His name was Philip St. John Basil Rathbone, he was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 13, 1892 and his family fled after the Boers accused his father, mining engineer, Edgar Philip Rathbone of being a British spy. Connecting him to the British colonial administrator, Leander Starr Jameson's, screwed up raid against the "South African Republic (aka: The Transvaal)" on December 29,1895 through January 2, 1896. Basil had no real memory of this, because he was only three-years-old.
His mother, Anna Barbara George Rathbone was a violinist, his two older brothers were named Harold and Horace, his two younger siblings were named Beatrice and John. From 1906 to 1910, Basil was enrolled in the Derbyshire co-educational school, "Repton's", in the English East Midlands. Upon graduation, Basil took a position as an insurance clerk at the "Liverpool and Globe Insurance Companies", to appease his father. That didn't last long, and on April 22, 1911, Basil Rathbone made his first appearance on stage as "Hortensio", in William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", at the "Theatre Royal", in Ipswich, Suffolk.
In October 1912, Basil Rathbone started appearing in the United States with his cousin Sir Frank Benson's No. 2 stage company. Three-years later, Basil Rathbone was a British army private in the London Scottish Regiment's reserves. Serving with Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall, and Ronald Colman.
In 1914, Basil Rathbone married Ethel Marian Foreman and the two would divorce in 1926. The couple had one son, Rodion Rathbone born in 1915.
Early in 1916, Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was commissioned a lieutenant in the 2/10th Battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment (The Liverpool Scottish). There, Basil served as an intelligence officer and was promoted to captain. News would reach Captain Rathbone, that his young brother, John, had been killed in action on June 4, 1918. That event affected Basil and he ignored the dangers of the Western Front and in September 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross, two-months later the war ended and the actor returned to the British stage. During his military life, he was twice the British Army fencing champion.
By 1920, Basil Rathbone was a familiar face not only in Shakespearean roles, which he excelled in, and in October, 1923, the actor appeared at the Cort Theatre in New York City, opposite leading lady Eva Le Gallienne, a British born American actress, in Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar's, "A Hattyu (The Swan)", and became a recognized Broadway star.
Two-years earlier, Philip St. John Basil Rathbone appeared in his first motion picture, it had been made in the United Kingdom.
THE INNOCENT released in March 1921
British authoress Mary Mackay, whose pseudonym was Marie Corelli had started publishing novels in 1886.
Corelli became a popular writer of romantic fiction, but also her novels attempted to reconcile Christianity with reincarnation and astral projection and were considered as science fiction. During Queen Victoria's reign, Marie Corelli's novels out sold those of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, and Rudyard Kipling combined. It is reported that the Royal family read all her novels and a young Winston Churchill collected them.
In 1914, Marie Corelli published "Innocent: Her Fancy and His Fact", basically about the mistreatment of illegitimate children. A November 22, 1914 review in the "New York Times" described the novel as:
the kind of book once beloved by the romantic and unsophisticated schoolgirl.This novel became the basis for a one-hour feature film entitled "The Innocent" and co-starred Basil Rathbone portraying "Amadis de Jocelyn, his first on-screen role and the villain of the piece. The role of "Innocent", was portrayed by Madge Stuart, in her eighth motion picture.
"IMDb" describes the story as:
An orphan learns an artist's love is false, returns to the farm, and dies in a storm.
What follows contains a selection of the 132 film and television titles that Basil Rathbone appeared in over his career!Four motion pictures after "The Innocent", found Basil Rathbone in his first American made feature film, a 1924 comedy entitled, "Trooping with Ellen". Rathbone was fourth-billed portraying "Tony Winterslip" and the story was based upon a novel written by Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of the Honolulu based Chinese-American detective, "Charlie Chan".
For Basil Rathbone's second sound motion picture, he starred as a major fictional detective by another writer of the period.
THE BISHOP MURDER CASE released on December 31, 1929
This was the third feature film about author S.S. Van Dine's detective, "Philo Vance". The first two motion pictures, also in 1929, starred William Powell. Now, Rathbone took over the role for this one outing, and in 1930, Powell was back portraying "Vance".
How is my reader on nursery rhymes? The body of a man named "Cock Robin" is found dead with an arrow through his heart on an archery range. Next to his body has been placed the chess piece known as "The Bishop". So, begins a rather good mystery with clues pointing to "Sigurd Arnesson" portrayed by pre-"Topper", Roland Young. Who interesting enough, portrayed "Dr. Watson", to John Barrymore's 1922, "Sherlock Holmes".
Above, Roland Young and Lelia Hyams as his love, "Belle Dillard".
During 1935, Basil Rathbone made seven motion pictures, five of those roles I will mention next.
DAVID COPPERFIELD released on January 18, 1935
If you were under contract on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot, you had a role in the George Cukor directed, originally two-hour-and thirteen-minute version of British author, Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield". Cukor had just directed MGM's, 1933, version of authoress Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women", starring Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, and Paul Lukas.
The title role was portrayed by two actors, Freddie Bartholomew portrayed "David - the child", and Frank Lawton portrayed "David - the man".
In a cast that included Edna May Oliver, Una O'Connor, Lionel Barrymore, Elsa Lanchester, W.C. Fields, Roland Young, Lewis Stone, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Elizabeth Allan.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "David Copperfield's, severe and insensitive, step-father, Mr. Murdstone".
Basil Rathbone moved from MGM's version of Charles Dickens to MGM's version of Russian Count Leo Tolstoy.
ANNA KARENINA premiered in New York City on August 30, 1935
British film critic, author, and screenplay writer, Graham Greene, the novels and motion picture versions, 1943's, "Ministry of Fear", 1949's, "The Third Man", 1955's, "The Quiet American", 1958's, "Our Man in Havana", and 1966's, "The Comedians", wrote in the British newsmagazine "The Spectator", October 11, 1935:
it is Greta Garbo's personality which 'makes' this film, which fills the mould of the neat respectful adaptation with some kind of sense of the greatness of the novel
Graham Greene's full article also stated that the only actor who could compete with Gabo's performance was Basil Rathbone.
Above, Basil Rathbone portraying "Czarist Official Alexei Alexandrovitch Karenin", Greta Garbo portraying his wife "Anna Arkadyevna Karenina", and Freddie Bartholomew portraying their son "Sergei".
Below, Greta Garbo with Frederick March portraying "Count Vronsky".
Very briefly, this is the tragic story of a married woman, "Anna", with a young son ---
--- who meets a dashing young officer, "Count Vronsky", and falls under his spell, believing he truly loves her.
"Anna" tells "Karenin" that she loves "Count Vronsky", but he refuses to give her a divorce. He orders her to remain his wife, or face banishment and humiliation from their peers and family.
"Karenin" now informs "Sergei" that his mother is dead. Not knowing this, "Anna" asks "Karenin" for permission to see her son on his birthday and is denied. With "Karenin" out of the house, she goes in, he returns and confronts her. She leaves only to discover that "Count Vronsky" has orders to leave for the front in the Serbo-Turkish War. "Anna" goes to the train station to see him off, but observes "Vronsky" with another young woman. "Anna Karenina" commits suicide by throwing herself under the wheels of a fast-moving train.
Next, Basil Rathbone met the team who brought "The Eighth Wonder of the World", to the motion picture screen.
THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII released on October 18, 1935
The story of Pompeii has been made into motion pictures since the silent era. The 1935 feature was produced by Merian C. Cooper, the man behind 1933's, "King Kong".
During the Vietnam War, I was stationed in Naples, Italy, and made several trips to the ruins at Pompeii and up Mount Vesuvius. My linked article, "POMPEII DESTROYED: Motion Pictures VS Reality", is at:
The above article includes photos I took at the "Reagan Library", when they had the Pompeii exhibit.
While Basil Rathbone's father was accused by the Boers as being a British spy, Merian C. Cooper was a spy for the "Office of Strategic Services (OSS)", known today as the "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)". My article, "MERIAN C. COOPER: BEFORE 'KING KONG' TO 'CINERAMA", can be read at:
The screenplay for "The Last Days of Pompeii" was written by Ruth Rose. The picture was a family affair, Rose was the wife of Merian C. Cooper's partner and the main director of all of their productions, Ernest B. Schoedsack. My following linked article is also a semi-biography of Schoedsack, "RUTH ROSE: The Real 'Ann Darrow', the 1933 'King Kong', the Screenplay and More", at:
As I said this was a family affair and two other names from 1933 are directly associated with this feature film. Stop-motion-animator Willis "Obie" O'Brien, who brought "Kong" and his son to life. was the features chief technician, I look at both O'Brien's 1925 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, 1912, "The Lost World" and "Obie's" dream project in my article, "WILLIS O'BRIEN: 1925's 'The Lost World' and the Story of Gwangi", at:
All the visual effects miniatures were constructed by Marcel Degado. My article, "MARCEL DELGADO: The Artist That Built the 1933 'King Kong", may be read at:
Some of the Cast:
Preston Foster portrayed "Marcus". To my television generation, Preston Foster was "Captain John Herrick", of the tugboat, the "Cheryl Ann" at the Los Angeles "Waterfront", 1954 -1955. Foster had the title role in the classic, first technicolor horror movie, 1932's, "Dr. X", starring pre-"King Kong", Fay Wray.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Pontius Pilate". Rathbone would follow this feature film with a forgotten drama, 1935's, "A Feather in Her Hat", co-starring with Pauline Lord, this was the second of her only two motion pictures, and Louis Hayward.
