Wednesday, May 31, 2017

JOHN HUSTON: "Moby Dick" 1956, "The Barbarian and the Geisha" 1958, "Freud: the Secret Passion" 1962 and "The List of Adrian Messenger" 1963

Ask a person to name a JOHN HUSTON directed motion picture and they probably will mention either "The Maltese Falcon", or "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". The actual second title, but not as most people pronounce it by dropping the second "The". Making the title "The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

John Huston's career as a director covers 47 credited films. It began in 1941 with "The Maltese Falcon" and ended in 1987 with "The Dead". His career as an actor, yes he acted, covered 55 film credits. They began with his only "Extra" role in one of the last silent movies, 1929's "The Shakedown", and ended in 1987 in a made for television movie entitled "Mister Corbett's Ghost".

Then there were his 40 on screen writing credits. This aspect of John Huston's life started in 1930 with a picture entitled "The Storm" and ended 58 years later in 1988 with the screenplay for "Mr. North". Additionally Huston produced 15 motion pictures starting during World War 2. At that time he was assigned to the Army Signal Corps and made the documentary "The Battle of San Pietro" for propaganda purposes. John Huston's writing career would end in 1988 with "Mr. North".




So how do you cover such a career in a Blog?

Answer: You don't!

You leave it to the biography writers. This article is about four motion pictures I enjoyed when they first came out and still do. All four are examples of John Huston's Art and perhaps a little of his Ego. One of them was a financial failure, but wasn't Huston's fault or for the matter was the picture he made. One pushed the limits of the accepted on screen morality of the time. One was a guessing game within a detective story and another brought a classic American novel to the big screen. That last feature is where I start.


MOBY DICK 1956



Prior to John Huston's feature there were three and a half filmed versions of Herman Melville's 1851 novel originally published in Great Britain as "The Whale". The first screen adaptation was the 1926 silent picture "The Beast" starring John Barrymore as Captain Ahab.

This changed story line tells of Ahab and is half brother Derek. They both love the same women and on a whaling trip find themselves together. Derek pushes Ahab overboard hoping to kill him and, then, win the love of Esther completely.

However, Ahab survives, but has lost his leg to the "White Whale". He returns home, but Esther rejects him upon seeing his now "Peg Leg". At this point in the story Ahab becomes a heroic figure by not blaming Derek for his injury. He also realizes how "Shallow" a person Esther really is and leaves on an epic quest to kill "The Sea Beast".

The 1930 sound picture "Moby Dick" is a remake of "The Sea Beast" and also starred John Barrymore as Captain Ahab. In this revision of the 1926 story line. Ahab is in love with Faith Mapple and she with him. The change here is that when Ahab returns with his leg replaced by a wooden one. He believes Faith doesn't love him anymore and goes off in search of "Moby Dick". In the end love conquerors all and the two are reunited.

1954 saw the first made for television version of "Moby Dick" on the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" anthology series.

In 1955 Orson Wells wrote a play entitled "Moby Dick-Rehearsed". This is my one half version of Melville. As the play is about a group of actors rehearsing a play about Melville's whale. A performance of Wells' production was filmed, but the picture is considered lost.

However, the next version of the story would be filmed by John Huston.




Like most of John Huston's feature films the story behind it's making is as interesting as the picture itself. Initially Houston's idea was to have his father actor Walter Huston portray Captain Ahab. However, Walter passed away on April 7, 1950 and no screenplay had yet been created.

For the screenplay of Melville's 1,936 page novel John Huston chose Ray Bradbury. Bradbury informed Huston that he'd
never been able to read the damned thing

I can understand that statement as I tried to get through it three times and stopped.

One of the problems is Herman Melville's changes in the style of writing, becomes tiresome to some people. As Melville weaves many themes into the narration by Ishmael and changes his tone. For example, by borrowing from  Nathaniel Hawthrone, whom he basically dedicated the book, to that of William Shakespeare. This is one reason why there are so many abridged versions with annotations and not completely because of the original's length. I will admit though that I did read the "Classics Illustrated" version completely once.

Moby Dick Classics Illustrated

I can joke about that here, because many people have attempted the novel with the same results as Ray Bradbury and myself. Both the length and style of writing was the challenge for Ray Bradbury after he agreed to write a screenplay for John Huston.

As many who worked with Huston, or had exchanges with the man will relate. He can be very trying and his personality can get to you. In the case of Ray Bradbury the time he spent in Ireland, 1953 into 1954, writing with the director, became the basis for a novel. The title being a parody in itself  "Green Shadows, White Whale" about that experience. The novel was published in 1992.

Green shadows white whale first.jpg

IF you're familiar with John Huston and his effect on the people around him. Then you will probably recognize Ray Bradbury's title plays on Peter Viertel's 1953 novel "White Hunter, Black Heart" that Clint Eastwood made into a 1990 motion picture. The novel is based upon Katherine Hepburn's experiences making John Huston's "The African Queen".



Here's the direct link to the author's website about the novel:

http://www.peterviertel.com/white-hunter-black-heart-peter-viertel.php

Back in the September 1984 issue of "Gallery Magazine" Ray Bradbury first published a short story entitled "Banshee". It was also about the torment Huston gave him at his house in Ireland. Which included impromptu Ghost Stories and constant insults and pranks. However, the resulting script co-written by John Huston,  of course, was completed and the production moved to casting and bankrolling.

Screenplay in hand John Huston headed to the brothers who had financed his 1952 motion picture about the French painter Herni de Toulouse-Lautrec "Moulin Rogue".



The Brothers were Walter, Harold and Marvin Mirisch. After reading the screenplay they proceeded to made a deal with Warner Brothers. The Mirisch's would give the studio the rights to the film for seven years, After that time the picture would revert back to the Mirisch Brothers.

The apparent next question was who would play the critical role of Captain Ahab? Described by the literature website "SparkNotes" in this way:

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mobydick/characters.html
The egomaniacal captain of the Pequod. Ahab lost his leg to Moby Dick. He is single-minded in his pursuit of the whale, using a mixture of charisma and terror to persuade his crew to join him. As a captain, he is dictatorial but not unfair. At moments he shows a compassionate side, caring for the insane Pip and musing on his wife and child back in Nantucket.
For the role John Huston was given no choice! To obtain the financing he needed the Mirisch Brothers told him to use Gregory Peck. Peck on the other hand eventually found out that he was not Huston's choice for the role.

This had occurred after the director, to get his needed financing, had talked Peck into taking a role he felt uncomfortable with playing. Bad blood existed between the two for years, but at one time Gregory Peck attempted to patch their friendship up. John Huston would have nothing to do with that idea. Even though Huston's daughter Anjelica stated he adored the actor.






Anyone familiar with the Melville novel, or at least the basic story. Knows there are three other critical characters. John Huston chose one American, one British and one Polish actor for these roles.

Playing the narrator of the Ray Bradbury/John Huston screenplay, as in the novel, was the character of Ishmael.

"SparkeNotes" describes the character as:
The narrator, and a junior member of the crew of the Pequod. Ishmael doesn’t play a major role in the events of the novel, but much of the narrative is taken up by his eloquent, verbose, and extravagant discourse on whales and whaling

American actor Richard Basehart was given the part.



