Saturday, 25 May 2019

THE PERSONAL SCRAPBOOKS OF CHRISTOPHER LEE


THREE DAYS AGO it was announced that, Lady Lee, Sir Christopher Lee’s widow, had donated her husband's photographic archive, to the BFI National Archive. The collection, is presented in THREE scrapbooks. Lee would have been 97 years young on 27th May 2019'. The scrapbooks are made up of photographic prints compiled by Sir Christopher Lee himself.



ON DONATING THESE ALBUMS, Lady Gitte Lee in a press statement has said, “It was a great joy and an honour for my husband when he was awarded the BFI Fellowship in recognition for his lifelong contribution to the industry. I am therefore delighted that the BFI are helping to preserve the heritage of his legacy, by bringing Christopher’s photographic archive into the BFI National Archive. I am immensely proud of my husband’s achievements. One of Britain’s best-loved actors, he was a man who entertained audiences worldwide for more than 60 years. It gives me great pleasure that his photos will be seen and appreciated for generations to come.”


WELL, AS WE HOPED, the scrapbooks just about covers Lee's entire film career. It's a photographic archive which includes many previously unseen on-set photographs and contact sheets, plus photographic portraits from many of his roles including Hammer films 'Dracula / Horror of Dracula'  (1958) and its sequels, also The Wicker Man (1973) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Some interesting choices are included, such as one of Lee's earliest film roles in the Ealing Studios classic, Scott of the Antarctic (1948), and ends, as one would expect, in the 2000s. It's an interesting Lee archive which manages to present a unique personal account of a prolific career, and also features  annotated musings, revealing his crisp, dry humour.


SO, WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE? Well, it's three scrapbooks put together it seems in the early 1970s and annotated by Lee himself, all spanning the years from 1948-1972. ALBUM ONE covers Lee’s first decade and a half, as a jobbing actor. Here we see some of his earliest roles including the World War II drama They Were Not Divided (1950) and Captain Horatio Hornblower (1950) in which Lee played supporting parts, his annotation to They Were Not Divided quips “back to camera, as usual”. It's interesting to see, over a ten year period how he spent the time in his choices and casting opportunities, to enable him to hone his craft in supporting roles, before his breakthrough performance, as The Creature in Hammer Studios’ The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). It's no secret that, Lee at one time held the 'Guinness World Record' for the most on-screen sword fights! This album records an early and memorable example, with  Lee’s infamous sword fight with Errol Flynn in The Dark Avenger (1955). It was at this time, Flynn accidentally cut through Lee’s little finger! A story Lee loved to share! The album also includes a striking pair of portraits of Lee, where he is almost unrecognisable, during his screen test for John Huston’s Moby Dick (1956), a part that was ultimately played by another actor.


ALBUM TWO spans through the 1960s, and includes much of the horror and fantasy genre classics, such as his sequel to the successful 1958 Dracula film, Dracula Price of Darkness in 1965 and The Devil Rides Out (1967). It's also interesting to see Lee alongside other fellow horror legends, including Peter Cushing in Amicus films, The Skull in 1965, Vincent Price The Oblong Box, 1959 and Boris Karloff in The Curse of the Crimson Altar produced in 1968. Good to see Lee chatting and working on set, with Hammer director Terence Fisher during the making of The Gorgon in 1965. Included too are his appearances in two separate series of popular UK TV programme, The Avengers in 1967 and 1969 ALBUM THREE covers a much shorter period, from his role in Julius Caesar in 1970 to the low budget cult film Death Line, with Donald Pleasence in 1972. This scrapbook also has space to showcase some of the special make-up and make up artists like Wally Schneiderman and Pearl Tipaldi who were deployed in films such as The Scars of Dracula (1970) and includes many make up prep images with make up artist Harry Frampton from Amicus films, I, Monster (1971), a role that which Lee often described as ‘one of the best things I’ve ever done’. There are also a number of behind-the-scenes stills from Billy Wilder’s late masterpiece, and one of Lee’s favourite films, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1971).



LEE FELT TYPECAST for much of the period of time covered by these albums, but they nevertheless show his great versatility as an actor across a variety of characters, films and genres. So, it's interesting that alongside the iconic images showcased, he has chosen to include some quite surprising, often funny and interesting choices. Many of the photographs have never been published, so they are all the more special for being selected, arranged and annotated by Lee himself.


NATHALIE MORRIS, Senior Curator – Special Collections, BFI said, “We’re delighted to have been entrusted with this marvellous group of photographs which were collected and kept by Christopher Lee, one of the all-time cinema greats. These images wonderfully demonstrate Lee’s versatility and charisma as an actor, taking us on a journey from his early small parts through to his starring roles and then beyond, as directors sought him out for high profile supporting roles and cameos. The albums are fascinating for being assembled by Lee himself, especially as they also include his occasional, wryly-observed, comments. The BFI National Archive is incredibly grateful to Lady Lee for this generous donation.”