Alan Hale, Sr. portrayed "Burbix". Hale had just appeared in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1935, "The Crusades", and would follow this feature film with 1935's, "Another Face", starring Wallace Ford, Brian Donlevy", and Phyllis Brooks.
Above, John Wood portraying "Flavis as a Man", Preston Foster, and Alan Hale, Sr.
The Basic Story:
This is a religious themed screenplay, as was the novel, but the story is not the one written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The story opens in the Roman city of Pompeii in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. "Marcus" is a happily married blacksmith with a young wife and baby.
Above, Gloria Shea portraying "Julia", holding her and "Marcus's" son.
Walking the crowded streets of Pompeii, "Julia" and the baby are run down by a man on a chariot. "Marcus" spends their life savings on medicine and a doctor, but he needs more money to buy more medicine. The blacksmith now becomes a gladiator, winning his first fight, but returns to find both his wife and son have died. An embittered "Marcus" becomes both a famed, but fierce gladiator.
The story continues and in a gladiatorial match, "Marcus" kills a man, but learns he has a young son and adopts him. "Marcus" next become a slaver and while attacking an African village to turn the village men into slaves. He is about to kill a man, who mentions he also has a son, and "Marcus" doesn't kill him, stops slaving, and becomes a trader instead. Later, after rescuing a fortune teller, "Marcus" is told that his son will be saved by the greatest man in Judea.
"Marcus" believes that can only be the governor, "Pontius Pilate" and takes "Flavus" to meet him. On their journey to Jerusalem, they stop at an inn, one of the other men there, tells "Marcus" that the greatest man is staying in the stable, which "Marcus" will not believe.
Arriving in Jerusalem, "Marcus" and "Flavus" meet the real "greatest man", "Pontius Pilate". Knowing of his history, "Pilate" employees "Marcus" to lead a band of cutthroats on a raid for horses from the Ammonites.
Above, Basil Rathbone, Preston Foster, and David Holt portraying "Flavus, the boy".
The raid goes off as planned, but "Flavus" falls from a horse and is near death. "Marcus" has heard of a great healer, the man from the stable, and he takes his dying son to him.
"Marcus" returns to Jerusalem with "Pilate's" share of the money, only to discover that "Pontius Pilate" has sentenced "Jesus" to be crucified and the deed hangs heavy upon him.
As "Marcus", "Flavus", and their trusted servant "Burbix" leave Jerusalem, they cannot miss seeing the three crosses on the hill, with one holding the body of "Jesus".
Years pass and both men remain friends and "Flavus" has grown into manhood. "Marcus" has invited "Pontius Pilate" to visit his lavish home in Pompeii. "Marcus" now owns a gladiator school and slaves are used to fight and die during the training of the future gladiators. "Flavus" announces he has fallen in love with a girl, "Clodia", portrayed by Dorothy Wilson. "Marcus" is at first very happy for his son.
"Pilate" leaves for Jerusalem with his haunting memories of "Jesus". Unknown to "Marcus", "Flavus" is actually helping many slaves escape. ""Flavus" meets "Clodia" and the two start helping some more slaves to escape his father's own training school and are arrested.
This leads to the climax of the film, as Mount Vesuvius erupts, "Marcus" saves "Flavus", "Clodia", and the other prisoners in the jail awaiting execution, but dies as he holds open the gate to the docks and has a vision of "Jesus" calling to him.
Next, it was back to British author Charles Dickens and one of Basil Rathbone's First World War buddies:
A TALE OF TWO CITIES premiered in New York City, December 15, 1935
This production had MGM and producer David O. Selznick going to extreme lengths to make an epic version of the Charles Dickens novel. As of this writing, this feature is still considered the best filmed version of Dickens' work and was nominated for the "Best Picture Academy Award" and for "Best Film Editing".
Although the on-screen writing credits goes to two men, W.P. Lipscomb and S.N. Behrman, along with Dicken's novel. Looking at the actual MGM writing credits, you will find four other names for the source material on the French Revolution period. They are Thomas Caryle's "The French Revolution", M Clery's "Journal of the Temple", "The Memoirs" of Mademoiselle des Echerolles, and "The Memoirs" of M. Nicholas.
There is one change to the story that is of interest to film makers and fans of the novel. In Dickens' story, the characters of "Sydney Carton" and "Charles Darnay" are described as looking almost like identical twins and normally the same actor portrays both roles on the legitimate stage and previous films going back to the silent era. However, Ronald Colman had a bad experience with the 1933 motion picture, "The Masquerader". In it, Colman had another dual role, that of a drug-addicted member of Parliament and his lookalike cousin, who is made to take his place. So, the actor refused to do the dual roles of this story.
According to the notes on the "Turner Classic Movies" website:
Selznick later commented, "I am glad now that he held out for that, because I think a great deal of the illusion of the picture might have been lost had Colman rescued Colman and had Colman gone to the guillotine so that Colman could go away with Lucie."Some of the Cast and Their Characters:
Ronald Colman portrayed "Sydney Carton". Colman had just co-starred with Joan Bennett and Colin Clive, in the 1935 comedy, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo". The actor would follow this feature with 1936's, "Under Two Flags", co-starring with Claudette Colbert and Victor McLaglen.
Elizabeth Allen portrayed "Lucie Manette". Allen had just co-starred in director Tod Browning's, 1935, horror thriller, "Mark of the Vampire", with Lionel Barrymore and Bela Lugosi. She would next be seen on-screen in 1936's, "Camille", starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor.
Above, Elizabeth Allen and Ronald Colman
Donald Woods portrayed "Charles Darnay". Should you be a fan of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, then you know Donald Woods as "Navy Captain Phil Jackson", in 1953's, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms". In 1934, Woods co-starred with Warner Oland in "Charlie Chan's Courage", in 1935, he co-starred with Warren Williams the first on-screen "Perry Mason", in "The Case of the Curious Bride", directed by Michael Curtiz, in 1937, Donald Woods portrayed "Perry Mason" in "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop", and in 1941, he starred in the three-hour-and-forty-seven-minute cliff-hanger, "Sky Raiders" with Robert Armstrong.
Above, Henry B. Walthall as "Dr. Manette" and Donald Woods
Basil Rathbone portrayed the "Marquis St. Evremonde".
I would be amiss, if I did not mention one other member of the cast.
Blanche Yurka portrayed the delightfully evil "Madame Therese De Farge". Yurka, born Jurka, started out as an Opera singer with the "New York Metropolitan Opera", but moved to the legitimate stage. She had two very minor roles in two silent movies, 1917, 1919, and this was her first on-screen role since them. Blanche Yurka became an established character actress and was in the excellent, little known or remembered, werewolf movie, 1944's, "Cry of the Werewolf", starring Nina Foch as the werewolf princess. She also memorably portrayed Zachery Scott's mother in 1945's, "The Southerner".
The Basic Screenplay starts with the following on-screen title card, right out of Charles Dickens.
The audience meets in England, "Lucie Manette" and her servant and companion, "Miss Pross", portrayed by Edna May Oliver, as they find out from an elderly banker, "Mr. Jarvis Lorry", portrayed by Claude Gillingwater, that "Lucie's" thought dead father for the last 18-years, "Dr, Manette", was not dead, but has been a prisoner in the Bastille all that time.
This news is accompanied by the fact he has been rescued, reunited, and the three now travel to France to bring him home."Dr.Manette" has lost his mind, but will recover, in Paris, France, with the tender care of his daughter.
On a return trip to England, "Lucie" meets "Charles Darnay", a French aristocrat, who unlike his uncle, the "Marquis St. Evremonde", is sympathetic to the French masses. "Darnay" has denounced his uncle, relinquished his title, changed his name and is going to England to start a new life.
"St. Evremonde" frames his nephew for treason, but "Darnay" will be defended by barrister "C. J. Stryver", portrayed by Reginald Owen, and his very proficient but cynical colleague "Sydney Carton". The main witness against "Darnay" is the paid-off by the Marquis, "Barsad", portrayed by Walter Catlett. "Carton" meets "Barsad" and goes drinking with him and tricks the witness into admitting he framed "Darnay". At the trial, "Barsad" sees who "Sydney Carton" really is and recants his testimony to save himself, and "Charles Darnay" is set free.
Both "Carton" and "Darnay" fall in love with "Lucie", "Charles" admits to "Dr. Manette" that he is the nephew of the "Marquis St. Evremonde", The doctor forgives him of any ties to his uncle, but as to "Charles's" love of "Lucie", the doctor reserves the right to tell her about "Darnay" himself.
"Carton" attempts to win the love of "Lucie", but she will marry "Darnay", and have a daughter, also named "Lucie".
Next, the French Revolution will break out, and the screenplay proceeds forward, as "Madame De Farge" knits at "Madame Guillotine",
It's a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It's a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.