Starbuck is the First Mate of the "Pequod" and is described by "SparksNotes" as:
The first mate of the Pequod. Starbuck questions Ahab’s judgment, first in private and later in public. He is a Quaker who believes that Christianity offers a way to interpret the world around him, although he is not dogmatic or pushy about his beliefs. Starbuck acts as a conservative force against Ahab’s mania.
British actor Leo Glenn, a favorite of mine, was given this role. Glenn was an acting equal of Peck and in my opinion a perfect choice for the man that confronts Ahab.




Portraying South Sea Islander and harpooner Queequeg was Polish actor Friedrich Anton Maria Hubertus Bonifacius Graf von Ledebur -Wichein known  simply as Friedrich von Ledebur.

Queequed is described by SparksNotes as:
Starbuck’s skilled harpooner and Ishmael’s best friend. Queequeg was once a prince from a South Sea island who stowed away on a whaling ship in search of adventure. He is a composite of elements of African, Polynesian, Islamic, Christian, and Native American cultures. He is brave and generous, and enables Ishmael to see that race has no bearing on a man’s character.



The supporting cast included British actor Harry Andrews as Stubb, Scottish actor James Robertson Justice as Captain Boomer, American actor Orson Wells as Father Mapple. and American actor Royal Dano as Elijah.

The next problem facing John Huston was were to shoot the picture? There was no way the real New Bedford, Massachusetts could be used even in 1955 when filming was scheduled to begin. Exterior town shots were of the resort city of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland.

Youghal from the harbour

Huston shot some of his scenes at Canical, a whaling parish, on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Parts of the production were filmed on Las Canteras Beach, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands and initial shooting started in Wales in the U.K.

THE MYTH OF HUSTON'S GREAT WHITE WHALE.

Like in the children's game of telephone. A story started at the time from a real incident involved in making the motion picture. The true facts grew into mythic proportions over time. It was finally resolved by the acclaimed cinematographer Oswald Morris, years later, in his autobiography "Huston, We Have A Problem".



The myth tells of three 60 foot rubber whales having been constructed and used in "Moby Dick". All three were lost during filming and became navigational problems for shipping.

However, according to Oswald Morris they never existed.

There was one 75 foot, 12 ton whale constructed and it did get lost in a fog bank after coming loose from it's tow line. The real problem here was not navigational, but that star Gregory Peck was attached to the body of the whale. The actor confirmed the story in 1995.



"Moby Dick" did have a real problem with it's budget. The original budget authorized by the Mirisch Brothers was $2 million 1955 dollars. When the film was completed the actual cost more than doubled to an estimated $4.4 million dollars. The Mirisch Brothers were financially crippled and sold their interest in the motion picture to United Artists. UA honored the original 7 year contract with Warner Brothers and took control of the motion picture after that period ended.

As was the norm at the time for many motion pictures. Dell Comics issued a motion picture comic book version of "Moby Dick" released in August 1956.




Two months earlier on June 27, 1956 John Huston's motion picture was released. The critics attacked the minimal story line as compared to Herman Melville's original work. In defense of Huston and Ray Bradbury. It is very hard to turn a 1,936 page novel into a 116 minute motion picture.

For nine year old Lloyd watching the feature in 1956. "Moby Dick" was a grand adventure and most reviewers today agree to my assessment.


THE BARBARIAN AND THE GEISHA 1958


John Huston had a love for the work of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and others. Artists who used Feudal Japan as a setting in such movies as Kurosawa's classic "The Seven Samurai", or Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai trilogy.

Huston wondered if an American director could make a similar motion picture shot in Japan of equal quality. His only problems with such an idea was turning his dream into a screenplay and, of course, finding a backer for such an unusual and personal project.





To make his idea interesting to an American audience. John Huston picked the story of Townsend Harris. Harris was the first U.S. Consul-General to Japan. He had been sent to the country by President Franklin Pierce in 1856 during it's Edo Period.

TownsendHarris1855JamesBogle.jpg

Part of the historical truth in Huston's screenplay was that when Townsend Harris set up the first American Consulate at the Gyokusen-ji Buddhist Temple in Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture. He had a letter from President Pierce to the Shogun who was located at the Japanese capital in Edo. Harris refused to give it to anyone but the Shogun personally and it took 18 months before he was finally invited to appear.

Four months after meeting the Shogun. Townsend Harris negotiated the "Treaty of Amity and Commerce"  aka: the "Harris Treaty of 1858". The treaty was a trade agreement between Japan and the United States and increased Western influence on the Japanese people.

Harris would return to the United States in 1861 his mission accomplished.

In 2006 the "City College of New York" celebrated the arrival of Townsend Harris in Japan. In a written program for the event. The following quotation from Harris' counterpart Japanese diplomat Moriyama is given:
You have been more than a friend. You have been our benefactor and teacher. Your spirit and memory will live forever in the history of Japan.
The rights to make a motion picture about Townsend Harris were originally owned by director Anthony Mann. In an agreement with 20th Century Fox. Mann had sold the rights to the Townsend Harris story to the studio. As a result John Huston was able to pick it up.

Huston's vision of American/Japanese history was epic. The on screen credits for the screenplay and story went to Charles Grayson, Nigel Balchin, James Edward Grant and Alfred Hayes. Not showing were Ellis St. Joseph who wrote the original story outline and John Huston.

John Huston had worked with Russian born producer Eugene Frenke before. Frenke had co-produced Huston's 1957 World War 2 motion picture "Heaven Knows Mr. Allison" starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. Frenke would only produced this project, if John Huston could find a bankable leading man to play Harris. Shades of Gregory Peck with "Moby Dick".

Also as the film was being made by 20th Century Fox. The.Studio Head Daryl F. Zanuck was involved in producing the picture, but without on screen credit. He also demanded a bankable leading man. John Wayne heard of the production and for his own reasons,came on board as Townsend Harris.

Those reason can be found in my other blog article "John Wayne Four Gutsy Role Choices" at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/04/john-wayne-four-gutsy-role-choices.html


Portraying the role of Hendrick (Henry) Conrad Joannes Heusken the Dutch-American interpreter used by the real Harris was actor Sam  Jaffe. Jaffe had played the High Lama in Frank Capra's 1937 production of James Hilton's "Lost Horizon" starring Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt. Along with the title character of George Stevens' 1939 "Gunga Din" starring Cary Grant, Victor McLagen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. To science fiction fans Sam Jaffe was Professor Jacob Barnhardt in Robert Wise's 1951 "The Day the Earth Stood Still" starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.

 

It should be noted that the real Japanese diplomat Moriyama is nowhere to be seen in this film, but may or may not have been in the original cut. More shortly.

Portraying Governor Tamura was So (Soh) Yamamura. It wouldn't be until 1970 when he played Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in "Tora, Tora, Tora" that most American's knew the actor. For fans of Toho studio's science fiction and Gojira (Godzilla) films. Soh Yamamura was the Prime Minister in 1961's "The Last War" and once again as Japan's Prime Minister in 1991's "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah". Which was the last of the 134 films the actor made.

Soh Yamamura is in the foreground of the following still.



Now we come to the fourth main character in the story and "The Geisha" of the title. There is a story about "OKICHI" that is partly truth and partly myth.

 

The real Kichi Satitoru, known as "Okichi", was placed into the household of Townsend Harris by Japanese authorities. She was told it was her duty to get to "know" Harris and find out all she could about him and his plans. Huston took this story and created his on screen platonic love story.

