Archive for February, 2024

Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlett

A Photograph of Anthony Forwood in the saddle whilst on the set of ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ at Denham Film Studios

Anthony was very comfortable riding a horse which shows here

Film fans probably know him best for his portrayal of Will Scarlet in Walt Disney’s ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ released in 1952

Also he was the long term partner of Dirk Bogarde right up until the time of his death. Anthony was married only once to Glynis Johns and they had a son Gareth together before the marriage ended and he went back to Dirk for the rest of his life.

Dirk Bogarde and Anthony Forwood first met on 28 October 1940 at the Playhouse Theatre. Bogarde was acting in Grief Goes Over, which Tony only saw because the Regent Cinema was sold out.

At the age of 19, Dirk Bogarde had joined the Amersham Playhouse a few months earlier. He had decided to become an actor whilst studying at the Chelsea School of Art but unable to take up a place at the Old Vic School because of the outbreak of the war, seized the opportunity to learn the craft as an apprentice actor in weekly rep.

His painting skills were also put to good use creating scenery! Anthony Forwood was also an actor and occasional theatrical agent and was impressed by Dirk Bogarde, so he recommended him for a revue with Peter Ustinov and Joyce Grenfell which opened at Wyndham’s on New Year’s Day 1941. He also took him to meet his grandfather, Ernest Forwood, at Bendrose House. Shortly afterwards Dirk Bogarde was called up to serve in the British Army.

Six years later, demobbed and looking for a job, Dirk Bogarde knocked at Anthony Forwood’s door in Chesham Mews, Belgravia. Within a year Bogarde had made his first Rank film and Anthony Forwood, now separated from his wife, the actress Glynis Johns, had moved in. Although their relationship was a closely guarded secret, they were together for nearly 40 years, until Anthony’s death in 1988.

Anthony Forwood at Beel House

Beel House was purchased for £4000. Privacy was a major attraction as the house is located at the end of a long, tree-lined drive, half a mile from Little Chalfont village and surrounded by acres of gardens and grounds. Bogarde’s restoration included pulling down the 11 room servants’ wing, building a swimming pool and creating a studio. The elegant drawing room was hung with crimson damask, and filled with Bogarde’s collection of Georgian silver, paintings, and antiques, including a satinwood and red silk spinnet, identical to one made for Queen Victoria.

Beel House soon became a destination for anyone visiting from Hollywood. Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck and Elizabeth Taylor, were just some of the guests featured in Anthony Forwood’s home movies, which also starred their corgis, Bogie and Sinhue, and the parrot, Annie.

Dirk Bogarde at Beel House

Incredibly Bogarde still found time for the local community. An annual horse show was held in Beel House Park with over a thousand entries, probably attracted by the fact that Bogarde was presenting the prizes. He was also honourary president of Amersham Film Society and the Chesvale Dog Training Club, where the Dirk Bogarde Challenge Cup was presented to the seniors! His favourite tailor was Nancarrow and Temple in Amersham-on-the-Hill, who also made his suits for films such as Darling with Julie Christie and Doctor at Sea with Bridgitte Bardot. With Tony Forwood he was a regular at the Regent Cinema in Amersham (always in the 3 shilling 2 pence seats) and campaigned against its closure in 1962.

Sadly, by then the couple had left Amersham for Drummer’s Yard near Beaconsfield. By 1960 the Council had approved the building of Dr Challoner’s High School just 200 yards from Beel House. Bogarde, who had strongly objected to the school, had already built a large mound with earth excavated from building work at the neighbouring Radiochemical Centre. Nicknamed “Bogarde’s Bastion”, it was 20 feet high, 200 yards long and 15 feet wide to shield the house from the sight of the school, and the schoolgirls from the sight of Dirk Bogarde!

Shortly afterwards he sold Beel House to his friend Basil Dearden, the film director and his wife, the actress Melissa Stribbling. At the time Bogarde was starring with Sylvia Syms in Dearden’s ground-breaking thriller Victim, about a married but secretly homosexual barrister. Bogarde later wrote: “It was the wisest decision I ever made in my cinematic life. It is extraordinary, in this over-permissive age [c. 1988], to believe that this modest film could ever have been considered courageous, daring or dangerous to make. It was, in its time, all three”.

