Archive for July, 2022

The Bullying of Joan Rice

Yes – this is a hard hitting title I know but this is very much what I think when it comes to discussing the making of ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ at Denham Film Studios in the summer of 1951

ABOVE – The Lovely Joan Rice in ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ 1952
Joan Rice with Dirk Bogarde in an earlier film – I am sure that he was very good to her and helped her along

It is well documented that Richard Todd and Ken Annakin did not respect Joan Rice as an actress and this is confirmed in a number of interviews Richard Todd gave – he said ‘She wasn’t an actress at all’ and impled that she was out of her depth.

Ken Annakin in his Autobiography states that she was poor and accident prone and much more.

He says that Joan Rice was ‘ a cross he had to bear’ and that she was ‘dumb and accident prone’ and he describes her ‘going off crying again’ following insults thrown at her by one of the crew.

He then says that Walt Disney visited the set and had his picture taken with a few of the actors and some with Joan Rice on the Archery set – and he declared that he had made the right choice in casting her as Maid Marian. Ken Annakin said that he and others , Richard Todd no doubt, did not agree with him and thought he could have done better

Walt Disney shares a picnic with Richard Todd and Joan Rice

During the filming Joan had said amid tears that ‘if she wasn’t good enough then she would go back to being a waitress’ – however she had one very powerful ally in Walt Disney who chose her – in my view for her looks and how she fitted his own picture of Maid Marian. He was right – the public loved her in this role and still do

Ken Annakin says, again in his Autobiography, that he recalls one incident where one of the crew – an electrician – was walking past him and Joan Rice as Ken Annakin was going through her lines with her and the crew member in a loud whisper said ‘ She’s nothing but a big soft milk tart, Governor. Big boobs and and no drawers’. This again made Joan run off and cry until she was persuaded to come back.

This should never have been allowed and the crew member should have been reprimanded but the culture was such that this type of offensive behaviour to a very young girl was just let go,

What makes it even more galling for me is that Richard Todd had recommended James Robertson Justice for Little John – but here was someone who was not trained as an actor – and in fact was a fantasist and story teller on a grand scale – who seemed to get through each role by shouting his lines. He had a terrible Scots accent in Rob Roy although he claimed to be Scottish and born on the Isle of Skye which he wasn’t.

To add insult to injury Ken Annakin also in his Autobiography – says how well he got on with James Robertson Justice who, he said was ‘larger than life’ and always entertaining. In fairness to him, James would not have been pushed around and treated badly by Ken Annakin and Richard Toddas Joan Rice was.

James Robertson Justice was a former public schoolboy as was Richard Todd, and as such had that confidence which Joan Rice with her poor upbringing did not.

It has also to be remembered that in the summer of 1951 when the film was made, Joan Rice was only 20 years old

Ken Annakin

Ken Annakin and Richard Todd I am sure looked down on her maybe because of this and treated her with disdain throughout the filming – maybe Ken Annakin, to be fair, was better to her than Richard Todd.

Richard Todd had nothing to do with her after the film was finished – he could have helped her but didn’t.

I sometimes think that if a different actress had been given the role – and I am pleased that they weren’t – she would have stood up to Mr Todd or maybe if Joan Rice had been a little older she would have.

Joan Rice was cruelly treated in the making of ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ by these two

Joan Rice went on to make ‘His Majesty O Keefe’ with Burt Lancaster out in Fiji and I hope that she was treated better there. It was another ‘big’ film.

Before she was cast in this film, Diana Dors had been approached for ‘His Majesty O Keefe’ but did not get the part – If Diana had worked with Ken Annakin and Richard Todd, she would have more than competed with them. She would have stood up to them

I did write this in an earlier post :-

Richard Todd said in a recent BBC radio interview that Joan Rice wasn’t really an actress although she was a very lovely girl. He also said that he didn’t know why Walt Disney and others had chosen her. In fact in Ken Annakin’s autobiography (and he directed the film) he states that Joan Rice was the choice of Walt Disney himself and Walt insisted she was in, having seen previous rushes of her films. He was absolutely right of course. She looked the part and acted pretty well – so much so that she got a major part in His Majesty O’Keefe opposite Burt Lancaster next.
Walt Disney knew what the public wanted instinctively. Joan Rice IS Maid Marian!!!