In the motion picture Japanese actress Eiko Ando portrayed "Okichi". Ando was also the voice over narrator of the story. She appears to have only one other credit and that was an appearance to promote the feature film on American television's "The Ed Sullivan Show".

There are different sources with slightly different versions of what might have been the truth between Harris and Okichi. Kathleen S. Kitao in her "History and Legend in Shimoda, Japan". An article published by the "Doshisha University Faculty of Culture and Informational Science". States that Kichi Satitoru was a 17 year old girl, Townsend Harris was 54 at the time, who was just a housekeeper and was let go after only 3 days.

While the Japanese story has "Okichi" having a love affair with the American. What is fact is that after Townsend Harris left Japan. Kichi Satitoru was called "Barbarian Okichi" and eventually committed suicide in 1892. Which would lead me to believe there was more than a 3 day employment, or the village people taunted her over what they supposed happened. The authoritative history of Japan found in the "Kodansha Encyclopedia seems to support Kitao's story though.

All of this was incorporated into John Huston's envisioned "EPIC" motion picture. The still below is of John Wayne, Script Supervisor Angela Allen and John Huston. Note the thickness of the shooting script in Allen's hands.



Once filming was completed it was back to the United States for editing. Huston worked closely with 20th Century Fox film editor Stuart Gilmore and may have edited some sequences himself. Then it was time to present his cut for approval by Daryl F, Zanuck and the powers that be at the studio.








What that director's cut submitted by John Huston to Zanuck looked like we may never know. All footage not used for the theatrical release was apparently lost, or destroyed by 20th Century Fox.

What we do know is that the 105 minute motion picture, I saw in September 1958,was not the Huston cut edited under his direction by Stuart Gilmore. We also know that whatever was submitted to Daryl F. Zanuck by John Huston required an Intermission due to it's length. We do know that 20th Century Fox's thinking wasn't based upon the story presented, but how much money could be made at the box office. Which translated to multiple runs on any day of the feature and not the usual two screenings, including a 15 minute Intermission, John Huston's film would require.

It should be noted that 20th Century Fox had released the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific" earlier in 1958. The film had an Intermission and was a Reserved, higher ticket prices, Seat Engagement. That picture had a running time of 171 minutes which included the Overture, Intermission and Exit Musical Score. So John Huston's cut of "The Barbarian and the Geisha" was not really out of the question to the studio at the time..

Additionally during 1958 United Artist released director William Wyler's Epic Western "The Big Country" starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston. Actor Burl Ives won the Best Supporting Actor award and the film was a major Box Office hit. It ran, without having an Intermission, 166 minutes in length. Only five minutes shorter than "South Pacific" with an Intermission.

Also, from 20th Century Fox was an adaptation of writer Irwin Shaw's "The Young Lions". A World War 2 film starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Cliff and Dean Martin. That picture had a running length of 167 minutes without an Intermission.

So what was really behind Zanuck's refusal to release John Huston's "The Barbarian and the Geisha" as Huston  wanted?

John Huston needed JOHN WAYNE to get the funding to make his epic, but one theory on why 20th Century Fox made such drastic cuts to the finished motion picture was JOHN WAYNE. Daryl F. Zanuck and others thought he couldn't actually carry such a historical picture with those outside of his fan base, because JOHN WAYNE was only a COWBOY actor. A belief that most major studios held about him. That belief on this picture and three others is the basis for my article on Wayne I mentioned above.

The Motion Picture Critics did attack Wayne's portrayal and besides using the "Cowboy" slant. They mentioned how unease he appeared in the role and even mentioned his size as a problem compared to the Japanese actors he towered over.




Another mentioned argument is over the subject matter and the idea that American's would not sit through a motion picture about Japan. Although the Japanese actors spoke English and no subtitles were involved.

This was still a carry over from World War 2 between many American's towards the Japanese. Yet, the film as envisioned by John Huston might have helped to alleviate those tensions by showing a bit of Japanese/American history.

So how long was Huston's original cut? Again we may never really know as I said his cut and any other footage for the picture are gone. There is no chance of discovering that version as it was never released and was used for the re-editing by 20th Century Fox to get their more money making showings.

John Huston was angry at the studio over destroying his motion picture and refused to have his name appear, BUT the studio said he had a contract and he was stuck. "The Barbarian and the Geisha" as released was a financial failure and an embarrassment to both John Huston and it's star John Wayne. Additionally John Huston filed a lawsuit over the picture and succeeded in stopping its showing, after its initial run, in the United States. You could not even find the film in this country until a 1998 VHS tape appeared and that was only a single run. The movie resurfaced in the United States as part of a four picture John Wayne DVD in 2014. Foreign copies were always available.

Personally I like it, but it's obvious that something is missing. There are scenes that just jump from one to another including separation of time and action. Dialogue implies that something happened, but as to what it was the audience never finds out.

Looking at John Huston's personal copy of the screenplay with his handwritten notations. His family and film historians believe the original version to be as much as twice the released running length. In short a completely different motion picture.



.
FREUD: THE SECRET PASSION 1962


Making a biographic motion picture about neurologist Sigmund Schlomo Freud creating his theory of psychoanalysis is not the most audience attractive idea. In fact when I saw the picture in 1962 Los Angeles. It was at the semi-Art House "Fine Arts Theater" in Beverly Hills. The only Los Angeles location during it's original release. Universal Studio's was uncertain how to promote the picture and handled it, initially, as a Special Screening film. At that time the feature was simply called "Freud".




When Universal Studios finally released Huston's work as a General Audience Release. A major change to the title had been made and "Freud" was no longer the one word title. The motion picture directed by John Huston would now be known world wide as " Freud: The Secret Passion" and the film's subject "Freud" was all but omitted in British publicity..

So what is the back story on the film?

In 1958 while battling 20th Century Fox over "The Barbarian and the Geisha". John Huston decided to make a motion picture based upon a five year period in the life of Sigmund Freud. His first challenge was finding a writer for such a work and he decided upon Jean-Paul Sartre. The French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer and literary critic was an interesting choice for the intellectual Huston and that was also his problem.

At first it appeared that the two men were of the same thinking about the purposed motion picture. Sartre submitted a 95 page outline for the feature film. However, when Jean-Paul Sartre submitted his screenplay. John Huston was shocked to discover had he filmed what Sartre had submitted. The total running time for the picture would be at least five hours. He asked Jean-Paul Sartre to adjust his screenplay to a more manageable one. Instead of a shorter version that Huston wanted, The new version would have made an eight hour or more motion picture.

The men argued and Jean-Paul Sartre pulled out of the production and told John Huston not to put his name on the finished picture. So Huston turned to Charles Kaufman a writer for "The New Yorker" magazine to come up with a new story to work a screenplay from.

Kaufman was a good choice. That year he had been nominated by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ( BAFTA) for his screenplay on "The Story of Esther Costello". Charles Kaufman worked with John Huston's producer Wolfgang Reinhardt on the new screenplay for "Freud".

Reinhardt had been one of the writers on the Bette Davis, Paul Muni 1939 feature "Juarez", associate producer on the Edward G. Robinson 1940 "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" and co-produced with director/producer Vittorio De Sica "Indiscretion of an American Wife" starring Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift in 1953.

