Movie Memories Magazine – again – the Spring Issue

I am reminded of the ‘waiting for a bus’ thing when they all come at once – Well this seems to have happened here due to my own foolishness with renewing my Subscription – now all done and dusted and here I am with an embarrassment of riches in the form of the wonderful ‘Movie Memories Magazines.  This one is the Spring Issue with Errol Flynn featured on the front cover

He is also on the back cover with a full colour poster of  ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’

I must at this stage mention an old friend – sadly no longer with us – David Small from Leicester who was probably the very biggest fan of Errol Flynn.

He had collected a huge amount of material on the star and was an expert on every film he ever made.

David was an great admirer of ‘The Adventure of Robin Hood’ with it’s great cast and astonishing Technicolor but I have to say, and told David so, that I personally preferred the Walt Disney Richard Todd version ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ released in 1952 and again in beautiful Technicolor. David disagreed with me on this – as do most people I have to say.

To me the 1952 Robin Hood had been filmed in England – a lot of it at Burnham Beeches – and this gave the production a more authentic feel I thought

For anyone who does not subscribe please have a look at their Web Site which is www.moviememoriesmagazine.com  – and I can recommend you subscribe and receive these magazines.

You will not be dis-appointed

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Kirk Douglas – some of his early films

Kirk Douglas
born Issur Danielovitch Demsky)
December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020

Kirk Douglas — who has passed away recently at the age of 103.

Over the course of his career, Kirk Douglas made some fine Westerns. Howard Hawks’ The Big Sky  and The Big Trees – both in 1952. Man Without A Star in 1955. John Sturges’ Gunfight at the O.K. Corral from 1957, with Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Douglas as Doc Holliday — and Last Train From Gun Hill.

Another one was The Indian Fighter in 1955 – a good film.

He appeared with Rock Hudson in The Last Sunset, directed by Robert Aldrich, in 1962. Lonely Are The Brave was  Kirk’s favourite of his own films. In 1967 came The War Wagon with John Wayne.

He also made such films as  20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954). The Vikings (1957). Spartacus (1960). Seven Days In May (1964).

To my mind his acting in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1954 was pretty hammy and bordered on pantomime but he injected life into this Walt Disney film – up against actors such as James Mason and Peter Lorre who in my opinion were far better.

However he was very good as Doc Holliday in ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ –   a part played brilliantly by Victor Mature in My Darling Clementine’ a decade before this.

When making ‘Spartacus’ – Kirk Douglas was one of the producers, and after a few weeks of the film being directed by Anthony Mann, Kirk sacked him. He was replaced by Stanley Kubrick who himself had a difficult time from Kirk – one of them said that ‘it was a good film – could have been a great film, but that b…..st…d  wanted to be in every shot of the film.’

Kirk Douglas ABOVE in ‘Spartacus’ – the caption said he starred in it and produced the film – and I would say  ‘there lies the problem’

I always saw him as a conceited man and this spilled over into his acting on screen. When he was restrained – as Doc Holliday for instance – he was very good, but when he was allowed to let rip he was moderate in my view.

Disturbing rumours also circulated – and still do – in Hollywood of him raping Natalie Wood when she was 16 in a hotel room in the film capital – at that time he was a major star and she did not report this to the police as her mother thought it would damage her career if she did – horrifying if true and I say this because neither of them are here to tell.

Kirk Douglas  was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York. He grew up poor, but was a fine student and gifted athlete.  An acting scholarship got him into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and he appeared in a few minor Broadway roles before joining the Navy in 1941.

After the war, he worked in the theatre and on radio. Lauren Bacall, a classmate from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, who was now a star thanks to To Have And Have Not, convinced producer Hal Wallis to give Douglas a screen test. This got him a lead role in the 1946 picture The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers. His reviews were excellent and his career was on its way.

Jacques Tourneur’s Out Of The Past, a terrific film  with Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, came in 1947.

1948’s I Walk Alone paired Kirk Douglas with Burt Lancaster — they’d become friends and make a total of seven films together. The Champion from 1949 earned Kirk  his first Oscar nomination. There’d be others for The Bad And The Beautiful in 1952 and for his portrayal of painter Vincent van Gogh in 1956’s Lust For Life.

