Archive for November, 2023

The Million Pound Note 1954 – with Jane Griffiths

A film based on Mark Twain’s novel, ‘The Millionaire Pound Note’

The Million Pound Note

A charming Gregory Peck totally excellent the part and the luminous Jane Griffiths is a treat.

The ending is a little predictable but the director does an overall good job

ABOVE – with Jane Griffiths

Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Jane Griffiths

Name  Jane Griffiths
Role  Actress
Jane Griffiths smiling while wearing pearl earrings
Born  16 October 1929 (1929-10-16) PeacehavenSussexEngland, UK
Died  June 11, 1975, LondonUnited Kingdom
Movies  The TraitorThe ImpersonatorTread Softly Stranger, The Gambler and the L, The Durant Affair

Jane Mary Griffiths (16 October 1929 – 11 June 1975) was an English actress who appeared in film and television between 1950 and 1966.

She played the female lead opposite Gregory Peck in The Million Pound Note (1954), but never appeared in another major film, and spent the rest of her career in B movies.

However, the film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane praise her “unexpectedly poignant” performance in The Durant Affair, in which she evokes “a convincing air of struggling to contain past sadness”.

She also appeared in an episode of Colonel March with Boris Karloff – a series shown on Talking Pictures recently

The Case of the Misguided Missal – SEE FURTHER BELOW

She died on June 11, 1975 in LondonEngland, UK.

Jane Griffiths smiling while wearing a blouse

Jane Griffiths

Here Jane Griffiths appears in the Colonel March episode ‘The Case of the Misguided Missal’

Here she acts alongside Boris Karloff, Chan Canasta and a young Anthony Newley

ABOVE With Chan Canasta
ABOVE With Boris Karloff
ABOVE – Jane in the arms of a young Anthony Newley
ABOVE – Jane in the arms of a young Anthony Newley

ABOVE – Jane in the arms of a young Anthony Newley

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Teahouse of the August Moon 1956

This turned out to be the most successful film of the year for MGM back in 1956

The film was shown recently in widescreen format in what is a new or restored print.

The cast – Glenn Ford, Paul Ford (ironic , Eddie Albert, Marlon Brando and Harry Morgan – do a fine job of playing out the film’s humorous meditation on culture clash, and the ability of a strong but flexible people to maintain their Eastern ways in the face of Western influence.

Marlon Brando, in particular, is surprising in a film you might think him not able to do much with – it was a humorous characterisation, yet the brilliant and convincing manner in which he pulls it off reminds us of what a talented actor he was.

The film had its origins in a very successful stage play. We really have to thank everyone involved in making it so successful and even bringing it to the screen in the first place

ABOVE Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford

If you are a fan of Glenn Ford’s westerns – as I am – have a look at this role he plays to ‘timed’ perfection.

Glenn Ford has all the hesitation, stammering, and exasperation that it takes to be a comic genius. What an actor he was !

We are kept laughing so hard that we have a job to keep up with the fast pace of the story.

It is difficult to recognise Marlon Brando

What a great set ABOVE

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The Stranger left No Card 1952

A curious little picture with a running time of only 23 minutes, and a film that I did not know until Talking Pictures showed it a few days ago.

Alan Badel plays the part of an eccentric stranger who comes to town – it was filmed in Windsor – and somehow entrances the people with his bizarre antics and magic tricks – dressed in theatrical attire

It looks as though this was only Alan Badel’s second film – he was only 28 or so when it was made.

Wendy Toye directed the film.

Alan Badel is a peculiar, bearded man with bushy eyebrows and baggy patchwork clothes who shows up one sunny day in a small town. Merrily twirling his umbrella as he prances through the streets wowing the children with showers of confetti and magic tricks.

He manages to turn the heads of everyone he encounters and charms all of the townspeople in a short time.

However this strange man, is actually up to something much more sinister, as he eventually seeks out a wealthy and corrupt banker named Mr. Lathan (Cameron Hall).

It is a short story written by Sidney Carroll; that somehow manages to be both amusing and eerie.

The film certainly packs a lot into its 23-minute run-time – almost more than some feature length films. I

It has a whimsical music score from Muir Mathieson who seemed to feature on the credits of every film we saw at the time

Director Toye and Alan Badel would team up again for the even-better short ‘In the Picture’ (contained in the 1955 THREE CASES OF MURDER) a few years later.

Wendy Toye remade The Stranger for the TV series Tales of the Unexpected in a version which starred Derek Jacobi

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Sherlock Holmes in Films over the years

We will all remember these two BELOW. The films were made in Hollywood but the casting of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce was just perfect.

ABOVE In a publicity still

ABOVE The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939

I always thought that this version of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ really suffered because of it’s lack of English locations and location filming. It was Studio bound mainly although the sets were pretty good.

It still somehow lacked that English feel that is so vital in this story but the later ones which were set much later in the forties were much more acceptable to us I think – they were shorter but somehow captured the mood

Richard Greene played Sir Henry in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ – and shortly after this he joined the British Forces and fought in the Second World War after which his career faltered for almost a decade until he became very famous on a world scale as Robin Hood.

The Speckled Band 1931

I really like the story ‘The Speckled Band’ but have never seen this early version. In the scene above we have Lynn Harding, and Arnold Stewart with Holmes here played by Raymond Massey.

One comment from someone who has seen the film says ‘Very bad casting. Raymond Massey looked no more like Sherlock Holmes than James Cagney’

The Strange Case of the Missing Rambrandt’ 1934

This film has Arthur Wontner as Holmes – again a comment from the same contributor ‘ A first class actor with a strong resemblance to the character. Easily the best Holmes up to that time‘.