I wish Walt Disney had been around much more for the filming – he would not have allowed the bullying of this lovely young girl who was just making her way in the film world – and this one was about as big a film as you could get at the time.

1951 Walt Disney and Director Ken Annakin on the set of the film “Robin Hood” at Denham Film Studios
posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

The Last Page 1952

George Brent came over from Hollywood for this one and it also starred a young Diana Dors

Above – George Brent with a smile on his face – he always seemed so serious in the films I saw him in – as he was in this one.

I watched this film a week or more ago – very good. Diana Dors looked glamorous and acted extremely well in one of her early film roles.

George Brent, at this point, was very much towards the end of his film career – it was mostly television after this.

He plays John Harman, manager of a British bookstore. Jeffrey (Peter Reynolds) starts to steal a book but is caught by Ruby (Diana Dors). Seems strange but after she catches him in the act, he somehow turns the tables on her, and charms her into accepting a date which leads her into a murky world of nastiness, blackmail, even death.

Ruby becomes embroiled in a plot to blackmail her boss ( George Brent) and this leads to murder.

George Brent with Diana Dors in an early scene

There is quite an exciting end to the film – which is one well worth viewing.

ABOVE: The Book Shop

George Brent with Diana Dors

George Brent here with fellow American star Marguerite Chapman both over here for this film. She plays another employee at the Book Shop but also a good friend of George Brent and his wife. She does everything to try to help in the blackmail dilemma – she also seems to show a love for George Brent. She had quite a big part and was very good.

ABOVE – Raymond Huntley plays a senior employee at the Book Shop and now is trying to help

George Brent makes a dash for it !

Produced by Hammer Films, and Directed by Terence Fisher, who was more famous for directing many of the horror films for Hammer later on.

Dracula, The Mummy and The Curse of Frankenstein are three of the early – and most well known and best – ones.

The Film Trailer BELOW is exciting and gives a strong taste of what is to come – A very good trailer :

This was under the film’s other title ‘Man Bait’ which I don’t like.

The Front Page’ is much better

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

Filming ‘North By North West’

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North By North West’ was released in 1959

At Mount Rushmore

Cary Grant plays an ad-man caught up in international espionage in 1959’s North By Northwest 

This is a Studio S3et at MGM Studios in Hollywood for the rear projection shot
ABOVE – That same set – In Colour

ABOVE – Cary Grant watches, as does Director Alfred Hitchcock as the plane sequence is being filmed on location

The crop duster scene from ‘North by Northwest’ was filmed along Highway 41 in downstate Indiana.

Hitchcock’s 1959 suspense thriller “North by Northwest” is one of those must-see films

BELOW – Later in the film – in fact the climatic sequence partly filmed on this large and impressive Studio set.

A convincing set for the final film sequence
Decorative orange line in page layout

The Sets from “North by Northwest”

North by Northwest movie opening titles MGM Pictures

Old Westbury Gardens

Townsend estate exterior

Cary Grant is a successful Madison Avenue ad man named Roger Thornhill, whose life gets turned upside down when he gets mistaken for an undercover CIA agent. He’s first taken to this large estate on Long Island.

The estate where they filmed the exteriors for those scenes is Old Westbury Gardens, which is on the North Shore of Long Island in New York.

The interiors shown in the movie were sets built on a separate soundstage.

Townsend entry hall 2
When Thornhill gets locked in the library, he quips:
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll catch up on my reading.”
A living room filled with furniture and a fireplace

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman says Grant was a perfectionist who often complained about various parts of the script or the way things were being filmed and lobbied to get them changed.

North by Northwest turned out to be Grant’s biggest box-office success.

Cary Grant inside Townsend library

Scenes at the U.N.

UN exterior in North by Northwest
Hitchcock wasn’t allowed to film outside the U.N. so they “stole” a shot of Cary Grant walking in.
The people walking around in the shot didn’t know they were being filmed.
The interior of the U.N. was just a matte painting:
UN interior painting

The actual matte painting:

U.N. matte painting on display

Mount Rushmore

cars parked in lot below Mount Rushmore

The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman.

Hitchcock told him, “I always wanted to do a chase scene across the faces of Mt. Rushmore,” and that was the starting point for the movie.

Lehman recalled, “I wanted to write the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures. I wanted something that had wit, sophistication, glamour, action, and lots of changes of locale.”