CAPTAIN BLOOD released December 28, 1935
The motion picture was directed by Michael Curtiz, whose latest film had been the crime comedy, 1935's, "Little Big Shot". Curtiz followed this movie with 1936's, "The Walking Dead", starring Boris Karloff. Most fans of Michael Curtiz think of this movie, the next I will mention, and both 1942's, "Casablanca", and "Yankee Doodle Dandy", but not horror movies. His resume includes the first two technicolor horror movies, both co-starring Lionel Atwill, and Fay Wray, 1932's, "Dr. X", and 1933's, "The Mystery of the Wax Museum",
This screenplay was by Casey Robinson and based upon the novel by Rafael Sabatini.
The Swashbucklers and a Few Others:
Errol Flynn portrayed "Doctor/Captain Peter Blood". Many people believe this was British actor Errol Flynn's first motion picture and they would be wrong on both counts. First, Flynn was Australian not British, second, his first motion picture was about the mutiny of the Bounty. That was the 1933 Australian feature film, "In the Wake of the Bounty", with Flynn portraying "Fletcher Christian". For those interested in that motion picture and others, my article is, ""The Mutiny on the 'HMAV (His Majesty's Armed Vessel) Bounty' in Motion Pictures", available to be read at:
In actuality, by the time Errol Flynn filmed "Captain Blood", he had been in five motion pictures and two short subjects. Including Michael Curtiz's, 1935, "The Case of the Curious Bride", and followed this feature with Curtiz's 1936, "The Charge of the Light Brigade".
Olivia de Havilland portrayed "Arabella Bishop". This was de Havilland's fourth motion picture and she had just been in the 1935 version of English playwright William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", with James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Dick Powell, Joe E. Brown and others.
Olivia de Havilland's next motion picture would have her co-starring with Fredric March and Donald Woods, in 1936's, "Anthony Adverse".
Ross Alexander portrayed "Jeremy Pitt, Blood's friend and navigator". This was only Alexander's tenth of seventeen film roles. Ross Alexander died on January 2, 1937, at the age of twenty-nine.
In 1685 England, physician "Dr. Peter Blood" is summoned to the house of "Lord Gildoy", portrayed by David Cavendish billed as Dennis D. Auburn, in need of medical treatment from being wounded as a participant in the "Monmouth Rebellion". Where a group of Protestants, led by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of the late King Charles II, King of Scotland and England, was attempting to overthrow the newly crowned King James II. The reason for the rebellion was that James was Catholic.
In Port Royal, "Dr. Peter Blood's" rebellious nature attracts "Arabella Bishop", the niece of the local military commander, "Colonel Bishop". She suggests "Blood" become the colony's needed doctor and he can treat the colony's "Governor Steed", portrayed by George Hassell. This gives "Dr. Blood", except at night, almost complete freedom of movement on Jamaica.
"Blood" develops an escape plan for his fellow prisoners and himself. While he is developing an interest in "Arabella Bishop". "Colonel Bishop" becomes suspicious of "Blood" and has "Jeremy Pitt" flogged and left without food or water tied to a pole. "Dr. Blood" is about to meet a similar fate, when a Spanish galleon arrives and starts shelling Port Royal. "Peter Blood" leads his fellow prisoners onto the galleon and they sail away into a life of piracy under "Captain Blood". At sea, he dictates to "Jeremy" a set of rules for his crew including the division of the spoils.
Having "Arabella" and "Lord Willoughby" taken to a safe place shore, "Captain Peter Blood" has the French flag raised and attacks the French ships, lowering that flag and raising the Union Jack, winning the day. "Colonel Bishop" is arrested for deserting his post in the time of war and meets the new governor of Jamacia, "Doctor Peter Blood", who also gets "Arabella Bishop" to admit that she has always been in love with him.
Director Michael Curtiz had just released the forgotten, 1938, "Gold Is Where You Find It", starring George Brent, Olivia de Havilland, and Claude Rains. After this picture, Curtiz directed Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Rosalind Russell in the comedy romance, 1938's, "Four's a Crowd".
Three Villains, Two Good Guys, and a Lady:
Errol Flynn portrayed "Sir Robin of Locksley aka: Robin Hood". Flynn was not the first choice for the role. That had actually gone to James Cagney, but in a 1935 contract dispute, he walked out of "Warner Brothers", and for three-years the film stayed uncast until Errol Flynn.
Flynn had just been in Michael Curtiz's 1937, comedy romance, "The Perfect Specimen", co-starring Joan Blondell.
Olivia de Havilland was just in the above mentioned "Gold Is Where You Find It".
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sir Guy of Gisbourne". Basil had just co-starred with Gary Cooper in 1938's, "The Adventures of Marco Polo". After this film, he would be reunited with Roland Colman in 1938's, "If I Were King".
Norman, "King Richard I aka: Le quor de lion (Richard the Lion Hearted)" had been fighting in the Third Crusade, but was captured upon sailing back to England and imprisoned in 1192 by "Duke Leopold V" of Austria. Richard had left the then, "Prince John", his brother, to oversee England until his return.
Saxon, "Sir Robin of Lockesley" opposes "John's" rule and the taxation of the Saxon farmers. Standing firm with "Prince John" is the evil Norman, "Sir Guy of Gisbourne". "Lockesley" kills a deer in the King's forest, Sherwood, and deliberately brings it to a banquet being held by "Prince John" for the Norman landowners.
"Sir Guy" and the Sheriff are escorting "Marian" through the Sherwood Forest and are taken prisoner, for sport, by "Robin Hood" and the Sherwood Forest outlaws.
It is the sword fight between Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn, that out did their fight in 1935's, "Captain Blood", and is still considered the classic motion picture sword fight sequence on film.
In "The Rocketeer", "Neville Sinclair" is making an unnamed movie that is very obviously Errol Flynn's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood". One of the scenes being filmed is a copy of the sword fight between Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn, below. It should be noted that the year in the screenplay for "The Rocketeer" is 1938!
SON OF FRANKENSTEIN released on January 13 1939
The Three Stars:
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Baron Wolf von Frankenstein". In the first two motion pictures of the series, Colin Clive portrayed "Henry Frankenstein" and not "Henry von Frankenstein". In 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein", Sir Cedric Hardwicke is just "Ludwig Frankenstein".
Basil Rathbone's next role would be one of the two I mention as immortalizing the actor.
Bela would play "Ygor" again in the fourth "Frankenstein" entry, but even with the events immediately following this story, as I indicated, "The Ghost of Frankenstein" wasn't until 1942.
Lionel Atwill portrayed "Inspector Krogh". Atwill had just been seen in 1938's, "The Great Waltz" and would follow this feature with the 1939 comedy version of French author Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers", starring Don Ameche, and the comedy team of "The Ritz Brothers".
"Wolf von Frankenstein" takes his wife and son back to the family castle to redeem his father's reputation, but other than "Inspector Krogh", whose left arm was "ripped out at the roots" by "Henry Frankenstein's" monster when he was a child, the villagers want nothing to do with him. "Krogh's" arm in an interesting plot point, because the character or attack isn't in either the screenplay for 1931's, "Frankenstein", or 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein". Also of interest, is that the inspector is a sympathetic character toward "Wolf".
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES released on March 31, 1939
The screenplay was by Ernest Pascal, he was the only writer on the production. However, he was one of seven writers for the 1938, version of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's, "Kidnapped", starring Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew. After this screenplay, Pascal was again one of seven writers on the 1939, "Stanley and Livingstone", co-starring Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, and Richard Greene.
Richard Greene portrayed "Sir Henry Baskerville". Greene had just co-starred in the Shirley Temple, 1939, "The Little Princess" with Anita Louise. He followed this motion picture with 1939's, "Stanley and Livingstone". From 1955 through 1960, Richard Greene starred in televisions "The Adventures of Robin Hood".
Bruce's characterization of "Dr. Watson" had a prototype by the actor in producer Merian C. Cooper's, 1935 version of British author H. Rider Haggard's, "SHE". In that feature, Nigel Bruce portrayed "Horace Holly" to Randolph Scott's, "Leo Vincey" in the same manner his "Watson" is portrayed to Basil Rathbone's "Sherlock Holmes" in this feature and others.
"Mrs. Hudson" brings "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson" a walking stick left by a gentleman looking for the two while they were out. She leaves, and "Watson" proceeds to deduce who the stick belongs too, at the request of "Holmes", only to get it wrong.
"Watson" now meets the peddler and with his drawn gun confronts him.
Only to discover he's "Sherlock Holmes" who followed "Dr. Watson", "Sir Henry", and "Dr. Mortimer" to Dartmoor on the very next train. As "Holmes" changes clothes, he fills "Watson" in on what he has been doing, including meeting "Seldon", and "Watson" fills the other in. Just then, the baying of the hound stops as in the distance it sounds as if the hound is attacking someone.
"Sir Henry" goes out into the night to meet "Beryl Stapleton", but instead is stalked by the hound, cornered, and attacked, but "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson" had followed him and shoot and kill the hound.
He won't get very far. I've posted constables along the roads and the only other way is across the Grimpen Mire
The Changed Ending from the novel:
The ending is changed by the fact that in the novel, "Beryl Stapleton" is actually the wife of "Jack", not "John Stapleton". "Beryl" is found tied up at the home she and her husband lived in beside the Grimpen Mire by "Holmes" and "Watson". It is "Beryl" that states that "Jack" probably fled into Grimpen Mire and disappeared.
The writing of the screenplay is interesting and the credits state it was based upon characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but not any story written by him.
