Archive for September, 2019

Where the Sidewalk Ends 1950 – Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

 

 

I remember very little about this film but I quite liked the title.

 

My Dad took us to see it when we sere all on holiday at our close relatives in St. Albans where we went each year at this time – and loved it there.

Gaumont Cinema St Albans

ABOVE: Gaumont Cinema St Albans – remember as a child seeing ‘Trouble in the Glen’  there

 

I think it was showing at the Gaumont -near the station which is no longer there.

Where the Sidewalk Ends 1950

 

Produced and directed by Otto Preminger – Well that puts us off to a bad start –  and starring Dana Andrews,  this is a terrific 20th-Century Fox film. Dana Andrews is excellent as Mark Dixon, the tough guy who seems to hold  our sympathy. Watch out for  a very young Neville Brand.

 

Gene Tierney 2

 

Gene Tierney is once again teamed with Dana Andrews – they had been together in ‘Laura’ a few years before this. Gene Tierney  had two daughters, Antoinette Daria Cassini (October 15, 1943 – September 11, 2010) and Christina “Tina” Cassini (November 19, 1948 – March 31, 2015),

 

In June 1943, while pregnant with Daria, Tierney contracted rubella (German measles), likely from a fan ill with the disease.Daria was born prematurely in Washington, DC, weighing three pounds, two ounces (1.42 kg) and requiring a total blood transfusion.

 

The rubella caused congenital damage-  Daria was deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and severely mentally disabled. She was institutionalised for much of her life.

 

Gene Tierney’s friend Howard Hughes paid for Daria’s medical expenses, ensuring the girl received the best. Gene Tierney never forgot his act of kindness.    Daria Tierney died in 2010, at the age of 66.

 She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6125 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Heaven Can Wait 1943

I loved her in ‘Heaven Can Wait’ 1943 – filmed in that beautiful Technicolor of the time – never bettered – where she was top billed along with Don Ameche

Heaven Can Wait 1943 2

 

Darryl F. Zanuck, founder of 20th Century-Fox, said she was unquestionably the most beautiful woman in movie history – not many would argue with that.

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Peter Haigh – Picture Parade

Now here is a name and a face from the early days of Television – Peter Haigh.

My main memory of him is as presenter of Picture Parade

Peter Haigh

Picture Parade was the first real attempt to review new cinema releases on television.     Peter Haigh was teamed up with the British film star Derek Bond, Haigh worked hard to make it popular, incorporating interviews with the likes of John Wayne, Anna Neagle and Joan Crawford.

He later presented ‘Movie Go Round’ on Radio – The Light Programme.

Peter Haigh 2

 

He also played in a number of very popular Television series – ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’  ‘ The Benny Hill Show’ and ‘ Charlie Drake’ and even played a Magistrate in the film  ‘Witchfinder  General’ a few years later in 1968 along with Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy,  Patrick Wymark,  Rupert Davies and lower down the cast list Wilfrid Brambell. In this film he played the Lavenham Magistrate.

In 1957 he married the lovely film star Jill Adams and they had a daughter.

 

Jill Adams

 

I will always remember Jill Adams for ‘The Green Man’ ABOVE here with George Cole and Terry-Thomas – a real classic in my book.

In it she was due to marry her rather stuffy fiancé played brilliantly as always by the wonderful Colin Gordon

 

Colin Gordon with Jill Adams

 

 

ABOVE – Jill Adams with fiancé – soon to be ex fiancé – in The Green Man

- who will ever forget Colin Gordon  as the Tax Inspector in P.A.Y.E an episode of  ‘Steptoe and Son’ – actually his very last screen appearance.

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Diana Dors – Film actress

 

Diana Dors was an extremely good actress who could hold her own in any company. She seemed to have that appealing self confidence in a lovely way – it is a trait that can be off-putting but not in this girl’s case

I like her early films such as ‘A Boy a Girl and a Bike’ and  ‘Diamond City’,  ‘Dance Hall’ and one of my real favourites ‘Holiday Camp’

1948, OLIVER TWIST

 

She was also in Oliver Twist in 1948  ABOVE – in the company of such stars as Alec Guinness and Robert Newton

 

Dors, Diana, 23.10.1931 - 4.5.1984, British actress, portrait in young days, 1940s, Additional-Rights-Clearances-NA

Diana Dors in her early years, looking lovely.

A chance to play opposite Burt Lancaster in 1952

Diana Dors had met Burt Lancaster in London – in his suite at Claridges - in the early  50s and he had offered her the part of Dalabo in his forthcoming film His Majesty O Keefe which was turned down by her then husband Dennis Hamilton – who was her business manager  – in favour of a Summer Season at Blackpool as it turned out.