Now with a screenplay John Huston needed to cast the major roles in "Freud".

For the title role he chose Montgomery Clift. Movie viewers had seen the actor last in Stanley Kramer's 1961 feature "Judgement at Nuremberg" in which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. That same year he had co-starred with both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe in "The Misfits" The last movie both made before their deaths and was actually released shortly afterwards.


Below first is a photo of Freud at the time the picture covers. It is followed by one of Clift in the film.






The screenplay takes cinematic privilege by condensing years of Freud's work into what seems, on screen, a matter of months. The same privilege is taken by combining many of the neurotic symptoms Sigmund Freud studied into one created patient Cecily Koertner portrayed by Susannah York.

  

At the time of this picture Susannah York was known in the United States to only those few, like myself, who had seen the Alec Guinness and John Mills motion picture "Tunes of Glory" in 1960. York would be seen in the Best Picture Oscar winner for 1963 "Tom Jones".In 1969 the actress won a BAFTA for "They Shoot Horses Don't They" and was nominated for both a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe for that role.

There is an interesting article about the influence of Sigmund Freud on the motion picture industry published on "The Guardian's" website in 2001. It mentions the actress John Huston really wanted to cast in this role: Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe, who had once made a brief appearance on a cartoonishly glamorous couch in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and had just filmed The Misfits with Huston, was the director's first choice for the role of the young hysteric. However, she was advised against taking the job by her own analyst, and died later the same year.
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2001/jun/17/features.review


The third starring role was played by Larry Parks and was the real life Austrian physician in neurophsiology Dr. Josef Breuer. Parks had starred in "The Jolson Story" in 1946. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for portraying singer Al Jolson in this fictional motion picture. Parks followed up the role in "Jolson Sings Again" in 1949. However, in 1951 he ran afoul of "The House Committee on Un-American Activities" by not "naming names" of Communist Party members he knew in the motion picture industry. Parks was "Black Listed" and MGM shelved a comedy he had made for three years. Parks next motion picture work was in the U.K. in a low budget picture entitled "Cross-Up" with Constance Smith.

Parks and his wife actress Betty Garrett, whose career was also affected by her husband's "Black Listing" started purchasing Los Angeles area real estate and became "Land Lords" with a larger income than they were making acting. In 1957 Larry Parks started appearing again on television, but his only motion picture role and his last was "Freud".

Below first a photo of the real Dr. Breuer followed by one of Larry Parks from the motion picture.

Jozef Breuer, 1877.jpg




The fourth and final starring role went to actress Susan Kohner. She had been nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and won the Golden Globe for her role in 1959's "Imitation of Life". Kohner portrayed Freud's wife Martha. As above the first following image is of the real Martha Freud and the second of Susan Kohner with Montgomery Clift in the motion picture.





Within the supporting cast was David McCallum in the composite character of Carl von Schlossen. For those thinking of him in "The Great Escape", as Illya Kuryakin in "The Man from  Uncle", or at the time of this writing Donald "Ducky" Mallard on the original television show "NCIS". You are in for a shock. McCallum plays a man with repressed sexual desires in "Freud" and demonstrates his vast acting talent as different sides of his character are revealed. By this point in his career David McCuallum had appeared in 32 different roles in both British motion pictures and television..



Below John Huston and Montgomery Clift discuss a sequence.



Even with it's apparently odd subject matter Hollywood didn't overlook the picture for the 35th Academy Awards. It was nominated for two Oscars.  Best Original Screenplay, interesting in it's round about way to create it, and Best Original Score which was the first by Jerry Goldsmith. The film lost in both categories. The Golden Globes nominated the movie for Best Picture, Drama, Best Director John Huston, Best Actress Susannah York and Supporting Actress Susan Kohner.

I'll end this look at "Freud: The Secret of Passion" with two quotes by French historian and psychoanalyst Elizabeth Roundinesco in her work "A History of Psychoanalyst in France 1925-1985", University of Chicago Press, 1990. Miss Roundinesco wrote that the motion picture did not have any success but:
....the black and white photography of Douglas Slocombe recaptures superbly the baroque universe of fin de si├Ęcle Vienna.
About Montgomery Clift Miss Roundinesco wrote an interesting comment on his portrayal of Freud:
As for Montgomery Clift, he portrays an anguished, somber and fragile Freud, closer to the James Dean of Rebel without a Cause than to the mummified figure imposed by the official historians of psychoanalysis:  



THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER 1963


"Gimmick Films" were still very popular in the early 1960's and "The List of Adrian Messenger" had a great one. The movie had cameo's from Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster but they were all wearing make-up from John Chambers and his crew. The "Gimmick" was for the audience to identify them. After the mystery was solved and the film's story completed. These actor's removed their make-ups and the audience found out if they were correct. More about this semi-scam later.

Don't know the name John Chambers?


John Chambers (make-up artist).jpg

Ever see the 2012 motion picture "ARGO" starring Ben Affleck? Actor John Goodman played Chambers.He was part of the mission, actually known as the "Canadian Caper", by the CIA and Canada to rescue six American Diplomats held in Iran. He also was behind the original make-ups for the original "Planet of the Apes" among other films.




The motion picture's story is still fun. A writer named Adrian Messenger asks retired MI-5 operative and friend Anthony Gethryn, played by George C. Scott, to verify a list of ten names for him. Nothing more than that.

Before the above takes place. The audience has seen a strange man murder another man by causing an elevator to speed down multiple floors of an apartment house. He then crosses the murder victim's name off a list in a book. All the other names have been crossed off, but one Adrian Messenger.

After the conversation between Messenger and Gethryn. The audience next sees Adrian in line to check in for his airline flight. In back of him is a Minister who finds his luggage overweight and requiring extra money. Adrian convinces the airline attendant to let the Minister's bag go through as his own was underweight.



We next see the Minister enter a Men's room stall that has a washbasin and mirror in it. As the audience watches he removes his make-up and confirms that we're looking at Kirk Douglas.

The audience now knows the murderer, but not the motive.

Adrian's flight is blown up over the ocean and he is in the water on a piece of wreckage with another passenger. As the other man listen's Adrian keeps repeating a message for Jocelyn over and over and dies. The audience, of course, also hears the dying man's message.

Anthony Gethryn will discover that the sole survivor of the plane crash and the man who heard Messenger is an old friend from the French Secret Service during World War 2 Raul Le Borg. He is played by Jacques Roux.



It turns out the Le Borg has a "Trick Memory" and can recall Adrian's complete dying message. Gerthryn places it on a blackboard and begins to figure out what was meant by it.

Prior to this in the hospital Le Borg has met the Jocelyn of Adrian's message. She is played by Dana Wynter and is actually Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm and has a young son. The son is now the last heir to the Bruttenholm title and estate after his grandfather dies.



Le Borg and Gerthryn join forces to figure out the ties of eleven, including Adrian, men who all met accidental deaths over a five year period. As Sherlock Holmes always remarked: "The Game is Afoot" and I will tell my reader no more.

As to those other make-ups by John Chambers. Remember you are looking for Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and still more Kirk Douglas. Some of those make-ups follow.










HOWEVER, John Huston cheated at times to fool the audience. Partly with different voices dubbed in as with Burt Lancaster. Again with Lancaster and Douglas by using another actor, Jan Merlin, in similar make-ups in some sequences. Especially the final Fox Hunt to protect Lancaster from injury.



