Trouble in the Glen 1954

This one didn’t fare well at the Box Office even though it is awash with Film Stars of the time including none other than Orson Welles – plus Forrest Tucker, Margaret Lockwood, Victor McLaglen and John McCallum.

I remember seeing this film at The Gaumont Cinema in St.Albans when very young – and remember bits of it.

My Brother and I went with My Uncle and Aunt who lived in the City – as we had gone on holiday to their home at the time which  we often did in the Summertime.  I loved it there.

Trouble in the Glen

Trouble in the Glen is a comedy featuring Orson Wells (in a kilt) as the new laird who stirs up the locals. The film is a mix of studio and location filming with some scenes filmed in Perthshire

 

Trouble in the Glen 2

In the Film Forrest Tucker’s Daughter who was crippled following Polio, is played by Margaret McCourt who had quite a busy career through the Fifties as a child actress – She was in The Invisible Man

Margaret McCourt

ABOVE – Margaret McCourt in Trouble in the Glen

Margaret McCourt 2

ABOVE – Margaret McCourt in The Invisible Man

 

Trouble in the Glen 3

Filmed in TRUCOLOR – I hadn’t realised that until I saw this title. It looked good though.

Trouble in the Glen 4

Margaret McCourt, Margaret Lockwood and Forrest Tucker

Orson Welles

Orson Welles

Trouble in the Glen is a sort of sequel to Republic’s biggest hit “The Quiet Man” – same writer and same formula.

Orson Welles and Victor McLaglen are at their scene stealing best. Forrest Tucker and Margaret Lockwood are an attractive pair of romantic leads.

The film is reasonably fun mainly because of Orson Welles constantly hamming it up and just having fun. In fact, Orson Welles is so larger than life in his presence and portrayal that he pretty much blasts poor Forrest Tucker off the screen any time they are together. Victor McLaglen is quite good and well able to hold his own with Orson Welles – but they do work well together.

The Film was made at Elstree Film Studios for Republic Pictures  - with location filming in Perthshire.

Trouble in the Glen

 

Trouble in the Glen 2

 

A set of Stills from the film – I used to love these and gaze at them when passing the cinema on my way to School for whichever film was showing that week – sometimes two programmes per week though -in the town  I have seen better than these but nevertheless these are good examples of what we would see.

 

 

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The Pickwick Papers 1952

James Hayter played the title role and did it very well indeed – in that same year he was also Friar Tuck in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men  so his two most famous roles in a long career, came in the same year.

Coincidentally  Alexander Gauge – pictured below with James Hayter and James Donald, also played Friar Tuck in the Television series The Adventures of Robin Hood with Richard Greene

Pickwick Papers

Noel Langley with only his first film as a Director, did a great job in this 1952 film, and captured the essence of the novel. He also did much of the adapting and writing of the script.

The Pickwick Papers 1952 Poster

James Hayter as Pickwick and Nigel Patrick as the charming swindler Mr Jingle head up a wonderful British cast.  Wilkie Cooper’s black-and-white cinematography, Frederick Pusey’s art direction and Beatrice Dawson’s Oscar-nominated costumes make a stunning combination. It was made at Nettlefold Studios in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and features some unmistakably English scenery.

Just about all the actors chosen for the roles seem perfect for their parts, from  Harry Fowler as Mr Pickwick’s  faithful manservant Sam Weller (several of his famous Wellerisms are included) to Joyce Grenfell in a brief cameo as awful poet Mrs Leo Hunter, Hermione Gingold as indignant headmistress Miss Tompkins, Kathleen Harrison as the flirtatious Rachel Wardle, and Gerald Campion, best known as Billy Bunter, as the Fat Boy, Joe, who doesn’t get much screen time but makes the most of it.

Other well-known British actors include  Hattie Jacques, music-hall veteran George Robey in a brief scene as Sam’s father Tony Weller,and the first Doctor Who, William Hartnell, in a brief role as an angry cab driver.

Mr Pickwick and his club members set off on their travels around England and land up in all kinds of comic trouble.  Understated performance from  James Donald as the terrified Mr Winkle. Who could forget  the scene where Mr. Pickwick ends up in a lady’s bedroom by mistake after getting lost in the corridors of the Great White Horse Hotel  in Ipswich.