2021 is the 60th anniversary of Victim and the centenary of Dirk Bogarde’s birth. See and for more on the history of Beel House and Dirk Bogarde’s life and career.

It is still this picture of Anthony Forwood that remains with film fans – as Will Scarlet in that great 1952 film.

Ken Annakin the Film Director said that he remembers Anthony Forwood in costume in this role wandering around the sets of Sherwood Forest in the Denham Film Studios, with great affection as they were all such a happy band during the summer of 1951 working on the film.

He said that he thought Anthony brought a great deal to the role although it was not a major part

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Republic Pictures 1952

This promotional Colour picture certainly shows that Republic were trying very hard to become on a par with the major Studios of the day

This is certainly an impressive array of Film Stars and films.

Republic certainly came up with some very good films along the way – we think of ‘The Quiet Man’ ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ ‘Rio Grande’ and later than 1952 came ‘Johnny Guitar’ and ‘Trouble in the glen’ filmed in England – I remember seeing this at the Gaumont Cinema in St Albans, then ‘The Last Command’ ‘Flame of the Islands’ ‘Dakota Incident’

‘The Quiet Man’ – probably the most famous – and successful – that Republic made

Republic Studios- Maybe this picture is mis-leading but it does look a little ramshackle

News of Republic Pictures from last year 2023

Republic Pictures, a historic movie label founded in 1935 and closed in 1967, has been revived by parent company Paramount Global. The banner will function as an acquisitions play, releasing titles acquired by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

“We’ve chosen to revitalise the Republic banner given its storied history of delivering popular movies to a global audience,” said Dan Cohen, Paramount chief content licensing officer

Republic’s legacy is mostly centred around classic Westerns, many of them starring John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Founded by Herbert J. Yates, the label also released films from director John Ford (“The Grapes of Wrath”) and Orson Welles (his 1948 take on “Macbeth,” in which he cast himself in the lead role).

I have saved the one below until last on this article – this is one of my favourites released in 1956 by Republic – it was in Trucolor which was great

In the mid-1950s Republic Pictures was on its last legs as a movie-producing entity.

Formed in 1935, it was the brainchild of Herbert J. Yates, founder and president of Consolidated Film Industries, a film processing lab based in New York. Yates saw his big chance when six of Hollywood’s Poverty Row studios — the largest (relatively speaking) being Monogram and Mascot — became deep in debt.

Yates called all their debts, then offered an alternative: merge into one production facility, with Yates as head of the studio. The others went for it, and Republic Pictures was born. (In 1937, unable to get along with Yates, Monogram’s officers backed out of the deal and reorganized under their old corporate name, which morphed in 1947 into Allied Artists.)

Strictly speaking, Republic was a notch or two above Poverty Row, but it was never a major operation. Its bread and butter was chapter serials and westerns, its biggest stars John Wayne, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Rex Allen (in just about that order). There was the occasional prestige picture (again, relatively speaking), like Sands of Iwo Jima and The Red Pony (both 1949), or, a few more notches up the scale, John Ford’s Rio Grande (’50) and The Quiet Man (’52), but for the most part it was cliffhangers, horse operas and hillbilly comedies for the small-town venues.

In the summer of 1955, taking one last shot at prestige, Yates dispatched a unit headed by Ann Sheridan and Steve Cochran up north to the California Gold Country town of Ione (pronounced “eye-own”) in the hills of Amador County 35 miles southeast of Sacramento.

There they made what is surely the best film ever to come out of Republic Pictures – ‘Come Next Spring’

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TV Drama 1953 on the BBC

The early days of Television must have been a fertile area for stage actors of the day – and for that matter film actors – who could be usefully employed – although in these times they would not have been that well paid.

It also boosted the careers of writers – notably Nigel Kneale who had an office at Lime Grove and as can be seen was involved with quite a lot of the play adaptations below

BELOW we see many quite well known actors of the era

1954 TV Plays

ABOVE – Tom Fleming and Greta Gynt in ‘It is Midnight, Dr. Schweitzer’Andre Morell took the role as Dr Albert Schweitzer

ABOVE – Broadcast as part of the BBC Sunday-Night Theatre series on 22 March 1953, The Troubled Airstarred Patrick Barr as Clement Archer and Joyce Heron as his wife, Kitty (both pictured). One critic of the time described it as “one of the most gripping dramas to have reached television.”

