The Stars at Home – Ronald Colman

Before he left  and went to live at San Ysidro close to Santa Barbara,  Ronald Colman had lived at  1003 Summit Drive, in Beverley Hills

Ronald Colman and his Wife at Home

Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme at Home in Beverley Hills

Ronald Colman and his Wife on Radio

Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme on Radio with their very popular show ‘The Halls of Ivy’

Ronald Colman and his Wife 1954

 

Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme on Radio Show  ‘The Halls of Ivy’ in 1954. Benita looks to have an impish sense of humour here – something their daughter said – that she taught he father to be much more fun and less serious. They were very happy though.

I always remember the story that Barry Norman told on The Hollywood Greats programme some years ago – that when his wife announced that she was pregnant with their daughter – he was by then in his early fifties – his reaction was to go very quiet and then ask  ‘What will Hollywood say’

Even then he was conscious of his image in Hollywood and film land.

When his daughter arrived though he became a very loving and doting father as , of course, he would

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Outcast of the Islands 1951

Can’t say I know too much about this film, although my neighbour of many years often mentioned it – and how good it was.

It starred Trevor Howard, Ralph Richardson, Robert Morley, Wendy Hiller and Kerima

Kerima - Outcast of the Islands.

Above: Kerima

Kerima with her husband Guy Hamilton 1974

Above: Kerima with husband Guy Hamilton who directed The Man With The Golden Gun 1974 at the Film Premier in London being presented to Prince Philip.

 

Outcast iof the Islands

 

Carol Reed’s “An Outcast Of The Islands” is generally considered to be the finest film ever made of Joseph Conrad’s tales.

The film stuck to the basic story of Willems and his betrayal of Almayer and Captain Lingard for a beautiful native girl.

Trevor Howard gave many memorable, delicate performances in his life but this performance as a man who was poor enough material to begin with but goes to seed, is probably his best.

The supporting cast is good, with Robert Morley playing the most despicable character, and Ralph Richardson as the decent Captain Lingard.

Wendy Hiller cuts a tragic figure as Mrs. Almayer.

Outcast iof the Islands 2

Above: Lingard’s Ship lying in the Harbour – actually filmed in Ceylon ( Sri Lanka)

Outcast iof the Islands 3

Above: Another Scene filmed in Ceylon

Robert Morley

Robert Morley 2

 

Above: Robert Morley looking suitably unpleasant in this film  An Outcast of the Islands 1951

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The Fast and The Furious 1955

I was not familiar with this film at all – it was the announcement of the death of Dorothy Malone a few days ago that led me to read about her and this film cropped up.

Now I am familiar with the more recent Fast  and Furious films which my son really likes – he has seen them all – and to be fair they have been extremely successful and very popular.

However this 1955 version did not regfister with me – either at the time or since – but I do remember another racing car picture at the same tine which was Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie - that was in colour and I remember seeing it at the time.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film)

 

The Fast and the Furious is an interesting 1955 fast-cars crime thriller oddity has the good sense to keep it in the family, with a story by producer Roger Corman, direction by star John Ireland and co-script by actress Jean Howell (with Jerome Odlum).

John Ireland stars as innocent Frank Webster, on the run from the police after breaking out of jail, where he was wrongly put for murder. Frank is forced to abduct beautiful young Connie Adair (Dorothy Malone), who is driving a driving a fast sports car.  They join a cross-border sports car race to try to make a break for Mexico.  However, along the road, they fall in Love, and he sets out to show that he is innocent.

It should have been call The Cheap and the Cheerful because that is exactly what the film should be given its humble, fast filmed, low-budget ($66,000) status, but  it is quite good, still quite watchable and entertaining.   John Ireland and Dorothy Malone are quite good company.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film) 2

Jean Howell plays Sally Phillips and also in the cast are Bruce Carlisle, Marshall Bradford, Iris Adrian, Snub Pollard, Bruno VeSota, Byrd Holland, Larry Thor and Lou Place.

It was shot in nine days by Floyd Crosby and is scored by Alexander Gerens.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film) 3

It is notable as the first film released by the American Releasing Corporation, which became American International Pictures.