Pickwick Papers 2

 

Above: Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Wardle and Mr Perker, the Lawyer, arrive at the White Hart Southwark. They are in pursuit of the eloping Rachael. It is here that Mr. Pickwick takes Sam ( Harry Fowler) into his service.

The breach of promise trial, Bardell against Pickwick, with Donald Wolfit  who gives  a storming performance as the lawyer Sergeant Buzfuz, and  Hermione Baddeley also excellent as the bewildered landlady Mrs Bardell.

Another scene has Mr. Pickwick  in the Fleet debtors’ prison.  Nigel Patrick in particular shows his versatility as an actor in this section, as Mr Jingle turns up again, ragged, ill and starving but still with his famous clipped way of speech.  It is the culmination of Pickwick’s journey of discovery through England.

Of course, the sunshine breaks through again and there is a happy ending.

Pickwick Papers 3

 

Above: At the Bull Inn, Rochester, Mr. Pickwick mistakes his bedroom and finds himself sharjng it with a middle-aged lady played by Athene Seyler. Very accurate depiction even down to the candle.

In the Pictures above and below we see how the film makers tried hard to be as faithful as possible to the original drawings by Seymour – which according to what I have read were done before the book was written – so it seems The Pickwick Papers was written from what appeared in the pictures rather than the other way round.

Pickwick Papers 4

Above: The scene is the arbour at Dingley Dell where Mr Tupman is courting Rachael watched by ‘the fat boy’.

On the right Alexander Gauge in romantic pose with Kathleen Harrison – and Gerald Campion – famous as BBC TVs Billy Bunter standing assessing the situation. To the LEFT – again the original sketch from the novel - very accurate.

Pickwick Papers - James Hayter and Harry Fowler

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 – Mr Pickwick ( James Hayter)  in conversation with Harry Fowler

JAMES HAYTER
His longest-running stage role (8 times a week, 2,415 appearances in total) was Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady, taking over from Stanley Holloway in the original Drury Lane  production of 1959 and playing for 5 years in the West End and on tour.

The London News Chronicle wrote: “Hayter is a chubbier, kindlier old rascal of a dustman, with a lovely bronchial wheeze and a tragic look of glassy misery when in the thralls of middle-class morality”.

James Hayter appeared in over 100 films, among his more notable being Big Fella with Paul Robeson and Elisabeth Welch, The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster, Land of the Pharaohs with Jack Hawkins and James Robertson Justice, Nicholas Nickleby  in which he played both Cheeryble twins, The Verger – one of Somerset Maugham’s Trio, Pickwick Papers (leading a marvellous cast including Nigel Patrick, James Donald, Kathleen Harrison, Joyce Grenfell, Athene Seyler and Donald Wolfit), Walt Disney’s The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men with Richard Todd, The Blue Lagoon with Donald Houston and Jean Simmons, and Morning Departure with John Mills and Richard Attenborough.

Dilys Powell wrote of The Verger: “James Hayter … does not rank in public estimation as a star.  But Mr Hayter is much more than a star: he is an actor.  And in The Verger he seems not to act, but to be the decent, circumscribed little man who so enjoyably turns the tables on his pompous vicar…”

His extensive television work over the decades included the lead in Pinwright’s Progress, British television’s first authentic half-hour situation comedy series; a mad train conductor hell-bent on the assassination of the Prime Minister in an episode of The Avengers (Diana Rigg vintage); and James Onedin’s doughty father-in-law in The Onedin Line.

He was delighted to be brought in for the sixth series of BBC Television’s Are You Being Served? as the cantankerous Mr Tebbs, but J Walter Thompson were soon in touch with his agent to communicate that their Kipling Cakes account was less thrilled with the shadow it might cast on the avuncular and long-established image of Mr Kipling, and he was consequently bought out of the programme for an agreed sum.

Having worked long and hard at his profession, James Hayter  was well pleased to be paid for not working! He was sustained in his later years by voice-over work.

