Archive for April, 2019

Act of Murder 1964 Edgar Wallace

We have done an article on this Blog not that long ago on this superb film.

A young couple and their friend Tim ( John Carson), are messing around at their home – involving mild flirting between Tim and Ralph’s wife – Justine Lord. Ralph is played by Anthony Bate

Thee couple have planned a house swap – but things go very wrong – they are given a bogus address and think that they are taking on a West End flat with London views.

The people taking their home trash it and steal of all it’s valuables – but by the time the Longmans arrive home the contents have been mysteriously restored!!

Act of Murder 1964


However something is wrong  – Ann’s beloved garden has been vandalised, the chickens and pet canary have been poisoned and on their little dog is found dead.

They did not immediately suspect Tim who was the only person who knew the deep affection that Ann felt for the garden and her little dog

Ann can’t cope with anything and goes rushing off to – Tim. Ralph does some sleuthing when he finds out from the police that another house in the area had been burgled by the same “house swap gang” which starts him thinking – why was their house spared? It leads him to a shady antique dealer who finally admits their house had been targeted but a man returning for his overnight bag had stopped them in their tracks!!

The penny drops with Ralph.


Act of Murder 2


Some great camera work and scenes – one where  Ann is dressing for bed,  and  chatting but there is no response, someone trips over in the dark – but it’s only Ralph.


Act of Murder 3

Both John Carson  and Anthony Bate  are in top form here. Justine Lord was terrific as  Ann –   showing real acting depth.

After this, TV director Alan Bridges rightly much sort after and had a good career as a film director

In his first film Act of Murder  1964  made very much as a second feature on a cinema bill,   the director squeezes tension out of a love triangle between an actor, and his good friends – a married couple.

Act of Murder


Act of Murder 2

Act of Murder 3

Act of Murder 4

Act of Murder 5

Act of Murder 6

Act of Murder 7

Act of Murder 8

Act of Murder 9









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So Little Time 1952 – Marius Goring and Maria Schell

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of this film but then an article posted here on Marius Goring – coupled with a scene from this film that was in the Cinema Studio Magazine – and which I used – introduced this little known but apparently excellent film.   The film does  seem to have made a life long impression on quite  a number of people who saw it all those years ago – that is underlined by some of the reviews I have read.

Anyway, as a result of that I have purchased the DVD of the film and will receive it soon I hope – so I may be able to add a little more – and even recommend it to anyone who reads this Blog.

So Little Time 1952 E

Marius Goring and Maria Schell in So Little Time

So Little Time 1952

Marius Goring said that other than the Powell Pressburger films, this one was his favourite.

The film was made at Elstree but a unit went out to Belgium to film various outdoor scenes – ABOVE is one of them – where the Director Compton Bennett and Cameraman Steve Dale line up a shot – and Assistand Director David Peers can be seen in front of the camera.

The Unit based themselves in the town of Leau, a small town with a population of 2,000 about 45 miles from Brussels.

One interesting snippet here is that the Unit spent only a short time in Belgium but still managed to get 20 minutes of quality film which would mean they would use 15 minutes of it in the finished film.  One interesting thing though – they did not take any Sound Equipment so they effectively shot a silent film there and added the sound back at Elstree.


So Little Time 1952 A


ABOVE – An exciting scene where the car carrying Marius Goring is ambushed. 

The plot is unusual in that it depicts a sympathetic relationship between an invading German officer and a Belgian girl.

So Little Time 1952 B


ABOVE – Marius Goring in uniform stand behind the camers with Director Compton Bennett behind him at the side of the Camera

So Little Time is the moving WWII tale of a 20 year-old girl (Maria Schell) in occupied Belgium who falls in love with 45 year-old German commandant (Marius Goring). The film is based on the novel ‘Je Ne Suis Pas Une Heroine’ (‘I Am Not A Heroine’) by Noelle Henry.

So Little Time 1952 C

Some of the scenes were at the Chateau de Sterrebecke – just outside Brussels – as above

So Little Time 1952 D


ABOVE – Baraba Mullen is questioned by the Nazis in the street

It was So Little Time that gave Maria Schell a significant role of the kind that became her trademark. She was cast as an aristocratic Belgian who falls in love with a German colonel – a member of the occupying forces. Although sympathetically directed by Compton Bennett, it proved too melancholy for postwar audiences.   

As Marius Goring said – ‘a touching little film . . . Maria Schell was beautiful and extremely good. It was too soon after the war and people still thought every German was a horror. A year later, and it would have been all right.’

I probably agree with him – A few years afterwards maybe this would have become a classic – and if what I read is correct it would deserve to be.

