#tbt RELEASED JUNE 1984, Peter Cushing in 'TOP SECRET'. When Peter Cushing
first appears in his scene, he is looking through a magnifying glass,
pretty much the same way he had done in countless other films. The trick
in this case is, when he lowers the glass...his eye REMAINS HUGE!
'FORWARDS,BACKWARDS, it's all the same to me,' said Peter Cushing in
the film's pressbook, 'I've done so many pictures by now that I try to
do what's asked of me to the best of my abilities and
trust that all is well. My scene in 'Top Secret' was a very interesting
exercise in technique and I enjoyed it very much...' Even though his
scene is brief, the amount of prep and time spent on his make up
appliance and the rehearsing and blocking of shooting his dialogue and
action ..BACKWARDS... must have taken considerable time and effort. How
do you think it LOOKED??
... THE GUY on the bottom left is STUART FREEBORN make up artist who
made the Cushing prosthetic... he is also quite famous for something
else... do you know what that is??
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: WEDNESDAY: You may remember these posts from two Wednesday's ago? And
after posting them, I promised to share the story of how I came to own
those handwritten autobiography notes of Peter Cushing's...Well....the
top post is Peter Cushing's Bureau, purchased just a few years ago. I
was lucky to purchase it from a lady, who lived a short distance from
Peter Cushing's home at Sea View in Whitstable.
HER HUSBAND HAD BEEN a great fan of Peter's work and he purchased the bureau
at the Cushing Collection Auction in Canterbury after Peter Cushing
died. Sadly, he too passed a year or so before I purchased the bureau,
and his wife was slowly down scaling down her home and relocating.
WHEN THE TIME CAME to go along to her home to collect the bureau, it was
quite an emotional parting for her, it was her husband's pride and joy.
But when she found out 'where' the bureau's new home was going to be
and about PCAS, she was over-joyed! During our meeting at her home, we
had some tea and cake and chatted, and found out geographically, we had
much in common too!
AFTER AN HOUR OR SO, the time came to carry the bureau out and carefully
pack it up for it's journey to my home. I thanked her and told her how
extremely pleased I was to be it's new owner, that it would be very well
looked after and also pressed into use too!
IT WAS AT THIS POINT, she asked ' Oh, would you also like to take away
these too?' She held out a plastic slip folder. Through the ageing and
yellowing plastic, I could see inside, a wad of paper, and on the one
corner, held by two large paper clips I could just make out lines of
handwriting, in blue fountain pen ink! At the same time, I immediately
recognised that distinctive style.. it was Peter Cushing's handwriting.
WHILE CAREFULLY SLIDING the paper out from the folder, I looked at
her..she was smiling! I said, 'It's Peter's handwriting!!' She beamed
back at me, 'Yes!', she said, she was as excited as I was! 'My husband
said it was, but I have no idea what it all means. Is it an unfinished
letter, he seems to be writing...is it his story and are all those
titles his films too?' I barely heard what she had said, I was quickly
scanning the pages. It was pretty obvious, these were notes about the
contents of Peter's autobiography, in his own hand. 'It's Peter's
notes.!', I said 'It's his autobiography. How wonderful! They are very
rare indeed, you must be sure to take great care of them.' I said, 'Oh
no..' she smiled, 'I want YOU to have them!'
QUICKLY, I DID THE SUMS in my head of their value and blurted, ' Well,
that's extremely kind of you, but, I could not buy these today, I
have...' but before I could finish, she laughed saying, 'Oh nooo. I WANT
you to HAVE them. They should be with you!' I started to explain their
value, a nice little break away with the proceeds maybe? But, she
wouldn't listen, 'No. I am quite happy with the sale of the bureau...'
IT WAS THEN SHE said something that made my jaw drop so hard, the bump
of it hitting the hall carpet could probably be heard down at Sea
View.... ' My husband, didn't pay for them anyway..' I was puzzled, 'So,
how did you come by them?' I asked. 'Oh, they were just inside THE
BUREAU......!' 'What?' I said. 'They were in the pull down desk, in that
folder!' she explained.
I THEN REMEMEBERED what many collectors had told me
about the Canterbury auction. There had been so many lots, Peter had so
much packed into his home and studio, when it came to dividing things
into lots, often someone winning a bid on a book that belonged to Peter,
got home and opened it to find an autographed note paper inside. People
who purchase items of his clothing found scarves, silk handkerchiefs,
cuff-links and pens tucked into them! It was something special, some
extra item, however small, a thank you for your purchase..as there was
mountains of items to sell. The bureau had been in the auction
catalogue, as one of the very few pieces of Peter Cushing's furniture
for sale... an expensive antique and a good price was expected, and
AND SO, that is the astonishing story, of how I came by those
notes...and the generosity of two women, the lovely lady who owned the
bureau and Peter's long time friend, Joyce Brougton, who put the lots
together for that auction! Bless you, ladies!
