Peter Cushing and Ingrid Pitt. 'The Vampire Lovers' (1970) Hammer Films Productions. keep Calm!
Friday, 29 June 2012
Not one you see that often of Peter Cushing during the making of 'THE VAMPIRE LOVERS' for Hammer Films in 1970. There are some excellent photographs in our PETER CUSHING AND GALS VAMPIRE LOVERS Behind The Scenes Gallery! HERE
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
'THREE MEN AND A GIMMICK' The book includes the 'life stories' (in their own words!) of three British institutions from the 1950's. Comedians Terry-Thomas ('What a shower!'), Arthur Askey (I thank you!) Sabrina, the 'gimmick' of the piece and a face that you could miss on television during the 50's, Peter Cushing. All the material in this book appeared in the TV MIRROR magazine. It's a great little read, quite rare and forgive me, a watermark to stop it walking!
Review copy slip that came with the book. Retail price: Nine Shillings and Six pence. Bargain even then.
The 'INTERESTING' titles on the back of the dust jackets from the same publishing house!
The front cover of the TV MIRROR where the contents of 'Three Men and a Gimmick' were originally published. Peter gracing the cover.
A page from the serialized life story of Peter Cushing that appeared weekly in TV MIRROR. Over the weeks it published some great pictures and I think it was the first published appearance of Peter's (Mother dressed me like a little girl!) family photographs.
Peter Cushing as Mr Smith and Barry Morse as the Bruno, in the tale of the 'Weird Taylor' segment in Amicus Films 'ASYLUM' (1972) Dir: Roy Ward Baker.
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
David Rintoul (Etoile), Peter Cushing (Professor Paul Cataflaque), Lynn Dalby (Christine), Ron Moody (Marcel Duvic), Stefan Gryff (Inspector Max Girard), Hugh Griffith (Maestro Pomponi), Marjorie Yates (Madame Tellier), Roy Castle (Photographer), John Harvey (Police Chief)
Director – Freddie Francis, Screenplay – John Elder [Anthony Hinds], Producer – Kevin Francis, Photography – John Wilcox, Music – Harry Robinson, Photographic Effects – Charles Staffell, Makeup – Jimmy Evans & Graham Freeborn, Art Direction – Jack Shampan. Production Company: Tyburn. UK 1974
Peter Cushing rules! Our TV listings incorrectly called this a Hammer horror, but it's an understandable mistake. Like "Hoover" and "Perrier", "Hammer" has become one of those brand names that's widely confused with the product itself. It's a slightly stagey seventies British horror movie - what else could it be but Hammer? Of course Hammer's time had passed in 1975 and this is more tongue-in-cheek than Hammer's horror output tended to be, but on the other hand it stars the magnificent Peter Cushing. Even in a mediocre role he's always good to watch, but here he's having the time of his life in one of his finest roles (Professor Paul Cataflanque). Cushing isn't just the best thing in this film. He is the film. The story's half over before he appears, but he still outclasses everyone and everything else on screen put together.
Cushing plays a professor of forensics who's been told by his superiors not to investigate some inexplicable deaths. You might as well tell a child to keep away from the candy store. Cushing plays Paul Cataflanque as the perfect gentleman (I adored the scene where his investigations lead him to a whorehouse) but also with enormous curiosity and a sense of mischief. He even does something interesting accent-wise. Legend of the Werewolf is theoretically set in 19th-century France, but only Cushing and Max the policeman deliver their lines in anything but classically trained Royal Shakespeare Company tones. Max is French throughout, but Cushing does something subtler. He's normally his usual impeccably cut-glass self, but when drinking he briefly lapses into Inspector Clouseau. Cushing is presumably suggesting that Paul Cataflanque worked hard at deliberately eradicating his boyhood accent, just as Cushing himself ditched his native barrow-boy accent before becoming an actor. Man, there's nothing I don't admire about his performance.
Everything else could be summed up in five words: "Cushing fantastic; the rest okay". The other characters are fine - not brilliant, but watchable. They're broader than you'd get in a Hammer horror, though, at times almost Dickensian. I'm not trying to imply that Legend of the Werewolf is classic literature on the level of Charles Dickens, but it's a 19th-century story that's full of larger-than-life caricatures (at times bordering on grotesques) rather than more realistic characters, including overt comic relief (Roy Castle) and a cardboard hero. The eponymous werewolf is ostensibly the film's lead, but he spends most of his screen time being angry, confused or unhappy. He's a country boy who's come to Paris, raised by wolves and not understanding much that happens to him. We might have been following Wolf Boy's life right from birth, but it's Cushing's movie and no mistake.
