Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Marylin and Robert Mitchum

This wonderful colour plate is from the 1954  F.Maurice Speed Film Review Annual

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These Film Annuals were among my own favourites as they contained so much information on every film that had been released that particular Year with the Director, Cast and Release Date.   Also you would get a section on next year’s films – and one on the Walt Disney releases.  I once heard F.Maurice Speed  of the Film Review Annual, speaking on Radio 2 along with another Film Expert. He was very interesting and I could have listened to him for hours as he had so much information on the film era that I love.

The above picture is of course a Publicity Still from River of No Return

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Interrupted Journey 1949 – Richard Todd and Valerie Hobson

Just watched this thriller on the Talking Pictures Channel here in the UK. This is a great channel for us fans of older films – they show them all day, every day – so when  I get the chance I try to tune in. Anyway back to this particular film which is quite an unusual story with plenty of twists – even half way through the film it seemed to be wrapped up but then comes a shock revelation and we are back in there trying to fathom out what is going on. Interrupted Journey Interrupted Journey 2 When John North played by Richard Todd, a budding author, pulls the communication cord of a late night train that is taking him away on a weekend with his publishers wife,   he sets in motion a series of events that lead to a train crash, a murder and a police man hunt. As our adventure opens a very angry looking man leaves his house and walks down the street. A moment later a gorgeous young blonde leaves the same house and a man steps out of the shadows to greet her. Together they board a train out of London, and we learn that she is the wife of a prominent publisher and the man she is running away with is an author that her husband publishes. We learn that he is running away from his wife to start a new life with the wife of his publisher. As they head to Paddington Station to board a train, Johnny thinks that a man in a mackintosh is following them but isn’t quite sure . . . Aboard the train Johnny starts getting second thoughts . . . . He is enchanted and filled with lust for the beautiful blonde in his arms, but he also has a loving wife at home. Deep regret and remorse fills him suddenly and he leaves the train booth and stands in the train walkway filled with confusion . . . . Looking up the hallway he spots the man in the mackintosh coat staring at him . . . . . Looking quickly up the other end of the hallway he sees his publisher staring at him . . . . The man whose wife is waiting for him in the coach behind him . . . . In a panic he reaches for the emergency chain that will bring the train to a screeching halt, and as the train slows he jumps off and heads home to his waiting wife . . . . AND then the story really kicks into gear.

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The Story of Robin Hood 1952

Interesting thing here about the TWO of the leading actors in this film.   They both have taken leading roles in productions about Robin Hood A couple of years after this film was made RICHARD TODD was cast as Robin Hood for Walt Disney in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – and a year or so after that film Alexander Gauge was cast as Friar Tuck in the long running TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood – a hugely popular Television series it was too, that did really well in the USA as well as here.

He was perfectly cast in this role and he was very good as Friar Tuck.

Alexander Gauge in Pickwick Papers

Above – James Donald and Alexander Gauge in The Pickwick Papers.

Alexander Gauge (1914-1960) actor, best known for playing Friar Tuck in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ from 1955 to 1960. He was born in a Methodist Mission station in Wenzhou, China, but grew up in California before moving to England. He worked on the New York stage in 1945, before becoming a hit in the London theatre production of ‘The Seven Year Itch’.

Physically he was a corpulent character actor, who performed on the New York stage in the 1940s, and then played a succession of minor villains in British films. He is fondly remembered as Friar Tuck in Richard Greene’s TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955). Unfortunately, he found little gainful employment thereafter and committed suicide with barbiturates at the age of just 46.

In 1960, aged just 46, but plagued by gambling debts, he took his own life with an overdose of pills. The Verdict though is that he died from a Brain Tumour – very sad however that his life should end this way at such a young age.

 

Alexander Gauge
Richard Todd, Valerie Hobson and Tom Walls
Tom Walls
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David Farrar – Gone to Earth 1950

Interesting article in the 1951 Film Parade about David Farrar who would have been at the peak of his career at this time.

I have held the opinion that David Farrar might not have been the most friendly of people – his attitude appears quite supercilious to me in many of the roles he had at that time. Later when he was not getting the leading roles and was getting older, he packed in with films – he obviously didn’t want to be lower down the cast list.

Gone to Earth is really a  Victorian melodrama – a lecherous squire deflowers simple country girl who has married local vicar – and the dialogue is curiously stilted. However this hardly matters in a work cinematically choreographed with such brilliance by Michael Powell and Emric Pressburger . The final foxhunting sequence, where the film’s many strands are brought together, is visually  one of the most spellbinding in all cinema.  One Reviewer I read said that ‘The huntsman’s cry of “Gone to earth!” at the very end has haunted me for well over half a lifetime’

There is also this really good colour still of him in Gone to Earth:

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Back in 1947 or 1948 a group of school pupils had a tour of Denham Film Studios and the film being made at the time was a favourite of mine – Mr Perrin and Mr Traill.  If you can please get a copy of this please do , and watch it – a really good film. Anyway here are the comments made about the visit :-

There are six stages at DENHAM, three large and three smaller. We walked on to one of the large stages, where Laurence Huntingdon was directing Hugh Walpole’s school story, Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill, from the script by L.A.G. Strong.