Director Roger Corman doubled as one of the race drivers and accidentally beat Ireland across the finishing line, resulting in a second take when Ireland won.

The film mixes  stock footage of road races from the Southern California area in with new racing scenes filmed here. In Nine days filming they couldn’t afford to hang about and took advantage of anything they could.

Don’t forget the wonderful Steven Spielberg film Duel 1971 was made in 13 days ( they had planned 10 days )m and then edited in the next 10 days then shown on Television in the USA quickly after that  - and that was – and is – a Cracker !!!

Duel 1971

Duel 1971 3

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The Adventures of Sir Lancelot – TV Series

This series, which only consisted of only 30 episodes in all, was shown over two years 1956 and 1957. It starred William Russell as Sir Lancelot and apparently went well in the USA so that the last 14  episodes were made in Colour.  This would have been on film of course as  Colour Television Cameras were not around at that time. Mind you most of these series were made on film at the time.

Sir Lancelot 2

 Above William Russell as Sir Lancelot – although he didn’t have the pipe in the show !!

Sir Lancelot TV Series

 

Sir Lancelot

Above William Russell as Sir Lancelot.

The producers went to a lot of trouble with the sets and costumes and they look splendid given the very limited television budgets. William Russell makes a lively and very personable hero and handles the action scenes with dash and enthusiasm.

After The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956), he received a  marvellous offer from the BBC to star in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ in a great twenty-week series. Then again with the BBC and Charles Dickens. he was David Copperfield, which went out live at Lime Grove, followed by Doctor Who (1963).

He had appeared as St Ives in another BBC serial over 6 parts prior to this.  The list goes on and on although I see he was in The Great Escape in 1963 although I do not remember him at all in that  - although I do know the film well, of course, as we all do I expect.

In St Ives his co-actors were Noelle Middleton and Francis Matthews.  The most notable aspect of the production is that, unlike many BBC series of the era, the St Ives episodes from 1955  still exist.

 

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The Boys 1962

There was a reunion last year on 17th September 2017, of the FOUR ‘young men’ who played the accused in the Courtroom drama  The Boys Directed by Sidney Furie. The film was made at Elstree and the reshowing of the film was there too with the remaining actors Dudley Sutton, Jess Conrad,  and Tony Garnett  - sadly Ronald Lacy died in 1991 at the age of only 55.

The Boys 1962 A

 

 

This is a gripping story with Robert Morley, for the defence giving a beautifully delivered final summing up speech. At the end the audience burst into loud applause. After the film the Chairman of Elstree Maurice Bright gave a speck saying that he had not seen the film before but had enjoyed it very much and thought that it featured on of Robert Morley’s best screen performances.   At the end the remaining ‘Boys’ went up on stage to be interviewed – when Jess Conrad appeared Dudley Sutton said ‘Jess just looks the same. Iam so jealous.’  Of course Jess Conrad even at 81 years old, looks very good and youthful.

They all spoke highly of Robert Morley who was ‘ like a father to us and such a lovely man, brought us cakes every day’

The Boys 1962

However their recollections of Richard Todd were far less warm. He wasn’t friendly at all, in fact very remote.  Tony Garnett, who admitted to being a ‘bit stroppy in those days’, so annoyed Richard Todd that the star wanted him off the picture – and he would have been sacked if ‘ The glorious Robert Morley hadn’t intervened and with immense good humour got me off the hook’

The Boys Richard ToddThe Boys Robert Morley

Courtroom Scene The Boys with Robert Morley

Reading Richard Todd’s Autobiography ‘In Camera’ this film is not mentioned at length but he does say that, his part in the film took just three weeks to complete and they all got on well together.   He said though that he had a disagreement in a lunchtime chat with Robert Morley when they both had opposing political views and Robert expressed these views very forcefully. Richard Todd says that, very sensibly, he avoided such a subject again.   He also speaks highly of Robert and states just how good he was in the role.

So here we have – as often is the case – people taking about events that happened a long time ago, but having different recollections and views of what went on – or what went on as they saw it.

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Danny Ross as Alf Hall – Brilliant Character !!!

