Archive for November, 2018

Richard Todd – Wuthering Heights BBC Play

We featured this a few months ago – this was a BBC play done in the days when there was just One Channel which was BBC.   This drama went out ‘live’ as they tended to do in those days – and not only did it go live on  Sunday evening 6th December 1953 at 8-40 pm they all did it again ‘live’ on Thursday  December 10th 1953 this time at 7 pm – Almost 65 years ago nearly to the day. Apparently this play was done because  Richard Todd, then at the height of his film popularity, expressed interest in playing Heathcliff and the BBC arranged for an adaptation to be made. BBC Wuthering Heights   Above – a tense scene – Yvonne Mitchell as Cathy with Robert Brown as Edgar Linton along with Richard Todd’s Heathcliffe. Sadly no recording of this survives now – the would be before the days of early tele-recording I know but I had hoped there might be a copy. I remember seeing this as a child on our TV at home – maybe a 12 inch screen I would guess – but it was good – and memorable. Nigel Kneale wrote the screen play – none other than the Quatermass writer – and that would come shortly after this. BBC Wuthering Heights 2   The Caption on the pictures says – Models of sets are made to help the actors. Here Richard Todd and Yvonne Mitchell are studying a set for ‘Wuthering Heights’ Above: The Two leading Actors Richard Todd and Yvonne Mitchell view models of the sets used – I imagine to get an angle on moving from one studio set to another in a ‘Live’ production. I do remember one scene where Richard Todd as Heathcliffe was in the door of a stable brushing down the rear of a horse – obviously a model horse – I will look back at Richard Todd’s Autobiography-  he may say more about this.

Robert Brown who played Edgar Linton went on to play Gurth – Roger Moore’s companion in the Television series Ivanhoe – which was very popular. This would come shortly after this production – of course he later played alongside Roger Moore as ‘M’ in a number of James Bond Films.

I have just read about him – and one thing that struck me was that he was born in Swanage in Dorset, England – and he died there. He must have lived there all of his life which I find admirable.  I have to admit that Swanage is a particular favourite seaside location for me.  It is like a place that is locked back in time somehow. Lovely place.

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Jon Hall as Ali Baba

This is an interesting and colourful picture of Jon Hall in costume on the set of Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves made in Technicolor.

Jon Hall as Ali Baba

It also starred Maria Montez who seemed to play opposite him in quite a few of these exotic colourful adventure films.

Jon Hall and Maria Montez


Maria Montez
This style of film and the actors involved were very popular at this time in the mid to late 40s  – such actors as Turhan Bey, Jon Hall and Maria Montez.  There was always seemed to be at least one scene where she emerged from a bath or swimming pool, quickly being discretely covered by large towels borne by hand-maidens.

There is a ‘cast of thousands’ in this one but most of the time the director does no more than fill the screen with people particularly in the battle scenes but I suppose that would be where they would be needed – and in film terms look most impressive.

Ali Baba has wicked caliphs and valiant freedom fighters battling it out in the Hollywood desert.

It all makes for colourful and very appealing entertainment.

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The Forsyte Saga – Errol Flynn 1949


Errol Flynn was in fact, very good as Soames Forsyte in the Hollywood version of the Book that was adapted so successfully a few years late for BBC Television in Britain.  This film went under the title of ‘That Forsyte Woman’ but I can’t think why – maybe they thought The Forsyte Saga would be a bit too formal for the viewing audiences back in 1949. It seems like a mistake to me.

It shows on the picture below that it got a Royal Film Performance with the title  The Forsyte Saga

The Forsyte Saga Irene was played in this film by Greer Garson.

This is one of the few non-swashbuckling films for  Errol Flynn and one where he plays a character  who is not that appealing . He rises to the occasion and does it not merely well but really well.   Because he was so good at using his natural athletic abilities in costume dramas, he rarely got the meaty roles such as this one. Greer Garson is good..  Robert Young as Philip Bosinney is OK although I did feel he was mis-cast in this part – possibly my judgement is impaired by the actor who later  played him in the Television version – John Bennett

This film is beautifully photographed in Technicolor with lush costumes but it’s Errol Flynn who steals the show– without even trying.

Filming took place from January to March 1949  with the two stars being recalled for reshoots in June.  However it was released in August 1949 – a quick turn around

Errol Flynn and Greer Garson got along surprisingly well during filming and discussed making another film together – but that never happened

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Lassie in Action

What a lovely dog – Lassie who has appeared in exciting films and Television series over the years.

Below:  In Son of LassieLassie jumps on to the plane to be with her master Peter Lawford in a thrilling sequence where they are together in the cauldron of war. It is quite a moving part of the film where we even fear for Lassie’s life.   Lassie 2

Breathtakingly beautiful location photography (Banff National Park, Canada) provides a colourful background for a war story involving Lassie, Peter Lawford, June Lockhart, Donald Crisp, Leon Ames, William Severn and an early performance by Terry Moore when she was a child actress.

Peter Lawford and Lassie have some strenuous stunts to perform in the rapids as they escape.

Son of Lassie is definitely a Lassie film worth watching.

  Lassie 3 Above:   Lassie lovingly tries to wake up a young Claude Jarman in a scene from The Sun Comes Up.

Lassie 4

Above – again in The Sun Comes Up. It seems Lassie got him out of bed and out in the fresh air on what looks like a lovely day.

I am not  at all familiar with this film  but it receives excellent reviews.

Lassie Above:  Lassie looks to be celebrating Christmas in a charming colour picture.

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The Hellions 1961 – on Talking Pictures

In the past, we have never  got the chance to see this action packed film set in South Africa – but on the wonderful Talking Pictures Channel a couple of days ago, we did get that opportunity – and a Big Thank You to them for that.

Filmed in Technirama and Technicolor – and mainly around the town of Brits – which is somewhere between Johannesburg and Pretoria and South of Sun City – and some of the interior shots were done at a small Studio in Pretoria.

Filming began in Mid February 1961 and ended early to mid April 1961

The Hellions Richard Todd starred along with Lionel Jeffries – and a strong castThe Hellions 2 BELOW – A thrilling sequence.  His wife played by Anne Aubrey, has just broken the news to her husband Ernie Dobbs,  played by Jamie Uys,   that she had been attacked and accosted by the leader of the Hellions. He receives this news while escaping with his family from the town on the train. On hearing this shocking information  he decides to jump from the train – as pictured below, and go back and face the Hellions head on. The Hellions 3 The Hellions 4 The Hellions 5   The hellions 6

The final confrontation between lawman Richard Todd and ‘baddie’ brilliantly played by Lionel Jeffries.  Terrific action sequence this proves to be on the roof of a building.

Stuntman Bob Simmons made the dramatic fall from the roof – in the scenes below. He also doubled for Richard Todd when he had to dive through a glass door into a room.

Hellions Fight Hellions Fight 2   Hellions Fight 3 Hellions Fight 5 Hellions Fight 6

BELOW: The Last TWO of the Hellions are killed by the townsfolk after their reign of terror – Just below Marty Wilde comes to a sticky end – and  the one played by Colin Blakeley tries to escape on horseback but is brought down with a long distance rifle shot.

The Hellions end The Hellions End 2   BELOW – Closing Credits of the film – a really thrilling film it was too !! Hellions 7

Good action drama all round.

Please look out for this one coming up again on Talking Picture – it no doubt will do shortly.

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