Saturday, 18 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES AND ON SET : I MONSTER CHRISTOPHER LEE SATURDAY : GALLERY TWO!


#CHRISTOPHERLEE SATURDAY! BY THE BEGINNING of 1969, Peter Cushing no longer owned a London home, when he he was working and filming at a studio close to London, Pinewood, Shepperton or Elstree, but far from the home where he and his wife, Helen lived in Whitstable in Kent, he would stay at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, in the city centre. . .  'My favourite hotel in London!' . .and this accommodation would be included in his fee for appearing in the film. For the contract of the Amicus film, I MONSTER, he did not want to be away from Helen in the evenings so he travelled on the 'milk-train' from Whitstable at 6am and returned back to his home at 10pm at night. It was a busy time . . .




I MONSTER, was based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was filmed from October 10th 1970, directed by 22 year old director Stephen Weeks. Christopher Lee starred in the dual role. But Amicus films angle on the story, was quite different for those that had been released in the past. Some believe producer Milton Subotsky, was ducking copyright restrictions, as MGM owned the rights to the title of the the story . .  and so, the lead characters names, Jekyll and Hyde. And so, in I Monster, the good doctor and his alter ego, Mr Hyde carried different names, Doctor Marlowe and Mr Blake. Others believe, Subotsky had heard that his competition Hammer films, were in the process of shooting their own production of the tale. Though I guessing if this was true, he had no idea of the secret spin that it's director Roy Ward Baker and the producers, also had in the wings, to give their release a new and refreshing angle and adapted title! Although Subotsky changed the names of the doctor and his frightening flip identity, most of Stevenson's other characters remained the same, as in the novel. Back in 1983, when PCASUK carried out a video interview with Milton at his home, he was asked why he changed the main characters names, his answer was, 'I thought it would be fun to try!'








SUBOTSKY ALSO WAS DETERMINED to make in film in 3D. Again, when he became an honorary member of PCASUK in 1983, and gave us access and several interviews, the subject matter of how he always wanted to make a 3D film, often came up. He thought a 3D version of Alice in Wonderland in a feature film would make an amazing release... and a feature about the London, Lord Mayor Show, would also be ideal! Sadly, he never got the chance, nor did we or he ever bring up the subject matter of the failed and impossible attempt to shot 'I Monster' in 3D too! Subotsky, before he entered the world of making successful fantasy movies, spent time producing a series of shorts, based on the 'School Boy Scientist' market. Subotsky LOVED science and had been aware a simple and cost effective way of a shooting film in 3D since he too, was a school boy. The process required constant lateral movement within the frame, making conventional film shooting methods and rules of thumb impossible. 


AFTER A WHILE, the process was abandoned by director Stephen Weeks, and the fact that many of the sets had been built, the opposite way to what was needed, to achieve the pans and movements in the correct directions, made movement and continuity impossible or jarring too. The finished release still contains several interminable tracking shots clumsily cut together with static close ups. Despite the technical problems, Christopher Lee gives an excellent central performance.






CUSHING LOVED THE PERIOD FURNISHINGS, and wore some of his own Edwardian styled clothes for the film, which were specially tailored for him by theatrical costumiers Montague Burton's- and as a result seems completely at home in this era. His is even able to reprise the 'eye up to the magnifying glass trick as he compares the identical signatures of Marlowe and Blake. 











DESPITE WHAT SOME SEE as tedious pacing, and the occasional wandering camera the film does have several startling scenes and quite unique turns from both Lee and Cushing. A nightmare sequence features a distorted, faceless Doctor Marlowe; there is a spectacular chase through the massive turbines of an Edwardian water works! Also the monstrously ugly Blake's pathetic encounter with a small child in a park. Make up artist, Harry Frampton creates an amazingly Blake / Hyde whose appearance with every arrival becomes more frightening and a true monster, in every way!








CATCH UP with our I MONSTER RARE IMAGE GALLERY PART ONE : HERE!


IS I MONSTER ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE CUSHING FILMS OR MAYBE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN IT? COME SHARE YOUR OPINION AND THOUGHTS ON ONE THE LESSER TALKED ABOUT AMICUS FILMS AT THE FACEBOOK PCASUK FAN PAGE! COME AND JOIN A FOLLOWING OF OVER 33 THOUSAND FANS OF THE PAGE! JUST CLICK : HERE!!

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