In the 1950s, as television took hold of popular culture and the curtain began to close on the Hollywood studio system,  film stars began developing their own films, which would be backed by the studios. With the formation of Bryna Productions, Kirk Douglas was one of the first to set up shop. (Bryna was his mother’s first name.)

BELOW – Filming ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ for Walt Disney

Scenes in a Studio Tank – filming the Nautilus which later in this sequence is attacked by a giant squid

Scenes in a Studio Tank – filming the Nautilus and we can see ABOVE the giant squid which attacks the vessel in a thrilling sequence which takes part in a storm – hence the wind machine pictured there in the foreground

In 1981, President Carter awarded Kirk Douglas the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor. Two years later, he received the Jefferson Award for his public service; and he later received the French Legion of Honor.

Tragedy struck in 1991, when he suffered a severe back injury when a helicopter he was a passenger in collided with a small plane during takeoff at Santa Paula Airport; the two men in the plane died. Then, in early 1996, he suffered a stroke. Remarkably he survived and lived until 2020

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Great New – Movie Memories Magazine has arrived

Today is a Red Letter day – the Post arrived and along with it came the Movie Memories Magazine – in fact TWO of them – Issue 95 and 96 – because due to my own fault I had not received  Edition 95 the Autumn 2019 copy.

Now I have two to read – and will have a wonderful time going through it this evening.

For anyone who does not subscribe please have a look at their Web Site which is www.moviememoriesmagazine.com  – and I can recommend you subscribe and receive these magazines.

I know Chris who edits and produces this publication – and indeed have known his family over many years – but we have no connection with them at all  other than being a fan.

Movie Memories Magazine  ABOVE with Marilyn on the Front Cover

Movie Memories Magazine – a great poster for ‘Unconquered’ I see that Boris Karloff had a starring role.

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Tammy 1957 – with Debbie Reynolds

I often see this billed as ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ but as I remember it’s release here it was as ‘Tammy’ – and I think that is better.

An Unlikely Double Bill in England

Debbie Reynolds had been around in films for a few years when she made ‘Tammy’ which proved to be one of the biggest money-making releases of 1957 – released by Columbia Pictures who must have been well pleased.

In it she plays an unsophisticated backwoods girl who rescues wealthy Leslie Nielsen from a plane crash and so, because of this, and to show his appreciation she is invited to visit and stay at Brentwood Hall – his plantation but at the same time as this her grandfather played by Walter Brennan is arrested for selling illegal corn liquor.

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy ABOVE AND BELOW with Leslie Nielsen

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy

At Brentwood Hall, Leslie Nielsen’s family include Fay Wray as his Mother and Sidney Blackmer – his Dad along with Mildred Nantwick as his maiden aunt and the way that Debbie Reynolds fits into this odd situation is really what the film is about. While she is there, Tammy’s refreshing naivety and charm somehow mesmerise the ill prepared family and gradually they all seem to start to come alive and follow their dreams and they all, in their different ways, find the happiness and fulfilment they were maybe seeking all thanks to Tammy

The only one less than happy is Leslie Nielsen’s fiancée played by Mala Powers.

Tammy falls in love with Leslie Nielsen and him with her, and so we are set for what the punters wanted – a happy ending.

Debbie Reynolds also sang the title song ‘Tammy’ and the record realeased on the Coral label was a big hit both sides of the Atlantic Ocean – I do remember that Buddy also recorded on the Coral label which would have been very much at the same time again with great success.

I wonder if they met ?

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy – ABOVE with Leslie Neilsen and Mildred Natwick

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy – above with Leslie Nielsen

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy

Debbie Reynolds as Tammy

Debbie Reynolds was an actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood, who could keep up with some of the biggest stars in history.

Later in her career she became a collector

She virtually became the patron saint of film costume history. When the MGM Studios decided to auction off or give away all those iconic costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood Debbie Reynolds literally emptied her bank account and purchased a great many of them. Without her foresight and determination, the loss of these costumes would have been one of the greatest tragedies in film history.