Readers will recall his  most famous line from a TV advertisement, “Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes!“.

James Hayter retired to Spain in the early 1970s, and flew back to the UK when work beckoned, but died in his sleep in 1983 at Villajoyosa at the age of 76.  With eight children to support, life had not been without anxiety, but he had enjoyed his last years in the sun.

James Hayter as Friar Tuck with Richard Todd

To me he will always stand out as Friar Tuck in  Walt Disney’s The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men 1952 with Richard Todd and Joan Rice

Jmaes Hayter at Home with his Children

James Hayter at Home

 

James Hayter at his Home with his family in Hemel Hempstead around 1953 – With Is Children in the Garden – and Watching the Cricket on Television with his wife Mary. ABOVE

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Yvonne Mitchell – Theatre and Film

BRITISH ACTRESS YVONNE MITCHELL  was first and foremost a stage actress who began her career quite early as a teenager. By the time of her death in 1979 , she had performed in the theatre for over four decades. Her work in films and TV was much less, but what she did do was unusually of high quality.

This dark-haired actress made her film debut in a key role in The Queen of Spades (1949) and proceeded to become a moving, thoughtful, often anguished presence throughout the 1950s, winning the British Film Award for her touching  performance as the biological mother of a foster child in The Divided Heart (1954).

A year before that, she appeared with PETER CUSHING in the BBC production of ’1984′ as Julia. The broadcast gained much publicity for both her and Peter Cushing,  in it’s two live performances and this was after she had played Cathy in a live Television version of Wuthering Heights with Richard Todd as Heathcliffe – a play I remember seeing as a child and very good it was. It was performed twice live during one week on the BBC

YVONNE MITCHELL, changed her name legally in 1946 from Yvonne Frances Joseph to Yvonne Mitchell (Mitchell was her mother’s maiden name). She also deducted a decade from her age, which is why many sources have listed 1925 as her birth year.

She married author and critic Derek Monsey in 1952.  They had a daughter Cordelia born in 1956.  The couple would later divorce, only to be reconciled.

In the mid to late fifties they lived in their Mayfair maisonette with their daughter and bulldog Burbage. They later lived in a village in the South of France.

Yvonne Mitchell at Home

Yvonne Mitchell at Home 2

Here she is ABOVE – Reading to her Daughter Cordelia and looking at her Art Collection

Their daughter  Cordelia Monsey is a theatre director and a long-term associate of both Sir Peter Hall and Sir Trevor Nunn.

Derek Monsey and Yvonne Mitchell had parted but re-married  in late 1978, just months before Derek Monsey died of a heart attack on 13 February 1979.  Yvonne Mitchell died of cancer just over a month later. That would have been a cruel blow for their Daughter who at that time would only be 22 years old – with her parents dying within a few short weeks of each other.

 

Derek Monsey – BELOW

Derek Monsey

 

Yvonne Mitchell 2

Yvonne Mitchell ABOVE – Leaves for the USA to appeared in the Broadway Play ‘The Wall’ which opened on 11 October 1960 and ran through until 4 March of 1961

Yvonne Mitchell 3

Above: YVONNE MITCHELL with Painter PIETRO ANNIGONI - the Italian portrait and fresco painter, best known for his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Yvonne Mitchell 4

Yvonne Mitchell

Yvonne Mitchell with Bernie Winters

Yvonne Mitchell ABOVE with Bernie Winters doing a Television play.

 

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Pets with their owners – Film Stars Pets

I am sure that many of us have a pet – and what a joy it is.  Many of the Stars of this era, and any other come to that, owned pets – some more extreme than others as you will see below

Johnny Sheffield and his dog Kurt

Johnny Sheffield with his dog Kurt who went to the Studios with  him when he as making the Bomba Film ‘Lord of the Jungle’

Jeanne Crain with her dogs 2

Jeanne Crain had quite a large family – and two dogs too it seems

Joan Rice and her dog

Joan Rice with a little Peke – not sure that this was her dog – I do know though that later in life when she had left films and had an Estate Agency in Maidenhead that she owned – and loved – her Labrador Sheba.

