RUNNING TARGET

  • I came across this film from 1956, Running Target on You Tube. It’s is well worth a view in my opinion .
    It provided a rare starring role for Arthur Franz (1920-2006) who made quite a few films in the 50s including the more well known, The Sniper (1952). He was George Raft’s brother in Red Light (1949).

In Running Target, Arthur plays modern day Sheriff Scott.
Set in the Colorado Rockies, thankfully the film is in color. I don’t think there were any indoor sets, so it must have looked great on the big screen when it was released in ‘56.

This is the story of a posse trailing four prison escapees , being tracked by Sheriff Scott and four other locals who have joined Scott  who is determined to bring the escapees back without bloodshed.

One  of them is Jaynes (Richard Reeves) whose pride and joy is his high powered scope rifle . He’s along just so he can get some target practice, even though Scott says, “This is a posse, Jaynes, not a lynch mob.”

As the film opens, high up in the hills where they have been tracking the four men, Jaynes has just shot dead one of them. They find a few things ( cigarettes, a baseball) he has stolen from the gas station belonging to Smitty (Doris Dowling) who is part of the posse because, she says, the convicts stole a rifle from her – and she knows the area.

 

 

Richard Reeves, Arthur Franz.

 

Doris Dowling, Richard Reeves.

 

Doris Dowling.

I didn’t recognise Doris Dowling – she looked rather like Julie Adams.   Doris (1923-2004) followed her sister Constance to Hollywood. She only made about a dozen films in Hollywood. The two sisters moved to Rome and made several Italian films. Doris did a lot of TV in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s.

 

Myron Healy

What a pity, Myron Healy is only in two scenes and has no dialogue! But his character provides a good twist at the end of the film.

The film’s director was Marvin R. Weinstein and according to IMDb, this was his only film, though he had been a cinematographer. I was impressed with some of the visuals.

An independent production which I am glad to have seen.

 

 

PHOTO MIX COLOUR: 2

 

Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray. KING KONG.

 

Rita Hayworth

 

 

Felicia Farr, Richard Widmark. THE LAST WAGON

 

Jean Harlow.

 

Sterling Hayden.

 

Deanna Durbin.

 

Clark Gable.

 

 

Gail Russell.

 

Madeleine Carroll

 

Bogie

 

Gene Tierney.

 

 

Norma Shearer,  Irving Thalberg  at the White House. 1929

 

 

 

INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES

 

The Inner Sanctum Mysteries blu-Ray release contains all six of the films starring Lon  Chaney  Jr.
“Inner Sanctum”  was originally a Simon & Schuster book club publication (mystery and suspense stories), and then became a popular radio series in 1941.

Universal Studios wanted  a series for Chaney who had done several horror films in the early 1940s – The Wolf Man, Son of  Dracula – though the Inner Sanctum stories were more mystery than horror.

Universal didn’t use any of the book or radio plots and made    the 6 films in the series over a 17 month period from 1943 to 1945. Unlike other series such as The Saint or The Falcon (with the same leading character), Lon Chaney played a different character in each of the 6 films.

  • And here comes the  problem – the leading character (played by Chaney) in all 6 films is an urbane, sophisticated professional man – lawyer, scientist, doctor, artist, college professor  ( and a hypnotist!) – and a magnet for women!
    Is this Lon Chaney? I dont think so . Although only in his late 30s, Chaney always looked older. His permanent expression in the films seemed to be worried.
    Still, lovely actresses like Patricia Morison, Anne Gwynne, Brenda Joyce, Evelyn Ankers, Jean Parker, Tala Birell    all find him irresistible.
    In addition to the above ladies, there are great supporting casts: Milburn  Stone, J.Carrol Naish, Douglas Dumbrille, Paul Kelly, Thomas Gomez, Lloyd Bridges .

Lon Chaney.

One of the series’ themes is voice-over stream of consciousness by Chaney. We hear his thoughts : “Why is this happening to me….”    “I’ll never paint again”……. “I mustn’t burden her with my troubles”…… “Tragedy is determined to follow me wherever I go.”