Her efforts to preserve the work of famous Hollywood designers and anonymous wardrobe assistants alike deserves all the praise it gets.

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The CoronaVirus – Remember ‘Fiend Without a Face’

I am looking back to a great favourite of mine – which I find, in a way, links to the latest situation we are all in.

If you remember – in the film ‘Fiend Without a Face’ the attacks on the population were again from an unseen killer and it wasn’t until late in the film that we saw the face of the enemy.

Kynaston Reeves

It starred among others Kynaston Reeves – to me famous for playing Quelch in the BBC Series ‘Billy Bunter’ although in practise he didn’t play the part that many times – only around 16 times – and this film came a little later.

Marshall Thompson

A British made ‘Horror’ film with quite good special effects and it had Marshall Thompson in the starring role with Kim Parker – she was a nice looking stress who was very good in this – She had a brief film career and didn’t make that many after this one.

She had been born in Austria

Another Victim

I remember when first viewing this film, we had no idea what was going on and how the victims were killed but gradually we began to see and when we did it was quite horrific – maybe by today’s standards a bit tame but I like it

Now what a Double Feature this would have been ABOVE

I thought that the Haunted Strangler must have been a film before or shortly after the war but in face it was made in 1958 about the same time as Fiend Without a Face. The fact that  it starred Boris Karloff, Elizabeth Allan and Jean Kent made me make the assumption as they all seemed to be actors of an era before this.

The Film was actually released here as ‘Grip of the Strangler’ and was produced  in England

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Zombies of Mora Tau – and -The Man who turned to Stone – 1957

This is another I am not familiar with but came across the title which was reminiscent of the type of ‘Horror’ film we would get in the late fifties.

Apparently it was very much a ‘B’ film – but I often found that such films can be enjoyable and entertaining in the sense that they are mainly focused on telling a straightforward story to a , hopefully, non critical audience because we expect less from it maybe.

This is the story of a group of ‘mad’ scientists all around 200 years old who have been kept alive by tapping the life-force of young girls – something they had discovered long ago. Because they need a constant supply of such women victims, they operate under the cover of running a Women’s Reformatory.

This seems to have been successful for them until a young and observant welfare worker joins the ranks of the staff and soon notices an unusually high number of deaths occurring. Charlotte Austin plays the welfare worker with Victor Jory top of the cast list as one of the scientists.

The story is that if the scientists does not get his ‘youthful fix’ they then turn to stone.

Apparently in the film as it reaches its conclusion, some of the make-up for the ones being turned to stone is not that convincing – maybe the already low budget didn’t run to more expense in that area.

It was definitely not the scariest or the most exciting, nor was the science ever really explained, and in a film like this it does not need to be, but for a B picture, it was entertaining and a nice little chiller that you could easily be watched more than once.

This film went out as a Double Bill with Zombies of Mora Tau (also known as The Dead That Walk

Zombies of Mora Tau told the story of a group of living-dead sailors who, years before, had attempted to steal treasures from an African Idol. These sailors have now the job of guarding the treasure where it is hidden under the sea.

A new expedition led by Gregg Palmer and Joel Ashley come in search of the forbidden gems

Zombies Of Mora Tau is not short on atmosphere. It sets its stall out early on, establishing the island as a dark and mysterious place, where zombies are such a part of the fabric of society that their appearance on the roadside is barely registered by the locals.

It’s version of Africa is brilliantly realised on a budget, it’s sprawling jungle feeling hot and oppressive, but it’s the European cemetery that really impresses. Full of the bodies of the unfortunate previous expeditions to find diamonds, it’s wonderfully creepy and feels like a gothic Universal-style graveyard transplanted into the deepest, darkest jungle. It’s stunning and has all the more impact coming in a film that you aren’t expecting so much from.

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Fifties Television

Television was very much in its infancy during the early fifties with just the One Channel – the BBC of course.

Nevertheless this early Television service gave us some memorable moments – some scary, some funny but mostly welcome and entertaining. After all, we would watch anything then as it was all so new – and it all seemed good.

