Archive for September, 2019

Sherlock Holmes – an early TV Series

 

In the early Fifties, a US Company produced a series of the Sherlock Holmes stories with Ronald Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson.

LeStrade was played by Archie Duncan – we all remember him from his role as Red Gill in ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His merrie Men’ in 1952 for Walt Disney – and also his portrayal of Little John in the ITV ‘Adventure of Robin Hood’ Series with Richard Greene.

 

Sherlock Holmes BBC TV 1954

 

I can’t remember this Sherlock Holmes series at all – I would have been very young at the time – but normally I have a good recollection of programmes that were shown in those early years.  I have since read that this series was not shown in Britain – I can’t imagine why – although I have checked again and it seems this was not shown here which seems remarkable.

The ABOVE picture is a location scene being filmed in the Westminster area of London – what is described as a ‘quiet London by-way’. I cannot imagine any such quiet location in that area now – although maybe on a Sunday morning early on it would be OK.

 

Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes

 

And BELOW a picture from the recent DVD release of this series

Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes 2

It looks from the picture ABOVE that Ronald Howard played Sherlock Holmes much as Basil Rathbone had done – set in the forties or a little earlier – I am assuming this from his costume and his revolver, although in an interview he claimed that not to be the case.

Sheldon Reynolds, an American producer, went to England looking for an actor to cast as Holmes in a new television series that he was producing.  Alan Wheatley had appeared in six televised plays ( televised live – as they were in those days) for the BBC in 1951.

Sherlock Holmes BBC TV 1954 4

He found Ronald Howard, son of the famous English actor Leslie Howard.

Ronald Howard sold his house and took his family to France in early 1954. The entire series was to be shot there to save on costs.   So here was an American producer, with a British Sherlock Holmes, shooting a television show in France.

Sherlock Holmes BBC TV 1954 2

Under The Eiffel Tower ABOVE

Sherlock Holmes BBC TV 1954 3

On  The Eiffel Tower ABOVE

 

Leslie Howard was 35 years old and could sometimes pass for about ten years younger. This was not the Basil Rathbone image that had dominated movie screens in the forties. Howard summed up his approach by saying “In my interpretation, Holmes is not an infallible, eagle-eyed, out-of-the-ordinary personality, but an exceptionally sincere young man trying to get ahead in his profession.”  Howard would play Holmes as an earnest, gifted young man with a sense of humor.

Howard Marion Crawford (referred to as H. Marion Crawford for the series, presumably to avoid confusion with Ronald Howard) was selected as Watson. Howard felt that Crawford was a good choice. .

John H. Watson was about 29 years old when he first met Holmes. Crawford was 40 when the series was filmed, but looked a bit younger. Reynolds and Crawford faced a dilemma in how Watson should be presented. After the twelve Rathbone films made for Universal, Nigel Bruce had played Watson as a buffoon. This was the image that it seemed everyone had of the good doctor. The problem was that Conan Doyle had painted a very different picture in the original stories.

Howard Marion Crawford would  play a solid Watson, not afraid to use physical means to help Holmes, such as in The Cunningham Heritage. On the other hand, he would sometimes be not much of an accomplice in crime solving, as in The Case of the Belligerent Ghost.

We were spoiled by the readily available performances – done much later –  by David Burke, and then Edward Hardwicke, in the Granada series when Jeremy Brett played Holmes.

Howard Marion Crawford, sadly,  died in 1969 from an overdose of sleeping pills.

Archie Duncan was cast as Inspector Lestrade.  Howver where Crawford did not portray the imbecile, Archie Duncan did. As far as thinking went, Lestrade was just about as useless as Dennis Hooey’s portrayal had been in most of the Basil Rathbone  films.

 Apparently – and incredibly – each episode was filmed in about four days which meant that  Leslie Howard  had to get up early in the morning to learn his lines for the day’s shoot.

