Archive for February, 2016

Annette Day – Double Trouble with Elvis

Some of the earlier Elvis’ films were from the Fifties but this one was not – so technically not really a film of the fifties – in fact 1967 – however it was on TCM today Saturday 13 February 2016 -and very good it was.

His leading lady in this was Annette Day an English girl who starred along with Elvis in this one although she was an unknown and not really an actress. However she does very well in this one in a major part.

Annette Day

She was spotted working on her Mothers stall in Portobello Road in London and offered the leading part – which she accepted and went out to Hollywood. After this film she packed in and just lived a normal life although she must have had many offers to do other things.

Elvis seemed to get on very well with her also

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Richard Todd – At Home

My last article on this Blog featured Joan Rice – and now we turn to her co-star in that wonderful and memorable film ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ made by Walt Disney in England and released in 1952. Yes it is Richard Todd.

These are pictures of famous screen actor of the fifties Richard Todd at Haileywood House Nr Henley on Thames.

Richard Todd 1

Richard Todd above with son Peter


Richard Todd 3

Richard Todd with daughter FionaRichard Todd 2

Richard Todd with Baron

Richard Todd 4

Richard Todd – again with Baron

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Joan Rice – Whatever happened to her Film Career

This is a question that many of us film fans of the era ask – and have asked for years.   Joan Rice was discovered and signed up by Rank then prepared and trained as an actress, getting her first film role in Blackmailed with Dirk Bogarde.

Soon afterwards none other that Walt Disney personally chose her to star in the very expensively produced ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ opposite Richard Todd in 1952 – filmed through the summer of 1951 at Denham Film Studios.

The Story of Robin Hood 1952

Above: Joan Rice,  James Robertson Justice and Elton Hayes in wonderful colour in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952

That was very successful and so Warner Bros then took her all the way to Fiji to star alongside Burt Lancaster in ‘His Majesty O’Keefe’ – a very colourful adventure film also with Andre Morrell.

So here we have TWO very big World targetted films which both did well and yet when she returned to England, ( and  quickly got married.)  the film industry lost interest in her.

She tried to kick start things again by taking to stage acting and touring with repertory theatre productions but this did not get her back and she eventually packed it in and set up her own Property Letting Agency in Maidenhead – where she died in 1997.

Joan Rice

Joan Rice 2In the magazine PHOTOPLAY  of August 1955 we do have an article about Joan Rice – under the Headline –  ‘What did she do wrong?’

The picture of her with Joan Collins above arriving for a screen test is one I have never seen before.

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Sudan – Poster

This film poster was on display at Herberton Village in Queensland. Sudan Jon Hall and Maria Montez added to colourful adventure films throughout the Forties. Pure escapism but

after all  that’s what the film world is all about – or it certainly was in those days.

Maria Montez Above: Maria Montez. Sudan - Still from the film Above – A publicity still from the film.Sudan 1945SUDAN (1945) was the sixth and final film in a series of Technicolor costume adventures made by Universal Pictures from 1942-45 which starred the duo of Jon Hall and Maria Montez. The formula for these films included a lot of action, some comedy, a smattering of romance, and an exotic setting created on the Universal backlot. The earlier films were ARABIAN NIGHTS (1942), WHITE SAVAGE (1943), ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES (1944), COBRA WOMAN (1944), and GYPSY WILDCAT (1944).

Australia’s Hidden Secret – Historic Village Herberton

We visited this wonderful and magical place a few weeks ago The Historic Village of Herberton inland of Cairns but up on the Tablelands.
Just 90 minutes from Cairns on the Cairns Highlands is the sleepy town of Herberton. A quaint little town with a population of 1000, Herberton’s streets are peppered with buildings reminiscent of a time long gone.A time when there were no cars, when people still walked to church in their Sunday best and there was still the need to use the school cane. Some would say that Herberton was a town forgotten, its history known to only the few who called it home, until a chance encounter in 2008 changed its future forever.This encounter was to see the rebirth of the Historic Village Herberton, Queensland’s largest outdoor pioneer museum. Located on the outskirts of the town and closed since 2002, Craig and Connie Kimberley fell in love with old museum the moment they set eyes on it.Since taking on what they call “custodianship” of this incredible museum, the pair have spent the last five years transforming what was once a tired, set of historic buildings into one of the largest visitor attractions on the Atherton Tablelands, attracting thousands of self-drive visitors each year.

With almost 60 original buildings dating from Herberton’s foundations years as a tin mining town, visitors are given a real insight into life in Australia at the turn of the century. Walking down the Main Street you will pass the chemist, bottle shop, school, bank, grocer’s store, frock salon, toy shop, mechanic, jail and more.

Everything at the museum has been lovingly collected and restored and visitors will recognise many of the priceless Australian collections from their own childhoods. There is a restaurant onsite selling fresh home cooked meals as well as a traditional camp kitchen serving damper and billy tea.

The Historic Village Herberton is an award-winning attraction, and was the recipient of a Bronze Award at the 2013 Queensland Tourism Awards as well as TNQ Winner for best culture and heritage attraction.

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Walls Ice Cream – in the Fifties

Well this is not, I suppose,  directly a film item – although we can just imagine having a Walls Ice Cream at the Cinema between the First Film and the Main Feature – as we all remember from those days.

Walls Ice Cream - From the Fifties


This is from the Picture Post of Feb 1954.  I just love the colour.

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From Picture Post 1954 – Diane Cilento

We seem to be doing a season on Diane Cilento on this Blog – since my visit to her wonderful Theatre – The Karnak Playhouse Nr Mossman in Queensland, Australia a week or two ago.

Here she is on the front of The Picture Post of  27 February 1954.



Still her story – and rise to fame – like other young actors of the time was interesting and creates a fascinating story.


In the Picture Post article it states :-


The girl who made the critics rummage among their stocks of superlatives ( and who won a five year contract with Sir Alexander Korda.) for playing a Hollywood Starlet in The Big Knife, does not wear her personality on her sleeve. The big blue eyes and long blonde hair are deceptive. So are a purring drowsiness of manner, and repeated assurances that her talent is not extraordinary. Her own explanation of the film contract is “they haven’t got any blondes with long hair”.  We don’t believe it. Nor do we believe that Diane, the daughter of the Australian Physician Sir Raphael Cilento, and sister of three other doctors, chose the stage ” to relieve the monotony in my family”

After a childhood in Australia, Diane went to America to study ballet. She then claims she was too lazy for ballet so turned to acting because drama was being taught in the same building on another floor. Her talent led her in a short time to tour various regional Theatres in America, before arriving in England and quickly being cast in a number of films.  She also played Juliet at the Manchester Library Theatre.



Diane Cilento in England

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Wonderful Still from The Story of Robin Hood 1952

We all know this one – a memorable film made in England at Denham.  Here Richard Todd as Robin has a friendly altercation with Friar Tuck – James Hayter.   Beautiful studio set designed by Carmen Dillon – who was at her very best on this film.

Richard Todd and James Hayter

A great film from Walt Disney – if you have not seen it please do.   The Technicolor on this one is about as good as it gets – in fact everything about this film is first class.

Walt Disney himself was over in England and around during the making of this film at Denham Film Studios.

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