The Coronation proved a major landmark for TV with live coverage including cameras inside Westminster Abbey which in those days was some feat in view of the big and somewhat clumsy and immobile cameras and also the sheer scale of what was required to give us the outside coverage.

I have before featured that wonderful Technicolor film ‘John and Julie’ made a couple of years later when a two young children decide to run away from home and travel to London to see The Queen being crowned. They have many adventures along the way and we see lovely colour footage of the crowds in London that day.

ABOVE – John and Julie are at this stage making progress

There was also a film made of the Coronation in colour so that cinema audiences could later view it.

Another film made the same year – The Conquest of Everest

Back to TV and who could forget having being scared by The Quatermass Experiment. I remember my Dad would not let my brother and I watch the last episode as he thought it too frightening and he knew that we had been watching the earlier episodes which had clearly alarmed us.

Without doubt the most disturbing serial over 6 weeks this Science Fiction production was written by Nigel Kneale

Then another one – later in the fifties was a very good Detective type series ‘ No Hiding Place

Here we see Raymond Francis and Eric Lander in action in a scene.

I saw Raymond Francis in an old episode of Miss Marple with Joan Hickson the other day – and I do remember Eric Lander appearing on This is Your Life when the subject was Richard Todd in 1988.

He had appeared with Richard in that long running thriller ‘The Business of Murder’ which ran for years at the Mayfair Theatre

On ITV we have ‘The Invisible Man’

The 26 half-hour episodes of the science fiction series “The Invisible Man” were originally broadcast on British ATV during the 1958-1959 season.

It  was very well written,  the special effects were good for  that period, and we got inclusion of some top class British character actors.

I have to say that these comments are from other people as I don’t think I ever saw it.

Although we had a Television very early in the 50s we didn’t get ITV until mush later than other people for some reason.

I remember you had to have a box fitted to the television set with a switch that changed over to ITV – which we didn’t get.

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Lancaster Bomber swoops over Lincolnshire

Last summer, I was priviledged to be in Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire, home of the legendary Dam Busters, and this was on the famous 40’s weekend.

To really add to the splendour of the occasion, we were standing in the Main Street and looked up to see the Lancaster do a sweep overhead – it was both a thrilling and an exhilarating moment.  The large crowds just loved it.

Sadly we will not be able to replicate that this year due to the dreaded virus – the 40s weekend is cancelled  – I suppose that it was inevitable but it is still dis-appointing to say the least

Avro Lancaster PA474 “City of Lincoln”, operated by the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, depicted flying over its ‘home’ city with Lincoln Cathedral below.

We are instead posting this picture above as the Lancaster Bomber swoops over nearby Lincoln Cathedraland BELOW a much older picture showing the Lancaster flying low over Hemswell Village.

Hemswell RAF Station is where the famous Dam Busters raid set off from – and then later in the mid fifties onwards it became the home of the Vulcan Bombers and coming right up to date – now the home of the Red Arrows.

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Marguerite Chapman – Film actress

Until I saw the film Kansas Raiders and wrote the last article here, in truth, I had not heard of this film star who was a leading lady in Columbia films of the Forties.

Marguerite Chapman was a beautiful, blue-eyed brunette who looked particularly lovely in colour. She was a former model who virtually learnt to act in front of the cameras, she was at her peak when good film roles became scarce and she turned to television. Later she was to speak with refreshing honesty about the effect her beauty had on such prominent moguls of the period as Howard Hughes and Harry Cohn, who were to help her establish an acting career.

She was born in Chatham, New York, in 1920, and had four brothers – three of them older.  She began her working life as a typist and switchboard operator in White Plains, New York, but, urged on by her friends who praised her beauty, she left her job and went to New York City in search of modelling work. She was hired by the influential John Powers agency, and soon began appearing on magazine covers. “I originally had no intention of becoming an actress,” she said later. “When I began to think of what I would do in the future I decided I might like to become fashion editor for Vogue or something like that.”

