Archive for May, 2022

Bobby Henrey at the London Film Premiere of ‘The Third Man’

Here is an interesting and very rare photograph I have of child star Bobby Henrey – fresh from the success of ‘The Fallen Idol’ chatting with Sir Philip Warter, Chairman of ABC with his wife and daughter.

The picture was taken at the London Premiere of ‘The Third Man’ in September 1949 at The Plaza in The Haymarket

The World Premiere was actually held at the Ritz Cinema in Hastings on 1st September 1949, a few days before the London one – in the evening. Hastings might seem an odd location, but it was chosen by the distributors, British Lion who were experimenting at the time with the idea of having premieres shown in regional cinemas away from London.

Bobby Henrey didn’t stay on long in films – but he did appear as himself a few years later in a 1962 ‘This is Your Life’ BBC programme – the subject being Dora Bryan who had appeared with him in ‘The Fallen Idol– SEE BELOW

Eamon Andrews, Bobby Henrey and Dora Bryan

Back to ‘The Third Man’ – The crowds certainly turned out for this film

I have also just come across the photograph BELOW – must have been around the same time as the film showing is ‘Trottie True’

ABOVE – London in 1949 – the film ‘Trottie True’ was showing and that was also released in September of that year

As we are in London’s Theatre Land – actually Cinema Land – I couldn’t help but include the one below from September 1956 – not that long afterwards but it seems somehow an eternity away from 1949 – The Rock n Roll revolution had just begun – at the London Pavilion

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Harry Black 1958

Harry Black was made on location in India and was a very good production that should have fared much better at the Box Office.

Lord Brabourne, after he left the forces, went into Film Production and this film was his first venture in his own right.

After demob, he had gone to work for film producer Herbert Wilcox and met a newly demobbed third assistant director, Richard Goodwin. They were to set up their own company, and the first film Lord Brabourne produced was Harry Black and the Tiger, starring Stewart Granger.

Stewart Granger with Barbara Rush
Anthony Steel
I S Johar

A tiger is on the prowl in a remote corner of India and the government have contracted white hunter Stewart Granger for the job of killing it.

The job gets personal with Stewart Granger when he discovers the that tiger is in the vicinity of a tea plantation run by Anthony Steel and his wife Barbara Rush who’s always had a thing for Granger – which complicates things.

There are some flashback sequences telling how the three main players have arrived to the point they are now. Steel did not go through with his part of an escape plan during World War II and as a result Granger lost a leg. Both men are in love with Barbara Rush, but Granger bowed out and now fate has conspired to cast them together again.

Anthony Steel proved to be weak and cowardly during the war, but now Granger questions his own fitness for the job especially after getting mauled by the tiger but he has become obsessed with killing the beast

Stewart Granger looks the part, very much as he did in such a big hit in King Solomon’s Mines.

Later on he did a film called The Last Safari in the Sixties and it was not a success – Stewart Granger said years later that he was in one of the best films ever made in Africa which was ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and the worst made in Africa which was ‘The Last Safari’. Victor Mature was in a very good one in Africa called ‘Safari’ in the early sixties.

In this film look for I.S. Johar and Kamala Devi as Stewart Granger’s guide and his Indian nurse when he is recovering from his encounter with the tiger. I S Johar also appeared with Kenneth More in ‘North West Frontier’ in 1959
and very good he was.
Director: Hugo Fregonese Writers: Sydney Boehm, David Walker (novel)   Stars: Stewart Granger, Barbara Rush, Anthony Steel, I.S. Johar, Martin Stephens, Frank Olegario, Kamala Devi
BAFTA Awards 1959
Nominee
Best British Actor
I.S. Johar
The book was published in 1956. The New York Times called it “a most intelligent novel”. Film rights were purchased by 20th Century Fox. Lord Bradbourne was assigned to produce, in part because he was son-in-law of Lord Mountbatten, former viceroy of India, and thus had many contacts in the country.
I. S. Johar, the well-known producer, writer and director of Indian independent films, made his American acting debut in this picture.
Stewart Granger and Barbara Rush

Barbara Rush had not long divorced her first husband Jeffrey Hunter when she journeyed to London and then to India for this film.

