Monday, 31 December 2018

HAMMER FILMS PRODUCER ROY SKEGGS DIES AGED 83


VERY SAD TO HEAR ROY SKEGGS, one of the very few left of the Hammer films 'home guard' sadly passed away on the weekend. Roy was a producer for Hammer Films and began his connection with the company way back at Bray studios in 1963 as production accountant. Roy was then promoted to 'company accountant' and secretary. He became production supervisor in 1970 and (with Brian Lawrence) took over the reins of the company when it fell into receivership in 1979. Was latterly chairman of Hammer films, based in Elstree.



ROY WAS BORN in 1934. He was a very capable and respected producer and production manager, and probably best known for his work with Hammer films. He was responsible for Peter Cushing's last return to the company with the tv series, Hammer House of Horrpr' in 1980. The series expanded into 'Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense' in 1984, and became a winner overseas and the US. He worked alongside Peter on 'Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell' (1974), Dracula AD 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. 


A PERIOD OF ILLNESS took Roy away from his love of Hammer films in the 1990's... but in the last few years, although always having been a very shy man, he stepped out to one or two conventions and signing days .. and was surprised not only how much he enjoyed the attention...but how fans and the public remembered him and his work with Hammer films. A hard worker, very good at 'math' and was responsible for bringing Hammer back to the small screen and Cushing's final bow as Frankenstein. Thank you Roy 



Saturday, 29 December 2018

BERNARD CRIBBINS HITS 90 YEARS OF AGE AND WE REMEMBER THE QUEEN OF CREEPY WOMEN TODAY!


IT'S A VERY HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY to BERNARD CRIBBINS TODAY! Born in 1928, Cribbins started his acting career at the tender age of 14! An actor since the age of 14 and was a major star on the London stage by his mid-20s. It would be another ten years before he became a national star with success in film comedies, with likes of Peter Sellers and a string of hit records, the most popular probably being, 'A Hole In The Ground' and 'Right Said Fred'. He appeared in several of the "Carry On" series, and also achieved a great degree of success doing voice-overs for cartoons and TV commercials. One of his biggest successes being the 1970's children's animated puppet series, 'The Wombles'.



CRIBBINS also took PETER CUSHING snorkelling in the Gulf of Aqaba! The pair were in Israel filming the Hammer films 'She', and Bernard recalls: “We did a couple of films together and that particular one was out in the Negev desert and we used to have a little swim at lunchtime. Peter was a very athletic gentleman. He played rugby, he told me, ‘I used to love to tackle people’ and you can’t imagine that ostensibly gentle man knocking people over! He was a good swimmer but he’d never been snorkelling, diving down and having a look at things, and he kept talking to me underwater, sounding like Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men which had me in hysterics!"


BACK IN 1974 Cribbins was interviewed for the role of DOCTOR WHO in 1974, as the BBC prepared for Jon Pertwee, leaving the role. 'I didn't actually audition. But when Jon Pertwee was leaving, the producer Barry Letts - who died quite recently - interviewed a lot of actors, one of whom was me. I went along and sat down and he said 'now then what can you do?' I said 'I'm a very good swimmer, I was a paratrooper, I could fight' - and he said 'Oh no, no fighting no, the Doctor is never seen fighting at all!' So Tom Baker became the next Doctor, and one of the first things I remember him doing was knocking somebody out.'


BERNARD also appeared in many tv drama programes as a guest star throughout the 1960's and 70's including the popular 'The Avengers' in TWO episodes. 'The Girl From Auntie' and the weird, 'Look, Stop Me If You've Heard This One, But There Are These Two Fella's'! Of all his movie roles, Cribbins has a fondness for 'The Railway Children' directed by Lionel Jeffries in 1970, where he played Albert Perks. Cribbins has a longstanding association with the science-fiction series Doctor Who (1963). 


ABOVE: Cribbins as Arkwright in The Girl from Auntie (1966) ... his first role in the UK television series, 'THE AVENGERS'


ABOVE Cribbins as Bradley Marler, with comedian Jimmy Jewel in "Look - (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers..." his second appearnce in The Avengers in 1966. 

