It doesn't take much to give nightmares to a ten-years-old boy. Especially, while I was sitting on top of our house's roof, in Van Nuys, California, on the night of June 25, 1957. As I watched the gigantic, in my perspective, movie screen of the "Sepulveda Drive-in Theater", two-blocks-away.
Although I couldn't hear the film, that would be rectified over the weekend. I still watched transfixed as Christopher Lee, whose name I did not know yet, first pulled the bandages off his face in "The Curse of Frankenstein", a horror movie title I also did not yet know. I will admit to not sleeping that night.
His name was James Henry Kinmel Sangster, but fans around the world knew him as Jimmy Sangster.
This is a comprehensive look at all his screenplays and television scripts (teleplays).
His career would have one credit as an Actor, portraying Winston Churchill, in 1960's, "The Siege of Sydney Street", that he co-wrote. He was a Production Manager for nine movies, 1954 - 1956, a Second Unit and Assistant Director for thirty-one movies, 1945 - 1982, a Director of six-motion pictures, 1970 - 1985, a Producer of fifteen-movies, 1961 - 1979, and even an Executive Script Consultant on a 1976 television show.
However, I am interested in his Screenplay writing, but first a word about "Censorship". As I write in my article "CENSORSHIP Protecting (?) America's Morality in Motion Pictures: 1923 to 1971", found at:
In 1957, 10 years old Lloyd, would see two motion pictures from the British Studio Hammer Films. The main feature on this double bill was the first actual pairing of British Actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in "The Curse of Frankenstein". What I didn't know at the time was that I could not have seen the picture in the United Kingdom where it was made----
--- The film in its country of origin had an "X Certificate" rating. In 1957 no one under 16 years of age was permitted into a United Kingdom theater to see either horror, or science fiction movies. The age was raised in 1970 to no one under 18 years of age. In 1982 this was replaced by the "18 Certificate".
In short, the majority of the horror and science fiction movies written by Jimmy Sangster were seen by children and teenagers of all ages in the United States, but not in the country of their origin without a parent or legal guardian accompanying them. I really never learned about that until I was in the Navy, on the Island of Malta, and realized that stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1967, "One Million Years, B.C.", was restricted to "No One Under 21-Years of Age".
I mentioned the difference in the "Censorship" requirements to give my reader an idea of what possible limitations Jimmy Sangster and other British science fiction and horror screenplays writers needed to be aware of compared to those in the United States. Where horror and science fiction filled the movie theaters of 1950's America without age restrictions and were mainly aimed at pre-teen and teen audiences who could get the ticket money from their parents wanting them out of the house.
As my article "I Was a Teenage Werewolf: 1950's Teenage Horror and Science Fiction Movies" at:
clearly points out.
Born in Kimmel Bay, North Wales, on December 2, 1927, and educated at Ewell Castle School, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, followed by The Cathedral School, Llandaff, Wales. Jimmy Sangster started his motion picture career as a "Clapper Boy", at age 16.
At some point Jimmy Sangster served in the Royal Air Force, but I could not determine when. By 1945, he had moved from a "Clapper Boy" to "Third Assistant Director" for "Ealing Studios", on the motion picture thriller, "Pink String and Sealing Wax", released November 20, 1945. Sangster, next moved to "Exclusive Films", a distribution arm and sometime filming arm of "Hammer Film Productions", as a "Production Manager" and sometime, "Assistant Director".
Below, Bray Studio's, Berkshire, the main base of operations for "The House of Hammer".
In 1950, Jimmy Sangster married studio hairdresser Monica Hustler, they had a son, James, and would divorce in 1968.
On August 26, 1955, "The Quatermass X-periment", starring American actor Brian Donlevy as "Professor Bernard Quatermass" was released. This Val Guest directed "Hammer Film Production" was a condensed version of the July 18, 1953; BBC mini-series that had starred British actor Reginald Tate. "The Quartermass X-periment" was a tremendous worldwide hit.
According to A. Susan Svehla, on the July 28, 2009, "Fanex Files: Hammer Films", (DVD) - Alpha Video, release. There was a conversation between Jimmy Sangster and an unnamed Hammer executive over his writing of what was being called, without a script or story idea, "X-the Unknown".
The conversation went something like this:
"I'm not a writer. I'm a production manager."After this alleged conversation, what first came out of Jimmy Sangster's mind as a writer, became a forgotten 29-minute short, released in March 1956, entitled "A Man on the Beach", starring Donald Wolfit, Michael Medwin, and Michael Ripper.