In February 1958 she set off to Mysore, India, for the filming of Harry Black. She stopped over in Bombay and was the guest of honour of a film magnate there who presented her with 17 saris, a different one to wear each night – and then in May 1958 she met Indian Prime Minister Mr Nehru

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Valentine Dyall as Dr Morelle

This film dates back to 1949 and was made at the Studios of Exclusive Films. An early Hammer Film with quite a meagre budget – the Dr Morelle stories had been broadcast as plays on BBC Radio in the War years and afterwards – and that had been very successful.

It was hoped that a film version would capitalise on that but, like Dick Barton Special Agent the public preferred it on Radio.

In the case of Dick Barton, it was mainly because the actors chosen just did not fit the public’s perception of how they looked at all. When we listen to an Audio Drama – as I frequently do – we see the characters in our minds very clearly.

I always remember someone telling me that when asked why they liked Radio Drama – the answer came back ‘because the scenery is better’

I know what they mean.

Valentine Dyall had done a lot of Radio work – in fact that is where he is probably best known – as the ‘The Man in Black’

A Hammer – Edward G, Whiting production released by Exclusive Films. 
Ernest Dudleys famous character of “Monday Night at Eight”. Adapted from a play by Wilfred Burr. 
Recorded by United Programmes 


Black & White 73 minutes

Valentine Dyall as Dr Morelle
Julia Lang as Miss Frayle

Heiress Cynthia Mason disappears in mysterious circumstances just as she is about to come into her inheritance and elope with her boyfriend, Peter Lorimer. Worried by her disappearance, her friend Miss Frayle, who is also assistant to amateur detective Doctor Morelle, takes it upon herself to investigate.
Masquerading as a housemaid, Miss Frayle travels to Cynthia’s remote West Country mansion home, where she encounters her friend’s intimidating, wheelchair-bound stepfather, Mr Kimber.
Miss Frayle soon finds herself out of her depth and, when Bensall, the butler, is murdered and she finds her own life to be in danger, she makes a desperate telephone call to her boss, Doctor Morelle, begging him for help 

The Above Picture is of ‘this magnificent building set in it’s own beautiful grounds that has just become the home of production activity lined up for Exclusive Films’ – that was the 1949 caption from one of the first rate Cinema Magazines of the day. It is Oakley Court, Near Windsor.

Interestingly Valentine Dyall worked there on a film shortly after this – a role he was famous for – the film was ‘The Man in Black’

However this Dr Morelle film was mainly shot around Cookham – more towards Henley on Thames.

This film is based on stories written by Ernest Dudley. It was a long-running series, initially starring Dennis Arundell in Wartime years and afterwards – it was very popular. In the 1950s, the role was taken by Cecil Parker with Sheila Sim as Miss Frayle.

There were also short stories, and even a stage play. In fact BELOW we can see a programme from the 1950 stage play at the theatre in Kew with Dennis Arundell as Dr Morelle and Jane Grahame as Miss Frayle. I would think that was a good one to see – I have not heard of any Dr Morelle stage productions.

Jane Grahame was actually the wife of Ernest Dudley the creator and writer of the Dr Morelle stories. She was also the original Miss Frayle in the Radio series – the same role as she had in this stage production

I really wish that the Dr Morelle stories could be done again on Radio or Television – I think they could prove entertaining and draw a good audience.

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Tarzan’s Savage Fury at the Scala Cinema Worcester

This was in the summer of 1952

As we celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne, in her very first year we can look back, in Cinema terms, and see just how much things have changed. During the summer ‘Tarzan’s Savage Fury’ with Lex Barker was released and just look at the queues – incredible. This was at the Scala Cinema in Worcester. It strikes me that if this film were to be put on again in a leading cinema today, maybe you would have a job to sell even a few seats – but just look at this in 1952.

I remember Peter Haigh reviewing this film and we saw clips from it on the small TV screen we had – in fact the type we all had. It looked very exciting and in those days, with only the one channel, such a promotion there would give a great boost to the film – as it did in Worcester.

