Archive for June, 2019

Virginia McKenna


A film star for many years from way back in the early fifties actually – and here is a rare interview with her. It was actually a longer version than this but I finished it just before she had success with Born Free


Virginia McKenna with Lambs



Here below is an extract from an interview she did some time ago which gives an insight into how she got into and flourished in the acting profession :-

I was born in London in 1931. My father was chief auctioneer at Christies and my mother was a wonderful pianist. She was in cabaret act called ‘That Certain Trio’ and they played the Savoy and other high profile venues.

My parents divorced when I was four. I lived with my father and we moved to Slinfold. I actually wrote to the people who now live in my old home and they asked if I would like to come and visit. I went and had coffee with them, walked around the garden and saw where my bedroom was.

I attended Herons Ghyll School near Horsham until the war started. I was boarding at the school and we were in the shelter every night. My father wanted me to be safe so he asked my mother to take me to South Africa. We sailed over and I lived there for six years.


I returned to England and to Herons Ghyll aged 14 and took what was called a Higher Certificate. I was always very interested in writing, reading and literature. I wanted to go to University to read English in order to become a journalist, but I had to earn my money more quickly.

My parents had seen me in school plays and encouraged me to go into acting. I went to an audition at The Old Vic but failed. I was however accepted at the Central School of Speech and Drama, where I satisfied my more academic side by taking a diploma course too.

An agent saw me in one of the school performances and told me he would like to look after me once I left drama school. He found me some work over the school holidays at the Dundee Repertory – a place where many famous actors have started out – Richard Todd springs to mind as one of them – and I absolutely loved it. I felt I was ready to learn out oi the field so I spoke to the Head Mistress and asked if she would allow me to leave a year early. I felt that I was ready. Fortunately, she said ‘yes’.

Today there are so few reps around so people finishing drama school nowadays usually have to start in television, where the technique is completely different from theatre. In theatre, not only do you have to portray your feelings, you have to project them to the front row of the stalls and to the back row of the upper circle. That is a challenge.

Whilst I was at Dundee, playing Estella in Great Expectations, I was watched by Daphne Rye. She was a representative of H.M Tennent, a big London theatre company of the time. They were casting a play called ‘A Penny for a Song’ and thought I would be right for the part of Dorcas. So I left Scotland for the Haymarket Theatre.

I was in some amazing productions with incredible people. H.M Tennent was also putting on A Winter’s Tale with John Gielgud, Dianna Wynyard and Flora Robson, and I went into that and played Perdita. I was very nervous. I remember trembling with fear in the aisles with a young actor, Richard Gale,  who played Florizel. I remember John Gielgud came up to us and said ‘You two, what’s the matter?’ We told him we were worried we would not be good enough and he said ‘Nonsense! It will be perfectly fine.’ He gave us a pat on the shoulder and we wondered if someone had done the same for him once. He was the most lovely man.

My first television show was Shout Aloud Salvation, which was a great success. It was live television in those days, so one shoot would take place in one studio and you would literally have to run along the passageways, throwing on a hat or changing as you went, to make it to another studio for the next scene. You can’t stop. If you made a mistake, you had to cover it up.

The Second Mrs Tanqueray, filmed at the Riverside Studios, was my debut film. I don’t think many people have seen that film, which is probably quite good really!

I married Denholm Elliott, who I met on set of The Cruel Sea in 1953. It was a very short marriage. It was not right for either of us, let’s put it like that.

Virginia McKenna marries Denholm Elliott

A Town Like Alice was shot over three months in 1956, which was quite long in those days. I never went to Malaya or Australia, as it was all filmed at Pinewood. There are shots of us withered women prisoners in the last stages of decline, all traipsing through a swamp. We actually plodded through a pond in Burnham Beeches. It was freezing cold, so they were spraying glycerine on our faces to make it seem swelteringly hot!

A wonderful actress of the time called Marie Löhr was also in the film. Marie had known my father. She gave me a beautiful locket that he had given to her years before, and I still treasure it.

I won the BAFTA for Best British Actress, and my co-star Peter Finch won the Best Actor award. It was a surprise to me, as everything is always a surprise. You do what you do. You are not thinking of prizes. Awards are quite hyped these days, but it was a little more reserved in those days. I can’t remember what I said!

At one point I did a series of cameos, as I wanted so much to work with the person I would be doing the scene with. They included Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper and Donald Sutherland. I was so lucky to have that chance of working in that golden era.