"Well, you come up with a couple of ideas and if we like it, we'll pay you. If we don't like it. We won't pay you. You're being paid as a production manager, so you can't complain".
What came second, asked the question:
How do you kill intelligent radioactive mud?
X-THE UNKNOWN had its London Premiere on September 21, 1956.
The picture came to the United States June 25, 1957, from "Warner Brothers".
The above conversation apparently took place and Jimmy Sangster's imagination was turned lose and the story and screenplay for this motion picture was all his own.
There were two directors on the feature, originally hired was "Blacklisted", American director Joseph Losey. Losey had directed the forgotten and overlooked, 1951, film-noir, remake of German director Fritz Lang's, 1931 classic, "M". He had moved the story from Berlin to Los Angeles, with David Wayne in the Peter Lorre role. Losey's last film before being blacklisted was the 1951 film-noir, "The Big Night", starring John Drew Barrymore.
After being blacklisted, Losey using the name Andrea Forzano, directed the 1952, Italian drama "Imbarco a mezzanotte (Boarding at Midnight)". This also forgotten feature film starred five-time "Best Actor Academy Award" nominated Paul Muni. Next, Joseph Losey directed as Victor Hanbury, the 1954, British film-noir, "The Sleeping Tiger", starring Alexis Smith and Dirk Bogarde. Right before this picture, he directed as Joseph Walton, the British film-noir, 1956, "The Intimate Stranger", and the previously mentioned short, "A Man on the Beach".
Joseph Losey became ill after starting shooting the movie, his name as Joseph Walton, was removed from the final feature, although some of his footage remained. The new director for "X-the Unknown" was Leslie Norman.
Norman was a Film Editor and had edited thirty-four motion pictures between, 1930 - 1949, this was only his third motion picture as a directed, his first was in 1939 and his second in 1955. The reason for such a large gap in his film work was his British government top-secret work in Burma during the Second World War.
Dean Jagger portrayed "Dr. Adam Royston". American Jagger appeared in several very interesting motion pictures over his career. In 1930 he was an uncredited "Deputy", in Eddie Cantor's, "Whoopee!", with musical numbers by Busby Berkeley. He co-starred in 1936's, "Revolt of the Zombies", in 1940, Dean Jagger had the title role in director Henry Hathaway's, "Brigham Young", and he co-starred in director Fritz Lang's, 1941, "Western Union". The actor first appeared on television, November 7, 1948, with Season One, Episode One, of the anthology series "Studio One". While the following year he portrayed "Army Air Force Major Stovall", telling the story of "Twelve O'Clock High". 1955 saw the actor in the cast of director John Sturges', "Bad Day at Black Rock", and he appeared in several "B" westerns before and after this feature film.
Edward Chapman portrayed "John Elliott". British actor Chapman's second motion picture role was with fourth-billing in a classic, mostly forgotten, Alfred Hitchcock thriller, 1930's, "Murder". In 1936, Chapman portrayed the dual roles of "Pippa Passworthy" and "Raymond Passworthy", in director William Cameron Menzies, classic science fiction, "Things to Come", from a screenplay written by Herbert George "H.G." Wells. That same year, Edward Chapman portrayed "Major Grisby", in another H.G. Wells written screenplay, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles".
Leo McKern portrayed "Inspector 'Mac' McGill". Australian character actor McKern's first on-screen appearance was in a 1951 experimental filming of poet T.S. Eliot's, 1935 verse drama, "Murder in the Cathedral". This was only his fourth on-screen appearance and two were in British television programs.
Above left to right, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern, and Dean Jagger.
Michael Ripper portrayed "Army Sergeant Harry Grimsdyke". One of my earliest articles contains a short sketch of the character actor. From the moment I saw Michael Ripper in this movie, I was hooked on there being something real about his character. Between 1936 and 1995, Michael Ripper would appear in 246-roles including several "Hammer Films" horror entries, both major and minor. My four-part article containing my short and inadequate tribute to the actor is "HAMMER FILMS: A Look at 'The House of Hammer' By An American Fan". Part one is about the "Quatermass Series", part two is about director Terence Fisher, part three is about Michael Ripper, and I conclude with a look at make-up artist Philip Leakey. All at:
William Lucas portrayed "Peter Elliott". The character Lucas portrays in the movie is consistently being confused with his character's father, "John Elliott", in reviews of this motion picture I have read.