A DOUBLE#toocooltuesdayTARKIN POST! First a great panoramic behind the scenes shot from STAR
WARS (1977) featuring Cushing as Tarkin and Darth Vader...an interesting
point here... IF there is any truth in the rumour that the makers of the
#starwars film, #rogueone
released this Christmas, are looking for UNUSED footage of Peter to use
in the film...WELL...here is a WHOLE UNUSED SCENE! This scene, which I
am sure all you #starwars fans recognise...was dropped from the edited
release that made it to cinema's worldwide in 1977, lots of shots of
Peter there I am sure AND he has his BOOTS on!
PLUS BELOW...the genuine hem of the trousers (USA PANTS) that Peter wore as Grand Moff Tarkin, in the same film, #STARWARS in 1977... made by BERMANS and NathansCostumiers..take note Angels... that's BERMANS and Nathans!
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#monstermondayDON HENDERSON AS THE GHOUL, from the 1975 film of the same name, is
today's 'monster'... made in the good ol tradition of the thing in the
attic, and a style from another time, that didn't sit too easy with
audiences back in 75, but now...if you can find it, it rewards you with
excellent direction and performances, Cushing and Veronica Carlson
having the stand out scenes.
SOMETHING THAT I personally can't understand is, why 'the ghoul', in his
reveal, was a bit of a disappointment for some.... how about you? . . . OUR FEATURE AND GALLERIES ON THE GHOUL ARE HERE and HERE
ON POSTING THIS FEATUREat our FACEBOOK FAN PAGE below are some of the comments shared from our friends and followers . . .
haven't seen the film but it is on you tube so i will. I think the
reason people are often disappointed is the fault of the poster, it
often promises things that the film just cannot match'.
I have never thought of it that way, Stewart! I always thought that
viewers because of the build up, in the film itself, felt cheated. If I
would have any criticism of the reveal scene, it would be, it was over
lit...and probably would have been better set in a dark attic..where he lived! Same problem with 'Blood Beast Terror' and 'The Gorgon' just too much light, you can see too much! Think of the film 'Alien'
for most of the film, you only see parts of the creature...here in the
Ghoul, there are suggested shots, feet, hand, but far too much
eventually... see what you think!
NICK DIGILIO: LOVE that movie!
F.PASSMORE : "I
found this film on a public domain collection, ( a pleasant surprise),
and enjoyed it. I understand that perhaps some wanted the ghoul to be
more of an undead monster or something, but it was just the woman's
mentally-deficient son, so his appearance was not as scary. But the idea
of feeding him the flesh of guests was pretty scary on its own".
D.YOUNG:"Love The Ghoul! One of the films responsible for getting me interested in horror in general and Cushing in particular. I remember being scared silly by it though I was perhaps a little young to watch it."
very first time I watched it I thought the Ghoul was a little
disappointing only because he uttered the word "Father" at the end and
it made me laugh. Since then I watch it on a regular basis.It is a very
good film and made a change to find Veronica
Carlson playing someone against character with her spoilt demanding
ways in the film. I also found Peter Cushing's character rather sad,
part real part acting.I always catch it on Youtube".
a very dark and bleak film. I do wonder how Peter Cushing coped with
such a morbid production so soon after the death of his wife. It's also
worth noting the similarities between this and Texas Chain Saw Massacre -
very similar plots, albeit realised in
very different ways. I've always seen this film as a breaking point
between the quainter fantasy-tinged British horror of the 50s and 60s,
typified by Hammer, and the darker, crueller American horror movies of
the 1970s (such as TCM)".
liked this film. I needs a proper dvd or bluray release.Its seems to be
in the public domain. Known as Night of the Ghoul in the Horror Rises
From the Grave collection on dvd.It's seems to be it's only release in
the world that I can find!"
Bob, I am not sure about The Ghoul being public domain, or how
Brentwood Home Video, managed to get a licence to distribute the film...
but the transfer from a VHS copy of all the films in this package makes
me suspect that they didn't!"
D.YOUNG: "Love The Ghoul! One of the films responsible for getting me interested in horror in general and Cushing in particular. I remember being scared silly by it though I was perhaps a little young to watch it?"
J.CLARK:"Peter Cushing gives, in my view, his greatest performance. A nice touch to have his dear wife in a photograph in the film!I
have this on VHS PAL Video when it was realeased with the likes of
'Persecution', 'Legend of the Werewolf', 'Island of Terror, 'Masks of
Death' et el under The Taste of Fear banner from Lumiere".
#ONSETSATURDAY that's going to HURT! Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee rehearse
their 'punch up'...in the balcony of St Botolph's Church.. on set at
Elstree film studios. All part of that great fight scene in Dracula AD
ANDBELOW : A GIF shot, of how this shot turned out of the film! NEXT, Roberta Tovey during the making of Dr Who and the Daleks with Peter Cushing at Shepperton studios, then Ursula Andress checking continuity with Eileen Head on the set of Hammer films, 'She' and finally, Peter Cushing shooting a scene for 'The Evil of Frankenstein' at Hammer films very own, Bray studios under the direction of Freddie Francis.
