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Movie Memories – Autumn 2020 Edition

Really a good day yesterday when this magazine came through the Letterbox.

Yes Movie Memories, which all us fans look forward to, has arrived in time to give us endless reading on such varying topics all related to the films of an era gone by.

We have loads of interesting articles in here – one on Van Heflin that I liked, letters to the Editor, a couple of Books about the British Film Studios and so on

Without giving too much away, our Editor Chris writes the opening piece in which whilst he admits to not being a fan of the Elvis films, he had really enjoyed King Creole’ when it was shown on Television recently. I agree with him in that this film was a cut above the normal ones he did – it had a great storyline, a top Director and good co-stars.

‘South Sea Sinner’ is a film that I do not know at all. However we have a good copy of the advertisement for it on the front inside cover

I have to say here that at Filmsofthefifties.com we have no connection at all with the magazine other than being admirers of it and avid readers of each and every precious edition through the years.

I know Chris who writes and produces the magazine has had a number of spam emails where ref is made to this Blog – we are not connected.

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Random Photographs

Here are some random photographs from the Picture Show Annual of 1952 – which I would have thought would be published in time for Christmas that year. So these would have been taken that year or possibly 1951

ABOVE – This is billed as ‘ A platform full of stars who appeared at the Daily Mail Film Festival.

From Left to Right : Leo Genn, Nigel Patrick, Jane Hylton, Patric Doonan, Peggy Evans, Dirk Bogarde, Jean Kent, Susan Shaw, Andre Morrell, Sheila Manahan, Barry Jones, Olive Sloane, Richard Todd, Glynis Johns, Herbert Lom, John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Andrew Crawford, Patricia Dainton, Dennis Price, Vanessa Lee, Trevor Howard and Anna Neagle

Now how unusual is this – or was it – ABOVE A plane about to take off to transport some film stars of the day to the Film Festival in Uruguay.

Including Phyllis Calvert and her husband Peter Murray-Hill, Glynis Johns, Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray and Mr and Mrs Robert Beatty

ABOVE Vice Admiral Earl Mountbatten of Burma presents the British Film Acamedy Awards of 1950 to Tyrone Power and his wife ( Linda Christian )

It was a Bronze Statuette for the best film from any source – Tyrone Power and Linda Christian accepted this on behalf of his studio 20th Century Fox.

I think this picture was from 26 February 1951

ABOVE – This picture is at a reception for the newly released film ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’ and here these stars are meeting Mario Cabre – the Matador in the film. Here we see Left to Right: Dennis Price and Patricia Dainton, Mario Cabre and then Beatrice Campbell and, with his hands all over her, Richard Todd.

The description mentions Richard Todd in ‘Flesh and Blood’ which was released in England in April of 1951 – just about the time when he would be starting the filming of ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ for Walt Disney at Denham Film Studios. Filming started on 30th April 1951 which, as I have mentioned before, was an unusually snowy day

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Pat Kirkwood

One of our greatest stage performers – when I think of stars I place her right at the very top of the list – but not as a film star which she was very good at – but in all round entertainment with the stage at the centre of it

ABOVE – in a glamourous pose

She was also in films although she did not make that many0 but she did go out to Hollywood for MGM and in fact signed a contract with them but things did not work out for her there. In fact she became ill and returned home. My own view is that she was homesick for England

What a lovely girl she was

She was mainly a superb stage performer though – one of the very best – indeed she dominated the West End stage for almost two decades – Noel Coward even wrote a play for her such was her appeal and charisma, and yet, to me, she always seemed a kind and level headed person who never played on the fame she undoubtebly had.

BELOW are a series of pictures from 1994 when she was the subject of ‘This is Your Life’

ABOVE – Michael Aspel surprises Pat Kirkwood

THIS IS YOUR LIFE – Pat Kirkwood, actress, singer and dancer, was surprised by Michael Aspel during a mock interview in the bar of the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.