One feature of note was the Baker Street lodgings, designed by the same man who did the Exhibition of 1951 in London. It is quite possibly the best on-screen re-creation of 221B Baker Street yet seen. From the jackknife in the mantle to “VR” in carved out by pistol shots from Holmes, it captured the feel of Conan Doyle’s descriptions.

Sheldon Reynolds, a canny producer, had considered that the pilot might not sell. So, he made sure that the next two episodes could fit together with the first. That would allow him to combine them into one film, which he could then distribute, but in fact the pilot did sell and NBC televised it in America starting on October 18, 1954.

There were thirty-nine episodes in all and some discussion of another season, but that did not happen. It seems possible that if there had been more strong scripts, or a few more official tales licensed from the Conan Doyle estate, more episodes would have followed.

However it turned out to be  a one-season series and Leslie Howard moved his family back to England – his portrayal of  the great detective came to an end.

It was very good while it lasted

These episodes are available on DVD and they have been re-mastered so should be in good order to watch. I think I will.

 

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The Studio Tank at Pinewood – and other model ships in films

 

Pinewood   Studios  are now – and have been for some time – one of the World’s leading Film production facilities. As we all know most of the Bond Films have been done here after those exotic location trips have been completed.

 

Pinewood

The large lake at Pinewood and behind it the big blue background to allow the Special Effects to be added later

Model Boat on filming location

ABOVE – Not sure where this is but another model shot being prepared

 Hornblower

Above and Below – In a friends garden – he purchased this large model which had been used in the later ‘Hornblower’ TV Series – a lot of the model work filmed on the Black Sea.

Hornblower 2

BELOW – Giving a scale to this model, we see preparations being made for it to put to sea.

 

Hornblower 3

BELOW -  ‘Raise The Titanic’

Raise The Titanic

ABOVE – a large replica of the  Titanic used in the Film ‘Raise the Titanic’

Years late Sir Lew Grade who had financed this British Made Film

which was a financial flop commented that ‘t would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic’

 

Raise The Titanic 2

A 10-tonne 50 ft scale model was also built for the scene where the Titanic is raised to the surface. Costing $7 million, the model initially proved too large for any existing water tank.

This problem led to one of the world’s first horizon tanks being constructed at the Mediterranean Film Studios in Malta. I think I have read very recently that this Studio Horizon Tank Facility in Malta is up for sale

 

 

 

 

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The Wolfman 1941

 

This is not a film of the Fifties era as we all know – but I was so taken with this colour still, I just had to include it.

 

LON CHANEY Jr and  JACK PIERCE preparing for filming a scene in  THE WOLF MAN 1941   The Wolfman

 

This is a Colour Photograph as we see Jack Pierce applying Lon Chaney’s make-up during filming

 

Lon Chaney Jr had lived under the shadow of his famous father, but in ‘The Wolf Man’ he helped create a horror icon that has lasted for over sixty years. He had already produced a wonderful performance  in ‘Of Mice And Men’(1939).

 

In ‘The Wolf Man’ he was again very good. Probably though it type cast him as horror film actor.

 

The film also had that great fim actor Claude Rains as Lon Chaney’s Father.

 

 ‘The Wolf Man’ is an undisputed horror classic, and just as entertaining and interesting as it ever was.

 

This film still – in Colour – makes me wish the whole film had been done in Colour – maybe it has been colorised I and not sure – it it has I will buy it

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The Blue Lagoon – 1949

I came across this picture – and have featured it before. At that time I wondered why all the camera operators and crew were dressed in suits and more formal clothing,  when they were basking in such hot Fijian sunshine – or so I thought.

It did seem an unusual dress code for Fiji.

 

However, I am now thinking that this scene was actually done in England because looking closely at the photograph I think it is possible to see buildinsg in the background – it was the scene where Donald Houston is attacked by an octopus and keeps coming up for air. Jean Simmons waited for him on the shore – the underwater shots would be studio work and such shots as this one would be cut in, but is does look as though this was done outside in England – I bet Jean felt cooler than she had done on location !!