Lucas first appeared on-screen in the British television movie, 1954's, "Isidor Come to Town". He later had portrayed the uncredited role of a "lab technician" in the very interesting British science fiction movie, 1955's, "Timeslip", the much more appropriate title for the movie than the American "Atomic Man". That science fiction film starred American actor's, Gene Nelson, and Faith Domergue. William Lucas also starred as "David Graham", in the 1956 British science fiction mini-series, "The Strange World of Planet X", the 1958 motion picture version had American actor Forrest Tucker portraying the changed character name of "Gil Graham".
Above, William Lucas with Dean Jagger.
The following actor is mentioned by many reviewers of "X-the Unknown", only, because of who he became during the 1960's, not for this role, and I follow suit.
Anthony Newley portrayed "Lance Corporal 'Spider' Webb". In 1961, he wrote the book, and musical score for the Broadway hit, "Stop the World - I Want to Get off". Newley would go on to win the "Grammy Award" for writing the 1963 "Song of the Year", "What Kind of Fool Am I?". In 1964, he co-wrote the title song for the "James Bond" film, "Goldfinger", and in 1971, Anthony Newley was nominated for the "Best Musical Score Academy Award", for "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".
The Basic Screenplay:
Jimmy Sangster's screenplay opens on the Scottish moor near the fictional town of Lochmouth. A group of British soldiers are learning how to use a Geiger counter to locate a piece of radioactive material placed by "Army Sergeant Harry Grimsdyke" in a different location for each. It is very late and the officer-in-charge, "Major Cartwright", portrayed by John Harvey, stops the instruction thinking the group has been completed. However, he discovers that sapper, "Private Lancing", portrayed by Kenneth Cope, hasn't had his chance to use the Geiger Counter. "Grimsdyke" is told by "Lieutenant Bannerman", portrayed by Peter Hammond, to put the material in a very easy spot to find.
However, "Lancing" is way off from the spot "Sergeant Grimsdyke" placed the radiation sample, and claims to be following some other source of radiation. Another soldier is sent to get him, but "Lancing" spots bubbling coming to the surface, ---
--- an explosion occurs, "Lancing" is killed from radiation burns and the other soldier is knocked out with some burns on his back.
American scientist, "Dr. Adam Royston", arrives from a Scottish atomic energy research facility. He first examines the soldier with the burns and confirms they're from radiation.
Going over to the site of the explosions, there is now a Y-shaped fissure that appears to be bottomless, but without any residual radiation. "Royston" has "Major Cartwright", quarantine the area.
That night, two boys, "Willie Harding", portrayed by Michael Brooke, below right, and "Ian Osborn", portrayed by Frazer Hines, below, left, on a dare, are walking through the woods near the moor to an old "haunted tower".
"Willie" enters the tower, while "Ian" stays outside afraid, inside the tower "Willie" sees something that the audience of course can't. The next scene is "Willie" running very fast from the tower and past "Ian" as if the other boy wasn't there, refusing to answer "Ian's" questions.
The next day, "Adam Royston" visits "Willie" in the hospital after learning the boy suffered severe radiation burns, but "Willie" dies without saying anything.
"Royston" goes to the tower and speaks to a hermit known as "Old Tom", portrayed by Norman MacOwan, who uses the tower as his home.
"Adam Royston" finds an empty container taken from his personal laboratory that contained a sample of radioactive trinium. "Tom" claims to have no knowledge of how the container got into the tower. Strangely, there is no trace of radiation.
Next, a "Mr. 'Mac' McGill" arrives and identifies himself to "Royston" as head of security in the area for the "United Kingdom Atomic Energy Commission". However, the director of the Scottish research facility, "John Elliott" is upset about the arrival of "McGill", and at first attempts to block "Mac's" investigation, but "Mac" and "Royston" form an alliance and the two start their own investigation.
Back at the hospital, intern "Unwin", portrayed by Neil Hallett, and "Zena, a Nurse", portrayed by Marianne Brauns, enter the X-Ray room for an intimate encounter. Their sexual encounter is broken up by something that has entered through a wall vent. Whatever it is, literally melts the flesh off of "Unwin".
"Nurse Zena", is left in shock and mentally unstable. Looking at the point of entry, whatever they're up against, "Adam Royston" theorizes, can take whatever shape is necessary to enter a specific room within whatever environment it finds itself. It is also highly radioactive, but after it leaves, the radiation simply disappears.
