Archive for February, 2023

Tarzan Escapes 1936

Another big budget Tarzan film from MGM following the success of the first Johnny Weissmuller film ‘ Tarzan the Ape Man’

This Elmo Lincoln the very first screen Tarzan visits the set and joins Johnny and Benita Hulme = she was married to Ronald Colman

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Stars and their Cars

It is well know that Peter Sellers was a car addict – over the years he owned so many

Peter Sellers with his Ferrarii

ABOVE – The first owner of this lovely Rolls Royce saloon was the renowned playwright Sir Terence Rattigan, at that time resident at 29 Eaton Square, London SW1. In February 1967 it passed into the ownership of actor Peter Sellers, who had it re-sprayed silver. The original logbook records the third private owner, from April 1971, as Benedict James Colman, another resident, like Rattigan and Sellers, of London SW1 – so it appears this vehicle never went very far.

I recall a story that Peter Seller’s son Michael told many years later – he was then a small child, of say, 6 years old and overheard his father saying that he needed the front bumper re-painting for some reason. It was probably the Rolls Royce pictured above. Michael later decided to give his Dad a nice surprise, so he found a pot of paint in the shed and a paintbrush and, in his own way, he painted the whole of one front wing. Needless to say, when Dad arrived home and saw the surprise we can say, as an understatement, that he was not well pleased

BELOW – Liz Taylor with a classic Rolls Royce

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ABOVE and BE,LOW – Diana Dors with her Car – Below On ‘This is Your Life’
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Richard Todd has a very nice Jaguar here
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Jean Simmons – A Bristol
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ABOVE Richard Todd with his ‘Railton’

Diana Dors 04 1
ABOVE – Diana Dors

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible Jane Mansfield – BELOW

Jayne Mansfield

Before Jayne Mansfield signed a six-year agreement with Twentieth Century Fox, she worked various small gigs, including selling books door-to-door, as a restaurant photographer, model, dance teacher, and selling candy at a movie theatre.

In 1956 she starred in “The Girl Can’t Help It,” which interestingly enough earned more at the box office than 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Jane Mansfield had quite a short film career, however she did win a Golden Globe award for her appearance in the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, “The Wayward Bus.

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Ring of Spies 1964

A thriller from 1964 that has quite a lot of very familiar faces in the cast including Bernard Lee and Margaret Tyzack – just before she found BBC TV fame – and International fame – in ‘The Forsyte Saga’

Then running down the cast we have David Kossoff, Thorley Walters, Patrick Barr, Justine Lord who I recall from ‘Act of Murder’ one of the very best of the Edgar Wallace series – Philip Latham and further down the list Paul Eddington, Garry Marsh ( from the George Formby films), and Geoffrey Palmer

It is British spy thriller; A story about a British navy clerk assigned to a top secret research facility. He is blackmailed into stealing vital secrets for the Russians in exchange for cash. Set during the height of the Cold War, it is based on the true events of the Portland Spy Ring, where daily duels play out between Soviet Intelligence and British counter-espionage. Tension builds wthin the espionage activities which is quite absorbing.

Bernard Lee gives a solid performance in a rare leading role His ally, played by Margaret Tyzack, is initially innocent, but seems drawn into things as the story progresses.

I have to say, that the above ‘Front of House Stills’ for this film were a pretty poor selection – when trying to sell a film you would have thought that this is one area that must be concentrated on – but in the case of this film, it just seems that there was little interest or zest put into the selection.

Coming back to Margaret Tyzack who I liked – she played in the Miss Marple Episode of ‘Nemesis’ opposite Joan Hickson as Miss Marple – and they played out one wonderful and intense scene which saw them both, in my opinion at the very top of their game. Brilliant. I think this is my own favourite Miss Marple adaptation.

ABOVE – Margaret Tyzack in ‘The Forsyte Saga’
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The Mississippi Gambler 1953

This Technicolor Western is due for release on Blu Ray soon

Directed by Rudolph Maté
Starring Tyrone Power, Piper Laurie, Julie Adams, John McIntire, Paul Cavanagh, John Baer, Ron Randell, Ralph Dumke

Rudolph Maté’s The Mississippi Gambler (1953) to be released on Blu Ray Blu — and that’s good news

We could ask the question “Why is this called a Western?” Well, does it really matter !!


THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER is a 1953 period adventure drama. Set in the pre-Civil War days, the action takes place in and around New Orleans, and on the riverboats that paddled the regional waters.

Tyrone Power seems perfectly cast in the title role, and seems to win the admiration or envy, love or loathing of all he meets, including Piper Laurie, Paul Cavanaugh, and a batch of Universal players including —William Reynolds, Dennis Weaver, Guy Williams, Ron Randell among them.