The Blue Lagoon 1949

 

The Scene being filmed – In England I think

Jean Simmons

ABOVE – That same Scene

The Blue Lagoon 1949

ABOVE – The same scene but this time in the Studio at Pinewood – probably close to the filming tank for the Underwater sequences – Donald Houston looks as though he has just come out or is getting ready to go into the water. He does look quite dry but I suppose he could have dried off.

The Blue Lagoon 1949 2

The ABOVE Newspaper advertisement is interesting.

We often speculate what came out with what – and which films were coupled together on the same programme. Here for instance we see ‘Mars Attacks the World’ and ‘Rocket Ship’ then another ‘That Midnight Kiss’. Also ‘The Fighting Kentuckian’ and a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film.

This is of course, an American newspaper page so there would be different film programmes to the ones in England

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Joan Rice – by Someone who knew her well

 

Only a couple of says ago, I managed at last to have a chat on the phone with Angelo – who had been in a relationship with Joan Rice in the early seventies – and indeed who had been her partner, when together,  they set up the very successful ‘Joan Rice Bureau’ which dealt with the letting of property in and around their home in Maidenhead.

He told me that Joan was a very nice, kind and warm person who continued her acting career even then – quite a while after her film career had ended – and she used to go off on tour with a new play quite often and during those times Angelo arranged for staff to be brought in to run the business.

He also said that, for a time, Joan’s son came to live with them. By my calculations at that time he would have been  about 17 years old. Sadly he died before Joan did.

Joan Rice and Angelo in Scotland

 

Joan Rice and Angelo in Scotland 2

During that time, they holidayed together with friends above in Scotland – I have been able to let Angelo have the email hopefully to put him in contact with Alan who appears in the picture. These pictures and the email in fact came from my good friend Tony, who has his own Blog dedicated to Joan Rice – but the sunject of which is the Walt Disney film ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men; from 1952 in which Joan starred and probably played her greatest and most famous role.

While with Joan, Angelo remembers she did make another film ‘The Horror of Frankenstein’ in 1970 – which would be made at Bray Studios for Hammer Films which was just down the road from where Joan lived.

Angelo kept in contact with Joan Rice, and when he eventually moved away to the South West, she would often come and visit him and his wife down there. They remained great friends.

He said that Joan also became good friends with Frances ‘Frankie’ Day a former cabaret star and actress who actually had had a spell on the panel of ‘Whats My Line’ in the early fifties. Frankie also lived in Maidenhead.

These are all lovely memories of Joan Rice from someone who knew her very well indeed. Angelo is a very pleasant man to talk with and I thank him very much for his conversation with me – and I hope to speak with him again.

Please visit Tony’s Blog   disneysrobin.blogspot.com    

 

 

 Just a reminder of the life story of Joan Rice

 

On January 1, 1997, Derby’s Joan Rice died.  Maybe not a name that is remembered except bu Film Fans of the fifties era – and to us, she is very well known indeed – and very well liked.

Her natural, dark-haired beauty lent itself just as easily to exotic island beauties as it did to perfect English roses.

As well as being a talented actress, she had added a welcome note of glamour to her roles.

 

She was, born in Derby almost 67 years earlier, one of four daughters of Hilda and Harold Rice of 314 Abbey Street.

Dorothy Joan Rice was born at the City Hospital on February 3, 1930.

 

Her early life had been troubled. Her labourer father was imprisoned for child abuse and, subsequently, she spent eight years in a convent orphanage in Nottingham.

She took work as a lady’s maid and as a housemaid before leaving for a new life in London with just half-a-crown (12.5p) in her purse.

She took a job as a Lyon’s Corner House waitress, or “nippy” as they were popularly known, earning the princely sum of £3 per week.

In 1949 her pretty looks and natural poise helped her to win the “Miss Nippy” competition.

The prize was a week-long promotional tour to Torquay. But more importantly, it lead to an introduction to a theatrical agent who arranged for her a screen test.