Things I learned from watching this movie:
(1) When meeting a girl for whom you have romantic feelings, swing from a cage and hoot like a monkey.
(2) Werewolves' eyes are novelty marbles.
(3) Even pre-pubescent grunting wolfboys who've been raised by wild animals will wear furry loincloths to hide their naughty bits.
Sometimes we see in glorious wolf-o-vision, in which the screen turns red. This might be more realistic than you'd think, since I seem to remember that dogs only see in monochrome - and a wolf is basically just a big cuddly doggie. The werewolf astonished me by looking good; even today's movie werewolves look crap, but this is a wolf-man. He's man-shaped but with fangs, red-marble contact lenses and a haircut like Wolverine from the X-Men. On the other hand, even I can't find an excuse for the day-for-night filming, except to note that it's a Hammerism. In particular it doesn't help that these sunny scenes are side-by-side with actual night filming!
Mind you, I liked the historical detail, e.g. Roy Castle's darreugotype and its three-minute exposure time. Quite a bit of French flavour comes through despite the obvious Englishness of the production, mostly due to the Paris sets and the whorehouse, and it definitely feels 19th-century. The bits that don't star Peter Cushing are nice, with an unsophisticated sense of humour, but they aren't the reason why you should watch this film. It stars The Man. Bow down and worship.
MORE ON 'LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF' AND AN INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER KEVIN FRANCIS AT OUR BLACKBOXCLUB.COM WEBSITE HERE:CLICK HERE
Review: Finn Clark
Images: Marcus Brooks
PETER CUSHING: TARKIN: BERMANS AND BOOTS' THE STORY OF THE MOFF TARKIN SLIPPERS IN PETER CUSHING'S OWN WORDS!
Monday, 25 June 2012
Sunday, 24 June 2012
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Peter and Helen Cushing pose for a press photograph with his some of the huge collection of toy soldiers he collected. These along with his hand made models, model theatres and painting were sold at auction and now belong to private collectors.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
PETER BEING PRESENTED WITH AWARD ON THE SET OF HAMMER FILMS PRODUCTIONS 'FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED' (1969) AT ELSTREE FILM STUDIOS
PETER CUSHING AS DR WHO AND CO STAR ROY CASTLE IN A OFF CAMERA MOMENT DANCE AND JOKE AROUND AROUND. THIS IS A SCREEN GRAB FROM AN EXTRA INCLUDED ON THE LATEST BBC DR WHO DVD RELEASE. YO0U CAN FIMND MORE DETAILS ON AN EARLIER POST. CLICK HERE: PETER CUSHING DR WHO EXTRA BBC DVD
Behind The Scenes: Peter Cushing shooting 'back projection' shoots as BARON FRANKENSTEIN in HAMMER FILM PRODUCTIONS 'EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN' (1964)
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Monday, 18 June 2012
DID YOU KNOW? The estate of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade upon hearing of Amicus Films production THE SKULL in 1965 pressed charges to prevent any use of de Sade's name on any of the advertising material. Changes on posters and lobby-cards were made at the very last minute, by sticking the new title "Le Crâne Maléfique" ( "The Evil Skull") on top of the the offending title, "Les forfaits du Marquis de Sade" (meaning "the Infamies of Marquis de Sade"). Only on that condition could the film be finally released in the French territory. (Look carefully at the title panel on this lobby card and you'll see where the new paper panel has been stuck on top of the original title)
Peter Cushing (Professor Christopher Maitland), Christopher Lee (Sir Matthew Phillips), Patrick Wymark (Marco), Jill Bennett (Jane Maitland)
Director – Freddie Francis, Screenplay – Milton Subotsky, Based on the Short Story The Skull of the Marquis de Sade by Robert Bloch, Producers – Milton Subotsky & Max J. Rosenberg, Photography – John Wilcox, Music – Elisabeth Lutyens, Special Effects – Ted Samuels, Art Direction – Bill Constable. Production Company – Amicus. UK 1965
A disreputable fence offers Christopher Maitland, a professor of occult studies, a skull, which is reputedly that of the Marquis de Sade. A fellow collector who once owned the skull warns Maitland that de Sade was possessed by an evil spirit. The spirit still inhabits the skull and emerges on the two nights of the new moon, the traditional nights of witchcraft and Devil worship. As the new moon arrives, Maitland finds himself being possessed and driven to acts of murder by the skull.