Pat made her professional debut at the age of 14 as a singer on the BBC radio programme, The Children’s Hour. A year later, she made her first appearance on stage, billed as the Schoolgirl Songstress at the Royal Hippodrome in Salford. Her first big break came in the revue Black Velvet at the London Hippodrome in 1940.

Pat was one of the West End’s liveliest and most glamorous musical stars in the 1940s and 1950s, appearing in such plays as Noel Coward’s Ace of Clubs in 1950, which he wrote especially for her, and the 1955 London production of Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town. In 1954 she became the first female star to have her own series on British television, The Pat Kirkwood Show.

This edition of This is Your Life was the last Thames Television production of This Is Your Life to be screened on ITV – something I didn’t know

Above – Pat greets her brother who had flown in from Los Angeles – they had not seen one another for a few years up until this moment

Van Johnson came in from Hollywood – he had starred with Pat Kirkwood during her years there

Pat Kirkwood proved a delight in her only Hollywood film ‘No Leave, No Love’. Miss Kirkwood said that on the first day of shooting, Van Johnson greeted her and told her, “This picture is going to be a real stinker, so we might as well have a few laughs and forget it.”

Actually, the film is quite good fun and includes Pat Kirkwood’s bouncy song “Love on a Greyhound Bus”

ABOVE – Her Wedding to Hubert Gregg

and

BELOW – with the great Gorge Formby in ‘Come on George’ – he did get to kiss her in this scene much to the displeasure of his wife.

When you look at her here with George as a very young girl and then the much later pictures on This is Your Life, she hasn’t really changed at all

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Passage Home 1955

Diane Cilento was born in Mooloolaba, Queensland, in 1933. She was one of six children of Lady Phyllis and Sir Raphael Cilento, both eminent doctors. Diane achieved international acclaim as a stage and screen actor in the 1950s and 1960s.

She was a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her marriage to actor Sean Connery in 1962 attracted feverish attention the world over.

When they married he was a little know actor but the marriage

came under strain when he got the part of Bond and media attention made heir lives intolerable. They eventually divorced after she had accused him of striking her – he hadn’t made that any better when he said that sometimes a wife needs a slap.

In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1965, Sean Connery said: “You can do a woman a lot more harm by moral torture than with a slap.

“I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong in hitting a woman, though I don’t recommend you do it the same way that you hit a man.”

You just can’t work out why he would want to say that – I know that he was notoriously tight-fisted and I think back to Roal Dahl’s comments after he had written the screenplay for ‘You Only Live Twice’ and was on location with the unit.

Dahl was in Japan for the filming of You Only Live Twice, the new James Bond movie he had adapted – very loosely – from Ian Fleming’s novel. The shoot was based for a time around the city of Kagoshima in the country’s sweltering south, and at the end of the day the cast and crew would relax with a cold beer on set. Sean Connery joined in with the drinking but, as Dahl quickly noticed, left the business of paying to other people.

“He was the only man making a million in the film and he never stood anyone a round,” Dahl later observed. “This was known. They all talked about it. He is not an attractive personality.”

Marriage to Sean Connery really wrecked Diane Cilento’s acting life although she did later come back in such films as ‘The Wicker Man’

Later in her life she returned to Queensland Nr Mossman and lived in there until her death in 2011

I have digressed a bit here because this film ‘Passage Home’ was made before she married her first husband and well before she even met Mr Connery

ABOVE: At Pinewoods Studios, during filming of ‘Passage Home’.

Her first leading part was in Roy Ward Baker’s J Arthur Rank drama Passage Home (1955), as the only woman on a cargo ship from South America to London.

Her sultry presence naturally gets the crew all steamed up, especially the captain Peter Finch and first mate Anthony Steele.

I am tempted to say that Diane Cilento and Peter Finch were both Australians – well she certainly was but he was actually born in London but spent much of his childhood and early life in Australia – so in a way they were kindred spirits.

