Author Archives: Vienna

THIS ‘N THAT 14

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Good for Alpha Video bringing out two rare early TV appearances of Charlton Heston (1923-2008) in these two episodes of the Studio One Anthology series from 1949 and 1950.

Even at the age of 26, I can see Charlton Heston as the dark, brooding Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.

The total running time of both shows is only 100 minutes, so the literary classics must have been heavily edited to fit the Studio One format.

Producer Hal Wallis saw Heston in Jane Eyre and cast him in 1950’s Dark City. That’s how a film career begins.

OTHER DVD RELEASES:

Barbara Stanwyck trio on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber on 12 May,2020. Not favourites of mine, but always good to see releases continuing.

 

Nice trio of Deanna Durbin films, due out on 9th June,2020.

 

From Kino Lorber Studio  Classics, due out on 9 June, 2020.

A good trio.

 

Good to see this 1933 Paramount release out on Blu-ray. (Kino Lorber 19/5/20)

It wasn’t a big success but is worth seeing for the star cast – that’s if you can recognise them under their bulky costumes!

 

A nice picture from a WW2 Benefit.

Back Row: Peggy Wood – Eve Arden – Sophie Tucker – Tallulah Bankhead – Leonora Corbett – Gertrude Lawrence.

Front Row: Ed Wynn, Vincent Price, Clifton Webb, Danny Kaye, Boris Karloff, Eddie Cantor.

Can you imagine what this group would have been up to on stage – lots of jokes, songs, sketches I expect.

 

Who are they and who are they looking at?

 

Stay safe.

CINEMA MARQUEES

 

I came across a fascinating website , filmsinfilms.com which features advertising for films within films. The advertised films are often, but not always, from the studio who made the film being viewed.

 

Henry Fonda in DAISY KENYON . The Greenwich is showing MR LUCKY and WOMAN IN THE WINDOW.

While Daisy KENYON is from Fox in 1947, the other two films are from RKO, 1943 and 1944.

 

From WOMAN ON THE RUN  in 1950. The cinema is showing two other 1950 films, THE BIG LIFT and FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD.

All three films from 1950 but three different studios, Universal, Fox and Columbia. So maybe sometimes it’s just an accident?

 

 

From WHITE HEAT.  The Drive-In is showing SOUTH OF ST. LOUIS and SIREN OF ATLANTIS.  All from 1949. One from  Warner Brothers, one from Universal.

 

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A nice touch from DREAM BOAT (1952) . Clifton Webb plays  a former silent film star who resumes his career and stars in Sitting Pretty (which Webb had made in 1948. )

Fred  Clark, Ginger Rogers, Clifton Webb (and Anne  Francis in the row behind.)

 

From Phantom Lady (1944, Universal), SWISS MISS is from Hal Roach/MGM in 1938.

 

This wonderful marquee for Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954,Universal) was from The Seven Year Itch (Fox, 1955)

WENDY HILLER

Reading that the Criterion Channel is streaming seven films starring Wendy Hiller (1912 – 2003) reminded me how much I liked Wendy in Pygmalion and I Know Where I’m Going.

 

Wendy Hiller could be described as the actress who got away from the movies.
She  only made 15 films and yet managed to get a Best Supporting  Oscar for her performance as the hotel manager  in Separate Tables in 1958.

With Roger Livesey in I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING. (1945)

Filmed on the Scottish island of Mull, the Powell/Pressburger film I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING provided Wendy with a starring role as the head strung woman who is travelling from Manchester to the  Hebrides to marry a rich industrialist she hardly knows.
Stranded on Mull, she meets ‘Torquil MacNeil’, the laird of Kiloran (Roger Livesey.)

It’s a beautiful film, typical of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

 

As Eliza Doolittle.

Wendy had played in PYGMALION on stage and George Bernard Shaw recommended her for the film version. She was delightful as Eliza, opposite Leslie Howard  as Professor Higgins.

Despite an Oscar nomination for Pygmalion  in 1938 and offers from Hollywood, Wendy returned to the stage full time with only a few visits to a film set in the decades that followed. And generally in films which didn’t do her acting talents justice.

 

With Ralph Richardson. OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS.As the wife of Robert Morley in David Lean’s OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS (1952)

 

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With Michael Rennie in Sailor of the King (aka Single handed) (1953).

A small part for Wendy in this film starring Jeffrey Hunter set  during WW2.