The credits also state the screenplay was based upon the 1899 play, "Sherlock Holmes" written by and starring American William Gillette. Gillette actually created "Holmes" wearing a deerstalker cap, it was more striking on stage than Conan Doyle's described hats. William Gillette also created "Sherlock Holmes" using a curved meerschaum pipe, not Conan Doyle's cherry wood strait pipe. The meerschaum permitted Gillette's lines to be heard by the audience. After his London appearance, "The Strand Magazine" artist, Sidney Paget, changed the look of "Sherlock Holmes" to that of William Gillette.
There are two names given for writing the actual screenplay, Edwin Blum was another of the seven writers for 1938's, "Kidnapped", and one of the seven writers for 1939's, "Stanley and Livingstone", in 1953, Blum, co-wrote with director Billy Wilder, "Stalag 17".
The second screenplay writer was William Absalom Drake, who had only nine screenplays to his credit and this was his eighth. He also was one of the seven writers for "Stanley and Livingstone".
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Rathbone followed this film with 1939's, "Rio", a crime drama co-starring Victor MacLaglen.
Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson". Bruce followed this feature film with 1939's, "The Rains Came", starring Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, and George Brent.
The story is set in 1894, technically five-years after the events in "The Hound of the Baskervilles", and opens on the steps of the "Old Bailey (the "Central Criminal Court of England and Wales)", pictured below. "Sherlock Holmes" and "Professor Moriarty" are in an argument that they will carry into a shared cab, because of the heavy rain.
You have a magnificent brain, Moriarty. I admire it. I admire it so much I'd like to present it, pickled in alcohol, to the London Medical Society.
It would make an impressive exhibit.
"Professor Moriarty" plans to divert "Sherlock Holmes" from "The Crime of the Century" involving "The Crown Jewels of England" and the emerald jewel known as the "Star of Delhi" meant to join them. To accomplish his goal, he sets two diversions for the consulting detective.
First, he sends a letter to "Sir Ronald Ramsgate", portrayed by Henry Stephenson, the "Guardian of the Crown Jewels" and "Constable of the Tower of London". The letter states that the "Star of Delhi" will never reach the tower and this sends "Sir Ronald" to seek assistance from "Sherlock Holmes". "Ramsgate" goes to 221-B Baker Street, and meets with "Holmes", asking the consulting detective to be present when the "Star of Delhi" is delivered and "Holmes" agrees.
"Sir Ronald Ramsgate" leaves and almost immediately, "Mary Brandon" arrives for help. The second diversion of "Professor Moriarty". Her brother "Lloyd Brandon", portrayed by Peter Willes, received a strange note: a drawing of a man with an albatross hanging around his neck, identical to the note her father received ten-years ago, before he was brutally murdered.
Enter the family solicitor and "Ann's" fiancé, "Jerrold Hunter", who believes "Mary" is being to melodramatic. "Holmes" disagrees with "Hunter", and takes "Ann's" case. "Sherlock Holmes" sends "Watson" to watch "Jerrold Hunter" without being seen.
"Dr. Watson" reports back that he has seen "Hunter" with "Professor Moriarty". Next, "Lloyd Brandon" is murdered and standing over the body is "Jerrold Hunter". "Inspector Bristol of Scotland Yard", portrayed by E. E. Clive, now accuses "Hunter" of clubbing the other to death.
Examining the body, "Holmes" deduces that "Lloyd Brandon" was not clubbed to death, but strangled. He agrees to work with "Inspector Bristol", if he lets "Hunter" go. Very shortly after the above, the upset "Sir Ronald Ramsgate" visits 221-B and finds "Sherlock Holmes" overly engaged in the murder of "Lloyd Brandon". "Holmes" promises to be at the tower at 10 PM the next evening.
"Ann" receives a death threat for the next evening, the night of "Lady Conynham's" , portrayed by Mary Forbes, dinner party. "Sherlock Holmes" cannot be in two places at the same time. "Holmes" delegates "Dr. Watson" to watch the "Star of Delhi", and he will watch "Mary Brandon" at the dinner party.
The next day, "Professor Moriarty" shaves off his beard in anticipation of finally getting the better of "Sherlock Holmes", At the tower, "Sir Ronald" is furious over "Holmes" sending "Dr. Watson" and not being there himself. When a police sergeant and his men arrive to guard the "Star of Delhi".
When the "Star of Delhi" arrives, "Sir Ronald" opens the case containing "The Crown Jewels", the lights go off, confusion and chaos reigns, the light comes on and the police and the emerald are missing. Then the "Star of Delhi" is discovered on the floor, apparently dropped by the police, "Sir Ronald" places it in the case with the other "Crown Jewels", puts the case back in its secure place, and leaves. "Professor Moriarty", the police sergeant, emerges from hiding and takes the case containing England's crown jewels and leaves the tower.
Meanwhile, at "Lady Conynham's" party, "Ann Brandon" awaits the coming of midnight and the passing of her death sentence. There is a singer performing, it is of course, "Sherlock Holmes" in disguise.
"Hunter" comes to the party to be with "Ann", but is struck unconscious by a man using a bola.
After missing "Ann" with the bola, "Sherlock Holmes" captures him, and the man named "Mateo", portrayed by George Regas, confesses that he was hired by "Professor Moriarty".
By 1594, William Shakespeare published his play, "Richard III", in 1939,"Universal Pictures" released a somewhat historical horror movie version of Shakespeare's play with Basil Rathbone.
THE TOWER OF LONDON released November 17, 1939
The above poster's date is incorrect and the poster was basically to promote, with the newspaper reviewers and "Hollywood Trade Papers", the production.
Robert N. Lee wrote the screenplay and was the brother of the director. Lee was nominated for the "Best Screenplay, Academy Award" for 1931's, "Little Caesar", he had just written the Paul Robeson, 1937, "Jericho" aka: "Dark Sands", and would write, for his brother, 1945's, "Captain Kidd".
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Richard, Duke of Gloucester/Richard III". Rathbone had just appeared in the film "Rio", and followed this feature with 1940's, "Rhythm of the River", a comedy musical, co-starring with Bing Crosby and Mary Martin, the original lead in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" and the title role of the Broadway musical, "Peter Pan".
Boris Karloff portrayed the created role of "Mord", "Richard's club-footed executioner". Karloff had just starred in a First World War spy thriller, 1939's, 'British Intelligence", directed by Terry O. Morse, the director of the Raymond Burr footage and the editor of that footage to turn the Japanese science fiction classic, 1954's, "Gojira", into the American monster on the loose, 1956, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters". Boris Karloff followed this feature film with 1940's, "The Fatal Hour", another of his features as the American Chinese detective, "James Lee Wong", see link above.
Vincent Price portrayed the "Duke of Clarence". This was Vincent's third motion picture and it was immediately proceeded by the Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, 1939, "The Privates Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". Vincent Price would follow this film with the title role in 1940's, "The Invisible Man Returns".
Nan Grey portrayed "Lady Alice Barton". Grey had just been in the 1939 musical comedy, "The Under-Pup", co-starring with Gloria Jean and Robert Cummings. She would follow this feature with 1940's, "The Invisible Man Returns", co-starring with Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Vincent Price.
Tower of London
Here's a grim and grisly picture, if ever there was one. Some of the chillers of the Lugosi-Karloff school may be more lurid, but "Tower of London" will make your hair stand on end and the cold sweat break out just as surely—for you'll suddenly realize that all the gruesome goings-on which are unwinding there on the screen, actually happened!
It's the story of Richard III of England, known as "Crookback" Richard to his pals. Torture and murder were to him what oatmeal was to his people—just an everyday occurrence. The King rode rough-shod over everything and every person who stood in his way to power—including his own flesh and blood. Basil Rathbone, portraying the ruthless Richard, gives a superb performance. Ian Hunter, in the role of King Edward VI, gives a sincere and believable characterization. Boris Karloff is right in there, too, with a role that must have made him shudder, himself. He's the crippled, bald-headed chief executioner by vocation, and Rathbone's stooge in the little leisure time allotted him. Barbara O'Neil, Vincent Prince, Ernest Cossart and Nan Grey deserve special mention. Outstanding throughout this picture is the wealth of pageantry and beauty in the background, and remarkable, too, is the fact that the story clings as closely as possible to actual history. directed by Rowland V. Lee.—
"King Henry VI" is a weak monarch and "Richard" arranges for "Mord" to kill him.
"Henry Tudor" and his troops return from France and "The Battle of Bosworth Field" takes place ending with "Richard the Third's" death and his executioner "Mord".
It was time for Basil Rathbone to get in a little more fencing practice.
THE MARK OF ZORRO premiered in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 1, 1940
The character of "El Zorro (The Fox)" was created by Ottawa, Illinois, born Johnston McCulley, in his novel "The Curse of Capistrano". Which was first serialized in 1919, in "All-Weekly Magazine". My article, "ZORRO: On the Motion Picture and Television Screens", which looks at the character from the silents to 2009, can be read at:
The director was Rouben Mamoulian, 1931's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", starring "Academy Award Winning Best Actor", Fredric March, 1933, "Queen Christina", starring Greta Garbo, and 1939's, "Golden Boy", starring Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, and William Holden. Mamoulian followed this picture with 1941's, "Blood and Sand", starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Rita Hayworth.