1953 TV Play ‘Shadow of the Vine’ with Robert Brown, Catherine Lacey and Arthur Young broadcast ‘Live’ on 17 March 1953 ABOVE

ABOVE – Margaret Leighton and Laurence Harvey – already in a relationship in real life – in the BBC play ‘As you Like It’

ABOVE – ‘Whistling in the Dark’ BBC TV

ABOVE – Peter Cushing, Maureen Prior, Michael Meacham and Eileen Peel in ‘Asmodee’ or ‘The Intruder’ BBC Television dECEMBER 9TH 1962

ABOVE Raymond Huntley and Elizabeth Sellars in ‘Take away The Lady which went out on BBC TV on Sunday April 26 of 1953 – and was repeated on the following Thursday with each performance ‘Live’

ABOVE – Ursula Howells with Philip Guard Left and Jack Watling

Nigel Kneale was involved in the acclaimed adaptation of Charles Irving’s paranoid nuclear chiller Number Three (1 February 1953) which he co-wrote with George F Kerr. At a remote atomic research station, scientists working on a new form of nuclear power discover that their leader plans to create a weapon potentially even more devastating than the H-bomb. The Listener‘s contemporary reviewer noted: ‘The theme – surely becoming a bore – of the play was love among the atom scientists; the start was uphill work, with love-sick researchers and high jinks in the canteen, but as the melodrama put on speed and we rushed toward the danger of an idealistic lady scientist sending the research station sky-high, the acting and dialogue began to seem adequate and even convincing.’ The play was produced by Stephen Harrison, and featured Philip Guard, Jack Watling, Ursula Howells, Terence Alexander and Peter Cushing.

ABOVE – ‘The Affair at Assino’ Broadcast 1 January 1953

Adapted for television by Nigel Kneale
[Starring] Robert Eddison, Hector Ross and Daphne Slater

It is 1938, and Mussolini is still more or less firmly in power in Italy. At the Ministry of the Interior it seems a normal enough evening; Colonel Passamonte, the military adviser, is making security arrangements for one of the Duce’s speeches. Then the phone rings and the night is normal no longer.

It appears that the Minister of the Interior, being in a hurry, tried to drive through a holy procession in a small hill town, with the result that the irate locals overturned his car and even threw tomatoes at the Minister himself. The name of the offending place? Assino. The horrified Passamonte finally finds it on the map; clearly the town must be punished and its dangerous insurrectionists routed out. Accordingly, two lorry-loads of Fascist militia descend on sleepy little Assino, whose crime was to want to hold its procession in peace. It is a situation full of tragic possibilities, but Mr. Hunter brings out the comic results just as strongly as the dramatic.

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World without End 1956

This was a Technicolor Cinemascope film with reasonable budget. It is one I like – or at least I did as a very young lad all those years ago.

World Without End 1956

World Without End 1956

The giant mechanical spiders that the main characters encounter in this cave look terribly lifeless and rubbery.

A spaceship’s crew is returning from a trip to Mars when something goes wrong and they find themselves transported to a future time where mankind has been forced to live underground to survive.

World Without End is inspired by H.G. Well’s classic novel The Time Machine  – Rod Taylor who plays Herbert in this film later went on to star in the 1960 film adaptation of The Time Machine).

World Without End perhaps lacks the originality that the H.G. Wells novel had, but as far as this type of film goes, it is pretty effective

When we look back on the science-fiction films of the 1950s most of us first think of the B-movies with low budgets and cheap effects and often Black and White.  World Without End is in Technicolor and Cinemascope – something that the the producers were keen to promote in posters of the day.

The reason World Without End was shot in Technicolor and CinemaScope despite having a low-budget and coming out in a time when most b-movies were in black-and-white is because Allied Artists, who produced the film, wanted to boost their image. . To do this they gave a little extra money to the film, allowing it to be shot in colour and wide-screen and to have a longer running time..