(I told you Chaney had permanent worried look through the films!)

The poor man loses his memory, his sight, his mind – and his wife (twice!)

Still, after he decapitates J.Carrol Naish in STRANGE  CONFESSION, his lawyer says to  Brenda Joyce:

“Dont  worry, he’ll be alright. I’ll do everything  I can for him!”

 

Each film, except for the last one, have the same introduction – a man’s head floating around in a fish bowl talking about monsters and murder!

 

The head and voice belongs to actor David Hoffman.

 

 

Anne Gwynne, Lon Chaney, Evelyn Ankers

Best line in “Weird Woman” comes from Elisabeth Risdon to  Evelyn Ankers:

There’s something about your smile that makes me think of Jack the Ripper!”

 

 

 

Jean Parker, Lon Chaney

Lon  has the same moustache in each film.

 

Paul Stewart, Jean Parker.

 

Acquanetta, Lon Chaney.

 

 

 

 

 

Lon Chaney, Brenda Joyce

 

Brenda Joyce, Lon Chaney, J.Carrol Naish

 

Nice to see Rosalind Ivan  in PILLOW OF DEATH, playing against type. She lives with her relatives in an old dark house. She describes herself – “I’m just a poor relative from England.”
Unlike her usual shrewish roles, Rosalind plays a cheerful lady who cooks for the family and accepts her lot in life. 

 

The series is well worth a look if only for the casts. Just a pity we couldn’t have had a different leading man in  each film. The villains are often unexpected.
I expect the films happily played the second part of a double bill and were popular with 1940s audiences.

(There was a 1948 film with the title, INNER SANCTUM, starring Mary Beth Hughes. A good mystery akin to a “ Twilight Zone” episode. ) .

 

THIS N’ THAT 21

Loretta Young

……….I was amazed to find these photos of an enormous kettle drum which had been signed by many Hollywood stars in 1940.
Does anyone know the background behind it?  Was it done for charity, I wonder.
I could make out some of the star names – Bette Davis is prominent in the middle. Also Janet Gaynor, Jane Withers, Walter Abel,King Vidor, Grace Moore, Ann Sothern, Edward Everett Horton, Robert Armstrong, ‘Jim’ Cagney, Claude  Rains, Gloria Swanson, Margaret Lindsay , Pat O’Brien, Robert Taylor, Herbert Marshall, Al  Jolson and Ruby Keeler.

 

Clark Gable signs the drum. (Clark in costume for “Parnell.”)

 

 

……….Like many other stars, Linda Darnell  was an artist , having studied art before going to Hollywood. I’d love to find other paintings she did and whether many have been sold.

This landscape by Linda is on sale for $3,000 at fleetwoodmac.net

 

 

Linda was a sculptor too.

 

………..Dialogue Quotes from THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT:

Joe (George Raft): “It’s a classy chassis.”

Cassie (Ann Sheridan ): “You couldn’t even afford the head lights.”

Ann Sheridan, George Raft.

 

Lana (Ida Lupino): “The doors made me do it.”

Ida Lupino

 

THEY RUN BY NIGHT.

(Quotes thanks to classic movie hub.com)

 

………Eventually she did want to be left alone.

Greta Garbo

CELESTE HOLM COLLECTION

Today, 28th April,2021 there is an auction in New York from the estate of  Celeste Holm (1917-2012)

 

Celeste , at the age of 20, was in a touring cast of HAMLET, starring Leslie Howard. The above scrapbook was a gift  to Celeste and her husband Wesley Addy from Leslie Howard’s  widow.

Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

 

This is a 1947 program for the Academy Awards.

 

What an amazing list of celebrities appearing at the Awards show.

Estimate for program: $300 to $500.

 

 

A signed photo of Dooley Wilson who had costarred with Celeste in the Broadway show, BLOOMER GIRL in 1944.

Estimate, $2,000 to $3,000.

The  Sarah Siddons Award , given to Celeste for her performance in MAME in Chicago in 1967.

The fictional Siddons society (from ALL ABOUT EVE) became a real awards society in Chicago in 1952.
Estimate: $10,000 to $15,000.