Like "The Barbarian and the Geisha", "The List of Adrian Messenger" was only available in Foreign countries for some reason. The original North American DVD release was offered as high as $400 on the Internet, but as of this writing it is now available from Universal Studio's in an 8 picture set entitled: Kirk Douglas: The Centennial Collection",

IF my readers have never seen these four motion pictures. They are all worth a look as they reflect different John Huston's in the director's chair.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

ROBERT CLARKE: 'B' Actor, or "The Hideous Sun Demon" Meets the "King Sisters"

A "B" Actor goes where the roles are and sometimes ends up in a few classics. In the case of Robert Clarke they were in Science Fiction and Horror. Yet many today do not know his name, but recognize his face and such titles as "THE MAN FROM PLANET X" and 'THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON".

Robert Clark Actor.jpg

Between  1944 and his death in 2005. Robert Irby Clarke appeared 199 times in either "B" motion pictures, or television programs not including with his wife Alice King on "The King Family Show", I am not going into all of these appearances, but will concentrate on some of those "Classic (?)" Science Fiction and Horror roles.

Robert Clarke was born on June 1, 1920 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Like myself he developed a love of motion pictures at a very early age, but decided upon a military career. He had tried high school acting, but had a major case of stage fright and as a result decided against acting. However, events sometimes choose our course and with the outbreak of World War 2 Clarke found himself classified 4F, because of his acute asthma.

Now not being able to enter his desired career in the military Robert Clarke returned to College. First at the University of Oklahoma where he once again took up acting. To avoid his stage fright he began performing in the University's Radio Plays. Clarke increased his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Where the young man finally overcame his stage fright as he appeared in student plays.

By this time Robert Clarke's love of motion pictures had become so great that he made the decision not to graduate. The student actor thumbed his way from the mid-west to Hollywood, California. His mind not set on trying his luck in the motion picture industry. Clarke had screen tests with both 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures, but was unsuccessful getting work there. However, his test at RKO proved otherwise and a "B" Actor's career began in 1944.

Robert Clarke's first role was that of an "Assistant Film Director" in the movie "The Falcon in Hollywood". The picture was part of the RKO detective film series about the character of Tom Lawrence aka: "The Falcon". The budget is reflected in the fact that all RKO had to do was move their actors from one location to another within the studio to film the picture.

Clarke's fourth role was in a comedy horror movie with the interesting title of "Zombies On Broadway" which co-starred Bela Lugosi.



The new film actor's role was as a character with the telling name of "Wimp". Look at a complete list of those appearing in the film. You will find Robert Clarke listed 14th and was also the 3rd name in those appearing without screen credit. For my fellow fans of Val Lewton, believe it or not, this comedy entry was a sequel to Lewton's "I Walk With A Zombie" without his involvement. It starred RKO"s low budget answer to Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Wally Brown and Alan Carney, Who were billed before Bela Lugosi.

Speaking of Val Lewton, Robert Clarke played a "Medical Student" in 1946's "The Body Snatcher" based upon the Robert Lewis Stevenson story starring Boris Karloff. From a horror point of view this was the final film to team up Karloff with Bela Lugosi and was directed by Robert Wise.




My article "Val Lewton: Master of Subtle Terror and Horror" can be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/10/val-lewton-master-of-subtle-terror-and.html

1945 saw Robert Clarke in other minor roles, mostly without screen credit, in pictures such as "Back to Bataan" starring John Wayne and Anthony Quinn and "First Yank in Tokyo" which he also narrated. Also in 1945 RKO decided to remake "The Most Dangerous Game". This story of a big game hunter tracking human prey originally was filmed by Merian C. Cooper for the studio in 1932 starring Fay Wray and Joel McCrea. In the Robert Wise directed motion picture, "A Game of Death", Robert Clarke had the role of  "The Helmsmen".

Two motion pictures later and Robert Clarke was back in 1946 acting for Val Lewton as "Dan the Dog" in the Boris Karloff vehicle "Bedlam".

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28 roles followed "Bedlam" in such features as 1947 "The Farmers Daughter" starring Loretta Young and Joseph Cotton. Robert Clarke was the non screen credited role of the "Assistant Radio Announcer". The same year he was in "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome" starring Ralph Byrd and Boris Karloff. Once again without screen credit as "Fred the Police Analyst". Clarke played "Dave", with on screen credit and 20th billed, in Randolph Scott and Robert Ryan's 1948 western "The Return of the Bad Men",

Then came 1950.

First Robert Clarke appeared on the new medium of television. This was on  "Magnavox Theater", sponsored by the television set maker, of "The Three Musketeers" portraying D"Artagnan. That live performance probably reached more viewers than all his films to date.

There is no doubt in my mind that Robert Clarke, Margaret Field and William Schallert had any idea that their low budget Science Fiction feature would be a "Cult Classic", or become as famous as it did.



The 1951 "The Man from Planet X" was estimated to have a complete cost of $51,000 dollars by United Artists accounting when all factors were taken into consideration. Today, in 2017, that would be $521,738 dollars. Not very much by today film production costs, but in 1951 the picture also made $1.2 million dollars, or today $12,276,203 dollars. A nice profit margin for any feature film.

One of the initial reasons for the films success was the publicity department's work. Note in the poster below the three actors are listed and then afterwards the potential viewer reads:

                                                  and the
                                          STRANGE MAN
                                          FROM PLANET X!





The story was set on the Scottish Moors and to save money the production company used sets from the 1948 "Joan of Arc" that had starred Ingrid Bergman. To change the look fog was used and the shots were basically at night.





As the above photo of Margaret Field looking at the alien space craft shows. Adding fog and shooting in black and white worked very well to create an eerie feeling to the production.

Robert Clarke portrayed American reporter John Lawrence. Lawrence is invited to Scotland by his friend Professor Elliot played by Raymond Bond. Elliot has discovered Planet X and also that an alien space craft has landed out on the moor.



Elliot and Lawrence discover the space man and attempt to communicate, but without success.



Meanwhile the Professor's assistant Dr. Mears, William Schallet, not only figures out how to communicate, but he wants to know the secret of the space craft's metal. The alien will not give him the information and Mears in retaliation shuts off the alien's breathing apparatus leaving it for dead.



Lawrence discovers the alien is missing along with the Professor's daughter Enid, Margaret Field, and the local Constables tells him also many of the villagers. They are all discovered under the control of "The Man from Planet X". However, when a Scotland Yard Inspector and his assistant arrive and are informed of the alien and the missing villagers. A decision is made to destroy the alien and his spacecraft at the cost of the people under it's control.



Lawrence wants to rescue Enid and the villagers and is given a time limit ending at 11 PM. As it has been discovered that the alien's home planet will come very close to Earth at midnight and the alien is an advance scout for an invasion. "The Man from  Planet X" has used the captured people to increase protection and assist in making changes to his space craft. Thereby turning it into a relay station to bring his people to Earth.

Lawrence succeeds in rescuing everyone, but Mears is killed when the space craft is blown up along with the alien.



The planet comes extremely close to the Earth. While in fear of what could still happen from it Lawrence and Enid watch it pass.