NOT ONLY DID HE play a companion in the second Peter Cushing film, 'Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.' (1966), which was 40 years before his regular role as a companion, Wilfred Mott, in the Russell T. Davies version of Doctor Who (2005). It certainly has been a very active and sucessful 90 years for sure. Please let us know what your favorite Cribbin's films, roles and shows so far . ..over at the FACEBOOK PCAS FAN PAGE. I think he is far from over yet! HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY BERNARD and have a wonderful day😀


TODAY WE ARE ALSO REMEMBERING and marking the BIRTHDAY of actress . .  FREDA JACKSON who was born today. 29th December in 1907. Was there ever a more frightening actresses in a Peter Cushing Hammer film? Here we see her as the 'hair-raising' Greta in 'The Brides of Dracula' (1960) starring Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur and David Peel. I have always thought it was a great shame that Hammer didn't cast her in any of their other films. She does appear in that 'is it a Hammer film or isn't it?'... 'Shadow of the Cat' (1961) as Clara the maid. But what a waste! Freda's performance as Greta in 'Brides' is as powerful now, as it was when the film was released all those years ago. What an actress! Happy Birthday, Freda!



FRED JACKSON'S GRETA, was also one of the very few feamle roles in Hammer's films, that also featured Cushing, that could give his character Van Helsing a fair fight on screen!!! 😮😉

Friday, 28 December 2018

DID SANTA HIT THE BEST ON YOUR WISH LIST???


2018 WAS ANOTHER GREAT YEAR for adding new and remastered releases of Peter Cushing best ofs on blu ray to your collection! The cherry on the cake for many being the LONG awaited final Lee and Cushing Hammer DRACULA films, Dracula AD 1972 and THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA from Warner Brothers archive! Granted both of those films, are not everyone's 'cup-o-tea', but cleaned and remastered, they look frighteningly FAB! Much appreciated was another remastering, the Twilight Time 'SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST' with Peter as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham! All featured as prizes in our PCAS competitions over the past fews weeks and now available for all! SO, did Santa put a smile on YOUR face and place any of these or other Peter Cushing titles among your Christmas goodies, this year? If so, you may want to swing by the FACEBOOK PCAS FAN PAGE   where everyone is being asked to share what of the bunch, they found under the Christmas tree this year! You can also gain points, by posting a pic of any your  favorites too!



Thursday, 27 December 2018

REMEMBERING : CARRIE FISHER SHINES ON


IT SEEMED, quite surreal last year writing this, and even more so, today . . . TWO years on. Today, I am sure many Star Wars fans and lovers of Carrie's work will be feeling the same, sharing posts and photographs of a woman, who was never dull, touched all she met, was a mountain of energy and fun and yet sadly, like many of us, carried another life, that sometimes worked against her, making even the sunniest of days, dark and exhausting. On December 27th 2016, the day we lost CARRIE FISHER, the shock rippled around the world, and I am sure today, many will again feel that disbelief. Many here of course will know her connection to Peter Cushing, through the movie, STAR WARS.





WITH CUSHING playing the evil TARKIN and Carrie the vulnerable PRINCESS LEIA Tarkin, together they played a key scene, with Peter cranking up his performance, as the cruel and most Machiavellian of characters in the Star Wars universe. Carrie later shared how difficult it had been for her to find the motivation, to hate Peter's Tarkin. She too,like many before her, had been charmed and moved, by his kindness and manner on set, it was quite a task to actually say those lines. Even though she left us a wonderful library of work on screen and on the page, it's a weird feeling, knowing, she isn't around to cheer us up and make us laugh in her interviews. As a teen she was my first crush, she dazzled and shone very brightly . . on screen and in life, a real Princess! 🙂 We remember Carrie today . ..

Thursday, 20 December 2018

HAVE YOU WON COPIES OF WARNER BROTHERS 'HORROR OF DRACULA' REMASTERED BLU RAY IN OUR PCAS COMPETITION?


CONGRATULATIONS to MARLA AND BEA, on winning our Warner Brothers remastered Blu Ray of the BFI restored Hammer film classic... 'Horror of Dracula' / 'Dracula' ! Well Done 😀  It was great to see so many enteries, and I think it's a fair indication of how popular this release is and hopefully, that will being us MORE Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee classics released through Warner in the near future 😉



THE ANSWER to the Competition, which wasn't guessed by everyone, was PHOTOGRAPH E! This was a publicity pic of Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley, from Hammer films 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness' and not from the 1958 Dracula!



FIND OUT MORE ON THE WARNER BROTHERS release of Hammer films 1958 'DRACULA' / 'HORROR OF DRACULA', in our feature and review! JUST CLICK HERE!  


