Author Archives: Vienna

BEN COOPER (1933 – 2020)

Ben Cooper, Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden. JOHNNY GUITAR.

Very sorry to hear of the passing of Ben Cooper whom many of us will forever associate with the Nicholas Ray western, JOHNNY GUITAR.

As ’Turkey’, Ben had some dramatic scenes with Joan Crawford, as he has to choose between saving his own life or naming Vienna as part of the bank robbery.

 

John Carradine, Ben Cooper, Joan Crawford.

 

Closeup of Ben and Joan.

 

With Ward Bond in the background, Ben and Joan being readied for a hanging.

 

In Johnny Guitar.

 

As Billy the Kid in WOMAN THEY ALMOST LYNCHED.

With his boyish looks, Ben often played the same kind of roles in the 1950s. In The Outcast (1954), for once , he was on the wrong side of the law, with the nickname,’the kid’.

After some films at Republic, Ben’s career was mainly guesting on television shows – including half a dozen episodes of Perry Mason and many other shows. (He actually started in TV  in 1950.)

In a 2009 interview in Lone Pine, Ben proved to be an interesting and funny speaker, full of anecdotes about his career. (The interview is on You Tube.)

Here are some of his comments:

“I was always typecast as ‘the young man’, but I enjoyed playing the bad guy.”

“We made Johnny Guitar in Sedona, Arizona – beautiful country – I had a ball. Working with Joan Crawford was a wonderful experience. She was a great gal and became a very dear friend.

Mommie Dearest was not the Joan Crawford I knew – she had a great sense of humour and was a loyal friend.”

Ben went on to tell  how a year after filming Johnny Guitar, his father was in Hollywood and Joan invited them to dinner – she cooked and served the dinner and his father was thrilled!

“I did three pictures with Sterling Hayden. Johnny Guitar was the first one, then a year later The Last Command about the Alamo, and then a navy picture.

Sterling was a marine during the war in Europe – an underrated actor – very easy to work with.”

I always thought Ben looked a little like Audie Murphy. They were buddies in Arizona Raiders(1965). I wonder if they ever played brothers.

Ben’s acting career started in 1942 on  Broadway when he was nine, in the hit play Life With Father. He ended up being in the play for nearly three years.

He also did around 3,000 radio shows before 1953.

 

 

Ben himself was a fast draw!

 

Audie Murphy.

 

With Milburn Stone in “Gunsmoke”.

Ben said he learned a lot from Milburn Stone and he sent a letter to Milburn, thanking him. Much later, Milburn’s wife told Ben how grateful Milburn was for that letter.

 

Ben and his wife of 50 years, Pamela. They had two daughters.

 

 

POSTER AUCTION

Every so often a collection of  vintage Hollywood art work turns up at auction. This time it’s a wonderful collection of original film posters from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, on sale at Ewbank’s Auctions in Woking, Surrey.   http://www.ewbankauctions.co.uk

These posters were designed and printed by the Bradford based W. E. Berry Ltd. who were in business for 75 years up until 2004. The posters are owned by the Berry family.

The company were one of only three companies  in the U.K. who hand-painted and printed large cinema posters. They produced designs for Columbia, Paramount, Universal, Rank and Disney.

(They also did poster artwork for travel, circuses and the theatre.)

Many different agency artists produced the poster artwork, but, as was the practice, they rarely got the credit for their work.

150 online bidders are expected at the auction on 28 February,2020.

Here are some examples of the beautiful posters. The starting prices average £100, with the most expensive estimate being only £250. I expect they will sell for a lot more, even though some are showing signs of wear and tear – small wonder after all these years!

A pity the collection has to be split up, or, who knows, maybe it will remain intact! They deserve to be in a museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the largest poster at 18” by 24”.

 

 

This is a group of 9 posters , going for £200-£400.

 

 

 

AMADEUS RECORDS

A shout-out for my friend Stephen Sim who recently started  Amadeus Records, specialising  in rare classical vinyl and affordable CD box sets.
Stephen can be contacted at stephensim797@hotmail.com

Wants lists welcomed.

Below are some examples of recordings available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLOUR ART

A pleasure to discover the work of graphic  artist Alejandro Mogollo from Sevilla,Spain.
And we are lucky that Alejandro is a movie buff.  His dynamic colour portraits often have an iconic dialogue line .

