Friday, 1 July 2016

RALPH BATES AND CUSHING: PASSING ON THE BATTON?

 
PETER CUSHING and Ralph Bates on the set during the making of Hammer's REBOOTING of their Frankenstein franchise. 'THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN' seemed to be the answer the thought, to putting a little 'new blood' in the profitable series. They were wrong. The message came through loud and clear. They had TWICE tried to shoe horn another actor to play their most profitable characters. The 'hoodwinked' the cinema public with 'The Brides of Dracula', with David Peel playing Baron Meinster. The name was on the billboard and the screen...but there was no Dracula, and more to the point, no Christopher Lee. With 'The Horror of Frankenstein' there was no double cross. Hammer even allowed BBC television cameras onto the set of the film,they even went to the trouble of staging a photo-op of Bates shaking hands with Cushing, and had them chatting together on set! But, with 'Horror of..' director, Jimmy Sangster appearing to change track during production and presenting the revamped story of as a kind-of 'Curse of Frankenstein' black comedy... it spectacularly flopped. It was neither a true Frankenstein film nor a comedy.. sadly, it wasn't even a very well produced film.




 FEATURE COMING UP LATER TODAY
 
DURING ONE OF TIMES we met and interviewed Ralph Bates, the subject of 'Horror of Frankenstein came up. Bates had no doubt in his mind about his casting as the Baron. 'I don't think that was ever the real intention. I certainly didn't see it that way. It was a job, one I was happy to take, but to me it was another Hammer film, I didn't honestly think I was stepping into Peter's shoes. I mean, how could you? How could anyone? Peter has been very, very kind and helpful to me . He was extremely kind and went out of his way to help, at I time when I really needed it'. Ralph also had his own opinions about Hammer films, and two production in particular, 'The Horror of Frankenstein' and 'Lust For a Vampire'...but more that, in our next feature . . . 


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