The wonderful Danny Ross, an actor and entertainer who graced the stage and screen – both Television and Films – in the early to mid fifties, often appeared with Arthur Askey and Glenn Melvyn. This clip below from The Love Match has Alf Hall going to see his girl friend played by the lovely Shirley Eaton whose parents are played by Arthur Askey and Thora Hird.  It is a classic scene from a film I love.

Thora Hird and Shirley Eaton Above: Thora Hird and the lovely Shirley Eaton, talking about Shirley’s new boyfriend, Alf Hall – in the film The Love Match.

All the actors mentioned along with Glenn Melvyn formed a sort of repertory club of stage and screen – and were very funny. Years later Ronnie Barker paid tribute to Glenn Melvyn, who wrote The Love Match and many other sketches and stories, saying that it is Glenn that taught him much of what he was later to use in his act – notably the Stammering – which as Ronnie admitted was taken straight from Glenn Melvyn – and you can hear it to great effect in The Love Match.

They met at a theatre rep. company  based in Bramhall, Cheshire. It was here that Ronnie Barker was to meet one of the most influential men in his career. Glenn Melvyn was the company’s leading man and the man who Ronnie Barker claims ‘was to teach me everything I ever learned about comedy’. 

In Fact it was Glenn Melvyn  who  gave the young actor Ronnie Barker  his break into television, offering him a role in I’m Not Bothered (1956).

Going back to Danny Ross, I love that scene, in the early stages of the film when Alf Hall meets Rose ( Shirley Eaton) at a Dance Hall in Blackpool. He asks her if she has a partner, to which she replies – ‘Well I did have but he stood me up’ to which Alf in an incredulous tone replies ‘ How Could anyone stand YOU up?’

I am sure he took the words right out a the mouths of all us men watching,  because Shirley( rose) looked absolutely stunning.

Danny Ross was brilliant as Alf Hall in this film. Been a fan of his ever since.

I have to say also, that I did a post on this Blog on Danny Ross almost five years ago, and out of all the almost 400 articles I have done on here, the one on Danny Ross gets the most visits and the most interest.    I am pleased about that and just a little surprised although it makes me realise how popular he was and how well remembered he is.

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Olympicolor – who knows anything about this ??

This article headed ‘ A Black and White Film that turns to Colour ! ‘ is from the Cinema Studio Magazine of 23 February 1949. I can find no reference to this film process anywhere – it seems like a ‘too good to be true’ claim but if it were to be successful then it would have revolutionised filming at that time. Maybe it was snapped up / bought out by one of the big players who feared what this could do. The article begins ‘ A New Colour system which requires only normal panchromatic stock and processing and which is effective with any camera and projector is being put on the market. By addition of an inexpensive optical unit to camera and to Projector the system, it is claimed, produces full colour from a Black and White positive print’ Olympicolor Process 1949What a wonderful and inexpensive process – Whatever happened to it ? Olympicolor Process Article   This could have – and should have – revolutionised film making and given us many more colour films of the era.

I have looked and looked again throughout records both online and in  print, and can find no reference to this Colour Process at all except for this one in the magazine – except that sadly there is a reference in The London Gazette on both  28 May 1954 and 22 October 1954 with no detail other than the name, which makes me believe that this company went out of business at that time.

I would love to know what happened – as it seems that this simple process could have done so much for us all. Maybe someone bought it out at that point to safeguard the other well known colour film companies. Who Knows ?

However, if anyone has any information, please contact us.

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Moby Dick

I was never a big fan of Gregory Peck but the length of his film career must be testament to his acting and star quality I suppose. I do think he was mis-cast as Captain Ahab but the film was quite good with some spectacular effects. Good cast also.

Moby Dick - The Studio Tank at Elstree 2

 

Above: The Studio Tank at Elstree where some of the climatic scenes were filmed.

Moby Dick 3

Close up of the Great White Whale – in an action shot

Gregory Peck

This film though, does get great reviews on the imdb site – many people just love it – and you have to say that there was a great deal of work went into the making of it.

Just look at these scenes below :-

Filming of Moby Dick

Captain Ahab

Captain Ahab 2

 

Above: Captain Ahab suitably deranged closing in on the Great White Whale.