Johnston McCulley's novel was turned into a screenplay by three writers. It took two writers, Garrett Fort, 1931's, "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", and Bess Meredyth, uncredited writer for director John Ford's, 1939, "Drums Along the Mohawk", and 1941, "The Unsuspected", starring Claude Rains and Audrey Totter, to adopt the novel for a screenplay.
The actual screenplay was from John Taintor Foote, the only writer. Immediately before this film, Foote wrote the screenplay for 1939's, "Swanee River", starring Don Ameche, and Al Jolson. It wasn't until 1946, before John Taintor Foote co-wrote with director Alfred Hitchcock and Ben Hect, "Notorious", starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains.
The Four Leads:
Tyrone Power portrayed "Don Diego Vega/Zorro". Power had just appeared in 1940's, "Brigham Young", and followed this feature with the previously mentioned 1941, "Blood and Sand".
Linda Darnell portrayed "Lolita Quintero". Darnell had just been in 1940's, "Brigham Young", and followed this film with 1940's, "Chad Hanna", co-starring with Henry Fonda and Dorothy Lamour.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Captain Esteban Pasquale". Rathbone followed this movie portraying a crazed doctor in the crime film-noir, 1940's, "The Mad Doctor", co-starring with Ellen Drew and John Howard.
Gail Sondergaard portrayed "Inez Quintero". Sondergaard had just been in Shirley Temple's, 1940, "The Blue Bird" with Spring Byington and Nigel Bruce. She followed this feature film with 1940's, "The Letter", starring Bette Davis. She would later appear in one of Basil Rathbone's, "Sherlock Holmes" films.
"Don Diego Vega" is an excellent swordsman and cadet at a military school in Spain. He receives an urgent letter from his father the alcalde, municipal magistrate, of "El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles, to return home. Arriving he goes to the residence of the alcalde, but finds that his father is no longer alcalde and he assumes the role of the foppish "Don Diego". This puts at ease his two adversaries, the corrupt "Don Luis Quintero", portrayed by J. Edward Bromberg, and his malevolent and dangerous, "Captain Esteban Pasquale".
Everything comes to a head in a classic sword fight between Basil Rathbone and Tyrone Power. Just after "Captain Pasquale" puts two-and-two together that "Don Diego Vega" and "El Zorro" are one and the same.
In 1934, "Universal Pictures" made a classic Edgar Allan Poe entry, "The Black Cat", starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. On May 2, 1941, they used the title and Poe to make a very underrated comedy in the style of director James Whale's, also underrated, 1932, "The Old Dark House". The last credited actor was an unknown Alan Ladd. I won't tell you who the murderer is, but Basil Rathbone was the leading actor and comedian Hugh Herbert was second-billed, see the below poster, but on its 1947 re-release, still cast-credited, eleventh-billed, Alan Ladd was now shown in second position between Rathbone and Herbert.
On July 23, 1942, Basil Rathbone was fourth-billed in "Crossroads", the motion picture that brought William Powell from comedy and back to drama. Powell's co-star was no longer Myrna Loy, but two actresses, Hedy Lamarr and Claire Trevor. However, for his next feature film, Rathbone was back to first-billing in the first of a twelve-picture-series built around a large portion of Second World War propaganda.
UNIVERSAL PICTURE'S "SHERLOCK HOLMES" SERIES:
So, the idea of "Universal Pictures" updating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" to the 1940's wasn't out of the question.
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR released September 18, 1942
That story was adapted as a screenplay by Robert Hardy Andrews using the name of Robert D. Andrews. The actual screenplay was by Lynn Riggs and John Bright. However, they added some material based upon Nazi Germany radio propagandist "Lord Haw-Haw". Who was actually New York City born William Brooke Joyce, below, and would broadcast into the United Kingdom. Joyce was captured on May 28, 1945, tried and executed on January 3, 1946, age 39, by hanging.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Five of his next seven motion pictures were "Sherlock Holmes" stories.
Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.". Nigel Bruce had just been in the cast of the Robert Stack, Diana Barrymore, and Jon Hall, 1942, "Eagle Squadron". Four of his next seven motion pictures were "Sherlock Holmes" stories.
Evelyn Ankers portrayed "Kitty". She had just been in 1942's, "Pierre of the Plains", starring John Carroll, Ruth Hussey, and Bruce Cabot. Ankers would follow this feature film by co-starring with Ralph Bellamy, in 1942's, "The Great Impersonation". My article about Mrs. Richard Denning, "Evelyn Ankers and Her 1940's Horror Films from Universal Pictures", will be found at:
The title card is followed by "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson" leaving 221-B Baker Street, "Holmes" reaching for a Deerstalker Hat, and "Watson" stopping him and the detective puts on a Fedora.
"Gavin", portrayed by Robert Barron, one of the detective's agents, is stabbed by a knife in his back, but before dying whispers the name "Christopher" to "Holmes". Accompanied by "Dr. Watson", the go into the Limehouse district of London, to meet with "Gavin's" wife "Kitty".
"Holmes" now informs "Von Block" and "Meade" that the German invasion force has been destroyed and the United Kingdom is safe. "Meade" pulls out a hidden gun and fatally shoots "Kitty", but is himself killed. The "Inner Council" now stands around the body of "Kitty" and swears her death will not be in vain.
Watson: It's a lovely morning, Holmes.
Holmes: There's an east wind coming, Watson.
Watson: I don't think so. Looks like another warm day.
Holmes: Good old Watson. The one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same. Such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less. And a greener, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm is cleared
There are two credited writers that adapted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Dancing Men", into a story for a screenplay. However, the only thing taken from that story is the idea of the "Dancing Men Code". Those two writers were Edward T. Lowe, Jr, 1944's, "House of Frankenstein" and 1945's, "House of Dracula". and Scott Darling, 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein". The third screenplay writer was Edmund L. Hartmann, 1940's, "Black Friday", co-starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sherlock Holmes".
The Basic Screenplay:
The story opens in Switzerland with a disguised "Sherlock Holmes" pretending to be a Nazi spy to get "Dr. Franz Tobel", a scientist who has invented a superior bombsight, out of the country under the eyes of the Nazi's.
Escaping from pursuing Gestapo, the two make it to the airport and fly out of Switzerland to England. There, "Sherlock Holmes" places "Franz" under the watchful eye of "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D." at 221-Baker Street. However, against the instructions of "Holmes", "Franz" slips away to meet his fiancée "Charlotte Eberli" at her apartment and gives "Charlotte" a secret coded message to give to "Sherlock Holmes", should anything happen to him. As he leaves her apartment, German spies attempt to capture "Franz", but a passing London Bobby foils their attempt.
The uncredited role of the London Bobby was portrayed by actor Whit Bissell in his second on-screen appearance. In 1954, character actor Bissell was in "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", "The Caine Mutiny", "Target Earth", and "The Atomic Kid". In 1956, he was in "The Framing Scenes" for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", turned Michael Landon into the title role in 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf", and later that year was "Dr. Frankenstein" in "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein". While 1960 saw Whit Bissell in both the original "The Magnificent Seven" and producer George Pal's version of British author H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine".
"Tobel" successfully demonstrates his bombsight to RAF bomber command and "Sir Reginald Bailey", portrayed by Holmes Herbert.
"Holmes" returns to "Charlotte's" flat and looking around, finally sees impressions left upon the notepad that "Franz" used to write the original message. He brings the message out, by first immersing the paper in fluorescent salts and then photographing the page using ultraviolet light. On the paper is a extremely clever substitution cipher, "The Dancing Men", and "Sherlock Holmes" is able to break the first three lines, the locations of three of the scientists, but not the fourth line.
Working throughout the night, "Holmes" finally breaks the fourth line and discovers the name of the fourth scientist, "Professor Frederick Hoffner", portrayed by Henry Victor. Meanwhile, "Professor Moriarty" accidently discovers the change in the fourth lines cipher and sends his henchmen to bring "Professor Hoffner" to him.
Two things now occur, the first is "Dr. Watson" has attached dripping luminous paint to the henchmen's car after they arrived to capture "Professor Hoffner". The second is that when "Professor Moriarty" meets "Professor Hoffner", who also can assemble the bombsight, he is looking at "Sherlock Holmes" in disguise.
All leading to "Watson" and "Lestrade", following the luminous paint trail, to "Moriarty's" location.
For their next entry in the series, the "World's First Consulting Detective" and "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.", crossed the pound to travel to Washington D.C., to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands, in:
SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON, premiering on January 10, 1943, in London, England.
Next, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce found themselves in a very thin and changed version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual", as:
However, once the murder mystery is solved, as "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson" drive away from "Musgrave Hall, "Holmes" goes into a little Second World War speak:
There’s a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of grab and greed are on their way out. We’re beginning to think of what we owe the other fellow, not just what we’re compelled to give him. The time’s coming, Watson, when we shan’t be able to fill our bellies in comfort while other folk go hungry, or sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold; when we shan’t be able to kneel and thank God for blessings before our shining altars while men anywhere are kneeling in either physical or spiritual subjection.... And God willing, we’ll live to see that day, Watson.
Ole and Chic want to make a movie at "Universal Pictures" and in a cameo Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson" were seen in passing on the way to the shoot of the following motion picture.
THE SPIDER WOMAN premiered in Seattle, Washington, on December 10, 1943
The above tag line ---
BASED ON A STORY BY SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE--- seen on several poster variations for the feature film is very interesting, because there is not just "a story", as in the previous movies, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, used for this screenplay.
