Archive for October, 2021

The Ritz Cinema Keighley

I have just been re-reading an earlier article I did about the late, great Gerald Parkes – Cinema Owner, Entrepeneur and a man with an unrivalled knowledge of films and the cinema over many decades.

Gerald Parkes

He became one of the youngest Cinema Managers in 1969 at the Ritz Cinema in Keighley

THIS view of Keighley’s Ritz Cinema can be dated to a week in mid-April of 1952 when it ran the “best film of the year”, the Academy Award-winning An American in Paris, starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, with music by George and Ira Gershwin.

A special showing was put on for Easter Monday, starting at 10.40 in the morning.

The Ritz opened in 1938 and the first Film shown was the classic ‘Lost Horizon’ with Ronald Colman

Seating 1,526 and provided with a Compton 3Manual/5Rank organ and small variety stage the Ritz Cinema was the most luxurious theatre in the area and it even had the facility of a café-restaurant which seated 100. It was designed by the well respected firm of Verity & Beverley with Sam Beverley acting as the chief architect for the scheme.

It was renamed ABC on 30th July 1971 and showed its last film on 2nd February 1974

A stage and dressing rooms were intended for variety shows. Indeed, the Ritz would later accommodate productions of the Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

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Red Mountain 1951

A Good Western which I remember seeing at the Cinema as a child with by Mother and Father. My Mother loved the cinema as I do.

I can remember the last scenes of this film well.

It was in Technicolor and this was – and remains – impressive.

This is one of Alan Ladd’s lesser known and seldom-seen Westerns, a Civil War story with an excellent cast.  Alan Ladd plays Brett Sherwood, a captain from Georgia who has gone West in April 1865 to Colorado Territory to meet up with “Gen.” William Quantrell. 

The opening scene shows the legs of a person in the town of Broken Branch dismounting and killing an assayer, hiding his identity.  Since a rare form of Confederate ammunition was used, the locals figure that former Confederate soldier Lane Waldron (Arthur Kennedy), paroled after he was captured at Vicksburg, is responsible.

Lizabeth Scott was the female lead in this – her first Western. She was looking formard to starting filming but things didn’t quite live up to expectations. The very first day on location near Gallup New Mexico, the temperature was below zero and while the two male stars were quite well wrapped up, she had to appear in just a western shirt and slit skirt.

A few days later she slipped on a rock and injured her knee and that same afternoon she cut her hand during a scuffle and then to add insult to injury, she later fell in a clump of cactus.

She thought things would improve once they got back to Hollywood for the Studio scenes at Paramount but the director supervised a scene where Jeff Cory had to strike her after she rejected his advances. This called for quite a few re-takes before they were deemed to have success – so a painful time.

After the scene was completed Alan Ladd, who had been looking on asked ‘ How do you like Westerns, Liz ? To which she replied that this was her first and last one – and then said that if she gets any more Western scripts, she will just send them on to Dale Evans.

The final scenes

ABOVE – A tense scene

ABOVE – Alan Ladd with Lizabeth Scott – and BELOW she is with Arthur Kennedy.

She looks very serious in each picture.

ABOVE – That looks like Jay Silverheels – and it is. This was 1951 so he was shortly afterwards to star in ‘The Lone Ranger’ series that made him famous

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The Moment of Truth 1955 and Other Television Dramas

I am drawn to this, not from a memory I have but on reading an old Radio Times from 4 March 1955 what struck me was the cast which included Peter Ustinov – who had written the play – Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance, Janette Sterke, Hugh Griffith, Walter Rilla and a number of others – almost like a Who’s Who of Film and TV actors of the day

Peter Ustinov and Janette Sterke

This Television version starring Peter Ustinov must have been the first one to be done after 1951 – I don’t think that this survives as it would be just before TeleRecording began

First produced in 1951, The Moment of Truth saw Peter Ustinov drawing on recent history, presenting a situation not unlike that of France in 1940 facing imminent defeat by German forces.

In 1939 the French government then recalled Maréchal Pétain from retirement, a hero to the French because of his military leadership in World War One, and brought him into the government, making him Prime Minister just before the signing of an armistice with Germany and the creation of Vichy France.

However, this play is set in an un-named republic and takes a satirical approach to the situation but the comic edge does not blunt the seriousness of Peter Ustinov’s drama which must have been drawn from recent history of the time.