Don't look for realism as the alien's planet comes within what seems only a few miles of colliding with the Scottish Moors, but go with it. The movie is really well written by Audrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen for the year it was made. The two are the pictures producers also.

A quick appearance on a television series and Robert Clarke was Robin Hood.

Followed by six more movie appearances making Robert Clarke's output for 1951 eight motion picture appearances and one on television.

1952 started out with a movie set in Cuba entitled "The Fabulous Senorita" and an appearance in an episode of "The Long Ranger" and then Clarke was back in Science Fiction. The motion picture was originally entitled "1,000 Years from Now", but is more commonly referred too by it's re-release name of "Captive Women".

I also look at this motion picture in by article about the Nuclear War Science Fiction
motion pictures of the 1950's. The full article can be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/05/nuclear-holocaust-and-post-apocalyptic.html

The story takes place after a nuclear holocaust has destroyed the Earth and the year now is 3,000 A.D.



New York City and its surrounding area has been divided into three areas containing three different groups of human descendants from the nuclear war. "The Norm's" are the descendants of human's were survived unaffected by the radiation and live in what was once the subway system. "The River People" are also normal humans, but live in the countryside and have become hunters. The last group are "The Mutants" who are descended from those affected by the radiation and still show some signs of being mutated. They also have a problem of babies being either born still, or also somewhat mutated.

Robert Clarke portrayed "Robert" the leader of "The Norms", Margaret Field played a "Norm" women named "Ruth" and Ron Randall is "The Mutant" leader Riddon. William Schallert is also in this film as the evil Mutate Carver who wants to take over their tribe.

The basic story has "The Mutates" capture some "Norm" women including Ruth. Robert seeks help from "The River People" to rescue them. Meanwhile Carver attempts to take control of his tribe and is banished by Riddon. Carver makes a deal with his counter part among "The Norms" Gordon. Carver will lead him to Riddon and in turn Carver will help Gordon take over his tribe.

In the end both villains are killed and peace is made between all three branches of men. This includes the "Norm" women Ruth having fallen in love for the "Mutate" leader Riddon and the two are married starting a new chapter for humanity.



The film was produced by the same team who made "The Man from Planet X".

1953 through 1956 saw Robert Clarke appearing mostly on television series such as "Science Fiction Theater", "The Pepsi-Cola Theater", "The Cisco Kid" and even "Lassie". During this period Clarke played the character of "Rolfe" in 1953's "Captain John Smith and Pocahontas" starring Anthony Dexter and Jody Lawrence and :Manuel Aszaga" in 1954's "The Black Pirates" also starring Dexter and featuring Lon Chaney, Jr.

Robert Clarke did actually star in one motion picture during this time the "Sword of Venus" playing the son of "The Count of Monte Cristo". Once again the picture had been made by the team of Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg, but Margaret Field was not in it. The leading lady was Catherine McLeod. However, playing "Valmont" was William Schallert.



In 1956 Robert Clarke married Alyce King of the "King Sisters". The Sister's were a popular 1940's "Big Band Era" group. The following photo is of the Sisters from that Era. Alyce is lower middle.



One year later on November 6, 1957 their son Cameron Arthur "Cam" Clarke was born. You might not know their son's name, but you probably know his voice acting work. Among which Cam created the voices of Leonardo and Rocksteady in the original animated "Teenage Mutant Turtles" and the voice of Shotaro Kaneda in the English dub of the classic anime "AKIRA".

Robert Clarke's next motion picture continued his Science Fiction connection and was 1957's "The Astounding She Monster". This forgotten classic, my tongue is firmly in cheek, had a final budget of $18,000 dollars.



A group of criminals kidnap an heiress and take over the mountain home of  Geologist Dick Cutler played by Clarke. A UFO crash lands near the house and an alien resembling a beautiful women comes out of it. The problem is she is highly radioactive and can kill with a single touch.



She does not speak, but makes sounds. The alien women accidentally kills Cutler's dog, but on purpose she kills the kidnappers. "The She Monster" is killed by the Geologist. Who throws a bottle containing chemicals from the Earth's atmosphere that cause her to disintegrate. Don't even think of asking why walking in the Earth's atmosphere didn't already kill her.

A note is found in perfect English inside the necklace the alien women has been wearing. It says she is here to help the planet with its problems. Cutler speculates about how her people will think of the human race now


The next role for Robert Clarke is interesting if for no other reason than who was in it and who wrote this western. The title was "Outlaw Queen".

In the picture Clarke, on the left in the above photo, played John Andrews. In the middle is actress Andrea King, no relation to Alyce, but the female leads in the Peter Lorre horror mystery "The Beast With Five Fingers" and the Peter Graves Cold War thriller "Red Planet Mars". She plays the title character named Christina. The third person in the above still portrayed Rick Mason and is none other than Big Band Leader Harry James. The last interesting point to this long forgotten motion picture is that the story and screenplay were written by Pete La Rouche. Oh, the name Pete La Rouche was the nom de plume of one Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Into 1959 Robert Clarke appeared on single episodes of 14 television series such as "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok", "Dragnet" for his fifth time since 1953, "Sky King" and "Mike Hammer". His motion picture work wasn't much better, becaue out of nine screen appearances only two had on screen credit.

However, all of this was followed by another Science Fiction feature entitled "The Incredible Petrified World" actually filmed, according to Robert Clarke, in March of 1957. The finished picture was first previewed in Burlington, North Carolina on November 18, 1959 two and a half years after it was filmed. The picture then sat on the shelf until April 1960 when it was released on a double bill with "Teenage Zombies" to only a few States. Later the same double bill would be released on August 30, 1961 in Los Angeles and to more States. It never played in all of the country. Such is the history of a very low budgeted "B" Science Fiction film.

To "B", pun here, fair to this feature. The poster was a thousand times better than what we saw on the screen and did it's job of getting viewers into a theater.



The story revolves around a new experimental diving bell. It's inventor Professor Millard Wyman, played by John Carradine, sends his crew of two men and two women to explore the ocean to depths previously never obtained.

The two men are Craig Randall portrayed by Robert Clarke and Paul Whitmore played by Allen Windsor. Whose name does not even appear on the poster. Windsor's career was a total of four appearances including one on television's "Leave It to Beaver" The two women crew members are Lauri Talbott played by Sheila Noolan. Whose name also does not appear on the poster. Noolan would have five total films to her credit. These included Roger Corman's "Bucket of Blood" and "Beast from Haunted Cave". Phyllis Coates, whose name appears after Carrdine's and above Clarke's, played Dale Marshall. At the time she actually filmed "The Incredible Petrified World" in 1957. Coates had been appearing in several short subjects with titles like "So You Want to Play the Piano" and films such as "Girl's In Prison" which starred Richard Denning. Also that year Phyllis Coates was in "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein" as Dr. Frankenstein's secretary. TV's Lois Lane became lunch for the Doctor's pet alligator.

Naturally something goes wrong and the bell ends up in "The Petrified World" of the title. Can you say "Colossal Cave" in Tucson, Arizona? The crew leave the diving bell in scuba gear after seeing lights and believe they are heading for the surface. Instead come up in a vast underground cavern with breathable air.There they find a giant lizard and a man who has been trapped for the last 14 years.

He explains the breathable air comes from an underwater Volcano. While this is all going on Professor Wyman and others are debating if a rescue mission should be attempted and how.