Some of the special effects look very good. The spaceship scenes are visually engaging. The design and costume work of the one-eyed mutated beasts is also impressive- they are grotesque. Some of the other effects aren’t quite as good.

The giant spider that jumps out on the astronauts in the cave is un-impressive – but I do remember all of us young lads that went to see the film, jumping out of our seats at the suddenness of the attack

Edward Bernds directed this feature. He directed dezens of b-movies throughout the 40s all the way to the 60s. Perhaps his most remembered work is Return of the Fly starring Vincent Price, which was a sequel to classic monster movie The Fly.

Hugh Marlowe stars in here, who also starred in 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and later in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.

 The real star here is Rod Taylor in his first major role and he rises to the occasion. 

He later went on to star in films like The Time Machine and  The Birds

Another possibly recognisable face is that of the beautiful Nancy Gates.

World Without End is an enjoyable film. For a low-budget film it’s extremely watchable. It’s not the best of the best 50s sci-fi films. Not very impressive but enjoyable.

The film went on release along with Lon Chaney in ‘The Indestructible Man’ both from Allied Artists

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Colour in Films

As far back as 1923 feature films have used Colour as this still from ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ of that year shows – and the colour looks very effective although maybe a little muted,

Colour films had been around since 1908 and maybe before with various inventors coming up with their version and name.

By the late 1930’s – not that long after talkies had arrived, we began to see quite a few colour films emerge. For instance Walt Disney was insistent that Technicolor was used for his 1938 classic ‘Snow White’ even though it appeared that by doing this, he would put the company in financial peril. In fact it proved a master stroke with the film doing so well at the Box Office on it’s original release and being a money spinner again and again over the last 80 or more years.

‘Gone with the Wind’ too in 1939 beautifully shot in Technicolor proved a winner.

‘The Adventure of Robin Hood’ in 1938 with Errol Flynn was another Technicolor hit – and again still today a very popular and well watched film – very good one at that – and another one was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ again still popular.

Technicolor had emerged as ‘the one’ to use – even though it was a very expensive process and needed a lot of lighting, making studio work very hot indeed. Also special Cameras had to be used which were very heavy and bulky and difficult to move around.

After the War, in Britain Technicolor was used for Michael Powell’s remarkable films including ‘The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’ and ‘Black Narcissus’ also the very successful ‘The Red Shoes’

I personally always think of the Walt Disney films made in England – ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ which are to me among the very best examples of Technicolor – some of the shots are breath-taking. These were released in 1950 and 1952

From Hollywood, we had ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ and ‘Distant Drums’ both resplendent in Technicolor at it’s very best

Trailer Distant Drums 1951

The above shot is a favourite of mine. It really sums up the film – Florida Everglades,  Gary Cooper and Mari Aldon.


The Florida setting certainly gave this film a different feel to just about every other western.  The alligators here ARE more frightening than the usual rattlesnake and there was one quite bloody sequence  shown when one of the men was killed by an alligator.

They all pause for breath – above – in the Everglades.

It is an action-packed film and I love the Technicolor here which gives the Everglades a realistic beauty.  The scenes where they are on the canoe on the water paddling through the trees is a beautiful shot.

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More Film News Snippets

Recently I acquired a very large and heavy book’Chronicle of the 20th Century’ and in it for each year there are small articles and pictures of all the major events including some film related ones.

It is fascinating and a book that you can go back to time after time with each visit producing another gem of information. It has an Australian angle – I purchased it last month on a visit to see my daughter and family and now am reading it on a near daily basis

This below is one with – very much a film angle :

Johnny Weissmuller sets swiming record

On July 9th 1922 one of sport’s classic time barrires was decisively broken today as Johhny Weissmuller an18 year old Austrian born American immigrant from Chicago became the first man to swim 100 meters in less than a minute.

For more than a decade Hawaiian Americans Duke Kahanamoka and Pua Kela Kealoha with their traditional island adaptation of the front crawl had dominated the speed events bringing the record down from 63 to 60.4 seconds. Now with a remarkable performance of 58.6 seconds Johnny had smashed the one minute barrier heralding a new era in sprint swimming and bringing the record back to America

Now another one – this time 35 years on in 1957

Diane Cilento a Big Hit in London’s West End

March 1 1957

A 24 year old blonde Australian actress, Diane Cilento is a big hit in London. She plays Tweeny in the film ‘The Admirable Chrichton’ and also has the lead role in ‘Zuleika Dobson’ whose beauty blinded and whose tragic death caused despair

Picture taken on February 28, 1957 of Diane Cilento and David Morton at rehearsal for the musical Zuleika Dobson.