After word got out that there would be a fight scene and a couple of deaths on the monument, government officials barred them from filming there.

The crew flew back to Hollywood, where Mount Rushmore had to be recreated at MGM.

Mt Rushmore park bldg 1
Mt Rushmore park bldg 2
Mt Rushmore-park building goof

The Vandamm House on Mount Rushmore

North by Northwest Hitchcock movie Vandamm house 3
ABOVE – Cary Grant at the house – a Matte Shot

In the film this house is known as “The Vandamm House” after James Mason’s character, Phillip Vandamm.

exterior of Modernist Vandamm House in North-by-Northwest Movie
The House does not exist and was an excellent Matte Shot
North by Northwest Hitchcock movie Vandamm house 2

The MGM researchers had to get special permits and Park Service escorts just to visit the area in order to photograph and measure it.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Leslie Howard – Gone With The Wind

???? ??? ? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???????. ?? ???, ?? ??????, ??? ???? that ?????? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ??????. ?? ???? ???????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ????????? ????? ?? ?????.

?????? ???????, ? ?????? ??? ?? ????????? ???????, ???? ?? ??????, ????? ???? ? ??????????? ???? ?? ???? ??????. We all ???? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ??????, ??? ????? ?? ???? ???????? ???????, “??????, ??????…” ?? ??? ??????? ? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ? ??????????, ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????????? ??? ?? ???? ???????.

?????? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????, ?????? ??? ??? ???????? ??? ?????????? ????????? ?? ????u? ?? ??????? ??? ????????? ????-???? ?????????? ????? ??? ??? ??????? ??????????. ???? ???? ?????? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ?????????? ?? ???????, ??? ?????????? ???? ?? ?????? ????????, ??? ?????? ?????????? ????????.

?? ???? ?, ????, ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???, ? ???????? ???????? ?????? ???? ??????? ???????? ?? ???????. ?? ?????? ?????????, ???? ???????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ????? ?????????. ?? ???? ???, ???????, ??? ??????? ?? ?? ???????? ???????? ??? ?????ce???? ??????? ??-?, ??????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ??????? ??? ??????.

??? ?? ??????? ??? ???????, ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????. ???? ?????????? ??????? ?? ??? ???????? ???????? ??????? ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ??? ????????? ?? ??? ????? ?? this famous film star. ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ??, ? ?????????, ??? ??? ????? ???????? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ??????? ?? ????.

Leslie’s son Ronald Howard himself a film actor with many roles to his credit, wrote a book about his father and this included much detail of his father’s death

Leslie Howard his Wife Ruth and son Ronald

Leslie Howard had a younger brother Arthur who became a popular TV actor when he worked as side-kick to Professor Jimmy Edwards in the long running series ‘Whack O ‘

This is the article I did some time ago – and is repeated BELOW

Arthur Howard – Wacko and the film ‘Bottoms Up’

His famous actor brother Leslie Howard was about 20 years older than the character actor Arthur Howard who had his greatest success on television when he played the role of the deputy headmaster Pettigrew to Jimmy Edwards’s  incompetent head in Whack-O! in the late 1950s.

For many years Athur Howard had brightened the cinema screen with a series of cameos (often uncredited), specialising in nervousl type teachers, vicars or “men from the ministry”.

Though a distinct family resemblance was apparent, he lacked the finely chiselled features that made a matinee idol of his brother, and leading men or his nephew Ronald or his son Alan.

Born Arthur Stainer in 1910, he made his screen debut in one of his brother’s films, The Lady is Willing (1933), the first film to be made by Columbia’s British studio but, despite a script by Guy Bolton, the film was a failure. He did not make another film until 1947, when his role as a town hall clerk issuing ration books and identity cards in Frieda started a long and active period as a supporting player, contributing telling cameos to some of the best comedies of the era including The Man in the White Suit (1951), Laughter in Paradise (1952) and The Belles of St Trinian’s (1954).

Arthur Howard in Passport to Pimlico (1949)(left)

ABOVE – In Passport to Pimlico 1949

Arthur Howard

ABOVE – Arthur Howard a signed picture

In Henry Cornelius’s classic Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico (1949) he was a councillor in favour of selling wasteland to prospectors rather than accept Stanley Holloway’s plans for a playground, and in Frank Launder’s hilarious The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), in which a girls’ school is unwittingly billeted with a boys’, he was the distracted science master barely aware of the chaos being generated around him.