 

 

From this came a contract with the Rank Corporation who sent the previously untrained actress to the Company of Youth, otherwise known as the “Rank Charm School”.

In reality it was a training institution for young film actors that occupied a disused church hall standing Highbury Studio.

There, youngsters were trained in all manner of useful skills, like voice production and fencing.

 

Other stars who trained there included Honor Blackman, Kay Kendall, Shirley Eaton, Joan Collins, Diana Dors, Christopher Lee, Donald Sinden, Patrick McGoohan and Dirk Bogarde.

It was with the last of these with whom she appeared in her first notable film role – the feature Blackmailed (1950).

Another role, in the Robertson Hare and Stanley Holloway film One Wild Oat (1951) soon followed.

Unfortunately, the Rank organisation never saw her potential as a lead actress and instead she was given numerous supporting roles.

Finally Walt Disney saw her star potential, in 1952, when he cast her in his live action film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952).

 Joan Rice 2

 

 

Joan Rice 4

Joan played opposite Richard Todd and was declared “the new Jean Simmons”.

 

Joan Rice 3

 

ABOVE – I just love this picture of Richard Todd and Joan Rice in a scene from ‘ The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ 1952 – Walt Disney.

What colour – Technicolor at its best – and wonderful studio woodland set at Denham Film Studios.

Sadly, lead roles in major films remained hard to come by but lead roles in ‘B’ movies like A Day to Remember (1953) with Stanley Holloway and Donald Sinden were plentiful, as were smaller roles in feature films like Curtain Up with Robert Morley, Margaret Rutherford and Kay Kendall.

In 1954, Rice appeared as Iris in Norman Wisdom’s film, One Good Turn, in which the residents and staff of an orphanage, including Thora Hird and Shirley Abicair, fight to save it from closure.

In His Majesty O’Keefe (1954) she played Dalabo, the Polynesian girl who marries Burt Lancaster’s daring and stranded sea captain.

However, changing fashions – in the minds of casting directors at least – and the arrival of the Hitchcockesque blonde, meant that she was unable to land many more lead roles.

Joan Rice

 

Above – Joan with Billie Whitelaw in Payroll

Cleo Thompson in the prison drama Women Without Men (1956), also known as Blonde Bait, and the part of a young ATS private in the wartime comedy Operation Bullshine, which starred Donald Sinden and Barbara Murray.

What would be her last film role for more than a decade came in 1960, in the crime drama, Payroll.

There were roles in television series like Zero One, The Pursuers, Ivanhoe (starring a young Roger Moore), and The New Adventures of Charlie Chan.

Eventually, Derby’s Joan Rice left the movie business and, after her ten-year marriage to David Green ended in divorce, she built a successful career in repertory theatre with a role, among many others, as Catherine in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, and John Mortimer’s Voyage Around My Father.

Joan Rice in Rebecca in Hanley

Here – ABOVE – she starred in a production of ‘Rebecca’ at Hanley, Stoke on Trent. Maybe my friend David who very often puts such interesting comments on here – and very welcome ones at that, saw this play – he lives in Stoke On Trent I know.

I would think that Joan would play the leading part very well in ‘Rebecca’.

In 1970, she did return to the big screen with a small role in The Horror of Frankenstein.

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Ten Little Indians 1965

Agatha Christie’s story was first adapted for the screen in 1945  with the title “And Then There Were None”. This  was shown on BBC2 at the Weekend which prompted me to write this article on the Blog.

I also saw a stage version a few years ago in 2008 with a cast that included veterans Gerald Harper and Peter Byrne.

And Then There Were None 2008 Stage Tour 2

 

Here is a revue of that Production :-

I grew up reading the books of Agatha Christie and I also enjoyed all the various film versions of her novels, including the star-studded epics such as “Death On The Nile” and “Murder On The Orient Express”.

