Susan Shentall

 Susan Shentall and Laurence Harvey in Romeo and Juliet in 1954

Susan Shentall and Laurence Harvey

Susan Shentall left acting straight after this film and never appeared on screen again. She married  married Philip Worthington

What became of actress Susan Shentall, who played Juliet opposite Laurence Harvey’s Romeo in the 1954 film?  She never trained as an actress and appeared in only that one film.

The story of her ‘discovery’ is that the film’s producer had been unable to find an established actress who matched his ideal of an ‘English rose’ to play the part.

Then, in a hotel restaurant, he spotted Susan, just 17, while she was on holiday with her parents in Paris. He asked permission for Susan to audition for the part, and promptly offered it to her.

What a story this is for a young girl to be cast in such a big film at the time – and then to turn her back on a potential film career. She obviously found great happiness with her husband and three children – so all worked out well

The film received three BAFTA nominations and won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice film festival.

Susan Shentall

However, Susan never acted again, choosing instead, at the age of 19, to marry her fiancé, Philip Worthington, ( pictured with her above) with whom she raised three children.

She died ten years ago, following a long illness.

Romeo and Juliet 1954

Above: Director Renato Castellani demonstrating what he requires for the scene.


Susan Shentall and Sebastian Cabot


Above:  Susan Shentall and Sebastian Cabot - having a bit of fun on the set of Romeo and Juliet

Here are some reviews :-

Laurence Harvey is perfect as the young Romeo. He brings genuine love and pathos to his character that is heart-rending.

Susan Shentall’s gives the most intelligent and moving execution of this challenging role I’ve ever witnessed. She, like Harvey, overcome minor matters of age to make these characters their own.

Who could be a better nurse than the great Flora Robson, or Norman Wooland a finer Paris?

Roman Vlad’s original score is wonderful, and he’s composed a Gallilard that becomes a haunting motif as it’s reprised throughout in different variations.

Susan Shentell brings a lovely gentle quality to Juliet and looks ravishing.

Romeo and Juliet 1954 2

Romeo and Juliet 1954 3

Romeo and Juliet 1954 4

Romeo and Juliet 1954 5

Susan Shentall 3

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Someone who met and enjoyed a drink with Marilyn

The Daily Mail in Britain run a regular column each week where people – often close relatives –  write a tribute to ‘unsung heroes and heroines who deserve recognition’.   This week a man wrote in paying tribute to his ‘wonderful father-in-law’ who had died in July t6his year.

This was a gentleman called Derek Bishop and the story is as follows :-

Many of us have a story about the day we happened to rub shoulders with  someone famous but Derek had a story that could top them all.

Derek was with the RAF in Hong Kong in 1952 – although we think this must have been 1954 when Marilyn went to the Far East when he was on duty at the old Kai Tak Airport.

When his shift came to an end at 9pm, Derek and another solider were asked if they would stay on because a delayed flight was expected and there was a ‘celebrity’ on board.

They agreed and when the plane landed at 11pm, the famous passenger who stepped out was none other than the woman who would become the ultimate screen goddess Marilyn Monroe.

Derek said she was dressed in ‘everyday’ clothes and wore very little make-up. She insisted on thanking him and his pal personally for working late and took them for a drink in the Nissen Hut that served as the mess.

He had half a lager and enjoyed a few minutes - along with his colleague –  chatting to Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe in the Far East

Marilyn Left and Derek Bishop on the Right in Hong Kong

(Although the story is dated as from 1952, Marilyn didn’t travel to the Far East until 1954. And I haven’t heard of her visiting Hong Kong before, but it’s possible she passed through while returning to husband Joe DiMaggio in Japan after entertaining US troops in Korea.)

On another occasion Derek – this time later in his RAF career – met Conan Doyle’s Daughter Jean when she came over to him in the Office he was working at the time, and read extracts of what he had been typing – he had been hoping to be a crime writer and had written quite a lot of the story and she asked to read it when it was completed – and gave it her vote of approval.

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Filming on location – The Admirable Crichton 1957

I love these Behind the Scenes pictures whenever I come across one – and this is one such photograph when the cast and crew were on location.

The film was shot from September to December 1956 in Bermuda and at London Film Studios in Shepperton, England – and was released in  London on 11 June 1957. It did not premiere in USA until 16 December 1957 and in fact Britain seemed to have this film on general release virtually 6 months before the rest of the World – Well I suppose it was a British made picture. 

Flming The Admirable Crichton

Above: In Bermuda for The Admirable Crichton with Kenneth More and Sally Ann Howes  plus of course Diane Cilento – who at that time had really made her mark in British Films.