ABOVE – The Trailer to the film

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Film Magazines of the Fifties


There were a great many daily, weekly, monthly magazines published in the early fifties detailing and promoting what we could see coming to our local cinemas.


Picturegoer and French Film Magazine

Picture Show used to be my own favourite, but we had Picturegoer as well.

Two Film Magazines

I acquired the ones above – a French Colour Magazine ‘Cinemonde’ and the other is probably a ‘one-off’ publication ‘Screen News’

Picture Show Magazine


Picture Show Magazine 2


Picture Show above –  I bought it every week as a lad, just to keep up with all the film news – and read about what we could expect at our local cinema some weeks or months ahead


Photoplay Magazine


Photoplay Magazine ABOVE  Apparently  this was an American Film Magazine published from 1920 until  1980. It was a very good magazine regarding films of the time.

Really interesting ones I have come across recently have been Cinema Studio and To-Days Cinema which incredibly looks as though it may even have been a DAILY magazine. This would really  underline just  how many films were being released each week in that era.

Cinema Studio Magazine


Cinema Studio Magazine 2

To further illustrate this point in the 1951 Western Film Annual there were as many as 107 Western films alone released during that year.

Western Film Annual 1951

1951 Western Film Annual with many pictures and details of all the Westerns of the Year – and those to come

Western Film Annual 1951 2

I have opened this page in The Western Film Annual – mainly to show one of my all-time favourite Westerns – ‘Distant Drums’ with Gary Cooper and Mari Aldon



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Mr Perrin and Mr Traill – One of My Very Favourite Films


My own favourite screen performance from Marius Goring was when he played the disillusioned and frustrated schoolmaster Mr Perrin, in Lawrence Huntington’s Mr Perrin and Mr Traill (1948).

 This film was made at Denham Film Studios and has featured on this Blog before.”It was a change,” said Marius Goring, “because most of the time I was playing Nazi officers when I wasn’t working for Michael Powell.”



Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill is set in a  boy’s public school somewhere on the coast although I always imagine that it is on the North Devon Coast – not sure why I think that – it could be from the book I am not sure.


This is a great story that holds you to it while the story unravels. The film is quited dated now but in a way that makes it all the more interesting.


The main part is that of Marius Goring as Mr. Perrin who plays a teacher who seems to be very much a loner and ill at ease socially to such an extent that his feeble unsuccessful attempts to woo Greta Gynt who is won over by new teacher David Traill (David Farrar) plus the bullying he takes from the Headmaster Raymond Huntley takes him over the edge. We do not initially take to Mr Perrin but as the film unfolds he comes over as very much a victim of his time, his shyness and the overall situation at the public school where he teaches and has taught for 21 years. Some of the scenes are very short and punchy but the film moves along to its final tragic conclusion.


We instinctively know something is going to happen but it is very difficult to second guess the outcome.


There is an interesting article on the internet from the Old Monrovians School from a pupil who went on an organised visit to Denham while this film was being made. He describes the sets and also having a talk with Edward Chapman and also a ‘very disinterested David Farrar’ who apparently posed for a photograph and went back to his dressing room and was not seen again that day.


Not often we hear of someone who had been to Denham so it is good to get such an insight


The  casting is headed by  Marius Goring and David Farrar, who were two star actors probably best known for their work in Powell & Pressburger films.

The irony of Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill is that Marius Goring (b. 1912) plays the older man and  David Farrar (b. 1908) plays the younger.

However Mr Traill may well have been younger than we assume in the story – maybe early 40 s – but still living with his Mother at home – and on the verge of – but never getting on with – asking Miss  Lester to marry him.  I loved the way that Marius Goring portrayed Mr Perrin – he brought a character to life and showed us his nervousness and lack of confidence along with his  sense of decency culminating with his final act of immense bravery and self sacrifice.

In may ways David  Farrar had the easier role – he has to be the reasonably affable and friendly man, but prepared to stand up for himself. This simple presentation doesn’t stop all the other masters bar one (played by Edward Chapman) from seeing him as uppity, boorish etc. because he poses a threat to the status quo.

Marius Goring – a few years later –  had a small but important role as a musician fatally obsessed with Ava Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), and a rare romantic leading role as a Nazi officer in love with Maria Schell in So Little Time (1952). “A touching little film,” said Goring, “my favourite apart from the Powell films. It was too soon after the war and people thought every German was a horror . . . it’s timing was wrong.”