 

I caught this 1957 comedy, HOW TO MURDER A RICH UNCLE on You  Tube. With Charles Coburn as the  uncle who returns to England from America. Wendy is the wife of Nigel Patrick (who also directed).

 

Reunited with Rex Harrison ,almost 50 years after Pygmalion,  for THE KINGFISHER (1985) , a television version of the play Rex Harrison had done on Broadway with Claudette Colbert.

I watched it on YouTube and enjoyed it. The story of two people who meet after  50 years apart. Wendy and Rex worked well together and are joined by Cyril Cusack who is very good in his role as Rex’s manservant.

Wendy also starred with Rex Harrison in MAJOR BARBARA(1941), in which she played a young socialite who joins the Salvation Army.

 

 

Basil Rathbone, Wendy Hiller. THE HEIRESS

in the roles they originated on Broadway in 1947,  Basil Rathbone and Wendy Hiller were replaced by Ralph Richardson and Olivia de Havilland in the film version of The Heiress. If only the Hiller/Rathbone play had been preserved.

 

 

With Ingrid Bergman in Waters Of The Moon in 1978.

 

 

 

SEPARATE TABLES.

 

Wendy advertising Lux soap while appearing in THE HEIRESS.

 

In MURDER ON THE ORIENT  EXPRESS (1974), Wendy was memorable as Princess Dragomiroff .

 

Wendy was married to playwright Ronald Gow from 1937 to his death in 1993. Ronald Gow wrote Love On the Dole  in 1934 and Wendy starred in it in London and Broadway.
When  it was filmed in 1941, Deborah Kerr  got the part.

 

As far as I am aware, the subscription channel, Criterion, is only available in America and Canada. It launched in 2019 and has over 2000 titles for streaming.

ELMER FRYER, Warner Bros. Photographer

Elmer Fryer, Mary Astor

Elmer Fryer(1898 – 1944) was in charge of the Stills Dept. in 1929 when Warner Brothers and First National merged. He remained with Warners till 1941 and died at the age of 45  in 1944.

During WW2, he made documentaries while in the Air Force.

I expect his beautiful portraits appeared in all the fan magazines of the 1930s.

My thanks to conradreeder.com for the brief information on Mr. Fryer.

Here are some of his fine portraits.

 

Barbara Stanwyck

 

Fredric March.ANTHONY ADVERSE. 1936

 

Ann Dvorak

 

 

Kay Francis

 

Elmer Fryer

 

Bette Davis

 

Bette Davis

 

 

Errol Flynn. GREEN LIGHT. 1937

 

Bette Davis, Elmer Fryer. 1935

 

Claude Rains. 1936

 

Jane Wyman

 

Constance Bennett

 

Leslie Howard

 

George Brent

 

James Cagney

 

Humphrey Bogart. KID GALAHAD

 

John Payne. KID NIGHTINGALE

 

A nice shot of Elmer Fryer and his wife, Isabelle.

Walter Huston to the right, though I don’t know what the event was, probably an early 1930s Warner Bros. Premiere.

PHOTO MIX 37

Norma Shearer, Ben Lyon, Martin Arrouge, Bebe Daniels, Bob Hope, Lorena Mayer, Irene Dunne, Louis B. Mayer.

I don’t know what the event  is.

 

One of the few times you  see Robert Montgomery  in Lady in the Lake, here with Audrey Totter. Through a mirror.

 

Color closeup of Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman. GASLIGHT.

 

Doesn’t  happen often. Randolph Scott smiles!

 

Only time I’ve seen advertising for Johnny Guitar showing the named  character front and centre. And no sign of Joan!

 

Sterling Hayden  as the guitar man.

 

Love Michael Rennie as “Klaatu” in The Day The Earth Stood Still.

 

A “ladies only” screening of Mildred Pierce. Looks like an effective promotion for the film.

 

What to do next now that a stranger has arrived. The conspirators assemble.
  Russell Collins, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, John Ericson, Lee Marvin, Walter Sande. Bad Day At Black Rock.

 

 

Leonard Nimoy ‘s 1952 film debut as the leader of a young street gang . I thought the “Billy Goat Gang” were another Bowery Boys, but it is the name of Nimoy’s gang.
The unusual film title is actually Nimoy’s  name in the film.

Richard Rober sheds his gangster image and plays a parish priest.

 

BEN COOPER (1933 – 2020)

Ben Cooper, Joan Crawford, Frank Marlowe, 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.