Monday, 20 August 2018

UNDEAD CASH 1984 AND THE DEVIL HOUND! REMEMBERING ACTOR ANDRE MORELL : BORN TODAY 1909!


TODAY WE REMEMBER ACTOR ANDRE MORELL, born on this day in 1909. A celebrated actor whose career had more than a few teamings with Peter Cushing and the fantasy genre.In 1938, Morell joined the Old Vic theatre company, and appeared in several of their high-profile productions both at their home theatre and on tour throughout Britain and across the rest of the world, appearing with both Alec Guinness and John Gielgud.' He kick-started his association with 'creepy cinema' with Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, and playing Arthur Conan Doyle's character Doctor John H. Watson, in Hammer Film Productions' version of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). In 1960. He played Captain Edward Manningham in 'Cone of Silence' in 1960 also starring Cushing, Michael Craig and Bernard Lee. His wonderful portrayal as the 'bounder' Colonel Gore-Hepburn in Hammer's 'Cash on Demand' in 1961 makes very entertaining viewing, as he piles the pressure on Cushing's tormented bank manger, Harry Fordyce and 65 as Haumeid in Hammer's 'She'..with rather odd dubbing.


THERE WERE OTHER VERY GOOD HORRORS and thrillers too, Hammer's 'Plague of the Zombies' in 66 and the rather limp 'THE MUMMY'S SHROUD' again for Hammer in 1967, along with Michael Ripper's Longbarrow, one of the few times where supporting actors are more interesting then the central 'monster'. But, his stand out performance with Cushing, for me has to be in the BBC live televised production of George Orwell's '1984', as the chillingly good O'Brien. It's interesting that Morell played a very good Prof Quatermass in the BBC Quatermass tv series (1958-59) but when offered the role of the Prof in Hammer's 'Quatermass and the Pit' in 1967, turned it down.



OUR FULL FEATURE REVIEW WITH GALLERY of 'CASH ON DEMAND' starring Peter Cushing and Andre Morell : HERE!





ABOVE: ANDRE MORELL IN PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES'

MORELL ALWAYS LOOKED very at home in Hammer's early horrors, but inside personally felt a little more than embarrassed by the subject matter of some of the films, and often forbid his family to actually see them at the local cinema. By all accounts, a rather private man, but very generous on screen and made an outstanding contribution to some of Hammer and Cushing's best work.




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Saturday, 18 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES AND ON SET : I MONSTER CHRISTOPHER LEE SATURDAY : GALLERY TWO!


#CHRISTOPHERLEE SATURDAY! BY THE BEGINNING of 1969, Peter Cushing no longer owned a London home, when he he was working and filming at a studio close to London, Pinewood, Shepperton or Elstree, but far from the home where he and his wife, Helen lived in Whitstable in Kent, he would stay at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, in the city centre. . .  'My favourite hotel in London!' . .and this accommodation would be included in his fee for appearing in the film. For the contract of the Amicus film, I MONSTER, he did not want to be away from Helen in the evenings so he travelled on the 'milk-train' from Whitstable at 6am and returned back to his home at 10pm at night. It was a busy time . . .




I MONSTER, was based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was filmed from October 10th 1970, directed by 22 year old director Stephen Weeks. Christopher Lee starred in the dual role. But Amicus films angle on the story, was quite different for those that had been released in the past. Some believe producer Milton Subotsky, was ducking copyright restrictions, as MGM owned the rights to the title of the the story . .  and so, the lead characters names, Jekyll and Hyde. And so, in I Monster, the good doctor and his alter ego, Mr Hyde carried different names, Doctor Marlowe and Mr Blake. Others believe, Subotsky had heard that his competition Hammer films, were in the process of shooting their own production of the tale. Though I guessing if this was true, he had no idea of the secret spin that it's director Roy Ward Baker and the producers, also had in the wings, to give their release a new and refreshing angle and adapted title! Although Subotsky changed the names of the doctor and his frightening flip identity, most of Stevenson's other characters remained the same, as in the novel. Back in 1983, when PCASUK carried out a video interview with Milton at his home, he was asked why he changed the main characters names, his answer was, 'I thought it would be fun to try!'