The film was made at Pinewood in November of 1954

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The March Hare 1956

For whatever reason, I remember this film on it’s release but can’t think that I saw it at the cinema – but I remember it being summertime and on bus trips at the time it was quite often showing at cinemas where we went.

In fact it was released in April of 1956

Also, for some reason, I half thought of it as one of those lovely British Black and White films of the era that are so pleasant to view.

In fact it is pleasant to see but even better it was made and released in Cinemascope and Eastmancolor so a fair bit of money was spent on this one and there must have been high hopes – although at the time I think it did good business. Trouble is it is not one that is much remembered.

After his horse ‘Enchanting’ fails to win at Royal Ascot race meeting, Irishman Sir Charles Hare is forced to sell his estate, Wolfshill, Kildare, to pay his debts. Charles’ aunt. Lady Anne, and her friend Colonel Keen realise that the horse was pulled by the jockey who had been bribed by Hardwick, a big bookmaker, whose own horse won the race. In the pub, horse trainer Lazy Mangan declares that he will become manager again of the stables. The Colonel and Lady Anne buy a foal at the auction of Charles’ horses. They employ Mangan to train it and intend giving it as a present to Charles when the foal matures. Mangan brings the foal to a wood where he asks the Queen of the Fairies for the magic word for the foal and rears the foal on eggs and cream. An American, Maguire, buys Charles’ estate and installs an English horse trainer. Captain Marlow, and a Cockney stablelad. When Charles is mistaken for an employee by Maguire’s daughter. Pat, he accepts a job as her groom. After they become friendly. Pat tells Charles that she is going away for two years, but she is surprised when he kisses her. Maguire imports a horse ‘Starlight’ for the Cambridgeshire, while Marlow is in league with Hardwick, the new owner of ‘Enchanting’ against whom ‘Starlight is running. Marlow tells Hardwick that he will lose a large sum if ‘Enchanting’ does not win. ‘Starlight’ beats ‘Enchanting’ in the Cambridgeshire, but the horse is disqualified after a complaint which Maguire and Lady Anne realise comes from one of the jockeys who are working with Hardwick. Charles returns from spending six months in South America. By now, the foal, named ‘The March Hare’, has matured under Mangan’s training and Lady Anne and Colonel Keen give it to him. Charles decides that someone other than the alcoholic Mangan should train the horse. Upset, Mangan tells him that he won’t have the word. The horse won’t race until he receives the fairy word and Charles relents and re-employs Mangan. Mangan calms the horse with the secret word and it wins the race. Pat appears at the racetrack after being away for two years. That night in Dublin, Charles asks her to marry him, but she refuses his offer. Mangan becomes ill and Colonel Keen is worried that he will forget the magic word, but Mangan tells him that he promised never to tell the word to anyone. The horse disappears and Mangan tries to explain that he took him to see the fairies. When he woke up the following morning the horse was gone. When the horse is found, it is ill, but it recovers.

Lady Anne and Colonel Keen are concerned that the by-now teetotal Mangan is forgetting the fairy word. Keen tries to insure against Mangan’s loss of memory, but he is thrown out of the insurance company office as a crackpot. Hardwick fires an employee.
Fisher, when he is told that five bets of £5,000 each and at 20/1 have been placed on ‘The March Hare’ in the Derby. Hardwick tells Marlow to return to Ireland and sabotage the horse’s chances of winning. After a misunderstanding about her having another boyfriend is cleared up, Charles asks Pat to marry him and she agrees. At the Derby, a jockey, Connor, brings a message from Maguire to say that ‘The March Hare’s’ jockey. Birch, has been injured in a car crash. With the telephone lines cut, Charles is unable to contact Maguire in Ireland about the substitute jockey. Maguire appears at the racetrack and tells Charles that he fired Connor months earlier.

It proves too late to replace Connor, but despite the jockey’s attempts to hold him back, ‘The March Hare’ wins the Derby. Charles wins £250,000 on the race and tells Pat that he intends buying the estate from her father.
Filmed on location in Ireland at the McGrath stables, Co Wicklow, in Wicklow town, at Glendalough, and in Dublin, and at Shepperton Studios, England

Terence Morgan and Peggy Cummins ABOVE and BELOW

Martita Hunt also starred in this one in a quite a light hearted role – she had quite a big part in the film I am pleased to say.