I have since found out that although Diane Cilento did indeed earn rave reviews, she didn’t remain in the production for very long as she was taken ill during the run. That must have been very disappointing for her.

Diane Cilento from Queensland Australia, was indeed a pretty big star both in films and on the stage at this time – a much bigger name than Sean Connery who she married not long after this dat. , Sean Connery took a wife who was much more famous – but that was soon to change as we all know,

Diane has said that they were very happy until the Bond mania caught on and then they could hardly leave the house without being mobbed – it effectively wrecked their private life

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Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules 1964

I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about this film but I saw the DVD a few days ago in a shop in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia – I didn’t buy it but might acquire it when I get back.

Looking at the cover, I thought that it was two films – and The Sons of Hercules was the second one but not so – that is the full title.

It was an Italian Production released in 1964 and did well at the Box Office in that country but I don’t recollect it having a UK release

Ganor, the leader of the Desert People, murders Sandor, the Sultan of Baghdad, and imprisons his eventual heirs, Daykor and Soraya, thus becoming the sole power in the country.

Anthar, a young rebel, manages to get Soraya free. Eventually, she is captured by Akrim, a slave merchant, who sells her to Kamal, a wealthy Sheik. Soraya refuses to be the Sheik’s girl, and plunges from a tower into the river – where she would have drowned if Anthar would not appear to save her once more.

Together they go to Baghdad, where Anthar gets Daykor out of prison.

But Ganor captures Anthar, and sets him to fight a rhinoceros to get rid of the freedom fighter. Daykor and Soraya return to Baghdad at the head of the revolted people, and after a siege, they take the city and joining with Anthar, will finally prevail over the tyrant.

The alternative title probably in the USA and maybe in Britain was ‘Anthar The Invincible’

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Witchita – with Joel Mcrea

Another very good Western in Technicolor and Cinemascope

Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Starring Joel McCrea, Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges, Wallace Ford, Edgar Buchanan, Peter Graves, Jack Elam

We knew we were in for a treat when we got the first shot of Joel McCrea on the distant horizon, riding slowly toward a group of cowboys on a cattle drive.

Joel McCrea plays Wyatt Earp, who arrives in Wichita planning to use his savings to start up a business. Trouble seems to go looking for Wyatt, however, and he feels honour bound to put a stop to it, especially when characters like Lloyd Bridges, Jack Elam, and Robert J. Wilke shoot up the town. 

Wyatt becomes marshal of Wichita, aided by young reporter Bat Masterson (Keith Larsen), who becomes his deputy. Wyatt also courts pretty Laurie McCoy (Vera Miles), whose father (Walter Coy) initially supports Wyatt becoming marshal, but who later fears Wyatt’s assertive tactics will harm the town businesses.

Wyatt copes with this sort of conflict on one hand and keeping law and order on the other.

It all ends in a climactic shootout on the streets of Wichita.

WICHITA is a fairly typical Western story — shot in familiar territory, in Santa Clarita and on Southern California ranches, with a cast of Western regulars.

Director Tourneur manages pull together all these elements.

The film has a well-paced and has Joel McCrea’s terrific performance as the dedicated Western lawman.

The film has a tight running time of 81 minutes and maintains the viewer’s attention throughout

The film is very attractively shot by CinemaScope and Technicolor by Harold Lipstein. It makes use of the widescreen, including that opening sequence which sets the scene for the film

The film score is by Hans J. Salter, with Tex Ritter singing over the opening and closing credits – he was used to this as we think of /High Noon’

For the BluRay release a while ago Wichita had a 4K scan of the original camera negative.

But no matter how you’re looking at it, Wichita is terrific. Tourneur was one of Joel McCrea’s preferred directors and they always seemed to strike gold when they worked together.

This one, with McCrea as Wyatt Earp cleaning up Wichita, Kansas, is one of their best.

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