Irene Papas

Irene Papas ABOVE – intervenes between cat and dog as they play together.

Roy Rogers with Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger – Trigger even went to work with Roy Rogers – and usually enjoyed star billing in his films – and travelled abroad  on promotional trips.

Now we go to the extreme as a pet owner – Tippi Hedren had a full grown male lion called Neil share her home.

Tippi Hedren with her Pet Neil The Lion

Looking back she recalls this as an incredibly foolish thing to do

Tippi Hedren with her Pet Neil The Lion 2

 

Such a large animal is capable of doing untold damage if things ever got out of hand

Melanie Griffith with Neil

Melanie Griffith her Daughter swimming with the Lion

Melanie Griffith with Neil 2

Melanie Griffith having fun

Melanie Griffith with Neil 3

 

Her Daughter Melanie Griffiths had a very close relationship with Neil the Lion – it even shared her bed on occasions

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Roger Livesey Stage and Film Actor – and his wife Ursula Jeans

What a good actor he was – and such a distinctive voice too.

Roger Livesey was apparently such a nice man who was liked by just about everyone and was very happily married to Ursula Jeans for 36 years (until her death)  – They had no children. There was no scandal in his life, so no publisher has been interested in a biography about him.

 

Roger Livesey

Another well know role was as Torquil in  I Know where I’m Going

Roger Livesey and Raymond Massie

Raymond Massey and Roger Livesey share a laugh at the Party given by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger at Denham Film Studios to mark the start of filming on    A Matter of Life and Death

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Above: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Roger Livesey 2

This is from A Matter of Life and Death

Roger Livesey and Wendy Hiller

ABOVE – With Wendy Hiller – I Know Where I’m Going

Roger Livesey 3

Probably some of his best film work was with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Films

Roger Livesey  died 4 February 1976  after a 50‐year stage, film and television career. He was 69 years old.

Desert Island Discs Roger Livesey

 

Above: Roger Livesey on Desert Island Discs in 1952 – he chose the usual Eight Records – mainly classical – and his luxury to take to the Island was Golf Clubs.

His last major appearance was as the Duke of St. Bungay in the BBC television serial “The Pallisers.”

Friends said he never fully recovered from the loss three years previously of his wife, Ursula Jeans, with whom he formed an internationally known husband‐and‐wife acting team in the 1940′s and 50′s.

Roger Livesey had made many appearances on the Broadway stage. One of the most notable was in the Wycherly Restoration classic, “The Country Wife,” in 1937, in which he appeared with Ruth Gordon.

He was also in “The Entertainer,” based on the John Osborne play, in support of Laurence Olivier in the same year.

He was born in Barry, South Wales, on June 25, 1906, and was educated at the Westminster City School.

His first appearance on the stage was at the St. James’s Theatre on  Nov. 21, 1917, when he was 11. The role was that of the Office Boy in “Loyalty.”

One play followed another in the West End for almost 10 years, and then he toured the West Indies and South Africa for several years.

His roles included Dr. Stockman in “An Enemy of the people,” Petruchio in “Taming of the Shrew,” Kurt Müller in “Watch on the Rhine,” in which he toured for two years during World War II, and Sir Toby Belch in “Twelfth Night.”

Roger Livesey and Laurence Olivier

 

On another occasion he enjoys a chat with Sir Laurence Olivier ABOVE – who seems to be adjusting Roger Livesey’s tie.

Roger Livesey’s wife was the Actress Ursula Jeans – she was born in India to British parents. She was a stage actress from her mid-teens.

Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans

Above: Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans in the play “Watch on the Rhine,”

One of her later film appearances was as   in The Dam Busters (1955) playing Barnes Wallis wife and just before this was in The Night My Number Came Up – and straight after came North West Frontier.  She was frequently on television in Dr Finlays Casebook and Dixon of Dock Green and in such American productions as the 1963 video staging of Hedda Gabler with Ingrid Bergman in the title role.  She had been previously married to actor Robert Irvine

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Film Star’s Children go to School

Remarkably 20th Century Fox Studios  even looked after the children of the Film Stars they employed – providing them with a school  at the Studios – as below :-

At School in Hollywood

 

Below – Claude Jarman Jr. looks quite grown up – as he goes to School accompanied by his Father – and in the MGM Studio Complex.