I first met Bill Travers in a play called ‘I Captured the Castle’ by Dodie Smith. I was playing Cassandra, and Bill was given a part and we met. But at that time, in 1953, I was about to marry, Bill was married already, and that was the end of that. We didn’t see each other until a good while later when we met by chance. We were having dinner with different people in the same restaurant and saw each other again. We met up then and never stopped meeting up. We married in 1957.

I was always testing myself. That’s life. You have got to take risks.

The Smallest Show on Earth 1957 4

Sometimes Bill and I were in films together. We made a film together called The Smallest Show on Earth. The cast included Peter Sellers, Leslie Phillips, Margaret Rutherford and Bernard Miles and as it was a comedy we were laughing every five seconds. Leslie and I are the survivors of that film and we are still friends today.

The Smallest Show on Earth 1957

ABOVE – I love this shot and remember it so well. Virginia McKenna gazes at Peter Sellers the projectionis who is totally in love with the films and the magic of the film show. Bill Travers looks on.

I certainly knew someone a few years ago who found that certain something from film shows that Peter Sellers portrayed here.


The Smallest Show on Earth 1957 2


The Smallest Show on Earth 1957 3

ABOVE – Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers with Margaret Rutherford

We followed that with The Barretts of Wimpole Street with John Gielgud and Jennifer Jones, then Passionate Summer and Two Living, One Dead. We had masses of work. Bill enjoyed a great personal success with a film called Geordie in the mid-1950s that led to a lot of work for him.

After marrying, we had two children quite quickly before a little gap and then two more children. They would travel with us as we filmed all over the world. When we made Born Free in 1964, three of the children came with us. William was five when we left for Kenya, and he has adored the continent ever since.




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Jack Hawkins goes back down ‘Memory Lane’ in 1955

In the summer of 1955, Jack Hawkins took a stroll back down memory lane with interesting results.


His first stop was at Trinity County School in Wood Green where he met up again with former Headmaster  Dr. E.E. Jones who remembered him as the boy who put acting before everything else including school.  At the time Dr. Jones thought quite reasonably that his stage training was interfering with Jack’s homework. He was probably right – however  Jack’s Father seemed convinced of his son’s dramatic talents so he encouraged him along the acting path.

At the age of 14, Jack was appearing in Rainbows End at the Holborn Empire in the afternoons and as a page in Sybil Thorndyke’s Saint Joan in the evenings while still at school.

Jack Hawkins 1937

ABOVE – Jack Hawkins as he appeared in the play ‘Autumn’ in 1937

Jack Hawkins 1


ABOVE – Down at the Seaside – Bit before ‘The Cruel Sea’ though

Jack Hawkins 3


ABOVE – A rehearsal in the Garden – Jack Hawkins was 11 years old then

Jack Hawkins 2

ABOVE – ‘You were quite a trial’ says Headmaster Dr. Jones


Jack Hawkins 4

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins still has a problem with Geometry

Jack Hawkins

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins looks back at his ‘record’ along with Dr.  Jones and the current Headmaster

Jack Hawkins 1

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins in ‘Journey’s End’ which ran for 18 months on Broadway

Jack Hawkins 2

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins strolls past St. Michaels In Wood Green, London.


Jack Hawkins then later in the day moved on to the Italia Conti school of acting where he visited aspiring young actors.

Jack Hawkins

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins with young stage hopefuls at the Italia Conti School

Jack Hawkins 2

ABOVE –  With younger ones in the drama class  – Italia Conti School

Jack Hawkins 3

ABOVE –  This time he tries and adagio – and finds it ‘very pleasant too’

Jack Hawkins 4

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins talks over old times with Jimmy Eastwood and Editor Eric Warman in No. 1 Dressing Room at the New Theatre, St. Martin’s Lane

Jack Hawkins 5

    ABOVE –  Saying goodbye to Mr. Hunter at the Stage Door – New Theatre St.Martin’s Lane


After lunch Jack and his guest drove to Jack’s home in Kensington Gardands and met hid wife – actress Doreen Lawrence and their two small sone Nicholas 6 and Andrew 4

Jack Hawkins

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins with his wife ( actress Doreen Lawrence ) and family at Round Pond in Kensington Gardens

Jack Hawkins 1

ABOVE –  Captain Jackie Broome ( Cruel Sea adviser ) shows how it’s done


BELOW – Jack visiting his former flat in Sloane Square

Jack Hawkins 2

ABOVE –  Jack Hawkins revisits his old basement flat in Sloane Square

Jack Hawkins was obviously steeped in acting from a vear early age. He had been married to actress Jessica Tandy. He married Doreen Lawrence in 1947 after they met in India.