CHRISTOPHER LEE'S SCRAPBOOK collection will join other significant personal archive collections including those of Alfred Hitchcock, Alan Parker, David Lean, Ken Loach and Dirk Bogarde at the BFI National Archive John Paul Getty Jnr Conservation Centre in Berkhamsted, stored in optimal archival conditions. Once catalogued, the collection will be available to view by appointment, with selected material made accessible digitally through the BFI Reuben Library.

Friday, 24 May 2019

PRYDE VS TARKIN! TIN PIN TARKIN STILL STANDING AS PRYDE JOINS THE SAGA!


OF ALL the items in the PCAS collection, this is something I have a real soft spot for 🙂 It's a Peter Cushing Tarkin Pin / Badge! It was given to me by Gladys Fletcher, who started PCAS back in the 1950's. Seems it was given to her by a fan back in 1977, and she passed it on in 1978. I love the font and considering how old it is now, it's aged rather well. I don't collect pins and I have only worn it to a convention back in 1980. It's lived in a little box for safe keeping since then. There are now many pins, badges, fridge magnets and all sorts depicting Peter as 'the most evil man in the universe!' but as I have never seen this pin anywhere else, it's pretty special . . Over at the FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE we've invited everyone to share images of any special or vintage Cushing, Tarkin or Star Wars pins, and the results are quite interesting!



THERE HAS BEEN AN ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY, of what is seen by some fans as an interesting addition to the army of #STARWARS characters of actor! British actor #RICHARDEGRANT is playing #GeneralPryde, a villain of similar #TARKIN proportions in #THERISEOFSKYWALKER, released this December, is most exciting! I wonder if we will be sharing vintage tin pins of Grant's Thrawn in 40 odd years time??? I do  hope, Grant is my top five favourite actors. We wait, with much anticipation and I don't think, we 'Over Estimate His Chances!' 😉😊😀

Thursday, 23 May 2019

NEWS! CHRISTOPHER LEE PERSONAL SCRAPBOOKS DONATED TO THE BFI


NEWS: Released today is the interesting story that BFI has acquired 'never before seen' scrapbooks, that belonged to CHRISTOPHER LEE! The actor’s wife Lady Birgit Lee has donated THREE never-before-seen scrapbooks – which contain promotional shots, stills from films and annotations, and span from 1948 to 1972 – to the BFI archive, where they will be available to the public via its research access service at its Southbank location in London A very kind and considerate donation, let's hope the BFI honor their intentions 😉😉



Wednesday, 22 May 2019

MARKING THE BIRTHDAYS OF A SIR AND A LORD WITH PC CONNECTIONS!


TODAY 22ND OF MAY, has brought us the opportunity to celebrate the BIRTHDAY of one of PETER CUSHING's favourite writers and one of his close friends. of his early days in theatre and film . . .


TODAY WE REMEMBER Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was born on this day a writer best known for his detective fiction featuring the character Sherlock Holmes. Originally a physician, in 1887 he published A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels about Holmes and Dr. Watson. In addition, Doyle wrote over fifty short stories featuring the famous detective. 


OUR PCASUK feature on the BBC TWO PART episode of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' with gallery is BARKING AND RIGHT HERE! 

THE SHERLOCK HOLMES stories are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. Peter Cushing played Sherlock Holmes in Hammer's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, then in the BBC TV SERIES and finally in Tyburn's THE MASKS OF DEATH As a cherry on the cake, Cushing also got to play Conan Doyle in a TNT 1976 film, 'The Great Houdini' . . thank you to Mark Iveson for Facebook PCASUK Fan Page that reminder 😉
 


FEATURE AND GALLERY on Peter Cushing in the BBC episode, THE SIGN OF FOUR RIGHT HERE!



A RARE JAPANESE phone card, depicting Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Stock as Watson from the BBC Television series . .


TODAY WE REMEMBER an acting legend! Laurence Olivier who was born on this day in 1907. Olivier dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles. Among Olivier's best known films are Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), and a trilogy of Shakespeare films as actor-director: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), and Richard III (1955). OLIVIER'S LATER FILMS included The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), Sleuth (1972), Marathon Man (1976), and The Boys from Brazil (1978). For his on-screen work he received four Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, five Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. 


THE NATIONAL THEATRE'S  largest auditorium is named in his honour, and he is commemorated in the Laurence Olivier Awards, given annually by the Society of London Theatre. PETER CUSHING co-starred and was directed by Olivier in Hamlet (1948) with Cushing playing Osric. Another notable thing about the film although they shared no scenes together it was the first film to star both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who had an uncredited role as a spear carrier with no spoken lines.