All the items from the  Celeste Holm collection can be viewed  at http://www.Doyle.com/auctions. ( “stage and screen sale”.)

 

A Celeste Holm gallery:

With John  Garfield. GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT..

 

With her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT.

 

With Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark. ROAD HOUSE.

 

With Anne Baxter. ALL ABOUT  EVE.

 

 

 

 

With Yul Brynner. THE KING AND I.  ( Celeste took over from Gertrude Lawrence on Broadway.)

 

MAME.

 

I was fortunate to see Celeste in LADY IN THE DARK in Nottingham in 1981. A precious memory.

 

With Frank Sinatra. HIGH SOCIETY

 

Wesley Addy in KISS ME DEADLY.

Wesley Addy was Celeste’s fourth husband. They were married from 1966 till his death in 1996. I’ll always remember Wesley for his brief role in one of my favourites, “Kiss Me Deadly”.  His disdain for Mike Hammer was visceral. I wished he’d had a bigger role.

 

 

 

Note: The Leslie Howard scrapbook sold for $945.

The Oscar program went for $189.

The Dooley Wilson photo – $2520.

The Sarah Siddons Award didn’t sell.

ON THE SET 48

Bette Davis on the set of DARK VICTORY.
it’s almost impossible to find a picture of Bette without a cigarette in her hand.

 

 

Jane Wyman, Charles Bickford, Lew Ayres. JOHNNY  BELINDA.

 

Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur, director Frank Borzage.HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT.

 

 

Mark Sandrich, Fred Astaire, Max Steiner.

Director Mark Sandrich directed 5 of the Astaire/Rogers musicals. He died of a heart attack in 1945 .

His sister was Ruth Harriet Louise who ,at age 22, was the top stills photographer at MGM from 1925 to 1930. Ruth also died young in 1940, aged 37.

 

1943  Carmen Miranda visits Alice Faye. HELLO FRISCO HELLO.

 

Bette Davis and Sally Sage , her stand in JEZEBEL.

(No cigarette.)

 

Barbara Stanwyck ,director Mitchell Leisen, Fred MacMurray. REMEMBER THE NIGHT.

 

William Wellman,  Robert Taylor. WESTWARD THE WOMEN.

 

Tyrone Power. RAWHIDE.

 

Lana Turner, Clark  Gable. SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU.

THIS ‘N THAT 20

…………GWTW Flash: May,1940.

British premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND was the greatest in London’s history. Notables attending  included  Winston Churchill,Robert Donat, Robert Montgomery and Leslie Howard.
Triple opening packed three theaters, Empire, Palace and Ritz. It is unlikely to be seen outside London till mid-autumn.

 

 

………..Picked up hardback copy of The Films Of Alice Faye (published 1972), and found it was not only signed by the author,W.Franklyn Moshier, but also by Miss Faye herself.

How lucky can you get!

 

The book covers all of Alice’s films, with wonderful illustrations and a foreword by director Henry King  who helmed IN OLD CHICAGO, ALEXANDER’S  RAGTIME BAND, LITTLE OLD NEW YORK.

Henry King details how “In Old Chicago” had a working title of “Mrs.O’Leary’s Cow” and that Darryl Zanuck wanted Jean Harlow and Clark Gable for the two lead roles.
Jean’s tragic death that summer almost ended in an indefinite postponement of the film.

King convinced the studio that Tyrone Power and Alice Faye would be ideal.

 

……….Coming on July 6th, 2021 from the Criterion Collection, BRINGING UP BABY on blu-Ray. Extras include a 1969 audio interview with Cary Grant; a 1977 interview with Howard Hawks; the 1937 short story by Hagar  Wilde on which the film is based.

 

…………It’s May , 1934 and your  Screenland movie magazine has a competition.

  • According to the rules, Clark Gable, no less, is offering  an Eastman Cine-Kodak 8 and projector if you can provide a pen portrait of no more than 15 words on any one of the following stars – Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Madge Evans, Jean Parker.
  • One of the examples given is for Joan Blondell:

“Shop girl’s holiday ; torch singer on a pianola.”