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Joan Rice and Donald Sinden

These two were around at about the same time.


Joan Rice at first looked to be having a much more successful career with ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ which was very popular – and then  ‘His Majesty O’Keefe’ both of which were world targeted films.

This should have been the springboard to a top film career but after this she just seemed to fade away and many of us have speculated endlessly, as to why – with no real conclusion.

Joan Rice and Donald Sinden


ABOVE – this picture I reckon was taken in the grounds of Pinewood Studios where there is a small bridge over a lake which has been used many times in films.

On the other hand Donald Sinden looked like another film actor who might just make a fringe career,  but never be leading man material.  In some ways that was true but he did seem to carve out a long run in British Films and later Television

Joan Rice 2

ABOVE – A Day to Remember 1953 –  I notice that Joan Rice is also teamed up with her former ‘Friar Tuck’ the wonderful James Hayter

Joan Rice


ABOVE – Another scene from  ‘A Day to Remember’ 1953

These two actors were together in ‘A Day to Remember’ – indeed Joan Rice was top billed in this. Later in 1959 they were on screen together in ‘Operation Bullshine’

They also did public appearances – one of which was when the two of them visited Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

The Gaumont Cinema in Gainsborough was modernised in early-1954, reopening on 29 March 1954 with Edward G. Robinson in “The Glass Webb” and with film stars Joan Rice and Donald Sinden making personal appearances there

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Walt Disneys Love of Railways – and his vision for the future


Walt Disney was always fascinated with future technology and what it would be like and its effect on people all over the world.

By today’s standards, the technology with which Walt Disney made his name looks primitive: thousands of individual hand-drawn frames assembled into a film running at 24 frames per second.  I

n 1937, Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. his first feature-length animation which had been  widely referred to as Disney’s Folly because it seemed too ambitious to work.

They were proved very wrong on this one.

Roy and his brother Roy Disney


Walt Disney was also fascinated by trains – this must have come from his upbringing in the mid West of America. He later built a very large and elaborate railway in his garden at his home in the Holmby Hills in Hollywood.


Bill McAlpines's Railway


Bill McAlpines's Railway 2


Bill McAlpines's Railway 3

ABOVE – Bill McAlpine’s Railway with stations at Fawley Hill nr Henley on Thames – Walt Disney would have loved this


That just does reminds me of the Railway in  an English garden – at the home of the late Bill McAlpine at Fawley Hill near Henley on Thames – which my wife and I were lucky enough to visit on the occasion of an Open Day a few years ago, Wonderful day. This was on a scale that would be greeted with astonishment had you not seen it – a full size railway along with stations

Aside from pushing the filmmaking technology of his time, Walt Disney was fascinated in what future technology would be like and how it would change the lives of regular people. His most detailed predictions come from a letter he wrote in 1956.

Walt speculated that “the extension of radar and other as-yet untapped sources of cosmic force” would change everything, and in fact that is what has happened with the Internet.


We can only imagine how amazed  Walt Disney would be by the power of the smartphones we carry in our pockets, but he certainly realised that there’d be ever-increasing needs for power. 

The world’s first nuclear power plant was opened in the UK in 1956, so it makes sense that Walt would expect it to become a major power source – and it has. Our harnessing of solar power has become a very key area as a source of heating and electricity generation.

Walt Disney

As well as speculating about future tech, Walt was prepared to back this financially. Rather than just a theme park, his original plan for the Floridian Disney World was to create an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

We now know it as Epcot. Epcot was intended to be a living, working city that was a blueprint for how American cities could evolve into cleaner, safer places.


ABOVE – Disneyland



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Love in Pawn 1953 – Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly


I think I may have gone to see this as a young boy – certainly went to see a Barbara Kelly film. She had become very popular on BBC Television – that was the one and only channel then – mainly because of her regular appearances on ‘What’s My Line’ as a panellist – so someone must have had the idea of putting her in a film.

He husband Bernard Braden was nothing like as well known as his wife at this time but nonetheless he took a leading role here.

Barbara Kelly is very lively in the role

Quite a lot of  sharp quick fire dialogue from scriptwriters Frank Muir and Denis Norden.


Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly 2


Struggling bohemian artist Roger Fox (Bernard Braden) and his model wife, Jean (Barbara Kelly), live on a houseboat at Cubitt’s Yacht Basin. Fed up with the chickens that mess up his deck, there isn’t much Roger can do about moving since he’s flat broke – he’s even stopped the milk delivery.  Roger, a Canadian, has escaped from his timber baron Uncle Amos’s (Laurence Naismith) clutches for now, but soon respectability rears its ugly head again when Roger is summoned by Mr. McCutcheon (John Laurie). Uncle Amos is willing to give Roger the princely sum of £10,000  if he can prove he lives a moral life; that he lives an economically productive life, and that he has no debt – or it’s back to the lumber mill in Canada.

Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly 3

Roger, overtaken with enthusiasm to impress McCutcheon at dinner over at their houseboat, buys a too expensive dinner to cook, and finds they can’t pay for it. So Barbara comes up with the brilliant idea of pawning Roger – just for the night – to pawnbroker Albert Trusslove (Reg Dixon). Albert, wishing to get his wife, Amelia (Avice Landone), off his back, agrees to the bargain, and everyone seems to be happy – especially Albert’s sexy daughter Amber (Jean Carson), who doesn’t care if Roger is married. Soon, the situation spins out of control as the whole nation wonders if Jean will “redeem” her pawned husband.

Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly

ABOVE – Barbara Kelly and Bernard Braden – in real life they were husband and wife.

Barbara Kelly on Whats My Line

Barbara Kelly on ‘What’s My Line’  where she appeared as a panellist from 1951 to 1963 when it finished – she actually appeared in 230 editions of this show during those years.




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Shepperton Film Studios – Bonnie Prince Charlie and The Fallen Idol 1947 -48


In 1948, the book, A Film Star in Belgrave Square, was released. It was written by Bobby Henrey’s mother, Madeleine, under her husband’s name and documented the making of The Fallen Idol and Bobby’s role in it. The book contained many marvellous photographss taken during the production of the film and lots of information of great interest to anyone who was a fan of the film and wanted to know how it had been made.

One interesting snippet of information among many was that Bobby became great friends with actor David Niven, who was then making the Technicolor film Bonnie Prince Charlie on an adjoining sound stage at Shepperton Studios and, on the rare occasions when he wasn’t needed on the set of The Fallen Idol, Bobby would go across to watch David making his film.

This information has been given to me in a comment from a regular contributor David Raynor who is something of an expert on the film The Fallen Idol and particularly Bobby Henrey.   David gave me some fascinating information on his  meeting with Robert ‘Bobby’ Henrey at a re-showing of the film in Tenbury Wells a few years ago.

David was actually photographed with him and spent  a long time in conversation with him – David had supplied a lot of information to Robert at the time he was writing a book about his film making experiences.

The Film Director on The Fallen Idol was Carol Reed who was described by ace film cameraman Freddie Francis a a wonderful, kind and generous soul who seemed to convey the idea that he was day dreaming or not quite with it at times – but in fact, as Freddie said he was then working out any changes in scenes or how they would play in the film –  he had a very fluid and open mind and was able to adapt.

Carol Reed himself said that he had in mind in certain scenes how he wanted Bobby to act and what to do – but as he observed him over a few days, he noticed his natural movements and how he stood and other little quirks, so he changed the scene so that they were able to take full advantage of his naturalness.

Only once on the film did he become annoyed – this was when Bobby had completed much of a scene which finished with him running up the stairs and that was done to Carol Reed’s satisfaction but they had not quite completed the action.  Bobby’s Mother later that day, when  they had finished, took her son off to the barbers where he had a haircut.   Next day on set Carol Reed was taken aback and very annoyed that it was impossible to complete the scene because as he said you could not have Bobby running upstairs and then appearing in close up at the top with his hair suddenly cut back. It was going to cost thousands and maybe did but they had to move to other things until his hair had grown back to what it was.


Bobby Henrey wih Ralph Richardson


ABOVE – Bobby Henrey drawing with Ralph Richardson


Carol Reedwith Bobby Henrey


ABOVE Carol Reed with Bobby Henrey


Here is a small article by Bobby Henrey on his making the film :-

I was the child in the film The Fallen Idol, directed by Carol Reed and starring Ralph Richardson. It was a dark film, based on a Graham Greene story, and when it was released in 1948, it was an instant box-office success. This is a picture of me as an eight-year-old boy with Ralph, who was about 45; he’s signing autographs on set – at the spot on the steps where he pushes his wife to her death – and I’m looking at what he’s doing with intense curiosity.