Below Scenes from the finished film – scenes that we see actually being filmed above  :  The Admirable Crichton 1957

On Location The Admirable Crichton

The Above filmed at Jobson’s Bay in Bermuda

On Location The Admirable Crichton 2

On Location The Admirable Crichton 3

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Archie Duncan – Well Known Stage, Television and Film Actor

Sword of Lancelot Archie DuncanWritten by Archie Duncan’s Great Niece

Archie Duncan was my great uncle (my grandmothers brother) and I have some lovely memories of times spent in his company as a child. He lived in a flat which was on the top floor of a large victorian property and would often recieve his guests while in bed wearing a burgandy velvet smoking jacket. He was a kind and generous man and always made me feel special, taking me backstage at the London Palladium for example and obtaining autographs of various actors and actresses for myself and my friends. Archie never married or had children though I think he had a long term relationship with an actress called Betty Cardinew (I’m not sure if that’s the correct spelling).

Theatre Play with Archie DuncanTheatre Play with Archie Duncan 2Theatre Play with Archie Duncan 3
After his death I inhereted what I consider to be a unique piece of television history. It comes in the form of a get well message sent to him by cast and crew of the 1950′s series The Adventures Of Robin Hood following his accident on set when he prevented a horse from bolting into a crowd of onlookers. For this act of bravery he was awarded the Queens Medal for Gallantry. The message is on parchment paper and contains signatures of about 30 people including Richard Greene . There is a poem too, describing with humour the events which took place on that day and the subsequent chaos as shooting schedules were disrupted.

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Roy Rogers in England – at Walsall and Scotland – Edinburgh and Glasgow 1954

Roy Rogers In England

March 1, 1954 none other than Roy Rogers and Trigger appeared at the Savoy Walsall ABC Minors – and what a draw that would have been.

He apparently stayed at the Queens Hotel in Birmingham – and Trigger at the stables of  the Mitchells and Butler Brewery

With Roy of course was his wife Dale Evans who he had met a decade before on the set of The Cowboy and the Senorita.

Distinctive in his white stetson with its silver hatband and his hand-tooled boots, the Wild West hero’s tour was a smash hit

Roy Rogers in Edinburgh 1954


Roy Rogers and Trigger, Edinburgh 1954

This is singing cowboy Roy Rogers and wife Dale Evans taking their golden palomino horse Trigger up the stairs at the Caledonian Hotel in the capital in February, 1954. Roy had appeared in many TV shows and films with Trigger who really was an exceptional horse. To drum up publicity on their British tour they would often book into their hotel with Trigger much to the delight of fans.

The crowd are genuinely happy to see Roy and Trigger, although there must be a nervous hotel manager lurking in the background somewhere fretting about his carpets.

The story goes that the couple visited an orphanage in Edinburgh where a 13-year-old girl, Marion Fleming, sang Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers? and the couple promptly adopted her and took her back to America. Think it’s maybe a little more complicated to do these days.

Roy Rogers and Marion

Above: Roy Rogers and Marion Fleming singing together.

Also this snippet from one of the forums :-
Roy Rogers did visit Glasgow, he and Dale Evans did have a room in The Central Hotel and he booked one for trigger who preferred the stables in Parliamentary Road (or was it the southside) He did ride Trigger down the hotel staircase.He also visited Edinburgh. While entertaining at Dunforth Orphanage they met 13 year old Marion Fleming who became their fourth foster child.

Another very sad report on the tragic deaths of two of their children :

Off the well-documented happy trails of their on-screen magnetism, Dale and Roy blazed a trail of compassion, caring for their Down-Syndrome baby Robin, who died before her second birthday. Dale’s best-selling book ‘Angel Unaware’, a tribute to Robin, affected millions of special needs children and their families. Also during this period, Dale penned with Robin in mind the trademark chorus “Happy Trails to you until we meet again.”

Then, in 1964, their 12-year-old daughter Debbie was killed in a bus accident during a mission trip to Mexico. And, less than one year later, their son Sandy had a freak accident and choked to death while stationed with the military in Germany.

“You are not supposed to bury your children,” said their eldest son Roy Rogers Jr., choking back tears in the film. “People realised their faith was real the way they dealt with tragedy.”

“Mom and dad knew something good had to come from whatever was bad,” said Marion Fleming Swift, a foster daughter Rogers and Evans adopted from Scotland. Out of the tragedies came more books, the proceeds of which were donated to humanitarian organisations like World Vision and Campus Crusade for Christ.





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Anthony Quayle’s London Home

I have just come across this letter that Anthony Quayle wrote to one of his fans in January of 1965 – and from the Letter Heading we can see that his address was in Pelham Crescent, London SW7

Anthony Quayle


The letter was written in 1965, so at that time he had been married to Dorothy Hyson for quite a few years and their Three Children would have been teenagers. His career in the Theatre and Films was pretty much at its peak then  – his first love was the theatre but financially films provided a very lucrative acting experience no doubt.

This home was in a very sought after part of London both then  and now – particularly now because this house in Pelham Crescent was sold very recently in fact, in February 0f 2018 for £ 10,750,000 – a princely sum by any standards.

Pelham Crescent London SW7

I am not sure that the family would have kept the house on after his death – indeed I would rather doubt it.

Pelham Crescent London SW7 2

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Joan Rice in Rebecca

Now this heading may well be mis-leading to us film fans of the era but Joan Rice did star in Rebecca but this time on stage at The Theatre Royal  in Hanley, Stoke on Trent – and maybe toured around with it – I am not sure about this though.