One of the first films I watched based on a Christie novel was “Ten Little Indians”  The film version I remember the most was from 1945 and was also retitled “And Then There Were None”. I was delighted back in 2006 when Bill Kenwright launched The Agatha Christie Theatre Company. This venture aimed to mount a different production every year with a cast of familar faces. The first production was a lesser known play “The Hollow” and it starred one of my favourite femme fatales, Kate O’Mara, who I have seen many times over the years and will feature her in different productions in future posts. This production was for the 2008 season and I flew to Glasgow to catch this performance on Saturday 28th June 2008. This play was originally performed in 1943 at the St Jame’s Theatre in London’s West End. Of all the versions that were filmed and performed, this production is the original adaptation by Agatha Christie, as it retains the original bleak ending of the novel. The classic storyline concerns a group of seven travellers invited to a secluded house and are eventually killed off one by one!

Among the cast members in the production was Mark Wynter, who in the 60′s had been a pop star teen idol, with nine top twenty singles, hits including..”Venus In Blue Jean” and “Go Away Little Girl”, similar to Cliff Richard. My mum had been a fan of his and as I was born in the 60′s, she somehow got the inspiration to name me after Mr Wynter. He seemed amused and flattered when I told him this after the show! Mark after his pop career dried up, as where, turned to theatre and has appeared in many productions such as “Charlie Girl” with the legendary Cyd Charisse and Dora Bryan. He also appeared in the Tigon shocker “Haunted House Of Horror”. Mark has appeared in every Christie production since 2007.  Other stars in the production included Jennifer Wilson, who is remembered for her role in the long running 70′s series “The Brothers”. Gerald Harper is best known for the cult series “Adam Adamant” and “Hadleigh”, but his body of work has also included films such as “The Admirable Crichton”, “Tunes of Glory”, “The League Of Gentlemen” and “The Shoes Of The Fisherman”. I will be meeting Gerald next weekend in Birmingham, will find out if he has any more Christie in the works!. Denis Lill has appeared in many films including, “The Eagle Has Landed”, “Batman”, “Empire of the Sun” and “Evita”. On tv he has a regular role in the long running ITV series “The Royal” as well as classics such as “DR Who”, “Rock Follies” and “Lillie”.

 

 

And Then There Were None 2008 Stage Tour

Chloe Newsome – Pictured above on the Right of the Stage - was a regular “Coronation Street” star, playing Alec Gilroy’s granddaughter Vicky, while Alex Fearns played the nasty wife beater Trevor in “Eastenders”

Peter Byrne – PICTURED ABOVE –  is famous for appearances in “Dixon of Dock Green”, “Bread” and “Blake’s Seven” All in all a diverse cast and as usual from this company a quality production. The latest play to get the Touring company treatment is “Witness for the Prosecution” and hopefully I will catch this in the Autumn.

 

Now to the 1965 Film :-

Producer, Harry Towers apparently liked the story so much that he made two versions – One in 1965 and  the second ‘And then There Were None’ came almost a decade later in 1974.

This is the  third of many film and TV adaptations of the popular Agatha Christie novel - however this 1965 version moves the action from a remote island to an isolated ski resort and  rearranges the plot.
Ten Little Indians 1965
The basic storyline is much the same, when ten strangers, eight of them guests and two of them servants, are lured to a dinner party and then trapped there to be killed one at a time by an unseen killer who wishes to punish them for their  perceived crimes. The old nursery rhyme provides both the framing device, and, in the source material, the method of execution for each victim.
In this version, however, the revised murder scenes include a hapless servant (Marianne Hoppe) falling to her death from a booby-trapped ski lift. Ten Little Indians features a varied cast that ranges from Shirley Eaton and Daliah Lavi  to former teen pop  idol Fabian and former Wyatt Earp TV star Hugh O’Brian.
From the cast of  My Fair Lady co-stars Stanley Holloway and Wilfrid Hyde-White are in the film.
The film was the final one for  George Pollock as a Film Director , he had done  several adaptations of  Agatha Christie’s popular Miss Marple mysteries, starting with 1962′s Murder, She Said.
Christopher Lee makes an uncredited appearance as the recorded voice of absentee host/villain Mr. Owen.
Despite its mountain setting, filming was done  in Ireland.