The following is from IMDb:
In the caves, Lauri gathers fresh water with a shell. The men returned to the bell to get more supplies. Dale is jealous of Lauri's relationship with Craig and the women bicker. The men make two dives for all their supplies, but Paul has trouble on the second dive. He has run out of compressed air. The rescue bell spots the duo and takes them on board. Jim Wyman helps Paul. The old man makes his play for Dale. He tells her he likes her much better than the others. When the old man, looking like Charles Manson, suggests killing the others, Dale is shocked and horrified. The old man admits to Dale that he killed the man they found as a skeleton. Dale screams as the old man paws her. An earthquake and rock fall from the volcano provides Lauri the chance to grab Dale and escape. The old man is killed by the rock fall. The women run back to the pool where they surfaced and find Craig knocked out by the rock fall. He revives and gives the women breathing devices and they dive into the water for the safety of the rescue bell. The volcano erupts. 
 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053944/synopsis?ref_=ttpl_pl_syn

The above description sounds a lot more exciting than the actual picture. Also note the following still of John Carradine and the diving bell. With a crew of four how much "supplies" could it hold that required two trips? As apparently they were to be brought up to the surface possibly on the same day of the initial dive. Such is the fun and plot holes of 1950's Science Fiction that the audience ignored.




Two television appearances later and Robert Clarke made the "B" Science Fiction/Horror motion picture he is widely known for "The Hideous Sun Demon". The original story was written by Clarke and the feature film was also co-directed and co-produced by the actor.

"Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night. May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms and the Moon is full and bright". Most fans of classic horror movies know these words written by Curt Siodmak for 1941's "The Wolfman". In "The Hideous Sun Demon" Robert Clarke flipped it with a man that becomes a Lizard in the Sun.

This feature is known by three titles, In the United States and Canada depending on where you saw the feature it was either:





In the U.K. the picture was known as:



The plot has Dr. Gilbert McKenna, Robert Clarke, experimenting with a new radioactive isotope and while working with it falls unconscious to the floor. The scientist is rushed to a local hospital and is examined by Dr. Stern, Robert Gerry. Stern is surprised to see no radiation burns on McKenna's body after such exposure. He next informs Gill's co-workers Ann Russell, Patricia Manning, and Dr. Frederick Buckell, Patrick Whyte, that he will keep him under observation.



After apparent recovery Dr. McKenna is taken to a solarium to receive the sun's healing rays. Bad idea! As with a man exposed to the full moon turning into a werewolf. Dr. Gilbert McKenna exposed to the sun's rays turns into a lizard creature.





It is determined that Dr. McKenna's exposure to the radioactive isotope has reverted him back to a prehuman evolutionary reptile state. A similar reversal plot devise was done to Michael Landon in 1957's "I Was A Teenage Werewolf", but by hypnotism and in the 1956 movie "The Werewolf" by a special serum designed to make human's survive an atomic bomb.

In "The Hideous Sun Demon" it is thought that as long as Gil stays out of the sun he will not change, but that means confinement to his home and going out only after dark. This starts effecting his state of mind. Enter Dr. Jacob Hoffman, actor Fred La Porta, who believes he can help Gil stop the transformation.

However,Gil is going "stir crazy" at home. This leaves his house and finds a bar were the piano player Trudy Osbourne, Nan Peterson, is having problems with a patron named George. George claims to have purchased her for the evening. A fight results between the two men and Gill McKenna knocks out George. We next see Trudy and Gill walking the beach together which ends with the two having sex and falling asleep. Gill wakes up on the beach in the sunlight and flees in panic. Being afraid he will become the Sun Demon and might harm Trudy as she asleeps. He just makes it to his house as the transformation begins.

The following night things get out of hand at the bar when George and his friends beat up Dr. McKeena, He had returned to apologize to Trudy for leaving her alone on the beach. The unconscious Gill wakes up in Trudy's apartment as George shows up the following morning and makes one big mistake. He forces McKeena out into the sunlight. The Sun Demon kills George in front of Trudy and flees.

Image result for the hideous sun demon

Gill returns to his house to find Dr Hoffman, Dr. Bucknell and Ann waiting for him. After returning to his normal state he admits the murder to the other three.

Image result for the hideous sun demon

A Police Officer shows up with an arrest warrant and McKenna, his mental state now unbalanced, flees in his car and hits a another officer. Gill is hiding out in a shack at the oil field. A little girl named Suzy discovers him and she goes home to get him some cookies. Don't ask! Her mother asks what's she doing and Suzy tells her. While her mother calls the police. Suzy slips out and goes to the shack with her cookies. Dr. Gill McKenna realizes the danger she will be in if he changes.

Image result for the hideous sun demon

He takes the girl to safety, but has left the darkness of the shack and transforms. This leads to a confrontation with the police and his death.

As far as casting concerns the motion picture was a true "Family Affair". Initially the role of Trudy was to have been played by Robert Clarke's sister-in-law singer Marilyn King. Before shooting began she became pregnant and had to drop out of the role. However, Marilyn wrote and sang Nan Peterson's songs.

The little girl, Xandra Conkling, was actually the daughter of one of Clarke's wife's sisters. Pearl Diggs, who played the old women on the deck of the solarium, see above picture, was Robert Clarke's mother-in-law. The radio announcer heard in the picture was portrayed by the fiance of one of Clarke's sister-in-laws and a newsboy was his nephew.

The motion picture was filmed with rented equipment over a 12 weekend period and Clarke's film crew were made up of USC Film Students. The upfront money for the picture came from of all things "The Astounding She Monster". Robert Clarke had a contract for 10 percent of the gross and the film actually made money.


After the non-screen credited role of a reporter in the James Garner/Natalie Wood film "Cash McCall"in 1960. It was back to appearances on three television shows for the actor followed by another science fiction picture "Beyond the Time Barrier".



The film has an interesting take on the Cold War within a Science Fiction motion picture with a twist at the end. Unfortunately, as with many quickie made movies I watched back then. The budget, or lack of one gets in the way at times.  Robert Clarke played Air Force Test Pilot Major William Allison,



He leaves the Air Force base on a routine test flight of a new experimental aircraft, but when he returns after the flight. Allison finds the base deserted and appearing ancient. In the distance is a futuristic looking city and he heads towards it for answers..

This future world contains both apparently normal looking humans and mutated humans, Whose goal is to take over the city Major Allison saw known as "The Citadel", but they have no leadership. Allison is at first imprisoned in a holding cell with some of these mutated humans, All of which are for some reason bald.

After a while Major Allison is taken before the leader of "The Citadel" called "The Supreme". Who along with "The Captain" are the only two people that can still hear and speak within "The Citadel". Everyone else has become mute, but "The Supreme's" daughter Triene, Darlene Tompkins, was also born telepathic.



After Triene reads his mind. Major Allison is released and told the year is now 2024 and that in 1971 a world wide plague was caused by Cosmic Rays being released from Nuclear Testing in the Atmosphere.The result is everyone, but Triene is sterile.

The Cold War aspect of the picture comes in the form Russian Air Force Captain Markova portrayed by Ardianne Ulmer billed as Ardianne Arden. She came through the Time Barrier in 1973. Additionally in 1994 two other people arrived at "The Citadel". They are General Kruse and Professor Bourman. Both men arrived from Earth's outer space colonies that existed at the time of the nuclear war and were therefore untouched by it. Both have become trapped in the future and develop agendas of their own revolving around Allison's plane as a means of escape back to their own time.