"Adam" further theorizes that this creature may be from the period in the earth's history when the surface was still molten. As the earth cooled, it, or they, because he believes the creature is millions of individual organisms that were trapped around the planet's core. Every 50-years, feel a tidal surge and attempt to reach the surface to feed on any radioactive source.
That night, the fissure is being guarded by two soldiers, "Lance Corporal 'Spider' Webb" and "Private Haggis", portrayed by Ian MacNaughton.
The two men see a glow in the Y-shaped fissure, "Haggis" goes to investigate, and next, "Webb" hears him screaming. "Spider" runs toward the fissure, stops, and starts shooting at something.
"Adam Royston" now tells "Major Cartwright", the army liaison, "John Elliott", his son, "Peter", and "Mac" another theory. He believes the micro-organism creature is growing stronger and larger and needs to feed on greater amounts of radioactivity and will soon come after the research facilities cobalt bomb.
"Cartwright" thinks that crazy and blindly believes in the strength of arms at his command against anything. Both "Mac" and "Peter" take "Adam" seriously, "John" is still on the fence, but the question of what to do next is an investigation of the fissure. Someone must go into it, and over his father's objections, "Peter" volunteers.
"Peter" suddenly requests to be pulled out of the fissure as fast as possible, the creature is starting to move toward him off-screen. He gets out as the creature starts to come out of the fissure and is hit by army flamethrowers and explosives in "Major Cartwright's" attempt to destroy it.
After the creature moves back into the fissure, the cocky "Major Cartwright" receives orders to pour concrete into the fissure and seal the creature in it. "Adam" has started referring to the creature as "X", the Unknown Quantity". He believes it will find a way out. because it has already broken through miles of earth and a few feet of concrete is no impediment to it.
"Professor Adam Royston" and "Mac" return to "Royston's" private laboratory and he continues his work to neutralize radiation by the use of radio waves on a certain frequency.
Some distance away from "Royston's" laboratory a car is discovered with four melted people inside. Looking at a map, "Adam" determines that the creature is making a straight line for the research facility and the cobalt bomb.
"Adam" attempts to move the cobalt bomb, but the creature attacks the guard at the front gate.
The creature now absorbs the radiation in the facility including the unmoved bomb and more than doubles it size. The creature now starts to return toward the community of Lochmouth.
The residents of Lochmouth enter the church to give the creature a clear unobstructive way back to the fissure. Everyone is inside the church when it is discovered a little girl is missing, she is rescued just in time.
"Adam" has some success with his anti-radiation device, even though the last attempt led to the sample exploding, but with "Peter", agree it is their only hope.
"Royston" with military help gets his anti-radiation device's scanners set up. "Peter" is in a jeep with cobalt on it to lure the creature into "Adam's" trap at the Y-Shaped fissure, but the jeep gets stuck in the mud. At the last moment the tires gain traction and he moves out of range and "Adam" throws the switch.
There is one large explosion as "Adam" expected and the creature starts to burn.
The creature appears to have finally been destroyed and as "Adam", "Peter", and "Mac" walk toward the fissure, a second, entirely unexpected explosion occurs and the three are knocked off their feet. Nobody is injured and "Peter" and "Mac" congratulate "Adam", but as the story ends. He stares at the fissure seemingly wondering why there was a second explosion.
It should be noted that Jimmy Sangster, was also the production manager on two crime motion pictures released in April 1956, three-months prior to "X-the Unknown". They were "Women Without Men", and "Blonde Bait", the second starring American "B" and television western actor, Jim Davis. Both crime movies were followed by the last time Jimmy Sangster worked as a production manager, with the December 1956, short subject, "Dick Turpin: Highwayman".
I return to where I started, a horror tale that went into production eleven-months after "X-the Unknown" finished its production.
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN had its London Premiere on May 2, 1957.
Above, is the United Kingdom poster, and below, as I previously mentioned, "The Curse of Frankenstein" came to the United States from "Warner Brothers" on June 25, 1957.
Notice the tag line used by "Warner Brothers", in the United States, to separate this motion picture from the extremely popular, "Universal Pictures":
ALL NEW AND NEVER DARED BEFORE!
According to "The Monthly Film Bulletin", published in 1957, month unknown, by the "British Film Institute", Volume 24, Number 276, entitled, "The Curse of Frankenstein". American low-budget producer Max Rosenberg approached "Hammer Film Productions" executive producer, Michael Carreras, with a screenplay by American Milton Subotsky, for a movie entitled "Frankenstein and the Monster". Rosenberg claimed he came up with the title. What became of the original Subotsky screenplay I could not locate, but Rosenberg was given a $5,000 fee for bringing the idea to studio, and sent on his way.