SUBOTSKY ALSO WAS DETERMINED to make in film in 3D. Again, when he became an honorary member of PCASUK in 1983, and gave us access and several interviews, the subject matter of how he always wanted to make a 3D film, often came up. He thought a 3D version of Alice in Wonderland in a feature film would make an amazing release... and a feature about the London, Lord Mayor Show, would also be ideal! Sadly, he never got the chance, nor did we or he ever bring up the subject matter of the failed and impossible attempt to shot 'I Monster' in 3D too! Subotsky, before he entered the world of making successful fantasy movies, spent time producing a series of shorts, based on the 'School Boy Scientist' market. Subotsky LOVED science and had been aware a simple and cost effective way of a shooting film in 3D since he too, was a school boy. The process required constant lateral movement within the frame, making conventional film shooting methods and rules of thumb impossible. 


AFTER A WHILE, the process was abandoned by director Stephen Weeks, and the fact that many of the sets had been built, the opposite way to what was needed, to achieve the pans and movements in the correct directions, made movement and continuity impossible or jarring too. The finished release still contains several interminable tracking shots clumsily cut together with static close ups. Despite the technical problems, Christopher Lee gives an excellent central performance.






CUSHING LOVED THE PERIOD FURNISHINGS, and wore some of his own Edwardian styled clothes for the film, which were specially tailored for him by theatrical costumiers Montague Burton's- and as a result seems completely at home in this era. His is even able to reprise the 'eye up to the magnifying glass trick as he compares the identical signatures of Marlowe and Blake. 











DESPITE WHAT SOME SEE as tedious pacing, and the occasional wandering camera the film does have several startling scenes and quite unique turns from both Lee and Cushing. A nightmare sequence features a distorted, faceless Doctor Marlowe; there is a spectacular chase through the massive turbines of an Edwardian water works! Also the monstrously ugly Blake's pathetic encounter with a small child in a park. Make up artist, Harry Frampton creates an amazingly Blake / Hyde whose appearance with every arrival becomes more frightening and a true monster, in every way!








CATCH UP with our I MONSTER RARE IMAGE GALLERY PART ONE : HERE!


IS I MONSTER ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE CUSHING FILMS OR MAYBE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN IT? COME SHARE YOUR OPINION AND THOUGHTS ON ONE THE LESSER TALKED ABOUT AMICUS FILMS AT THE FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE! COME AND JOIN A FOLLOWING OF OVER 33 THOUSAND FANS OF THE PAGE! JUST CLICK : HERE!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

REMEMBERING MADELEINE COLLINSON AND NEW QUESTION AND ANSWER TO THE TUESDAY TOUGHY!


TODAY WE REMEMBER one half of the Collinson twins who sadly passed on this day in 2014 . Madeleine Collinson was born on July 22, 1952 in Malta. She's the identical twin sister of Madeleine Collinson. The Collinson twins arrived in Britain in April, 1969. Noted British glamor photographer Harrison Marks cast the duo as saucy maids in his 8mm short "Halfway Inn." 



MARY AND MADELEINE were the Playmates of the Month in the October, 1970 issue of "Playboy;" they have the distinction of being the first pair of identical twins to pose for a nude pictorial in "Playboy." The Collinson sisters went on to act in a handful of movies together; they were especially effective and memorable as the radically contrasting siblings in the typically fine Hammer vampire horror outing "Twins of Evil" with Peter Cushing.


ABOVE THIS WEEKS CUSHING TUESDAY TOUGHY. BELOW THE QUESTION AND ANSWER TO LAST WEEKS TOUGHY . .



AS ALWAYS we make a point of, if you too would like to share your thoughts and memories of anyone who is included in a memorial post here at our website, you can join us at the FACEBOOK PETER CUSHING APPRECIATION SOCIETY UK FAN PAGE. You will be most welcome to add your message onto the thread!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

MADHOUSE : FIRST GALLERY OF RARE PHOTOGRAPHS : ON SET BEHIND THE SCENES : PART ONE


NINETEEN SEVENTY THREE was a busy year for Peter Cushing, and on January 4th he recorded two BBC television shows, in one day! The first was an invitation to the Michael Aspel children's show. A relaxed Cushing, chatted about requested clips children asked to be shown again. In the evening, a spot of promotion and an interview, centred on his most recent films on the news and magazine programme 'Nationwide'. Just a week later, Cushing took the stage of the National Film Theatre in London, to take part in a John Player Lecture. Cushing talked at length to a packed house about his childhood, his trip to Hollywood and his stage career. Strangely, there was little about his time with Hammer films or any of his fantasy genre movies. Later a transcript of this interview would form part of the body of his first autobiography. A project he began, after his wife's death, as 'a form of therapy' . . .





