Frieda 1947 – with David Farrar and Mai Zetterling

Another one that featured on Talking Pictures today – I watched it and enjoyed it.    It had a lot of publicity and is quite well known although I cannot remember seeing it before.

It is the story of an Airman who after being shot down over Germany in the War meets and marries a young German girl bringing her back to this country and to the small market town here he had lived most of his life.  He marries the girl and they settle down to life in England but things don’t go too well as she is not accepted by certain folk both in her own family and the town itself.

We have a good friend in the next village, and his father married a German Girl and the settled in a similar small town, but our friend said that his Mother as far as he ever knew settled happily and uneventfully and stayed there all her life and was well received I am pleased to say. So this sort of event did happen.



Frieda 2

Frieda 3

Frieda 4

Frieda 5

David Farrar and Mai Zetterling starred along with Glynis Johns, Flora Robson, Gladys Henson and many more well known faces.#

I wasn’t too keen on David Farrar in this one though. Can’t explain why but to me he didn’t seem to wholly get into the part and I thought that it was a stiff and stilted performance at times.


Frieda 6

Frieda 7

Frieda 8

In the Scenes above – a Bus arrives in the Town for an Election Rally – seems quite topical – where Flora Robson is addressing the crowd – she is somewhat bigotted against the German Girl.


Frieda 9

Frieda 10

Frieda 11

Frieda 12

Frieda 15


Freda 13

In a final dramatic sequence, Flora Robson comes good and sounds the Alarm as a tragic event is about to unfold.

I am convinced that the scenic bridge which we see at two different times – and in different weather – is a studio set as is the snowy woodland that they both run through – but it was certainly a very good set.



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The Moonraker – George Baker and Paul Whitsun Jones

This film was on Talking Pictures earlier today – it still looks good.


A British swashbuckler full of  heroics, sword fights, and in glorious Technicolor too.  It is a shame that this film is not more widely seen but maybe  Talking Pictures will remedy that.


The Moonraker 2


George Baker  in the leading role as The Moonraker is a very likable handsome hero and he copes with the  fight sequences very well.


The Moonraker


An the excellent supporting cast also with  Marius Goring as Colonel Beaumont, and John Le Mesurier as a sullen, though surprisingly good looking version of the  Oliver Cromwell.   S

ylvia Syms looks lovely, even if the character doesn’t call for her to do an awful lot and Patrick Troughton does well  as the harassed and hard-nosed Captain Wilcox.


However,the Star-supporting actor has to be  Paul Whitsun-Jones as Mr Parfitt.. Paul Whitsun-Jones shows his fantastic versatility at the end of the film, throwing off his blustery comic role, and donning that of a hero-  doing his part for King and Country when he sacrifices his own life so the King, and his hero The Moonraker, can escape.


It’s a work of fiction, but much thought has gone into the period design and sets and filming locations Location work is spread about the place,  Wiltshire, Dorset and Kent prove to be appealing places for scenes.

The Moonraker 3

Ronnie Hilton who would be big at the time, sang the  theme song over the opening credits.

Back to Paul Whitsun Jones – his name used to crop up again and again on British Television throughout the 1950s

He had an early role in ‘The Quatermass Experiment’ and then in a Francis Durbridge serial ‘The Teckman Biography’ and just after that I remember him playing Porthos in the serial ‘The Three Musketeers in 1954’ These were all for BBC Television – well they would be because that was the only channel available at that time.

Paul Whitsun Jones

ABOVE – As the Reporter in The Quatermass Experiment – an early role for Paul Whitsun Jones.

He worked very regularly in Television and Films throughout his life which sadly was cut short – he died aged only 50 following appendicitis. That does seem to want clarification because normally such things would be dealt with medically quite easily – so there is maybe more to that.

He certainly had a busy and very full acting  career – and is an interesting character.  In many ways he was the best performer in The Moonraker – and I suspect he stole the honours in many of the productions he played in.

On stage he was in the original production of Oliver in the West End


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George in Civvy Street


This turned out to be George Formby’s last feature film, made just after WW2 had finished in 1946 - and maybe audiences tastes had changed by then, although I personally don’t give much credence to this theory because George Formby remained very popular and even had a hit show in London’s West End in 1951 – Zip Goes a Million. 


With his ongoing popularity it should have been easy to adapt the films but here again I don’t think there would need to be much change there even.

The Lion and The Unicorn Pub


In the film, George and his pal Ronald Shiner  go back to George’s rundown pub the Unicorn and try to run it as a  business. They find it difficult going – the main problem being  the  rivalry between  the Lion pub across the river from them – (even though George’s childhood sweetheart owns it.)