 

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Film Stars fly away and arrive at the Airport

 

Air travel with BOAC in those days – often on the Comet Airliner – but also with the Trans Atlantic Strato-Cruiser which seemed to be used on the New York flights from what we see here

 

It's Quicker By Air

It's Quicker By Air 2

On Their travels

 

ABOVE:  Rock Hudson and Maxwell Reed at Blackbushe Aerodrome in Surrey – leave to film ‘Sea Devils’

Blackbushe Aerodrome was used as a major location for the 1956 film  ‘The Crooked Sky’

Earlier than this in 1951 the  airport was also used as a filming location during the making of the  film ‘No Highway in the Sky’ 1951  directed by Henry Koster, starring James Stewart,  Marlene Dietrich and Jack Hawkins.

 

On Their travels 2

 

ABOVE:  Leaving for Johannesburg – Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli – well before the Bond days – and Anthony Bushell

On Their travels 3

 

ABOVE – Ann Todd and David Lean admire a model of the Comet Jet Airliner on view at London Airport

 

On Their travels 4

 

ABOVE:  Sir Ralph and Lady Richardson ( Meriel Forbes) in front of the Comet Jet Airliner at London Airport on their flight to Entebbe in Africa

On Their travels 5

 

ABOVE: George Raft boarding the Comet Jet Airliner on his way to a short holiday in Rome – He was making a film in England at the time.

On Their Travels 6

 

ABOVE: Yvonne De Carlo boarding a Monarch Strato-cruiser bound for New York

On Their Travels 7

 

ABOVE:  Howard Duff with his wife Ida Lupino disembarking the Strato-cruiser on arrival in England from New York

On Their Travels 8

 

ABOVE:  Loading his Jaguar XK 140 sports car is Clark Gable on a trip to the Continent.

On Their Travels 9

ABOVE:   Mrs Redgrave ( Rachel Kempson ) and her Daughter Vanessa bidding Goodbye to her husband Sir Michael Redgrave at London Airport as he left for New York.

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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 1959

 

 

I remember seeing this at one of the local cinemas in the town close to the village I live in. 

Not at all sure what was on the Bill with it but I seem to think it was another Horror film.

 

 

 

 

 

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 1959

 

I seem to recall that at the time,  that I had split up with a girl friend and was quiet melancholy – and it is this that stays with me now when I think of that film.

 

Any recollection I have tends to be tinged with gloom I am sorry to say.

 

 

 

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 2

 

One thing I think I remember is seeing this character in the film walking around in this tree lined studio set looking quite scary.

 

 

ABOVE: The Trailer looks pretty scary.   T

 

he Story is  – Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother’s funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother’s skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realises that an ancient curse placed upon his grandfather by a tribe of South American Jivaro Indians is still in effect and that he himself is the probable next victim.   That night he is awakened by the approach of an Indian, his lips sewed together with string, and wielding a curare-tipped bamboo knife.

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 3

 

ABOVE: Veteran actor Henry Daniell in a scene from the film

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An Inspector Calls

 

I am reminded of this film, because all this next week a production of the famous JB Priestley play will be performed at the Hull New Theatre.

An Inspector Calls 2

 

Like all of us who admire the films of the fifties era, I am drawn to the 1954 version with Alistair Sim in wonderful form as the mysterious Detective.  

An Inspector Calls 4

ABOVE – The events are unfolding

 

An Inspector Calls 5

Quite a cast in this though – Alistair Sim above towards the end of the film

An Inspector Calls 3

 

An Inspector Calls 1954

 

ABOVE – An early scene in the film – the sequence of events start to unfold

Based on the J.B Priestly play it focuses on the rich and privileged Birling family and concentrates on a single night in their mansion in 1912. On this night they are about to celebrate their daughter Sheila’s (Eileen Moore) engagement to wealthy businessman Gerald Croft (Brian Worth) when they are abruptly interrupted by a mysterious Inspector Poole (Alastair Sim).