Martita Hunt ABOVE and BELOW in The March Hare 1956

Above – Martita Hunt with Wilfrid Hyde-White

Despite appearing in over seventy films, Martita Hunt’s cinema career is dominated by one role: that of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.

However whilst this is no doubt true, I remember her as playing Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in the wonderful ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ from 1952 and Walt Disney – made here in England at Denham Film Studios and Burnham Beeches

ABOVE Martita Hunt as Queen Eleanor
With Patrick Barr and Hubert Gregg in ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’
playing her sons Richard and Prince John

She was born in Buenos Aires to British parents, and was sent to England to boarding school at the age of ten. She trained for the stage and joined Liverpool Rep. She made her London debut in 1923. In 1929 she joined the Old Vic for a season, playing several leading roles including Rosalind in As You Like It and Gertrude in Hamlet opposite John Gielgud.

Although she made a short film in 1920, her film career started in earnest in 1932. Like many actors at the time, she combined filming with theatre. She built up a large portfolio of scene-stealing cameos which contrasted with the major roles she played on stage. In 1939 she played Miss Havisham in a production of Great Expectations which inspired David Lean to film the novel. When he finally did, she naturally reprised her role.

She made her Broadway debut in 1948 as The Madwoman of Chaillot and won a Tony award for her performance. By now she was firmly typecast as eccentric and posh, a role she appears to have played in real life too. Her last stage role was in 1956 opposite Alec Guinness to whom she had given voice lessons at the start of his career.

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June Thorburn – a lovely actress

This beautiful actress was born in Kashmir India, where her father was a Colonel in the Indian Army.

She does seem to have been something of a tomboy – regularly in bother at school

June spent much of her childhood in boarding schools in India and some of them did not feed their pupils too well, so one of her tricks was to escape out of the window and eat berries

She was always thought of as having a mind of her own which was a creative mind to be fair, but she did get in trouble at school and maybe because of this she moved to a number of different schools in India.

She did not like Latin and so she forged a letter from her father saying that he thought Latin a dead language and he didn’t want his daughter taking it. It came to light that the letter had been forged but by that time it was too late for her to start in those classes – so she achieved what she set out to do.

She did however start writing plays and acting in them with her friends and family. She even took up skiing in the Himalayas and became very proficient winning competitions but all good things come to an end and the Indian Army was disbanded and she and her family came back to England and settled in Fleet in Hmapshire but at the age of 20 in 1951 she moved to London

She must have had a few jobs and one was working at Battersea Funfair selling programmes where she met and quickly married Aldon Richard Bryse- Harvey and shortly after that her acting career semed to kick off with a West End debut in Red Letter Day’ – so as regards the stage, she didn’t need a provincial role to get going – she went straight into London.

She then got a big break with an important part in ‘The Pickwick Papers’ released in 1952 where she played Arabella. During filming she had to fall into a pond and for whatever reason this had to be done six times to get it right – so she had to be dragged out of the pool and dried off for each ‘take’ – bearing in mind that she was six months pregnant at the time !

In May of 1953 her daughter was born.

Between 1953 and 1954 she appeared in a couple of episodes of ‘Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents’ after she had met Douglas – they became good friends thereafter.

Then came regular Television and Film roles – she did two with John Gregson which were typical British comedies of the time – first ‘True as a Turtle’ in beautiful Eastmancolour and a little later ‘Rooney’

In 1954 or 1955 she divorced Richard Bryse-Harvey

I have seen a snippet that says that she was in a Television play based on one of the Mazo de la Roche ‘Whiteoaks’ stories but I can’t find any reference to that at all. Jean Cadell topped the cast in a mid 50s adaptation for BBC Television of these stories but I can’t see that June Thorburn was involved. Perhaps someone will correct or inform me. I hope so.