(any ideas which Blondell films are being referred to?)

I imagine the movie camera and projector would be quite an expensive buy.

 

 

 

ALICE FAYE and BETTY GRABLE: CD RELEASES

Further to my post of 18/3/21 (“The Fox Blondes.) regarding the release of these 2 CD sets of Betty Grable and Alice Faye, I’ve now had a chance to listen  to them, courtesy of Richard Tay of Sepia Records in London.

Betty Grable’s 2 CD set covers the period 1940 ( when she joined Twentieth Century Fox) up to 1944.

Alice Faye’s set is from the years 1934 to 1939.

There is just so much to listen to – around 60 tracks for each set – including many of Betty and Alice’s co-stars .

The terrific numbers are by some of the best songsmiths  in Hollywood – HarryWarren/Mack Gordon; Irving Berlin; Ralph Grainger/Leo Robin.

 

Back cover of Betty Grable set.

So many highlights.

There’s a great version of “Are You Kiddin’ by Betty ,followed by a superb orchestral arrangement of the song , with the Fox studio orchestra .

I could listen indefinitely to Harry James’ trumpet in ‘You Made Me Love You’ ( by James V. Monaco and Joe McCarthy).

’Down Argentine Way’  is another catchy number by Betty.
Jack Haley and Charlotte Greenwood duet on ‘Is That Good’.

I don’t know why Jack Haley was dubbed by Buddy Clark in WAKE UP AND LIVE, but Clark does well with ‘Never in a Million Years’ – which became one of Alice’s biggest hits when she recorded it on the Brunswick  label. ( heaven knows why she didn’t sing it in the movie.)

We also hear a version  of ‘Never in a Million Years ‘ by Ann Sothern and Don Ameche from ‘ Fifty Roads to Town’. ( Would love to see this film.)

One of my favourites is Betty’s ‘My Heart Tells Me’ from SWEET ROSIE O’GRADY. 

Good too to hear Betty’s song , cut from I WAKE UP SCREAMING – ‘Daddy.’ ( this number can be seen on You Tube.)

 

Other stars featured include  Joan Davis, Phil Silvers, Carmen Miranda , John  Payne, Phil Regan, Dick Powell, Tony Martin, Jimmy Durante.

Not featured on Alice’s set – ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND and ROSE OF WASHINGTON  SQUARE , as their soundtracks have been featured in previous recordings. 

 

  • it’s great to hear the Twentieth Century Fox orchestra under the direction of  composers Alfred Newman and Emil Newman , Louis Silvers, David Buttolph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back cover of Alice Faye set.

 

Irving Berlin wrote some dazzlers for ON THE AVENUE, and they are all featured  – Alice and Dick Powell doing ‘I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm’ – Alice’s ‘This Year’s Kisses’, ‘He Ain’t  Got  Rhythm’ and ‘Slumming On Park Avenue’.

 

Another rarety is a song cut from one of Alice’s few non-musicals, BARRICADE, called ‘There’ll be Other Nights’. (This film is rarely seen. I saw it many moons ago but don’t recall anything about it, except Alice and Warner Baxter were a surprising combination.)

 

‘You Turned the Tables on Me’, from SING BABY SING.

 

Love this number, ‘Slumming on Park Avenue’ from ON THE AVENUE.
Cries out for colour.

 

‘There’s a Lull in My Life’ from WAKE UP AND LIVE.

SEPIA RECORDS website: http://www.sepiarecords.com

Email at info@sepiarecords.com

Each set is £10.99 in the U.K./ £12.99 in Europe / £13.99 in USA  ( post included).

Hopefully, the planned  Volume two for Alice and Betty will go ahead, covering later years for both singers.

Thanks are due to Bryan Cooper who produced the CDs and provides informative liner notes, and sound engineer Robin Cherry for remastering these rare recordings for Sepia.

This is a bumper crop of magical musical moments. I just want to watch every one of the Faye and Grable musicals  again!

I couldn’t resist adding  a few video clips.

 

DEAN STOCKWELL: Life in Hollywood

Dean Stockwell

It was rather sad,listening to interviews Dean Stockwell did in his later years.