Monday, 20 May 2019

REMEMBERING JON PERTWEE : A RARE COLOUR TRANSPARANCEY PLUS STUNNING RESIN CRYPT MODEL KIT PICS!


REQUESTED from Phil Randell
ANOTHER dip into the colour images from rare contract sheets of Christopher Lee and Veronica Carlson in 'Dracula Has Risen From The Grave', the last for while, this is a request, so here we go.... an interesting shot from the studio's publicity photographer, with the intention of trimming the pic later, to remove those lighting cables on the floor out of the shot. I think, this was between poses too, both seem to be listening to the photographer. . .



TODAY WE REMEMBER Jon Pertwee who we sadly lost on this day in May 1996. Pertwee became best known for spending 18 years (1959–1977) playing Chief petty officer Pertwee in the popular series The Navy Lark on BBC Radio. But achieved world wide recognition from playing the Third Doctor in Dr Who whom he played from 1970 to 1974.



AFTER DOCTOR WHO He had continued success in TV playing the title character in the television series Worzel Gummidge from 1979 to 1981 (reprising the role from 1987 to 1989). Judging by the response, to this post at the FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE it is wonderful to see, Pertwee's admirers and following is just as strong as ever. He is still very much, appreciated and remembered!  


DOES THIS 'THE MUMMY' kit figure grab you? I get sent quite a lot of photographs of figures and model kits, but this one is very good , I think. Resin Crypt's "Deadly Intruder" sculpted by Robert Price and.artist Nick DeAngelo has done an very good job painting and building the piece.


YOU SEE IT PRESENTED here, before the paint and after. The kit consists of 16 pieces and is 1/6th scale, which features include both figures of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing along with a highly detailed elaborate base including, globe, rifle and nameplate . . 


THIS IS ALL reproduced from the stunning action scene, that takes part in the Hammer film of 1959, The Mummy, directed by Terence Fisher...and make up by the amazing Roy Ashton! Over at the FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE, we have asked for YOUR opinion on the figure, and the feed-back has been MOST postive!



CATCH UP with our FEATURE and GALLERY on Hammer films 'THE MUMMY' starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Yvonne Furneaux : JUST CLICK HERE!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

MARKING THE ANNIVERSARY OF 'PETER CUSHING AND CHRISTOPHER LEE'S' FINAL MEETING: ONE LAST TIME


AS POPULAR AS EVER, a clip from the PCASUK 'Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee: One Last time' clipped was shared on the FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE today . . . 




ABOVE: MY TWO favorite clips from the series. The first a wonderful story from Christopher Lee about VINCENT PRICE and, here second both Cushing's and Lee's 'black sense of humour' shines through, with a message to Cushing, from Lee's wife, Gitta 😉

From the FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE: 'THIS WEEK marks the last time Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee spent time with each other... as I am sure many of you know, that last engagement together was work, and the recording of the narration of Ted Newsom's Hammer films documentary, 'Flesh and Blood'. The date was the 17th May 1994, and both Peter and Christopher Lee sat to have some photographs taken for publicity, before recording. What started as a few questions, soon turned into an hour of candid and relaxed conversation and memories. Thankfully, unplanned the whole session was video'd, with a domestic video camera. We have shared much of that recording here, at the pcasuk website and our youtube channel . . .


THAT PETER would no longer be with us, in just a few weeks time wasn't expected. But, as far as Peter was concerned, he couldn't wait to be reunited with his late wife, Helen. Here's one of my favourite clips. As for more, you'll find them at our youtube channel... and new clips, stay tuned for May 26th this year 😀 . . . and we all know, what day that is? 😉

Thursday, 16 May 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ROD HULL AND THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR!


PLEASE JOIN US IN WISHING . . . English comedian, actor, presenter, radio host, author, past King Rat and authority on the history of music hall entertainment. . . Roy Hudd, a very Happy 83rd Birthday Today 😊 Even though Roy's huge career has spanned many decades, in just about every medium, he is probably more known in the UK than overseas.. and he probably wouldn't want it any other way 😄 


READ ALL about Roy Hudd's time during the shooting of The Blood Beast Terror and working with Peter Cushing HERE!

ROY HUDD played a small role with Peter Cushing in the Tigon film, 'The Blood Beast Terror' as the black humored, morgue attendant. It was Roy's very first film role and back in 2014, he shared his memories of working with Peter and his time on the film, in our PCASUK Peter Cushing Remembered 20th Anniversary features, a link to which you'll find above! Roy added to his vast CV, a few years ago when he provided the narration to Don Fearney's 150 minute epic on the history of Amicus films! Have a great time and a wonderful birthday, Roy Hudd








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