That screenplay was written by Bertham Miklhauser, who had come up with the stories for the previous two "Sherlock Holmes" entries. For his hybrid screenplay, "Sherlockian" Milkhauser combined sections of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel "The Sign of the Four", and his short stories "The Final Problem", "The Adventure of the Empty House", "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", and specifically, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot".
Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.".
Gale Sondergaard portrayed "Adrea Spedding". Her two roles preceding this motion picture were as "Ann Huber", in 1943's, "The Strange Death of Adolph Hitler", and portraying herself, Gale Sondergaard in 1943's, "Crazy House".
Mary Gordon portrayed "Mrs. Hudson". She just appeared in a musical comedy romance, 1943's, "You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith", co-starring singer Allan Jones, Evelyn Ankers, and Billie Burke, "Glinda, the Good Witch in 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz". Gordon followed this film with the crime trial drama, 1943's, "Smart Guy".
The story opens with "Sherlock Holmes" faking his own death in Scotland, ---
Shortly afterwards, "Rajini Singh" meets the lovely, but diabolical, "Adrea Spedding".
"Holmes" and "Watson" go to visit the eminent arachnologist "Matthew Ordway", who is the possible source of the spiders for "Spedding", but discover they are speaking to an imposter who is able to run away.
"Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. John H. Watson" continue their investigation bringing "Inspector Lestrade" of Scotland Yard into them. The three visit the fairground that "The Spider Woman" uses as her base of operations. While "Watson" and "Lestrade" seem to enjoy the fair, "Holmes" manages to find "Spedding" and her gang including a Central Africa "Pigmy", portrayed by Nebraska born Angelo Rossitto, and get captured.
On February 28, 1946, in Crystal City, Missouri, was the premiere of Gale Sondergaard's "The Spider Woman Strikes Back". The film, except with playing off the above motion picture's title to draw in audiences, had nothing to do with "Sherlock Holmes". Sondergaard's character in this horror movie was named "Zenobia Dollard" and she was feeding actress Brenda Joyce's blood to her pet plant.
Premiering in New York City, on May 18, 1944, was "THE SCARLET CLAW".
Basil Rathbone took a one picture break from "Sherlock Holmes" on June 27, 1944, to appear in comedian Red Skelton's musical comedy, "Bathing Beauty" co-starring Esther Williams.
THE PEARL OF DEATH premiered August 1, 1944
Once again, the motion picture was directed by Roy William Neill, he had just directed "The Scarlet Claw", and would follow this feature film with the Maria Montez, Jon Hall, 1944, "Gypsy Wildcat".
The screenplay was loosely based upon Sir Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons", and Bertram Millhauser wrote the screenplay.
The Cast on the Poster Plus One Main Actor:
Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.". He followed this picture with a role in 1944's, "Gypsy Wildcat".
Dennis Hoey portrayed "Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade". Hoey followed this film with 1944's, "National Velvet", starring Mickey Rooney and featuring Donald Crisp and Elizabeth Taylor.
Miles Mander portrayed "Giles Conover". Mander has just portrayed "Judge Brisson" in 1944's, "The Scarlet Claw", and would follow this feature film portraying "Charles Seagrave" in 1944's, "Enter Arsene Lupin".
Mary Gordon finally got recognition by the studio for portraying "Mrs. Hudson". She had just appeared in 1944's "Secret Command", starring Pat O'Brien, Carole Landis, and Chester Morris. Mary Gordon next was seen in the comedy musical, 1944's, "Ever Since Venus", starring Ida Ray Hutton and Hugh Herbert.
The Very Basic Screenplay:
The plot of the story has master criminal "Giles Conover" steal the famous "Borgia Pearl" from the "Royal Regent Museum" and "Holmes" and "Watson" going after him. When "Conover" is caught the pearl is nowhere to be seen and he is set free for lack of evidence.
"THE HOUSE OF FEAR", released on March 16, 1945.
"THE WOMAN IN GREEN" premiered on June 15, 1945, in New York City.
"PURSUIT TO ALGIERS" released on October 26, 1945.
"TERROR BY NIGHT" released February 1, 1946
DRESSED TO KILL premiered in New York City, on May 24, 1946
The screenplay was adapted by Frank Gruber from two Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, once again, "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons" and "A Scandal in Bohemia". Gruber had written the screenplay for 1946's, "Terror By Night".
Some of the Cast of Characters:
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Rathbone followed this picture by teaming up with Walt Disney. The actor narrated the 1949 animated tales, "The Wind and the Willows", and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". Which were released as "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad".
Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.". Bruce next had fourth billing behind Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, and Alexis Smith, in 1947's, "The Two Mrs. Carrolls".
Mary Gordon portrayed "Mrs. Hudson". Mary Gordon had just appeared in 1946's, "The Hoodlum Saint", starring William Powell, Esther Williams, and Angela Lansbury. She followed this feature film by appearing in the latest "The Bowery Boys" movie, 1946's, "In Fast Company".
After "Julian Emery" was murdered, apparently over an plain-looking music box bought at an auction, "Sherlock Holmes" checks the auction records and discovers that two more plain-looking music boxes were also sold. He goes to the next name on the list and encounters a maid, acting strangely, just leaving the home to "go shopping". After she leaves, "Holmes" discovers a child locked in a closet and the music box stolen.
"Sherlock Holmes" is able to purchase the third music box and discovers that the variant notes correspond to letters of the alphabet. Scotland Yard fills him in on the stolen bank plates and "Holmes" deduces that you need all three music boxes to get the message.
Having stolen the three boxes and deciphering the message. "Mrs. Hilda Courtney" and her gang have joined a tour group at the home of "Dr. Samuel Johnson", now a museum, and she slips away from the tour with two of her gang. She goes to a bookshelf and locates and removes the Bank of England plates.
On April 13, 1948, on the CBS interview program "Tonight on Broadway", host John Mason Brown interviewed Basil Rathbone. He was appearing with actress Wendy Hiller on the Broadway stage in "The Heiress".
Basil Rathbone next made two cameo appearances on "The Milton Berle Show" aka: "The Texaco Star Theatre", on April 4, 1949 and April 19, 1949.
Between late-1949 and mid-1954, Basil Rathbone's primary income came from appearing on television programing starting with Season Two, Episode Two, October 21, 1949, of "The Ford Theatre Hour", in a television production of "One Borrowed Time". A shorten television version of the 1939 motion picture with Basil Rathbone in the Sir Cedric Hardwicke role of "Mr. Brink aka: Death", who was tricked and trapped in a tree by actor Walter Hampton in the Lionel Barrymore role of "Julian Northrup".
Above, Pamela Conroy with Basil Rathbone on the program.
Another guest appearance, this time on Sid Caesar's "Show of Shows", followed on April 8, 1950. Then on the "NBC SHOWCASE", May 30, 1950, an unsold pilot for a weekly "SHERLOCK HOLMES" series was shown.
I am not going into detail about all of Basil Rathbone's television appearances, but should my reader be interested. The following link will take them to a complete listing.
Six more television appearances took Basil Rathbone to NBC's "Suspense", Season Three, Episode Twenty-eight, on May 6, 1951, in the title role of Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". Unfortunately, I could not locate any stills from the production.
Twelve more television appearances followed including five more with "Melton Berle", and Basil Rathbone appeared on the game show, "I've Got a Secret", hosted by Gary Moore, December 12, 1952.
A MIXTURE OF MOVIES AND TELEVISION
CASANOVA'S BIG NIGHT premiered in Los Angeles on April 7, 1954
Bob Hope portrayed "Pippo Popolino". Hope had just starred in the musical comedy, 1953's, "Here Comes the Girl", co-starring Tony Martin, Arlene Dahl, and Rosemary Clooney. He would follow this feature with the Hollywood biography of Eddie Foy, 1955's, "The Seven Little Foys".
Joan Fontaine portrayed "Francesca Bruni". Fontaine had just co-starred with Ida Lupino and Edmond O'Brien in 1953's, "The Bigamist". She would follow this motion picture appearing on televisions "Four Star Theatre", May 26, 1955, in "Trudy", a comedy crime drama co-starring Hans Conreid.
Basil Rathbone portrayed both "Lucio" and "The Narrator". Basil had just starred on televisions "The Philip Morris Playhouse", February 11, 1954, in "The Man They'd Murdered". He would follow this motion picture on the television anthology series, "Love Story", June 1, 1954, in "The Yo-Yo People", co-starring with Beatrice Straight.
The story is pure Bob Hope, he portrays a tailor who impersonates the great Italian lover, Giacomo Casanova, and as a result gets the ladies, but also becomes involved with tarnishing a woman's reputation, but saves it instead and almost loses his head over it. At the end, Vincent Price does a cameo as the real "Casanova".
This is an odd comedy about three escaped convicts from Devil's Island, who help a kindly family out with a few financial problems with the store they manage and live in. However, the store owner arrives from Paris to kick them out and sell the property.
The Three Convicts are:
Humphrey Bogart portraying "Joseph". "Boggie" had just recreated his Broadway and 1936 film role of "Duke Mantee" in "The Petrified Forest", May 30, 1955, on televisions "Producers Showcase". He would follow this feature film with 1955's, "The Left Hand of God".