We talked with Edward Chapman, one of the supporting players of Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill whom you will remember as George Sandigate in It Always Rains On Sunday. He said, “I’m playing with David Farrar, Marius Goring and Greta Gynt. I’m the only sane man on the staff; I make rude remarks about all the others.”

Hardly had we finished with Mr. Chapman when we were whisked away to meet David Farrar, and an utterly bored David Farrar. A big, beefy man with a still camera took three publicity photographs of David Farrar showing two young enthusiasts around the studios. As soon as the photographs were taken, our guide disappeared into his dressing-room and was never seen again.

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T.H.E. Cat – Who Remember this TV Show

Now here is one to test the memory – Not from the Fifties but from the late 1960s – and was an American  import and went out on ITV possibly only in certain regions. I was living in London at that time and tuned in to this occasionally – and it is one I have remembered mainly, I think, for the title — which seemed so odd.

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It starred Robert Loggia in the title role – and always introduced with these words :

“Out of the night comes a man who saves lives at the risk of his own. Once a circus performer, an aerialist who refused the net. Once a cat burglar, a master among jewel thieves. Now a professional bodyguard. Primitive… savage… in love with danger.  T.H.E. Cat!”

His full name was Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat which he spoke and then followed with ‘T.H.E. Cat’

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He drove around in a Black Corvette Sting Ray – I reckon Cliff Richard owned one briefly. The one below is a 1967 model and I don’t think is was exactly like this one – may have been customised for the series, I don’t know.

Corvette Sting Ray 1967

 

A former aerialist and trapeze artist for the circus, and cat burglar, THOMAS HEWITT EDWARD CAT (T.H.E. Cat ) now finds employment as a freelance bodyguard and investigator in San Francisco. He works out of an “office” at the Casa del Gato nightclub, a joint run by his good friend, and sometime cohort,  Pepe. His police contact is Captain McAllister, he of the one arm and bowler hat.

The plots weren’t terribly complex, and you could count on a few good thrills every week just watching T.H.E. Cat  clad entirely in black, scaling tall buildings to death-defying heights, skulking around in the shadows, armed only with a grappling hook and some rope.  He relied instead on intelligence and agility, although odd times  he was known to carry both a sleeve knife — a small dagger which he used to lethal effect.

It had a rather gritty, dark mood to it, lots of shadows and some pretty mean characters.T.H.E.Cat 3

Here are a couple of reviews I have come across

  • “One thing I remember is him having a knife in a contraption up his sleeve. When he needed to, he would swing his arm real fast, and the knife would slide down into his palm — ready for action. I don’t recall him ever actually using it on people, but every episode featured a martial arts type fight with lots of karate stuff, which was the really cool part.”

         . “Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat was possibly the coolest customer on TV.

 

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Alex Bryce – Film Director

An interesting character is Alex Bryce who was involved with Directing or photographing or Producing Films before, during and after the War.

Richard Todd and Alex Bryce

 

Alex Bryce (1905-1960) was a Scottish screenwriter, cinematographer and film director.

In the picture above we can see Alex Bryce and Richard Todd (Robin Hood) on location at Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire for The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men for Walt Disney. Filmed in England at Denham Film Studios

Alex Bryce on location for The Story of Robin Hood 1952

In the picture above we can see Alex Bryce  on location at Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire  chatting to Perce Pearce ( Producer) and Carmen Dillon ( Art Director)

I spoke with Alex Bryce’s Daughter,  Elspeth Gill, in the summer of 2011, mainly about her actually being on the set of The Story of Robin Hood throughout the masking of the film. One thing that struck me was that she seemed to be so very fond of her father and spoke about him and 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 herself had been an extra on Rob Roy 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 as an International Film Director.

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

One of the few people I thought were still around who had actually been there throughout the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – seems I was wrong as she sadly died in 2012 but what wonderful memories she had

During the filming of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, Alex Bryce was in charge of theSecond Unit’, which specialised in all the outdoor, woodland and action shotsand fight scenes.

The Director of the film was Ken Annakin who worked very closely with Alex and you can tell from Ken’s Autobiography that the two of them got on very well , and worked closely together, dovetailing the studio footage with the Outside action scenes – they did it very effectively too,

Alex Bryce had worked in The Film Industry throughout the Thirties often as a photographer and occasionally as a writer, and Assistant Director.

Following Robin Hood in which he was  Assistant Director, he again fulfilled this role on another British made Walt Disney film The Sword and the Rose, Rob Roy The Highland Rogue  and then on The Dark Avenger with Errol Flynn.