Rudolph Mate directed with some pace with duels, brawls and a voodoo dance from Gwen Verdon .


The film is in glorious Technicolor and benefits from above-average costume design and set decor.

A running time of 99 minutes, with Julie Adams, John McIntire, John Baer, King Donovan and Anita Ekberg . A Successful production (took in over $6,600,000) and was Oscar nominated for its Sound Quality

Piper Laurie
Piper Laurie
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Little Shelford, Cambridge – The Cinema Arrives

We are now going back to the very early fifties – At that time a visit to the Cinema was a big event and when the Cinema came to your village What a thrill that would be. I can confirm that because in the Village where I live in the mid 50;s we had a ‘once a week’ professional film show with a full programme including Newsreel, Advertisements, Supporting Picture and the ‘big’ film.

However I have come across this article that centres on two brothers who, after the War, purchased equipment and set up a travelling cinema – this is the one at Little Shelford Nr Cambridge.

ABOVE – Russell Oddy is setting up the ‘film stills’ board outside of the entrance. This evening the ‘big’ picture will be ‘Mrs Miniver’ plus supporting programme

Russell hen went inside to set up the projection room and make sure that all was ok there/

The projection room was made in such a way as to eliminate the projector noise from the main hall

Russell Oddy was born in 1916 and at the age of 11 he had his own hand-cranked projector and held little shows in his father’s woodshed

ABOVE Russel’s brother Douglas was busy at the other end of the hall setting up the screen and the curtains that he made to open and shut professionally when the film programme was about to start

Outside a large crowd gathered – the Hall is next to the local Pub ‘The Chequers’ and the Pub Landlord Mr Beebe is very supportive of the venture – in fact his wife had attended and enjoyed the first house showing

ABOVE – Tickets Please !!

The audience were all given a brochure / programme on the film

ABOVE: Ice Cream is served just before the main feature

ABOVE – The queue for the ‘second house’ in the cold and rain – the rain later turned to snow

ABOVE – The second house audience is seated and ready. Just a view also at the back of the Hall of the small box like projection room which was soundproofed. Also a Poster for ‘Mrs Miniver’ on the side wall of the Hall

Much of the material above was taken from a magazine article dated March 1950 – so the pictures would have been taken just before then – maybe January or February 1950 – or even March 1950

A footnote about Russell an d Douglas Oddy

Russell had been in the forces during the War in the RAF on flying duties uin the Middle East. Later after being grounded, he worked in the Entertainments branch and after a while he was put in charge of setting up and running an open air cinema in the desert. This gave Russell the insight and interest in 16 mm films and after the War, with a budget of savings of £ 50 he and his brother Douglas who had been a Prisoner of War and had also some savings teamed up to set up the type of operation there now was at Little Shelford, Nr Cambridge.

Their first venture was at Bourn, Cambridgeshire where the programme was ‘Rainbow on the River’ and ‘Beau Chumps

After that the films steadily were more ‘up to date’ and they operated at least at a couple of locations including Little Shelford

I find this a fascinating and inspiring story

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Dangerous Cargo 1954

This is a low budget film but I found it very watchable when it appeared on Talking Pictures last weekend.

Susan Stephen is the very attractive young wife of Jack Watling, who somehow gets involved in a potential robbery at an Airport. Jack Watling works there in the freight section along with a friend played by Terence Alexander, who is not all he should be.

With a running time of about one hour and a quarter. we have to get straight into the plot and the characters and the film does that well. There are scenes quite early on in the film at the couple’s very nice country cottage which I found appealing

As you can see from the above still, the story has a happy ending

An airport security officer, Tim Matthews (Jack Watling), meets a former army mate, Harry Preston (Terence Alexander), who is employed by a master criminal called Pliny (Karel Stepanek).

Harry gets Tim into debt through gambling and then takes him to see Luigi (John Le Mesurier), Pliny’s second in command, who, of course, has the ideal solution to his problems. For £500.00, Tim will have more than enough to clear his debts but, naturally, there is a catch – Luigi demands that Tim hands over the schedule for a bullion plane’s arrival into Heathrow Airport. When Tim refuses, the gang abduct him and threaten him with his wife Jane (Susan Stephen). He then is forced to co-operate and the gang force him to act as an inside man by getting him to drug his colleagues’ tea and to gain them access to the vault where £250,000 worth of gold bullion is being stored.

This is a British thriller from ACT Productions, a company founded by the film technicians union

It went out on the Gaumont-British circuit supporting the Rita Hayworth picture, Miss Sadie Thompson in 1954.

Dangerous Cargo is better than you might expect for a second feature with director John Harlow generating some tension and suspense.

Acting-wise there are good performances from a cast that includes many familiar faces including John Le Mesurier (Dad’s Army) and Terence Alexander (Bergerac)

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