George in Civvy Street

Wally Patch plays one of the baddies this time trying to close them down with various wicked schemes.   Songs include  We’ve Been A Long Time Gone (on the demob ship), Christened With A Horseshoe (in the civilian clothes shop), It Could Be (in the Unicorn), and a really good one called  You Don’t Need A License For That’

Rosalyn Boulter plays his girl friend – we have done a piece on her before on here – She had made a number of films before this, but to be in a George Formbv film means she is well remembered really for that one only even though her talents on screen and Theatre are impressive.  She married and went to the USA to live and work.

Rosalyn Boulter For Them That Trespass 1948


ABOVE: ‘For Them That Trespass’ in 1948


Not long after this film she had a leading part in Richard Todd’s first film ‘For Them That Trespass’ in 1948

The Alice dream sequence with the Mad March Hare song was really good and unusual, featuring George singing ‘ The Mad March Hare’.

Some of the outdoor scenes were shot near Richmond in Surrey – and probably Sonning Bridge – pictured below.

Sonning is where the Prime Minister – very much in the news at this time – lives

Sonning Bridge 2



There is a down-to-earth charm about the films of George Formby, and in them his performances are much better than he is often given credit for.    His films exude the warmth and charm of a bygone era.

On screen in ALL of his films, he dominates the screen and is able to pull off singing the songs – sometimes direct to camera which is rarely done although he has the charisma and confidence to pull that off.  I can’t think of many – if any film stars who can do that.

He is the star of every film he is in – Star with a capital S,  I think

Turned out nice again, hasn’t it?

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Bamborough Castle in Films and other lovely locations


I came across this lovely picture on a Railway Nostalgia Calendar which came earlier this year – a spectacular view of a spectacular castle.


Vintage Rail


Bamborough Castle  has been used in film locations over the years – and the whole area too – with the Television Drama Series ‘Vera’ being the setting for all the stories. Probably done a lot of good for tourism – in the much same way as ‘Heartbeat’ did for Whitby and the surrounding area.

Not too far away is Alnwick Castle – probably used more in films – and I can go back to the 1954 adventure film ‘Prince Valiant’ which included shots of that castle – although the vast majority of the film was made in Hollywood and the main characters would not come to England for filming


Prince Valiant was a super adventure film in Cinemascope and Colourand it certainly looked good. I remember seeing it on that enormouse wide screen and it was indeed very impressive.

P.S. Waverley


This iconic Paddle Steamer P.S. Waverley. In truth I could not find a link for PS Waverley to the film world but I liked the picture above so much I could not resist putting in this article

Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott 2



I had also looked at the Steamer on Loch Katrine – The Sir Walter Scott. – In The Trossachs area of Scotland – how beautiful that is and I am reminded of the film Rob Roy The Highland Rogue made in that area by Walt Disney – starring Richard Todd.

In fact Rob Roy lived his life in the area.

Rob Roy The Highland Rogue

Rob Roy The Highland Rogue

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Glenn Ford – The Fastest Gun Alive 1956

The Fastest Gun AliveGlenn Ford, Jeanne Crain, Broderick Crawford, John Dehner,  Russ Tamblyn,  Noah Beery, Jr.


This Film is a real humdinger of a Western from 1956


Broderick Crawford is great as the criminal leader and  a psychopath who must continually show that he is the fastest gun around.

Glenn Ford is superb as the introverted shy storekeeper with a lightning fast draw.

The Supporting cast also adds good depth and character.  

A blind man near the start of the film issues the warning to us “no matter how fast you are there’s always somebody faster” That really sets the scene for the film.  



‘The Fastest Gun Alive’ proved to be one of the Box Office hits of 1956although it has been made on a minor budget


Double Bill Westerns


ABOVE:  This would be a great DVD pack to have in any collection.


The Sheepman 1958


Glenn Ford had a remarkable run of top class Westerns from 1956 to 1958 – with  ‘ The Fastest Gun Alive’ followed by ’3:10 To Yuma’ and then this one ‘The Sheepman’   – These were about as good as any actor could hope for.

This is one of the 1950′s best westerns  and  ideally cast - it is certainly one of Glenn Ford’s best  roles. He and Shirley MacLaine have screen  chemistry. Familiar faces Edgar Buchanan, Mickey Shaughnessy,and Slim Pickins are around to add to the Western flavour.

Leslie Nielsen plays  Ford’s rival for Shirley’s affections.    Pernell Roberts  – later of Bonanza Fame is a slimy villain.

Director George Marshall was an old hand at combining comedy with action and The Sheepman proved that. 