I am a great  fan of Joan Rice who took the part – and was very good in it, but I also am an admirer of Diana Dors

It appears that Burt Lancaster asked to see Diana at his suite at Claridges in London and indeed she did have this meeting alone with Burt but with her husband lurking somewhere below. She later tested for the part by darkening her skin a little, donning  a sarong, and wearing a black wig but Dennis would not let her take this part. It wouldn’t be much of a guess as to why.

I am pleased however that Joan Rice was successful – but can’t help but wonder what the film would have been like with Diana in that role – but more than that the effect it would have had on her future because she may well have seized the opportunity of such a big film as this. Her self confidence – which Joan Rice did not have at that time – would have opened doors in Hollywood – an opportunity that I am quite sure Diana would have grasped

Her husband thought better of her spending months in Fiji on a South Sea Island with Burt Lancaster.

The Long Haul 1957

Later on – in 1957  she did get to play opposite none other than the great Victor Mature in a film made here in England ‘The Long Haul’ which for fans of trucks and vehicles of that era is a must.

The Long Haul 1957 2

She got on very well with Victor Mature – you can imagine that she would, as somehow they seemed similar types both blessed with a great screen appeal.

The Long Haul 1957 3

 

Two Film Stars that I really like ABOVE – Diana Dors and Victor Mature

 

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Treasure Island 1950 – Front of House Stills

I keep coming back to this film – made by Walt Disney at Denham Film Studios

These Front of House Stills are really striking with their colour – however I think the two below must have been from a later release

NVS0616

 From the later release of this film BELOW – Wonderful Colour

 

NVS0617

 

BELOW -  Front of House Still from the 1950 release

 

Treasure Island 1950

 

BELOW -  Front of House Still from the 1950 release.

 

Treasure Island 1950 2

 

BELOW – A later scene in the film

 

Treasure Island 1950 3

 

BELOW – The same scene from the opposite angle

 

Treasure Island 1950 5

 

These Front of House Stills are really striking with their colour

 

Treasure Island 1950 4

 

ABOVE – Peter Ellenshaw with a brilliant Matte Painting from the film.

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A Place of One’s Own 1945 with Ernest Thesiger

A Place of Ones Own 1945

Set at the turn of the last century in 1900, a couple buy a large house which has been on the market for 40 years, but when a young lady joins them as a companion she becomes possessed by the ghost of a tragic former occupant. This is not a horror film as such, rather a drama with a supernatural element.

There’s little more plot to it than that, but the aim of the director isn’t to terrify the viewer but rather to evoke a certain mood of nostalgia and mystery.

The film is of interest because we see an array of famous faces of the era, including Barbara Mullen, Margaret Lockwood and Dennis Price, although the real treat is James Mason’s performance as an elderly Yorkshire gentleman.

Apparently when he first read the script, he liked it and wanted to do it. The film was not a financial success but in my view it should have been – my own take on this, as with many other British films of the time is that we were not good at marketing and promoting them particularly to the US market which was the one to aim for.

A Place of Ones Own 1945 2

A Scene during filming ABOVE

Ernest Thesiger

Ernest Thesiger – ABOVE -  He played  the mysterious Dr. Marsham in this film although the picture is not of this film. He had a very distinctive face.

He really was an interesting and unusual person who didn’t seem to fit any particular norm – but he is a fascinating character.

An accomplished  stage actor as well as a film actor in more than 60 performances both in Hollywood and England

He was wounded in action in the First World War.

He was an accomplished watercolour artist and embroiderer (and even published a book entitled ‘Adventures in Embroidery’).

He was a great friend (and crochet partner) of Queen Mary and is even said to have based his later appearance on her.

In this film ‘ A Place of One’s Own’  he plays Dr. Marsham a mysterious doctor who appears at the end of the film

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Springfield Rifle 1952 – Gary Cooper

Now this was a really good Western which was on TCM this afternoon. I cannot remember ever seeing it but it was impressive with great action scenes at the climax to the film,

Gary Cooper was in fine form – and managed to get into and more particularly, get out of some quite scary scrapes

Springfield Rifle 1952 10

Springfield Rifle 1952

This may be something of a forgotten  Western  but it is a must-see for Gary Cooper fans.  Gary Cooper plays his usual character of a man intent on  redeeming himself, but this is not a typical Western.

It is a good Civil War film. Film fans will also see a  a young Fess Parker.

The film is full of twists and turns with  lots of battle scenes which all add up to a good old-fashioned, fun action film.