Marguerite Chapman’s boyfriend at the time was Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Aircraft and Cameras, and he was a friend of Howard Hughes, who was an aeroplane enthusiast. Fairchild took Chapman to a party given by Hughes, and shortly afterwards she was told that Hughes wanted her to do a screen test at his Long Island studio – he was looking for an actress to star in a film he was planning, The Outlaw. “It was a visual test, no dialogue. Hughes liked the test, and signed me to a contract with an option.

I arrived in Hollywood on Christmas Eve afternoon, 1939. Hughes had arranged for Pat di Cicco, Cubby Broccoli and Bruce Cabot to squire me here and there.

“When I met Ruth and Hoagy Carmichael, they gave me advice appropriate for a young girl visiting Hollywood for the first time. They told me to keep away from my three escorts and to stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I did everything they told me not to . . .”

She did say that when she arrived in Hollywood just before Christmans 1939 she was ‘lonelier than I had ever been in my life’

She did attend a Warner Brothers New Year Party and met stars like Ann Sheridan, Charles Boyer and Errol Flynn who asked her for a date but she declined as he was married.

After some sessions with a drama coach, Marguerite did a full screen test directed by Hughes. “It was a very ladylike test – it was a scene from an Irene Dunne picture – and afterwards Hughes told me, `You’re too much of a lady for me and too much of a lady for the film. I’m going to send your test to Joe Schenck, chairman of 20th Century-Fox pictures.’ ” Signed by Fox, Chapman was coached at their drama school on the lot, and made her screen debut in On Their Own (1940), one of a series of B movies about the exploits of the Jones family (the studio’s answer to MGM’s enormously popular Andy Hardy films).

She next played a girl reporter in Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940) but after six months her option was dropped. Later the actress stated that the decision may have been affected by something that happened when she first met the studio’s production chief Darryl Zanuck at the night- club Ciro’s. “Zanuck, who was short, asked me to dance. I said, `I’m sorry, I don’t like to dance with men who are shorter than I am.’ That was a mistake.”

Moving to Warners, where she stayed for a year, she played several small roles, notably in The Body Disappears (1941) in which her wealthy fiance discovers her mercenary nature after he is rendered invisible, and the musical Navy Blues (1941) as one of the “Navy Blues Sextet”, a group of glamorous starlets (all former Powers models) who also appeared in morale- boosting short films which were sent to the troops. Leaving Warners, Marguerite had her best role to date as the heroine of Republic’s serial Spy Smasher (1942), based on the Whiz Comics adventure series (“SEE Spy Smasher – as a human tornado – sink the German U-Boat!” promised the ads) with Kane Richmond in the dual role of the costumed hero and his twin brother, both battling a Nazi menace called the Mask.

Few serial heroines successfully made the transition to major features, but Marguerite was the exception. When Columbia signed her, they immediately gave her leading roles in a series of B movies as training for promotion to “A”s. In Parachute Nurse (1942) she was top- billed as a new recruit to a team of nurses who parachute to aid men injured on the battlefield. Variety described her as adequate, adding “though patently a newcomer and a bit awkward”.

Submarine Raider (1942) was another propaganda piece in which, as a shipwrecked heiress, she is picked up by a submarine which then sinks a Japanese carrier to score the navy’s first victory after Pearl Harbor. Appointment in Berlin (1943) was publicised as the first film to deal with a “Lord Haw-Haw” situation, with George Sanders as an apparent traitor broadcasting anti- British diatribes which in fact contain coded messages of vital information. Its pessimistic ending – Sanders, along with a German who aids him (Chapman) and a British spy (Gale Sondergaard) all die – made it unpopular with audiences, while the New York Herald-Tribune chided the film for “its considerable wishful thinking in its glorification of the British Intelligence”.

Marguerite Chapman in a dramatic scene from ‘Appointment in Berlin’

Marguerite was next given her first lead in a major film, Destroyer (1943) starring Edward G. Robinson and Glenn Ford. “With this film, my career finally took off,” said Chapman. “Robinson was a charming man, but I remember that he grew increasingly concerned because he was shorter than I, and he spoke to the director about it. If you look at the film, you’ll notice that I’m sitting down a lot.”