I’s sure that the Trailer to this film BELOW – will make you want to see the film again – that’s assuming you have seen it before as many of us will have done












The Sheepman still holds up well today and will appeal to anyone who is a fan of western’s,comedies,or just plain entertaining movies. It’s good, clean, old fashioned fun and a prime example of one of those kind of films”that they just don’t make anymore!” More’s the pity

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Ricky Nelson as ‘Colorado’ in Rio Bravo

Ricky N Rio Bravo


Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo where he played Colorado – very much playing second fiddle to John Wayne and Dean Martin in the film but nevertheless a really good part in a big film for him, in what would have been his first film



Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo was a big hit at the Box Office – but then again John Wayne was starring and so was Dean Martin so it had a good start.


From a personal angle and from my many memories of that era, as a young teenager quite a crowd of us went each week to a popular dance hall  in our local town and after what was always a wonderful night we finished with Ricky Nelson singing ‘It’s Late’. 

It was a double sider with ‘There’ll Never be Anyone Else But You’ on the flip side. He had another hit with ‘Poor Little Fool’ and a year or two later came ‘Travellin Man’ and ‘Hello May Lou’


By the time Ricky Nelson was 22, he had sold 35 million records and had had 17 Top 10 hits – that is some measure of success by any standards.


His twin sons gave a concert in 2016 in honour of their father  BELOW


Gunnar and Matthew Nelson

Above: Gunnar and  Matthew  Nelson


Most of the concert was dedicated to early rock and roll and Ricky Nelson’s music, including “Travelin’ Man,” “Hello Mary Lou” and “Garden Party.” The twins offered sweet harmony and tight rock and roll.


Then Gunnar talked about what really motivated Ricky Nelson. “My father lived and died for rock and roll – and his fans.”

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Richard Todd – His Final Screen Appearance


Anyone tuning in tomorrow evening to the episode of Heartbeat on ITV3 in England – it is also on during the daytime – an episode called ‘Seeds of Destruction ‘ will see the very last appearance on screen of the legendary actor Richard Todd playing Major Harold Beecham ( 2007)


Richard Todd In Heartbeat

Richard Todd – ABOVE and BELOW – as Major Beecham in Heartbeat

Richard Todd In Heartbeat 2


Richard Todd BELOW – as Lord Caversham on the London Stage in a Countrywide tour of ‘An Ideal Husband’ – he had scored a major success with this and broken Theatre records when he appeared in this Oscar Wilde play in the late Sixties when he played the leading man.

In those days it virtually did a tour of London Theatres - The Strand Theatre, the  Garrick Theatre and I think  Wyndhams – something highly unusual and a mark of its tremendous success.

This  Production starred  Richard Todd, Margaret Lockwood, Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans - a  huge hit in England, a kind of yardstick for Oscar Wilde and wonderful escapism

We saw him as Lord Caversham at one of the Theatres in the tour of this famous Oscar Wilde play in early May 2001, where Patrick Ryecart played the lead.

Richard Todd An Ideal Husband


He appeared in the leading role in the stage play ‘The Business of Murder’ at the Mayfair Theatre from 1983 to 1991 and he still holds the record for the number of appearances in the West End in a straight play as the same character

The Business of Murder


Richard Todd’s acting career had indeed been a long and illustrious one – being at the very top of the Film World for a time on both sides of the Atlantic.

He was a star of the Screen and the Stage and before that a War Hero who was one of the first paratroopers – if not the first – to land at Pegasus Bridge under the command of Major John Howard who he later portrayed in the film ‘The Longest Day’

From a personal angle, to me his most famous role would always be as Robin Hood in the 1952 film ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ – the best version of the famous story that I have seen !!

However we will all be able to see him in Heartbeat tomorrow evening 22 May 2019 on ITV3.  Don’t miss it !!

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More fascinating Posters – New Films at the Cinema

I am cheating a bit here because these films are actually from the Sixties – so a little bit later than we normally do


Another Double Bill


It’s also interesting to look at the quite famous names of the actors and see just how many well known names seem to be in just one film alone at that time.  Must have been good work for them then – probably filing by day and on stage in the evening.

A friend of mine did point  out some time ago,  just how many big names appear here  in the one film – and as he said it would be unusual today.


Another Double Bill 2


Donald Houston in the film featured above for instance started off in The Blue Lagoon 1949 – a film that often crops up on this Blog – but after that quite big one his career never hit the high spots it should have done – and certainly nowhere near as successful as his co-star in that film -  Jean Simmons.

Shirley Ann Field above – we saw her in a straight play at the Theatre about three years ago – so she is still active.


Carry on Cabby

Then we come to a Carry On film – just look at the names in this one.

I notice Esme Cannon and always remember her as the naïve young  girl staying at a Butlins like resort in the film ‘Holiday Camp’ – a film I really like. She is murdered by Dennis Price in that film.

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Pier Angeli

This pictures appears on the cover of Illustrated of October 1951 Pier Angeli


I had not realised that she was the Twin sister of actress Marisa Pavan.