Marius Goring and Maria Schell in 'So Little Time'


ABOVE – Marius Goring and Maria Schell in ‘So Little Time’

Marius Goring was often assumed to be foreign, but actually he was born in Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1912. His father was a doctor and criminologist who died the 1918 flu epidemic, when Marius was six; his mother, the former Katie MacDonald, was a pianist who had studied with Clara Schumann. Educated at Cambridge and at the universities of Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Paris


His prime love remained the stage. “I can’t say I think much of my later films . . . I never envisaged myself as a film actor, preferring the theatre.” Later stage successes included a season at Stratford-on Avon in 1953, A Penny for a Song (1962), The Bells (1968), Anthony Schaffer’s Sleuth (1970-73) and Shaw’s The Applecart (1986).


Television also brought the actor considerable acclaim – in 1955-56 he was Sir Percy Blakeney in a 39-episode series The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel and he starred in a popular series about a forensic scientist, The Expert (1968- 69, the first BBC2 series to be filmed in colour), which was brought back for further seasons in 1971 and 1976.

Marius Goring as The Expert 1968


He was also featured in Edward and Mrs Simpson (1978) and The Old Men at the Zoo (1983).



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Rear Window 1954




Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr.

Grace Kelly appeared a number of times for Hitchcock – and in  Rear Window she plays the girlfriend of James Stewart and becomes involved in the intrigue that follows as a result of his forced immobility due to an accident that leads him, with time on his hands – to watch from his apartment window the goings-on of his near neighbours – and one in  particular with a dramatic and scary outcome.

She was also in another Hitchcock film, which I really like ‘Dial M for Murder’ with Ray Milland and Robert Cummings.


What the critics said: “[Rear Window] develops such a clean, uncluttered line from beginning to end that we’re drawn through it (and into it) effortlessly. The experience is not so much like watching a movie, as like … well, like spying on your neighbours. Hitchcock traps us right from the first and because Hitchcock makes us accomplices in Stewart’s voyeurism, we’re along for the ride” 

This sums things up pretty well – we are indeed trapped into James Stewart’s  claustrophobic world 


Here are some shots and scenes from the film and from the filming

Rear Window 1954

ABOVE – Alfred Hitchcock in a publicity still with the two main actors

Rear Window 1954 2

ABOVE – Grace Kelly and James Stewart feeling the tension

Filming Rear Window

On the set – filming with James Stewart in plaster and largely immobilised

James Stewat with Grace Kelly

ABOVE – a lovely colour still


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Marylin and Robert Mitchum


It is the film ‘ The River of No Return’  that immediately springs to mind when these two are mentioned and indeed are pictured together

River of No Return


Marilyn didn’t like this film – she was not happy working with Otto Preminger – in fact who was ?? – but she also was not at all fond of being on location.

Darryl F. Zanuck at 20th Century Fox. Production  originally had seen this as a B Film but he then seemed for whatever reason to have a change of heart, and cast the studio’s biggest star Marilyn Monroe in one of the leading roles.

Everything then had to be re-thought. so  Robert Mitchum and Rory Calhoun were added to the cast along with  child actor Tommy Rettig. It would be shot in colour and in  Cinemascope Fox – it was to be a big production

Otto Preminger  who was under contract to the studio was chosen to  direct the film whether he liked it or not and he didn’t much like it.

The production moved from Idaho up into Canada. The film got an upgrade with on-location shooting in Jasper and Banff, Alberta. There were the Banff Springs, Bow River, Lake Louise and the Rocky Mountains. This region of the world is simply stunning as anyone who’s ever been there will tell you.

Joseph LaShelle’s cinematography is breathtaking.  The beauty of Alberta, Canada’s Jasper National Park is spellbinding and definitely an asset. The footage shot along the Toutle river in Washington State supplements the Canadian grandeur.

A major weakness of the film is the un inspiring script and a weakish story. Since the plot is a simple one, director Otto Preminger felt he had to  emphasise the interplay of the leading characters as much as possible.


River of No Return 2


Otto Preminger and Robert Mitchum had had a stormy relationship on their previous film together Angel Face (1952).

Robert Mitchum considered Preminger  a  a great producer but “not a very good director”. According to producer Stanley Rubin, Mitchum played it cool but behind-the-scenes did a lot of digging into the production and was himself keen to see the film turn out well.

Otto Preminger and Miss Monroe clashed almost instantly. He was an overbearing director and she was sensitive to this sort of treatment.


River of No Return 3

Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum on the set of River of No Return (1954)


Despite reports to the contrary Robert Mitchum and Marylin Monroe got on very well during the making of this film.


Robert Mitchum  tried to help her on more than one occasion. Mitchum’s biographer Lee Server says, ‘He thought she was an essentially sweet and funny but often sad and confused person.’