Marguerite’s performance as Robinson’s daughter was well received (“By now, I had done many films and had gone to several drama coaches”) but she was featured in several more B movies before being given the prestigious female lead in Counter-Attack (1945) opposite Paul Muni. Based on a Russian play, Pobyeda, it was almost entirely set in a bombed-out factory’s basement where Russian soldier Muni and Russian guerrilla Marguerite hold off a septet of German soldiers while they await rescue. “A lot of girls had tested for the part of `Comrade Lisa’, including Nina Foch. I went to see the producer Zoltan Korda with no make-up and straggly hair. He said, `You’re just what I want. You look like a boy, but I know there’s a woman underneath all that.’

“The first scene we shot had to be done over again, because I had my hair swept up. Harry Cohn, head of Columbia, had a real thing about hair. He wanted my hair down, and that’s how we did the scene.”

Filmed in 1944, when America was pro-Soviet, but released in the spring of 1945 when, to quote the historian Bernard F. Dick, “Russophobia staged a comeback”, the film did not do well, and a few years later when Muni, his co-star Larry Parks, script-writer John Howard Lawson and Columbia supervisor Sidney Buchman were all named by the House Un-American Activities Committee, the film was used against them.

Marguerite had a welcome change of pace with her next film, Leslie Fenton’s deft comedy Pardon My Past (1945), with Fred MacMurray playing dual roles in a sparkling tale of mistaken identity, Chapman playing the girl who ends up with the worthier of the two MacMurrays. Like most Columbia employees, the actress was not happy with her pay, and later recalled that the night the film was finished she attended a dinner party at Cohn’s house. “I was wearing this cute little dress and Harry asked me where I got it and then asked, `How much did you pay for it?’ In front of the other guests I replied, `I paid $75, my week’s salary. Aren’t you ashamed?’ I always talked like that to Harry. He was always calling me into his office. I think he enjoyed sparring with me.”

One of their discussions was about her name. “Harry always called me Margaret. `My name is Marguerite,’ I told him. `You spend all that money putting me under contract and spelling my name out on marquees, so at least pronounce it right, Uncle Harry.’ `From now on,’ Cohn assured me, `I will always call you Marguerite, Margaret.'”

In Mr District Attorney (1946), based on a popular radio series, Chapman played a murderous gold-digger, then she starred opposite Lee Bowman in a good thriller, The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1946) which suffered from its resemblance to The Maltese Falcon, the sought-after items in this case being two bibles and a painting, with Chapman a beautiful socialite who may not be all she seems. “All I can recall of that film,” said Chapman, “is Lee Bowman refusing to take his hat off in the elevator, which the director did not like. Lee didn’t want to put on his hairpiece.”

A western with Randolph Scott, Coroner Creek (1948), and a roisterous swashbuckler, The Gallant Blade (1948), with Larry Parks, were both filmed in Cinecolor and demonstrated how well the actress’s looks responded to the colour camera.

ABOVE with Larry Parks in The Gallant Blade 1948

They were followed by one of her finest films, Relentless (1948), co-starring Robert Young. Chapman said:

Don “Red” Barry, the western actor, told me that he had found this book Three Were Thoroughbreds, which Gene Rodney and Robert Young were going to produce as a major Technicolor western for Columbia release. Don said, “Marguerite, you’re just right for the tomboyish leading lady.” I thought, “That’s my studio, I’ll push myself”, so I went to see Gene and Bob at Columbia. “If you don’t give me this part,” I said, “I’m going up and tell Uncle Harry.” I had never done anything like that before, but I knew it was a good part. We filmed in Tucson,

Arizona, under George Sherman’s direction, and it turned out to be one of my best pictures. Bob Young was very warm, a real pro, and many years later I appeared on his TV series Marcus Welby, MD, with him.

Though Relentless was a success, it was to end Marguerite’s career at Columbia, and she decided to freelance. At Universal, she co-starred with Audie Murphy in Kansas Raiders (1950), but the following year she was at the budget studio Monogram starring in Flight to Mars (1951) as Alita, a Martian who falls in love with a reporter (Cameron Mitchell) who has crash-landed on her planet with a group of scientists.