THERE'S A WORRY SELECTION of bodies popping up throughout a small
suburb of Paris..and they all have their throats torn out! Police
surgeon, Peter Cushing suspects something is a foot..or paw! Tyburn
films, Legend of the Werewolf is one of a pair of films that neatly
brought the Brit Horror Era to a close. Cushing made both Legend and The
Ghoul with director, Freddie Francis. Kevin Francis, son of Fred was
CEO of Tyburn, and looked at one point to have the winning formula to keep the Brit Fantasy Flick alive.
The Making Of Legend Of The Werewolf
Behind the Scenes Photographs, Script and Interviews HERE! SOON!
ALAS, THE SHIP had already left the dock and was sailing for tastes a
new, splashed with gore, serial killers and mayhem. 'Legend', 'The
Ghoul' and Cushing bring a certain dignity to the screen. A class of
film, that would soon vanish from our screens.
IN THE CLIP ABOVE, Cushing is joined by Roy Castle. A performer who in the
past had been a one man, dancing, singing, musician entertainer who had a
vast experience of performing in variety, on both stage and tv. Castle
appeared with Cushing in two other films, 'Dr Terrors House of Horrors'
and 'Dr Who and the Daleks' both for Amicus films, who at one time were
the only real competition to Hammer films. The Dr Who film was Amicus in
all but name. Cushing and Castle knew each other well enough, to bounce
and feed each other in their two scenes in 'Werewolf', and bring a
certain black comedy-vaudeville to the film.
'LEGEND' WAS IN PART, a Tony (Hammer Films) Hinds script, which
Kevin Francis added to. The two characters in this clip, funnily enough,
do not appear in the first draft of the script! The film has a very
neat cast, even Michael Ripper, credited as a 'Sewer Man', gets to
re-enact his look of horror, first seen in Hammer films 'The Mummy' with
Cushing and Lee back in 1959! Ron Moody plays the lovely scruffy ol zoo
keeper, David Rintoul, the doomed Etoile, Lynn Dalby is a sensitive
love interest, but Renee Houston in her last screen performance before
her death in 1980, as Chou-Chou and Hugh Griffith as Maestro Pamponi,
almost steal the show.
This film at the time of writing, still is without a dvd release.
#THROWBACKTHURSDAY , Peter Cushing's role in this light sentimental drama
was overlooked by audiences and critics. Here again Cushing does much
with a small role. Supporting stars, Tim Holt and Virginia Gilmore.
LADDIE was one of several films that Cushing appeared in during his stay
It is believed he also screen tested for a role in Gene
Towne and Graham Baker's version of 'Tom Brown's School Days', It's not
clear if he actually got the role, shoot hos scenes or was rejected, as
he is absent from the 1940 release. During this time Cushing also
appeared in 'The Man In The Iron Mask' and 'They Dare Not Love' directed
by James Whale, 'Vigil In The Night' (1939) with Carole Lombard, Brian
Aherne and Anne Shirley, 'The Howards of Virginia' (1940) and 'A Chump
at Oxford' with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in 1939.
THERE'S A DEFINITE CANINE WHIFF, to this weeks #throwbackthursday!
A lovely example of Peter playing 'black comedy' in a scene from Tyburn
films, 'Legend of the Werewolf' below, as we remember one of
three flirts Cushing had with monsters, of the barking kind! Later today,
we have the very 'barking' results from last weeks' 'Twilight Time
Baskervilles Blu Ray Compo!
THEN WE WILL BE BRINGING YOU SOME very early
Hollywood Peter Cushing, in a clip from a film, that sounds as if it
COULD be about a dog, but thankfully isn't! All that to come, in the
meantime, let's sit and 'growl' about the fact that Legend of the
Werewolf STILL isn't available as a commercial dvd or blu ray... it's
enough to get anyone howling!!
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#COLLECTABLESWEDNESDAY I have never before shared images of these
collectables, in fact only a handful of people have even ever seen them!
But for you, today here they are!.... They are I guess, a one of
originals in collectable terms. These are Peter Cushing's personal
notes, written in his own hand, made during the compiling of his first
THERE ARE 15 PAGES IN ALL, some are paragraphs in rough form, from the chapters of the book, lots of doodles, notes to himself
and reminders to 'check this' with question marks...! These are the
pages of notes that went to make the filmography and titles of
television and theatre performances through out his long career, that
appeared at the back of the book. Some titles are just shooting titles,
that were changed upon the films release. He also lists he awards, tour
date, also if a production were for tv or screen. They make fascinating
reading as Cushing tries to chronologically piece together the puzzle.
How I came upon these notes. . . . is a story in itself, which I will
share with you, next week - Marcus
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