River of No Return 4

Marilyn Monroe, Tommy Rettig and Robert Mitchum get hosed in preparation for their studio scenes. River of No Return (1954)

The crew returned to Los Angeles to film the remaining scenes at the studio. According to Lee Server, this is “where Mitchum and Monroe would do their white-water rafting indoors on a hydraulic platform in front of a giant process screen, while men stood to the sides and splashed them with buckets of water and shot steel-headed arrows into the solid oak logs at their feet.”

At one point Otto Preminger abandoned the project and left for Europe. Director Jean Negulescu was recruited to pick up where Preminger left off. He did not receive credit for his work.

River of No Return was a box office hit and earned Fox $2 million in profits. Zanuck was right. Marilyn Monroe was the film’s biggest draw and the reason for it’s success. The reason why River of No Return has enjoyed decades worth of screenings, home video releases, interviews, discussions etc is mostly because of Marilyn Monroe


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Filming those Scenes

  I love to see how these films are made and this series of pictures from the very early fifties gives us an insight,


Whilst I know the Scrooge film which is an absolute classic – and to me by far the best version – you just could not follow Alistair Sim   –  I am not at all familiar with the other two films ‘No Resting Place’ and ‘The Womans Angle’ and dontb think I have ever seen them – nor even until recently not known of them

Filming Scrooge 1951

ABOVE  Preparing a scene that we all know.  The brilliant Alistair Sim as Scrooge – towards the end of the film when Scrooge has just become kind and generous following his meetings with the Ghost of Christmas Past – and the one that he feared the most – The Ghost of Christmas to come

Filming No Resting Place in Ireland


A rare starring role from Michael Gough in ‘No Resting Place’ – as an Irish tinker who having accidentally killed a gamekeeper is pursued by a policeman nearing retirement – shot  on location in Ireland, good. Worth seeing for Michael Gough fans, and the good location photography in Ireland


Filming No Resting Place in Ireland 2 

ABOVE – Michael Gough in ‘No Resting Place’ –

Filming The Womans Angle 1951


Filming The Womans Angle 1952 – BELOW Edward Underdown starred in the long forgotten drama directed by Leslie Arliss.

American actress Cathy O’Donnell also has a leading role  and Anton Diffring  is seen briefly as an Alpine dancer, looking as if he’s thoroughly enjoying himself.

In one review of this film there was a quote as follows :- Great as it is to see lots more British films of this vintage becoming available, in this case it is no surprise it languished unseen and forgotten for sixty years.


Filming The Womans Angle 1951 2

Filming The Womans Angle 1952 – BELOW with rear projection and Edward Underdown looking suitably bored.

  Filming The Womans Angle 1951 3

Filming The Womans Angle 1952 – again BELOW

Filming The Womans Angle 1951 4

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The Mighty Zarak – 1956 with Victor Mature


The film Zarak was at the time billed on posters as ‘The Mighty Zarak’ – very impressive to us youngsters at the time.

The Mighty Zarak

My Dad loved Victor Mature in films and I remember him  going to see this one – and he was not disappointed.

However what would have troubled him was to read Margaret Hinxman’s review in Picture-goer on 12 January 195- where she gives this film ‘an award for absurdity’.  

She goes on the say ‘This must be seen to be believed. It’s may favourite awful film for years. Everyone involved should get an award for absurdity’  



However many of others reviews I see  give the film a much better time – it may be better with age. Victor Mature stars as the title character in Zarak.  It’s the story of the eldest son of a clan chief who betrays his father with the father’s youngest bride played by the Swedish Anita Ekberg.  


Zarak 2

After being banished from the tribe for this deed,  Zarak  – Victor Mature – becomes a bandit chief and the scourge of the territory.  Michael Wilding is sent to bring in Zarak dead or alive, but other tribes are starting to get restless.

Finlay Currie plays a mullah who seems to come  in and out of the film at key points  He’s quite the saintly figure.

Good action film that fans of Victor Mature  ( and I am one of them ) will appreciate.

Irving Allen and Albert Broccoli’s Warwick Productions made the film in London and North Africa for Columbia to distribute – and it did quite well at the Box Office. Victor Mature had just finished Safari for Warwick Productions when he made this one. 