It was made at Twickenham Studios and released in 1934

ABOVE Christopher Lee as Holmes with Patrick Macnee as Watson bot here with Morgan Fairchild

The film above from 1991 is ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady’ and in this story Holmes and Watson are older. The film’s running time is 187 minutes so over 3 hours long. The film also featured singer Engelbert Humperdinck in a straight role.

I am not sure that it did any good at the Box Office – it was a European Production with much of the filming done on the continent.

We have skipped past Jeremy Brett who was superb as Holmes with Edward Hardwicke as Dr Watson. This would require at least a full article.

However we must not forget the BBC Radio series with Carleton Hobbs as Holmes and Norman Shelley in the role of Doctor Watson

Carleton Percy Hobbs (18 june 1898 – 31 july 1978) was a British actor most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on radio.

Hobbs is the only one who have performed Arthur Conan DoyleSherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in radio shows :

Carleton Hobbs and Norman Shelley

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Lady in The Iron Mask – 1952 Patricia Medina

I hadn’t realised that Patricia Medina was out in Hollywood as early as this but maybe now, thinking about it, I do remember

The film was produced by Walter Wanger who got off to a flying start by sacking Barbara Payton a week before the film went into production and replacing her with Patricia Medina.

Lady in the Iron Mask’ is directed by Ralph Murphy, and has a running time of 78 minutes.

It was released by 20th Century Fox, is written by Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas Père

The film was shot in Supercinecolor (as Natural Color) by Ernest Laszlo and was made at Motion Picture Center Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles.

It is a pleasing swashbuckling story with Louis Hayward as D’Artagnan and the Musketeers rallying to the rescue of the Royal throne of France when Princess Anne (Patricia Medina – in a dual role ) is kidnapped and her long-lost sister Louise is put in her place. The plotters want a marriage with Philip of Spain, which would ensure their control of France. The musketeers rush to stop this plot and after many adventures they are successful. Princess Anne marries D’Artagnan and leaves her sister on the throne of France in her place.

ABOVE: A film still signed by the two stars.

I am searching currently for a DVD of the film but I would want the Colour Version which is in SuperCinecolor – a very good process – have a look at ‘Hurricane Island with Jon Hall to see how good it is.


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Film Stars and their Hobbies

This collection of photographs below come from the late fifties – probably 1958 or 1959 and shows some of the Film Stars of the day indulging in their various hobbies

ABOVE Keith Michell had been an art teacher and had become quite proficient in the art of Oil Painting. Here he is painting his wife the actress Janette Sterke – let’s hope that she is pleased with the results – I am sure she will be

ABOVE – Now this is an unusual one and shows actor Aldo Ray who is an expert fisherman, shown ‘tickling’ the trout and then flipping it out of the water.

I have a feeling that Aldo Ray was here in England at the time this picture was taken, filming studio scenes for the ‘The Siege of Pinchgut’ much of which was done in Sydney Australia – An excellent film

ABOVE – Charlie Drake and Dickie Henderson on the golf course in Blackpool at some sort of charity event

ABOVE and BELOW – Donald Sinden is a real ‘do-it-yourself’ enthusiast. selecting the wood and below – making use of the book case that he has made

BELOW – Sylvia Sims is very interested in interior design, and here she is decorating the new family home at Barnes in London

As we know, Sylvia Sims died earlier this year and it was reported that her home was then in Chiswick close by.

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Long John Silver meets HS2

Seems like a complete clash of two names that don’t appear to have any relationship at all – unless you are a film fan of the 1950’s

Treasure Island’ filmed at Denham Film Studios by Walt Disney in the summer of 1949 – film released 1950 – featured the Denham Lake as the place where the pirates with Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins landed on the island

Now in 2023 we have the HS2 longest Railway Bridge in the country straddling the very place where this happened

An Artist’s impression of the finished rail line

Whatever would Walt Disney and Robert Newton have had to say about this, let alone Richard Todd who carried on here in similar locations in ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’

BELOW – The action for ‘Treasure Island’ takes place there almost three quarters of a Century ago

ABOVE – Here we are arriving at Treasure Island – the palm tress were added to the summer foliage and it really looks effective and good.

Long John in menacing pose with Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins

I just love these shots both above and below – and a Rail Bridge above them – Well not then and not for a few decades

ABOVE – Bobby Driscoll runs from the Pirates – again at Denham close to where the RAIL Bridge would be positioned a long time later

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Marilyn Monroe’s Home in Hollywood – Saved !

The final home of Marilyn Monroe – and the only residence she ever owned – will remain standing for now after Los Angeles officials intervened to block the property’s demolition.

The news that the new owners of 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, where Marilyn died at age 36, filed for demolition permits has attracted outrage in Hollywood . The Spanish colonial-style house is Brentwood

Marilyn Monroe purchased the single-story, 2,900-sq-ft house in the early 1960s for $75,000 after the end of her third marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. It was the only residence the actress, who spent part of her childhood in an orphanage ever owned.

She had named the home Cursum Perficio, a Latin phrase meaning “My journey ends here”, which adorned tiles on the home’s front porch.

One comment I came across was particularly relevant I think :-

“For people all over the world, Marilyn Monroe was more than just a movie icon. Her story, from her challenging childhood growing up in orphanages and foster homes to becoming a global sensation, is a shining example of what it means to overcome adversity,”

“The overwhelming sentiment here is clear. This home must be preserved as a crucial piece of Hollywood’s and the city of Los Angeles’ history, culture and legacy.”

News of the demolition plans broke in September of this year – pleased to say that her home will now be saved.

BELOW – Marilyn Monroe here relaxing in her home. She certainly knew how to be photographed

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