Aldo Ray portrayed "Albert". He had just co-starred with Van Heflin in 1955's, "Battle Cry" from a screenplay by the novel's author, Leon Uris and directed by Raoul Walsh. Ray followed this picture with another Second World War story, 1959's, "Three Stripes in the Sun".
Peter Ustinov portrayed "Jules". He had just co-written and co-starred in "The Moment of Truth", March 6, 1955, on the "BBC Sunday-Night Theatre". Ustinov next co-starred in the French and West German, 1955, "Lola Montes".
Leo G. Carroll portrayed "Felix Ducotel". Carroll was in his final season, 1953-1955, of the television comedy "Topper", and followed this motion picture with the cult science fiction/giant monster thriller, 1955's, "Tarantula", co-starring with John Agar and Mara Corday.
The Villain of the Piece:
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Andre Trochard". The actor followed this motion picture with a made-for-television motion picture, a musical comedy special on NBC, "Svengali and the Blonde", co-starring with Carol Channing and Ethel Barrymore.
Next, it was Season One, Episode Sixteen, August 9, 1955, of televisions "Science Fiction Theatre", in the episode, "The Stones Began to Move". The teleplay was about discovering how the pyramids may have been made.
The screenplay for, and directing of the film, are both by the duo of Melvin Frank, and Norman Panama. Who did the same for Danny Kaye's, 1954, "Knock on Wood". The two also wrote the screenplay for the Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, 1954, "White Christmas".
Danny Kaye portrayed "Hubert Hawkins". Kaye was just seen in "White Christmas", and followed this picture with 1958's, "Merry Andrew", co-starring Pier Angeli.
Glynis Johns portrayed "Maid Jean". She had previously starred in the British comedy, 1955's, "Josephine and Men", and followed this feature film with 1956's, "Loser Taker All", co-starring Rossano Brazzi, and Robert Morley. Fans of Walt Disney, know Johns as "Mrs. Banks", in 1964's, "Mary Poppins".
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Lord Ravenhurst", having a splendid time at spoofing his own role of "Sir Guy of Gisbourne". After this film, Basil Rathbone was in "Affair in Sumatra", February 22, 1956, on televisions "Screen Directors Playhouse". The screen director of that program was Byron Haskin, Walt Disney's, 1950, version of Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", producer George Pal's, 1953, "War of the Worlds", and 1954's, "The Naked Jungle".
Angela Lansbury portrayed "Princess Gwedolyn". Lansbury had just co-starred with Randolph Scott in the western, 1955's, "A Lawless Street", and followed this picture with a comedy drama western, "Crisis in Kansas", January 3, 1956, on televisions "Chevron Hall of Stars".
A Basic Story Outline:
This is a Danny Kaye movie and that means gags and gag lines galore and part of the reason it is impossible to describe the story accurately, or relate it in words.
"King Roderick the Tyrant" sends "Lord Ravenhurst" to slaughter the Royal family of England. This seems to work and "Roderick" becomes King. However, the "Black Fox", portrayed by Edward Ashley, and his rebels rescue the "true King of England", a baby with a "purple pimpernel" on his backside. The "purple pimpernel on his backside" birthmark leads to a fast paced, typical Danny Kaye double-talk play with words later in the story.
Next, "Maid Jean" is brought to court, she had met previously with a confederate of the "Black Fox", "Fergus, the Hostler", portrayed by Noel Drayton, and he took the baby before she was captured and is hiding him.
Things now get out of hand, as "Gwendolyn" falls in love with "Hubert", "King Roderick" with "Maid Jean", "Hubert" misreads a signal that "Lord Ravenhurst" accidently gives and joins with him, thinking he's the "Black Fox's" spy, instead of "Fergus, the Hostler"..
The trick to get "Hubert" to be an excellent swordsman, Danny Kaye took extensive sword fighting lessons for the film and from Rathbone, is that the witch, "Griselda", hypnotizes him into believing he is the greatest swordsman in England. Except, he keeps snapping out of it and becomes his bumbling self and then snaps back into the greatest swordsman. It is a great sequence!
THE BLACK SLEEP premiered in San Francisco on June 7, 1956
The motion picture was directed by Reginald Le Borg. Borg started directing in 1936 and among his notable films were two "Inner Sanctum" mysteries starring Lon Chaney, 1943's, "Calling Dr. Death", and 1944's, "Weird Woman". In 1944, he directed "Jungle Woman", a sequel to 1943's, "Captive Wild Woman", that turned a female gorilla into a beautiful human woman. Continuing in 1944, Le Borg, again directed Lon Chaney in "The Mummy's Ghost" and a third "Inner Sanctum" mystery, "Dead Man's Eyes".
The screenplay was from a story by Gerald Drayson Adams. From 1948, Adams specialized in "B" westerns and "B" Arabian Night stories.
The written screenplay was by John C. Higgins. His specialty was "B" murder mysteries, but he would co-write with Ib Melchior, the 1964 science fiction, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars", directed by Byron Haskin, and produced by Aubrey Schenck.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sir Joel Cadman". For the picture's 1962 re-release, the title was now "Dr. Cadman's Secret". After appearing in this motion picture, Basil Rathbone was seen for the third-time portraying "Marley's Ghost" in the second television rerun of 1954's, "A Christmas Carol", on December 13, 1956. However, Rathbone also portrayed "Ebenezer Scrooge", on December 23, 1956, in "The Stingiest Man in Town", a musical variation of "A Christmas Carol", on the television anthology series, "The Alcoa Hour".
"The Lives of a Bengal Lancer", Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy's, 1935,"Naughty Marietta", Paul Muni's, 1936, "The Story of Louis Pasteur", director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1938, "The Buccaneer", DeMille's, 1939, "Union Pacific", DeMille's, 1940, "North West Mounted Police", the Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, 1943 version of Ernest Hemmingway's, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and Orson Welles', 1949, "Black Magic".
John Carradine portrayed "Boremond aka Borg". The Shakespearian trained actor is considered one of the greatest character actors in motion picture history by many film historians. In 1939 Carradine portrayed "Robert Ford" in "Jesse James", "Barryman" in "The Hound of the Baskervilles", and "Hatfield" in John Ford's, "Stagecoach". Then in 1940, he reprised "Robert Ford" in "The Return of Frank James", plus the "Reverend Casey" in John Ford's version of John Steinbeck's, "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Doc Murdoch" in director Fritz Lang's, "Western Union".
However, it is John Carradine's horror roles, such as "Yousef Bey" and "Baron Latos", that most people know him for. What they might not know was his two early uncredited roles such as "The Informer Suggesting Ink" in 1933's, "The Invisible Man", and the "Cult Organist" in 1934's, "The Black Cat". Although, he is often recognized, in hindsight, in the uncredited role of the "Lost Hunter at the Hermit's Cottage", in 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein",
Tor Johnson portrayed "Mr. Curry". Swedish wrestler Johnson appeared in most movies as either a wrestler, or strong man. Among his films my readers may not be familiar with are the musical comedy 1934's, "Kid Millions", starring Eddie Cantor, Ann Sothern, and Ethel Merman, the Ronald Coleman, Claudette Colbert, and Victor McLaglen, 1936, adventure, "Under Two Flags", the Ole Olson, and Chic Johnson, musical comedy, 1944's, "Ghost Catchers", Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's, 1944, "Lost in a Harem", and 1949's, "Mighty Joe Young", starring Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong, and "Mr. Joseph Young". However, it is the Ed Wood, Jr. movies that most people associate Tor Johnson with. He is buried at the "Eternal Valley Cemetery", ten-minutes up the street from my home.
The year is 1872, the place is a prison in London, England, and "Dr. Gordon Ramsay" awaits his execution for murdering a man named "Curry". His claims of innocence rest upon dead ears, but a weird hope arrives in the form of the renowned surgeon, "Sir Joel Cadman". "Dr. Cadman" wants "Dr. Ramsay" as an assistant in some unethical experiments and offers him a means of escaping death. However, he must first die, or at least appear so from taking a potion, "Sir Joel" has named "The Black Sleep". The antidote must be administered in time, or death will be real. "Dr. Ramsay" agrees and the potion is administered.
"Sir Joel Cadman" and "Daphnae" now enter one of the bedrooms and are looking at a comatose woman named "Angelina", portrayed by Louanna Gardner, in a very comfortable bed. She is "Dr. Cadman's" wife and the reason for all his experimentation.
Back in London, "Odo" slips "The Black Sleep" portion to a woman that knows the truth about "Mr. Curry's" murder, that "Dr. Ramsay" went to prison for. When the police, following a lead, arrive looking for her. "Odo" gets rid of the antidote that would have revived the woman as originally planned.
Freed from their cells and led by one of "Cadman's" experiments, "Borg", who believes he is "Bohemond the leader of the First Crusade in 1096", all of "Dr. Cadman's" subjects attack by first tossing "Daphnae" into the burning fire place, she comes out on fire screaming, and dies.
Next, Basil Rathbone appeared as "The Chief Inquisitor", Boris Karloff as "Bishop Cauchon", Eli Wallach as the "Dauphin", and Julie Harris as "Joan of Arc", in the made-for-television movie, "The Lark", February 10, 1957, on the "Hallmark Hall of Fame".
Above, Rathbone, Harris, and Karloff.