I really enjoyed Safari and thought the production values were very high for that one – it was also entertaining. Soon after Zarak,  Victor Mature and Anita Ekberg were again cast together – this time in ‘Interpol’ – once again for Warwick Produtions and again on location and at Elstree Studios in England


Anita Ekberg and Anthony Steele

Anita Ekberg had in 1956 married British Film Star Anthony Steele



ABOVE : Victor Mature and Anita Ekberg were again cast together – in ‘Interpol’

Soon after this Victor Mature was in England – again for Warwick Productions to make that film beloved of all commercial vehicle enthusiasts – The Long Haul’ with Diana Dors and later still in England for ‘The Bandit of Zhobe’

After that, back to the USA for a big film – The Big Circus’ with a very good cast indeed with 

Red ButtonsRhonda FlemingKathryn GrantVincent PriceGilbert Roland   and Peter Lorre

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Tarzans Savage Fury 1952 – Lex Barker


A good Tarzan adventure film, with  Lex Barker in the title role.  Lex Barker does and did a great job as  Tarzan because he just looked the part, and was athletic enough to cope with the demands of this role in five films –  I wish he had stayed longer as Tarzan  though.


Lex Barker as Tarzan 1952


These Tarzan films with Lex Barker had pretty good budgets so looked very good on the Cinema Screen First-class actress Dorothy Hart is lovely as Jane and does most of the real acting here. She was a truly gifted actress who soon left film land  for roles in prestigious television productions and other activities that she found far more fulfilling – eventually working for the United Nations


BELOW – Dorothy Hart with Lex Barker – Tarzans Savage Fury 1952

Dorothy Hart Lex Barker with Tommy Carlton in Tarzans Savage Fury

There is also a  boy character well played by Tommy Carlton -m ABOVE with Lex Barker – and BELOW with a friend on the set of the film.

Tommy Carleton

Patrick Knowles does a great job as the villain of the piece.      BELOW


Patric KnowlesTarzans Savage Fury 1952


Tarzan’s Savage Fury was one of the only Tarzan films to make reference Tarzan’s  background –  Tarzan being the Earl of Greystoke.  In this story the cousin Greystoke played by Patric Knowles is an imposter who with his guide Charles Korvin comes to see  Tarzan.


The real Greystoke has  been killed at the beginning of the film and Patric Knowles takes his place.   The object is to gain access through Tarzan,  to a tribe which has a fortune in diamonds which they use in their  religious ceremonies. The cast throughout is good.


This film is well worth watching for the action and physicality that Lex Barker brings to the Tarzan role, and also for Dorothy Hart’s luminous presence and fine acting.

Tarzans Savage Fury 1952 B


Here in England at the time, was a Television programme Picture Parade on BBC Television  – in the very early days of Television,  which reviewed new cinema releases. Peter Haigh worked hard to make it popular and included  interviews with the likes of John Wayne, Anna Neagle and Joan Crawford.


However I do remember him reviewing this film and showing clips from it one night- and as a small boy to see these scenes from a new and exciting Tarzan film was thrilling – I remember it to this day – and even the clip of film which had Tarzan swimming across a river. 


We would not have had our Television set long at the time of the film release – so maybe it is one of my earliest television memories. That of course would be viewed on a 14 inch screen but somehow we just loved it.

Peter Haigh

Peter Haigh was replaced in 1962 and went to live in Portugal, where he opened a waterside restaurant. In 1957, he had married the Rank starlet Jill Adams. They had a daughter before they separated.

I remember Jill Adams in The Green Man

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Easter Parade


In this film you have top say – just look at the Technicolor – Those Technicolor films in the ’40s and 50s were beautiful, as this one certainly is.

Easter Parade


For entertainment, you get Fred Astaire dancing, Judy Garland singing, Ann Miller dancing, and Peter Lawford singing. I didn’t know that Peter Lawford could sing, but he’s not bad in this one.


Fred Astaire and Ann Miller


Fred Astaire consistently amazed audiences with his innovative dance routines and smooth style. He does a number here in a toy store that is really something!   Ann Miller – another wonderful dancer – also gives us a good tap number and Judy Garland’s songs are all winners.


Fred Astaire and Judy Garland


“Easter Parade” is definitely one of the best musicals ever produced by MGM

The Film features over 16 songs by Irving Berlin and with a good story too


Judy Garland in Easter Parade


The story is about a famous dancer, played by Fred Astaire, who tries to build a new act with an inexperienced chorus girl whom he discovers (Judy Garland), after his former partner ( Ann Miller) leaves him to pursue a solo career. Of course, romantic complications enter the fray as well as both personal and professional jealousies


Easter Parade 2


Peter Lawford and Judy Garland


There are plenty of opportunities for each of the stars to show off their singing and dancing in almost iconic numbers like “Steppin’ Out with My Baby”, “Shakin’ the Blues Away”, and “A Couple of Swells”

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