Later in the decade she was in ‘Tom Thumb’ a pretty big International picture and she was good in that opposite Russ Tamblyn.

A similar one in which she appeared was ‘The Three Worlds of Gulliver’ which I well remember seeing at the cinema – in Super Dynamation and Technicolor

Another interesting film was ‘The Scarlet Blade’ with Jack Hedley, Oliver Reed and Lionel Jeffries – typical All-British Swashbuckler and in colour too

She always looked good in period films such as ‘Fury at Smugglers Bay’ with Peter Cushing – another similar one

With Peter Cushing

In 1959 she married again, this time to a Norwegian Morten Smith- Peterson – interesting that both her husbands had ‘double barrelled’ names.

She starred in ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’ a light comedy starring also Richard Todd who had staked a lot financially on this but it did not do at all well, even though it was well made, well directed and in Colour. Much of the filming was around Edinburgh and the coast up near there.

The Premier, for whatever reason, was in Sheffield at the then New ABC Cinema in May 1961

ABOVE – Richard Todd looks suitably pleased with himself as he accompanies June Thorburn – this must have been connected to the film ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’

Richard Todd said that there had been a screening in Cannes and there the audience appeared to like the film, as they did in Sheffield and at the London premier a little afterwards but the critics, for whatever reason didn’t like the film and gave it bad reviews. After that it did poor business and until recently seemed to have disappeared without trace, but it is now on DVD and has been on Talking Pictures.

On 24 May 1962 along with other stars she visited Battersea Fun Fair where she had worked before , then in September of the same year she was in a charity race at York Racecourse along with Liz Fraser and Rita Tushingham

In July 1963, she went to a garden Party in Ireland given by President Kennedy and Ireland’s President Eamonn de Valera on President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland.

In May 1964 her second daughter was born.

In 1966 she was back on the London West End stage in George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Man and Superman’ at the Garrick Theatre

Sadly on 4 November 1967 at the age of 36 she died in the Blackdown Hill air crash when a Caravelle Air Liner of Iberian Airways crashed into a hill on its landing approach. She was three months pregnant with what would have been her third child

Her husband and two daughters survived her

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Diane Cilento – The Persuaders – at Pinewood

This is a photograph of Diane Cilento explaining something that is going on in the filming of ‘The Persuaders’ at Pinewood back in 1971

I have included this article because, although this is not technically a 50 s snippet but many of the actors mentioned here had careers at that time in film land

Also in the picture is Roy Goddard the Pinewood Executive

Nichols Ridley, at that time, Films Minister, went to Pinewood on his first official visit since he took up the job – as reported in ‘The Studio’ magazine of Friday 9th July 1971. He spent three and a half hours there and met Executives Kip Herron, Denis Holland and Jack Horn there, then took a look at the sets where ‘Diamonds are Forever’ then ‘David and Catriona’ as well as this episode of ‘The Persuaders’ were being filmed.

The episode that she was in – and is being filmed here – is ‘A Death in the Family’

Members of Brett Sinclair’s family are being murdered to stop them gaining the title of duke. Who is the killer?

This mystery is presented with a light touch. There are also some interesting demises for the relatives – one or two almost Shakespearean. Guest stars include Denholm Elliott, Willie Rushton, and Roger Moore even plays his own elderly aunt.

With guns, poison, bombs, dummies, bagpipes and many other things featuring in the plot, this episode keeps you guessing and keeps you smiling.

The odd couple of Roger Moore as Brett Sinclair and Tony Curtis as brash American Danny works well, and the cast look as if they are having a great time.

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Last Train From Bombay 1952

This is a film that has resurfaced after 40 years of being tucked away somewhere. I can’t even pretend to know the film – or anything about it so am relying on things I can cobble together

Jon Hall, who made a big impact in 1937 in “The Hurricane” stars in this 1952 film 

Filming started 11 March 1952.