The Light Touch


The Light Touch 2


In the Illustated Magazine there is a feature of her with  showing Stewart Granger round the sights of Rome  – she grew up in Italy – and the location for the film ‘The Light Touch’

This is a shorter article than I would like but I will come back with much more about Pier Angeli who died so young


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Joan Rice – Film Star

On January 1, 1997, Derby’s Joan Rice died. Her name may  eluded many but to film fans like me she needs no introduction.

Her natural, dark-haired beauty lent itself just as easily to exotic island beauties as it did to perfect English roses.

As well as being a talented actress, she had added a welcome note of glamour to her roles.

Many Derby residents  might have been surprised to learn that she was originally one of their own, born here almost 67 years earlier, one of four daughters of Hilda and Harold Rice of 314 Abbey Street.

Dorothy Joan Rice was born at the City Hospital on February 3, 1930.

Her early life had been troubled. Her labourer father was imprisoned for child abuse and, subsequently, she spent eight years in a convent orphanage in Nottingham.

She took work as a lady’s maid and as a housemaid before leaving for a new life in London with just half-a-crown (12.5p) in her purse.

She took a job as a Lyon’s Corner House waitress, or “nippy” as they were popularly known, earning the princely sum of £3 per week.

In 1949 her pretty looks and natural poise helped her to win the “Miss Nippy” competition.

The prize was a week-long promotional tour to Torquay,  but more importantly, it lead to an introduction to a theatrical agent who arranged for her a screen test.

From this came a contract with the Rank Corporation who sent the previously untrained actress to the Company of Youth, otherwise known as the “Rank Charm School”.

In reality it was a training institution for young film actors that occupied a disused church hall - the  Highbury Studio.

There, youngsters were trained in all manner of useful skills, like voice production and fencing.

Other stars who trained there included Honor Blackman, Kay Kendall, Shirley Eaton, Joan Collins, Diana Dors, Christopher Lee, Donald Sinden, Patrick McGoohan and Dirk Bogarde.

It was with the last of these with whom she appeared in her first notable film role – the feature Blackmailed (1950).

Another role, in the Robertson Hare and Stanley Holloway film One Wild Oat (1951) soon followed.

Unfortunately, the Rank organisation never saw her potential as a lead actress and instead she was given numerous supporting roles.

Joan Rice


Finally none other than Walt Disney saw her star potential, in 1952, when he cast her kin the leading role as Maid Marian  in his live action film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952) made in England at Denham Film Studios.


Joan Rice The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952

Joan played opposite Richard Todd and was declared “the new Jean Simmons”.

Very quickly afterwards she again took one of the starring roles in  His Majesty O’Keefe (1954) where she played Dalabo, the Polynesian girl who marries Burt Lancaster’s daring sea captain. For this she flew out to Fiji to make the film.

So she had just completed two major films and everything looked good.

For whatever reason – we have speculated for years as to why - lead roles in major films remained hard to come by which is unbelievable after these two very good films so she took roles  in ‘B’ movies like A Day to Remember (1953) with Stanley Holloway and Donald Sinden, as were smaller roles in feature films like Curtain Up with Robert Morley, Margaret Rutherford and Kay Kendall.

In 1954, Joan Rice appeared as Iris in Norman Wisdom’s film, One Good Turn, in which the residents and staff of an orphanage, including Thora Hird and Shirley Abicair, fight to save it from closure.

Joan Rice in Plymouth


ABOVE – Joan Rice in Plymouth attending the cinema showing The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – one of the mots successful films of 1952

However, changing fashions – in the minds of casting directors at least – and the arrival of the Hitchcockesque blonde, meant that she was unable to land many more lead roles.

Instead she took the supporting roles of Pat Lewis in Police Dog (1955),  a prisoner Cleo Thompson in the prison drama Women Without Men (1956), also known as Blonde Bait, and the part of a young ATS private in the wartime comedy Operation Bullshine, which starred Donald Sinden and Barbara Murray.

What would be her last film role for more than a decade came in 1960, in the crime drama, Payroll.

There were roles in television series like Zero One, The Pursuers, Ivanhoe (starring a young Roger Moore), and The New Adventures of Charlie Chan.

Eventually, Derby’s Joan Rice left the film business and, after her ten-year marriage to David Green ended in divorce, she built a successful career in repertory theatre with a role, among many others, as Catherine in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, and John Mortimer’s Voyage Around My Father.

In 1970, she did return to the big screen with a small role in The Horror of Frankenstein.

She then left the business and set up her own Estate / Letting Agency from an office in Maidenhead and she carried this on until she died.

She was a very memorable actress and somehow fitted the era of the early 50′s so well.  No one could have looked lovelier than her dashing around in Sherwood Forest opposite Richard Todd – and that is how will I remember her.

Joan Rice and Richard Todd 1952



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