He was a butler in both David Lean’s The Passionate Friends (1948) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright (1950) and in Sidney Gilliat’s atmospheric story of life in a London boarding house London Belongs to Me (1948) he was the head of the “South London Psychical Society”, offering lobster-paste sandwiches to members before a seance.

In Lewis Gilbert’s Cosh Boy (1952), controversial in its day for its depiction of juvenile crime, he was the registrar who marries the delinquent’s widowed mother to the man who brings discipline to the boy’s life.

Arthur Howard

Whack-O!, which started on radio before achieving its very suddessful run on television (1956-60), made him a household name as the none-too-bright assistant to Jimmy Edwards’s conniving and often inebriated headmaster.

Written by Frank Muir and Dennis Norden, the series became a feature film, Bottoms Up!, in 1960 with Athur Howard in his original role, though when the series was revived on television in 1971 Julian Orchard played Pettigrew.

Arthur Howard

Other television appearances included guest spots on George and Mildred, Robin’s Nest, Ever Decreasing Circles, Happy Ever After, Never the Twain, The Eric Sykes Show and, as Professor Plum, the children’s series Plum’s Pots and Pans.

Arthur Howard played in a season of Crossroads, in 1984, and appeared last year in “The Last Englishman”, an episode of Heroes and Villains.

His stage work included classics (the Duke of York in Richard II at the Ludlow Festival: Love for Love at the Bristol Old Vic, the Earl of Caversham in An Ideal Husband at Greenwich) and modern farce (several years in No Sex, Please, We’re British). His later films included Moonraker (1979) and Another Country (1984); his last screen appearance was in Tristram Powell’s American Friends (1990).

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Johnny and Lupe Velez

Well here is an actor who requires no introduction – his name is firmly among the top icons of the film star world

Here Johnny is pictured with his wife at the time Lupe Velez – she looks very attractive

Lupe Velez , Mexican actress with her husband , Johnny ( Tarzan ) Weismuller at Paddington Station , London 5 October 1934 – England

We all know about Johnny Weissmuller’s astonishing life from an Olympic Gold Medallist to Films with MGM the top Studio, as Tarzan, then Jungle Jim on film then to Television – the successful film career lasting around 25 years. On top of this were the many water show displays all over the USA

Much less is known of Lupe Velez, Johnny’s wife from 1933 to 1939.

Prior to this she had dated Errol Flynn

Lupe Velez

In 1924, Lupe Velez started that career on the Mexican stage

By 1927 she had emigrated to Hollywood, where she was discovered by Hal Roach, who cast her in a comedy with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Douglas Fairbanks cast her in his feature film, “The Gaucho” (1927), with himself and wife Mary Pickford.

Lupe played dramatic roles for five years before she switched to comedy. In 1933 she played the lead role of Pepper in “Hot Pepper” (1933). This film showcased her comedic talents and helped her to show the world her vital personality.

In 1934 Lupe appeared in three fine comedies: “Strictly Dynamite” (1934), “Palooka” (1934) and “Laughing Boy” (1934). By now her popularity was such that a series of “Mexican Spitfire” films were written around her. She portrayed Carmelita Lindsay in “Mexican Spitfire” (1940), “Mexican Spitfire Out West” (1940), “The Mexican Spitfire’s Baby” (1941) and “Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event” (1943), among others.

Her love life was a disaster: she never recovered from her failed romance with Gary Cooper, who never wanted to marry her.

She was married to Johnny Weissmuller, but they divorced after five years.

Lupe Vélez’s death was recounted in the 1959 book “Hollywood Babylon” by Kenneth Anger.

Her death certificate lists “Seconal poisoning” due to “ingestion of Seconal” as the cause of death.

These are some of her comments about herself – Very Interesting :-

“What I attribute my success? I think, simply, because I’m different. I’m not beautiful, but I have beautiful eyes and know exactly what to do with them.

Although the public thinks that I’m a very wild girl. Actually I’m not. I’m just me, Lupe Vélez, simple and natural Lupe. If I’m happy, I dance and sing and act like a child. And if something irritates me, I cry and sob. Someone called that ‘Personality.’ The Personality is nothing more than behave with others as you really are. If I tried to look and act like Norma Talmadge, the great dramatic actress, or like Corinne Griffith, the aristocrat of the movies, or like Mary Pickford, the sweet and gentle Mary, I would be nothing more than an imitation.