Major Allison and Triene over time, of course, fall in love. Markova in perfect Cold War theory become the leader of the mutated humans with the idea of setting up a perfect Communist State. She will release the mutants in a failed revolt and is killed. Another secondary plot line has General Kruse and Boreman attempt to get to Allison's aircraft. There's a struggle with General Kruse over obtaining the aircraft resulting in Triene being accidentally shot and killed. Allison take's her body to "The Supreme".

"The Supreme" shows Major Allison a secret tunnel that takes him safely to his aircraft. He takes off and returns to 1960 on the same day he left.

TWIST TIME:

After telling his superiors what he has seen of the future. The audience sees Major Allison now an extremely old man as a result of the time travel. Allison's superiors also discover that Markov, Bourman and Kruse are currently students and their future will be considered.

Robert Clarke did not want to direct this picture, because the stress of working on "The Hideous Sun Demon" had been more than he expected. So Clarke hired Edgar G. Ulmer the director of "The Man from Planet X" for the job. It was Ulmer's daughter who played Markova.

The film's primary backers came from Texas and their one stipulation was the feature had to be made in that State. Their reasoning still holds today. They could make it cheaper, because Texas had no Unions in the local Motion Picture and Television production companies.

The make-ups for the film were created by famed Universal Studio's make-up artist Jack Pierce. Pierce's career had fallen greatly since he created Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster and Im-ho-tep, or Lon Chaney, Jr. as "The Wolfman". Jack Pierce's story can be found in my blog article at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/06/jack-p-pierce-man-who-created-monsters.html

Robert Clarke needed somebody to distribute "Beyond the Time Barrier" and approached James H. Nicholson of American International Pictures. Based solely on his teenage daughter's favorable reaction to the movie. Nicholson agreed to release the motion picture. MGM was promoting George Pal's "The Time Machine" in a large way and AIP used that publicity to the studio's advantage. Releasing "Beyond the Time Barrier" one month ahead of "The Time Machine" as a tale of future Earth.


Back to television for Clarke's second appearance on "Perry Mason" and his third on the Lloyd Bridges show "Sea Hunt". Along with another non-screen credited cameo in a Robert Mitchum/Jack Webb Air Force comedy movie "The Last Time I Saw Archie". This was followed by another feature film entitled "Terror of the Bloodhunters" in 1962.

The picture was from Jerry Warren who had made "The Incredible Petrified World". Robert Clarke played a Devil's Island Prisoner who escapes with the daughter of the Commandant and faces Head Hunters. Playing the daughter Marlene was Dorothy Haney. Apparently this is her entire film career. Warren had purchased the rights too and re-edited a Swedish Science Fiction picture for the bottom half of the double bill "Invasion of the Animal People".



In January 1965 ABC Television premiered the musical variety program "The King Family Show". It featured Alyce,her sisters, and other members of the family including husbands, children and grandchildren. Robert Clarke was a regular in comic skits and other non-singing bites, but the variety show only lasted one year. However, it would be revived from March through September 1969 featuring the younger generation "The King Cousins".

In the following photograph from "The King Family Show" Christmas Special. Robert Clarke is second from the left of the men wearing the red jackets.




For the next 16 years Robert Clarke guest starred on many television programs such as "Dragnet 1967", seven times, and Jack Webb's other series "Adam 12" for another five. Clarke also appeared on episodes of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and a forgotten television series called "Project UFO". It was about Government Investigators chasing down UFO sightings.

In 1981 old actors still looking for work ended up in another motion picture from Jerry Warren "Frankenstein Island".



The cast includes: Robert Clarke as Dr. Paul Hadley, Steve Brodie as Jocko, Cameron Mitchell as Clay Jason, Andrew Duggan as "The Colonel" and John Carradine is of course Dr. Frankenstein,

I love this character's name. Talk about covering all bases. Actress Katherine Victor played "Sheila Frankenstein von Helsing". One has to imagine how and when the two families united.

Victor who had appeared in Jerry Warren's "Teenage Zombies" and his English version of "Invasion of the Animal People". Would become an animation coordinator for Walt Disney Productions on the television series versions of such classics as "The Little Mermaid", "Aladdin" and :Hercules".

After the usual television program interlude. Robert Clarke appeared in a 1988, naturally, low budget turkey "Midnight Movie Madness". I'll do the low budget reviewer cop out and place a link to a great review by Sean Ledden, a member of my Facebook Page "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", on the website "The Monster Shack".

Robert Clarke plays Colonel Carlye and Ann Robinson plays Dr. Sylvia Van Buren. Remember George Pal's 1953 "War of the Worlds"? Robinson played the Minister's daughter Sylvia Van Buren. As the review mentions there's a throw away line from Robert Clarke about going "Beyond the Time Barrier" in the picture.

Here's your link to Sean's review:

http://www.monstershack.net/sp/index.php/midnight-movie-massacre-1988/

"Alienator" was a film that critic Leonard Maltin and the motion picture's director Fred Olen Ray both described as a "Semi-remake" of Robert Clarke's "The Astounding She Monster".

There is confusions IF "Alienator" ever played in an actual movie theaters, but it did appear on VHS tape in February 1990. The film starred, or featured an assortment of looking for any work actor types. Besides Robert Clarke were Jan Michael-Vincent, John Philip Law, Ross Hogan, P.J. Soles, Leo Gordon and Robert Quarry.

An Alien criminal escapes from the space ship and the ship's commander releases what is now called a "gynoid". At the time it was called the non-politically correct "fembot", to catch him. This takes place in the woods near a house full of teenagers.

So the "Semi-remake" is in actuality a house in the woods and a female alien. Otherwise nothing else seems to come from "The Astounding She Monster" in the script.

Fred Olsen Ray was back as producer, writer and director of  1990's "Haunting Fear". Which was very loosely based upon Edgar Allan Poe's "The Premature Burial". This picture went straight to video in August 1990 in the U.K, It wouldn't be until March 1991 before the picture showed up on video in the United States.



As the poster mentions Jan-Michael Vincent was back. Along with Vincent were Karen Black, Robert Clarke and also Robert Quarry. The star of this film was actually Brinke Stevens. Over her 166 film credits would be such classic titles as: "Teenage Exorcist", "Scream Queen Hot Tub", "Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween", which is part of a series of films about the two title characters, and "It Came from Trafalgar".

On April 22, 2005 a great spoof of 1950's science fiction featuring many actors of the era "The Naked Monster" was released. Robert Clarke's character's name was Major Allison from "Beyond the Time Barrier". Other cameo appearances came from 1950's actors Kenneth Tobey, Lori Nelson, John Agar, Robert Cornthwaite, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne and Gloria Talbott.

The Naked Monster Poster

Robert Clarke's wife Alyce had passed away in August 1996. Two months after the release of "The Naked Monster" on June 11, 2005 Robert Clarke passed away at his home in the Valley Village section of North Hollywood, California.

BILLY THE KID: Hollywood Style

He was called "Billy the Kid" and Hollywood loved him. They made several Westerns featuring the outlaw hero (?) Even Roy Rodgers &...