 

 

He arrives out of nowhere and quickly darkens the atmosphere as he begins to tell the sad story of the death of a young girl,  Eva Smith (Jane Wenham), who the head of the family Arthur (Arthur Young) had once employed in his factory.

Jane Wenham as Eva Smith

ABOVE – Jane Wenham as Eva Smith

As he unfolds his story it is like he is unzipping a banana as he systematically goes through the events of the girl’s life and as he does, each episode implicates one of the family – maybe not directly but certainly indirectly and each one, we learn, bears a responsibility for her death.

I had thought that Renee Ray was in this – but it was actually Jane Wenham. Had it been Renee Ray I was going to make the point that nearly 20 years earlier, she had appeared in a film with a remarkably similar storyline – ‘The Passing of The Third Floor Back’ made in 1935 with Conrad Veidt playing  a mysterious stranger who arrives, and takes a modest room at a block of flats – very run down – in fact rather than flats they are rooms let out by a cruel and greedy Landlord.  With all kinds of stories going on in there of a sometimes unpleasant nature, the mysterious stranger connects with them and brings calm and decency back – overthrowing evil – and then he disappears.

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935 3

This is a film I ask you all to see – Remember  it is ‘The Passing of the Third Floor Back’ – if you like An Inspector Calls you will like this  one

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935

ABOVE – Conrad Veidt the mysterious stranger arrives

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935 2

 

ABOVE: Renee Ray gazes up at him in awe – She knows that someone has arrived to help them

Actually although Renee Ray was not in the film ‘An Inspector Calls’  she had played in the stage play on Broadway and scored a success there

 

 

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The Horror of Frankenstein 1970

 

All right, this is not a film from the Fifties I know, although I bet a number of readers will know why I have turned to this one.  Yes – It featured the very last film appearance of Joan Rice who has been discussed on this Blog many times – mainly with her big roles in ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ and ‘His Majesty O Keefe’ – certainly big films in the early fifties.

In this one she played the wife of Dennis Price – and also in it was James Hayter who had played Friar Tuck in the Robin Hood film – he had also toured in plays in the Theatre with Joan.

 

The Horror of Frankenstein 1970 2

 

Joan Rice and Dennis Price  ABOVE – chatting in the Studio waiting to go on set and join the action

 

The Horror of Frankenstein 1970 3

Joan Rice talking to Dr Frankenstein ( Ralph Bates ) at the Castle – and in doing so sealing her own fate.

The Horror of Frankenstein 1970

 

Joan Rice comes to a violent end at the hands of the Monster after she had been to Frankenstein’s Castle and told Dr. Frankenstein that she would be going to the Police about her husband’s disappearance.

He advised her to walk home using the short cut through the woods – and then quickly released the Monster who murders her there.

The ABOVE picture is the last we would ever see on the Cinema Screen of this lovely actress – who achieved lasting fame with us film fans for her starring appearances in those two big films that she starred in.     At that time she had been at the very top of the tree.

I watched most of this film yesterday evening on Talking Pictures Television – and really liked it even though it was played largely ‘tongue in cheek’ by the characters.  Ralph Bates as Dr Frankenstein must merit  a mention – he had a big part with lots of dialogue – but he pulled it off really well.    It had quite an abrupt and surprising ending, leaving us all a little bit ‘in the air’

Good film though – with some good studio sets – large enough to have a coach and horses and other riders and horses gallop through

The Horror of Frankenstein 1970 4

ABOVE with Ralph Bates

The Horror of Frankenstein 1970 5

ABOVE – Veronica Carlson and Kate O Mara – signed autographs

I should have said earlier that the film had Veronica Carlson and Kate O Mara as Dr Frankenstein’s (  Ralph Bates ) love interest

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