The year prior to making The Skull, the English production company Amicus, headed by producers Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg, had made Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1964). There they clearly set out to imitate the success in the horror genre being had by England’s Hammer Films around the same time. Dr Terror offered up a portmanteau of horror tales and proved a modest hit. The Skull was Amicus’s second horror film. Subotsky and Rosenberg reunited much of the same team behind Dr Terror – director Freddie Francis, musician Elizabeth Lutyens and art director Bill Constable, as well reemployed Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, two mainstays of the Hammer success, who would both go on to apperar in a number of their films. The Skull also saw Amicus in the first of several collaborations with horror writer Robert Bloch, who around that time had found some fame as a result of authoring the original novel that became the basis of Psycho (1960). With The Skull, Amicus only adapted one of Robert Bloch’s short stories, The Skull of the Marquis de Sade (1945), but in subsequent collaborations, beginning with The Psychopath (1966) and passing through The Deadly Bees (1967) and portmanteaus such as Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1970) and Asylum (1972), Bloch would write screenplays direct for Amicus, often adapting a number of his own short stories.
The Skull is one Amicus film that has been well reviewed by everybody who has seen it. This makes my own disappointment a puzzle. The film has many similarities to the other Amicus-Francis-Bloch collaboration Torture Garden stamped all over it – Torture Garden included an episode where an obsessive collector resurrects a writer (Edgar Allan Poe instead of de Sade). Indeed, Robert Bloch’s original story has the pace that one feels more properly belongs at anthology length – The Skull would probably work perfectly at the 15-20 minute length of one of Amicus’s portmanteau episodes.
The very first scene tips the story’s one and only surprise – that the skull is possessed – if the publicity campaign hadn’t already. From there on, all that is left is Freddie Francis’s uncustomarily heavy-handed atmosphere, aided by an equally overblown score. That is if it is possible to find subtlety and suspense in the somewhat foolish notion of Peter Cushing being pursued by a floating skull, where the camera even gets to charge around peeping out of its eyesockets. The best sequence, one where Peter Cushing is dragged before a judge by police and forced to play a game of Russian Roulette, is irritatingly unexplained – is it real or an hallucination or what?
The central premise is silly and Milton Subotsky’s script never develops it or offers any surprises on the basic idea of a possessed skull running around. The Skull might have been a much more interesting story if it had been portrayed something akin to The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) where we could not have been sure if the possessed skull is real or a figment of the central character’s imagination. Moreover, the film is inaccurate to the historical Marquis de Sade, portraying him as a Satanist and irredeemably evil, whereas de Sade was merely a very horny pornographer whose personal tendencies ran toward the dom end of the BDSM market, something that hardly classifies as evil incarnate.
Freddie Francis’s other genre films are:- Vengeance/The Brain (1962), Paranoiac (1962), Nightmare (1963), Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1964), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Deadly Bees (1967), They Came from Beyond Space (1967), Torture Garden (1967), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1969), Trog (1970), The Vampire Happening (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Tales That Witness Madness (1972), Craze (1973), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Legend of the Werewolf (1974), Son of Dracula (1974), The Ghoul (1975), The Doctor and the Devils (1985) and Dark Tower (1987).
Images: Marcus Brooks
Peter and Maisie on the set of Hammer Films, 'Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell' at Elstree Film Studios in 1973
What a line up! Here's Peter with some very close friends, visiting the set of Peter's last outing as Baron Frankenstein for Hammer Films, 'Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell' in 1974. From the left: Bernard Broughton, Joyce Broughton, Peter's secretary since 1959 and the lovely Maisie Olive, who was Peter's house keeper. The gentleman on the far right, I think is Maisie's husband.. more on Maisie coming up!
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Publicity photograph of Peter as Colonel Raymond in 'BIGGLES' (1985) and greeting the Princess of Wales at the Royal premiere at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, 22May, 1986
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
BBC DR WHO: 'DEATH TO THE DALEKS' DVD RELEASE: 18TH JUNE 2012. If you are a fan of the BBCTV DR WHO television series, of Jon Pertwee as the Doctor..and of Peter Cushing as Dr Who in the two film outings, this release is going to make you very happy chappy indeed. You may recall we ran a piece on this release last month, but now we can reveal what that the 'Cushing-Dr Who' extra on the disc is all about!
It's a featurette called 'On the Set of Dr. Who And The Daleks' – Film and TV Historian Marcus Hearn interviews Jason Flemyng (son of Gordon), First Assistant Director Anthony Waye and Dalek Operator Bryan Hands about the first Dalek film. They all recall fond memories of working on the first Dr Who movie. The chats are supported by some mute black and white behind the scenes footage, one scene includes a some shots of Peter Cushing and Roy Castle dancing on set! Sounds a hoot! The disc retails in the UK for £22.42 but you can save by ordering direct from Amazon, where the DVD is available to pre-order right now for just £13.00!