I was chosen for the film when Carol Reed saw my photograph in a book my parents, who were writers, had published about our lives in France. I wasn’t an actor – but my parents thought it would be an interesting experience so they agreed. We started filming in September and it continued to the following March – so quite a long time. My memory was that it was a very professional activity – you turned up on time, dealt with everyone very civilly and then left when you were told to go home at the end of the day. So when people ask me what Ralph Richardson or Carol Reed were like and if they were nice to me, well yes they were, but they were cordial to everyone and that was it. There was quite a lot of downtime on set while they positioned cameras or changed lighting, and in that time I had a governess who would teach me. My parents didn’t think she was very good, and whether I learnt anything during that time is debatable.


David Niven Bonnie Prince Charlie 2


ABOVE – David Niven chats with Anthony Kimmins the film director.  He had mainly done comedies before this – and many were the highly successful George Formby films.


Now moving on the David Niven and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ – it was while filming at Shepperton that a young lady came in to view proceedings and knowing nothing of film studios or how they worked, proceeded to sit in David Niven’s chair. He was not initially well pleased but soon changed his tune when he looked and saw this very beautiful girl – who later became is wife – Hjordis.

They married quite quickly in January of 1948 but it did not prove to be a good marriage – they did eventually separated in 1959 although they never divorced

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Bonnie Prince Charlie 1948

This was big budget colour, lavish production for its time,  but sadly not a success.   My own view is that David Niven was woefully mis-cast as Bonnie Prince Charlie and he admitted afterwards that from the start this had the whiff of disaster all over it.


A great pity really in view of the care, not to mention money, put into it. 



Bonnie Prince Charlie 



Bonnie Prince Charlie 1


Bonnie Prince Charlie 2


Bonnie Prince Charlie 3


Bonnie Prince Charlie 4


Bonnie Prince Charlie 5


Bonnie Prince Charlie 6Bonnie Prince Charlie 7


The ABOVE ‘Front of House Stills’ from the film show just how colourful it was and give an indication of the scale of the film


To add to the Highland Film scenes which were impressive there were some clever Matte Paintings used to add to the beautiful colour photography – AS BELOW :

Bonnie Prince Charlie Matte Shot


Bonnie Prince Charlie Matte Shot 3


Legendary Film Producer Sir Alexander Korda was the person in overall charge – he was a man that David Niven said he greatly admired for what he had done – but he added that he felt sorry for him on Bonnie Prince Charlie as everything that could go wrong did go wrong. On top of this a script had not been completed and was written, at best, a couple of days ahead of filming
David Niven Bonnie Prince Charlie
ABOVE Here is David Niven in costume as Bonnie Prince Charliewith Sir Alexander Korda and Vivien Leigh
The best acting in the film is from Margaret Leighton as Flora MacDonald, the woman who hides Charles and leads him to the safety of a ship for Europe –  she is both patriotic and touching.
Jack Hawkins also had a leading role – I hadn’t realised that he was in this – probably just before he became such an important British Film Actor

One very tragic event that affected the film – Will Fyffe died on December 14 1947, after falling from a hotel bedroom window in St Andrews, Fife. He was 62 and his death happened during the filming of Bonnie Prince Charlie in which he had an important part.

His character was taken over by Morland Graham – and this meant that they had to re shoot all of Will Fyffe’s scenes.

The very next year in April 1949,  Morland Graham  died after an overdose of aspirin

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Hollywood Hobbies

Well, of course the Film Stars of the day had a life outside of acting on screen – and many had hobbies that they enjoyed and which must have given them, relaxation.

We have a few quite well known film actors below just doing their own thing

Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis beating out a rhythm on the bongo drums ABOVE

Audie Murphy plays with hsi childrens train set

Audie Murphy enjoys playing with his two sons Terry and James with their train set under the watchful eye of their Mother Pamela ABOVE


Rock Hudson


Golf addict Rock Hudson spends most of his time on the Golf Course – or on his way to it  – ABOVE


George Nader


George Nader claims that he does this best of all – relaxing in the sun on the beach –  ABOVE


Jack Mahoney


Jack Mahoney – of The Range Rider fame over here,  prefers fishing.    Here he casts a professional eye on the water –  ABOVE


Martha Hyer



Martha Hyer is an accomplished painter and apparently if she left acting could make a full time job of her other hobby – short story writing ABOVE I wouldn’t mind seeing and reading one of those stories.