THIS IS THE LAST of our FIVE competitions that I planned over the last six weeks. I hope you have had a lot of fun, enjoyed them, even if this time, you weren't a winner. THERE is ALWAYS next time Again, many, many thanks to the guys at Warner Brothers for sponsoring this and our others competition over the past few weeks! Here's to our next PCAS Competititon... SOON! 

YOU CAN ORDER AND PURCHASE YOUR COPY of this MUCH awaited classic now on release in the US! RIGHT HERE! 
 


 

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

THE EVANSON TOUCH WITH CUSHING PRICE AND LEE ARTWORK : CUSHING COLLECTING WEDNESDAY


#COLLECTINGCUSHING Wednesday! Andrew Evanson has been busy! Here's his latest set of three individual pieces of artwork, each featuring the face of one of the fearsome three! See if you too can work out the influence of the text or design in the back ground of each portrait? Nice touch! Each would make a fine addition to anyone's Cushing Collection! Andrew has told me... ' I did them on my ipad Pro 12.9' with an apple pencil using Auto Desk Sketchbook Pro. They have been done to match my colour scheme as the intention is to frame them. Obviously, as they are digital, I can easily print them off onto A4 using archival quality paper and inks if people are interested but any larger prints would have to be done through a print firm' ....Thank you Andrew for sending this in today😉



Remembering Today.. the birthday of director Roy Ward Baker, whose work with Peter Cushing includes 'Asylum', 'And Now, The Screaming Starts!'. 'The Vampire Lovers' with Amicus films. 'The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires for Hammer films and 'The Masks of Death' with Peter Cushing for Tyburn films. Starting as a tea boy at the Gainsborough Studios in London in 1934, raising to the role of assistant director with Alfred Hitchcock on 'The Lady Vanishes' by 1939, then onto a career as director in Hollywood, working with Marilyn Monroe...Ward Baker had a very full career that covered just about every genre! Today we remember his birthday and the contribution to not only Peter Cushing's career, but the the world of cinema...


ABOVE AND THE LINK HERE! is for a great feature I put together a few years ago, in which WARD BAKER talks about Peter and the several different films he made with him! 


Tuesday, 18 December 2018

FIDELIS ET MORTEM? TUESDAY TOUGHY ANSWER AND RARE SIGNED DRACULA 1958 LINK!


ABOVE IS THE QUESTION  and ANSWER to last week's Cushing Tuesday Toughy! It seems as though either script writer Jimmy Sangster's or set designer, Bernard Robinson's LATIN was a bit lacking! We asked you where were the Latin words we posed, seen in a Peter Cushing film, AND what did they mean? Well, the latin is seen on the family crest, above the fireplace in Hammer films 1958 'DRACULA' and it looks as though didn't quite translate, in the way they probably wanted or intended. FIDELIS ET MORTEM translates as 'FAITH AND DEATH', where what they thought they were displaying was, 'FAITHFUL AND DEAD'. Oh dear! Utinam Non!


ABOVE is a RARE and INTEREST LINK to REMIND you, that TODAY is  the LAST DAY in which to send us YOUR answer to WARNER BROTHERS REMASTERED BLU RAY OF HAMMER FILMS 1958 DRACULA! IF YOU TOO would LOVE to WIN yourself a copy of this EXCELLENT remaster of the BFI print, there is just HOURS TO GO before the competition entries time, pulls up the draw bridge! SO CLICK HERE!  


Monday, 17 December 2018

REVIEW : TWILIGHT TIMES THE SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST BLU RAY




THE CHARACTER of ROBIN HOOD as far as film production is concerned, seems to have revived and arrived as frequently as the BLOKE in the Cloak, Count Dracula. Since 1938, when actor Errol Flynn donned the tights and bow in 'The Adventures of Robin Hood', which hit loads of lolly for the rich and entertainment for the thrill hungry public, Robin and his Merry Men have nearly always been a winner. There have been many remakes and story direction retakes  that not only revived the tale, but such was the power of the story of Mr Hood, you can spot it like a well aimed arrow, providing themes, influences in everything from extended ideas for spin offs, Mel Brooks epics and even down to a Tom and Jerry or Bugs Bunny cartoon! The world of Robin Hood is one of Olde Worlde very rich, but usless kings, lords and ladies, fat monks and pious priest, where every town has men with swords and maidens who are lit and presented in soft focus, having been crafted by a Westmore brother, who  struggle with the caddish-fiend advances of tash tweaking, baddie barons. But I LOVE it!  