 

Back to Elspeth Gill – Alex Bryce’s Daughter – She did send me some fascinating pictures of her chatting with Richard Todd on the set of Robin Hood at Denham and maybe Burnham

Beeches as below :-

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Above Richard Todd chats with Elspeth – Actually she looks to be in costume too, so maybe she played one of the Merrie Men in the horse riding sequences.

elspeth bryce and richard todd 1952 robin hood

Above Richard Todd gives Elspeth a demonstration of Archery – he would know after this film.

I must say that I am very proud of these pictures that Elspeth sent me – very kind of her. She was the most knowledgeable person on this film that I had ever heard from.

 

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Longcross Film Studios

I have often featured such studios as Denham ( my own favourite ) as well as Pinewood, and Ealing, but I did not know of Longcross Film Studios Near Chertsey in Surrey -  just off the M3 and M25 – until the release of the new version of Murder on The Orient Express.

It was made at Longcross which is a former MOD facility.

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Pictures showing the Studios as well as an aerial shot that shows the Orient Express covered in fake snow BELOW :-

Longcross Studios Near Chertsey

 

The Wonderful BBC drama series ‘Call the Midwife’ is filmed here too

 

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More Information just found on Diamond City 1949

I came across this information in the 1950 Preview Annual

I mentioned having TWO jig saw puzzles from the film – Crossing the Vaal and The Can Can Girls. In this Film Annual I have found the same pictures as the puzzles - but these are Black and White and I know the puzzles were colour pictures :

Diamond City 1949 Crossing the Vaal

Diamond City 1949 The Can Can Girls

This is from the 1950 Preview Annual – if anyone knows or has one of these JIG SAW PUZZLES for sale then I would be very interested.

The film is available from Renown Pictures – and has no doubt been cleaned up and I have no doubt the print will be excellent – as they are these days.

The computer world has certainly transformed some of the older films we see – with the picture now rock steady and clear – in some ways it takes away a little of the fun from when the titles seemed to jump around a little and the odd blemish appeared on the screen at times during the film.

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Back to IVANHOE again

Just come across this great picture of the actual filming of Ivanhoe during the summer of 1951 at Elstree.
Torquilstone Castle was built in the grounds of Elstree and this picture shows up to THREE Technicolor Cameras ready for an action scene – and a very busy set it looks to be.

Filming of Ivanhoe

Two years before the shooting, Torquilstone Castle had been built at Elstree, as a full-scale replica of a twelfth-century fortress. The moat was cut around the set and the castle and was twenty feet wide and ten feet deep !

Torquilstone Castle

At the same time as this was being filmed, at Elstree,  Walt Disney was filming The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men at Denham Film Studios.    Two big and memorable films in the making virtually at the same time.  I loved the Disney Story of Robin Hood film though.

Just imagine if any of us could have been around there at the time, we could have wandered between Elstree and Denham – and Burnham Beeches all of that summer – In film terms it would not get much better than that.

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Movie Memories – Summer 2017 New Edition

I was very happy yesterday to find this new edition of Movie Memories arrive in the post. This is a really excellent publication – and this one is the Summer Edition published a little later than normal because the Owner and Editor Chris Roberts has been unwell.  Happy to report that he is well and on the mend now.

I ask all readers here to have a look at www.moviememoriesmagazine.com

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Above:  Victor Mature and Rita Hayworth in a lovely Colour Picture from the film.

These TWO were Film Stars in the real sense – OUT OF THE TOP DRAWER !!!

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 On the back cover of this publication as another great Colour Poster – Shadow of a Doubt – a very good film indeed.

Joseph Cotton starred in this one – what a career he had  – just look at the films below – impressive by any standards :-

 1949 The Third Man

1944 Gaslight

1943 Shadow of a Doubt

1942 The Magnificent Ambersons

1941 Lydia

1941 Citizen Kane

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Film Annual – around 1950

I come back to a subject that we have done before – the  Film Annuals around in the early Fifties – and this ione is the Boys and Girls Film Cinema Clubs Annual for 1950 I would think.

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This – above and below – is a scan of the Dust Jacket although, when taken off the actual hard back of the book has the same colour pictures. Inside we have a number of Colour Plates – and I have to say some of those have a colour that is stunning and that we rarely get today – and why that is I do not know.

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This is a scan of the Dust Jacket – the rear cover in this instance. ( Above)

There is a nostalgic element to this of course, as we go back to our childhood and remember the Christmas Presents we got – and the Film Annuals were very much a part of that. That must have been the case for a lot of children, because there are so many of this type of book available – just think of those marvellous F.Maurice Speed Film Reviews that carried such detail about every film released in the year as well as previews of what was to come. There were many more – and I have a large collection of such books – but as is is the case with every collector no doubt, you are always looking for another one you have not seen – or an article or press release or whatever.  I purchased, some years ago, quite a lot of Film Annuals and inside there were a lot of press cuttings – in almost all of them – giving snippets of information on the Film Stars or on the films they were in.

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