In ‘Flight to Mars’ 1951

In 1952 Marguerite Chapman came over to England along with George Brent, whose star was also fading, and made a very good film there – Terence Fisher’s The Last Page, an efficient thriller (called Man Bait in the US). Filming commenced on July 9th 1951 – in a warm English Summer.

During this time she must have met, and a romance ensued between her and Film Producer Anthony Havelock-Allan who at that time had parted and probably was divorced from Valerie Hobson.

Some reports I have read state that Anthony Havelock-Allan had married Marguerite Chapman but I don’t think that was the case.

In London With George Brent in The Last Page
Filming ‘The Last Page’ In Central London – The gardens next to St James’s church between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly in London W1 and the Piccadilly Hotel in the right background.
Here Marguerite Chapman meets Raymond Huntley again the the Church Gardens
Again with George Brent

By 1955 she was playing a supporting role as a secretary in Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. Since 1951 she had been appearing frequently on television, guest starring in many popular series including Four Star Playhouse, Studio 57, Climax and Perry Mason. She attempted a cinema comeback in 1960, starring in Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Amazing Transparent Man, but the film’s unconvincing special effects (the title character, supposed to be invisible, was often easily seen) doomed it to failure.

Never having set foot on a stage before, Marguerite Chapman began to work in small theatres, and won praise for her portrayal of Sylvia, the bitchy gossip of The Women in a Fort Worth production. One critic praised her “ribald comic flair” while another commented, “Here is another great performer with versatility spilling over in ebullient delight with every line and movement on stage.”

Marguerite enjoyed painting (her pictures have been exhibited at the Beverly Hills Art League Gallery), golfing, and decorating her house in Woodland Hills, California, where she is memorialised by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Two years ago the director James Cameron asked her to audition for the role of the elderly survivor in his film Titanic, but she was too ill to do so. Talking of her Hollywood career, she said recently, “I acted in just about everything possible in those years – `A’s, `B’s, serials, short subjects, even trailers. And I loved every minute of it.”

Marguerite Chapman, actress: born Chatham, New York 9 March 1920; married first Bentley Ryan (marriage dissolved), second Richard Bremerkamp (marriage dissolved); died Burbank, California 31 August 1999.

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Kansas Raiders 1950 – Audie Murphy

This was quite an early film from Audie Murphy and a good Western at that which was on TCM over the last weekend.

Audie Murphy plays a young Jesse James. He and his brother Frank join the Quantrill Raiders gang led by the notorious William Quantrill, played by Brian Donlevy.

Jesse and Frank are motivated to join the group to avenge the deaths of their murdered parents. Both quickly become disillusioned with the senseless violence and the looting of innocent people. The gang’s reputation becomes best known for its bloody attack on Lawrence, Kansas.

Jesse finally realises that this is not the life he wants to lead but stays with Quantrill until the soldiers find them.

Quantrill forces Jesse to leave. Quantrill then faces the Yankee’s gunfire alone and is killed.

Jesse James manages to escape with his own gang and rides off into history.

An action scene from the filmthe bloody and brutal attack on Lawrence Kansas


This was an action packed sequence in the film and a few moments later we have the brutal gunning down of unarmed men Audie Murphy as Jesse James and his Brother Frank are visibly appalled by this murderous act.

He is shocked by this murderous act


Now this is a Double Bill I would have loved to see.  I loved Tap Roots although it is years since I have seen it- a really good film with Boris Karloff as an Indian. Both these films in Technicolor and both exciting productions
Marguerite Chapman here with Audie Murphy
Marguerite Chapman 
Marguerite Chapman 

I did not know this actress at all – however on looking her up she seems to have made quite a lot of films from the early 40s onwards and continued into the late 70’s, so it seems that she had a good career

On looking further she does seem to have had a very interesting and varied life in films – with lots of anecdotes on people she came into contact with over the film years – so much so that my next article on this Blog will be on Marguerite Chapman

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