Below – Some action scenes from the film

Springfield Rifle 1952

Springfield Rifle 1952

Springfield Rifle 1952 2

Springfield Rifle 1952

Springfield Rifle 1952 3

Springfield Rifle 1952

Springfield Rifle 1952 4

Springfield Rifle 1952 Gary Cooper ABOVE

Springfield Rifle 1952 5

Springfield Rifle 1952

Springfield Rifle 1952 5A

Lon Chaney Jr on horseback is shot as he enters the water

Springfield Rifle 1952 6A

He then falls into the water

Springfield Rifle 1952 6

He has come to a sticky end ABOVE

Springfield Rifle 1952 7

Springfield Rifle 1952 – ABOVE ‘Baddie’ Paul Kelly who played Lt Col. John Hudson is finally captured after this scene and much more action.

 

Springfield Rifle 1952 8

Springfield Rifle 1952 The final frames of the film with Gary Cooper back in uniform

Springfield Rifle 1952 9

Springfield Rifle 1952

One incredible scene as the film approaches the dramatic action packed ending, is where a Covered Wagon driven by Gary Cooper hits a large rock, tips over and crashes down a steep slope / cliff. Gary Cooper jumps clear – and then the other man on the Wagon crashed down the hill with the wagon which on looking at this sequence a number of times, looks as though it very narrowly misses him. As it is done in one take it would not be possible to fake this.

The Stuntman seems to get away with it – I have taken a few pictures from this one shot scene – see what you think – to me it looks highly dangerous and I am so pleased that the man seemed to escape being hit.

Springfield Rifle 1

 

Springfield Rifle 2

 

 

Springfield Rifle 3

Springfield Rifle 4

 

 

Springfield Rifle 5

 

 

Springfield Rifle 7

Springfield Rifle 1952 –

I had wondered at first if the stunt was done by Jack Mahoney but, by then he was into acting and doing the highly successful ‘The Range Rider’ TV Series which was very popular in England.

The stuntmen who appeared in Springfield Rifle were  Ben Corbett, John Epper, Ted Mapes, George Ross, Jack Woody and Jack N.Young – so it would be one of these that did that jump.

Astonishing and very brave.

 

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Bruce Seton – Fabian of the Yard

Who could forget this excellent BBC Television series in the mid 1950s – Bruce Seton was Fabian  in our eyes – such was the impact of the show.

I must admit I loved this series – particularly the Opening Sequence – when Bruce Seton as Fabian, sitting in the back seat of a speeding Humber Hawk said in a terse voice ‘This is Fabian – Of Scotland Yard’

Great stuff !!

Bruce Seton 2

ABOVE – Bruce Seton as Fabian of Scotland Yard

Fabian of the Yard

 

Fabian of the Yard 2

 

Fabian of the Yard 3

 

ABOVE – Bruce Seton in Scenes from an episode of  Fabian of Scotland Yard

 

However one piece of interesting information  has come to light – he re-married after a divorce within an hour

Now it appears the character actor from Edinburgh, who died in 1969, could hold the record for the shortest time between divorce and remarriage in Scotland.

Records of births, marriages and deaths, published online for the first time today, have uncovered the extraordinary love story of the dashing actor – and soldier – 1940 who married for a second time just an hour after being divorced in a Scottish court on St Valentine’s Day.

Bruce Seton

Bruce Seton married his second wife, actress Antoinette Cellier – Picture above –  in a special ceremony in Edinburgh – having only an hour before been granted a divorce in the Court of Session from his first wife, Tamara Desni, an actress of Russian descent. According to the National Records of Scotland, this may be the shortest time ever between a divorce and remarriage in Scotland.

Bruce Seton and his wife Antoinette Cellier did have a daughter Lydia Antoinette Seton born in November 1941

For his Wartime Service Bruce Seton was awarded the US Medal of Freedom

He  was also one of the founder members of the Lord’s Taverners in 1950 – so obviously a cricket fan like me

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Drums in the Deep South 1951

 

This Film was showed in the UK on Retro Movies yesterday and I saw quite a lot of the climax to it.

 

Drums In The Deep South

 

Barbara Payton is the mistress of a southern plantation -In the film’s prologue she and husband Craig Stevens are entertaining two old friends from West Point,  Guy Madison and Barbara’s secret love interest James Craig.

 

She is planning to run away with James that night, but news of the firing on Fort Sumter brings everybody’s plans to a halt as the men go off to war on their respective sides. Go forward to four years later and Stevens is in prison, but circumstance has brought Madison and Craig back to the neighbourhood.

Craig is given a rough assignment, bring a pair of cannons to the top of a hollow ridge called Devil’s Mountain and rain fire and destruction down on Sherman’s supply train on the railway tracks below. Guy has the unenviable duty of blasting him off the mountain. Of course neither knows the other is in command on the other side.

This film seems to get pretty good reviews from people who have seen it

 

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Geoffrey Keen and His Father Malcom Keen – and others

 

Father and son actors in the film profession is not unique – I can think of Kirk Douglas and and Michael,  James Brolin and his son Josh and John Carradine and his son David – and a different relationship would be George Sanders and his Brother Tom Conway.