Alejandro doesn’t do commissions but his work can be purchased at redbubble.com  For example, a Jungle Red canvas print at various sizes from £42.42.

His work can be purchased as T-shirts, greeting cards, notebooks etc.

Bette Davis. ALL ABOUT EVE.

 

Thelma Ritter. ALL ABOUT  EVE

 

The Master.

 

Ingrid Bergman. NOTORIOUS. I  love the  the key motif .

 

Marlene Dietrich. WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION.

 

Joan Crawford.HUMORESQUE.

 

Bette Davis. NOW VOYAGER.

 

Veronica Lake

 

Garbo

 

Katharine Hepburn.THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.

 

 

THIS N’ THAT 13

Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan. CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA

………….In 1972 the then Governor Ronald Reagan, in response to a letter from Barbara Stanwyck biographer Ella Smith , thanked Ms. Smith for letting him comment about “this wonderful gal.”  He described Barbara as “one of the best thought of and most respected performers in all the industry.”

In a letter to the President, Barbara said;

Ronnie, if I had known during the filming of ‘Cattle Queen’ that you were going to be president of our country, I would have given you  first billing!”

In response, in a handwritten note that sold at auction for $610, the President joked:

I appreciate your willingness to give me top billing but it might have set me back – ‘RR as……..?”

 

As always, I am grateful to http://www.starsandletters.blogspot.com for this interesting story.

 

 

………..Poster for His Girl Friday by Nikos Bogris.

Makes me wish the film had been in color. And Ralph Bellamy gets first billing!

 

NEW DVDS:

 

…………Due out in the U.K. on 20th April, 2020 is a four-film box set from Powerhouse Films,  JOHN FORD AT COLUMBIA 1935-1958.

On Blu-ray for the first time in the U.K., this is a limited edition run of 6,000 units with plenty of extras on each film. The box set is £42.99.

From the charming The Whole Town’s Talking to a typically British film, Gideon’s Day, the quartet shows the master director’s range.

http://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk

 

……….And from Criterion.com on 19th May,2020 comes DANCE,GIRL,DANCE  (1940), which stars Lucille Ball and Maureen O’Hara and is directed by Dorothy Arzner, the only woman directing in the Hollywood studios in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Blu-Ray price is $31.96 and the dvd is $23.96.

The new cover is by Jody Hewgill. Is that really Maureen on the right?

Lucille Ball

 

Maureen O’Hara

Lucille and Maureen play chorus girls who have different ambitions in show business. The supporting cast include Louis Hayward, Ralph Bellamy, Maria Ouspenskaya and Edward Brophy ( who has the wonderful character name of “Dwarfy Humblewinger”!

 

………Interesting to come across these Books of the Films which are quite collectible now. I wonder how many were produced in the classic period.

 

 

 

 

…………….Coming to Netflix in May,2020 is the new 8 part series , HOLLYWOOD from Ryan Murphy who gave us “Feud, Bette and Joan”  in 2017.

The story of aspiring  actors and filmmakers in post WW2 Hollywood ,  the production is described as “a love letter to the golden age of Tinseltown.”

Stars being portrayed in the series include Loretta Young,Irving Thalberg, Gloria Swanson, George Cukor, Leo McCarey.

 

BIRTHDAY WISHES TO KIM NOVAK

KIM NOVAK is 87 today . Forever remembered for what should have been an Oscar winning performance in VERTIGO.

Kim lives in Oregon with her husband of 44 years, veterinarian, Robert Malloy.

Robert Malloy, Kim Novak

 

Kim more or less left Hollywood in the late 1960s when she was only in her 30s. In an interview with TV Guide magazine, Kim said she was being offered the “same-old, same-old glamour parts that offered little that was interesting in the way of character….my choice was to move away from Hollywood.”

Of VERTIGO, Kim said, “When we made Vertigo, none of us could have imagined it would have such longevity and acclaim.”

 

 

 

The two faces of Madeleine and Judy.

 

In the same year as the thriller,  Vertigo, Kim and James Stewart were reunited in BELL BOOK AND CANDLE  which I like a lot – great cast including Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Elsa Lanchester, Hermione Gingold.

 

 

And some unusual title changes in Europe:

MY BRIDE IS SUPERNATURAL!

 

I FELL IN LOVE WITH A WITCH!

 

Kim in PAL JOEY.

And her break-through role in  PICNIC.

William Holden, Kim Novak