On November 20, 1957, Basil Rathbone portrayed "The Duke", in "The United States Steel Hour's" production of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".
Except for director John Ford's, 1958 motion picture, "The Last Hurrah", starring Spencer Tracy, with Basil Rathbone fifth-billed as "Norma Cass, Sr.". Through 1961, the actor appeared only on television. Which included portraying British Prime Minister, "Benjamin Disraeli", on November 30, 1961, in the Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "Victoria Regina", starring Julie Harris as "Queen Victoria".
THE MAGIC SWORD premiered in Mexico on January 25, 1962
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Lodac". Basil had just been in the 1962, Italian-French feature film, "Ponzio Pilato (Pontius Pilate)" portraying "Caiaphas". He followed this feature film with the next one I will be mentioning.
"Sybil" will not let "George" go against "Lodac" whom she has fought in the past. "George" tricks her, locks "Sybil" up in a room she will need a magic spell to open, if she can remember it. "George" than takes the magic sword, a shield, invulnerable suit of armor and a special horse the sorceress was saving for his 21st birthday later that year.
Bert I. Gordon creates some interesting characters in "The Magic Sword" besides "Lordac's Dragon".
At "Sybil's" house is a Siamese twin assistant.
A better title might have been producer and director Roger Corman's "Tales of Terror". All three stories were written by Richard Matheson, author of the novel prior to and the screenplay for "The Incredible Shrinking Man", and author of "I Am Legend", and several Roger Corman, Poe screenplays. My article, "Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments", can be read at:
This was a trilogy of three Edgar Allan Poe stories, "Morella", "The Black Cat", and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". Vincent Price was in all three, Basil Rathbone was in the third.
Dying from a painful disease, "M. Ernest Valedmar", portrayed by Vincent Price, hires a hypnotist, "Mr. Carmichael", portrayed by Basil Rathbone, to alleviate him of the pain through different trances. "Mr. Carmichael" wants 'Valedmar's" wife, "Helene", portrayed by Debra Paget, and puts him in a special trance . Thus trapping "M. Ernest Valdemar's" soul between the world of reality and the world of the trance, making him unable to move and leave his bed. "Mr. Carmichael" refuses to bring back "Valedmar" soul so he could die in peace. "Carmichael" asks "Helene" to marry him, but is refused. He attacks her, and "Valdemar's" putrid body rises from the bed it's in and kills "Mr. Carmichael".
Producer and director William D. Faralla, major television 1950's and 1960's cowboy programs and "Lost in Space", paid and rushed Basil Rathbone and Mary Murphy to a sound stage to film their scenes between the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis and this pictures quickie release.
It was a very slanted, Cold War look, about Communism vs Democracy.
Basil Rathbone starts as a black-robed figure. Then in a black suit continues reading from a very large book, supposedly the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. He is the fear-monger spreading the web of communism
The motion picture was produced by the owners of "American International Pictures", James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff.
The motion picture was directed by Jacques Tourneur. Tourneur directed for producer Val Lewton, 1942's, "Cat People", 1943's, "I Walked with a Zombie", and 1943's, "The Leopard Man". In 1957, Tourneur directed "Night of the Demon" aka: "Curse of the Demon".
The screenplay was by Richard Matheson.
The Comic Macabre Cast of Characters:
Vincent Price portrayed "Waldo Trunbull". He had just been seen in 1963's, "Twice-Told Tales", and followed this picture with 1964's, "The Last Man on Earth", an Italian science fiction film based upon Richard Matheson's, "I Am Legend", for which he disowned the final picture, removing his own name and replacing it with a fictious one.
Joyce Jameson portrayed "Amaryllis Trumbull". She had appeared in "How to Get Rid of Your Wife", December 20, 1963, on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour". co-starring with Bob Newhart and Jane Withers. She followed this movie with "Who Killed Jason Shaw?" on televisions "Burke's Law", starring Gene Barry, January 3, 1964.
This was a black comedy with an interesting idea that didn't work. AIP had hoped to recreate the success of director Roger Corman's earlier that year movie, "The Raven".
It didn't lose any money. They [AIP] told me that the title itself cost them a lot. It's such a contradiction in terms, though. Terror sells and comedy makes them go away, so it's like they're walking in two directions at once. But I thought it was very clever to do a take off of Shakespeare's, Comedy of Errors.... I think they were probably sorry they didn't use a Poe title, because Poe had a certain marketability. I guess they couldn't figure out how to market it. But it was the last one because I was getting tired of writing about people being buried alive, so I decided to make a joke about it
Basically, "Waldo Trumbull" acquired the ownership of a funeral parlor from his partner, "Amos Hinchley". With his assistant "Felix Gillie", to cut down expenses, they use one coffin for a funeral after the family leaves, they dump the deceased, and reuse the coffin. Add to this, that "Waldo" is a drunk and abuses his wife, "Amaryllis". "Gillie" is in love with her, but she still loves her husband.
While, "Amaryllis" is secretly poisoning her father, "Amos Hinchley" to get his fortune. Enter, the funeral parlor's landlord, "John F. Black", wanting to evict "Waldo" for way overdue rent. Leading to "Waldo" planning to murder a wealthy shipping magnate and then charging his family an exorbitant amount of money to bury him.
Rhubarb was the on-screen name for "Orangey" the cat.
Three Soviet spaceships, the Sirius, Vega, and Capella, are on their way from Lunar Station 7 to be the first spaceships to land on the planet Venus. On their way, Capella is struck by a large meteor and destroyed, after mourning the lost of the lives on the Capella. The two crews, on the Sirius, "Ilya, "Roman", and "Alyosha", on the Vega, "Ivan", "Allan", and the one-woman member "Masha", decide to go on to Venus. Even though the mission requires a third ship to complete, but word is received that the Arcturus will join them in two months.
Roger Corman acquired the rights to this Soviet film and two others. He hired director Curtis Harrington, 1961's, "Night Tide", starring Dennis Hopper, to direct the American actors and re-edit the Soviet movie with his American sequences. Harrington used the name of John Sebatian.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Professor Hartman".
QUEEN OF BLOOD released on March 2, 1966
This film was made from the two other Soviet science fiction movies that Roger Corman had purchased the rights to and some footage not previously used from "Planet of Storms", with added American scenes directed by Curtis Harrington.
Released, November 18, 1963, "Mechte navstrechu (Toward Meeting a Dream aka: A Dream Came True)". Is about an alien space craft going to the Earth that crash lands on Mars and an Earth rescue space craft is sent to assist.
John Saxon portrayed "Allen Brenner". Saxon had eighth-billing on January 26, 1966, in "After the Lions, Jackals", on televisions "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre". He followed this picture with "The Art of Taking a Power", March 14, 1966, on televisions "Dr. Kildare", starring Richard Chamberlain.
Florence Marly portrayed the "Alien Queen". In the linked interview to the website, "The Terror Trap", Curtis Harrington speaks to the problem he had using the Czech-born French actress:
Yes, Florence was a personal friend of mine and I had to fight to get Roger to let me use her because she was an older woman. I'm sure he had some bimbo in mind, you know? So I fought for Marley because I felt she had the required exotic quality that would work in the role
"Allan" and the female alien return to the "Oceano". She regains consciousness and smiles at the three men, but not at "Laura".
When the "Oceano" returns to Earth it is found to be filled with her eggs. She was sent to Earth to breed and the story ends with "Dr. Farraday" and others deciding to study them.
THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI released April 6, 1966
Selected Cast Members:
The original series had started with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. This movie had two different leads:
Tommy Kirk portrayed "Chuck Phillips". Like Annette he was a Walt Disney kid at the start of things for him. Kirk was "Joe Hardy" of the "Mickey Mouse Club", "The Hardy Boys" series. He had to shoot, making the audience cry, his dog in 1957's, "Old Yeller", and was 1959's, "The Shaggy Dog". While appearing in other Disney films, Tommy Kirk was twice "Merlin Jones", opposite Annette. He had also replaced Frankie Avalon in 1964's, "Pajama Party", again opposite Annette Funicello.
Deborah Walley portrayed "Lili Morton". In 1961, Walley portrayed "Frances Lawrence" aka: "Gidget", in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian". In 1965, she was billed third after Frankie and Annette, in "Beach Blanket Bingo". Deborah Walley had just been seen in "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine".
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Reginald Ripper".
Harvey Lembeck portrayed his Marlon Brando rip-off from 1954's "The Wild One", "Eric von Zipper". Lembeck portrayed "Army Corporeal Rocco Barbella", 1955-1959, on televisions "The Phil Silvers Show", from 1962-1963, Lembeck switched services and became "Seaman Gabby DiJulio" on televisions "Ensign O'Toole", starring Dean Jones. He first portrayed "von Zipper" in 1963's, "Beach Party", this was his sixth movie in the role.
The recently deceased "Hiram Stokley" finds he has only twenty-four-hours to perform a good deed to get into Heaven. Teaming with his long-term ghost girlfriend, "Cecily". The two must stop "Hiram's" lawyer "Reginald Ripper" from claiming his estate for himself.
In May 1967, Basil Rathbone appeared for his last time on-screen switching the "Beach Party" gang for the "Grand Ole' Opry" gang, in "Hillbilly's in a Haunted House", a country-western musical comedy.