 

Father and Son - Geoffrey Keen and Malcolm Keen

 

However Geoffrey Keen and Malcolm Keen being English both featured in mainly British films although on checking further it seems that Malcolm Keen had a few years in Hollywood and appeared in a number of films there.

 

It appears that Malcolm was successful on stage in New York in the late fories and early fifties and from 1950 to 1952 seems to have done his films there also.

 

They did appear in the same film a few times - one being Rob Roy The Highland Rogue and later than that ‘Fortune is a Woman’ where I think they played father and son.

Now on to George Sanders his Brother Tom Conway

That highly underrated actor, Tom Conway — was the older brother (by two years) of the Oscar-winning, George Sanders.

Tom Conway

Tom Conway was born in St Petersburg in Russia – as was his brother – in 1904 under the name Thomas Charles Sanders.  When he followed George to Hollywood, he changed his surname to Conway. After a while  the likeable Conway was referred to as “the nice George Sanders.”

Comparisons with his much more successful younger brother apparently never bothered Conway as the two got on well.  It was George who persuaded his brother to try Hollywood after his radio and stage appearances in their adopted country.

The Sanders came from a wealthy St. Petersburg family who had fled the Russian revolution to England.

 

George Sanders 2

 

In Hollywood, George Sanders was a supportive brother.  The fact that Tom made an unsuccessful (screen) test should not depress him, he wrote in a 1937 letter to their father. I have made plenty of unsuccessful tests, and so has everyone else in the business, and the fact they said Tom did not photograph well should be no cause for alarm, since they said precisely the same thing to Ronald Colman!

After a stint at MGM, Conway shifted to RKO where he made his most memorable film appearances. He starred in 10 titles of the studio’s profitable Falcon mystery series, taking over the lead abandoned by brother George — who was on his way to bigger things.

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A visit to the Cinema in the 50′s

 

A regular  contributor to some of the Articles here on this Blog is David Raynor – someone who is very well informed on films of the era – and whose comments on here are always appreciated and are very welcome.

 

Last evening he made this comment which got me thinking:

 

‘There was an absolute magic about going to the cinema in those days that has completely gone now. It was a very exciting time.’

 

This resonated with me, of course  he is absolutely right and my own comment was

 

‘Like you on a visit to the Cinema in those days, I can remember the sheer excitement of going – and I was often shivering with anticipation.

 

I remember when I was very young and My Mother and Father took us to see King Solomon’s Mines. What a wonderful experience – the colour was outstanding and the thrill of seeing those African locations on that enormous screen, was unbelievable. I can nearly re-live it now – and when I watch that film again, I always think of that time.   This is my memory of going to the cinema at that time.

King Solomons Mines 1950

 

I also remember my parents took us to see ‘Treasure Island’ with Robert Newton. Here again the Technicolor was fabulous – never bettered.    We arrived later into the film just as Jim had hidden in the apple barrel and was nearly discovered when the look-out shouted ‘Land Ho’ but of course we did stay to see the film round again.

Treasure Island 1950

 

Another scene I well remember which frightened me was when Blind Pew played by John Laurie staggered out of the Admiral Benbow right under the wheels of the oncoming coach and the soldiers. That scene was cut from the later 70s release – and even though the latest DVDs state full original fun cut film – that is not the case as this scene is still missing. 

 

There was another one later when Long John Silver throws his crutch almost like a spear and kills one of the pirates as it hits him in the back when they are digging up what they thought was the treasure.

 

Again this scene was cut in the 70′s and is still not back.  I think there is at least one more such scene

 

Any way as an example of a trip to the cinema of the time , I have come across this about the Odeon Cinema in Boston  Lincolnshire which celebrated its 21 st Birthday in 1958 -

 

Odeon Boston Lincolnshire 1

 

In 1958 The Odeon Cinema celebrated its coming of age. It was estimated that in its twenty one years of being 11 million people had visited and 132 million feet of film had been seen!! Odeon Boston Lincolnshire 2 My Wife is from Boston, and I remember taking her to the Cinema here when we first started going out together – mind you that was a few years after this 21st celebration. The opening night  saw the Mayor of the day and the band of the 1st. Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and patrons saw Vivien Leigh in “Dark Journey” together with a Technicolor film called “On ice”. The manager, when those first 1,592 patrons filled the cinema, was Mr. D. Wood.

 

 

 

Odeon Boston Lincolnshire 3  

 

In the early days of the 1939-1945 war came Sunday opening and the cinema had a Children’s Club started  and had a membership in 1958 of 900. The manager celebrated the 21st. in 1958  by splitting a birthday cake among his staff and a number of the town’s old age pensioners who attended the afternoon performance as his guests.

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