Dean made it clear that acting was not fun:

“I had to work in a high pressure situation with adults…..my childhood went out the window. I didn’t have the freedom to play.

I was the breadwinner – my mother was paid a salary as my guardian – that was a pressure situation.

When I said to my mom, ‘I don’t want to do this’, she said, ‘We have to, we have no choice. We are under contract.’

”I had one vacation in nine years. I had no friends except for my brother. I never did what I wanted to do.”

(Dean’s brother was actor, Guy Stockwell.)

If it had been up to me I would have been out of it by the time I was 10.”

 

Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell, Frank Sinatra. ANCHORS AWEIGH.

 

Dean Stockwell was born in Hollywood in 1936. His father, Harry Stockwell was an actor/singer (Harry replaced Alfred Drake on stage in “Oklahoma”).
His parents separated when he was 6 yrs. old. Dean was seen in a play on Broadway in 1943 by a talent scout and he was signed by MGM.

Over the next several years up to 1951, Dean made nearly 20 films. He was Nick Charles Jr. in “The Song of the Thin Man”; he was Gregory Peck’s son in “Gentleman’s Agreement”; he worked with Joel McCrea, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Richard Widmark, Lionel Barrymore.

 

With Myrna Loy and William Powell.

 

With  Brian Roper, Margaret O’Brien in “THE SECRET GARDEN.”

Dean talked about his intermittent schooling at the MGM school house – three hours of school a day, sometimes split up into 15 minute slots, depending  on the filming schedule. As he said, “Not the ideal set up for an education.”

 

With Joel McCrea and Ellen Drew in “Stars in My Crown”.

 

With Gregory Peck in GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT.

 

Dean spoke favourably about the stars he worked with –
Errol Flynn, Joel McCrea and Richard Widmark.

For me, Errol Flynn was the best. He and Richard Widmark didn’t have a condescending attitude – they were straight with  me, like I would imagine a father would be to a son  – and I didn’t have a father with  me.”

Later in his career  he said of “Sons And Lovers”(1960) ;

“I had a fantastic time working with Wendy Hiller, Mary Ure, Trevor Howard and Donald Pleasance.”

With Richard Widmark. DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS.

 

After leaving films in 1951, Dean did a year at the University of California and dropped out. He later said, “Acting was the only thing I knew how to do”, so by 1956 he was back in films , but mainly in television.
He admitted that there are some of his films he has never seen.

With Jeffrey Hunter and Fred MacMurray in “Gun For A Coward” (1956), playing MacMurray’s brother.

 

In 1957, Dean costarred with Roddy McDowall in the play, “Compulsion”.  When Hollywood filmed it in 1959, Bradford Dillman replaced McDowall.

 

With Bradford Dillman in “Compulsion”. (1959).

From being  a cute, curly headed juvenile, Dean emerged as a serious looking, intense adult; despite the fact he loved comedy, drama was mainly his casting. He was Oscar nominated in 1988 for the comedy,  “Married to The Mob.”

 

 

Dean worked steadily through the next few decades, finding fame again in the long running TV series, “Quantum Leap”, in which he played a hologram!

He said he never really enjoyed acting till he was in his late 30s. He was married to the actress Millie Perkins from 1960 to 1962. With his second wife, Joy,  he had two sons . After the birth of his son, Austin, he said, “I’d just as soon that he enjoyed his childhood – and play!”

With Millie Perkins.

 

With Scott Bakula in QUANTUM LEAP ( 1989-1993).

Finally in 2015, Dean retired for health reasons. He was proud of his staying power – over 60 years in the business.
He was also an accomplished collage artist, exhibiting under his full name, ‘Robert Dean Stockwell.’

Dean Stockwell was one of the few stars who survived a turbulent childhood and continued to have success as an adult. A fine actor, man and boy. And still with us.

(in addition to an interview I saw with Dean on You Tube, from TCM, I also read interviews by Michael Buckley ( Films in Review) and with Craig Edwards.)

 

Dean, the inveterate cigar smoker.