Sol Lesser’s ‘Tarzan’s Savage Fury’ which stars Lex Barker is proving one of the most successful of all the Edgar Rice Burroughs series. Currently on RKO Radio Release, the film is gaining much added publicity via the ‘live trailer’ of a ‘Tarzan and Jane’ on tour. The players are seen on the canopy of the Scala, Worcester, where great queues line the Theatre. Their appearance received front page prominence in the Worcester Evening News and Times

Above – I have tried to close in on this picture above – not entirely successfully but enough to see the look-alike Tarzan and Jane on the Balcony.

The Scala Cinema (1922-1973) was previously a theatre, it opened as a cinema on 27th November 1922 and was the first cinema in Worcester to have CinemaScope installed in 1954.

Back to the film – 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

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

Dorothy Hart

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 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.

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. 

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 film star Jill Adams.

Interestingly Cy Endfield directed this film – the very last one he did in the USA before he was black-listed for allegedly – and wrongly – being a Communist party member. He then came to England and a few years later had some success with ‘Hell Drivers’ and then came the big one for him – he wrote the screenplay, Produced the Film and Directed it – it was ‘Zulu’

He died in England where he and his family had made their home – in the Cotswold Area.

Cy Endfield directing a scene in ‘Zulu’

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Peter Bull

I have to start by writing about a particular pub in Mayfair which I used to frequent quite a few years ago when I worked in an Office in Grosvenor Street just around the corner from The Iron Duke on Street.

This has come back into my mind because I am attending a business forum meeting next week at this very pub.

Now to Peter Bull – the subject of this article. He was the only famous actor who I ever saw in my years down there working and it was in this Pub that I stopped for a quick half on my way home and he was sitting there chatting to his friends. Even then in that relaxed pose, he seemed larger than life and quite theatrical as you would expect

Peter Bull pictured above as the German Captain in ‘The African Queen’

Peter Bull has had a long career as an actor, notably in plays such as Luther and Waiting for Godot. He has also made several forays into theatrical management as well as appearing many films including an early visit to Hollywood.

He had become a friend of Robert Morley after they appeared in stage productions in the West Country together before the War and when Robert got a part in ‘Marie Antoinette’ in Hollywood which was a big budget film released in 1938. Peter went along to Hollywood and got himself a small role which he claimed was cut when the film was released – I am not sure that it was

He had a very distinguished career in the Royal Navy and became Captain of his own ship and saw action

He survived though and came back into Civvy Street and back into the Theatre putting on his own productions

By his own admission, these were not always successful but he did have some very good shows which went on tour throughout the UK.

He is seen above in a much later film with Fiona Fullerton as Alice in 1972 – he was quite scary as the Queen of Heartsas this still from the film shows.

He periodically appeared in films – well quite regularly really – but his focus and interest lay more with the Theatre, I think.

He had a long fascination with Teddy Bears and had a collection of around 250 at his London home but he said that they were not all in the living room – quite a lot of them lived in the hallway.

Peter Bull with his Teddy Bear Collection, 1973

I always liked Peter Bull – he seemed to be a real character and something of a ‘one-off’

His appearance as the Queen of Hearts I found quite disconcerting and frightening

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The Chiltern Hundreds 1949 made at Denham

I have just watch this film on Talking Pictures and really loved it. In the Credits at the end was the caption ‘made at Denham Film Studios’ so this made it extra good for me as I loved those Studios.

One thing that struck me was the sheer size of some of the sets which was a hallmark of the Denham Films as they were able to make use of the huge sound stages there.

ABOVE: Helen Backlin and David Tomlinson, co-stars in the 1949 British film ‘The Chiltern Hundreds’, do some ride-sharing around the Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire

However local locations were used for some of the exterior Scenes – and they were mainly around Denham Village and Denham Railway Station – however the bottom one which was the large stately home in the film was actually filmed at St Osyth’s Priory Nr Clacton On Sea as it’s location.

Denham Station
Denham Station
At Denham Station again
At Denham Station
A Cottage in Denham Village
Again at Denham Station
This picture of a scene filmed at St Osyth’s Priory Nr Clacton On Sea
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