I imagine she would play Mrs De Winter but who played her husband and Mrs Danvers is not clear

Joan Rice On Stage

This Poster at the time shows the lovely Joan Rice taking Star Billing in the famous Daphne Du Maurier story

joan rice programme

Joan Rice also toured provincial theatres in A View from The Bridge which she always maintained was her own favourite play.

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Dual In the Jungle 1954

We have looked at this film before – it is quite a good adventure film set in Africa, Very colourful and full of action with a thrilling climatic finale.

However I came across this picture in an old Film Annual in fact the Cinema Clubs Annual  - I have collected a lot of them over the years and quite often just browse through them on an evening.

Duel In The Jungle

On the Jungle set of Dual In The Jungle at Elstree Studios – this shows stars Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews showing youngsters Margaret Watson and Ian MacKay a souvenir from their travels.  I am sure this type of souvenir would NOT be acceptable today.

Dual in the Jungle 1

Dual in the Jungle 2


Portions of the film were shot in South Africa at Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and at Victoria Falls (on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border).

However an October 1953 Daily Variety news item stated that scenes were shot at Kruger National Park.

During production, this was the last film for assistant director Anthony Kelly. He died when he was thrown from his overturned canoe into a whirlpool on the Zambesi River and then into the jaws of crocodiles

Actually his body was never found and one of the theories is that he was eaten by crocodiles after he drowned whilst trying to save the camera equipment in the upturned boat.



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The Golden Stallion – In Trucolor 1949

Apparently this Roy Rogers film is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourites.

The Golden Stallion

It was directed by prolific B-movie/serial specialist, William Witney, and co-stars Dale Evans and Trigger, “The Smartest Horse in the Movies.” The storyline involves a diamond smuggling operation in which Trigger is enlisted to replace the stallion of the title when he goes missing. Trigger was separated from Rogers in the first place when he took the fall for his “best friend” following a (false) accusation of murder. Had he not done so, Trigger would have been killed in an instant.

The Golden Stallion 3

Along the way  the bad guys are outsmarted and Trigger and the stallion produce a foal, Trigger Jr.

Roy Rogers 2


Filming The Golden Stallion

In the New York Times article, “Watching Movies With Quentin Tarantino” , he discusses the film in depth, finding the relationship between Rogers and Trigger particularly moving: “You know, in some movies, a cowboy might go to jail to save his best friend from being shot down dead. Well, Trigger is Roy’s best friend. It’s the easiest leap to have him do that here, yet it’s so powerful and so unexpected. What’s great is that you buy it, you absolutely buy it, and I don’t know that I really would buy it from anybody else but Roy and Trigger.”

Roy Rogers

It should be noted that “The Golden Stallion” is one of Rogers’ more “mature” efforts, and that it’s more of a drama than a musical. Although it doesn’t seem to have much in common with his own work, Tarantino fanatics are sure to want to check it out to see why he holds Witney — along with Rogers, Evans and Trigger — in such high esteem.

The Golden Stallion 2

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Duel of the Titans – Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott

Dual of the Titans 6

Duel of the Titans. The legendary brothers Romulus and Remus go into conflict as to who will ultimately survive and found the city of Caesars.  Steve Reeves (Romulus) and Gordon Scott (Remus) are brought into competition.

They are shown from their earliest beginnings as abandoned babes on the Tiber River, destined to face all sorts of challenges. First come their adventures after they are adopted by a female wolf as her own offspring. Then they later handle catastrophes like an erupting volcano or combat with an angry bear. Once the two brothers have reached adulthood, they become enemies, as Remus seeks to asert his power and Romulus seeks to contain him.

Dual of the Titans

Dual of the Titans 2

This is an enjoyable film with struggles, love and hatred, tortures and including spectacular  battle scenes. Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott are perfect as the mythical heroes who encounter pretty risky situations while trying to find a location for the foundation a city.

I imagine they had a great time making this film in Italy.

Dual of the Titans 3

When this film is seen  in ideal circumstances— with an excellent print and in the original widescreen format —  DUEL OF THE TITANS  is one of the best.

Dual of the Titans 4

This is not a muscleman fantasy with superhuman feats of strength, like HERCULES, but a serious retelling of the foundation myth of Rome. Various elements of the Romulus and Remus story are freely but intelligently reinterpreted, the sets and costumes have a convincing  look, and the larger-than-life characters of the legendary Twins are strongly portrayed by Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves. Both actors are at the peak of their considerable cinematic charisma. (Virna Lisi as Julia and Ornella Vanoni  are also impressive!)

Dual of the Titans 5

I liked Steve Reeves – he had a limited range of course but made the very best of what he could do. Gordon Scott also – from the peak of his career in the Tarzan films – where he did pretty well – after following Lex Barker and Johnny Weismuller in the role – and this was a pretty tough act to follow. Lex had proved a brilliant Tarzan after the legendary Johnny.


Dual of the Titans 7

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