The Cast is impressive

BELOW – and a decade later, Kenneth More and Janet Suzman star in ‘Lord Raingo’

Joss Ackland, Joseph O’Conor and Kenneth More

In this production from Arnold Bennett’s book Kenneth More plays Sam Raingo a typical North Country business tycoon and newspaper owner who has a heart condition. The year is 1918 and the Prime Minister in office is Andy Clyth ( Joseph O’Conor ) a long time enemy of Sam.

Sam is bored with his squire-type life in Essex and his cold wife played by Sarah Churchill – and he is involved elsewhere anyway. His mistress Janet Susman is unhappy with the situation.

Sarah Churchill

Over a decade BBC Television gave us some really big productions. ‘Lord Raingo’ must have been just before ‘Ther Forsyte Saga’ but in the same year.

Kenneth More was in that too.

He later, of course, played Father Brown in a TV series that had just thirteen episodes – that was for ITV in 1974

Kenneth More as Father Brown in ‘The Hammer of God’

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Kenilworth – a BBC Serial from 1957

This was another of the BBC’s excellent six part dramatisations from the early days of Television – if fact Episode One was transmitted – probably ‘live’ – at 9 pm on Friday 8th February 1957

ABOVE – Robin Bailey as Robert Dudley, Earl of Lancaster and Ann Firbank as Amy Robsart – his ‘secret’ wife in the story

Others in the cats were Paul Eddington and Arthur Brough – who we all remember on the long running ‘Are You Being Served’

Margaret Tyzack – almost a decade before ‘The Forsyte Saga’ played Janet.

Ann Firbank in The Soldiers Fortune a West End play ABOVE

The action for the first episode – Kenilworth – takes place at Lidcote Hall, Devon and at Cumnor Nr Oxford in 1571

In a later episode Elizabeth I, Queen of England was played by Maxine Audley – and I remember her in this role but hadn’t realised it was in ‘Kenilworth’

British Actress Maxine Audley was born Maxine Hecht on 29th April, 1923 in London, England, UK and passed away on 23rd Jul 1992 London, England, UK aged 69.

A decade later in 1967, Maxine Audley played Miss Havisham in a BBC serial dramatisation of ‘Great Expectations’ – I didn’t know that until I looked further into her career.

‘Kenilworth’ may well have been transmitted before the days of tele-recording so nothing remains of it – but it does sound like a pretty good serial – the BBC normally made a good job of this type of historical drama and I would guess that this was no exception

My memory, as mentioned, is probably only of Maxine Audley as Elizabeth 1 – Queen of England and maybe that could only have come from this adaptation – so maybe I saw it

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No Time to Die – Daniel Craig

This is hardly a film of the fifties era but nevertheless I have decided to include it – it is a film to see on the big screen much as we all did in that decade

No Time to Die’ is a real treat for Film Fans the World over – not only as a Bond film, but as an action packed blockbuster. It is beautifully shot and wonderful visually. The Hans Zimmer score is just the best

No Time to Die’ is well acted, the pacing is good, there’s a fair amount of thrilling edge-of-your seat moments and the locations are varied and impressive on the big screen

It is also emotional and bold – just take a look at the trailer ABOVE

The team behind this last Bond film should be very pleased

In his five-star review of the film, Kevin Maher of The Times said: “It’s better than good. It’s magnificent.

“Daniel Craig is a towering charismatic presence from opening frame to closing shot, and he bows out in terrific, soulful, style.”

We can expect thrills galore – and we will not be disappointed.

Cars seem to be an important part of any Bond film and it looks as though the Aston Martin DB5 is back in action ABOVE.

BELOW:

A Land Rover Defender looks to have come to a sticky end so James Bond tries his hand on a Motor Bike. He seems to be able to everything

BELOW – Another astonishing crash on a Scottish Lochside

Car Chases, Car Crashes in spectacular fashion

ABOVE – The famous Aston Martin DB5 lookin a little the worse for wear

The Prince of Wales took a trip to Pinewood Studios on Thursday 20 June 2019 -over two years ago – to visit the set of the 25th instalment of the suave spy franchise, where he met with lead actor Daniel Craig as well as Ralph Fiennes, who plays M.

Prince Charles also met with actresses Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch, as he watched scenes being filmed.

The visit from Prince Charles came just days after Daniel Craig returned to filming after injuring his ankle after he slipped whilst shooting a running scene for the action blockbuster on location in Jamaica.

I mention the above because it just goes to underline how long this film has taken to some to the screen – it was originally scheduled for release at the end of 2019 and then put back to April 2020.

However events in the shape of Covid intervened.

It seems though that such a delay has not dampened the public’s eagerness to see the film – and they are not disappointed

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