Jon Hall, usually to be found hanging out in Pago Pago or sailing to Tahiti, washes up in India for this B-movie, produced with every expense spared by Columbia. Hall plays an American diplomat whose friend (Douglas Kennedy) turns out to be a member of an insurrectionist group who plant bombs on trains. When the friend is murdered, Hall becomes both a murder suspect and a target for the terrorists. Shots of India are sort of glued into the picture.

It’s an interesting story , but not even remotely historically accurate but then again it is a fictional story so it does not need to be.

Director: Fred F. Sears Writers: Robert Libott (story and screenplay)   Stars: Jon Hall, Christine Larson, Lisa Ferraday, Douglas Kennedy, Michael Fox, Donna Martell, Matthew Boulton

Now watch BELOW the thrilling trailer :-

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The Technicolor Camera

Apparently the first commercial films in colour that were shown widely at the cinema was back in the mid thirties.

We all must have seen ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Gone with the Wind’ or even ‘The Adventure of Robin Hood’ with Errol Flynn. All in dazzling Technicolor.

To achieve the wonderful colour they got, there had to be huge banks of studio lighting giving out lots of heat and the large Technicolor camera was very heavy and not very mobile but in spite of this we got great action shots which coupled with smooth and expert cutting resulted in top rate films.

The above ones just spring to mind. There are many others

Ken Annakin directed the wonderful ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ at Denham film studios andin his Autobiography describes the difficulties of working with these cameras but he admitted that the results they got were well worth it. That film was a superb example of the use and end product of Technicolor at its best – as was The Prisoner of Zenda 1952

Here is Ken Annakin ABOVE directing a studio scene on Robin Hood – on a studio set at Denham

ABOVE another picture of the large Technicolor Camera being used

As regards colour in films like with so much else in the 20th century, it took the involvement of Walt Disney for things to really get going.

Technicolor was used for Walt Disney’s first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The film community and the movie-going public were enthralled. This was the colour that they had been promised all along.

Some actors began to revel in colour. No one ever glittered like the Queen of Technicolor, Maria Montez, in Cobra Woman (1944).

The British probably did colour better than anyone else. Well at least three people did – the directorial team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger with their frequent collaborator Jack Cardiff – later to become a film director in his own right. From A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), or the very redness of The Red Shoes (1948), this is the Technicolor we all love.

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Prince of Pirates 1953

Now, I just think that this one is up me street – an action packed swashbuckler with John Derek and Barbara Rush.

John Derek had played Robin Hood a few years before and was good in this type of role – plus the fact that he looked the part.

Barbara Rush was very beautiful and a good actress too.

It was in Technicolor – so an added bonus for this type of film

Producer Sam Katzman offers us a 16th-century swashbuckler, with John Derek as Robin Hood-like buccaneer Prince Roland. Having lost his throne to his evil older brother Stephan (Whitfield Connor), Roland forms a band of volunteers to oust Stephan and bring peace and harmony to his land (by busting several heads along the way). Barbara Rush co-stars as Nita, the daughter of a deposed count and a fine swordswoman in her own right.

This isn’t really a pirate movie, though there are a few sequences set at sea in 16th-century sailing ships. Instead, most of the action takes place in a small kingdom in the Netherlands where the evil king is trying to squash a revolt led by his virtuous younger brother.

Carla Balenda, in a supporting role as a haughty Spanish princess, manages to impress. As for John Derek, he looks the real dashing hero

Director: Sidney Salkow

Writers: John O’Dea, Samuel Newman (screenplay) Stars: John Derek, Barbara Rush, Carla Balenda, Whitfield Connor, Edgar Barrier, Robert Shayne, Harry Lauter

Action scenes ABOVE and BELOW

An interesting snippet here – John Hart played a minor uncredited role at the very bottom of the cast list, but the very next outing he had was on TV playing The Lone Ranger – replacing Clayton Moore for a couple of seasons. Clayton Moore had contract problems with the producers – he eventually returned to the role though.

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