Joanna Moore


Joanna Moore really can play the guitar and she can paint pictures like the one on the wall behind her. She is also musically talented – ABOVE


Tony Curtis 2


Swiss born Lilo Pulver seen here dropping in on Tony Curtis at the Universal International Studio – she has a medal for her horse riding skills – ABOVE


Jeff Chandler


Ex Art Teacher – which I did not know – Jeff Chandler keeps his hand in.   Jeff found the switch from teacher to film actor gave him the chance to do as a hobby, what he had previously done as a job – ABOVE

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Nowhere to Go 1958

This film was shown on Talking Pictures last weekend and although it is not one I knew at all I have to say I should have because this was a gripping film.

I have often been of the opinion that – certainly in those days and maybe even today – the title can sell the film – or not !!  I think this is a classic example because the title says nothing and is uninteresting – it needed  a punchy title.

Even now if you see this advertised on Talking Pictures, on the strength of the title you would not give it a second look. I must say – you would be making a mistake if you didn’t give it a look.

Nowhere to Go 1958 Nowhere to Go 1958 1

Directed expertly by Seth Holt, who co-wrote the film with critic Kenneth Tynan, the film has George Nader as an American con man in London, looking to  steal a valuable coin collection (the owner is played by former silent film star Bessie Love). His partner in crime is the quiet and yet dangerous Bernard Lee.

Maggie Smith makes her film debut as George Nader’s love interest.

Also in the cast we have Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Harry H Corbett and Andree Melly – George Melly’s sister – she did appear occasionally on ‘Whats My Line’

Later on she was a regular panellist on the Radio programme ‘Just a Minute’

Then on to the uncredited ones – and there are some quite famous names here – Glyn Houston,  Arthur Howard – pictured on he left ABOVE, Lionel Jeffries, Howard Marion Crawford and John Welsh ( second left seated in the ABOVE picture)  who a few years later was  in The Forsyte Saga


Nowhere to Go 1958 2

Nowhere to Go 1958 3


The story never seems to go in the direction you expect -its charm lies in this unpredictability. 

Nowhere to Go 1958 4

Nowhere To Go seems both authentic and believable. In the end, Paul Gregory’s self-assured cockiness is undone by surprise, deceit and suspicion.

Nowhere to Go 1958 5

Those more accustomed to seeing  Maggie Smith in her more sophisticated roles from the 1970s onwards, will be pleasantly surprised by her ability to comfortably inhabit the role of a working class girl.

Nowhere to Go 1958 6

 I have to admit that although I have been aware of  George Nader, I have  a job to remember a film that I have seen him in other than this.

Nowhere to Go 1958 7


    Nowhere to Go 1958 8

Both Bessie Love and Bernard Lee provide strong supporting roles.

This is a film that is quite gripping from start to finish.

Paul Beeson’s wonderful cinematography helps make it and is an important factor here.

“Nowhere to go” is the first film directed by Seth Holt who also wrote it – sadly he didn’t write any more. What a shame that was !!


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Richard Todd – Born 100 Years ago today

 RICHARD TODD – Born 100 Years ago today

One of our most popular film stars of the 1950s both here and in the USA was Richard Todd – he was born in Ireland on 11 June 1919.

He had gone into acting before the War but it was in the late Forties that he got his film break and  in only his second film ‘The Hasty Heart’ he won acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic.

He followed this with the Walt Disney Films ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’  which was the first and most memorable of the three.

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952

He had by then accepted a one-a-year film contract with 20th Century Fox in America  which proved very beneficial for him.

Richard Todd with Barnes Wallis


Here he is ABOVE – with Barnes Wallis at the screening of The Dam Busters – in one of his most famous roles as Guy Gibson

He lived for much of his later life in Lincolnshre, Nr Grantham – with his wife Virginia and two sons.

As we remember D Day only a few days ago, it has to be remembered that he was the first paratrooper of the invasion force,  to land in Normandy close to Pegasus Bridge which he was involved in taking and holding under the command of Major John Howard.

His film heroics a few years later didn’t come nowhere near what he had done at that time.

We should all raise a glass to him this evening ‘ Happy Birthday, Richard Todd’


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