I just want to be myself

I didn’t know much about Lupe Velez but from what I have recently learned, I am certain that I would have liked her !

I am sorry to know that she died quite young and was unhappy

Similar details of her life as above really : Lupe Vélez (born María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez; July 18, 1908 – December 14, 1944). Lupe was a Mexican actress, dancer and singer during the “Golden Age” of Hollywood films.

By the end of the 20 s, Lupe Velez was acting in full-length silent films and had progressed to leading roles in The Gaucho (1927), Lady of the Pavements (1928) and Wolf Song (1929), among others.

Lupe Vélez then made the transition to sound films without difficulty. She was one of the first successful Latin-American actresses in Hollywood.

During the 1930s, her well-known explosive screen image was exploited in several successful comedic films like Hot Pepper (1933), Strictly Dynamite (1934) and Hollywood Party (1934). In the 1940s, Vélez’s popularity peaked after appearing as Carmelita Fuentes in eight Mexican Spitfire films, a series created to capitalize on Lupe Vélez’s well-documented fiery personality.Nicknamed The Mexican Spitfire by the media,

Lupe Vélez’s personal life was as colourful as her screen personality. She had several highly publicised romances with Hollywood actors and a stormy marriage with Johnny Weissmuller.

I liked them both

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

An Interview with Col Tom Parker’s Wife

Elvis with Col Tom Parker

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Front of House Stills

Each day I used to walk up to school past a couple of cinemas with ‘Front of House Stills’ as they are called on show in a glass fronted cupboard near the Cinema Entrance

I loved them – still do – and I referred to them as ‘Scenes from the film’ which I consider a better title – they gave us a taste of what we were to see on the screen

The Rawhide Years & Others Lot (Universal International, 1955). Title Lobby Cards (6) (11″ X 14″). Western.
Starring Tony Curtis, Colleen Miller, Arthur Kennedy, William Demarest, and William Gargan. Directed by Rudolph Maté. Included in this lot are title lobby cards from The Capture (RKO, 1950), Fury at Showdown (United Artists, 1957), Jubal (Columbia, 1956), Many Rivers to Cross (MGM, 1955), and Barricade (Warner, 1950). lobby cards with bright colour

The above are all Westerns from Universal – but they are not ‘front of house stills’ – mainly Posters but the ones below are. Well, all but one anyway

The ABOVE is not so much a classic Front of House Still but more a scene being filmed – with Audie Murphy

ABOVE – I chose this still from ‘Cimarron’ mainly because here we have a picture of Maria Schell who had made such an impact a few years earlier in the film ‘So Little Time’ opposite Marius Goring

She played the loving but lonely Sabra Cravat in the 1960 Anthony Mann-directed remake of Cimarron.  It was a big western, spanning decades .  Its central theme was the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 but its emotional theme was the long but fractured marriage of Maria Schell and Glenn Ford.  She suffers throughout because he is always leaving her for long periods of time to pursue other interests. 

During the filming Maria Schell fell deeply in love with Glenn Ford and wanted to marry him.  Although he loved her as well, he was suffering because his marriage to Eleanor Powell was ending and he didn’t feel able to commit in the way she wanted.  She always said it was one of the great regrets of her life.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments

The Rawhide Years 1955

Directed by Rudolph Maté
Starring Tony Curtis, Colleen Miller, Arthur Kennedy, William Demarest, Robert J. Wilke, Chubby Johnson, I. Stanford Jolley

The Rawhide Years (1955). Tony Curtis is a riverboat gambler who flees when he’s implicated in a murder. He returns three years later to clear his name, track down the real killers and be reunited with his girl (Colleen Miller).

Coleen Miller with Tony Curtis
Coleen Miller

Coleen Miller had a career in films manily in the 50’s and she made a few Westerns

This film was released in 1955 the year that she got married

Tony Curtis is well on form in ‘The Rawhide Years’ – in it Arthur Kennedy played a nasty villain – a part he was used to playing in Westerns.

Irving Glassberg shot the film in Technicolor

Tony Curtis had appeared in Westerns before — “Kansas Raiders,” “Winchester ’73” and “Sierra” (all 1950) — but not with top billing.

This marked his last Western film

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have No Comments