Claude Jarman with his Dad

Below: Doris Day kissing her boy Terry goodbye as he goes off to school.

Doris Day sees her son off to School

 

Below: Hollywood City College

Hollywood's City College

Below – an interesting ‘spoof’ item on the School’s subject

Betty Hutton at School 1950

1950 Film Star Betty Hutton at school taking a mock English Exam and Clowning about –  in an imitation of what she might have been caught doing back in 1933 when she actually did take the exams.

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Hollywood Film Stars relax

A few weeks ago, we featured a similar item and here are more pictures from the Early to Mid Fifties showing that even those Stars of the Screen have to have some down time – and indeed they do know how to enjoy themselves

For instance Jeanne Crain BELOW just loves making home movies and is quite often seen with her quite sophisticated film camera – this one looks to have three turret lenses and is probably a 16 mm type but it looks good. Jeanne gives her own film nights at her home where her friends have great fun watching them. I would imagine she took this film camera along on location – wish we could get hold of those films if she did as there would be a really interesting look  ‘behind the scenes’ of the films from those days.

Jeanne Crain

Rhonda Fleming below had just married Dr. Lew Morrill when this picture was taken They had tied the knot while she was on location filming Pony Express for Paramount Pictures

Rhonda Fleming

 

Hollywood Stars at Home – Above Rhonda Fleming and Below Doris Day

Doris Day

 

ABOVE – Doris Day is just busying herself around her home

Robert Cummings and His Daughter

 

ABOVE – Robert Cummings swimming with his Daughter Tio. She was one of five children he had with former actress Mary Elliot

James Stewart anf His Wife

A quiet cup of tea with his wife for James Stewart.

Barbara Bel Geddes – BELOW

Barbara Bel Geddes 4

Barbara Bel Geddes lived in what is described as ‘a modest, attractive house in West Hollywood’

BELOW – she is with her Daughter Susan

Barbara Bel Geddes with her Daughter Susan

BELOW – Finishing writing her letters and then  choosing a Book

Barbara Bel Geddes

 

Barbara Bel Geddes 3

I remember her from the film I Remember Mama made in about 1948 – although for me it was seeing it on Television quite a few years later. She did not have a prolific career in films -and in truth didn’t make that many and when she did she was never top billed.

She is probably best remembered for the very successful Television Show Dallas much later

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Carson City 1952 – In Warnercolor

One of the advantages of having my Mother In Law over on a Sunday afternoon is that she prefers to watch good action packed older colour films – quite often Westerns so today we have seen Randolph Scott in Carson City from 1952 – and the very first film in Warnercolor – and very good colour it was too.

Andre de Toth directed Carson City – it looks pretty good, and it was successful. Eventually, he would direct six Randolph Scott films, with all four of the Warner Bros. ones being in WarnerColor.

By the way, Carson City is available on DVD through Warner Archive.

carson-city-title-still

This  is a good story and a baddie in the shape of Daniel Massey who really fits the role.

Andre De Toth took over late in production after Michael Curtiz apparently did not want to deal with  the new Warnercolor process.
I have to say though – the colour looked good.
The lead girl in this film was Lucille  Norman who  had been a professional singer first and then transferred over to films in mostly second female leads except with this  one  where she played the  leading lady.
Soon after this she retired from films and later in life she became the companion and part-owner/saleswoman of “Charles Crenshaw Piano Store” in Burbank, California.
Carson City 1952
I also found this advertisement for Chesterfield Cigarettes – you wouldn’t find an advertisement like this nowadays
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The Mousetrap

Well, here we are on 1st February 2019 – As last year, I set myself the task of one new post each day during January – which has been done I am happy to say.

This year it coincided with my Daughter and her family being with us throughout this period and this New Post – now in February – is a little different but features a Theatre visit a few days ago to the West End of London for this wonderful production.

I am cheating a little here - this was, of course not a film but is probably THE most famous Theatre Play ever. However it did commence it’s long run in November 1952 so in that regard it fits the time – and also may of Agatha Christie’s Novels have been made into films.