One thing about the film is the remarkable depth of character actors who appear, sometimes in the smallest of roles, like Bernard Miles as a Manxman crewman, and Francis de Wolff as the captain of the whaling ship the Rachel, glimpsed only in distant long shots and yet still affecting in pleading with Ahab to aid him in searching for his missing son.

Richard Basehart was a bit too old for the part of Ishmael—at 40, he was two years older than Peck—but it’s certain that John Huston cast him for his open, yet weathered looks and rich baritone, which makes for a stirring voiceover.   The whole cast, even German actor Ledebur as Queequeg, seem chosen with such care they almost seem born for their roles.

 

 

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Richard Greene

Well it was the TELEVISION series The Adventure of Robin Hood which went out on ITV in the mid 1950s that really made Richard Greene a major star – OK he had been around a long time and had a film career behind him – but it was this series that went so well both in the USA and here that really cemented his fame.

I have to say, he was very good in the role.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood

ITV tried hard to latch on to their success here – and next we got The Adventure of William Tell with William Conrad but although it was good, it didn’t quite have the impact of this one.

Richard Greene and his Wife Patricia Medina 1949

The Above is an earlier Picture from February 1949 – Richard Greene and his wife Patricia Medina pack before flying to the USA.

They  were actually divorced just over two years on from this picture being taken, and much later, in 1960, she married film actor Joseph Cotton, a marriage that lasted until he died.

He was in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, Richard Greene  described it as a ‘golden age’ and ‘quite, quite mad,’ his friends included - what could only be described as a Who’s Who of Hollywood -  Greta Garbo, Tyrone Power, Ronald Colman, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable.

With the fortune he later would earn from the worldwide syndication of 143 Robin Hood episodes in the 1950s and early 1960s, Greene became a tax exile in Ireland and ran a luxury racing yacht and country mansion.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood

Richard Greene as Robin Hood 2

He also bought a 400-acre stud farm and within three years became one of Ireland’s leading breeders. He  later sold them all before returning to Britain 10 years ago for a limited stage and television comeback.

His daughter, Patricia, said that, at the time of his death in  Norfolk at the young age of 66 in 1985, that ‘He still had quite a fan club and was receiving letters requesting signed pictures,’

Greene, who lived alone after being separated from his second wife, Beatrix Summers, in 1980, received treatment for a brain tumor three years before he died.

I always think of him as , one of the actors whose career was badly affected by the Second World War in that he joined up and saw service for his country, but after the War he didn’t have the same prestige, although he came back with a bang with Robin Hood.

Maybe though we have to turn this around and say that, at least he did come back from War unharmed, unlike so many, and he did also come back to a job and a career – so I have reassessed the above comments – and have to say, he was VERY lucky.

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Elvis and Dolores Hart

Much has been written about the very beautiful Dolores Hart, who starred with Elvis Presley in Loving You and King Creole – two of his first films who then, after a pretty good film career, gave it all up and found ultimate happiness becoming a Nun and serving The Lord in a capacity that she has given her life to.

Dolores and Elvis on film, look the perfect couple, and from what we know Elvis thought a lot of her.

Out of all the Elvis films, I think that King Creole had the strongest storyline. It is adapted from the book “A Stone for Danny Fisher” and Elvis Presley plays a rebellious kid  who leaves school and takes up singing at a night club in New Orleans, only to get mixed up with a group of thugs (headed by Vic Morrow) and their crime boss (Walter Matthau).

Elvis considered this melodrama his best film. Directed by Michael Curtiz, with very good actors in their roles. Dean Jagger, Walter Matthau plus Caorlyn Jones and Vic Morrow.   The Songs include “Hard Headed Woman,” and “King Creole” itself.

The best music performance though is Elvis’ with “Trouble”

Then of course we have the very lovely Dolores Hart

Elvis and Dolores Hart 2

Dolores and Elvis – above

Elvis and Dolores Hart

 

Dolores Hart

Dolores Hart 2

Dolores Hart above – Two Lovely shots of her

Elvis and Dolores Hart 3

Dolores and Elvis

Elvis

Elvis in typical pose – Above

Dolores Hart and Don Robinson

In Real Life: Dolores and her fiancé Don Robinson – Above.

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