what wonderful memories she had

 

 

 

 

 

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New Films for 1957

As the New Year came in – 1957 The Picturegoer ran a few pages of advertisements for Films that we just had to see in those first few weeks of the New Year

The sheer Number of Films ready to go,  meant that film fans would be very regular visitors to their local Cinema

Films of 1957

 

The King and I

 

Cinemascope

Above – The King and I – this was reprised last year on stage at the London Palladium

Films of 1957 A

ABOVE – Elvis in his first film – where he was third-billed – don’t think that happened again.  Also there was Anastasia which again starred Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman in a film that had plenty of publicity at that time – but little heard of these days. .  Jayne Mansfield of course in The Girl Can’t Help It – and with The Platters, Gene Vincent, Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran – My Goodness those four in the same film – What a line up.  Pop stars of that magnitude would not be seen on the same bill – but here they are !!

Films of 1957 b

ABOVE – We featured Quatermass 2 recently on here. Also an interesting one The King and Four Queens – now a largely forgotten Western. However one of the leading actors was Sara Shane – who a few years later played in Tarzans Greatest Adventure  with Gordon Scott as Tarzan and also starring Anthony Quayle and an unknown Sean Connery whose very next film was Dr. No.

Sara Shane retired from films and now lives in Queensland, Australia. She has written Books on Health Advice and has become quite famous in this field

Also the big one ABOVE  - Around the World in 80 Days – that Mike Todd extravaganza. 

Saint Joan starred Richard Todd, Jean Seberg and Richard Widmark –

Films of 1957 C

The Good Companions above – typical English Film of the time

Films of 1957 D

Here again above – TWO very typical English Films of the time – both good.  

At that time Brian Rix was doing this one – Dry Rot and other productions at the Whitehall Theatre – all of which were hugely popular

 

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Having Fun on Location – The Admirable Crichton

When the film stars go to Location, I would imagine that not all of them are as appealing as this was  in Bermuda –  one that the crew and actors for the film The Admirable Crichton needed to go to and to stay at probably for a few weeks.

The film was shot from September to December 1956 in Bermuda and at London Film Studios in Shepperton.

Below we have some unusual photographs of the Stars and crew just having fun and messing around on and around the film set.

Stars at play on film set

 

Diane Cilento – Takes aim ABOVE

 

Stars at play on film set 2

 

Stars at play on film set 3

 

Film Cameraman Harry Gillam seems to have fitted in well as a dramatic actor if the above scenes are anything to go by.

 

Stars at play on film set 7

Sally Anne Howes – Much more peaceful pose near the rocks.

Stars at play on film set 5

 

ABOVE: Kenneth More with Diane Cliento in the water, Cecil Parker makes a noise blowing  a shell and a dramatic take on a stormy sea

Stars at play on film set 6

ABOVE, Kenneth More very un-gentlemanly with Sally Anne Howes, and again coming off second best with a monkey – and tasting local tea with Sally Anne Howes.

The Admirable Crichton

 

Lewis Gilbert who directed the film told stories about filming The Admirable Crichton on the island.

Apparently the whole crew was invited up to dinner one evening at the playwright/actor Noel Coward’s place [Spithead Lodge on Harbour Road] — and that Noel Coward had insisted on cooking.

Everyone was apparently too much in awe of him to tell him his cooking was simply awful.

This film had a glittering 1957 red-carpet London premiere.   Lewis Gilbert said that  it proved to be a successful film at the Box Office.

 

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Janet Waldo dies aged 96

Janet Waldo in about 1939 Janet Waldo in about 1939

Janet Waldo, who died in 2016 at the age of 96, was an American actress who was much in demand as a voice artist for numerous television cartoon series from the 1960s to the 1980s, notably for British audiences as Penelope Pitstop in Wacky Races, and as Judy Jetson in The Jetsons, both produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

Janet Marie Waldo was born in Yakima, Washington, on February 4 1920. She began acting in church plays as a child; her father, who was related to Ralph Waldo Emerson, died when she was an infant and her mother, a trained singer, gently pushed her towards a career in the theatre.

Janet studied at the University of Washington and joined a local repertory company, before entering a talent contest in Seattle, where she was spotted by Bing Crosby, touring with some Paramount Studios talent scouts. The young actress and her mother headed to Hollywood with a “feature player” contract from Paramount, Crosby having convinced the studio’s power brokers that Janet Waldo was a natural talent.

She was quickly put to work in a series of small roles, playing  Harriet Hillard in Coconut Grove, then (also in 1938) in Tom Sawyer, Detective, with a young Donald O’Connor, and in Paris Honeymoon with Bing Crosby in 1939.

She appeared in a run of  westerns with Tim Holt, and by the early 1940s had become a dependable minor player, appearing with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor  in the wartime love story Waterloo Bridge.

Janet Waldo

 

Janet Waldo 3

She was in The Bandit Trail with Tim Holt – ABOVE

Janet Waldo 2

She was never entirely comfortable as a film actress, however, and during the war turned increasingly to the simplicity of radio. She started on Cecil B DeMille’s Lux Radio TheatRE in 1941 and proved to be a highly adaptable radio star with a flair for accents and dialects. She lent her voice to most of the popular shows of the decade, among them Big Town with Edward G Robinson, The Eddie Bracken Show and, later, Stars over Hollywood. She co-starred with Jimmy Lydon in the CBS situation comedy Young Love (1949-50), and she had a recurring role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

 

There were television appearances, notably in I Love Lucy, and she reprised the role of Emmy Lou when The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet transferred from radio to television in the mid-1950s. She was also for a time a regular on The Andy Griffith Show.

Nevertheless, voicing cartoons would be where she was happiest, as she discovered in 1962, when she was hired by Joe Barbera for The Jetsons. She went on to appear in dozens of animated series: she had a two-year run in The Flintstones, and was in episodes of The Fantastic Four, The Addams Family, Yogi Bear, The Scooby-Doo Show, Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Smurfs.

One of her final roles was in 1998 in the hugely popular adult animated TV series King of the Hill, in which she guest starred as Mrs Tobbis in one episode.

Janet Waldo’s husband, the writer and producer Robert E Lee, whom she married in 1948, died in 1994. She is survived by a son and daughter

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