Last Tuesday – 15 January 2019 –  I went to see it again with my Daughter and Granddaughter who both loved it – at St. Martins Theatre in the West End of London.

Agatha Christie indeed came up with a humdinger of a story which kept us guessing until the very last minutes. Superb.

The Mousetrap 2

The Mousetrap

There is a sort of tenuous link to films though in that the very first lead actor in this production was Richard Attenborough in 1952 and his Wife Sheila Sim was in the cast also.

The Mousetrap Richard Attenborough 1952

The story is known to the many thousands who have seen this Theatre Production but to anyone who hasn’t  it is not so well known – as we are all told to ‘keep the secret’ of who the killer is – so enough said as I will leave any readers to go and see the play.

You will not be disappointed.  It has done tours over the past few years all around the country.

The Mousetrap 2019 Production

Above – a Scene from the 2019 London Production.

The Mousetrap 4

The present cast – apparently there is an all new cast every year – were all on very good and able form.  When we were leaving one of the leading ladies – Emily Plumtree  appeared in the Theatre Foyer and she was kind enough to sign my Granddaughters Programme – see above –  and have a chat with us. She was very nice.

The Mousetrap 5

 

The Mousetrap 6

It is a wonderful production and the stage set  is sumptuous,  complete with large open fireplace with a lovely fire burning on a cold and snowy night  - in the Drawing Room of a small Hotel somewhere in the countryside Near Oxford.

In a few scenes it was necessary for the window in the house, at the back of the stage,  to be opened and when it was, we heard the wind howling outside – and even with the window closed – in the opening scenes the snow was clearly seen falling outside – perfectly done.

The Mousetrap 7

The Mousetrap was originally at the Ambassadors Theatre but moved just next door to St Martins Theatre in 1974.

The Mousetrap 8

 

A picture  on the front of Agatha Christie

I have also come across this Booklet – not yet sure of what it is all about but when I purchase it I will report back – looks interesting though.

Inside St Martins Theatre - a drink before the show

 

The Bar at St Martins Theatre - before t6he Show

Before we go in to see The Mousetrap – what a good idea to have a drink in the lovely Bar at St Martins Theatre –  ABOVE

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Two of the Greatest Ever Film Stars

A few years ago, I was talking on the phone to a good friend of mine David Small from Leicester England and I remember him saying that he thought that Marilyn Monroe and Errol Flynn were still the biggest Film Star names in the World.  He may well have been right.

Sadly David died last year.   However I have no hesitation in stating here and now, that David was The World’s Leading Expert on Errol Flynn – he knew everything about him, had collected an enormous amount of Memorabilia and had even written a book about his early life in England as an actor.

He had the original footage on the unfinished Errol Flynn ‘William Tell’ film which was to have been an epic Cinemascope film shot in Switzerland and directed by Jack Cardiff. He told me that the film that had been shot was very impressive indeed.

Here are two pictures -from a Film Annual of the time – and two lovely colour pictures they are too of these Two great stars :-

Marylin Monroe

 

Errol Flynn

David knew every Errol Flynn Film and had probably seen every one of them many times over but his favourite of course was The Adventure of Robin Hood which had Errol in sparkling form in the title role. He fitted the part like a glove.

I remember saying to David in one conversation that I had seen The Prince and the Pauper – again with Errol Flynn – and I had thought in that one he looked different somehow - not so athletic and somehow more slender and slightly awkward – and David said that this one had been made only a year before Robin Hood – but he agreed with me that Errol seemed to be nothing like as mature or confident an actor as he was in Robin Hood. He did seem a different man.

I always preferred The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – made in England and released in 1952 with Richard Todd and Joan Rice. This was of course a Walt Disney film.

David agreed that it was a very good film but still had the Errol Flynn version as his best.

Anyway, we have above, pictures of TWO great Film Stars who lived in a golden era in film terms and who have attained iconic status.

I cannot think of any modern star who fits the same bill somehow but then, as someone once said to me when talking on another subject - ‘ these were different days’ !

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