MOST OF US are aware of Peter Cushing's first #FRANKENSTEIN film for Hammer films, 'The Curse Of Frankenstein', that it was made at Bray studios, directed by Terence Fisher and rocketed Peter Cushing into 'Spooky Stardom' and opened a door to one, Christopher Lee who in a matter of months, would also be tripping the 'Spooky Light Fantastic', with his performance as Count Dracula, in Hammer films 'Dracula / Horror of Dracula' the following year in 1958. We are maybe also familiar with the supporting cast, the aforementioned Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein, Lee as the Creature, Robert Urquhart as the Baron's long time friend and assistant, Paul Krempe, Hazel Court as Victor's cousin and fiancée Elizabeth, Valerie Gaunt played the Baron's lover Justine, Melvyn Hayes played a young Victor Frankenstein and finally, Court's own daughter, Sally Walsh played the young Elizabeth. There is also a smattering of very good, UNCREDITED players.
A CLOSER LOOK AT MUCH of the early publicity material, press stills swatches and a copy of the ultra rare British press-book, reveals ANOTHER more surprising name, in the supporting cast, that seems to have bypassed many fans . . . .
ACTOR PATRICK TROUGHTON, he of most impressive acting career ( Doctor Who, The Omen and.. The Black Knight (1954), and...Olivier's 1948 Hamlet, which also starred Peter Cushing as Osric... Troughton appeared in quite a few TV dramas with Cushing too.) was also cast in The Curse Of Frankenstein. But I KNOW what you are thinking, you don't remember seeing him in the film? Don't get it? Stay with me . . . .
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, here is our theory, to what may have happened here. Sometime during the editing or the shoot, during that freezing cold November of 1956, it was decided that either, Mr T's footage had a problem, he was double booking at the Charnel House that day, or director Terence Fisher had a hunch, an epiphany and recast a different actor for the role of Kurt, the Charnel House Keeper. Yes, this role even though the actor's face isn't ACTUALLY SEEN, also had a name. How do we know this? BECAUSE it's in the PRESS BOOK, with Patrick Troughton's name along side it! I guess, no one thought to tell the Pres department, that Troughton was no longer in the show?! As it played out, everything came good for Troughton, in a few short years he would land the prize role of television's favorite doctor, DR WHO when William Hartnell would sadly leave the role. But, WHO IS Kurt, if not Patrick Troughton?....Still with me?
ABOVE: THAT SCENE IN GIF FORM!
STAND UP AND TAKE A BOW JOSEF BEHRMANN! We have a hunch it is Behrmann who can be seen in this scene and was cast replacing Troughton. Those HANDS! Josef Behrmann was born on June 25, 1925 in Ventspils, Latvia. Behrman started his career as a jobbing actor in the early 50's . . having lived and survived through an incredible journey of survival during and immediately after the second World War in Latvia. Between 1941 and 1945 he passed through 14 concentration and work camps, including the infamous Buchenwald, surviving them all by astonishing luck, yet remaining scarred for life by what he had seen.... Read his story here. In an acting career, which also give him many theatre opportunities, under the name of Joscik Barbarossa, he also appeared in over 100 films, The Naked Runner with Frank Sinatra and Edward Fox (subsequently to be a great friend), The Ipcress File with Michael Caine, Gene Wilder's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother, 1984 with Richard Burton and Carve Her Name with Pride with Virginia McKenna – in which he played a brutal SS officer. Later he was an advisor for The Odessa File and Schindler’s List.
I SOMEHOW FEEL, this isn't going to end here... but for whatever the reasons were behind the casting in 'Curse', Patrick Troughton's loss was Josef Behrmann's and our gain! And isn't strange how sometimes, stories like these have neat endings?? Speed forward seventeen years later, where Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing are now marking the end of the Hammer Frankenstein cycle with the production of Hammer films, 'FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL' ...and who should be playing the grave robber, helping a young SHANE BRIANT, to find specimens? Not from the Charnel House this time though, but 'Body Snatcher', from the local spooky cemetery.... it's Patrick Troughton! I wonder if Fisher remembered Troughton, when he was bringing together some of the best of British character actors for this, his last Hammer Frankenstein film with Peter Cushing! And yes, the press-book did contain Troughton's name.........
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