HAMMER FILMS 'SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST'  couldn't be and isn't the DISNEY or Errol version. This Hammer film budget, but BUT it is enormously entertaining. Hammer set design guru, Bernard Robinson was and had been tied up with The Mummy, The Brides of Dracula and the Two Faces of Doctor Jekyll, so John Stoll, did the duties. The reason WHY SWORD does so well is because of its excellent cas. which headlines with Peter Cushing as the Sheriff of Nottingham.. in THREE splendid costume changes. Knowing PC he probably pooted along to Berman's and chose them, as he would say 'Mu-self!'...  and Richard Greene as the lead, and for many THE Robin! Others include Hammer's Richard Pascoe, almost 'out stepping' Cushing as a beauty of a bounder and baddie! Oliver Reed gets the better of Cushing's Sheriff, Niall McGinnis makes a very good Friar Tuck and Richard Greene IS Little John! For a tale, almost exclusively set in woodlands and forest, that also has the FOREST word in its title, one wonders if actress Sarah BRANCH was cast and chosen, only for the potentially endless publicity and press office premier inches that could be pushed and published using her surname as an endless pun? BRANCH is very good in the feature, but held a held a carear that only lasted just over four years!? Did Hammer and Chairman Sir James only spot the BRANCH potential as the main and valid reason to another money spinner and quickly slapped together another fim poster to collect the backers cash? Nope. Truth is, the business  and Hollywood has been churning out  Robin Hood films for actually MORE than a century. And Sword of Sherwood Forest, is certainly one of my personal favorites!



SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST is a film from an era, where movies where 'crafted' for the family. No gallons of gore or huge and cavernous miles deep cleavage, to fall into here! You would think, the attraction of such a film of such qualities, would be well passed. BUT just two weeks ago, PCAS offered up SEVEN copies of the Twilight Time remastered blu ray as sponsored prizes in a VERY well supported competition. This gives a fair indication, that Robin and his Merry Men are still very popular. And in THIS EXCELLENT transfer of the feature film, which is typical of the standard of quality we have come to expect from Twilight Time and Sony, the release looks very good indeed! 


SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST was directed by Hammer film icon Terence Fisher, who was well prepared and knew exactly how best to present all the 'key Hood' moments, having also directed many of the television series episode, that also starred Richrad Greene as Robin. It looks delicious, having been shot in Technicolor and makes the most of the luscious green forests, fern, flora and fauna of the Irish location, having been shot in beautiful Enniskery, County Wicklow. 


VISION
FOR ALL THOSE who mull of the technical pickings of screen size and frames, this 2.35:1 Megascope production is bang on, properly framed. The visuals in that frame, well meet the standards we have come to expect from Twilight Time, who in the past have brought us other Peter Cushing classics like Hammer films 'The Hound Of The Baskervilles' (1959)  and Amicus films 'THE SKULL' (1965) this transfer is immaculate! The colours are VIBRANT and do justice to the magnificent scenery, that both Fisher and cinematographer Ken Hodges were working to capture on the big screen. Hodges also worked with Fisher on the TV series. 


ABOVE: SEVEN LUCKY WINNERS of our TWILIGHT TIME PCAS competition last month!


SOUND
THE SOUNDTRACK on the disc comes as a  DTS HD-MA mono track, which presents dialogue clearly, with no drop out, hiss or bassey muffle. Even though in mono, the music composed by Alun Hoddinott, as in ALL Hood films and particulary the UK tv series, sounds terific. is as good as it could be, with clear dialogue throughout, supporting the clanking and thrashing of duels and sword fights very well. All of this drama, sometimes takes a break and presents Alan-a-Dale played by Denis Lotis singing and yodeling, medieval melodies with harp, flute and his mandolin! Charming! English SDH subtitles are available. 


EXTRAS
IN THE PAST, Twilight Time extras have included, documentaries, galleries, trailers and posters. This release offers a very nice isolated music and effects track. Which personally, would always get my vote, over endless talking heads of types who weren't even breathing when the film was released, let alone a twinkle in some daddy's eye! Also included is the theatrical for the film and the very nice thought of a short but appreciative glossy brochure / booklet on the film.

FOLLOWERS who are interested in purchasing it can skip along to the Twilight Time website or the Screen Archives website to order their copy. A GREAT watch for the family at Christmas.
 

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