FEBRUARY brought an appearance on the BBC MORECAME AND WISE SHOW. Singing and dancing! April, he visited Paris to attend the Second International Horror Film Festival and was presented with the Licorne D'Or award, for his role as Arthur Grimsdyke, in Amicus films, 'Tales from the Crypt' plus special for his horror film work over the last decade. While in France, he also filmed an episode of the ITC television show, 'The Zoo Gang' entitled, 'The Counterfeit Trap' with direction from John Hough, who Cushing had worked with, in Hammer films 'Twins of Evil', just a sixteen months before.





MAY 14TH. Cushing arrived at the tiny Twickenham studios, to begin another film for Amicus. It's title would be MADHOUSE. Producer Milton Subotsky, had bought the rights to a book by Angus Hall entitled, Devilday, which upon adapting and completing into a screenplay, wasted no time in pulling together a cast and crew, using his own very successful and unique 'value for money' balancing and budgeting. Jim Clark was his director of choice and the more appropriate shooting title of 'The Revenge of Doctor Death', was rolled out to attract and entice a leading cast. Peter Cushing was signed to play Herbert Flay, a twisted, bitter, revengeful actor and screenwriter, who forms a nightmare of quite diabolical revenge! Vincent Price stars as a very successful horror film actor, Paul Toombes, who is also not without HIS problems, but not as many as he thought!


ONE OF THE VERY ENDEARING and well planned features of the film, are several sequences of film clips, from Paul Toombes many Doctor Death, horror film features, also starring Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone! These clips are in fact, genuine pieces from the Roger Corman films, that Price actually appeared and starred in, now being convincingly passed as jewels from Toombe's successful career! MADHOUSE plays something akin to the successful formula that was adopted in Price's 'Theatre of Blood' and the Phibes movies. Horrible and yet, amusing deaths, with more than a sprinkle of black comedy. Here however, it's played quite straight and the whole thing swings into a fight to the death and a climax, that not only comes as a surprise, but even after several screenings, might leave you wondering, just who is who?





 
THE MADHOUSE of the title, doesn't really refer to a particular building, but more to a state of chaos and the unsettling manner of Cushing's character Flay and the unravelling of Price's character's mind. There are lots of red herrings, and not wanting to give any plot pieces away, all that can be said is, fans of Cushing and Price, should enjoy the twisting of the plot and the way both actors spare no cobwebs or spiders and go all out, when the cheating and horrors are revealed! Check out the cast in the rare photographs of this gallery, and you'll see Subotsky did his 'sums' well, and managed to gather quite a gathering of a company! Up until this time, Amicus were enjoying quite a successful run of releases, their portmanteau films were extremely popular and Price, who was managing almost a hit a year, from his contractual annual yearly production visit to the UK.  Which makes it confusing, as to why the box office was not as expected. Even today, reviews are mixed and the jury of Cushing and Price fans, are mostly still out . . . 



MADHOUSE is film that seems always to get a mix bag of comments, whenever it is featured at our FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE. A regular response and routine, that always confuses me. I can think of half a dozen or more films, from the careers of both Price and Cushing, that fall well below the standard of this film, and yet excuses are aired, failings thought out - so forgiven, praise and mostly positives garnishes dress the mess, of what is often a film of less meat and too much gravy. It's true, everyone can and does have their own and personal tastes and takes on any film, but a film that plays up the real and the fantasy world of film making, the ego's and off set going on's, I would have thought, had little chance of failing. Here today and back then, we are dealing with true nightmares and often quite crazy people! With tongue in cheek, for all those who can see it, MADHOUSE is a worthy addition to the other Price 'amusing slay and display' black comedies, mentioned previously. The extra value here is, we have the very entertaining  and unique chance to watch two actors, who sadly rarely had the opportunity to work on screen together. It's MADNESS it didn't happen more often . . .. 
 

























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