It should be noted that in 1962, Rosenberg and Subotsky formed the number one competitor in England to "Hammer Horror", "Amicus Productions".
According to the "Turner Classic Movies Website", https://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/72012/the-curse-of-frankenstein#trivia:
The original concept for this film was a black and white feature with Boris Karloff as Baron Frankenstein. Universal threatened a lawsuit if Hammer copied any elements from the classic Universal version. Hammer had Jimmy Sangster completely redo the script
If true, the last comment about redoing the script may be a clue as to what Milton Subotsky's screenplay was like.
According to Jimmy Sangster, in an interview for the "British Entertainment History Project", https://historyproject.org.uk/interview/jimmy-sangster, August 18, 2008:
He had never seen any of the seven, "Universal Pictures" "Frankenstein" features released between 1931 and 1948, or even a copy of the Milton Subotsky screenplay at the time of writing his screenplay. He just read Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's, 1818, "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus", and wrote his sparse character screenplay without the villagers and other sequences in those previous pictures:
because we couldn't afford it.
For the record, the final cost of "The Curse of Frankenstein" was 270,000, 1957 U.S. Dollars, or 65,000, 1957, British pounds. The initial worldwide run of the motion picture took in a box office of 8-million U.S. dollars.
Peter Cushing portrayed "Baron Victor Frankenstein". In 1939, director James Whale, 1931's, "Frankenstein", filmed a version of French author Alexander Dumas' "The Man in the Iron Mask", starring Louis Hayward and Joan Bennett. Buried as the uncredited "Second Officer", is Peter Cushing's first on-screen role. I first saw Cushing, although I didn't know it, as "Sir Palamides", in 1954's "The Black Knight', starring a miscast Alan Ladd. That same year, Cushing was "Winston Smith", in a live BBC broadcast of British author George Orwell's, "1984". While in 1956, the actor returned to historical film roles as "General Memon" in the excellent, "Alexander the Great", starring Richard Burton, Fredric March, and Claire Bloom. Just before this feature film, Cushing had fifth-billing in the first motion picture director Joseph Losey's actual name appeared on it after his "blacklisting", 1957's, "Time Without Pity", starring Sir Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, and Leo McKern.
Jimmy Sangster's screenplay may be sparse, but concentrates on character rather than mad villagers. It opens in 19th century Switzerland, with "Baron Victor Frankenstein" sitting in his jail cell awaiting the guillotine seen through the cell's one window. To a visiting priest the Baron confesses his sins, or rather his story about the events the led to the murder of -----
"Paul's" scientific curiosity takes over and he goes along with the horrific plan. However, now a forgotten factor enters the story. "Aunt Sophia" having past away, "Elizabeth" now comes to the "Frankenstein" house and meets "Paul". Who is shocked to learn that she is not just "Victor's" cousin, but his fiancée.
"Justine", jealous over "Elizabeth", now awaits to see "Victor's" response upon finding the other in the house.
"Victor" is of course glad to see "Elizabeth", but makes her promise never to go into his laboratory. He then begins to assemble his "Perfect Human", from a robber's corpse found on a giblet, hands and eyes purchased from a charnel house, a place where human remains are stored..
However, it is "Victor's" plan that the elderly professor has an accident so he can use the old man's brain. The accident is caused by "Victor" pushing him down the stairs of his home.
Going through the forest surrounding the "Frankenstein Estate", the creature comes upon a blind man and kills him.
"Victor" calms "Justine" down and says he'll show her what he's never shown "Elizabeth" the work he's doing. "Justine" enters the laboratory, "Victor" locks the door, and she meets and dies by the creature.
Next, at the surprise of "Victor", "Paul" returns at the invitation of "Elizabeth" the night before she is to wed "Victor". The ecstatic "Victor" proudly takes "Paul" to the laboratory to show off the revived creature.
"Elizabeth", while examining the vat of acid, is being observed from the roof by the now escaped creature.
"Victor" and "Paul" have gone outside of the house and as they walk the grounds still in discussion about the creature's fate. The two notice the creature carrying "Elizabeth" on the house's roof and run back inside, "Victor" gets a pistol and heads for the roof.
Jimmy Sangster's story now returns to the jail cell containing "Victor" and the priest". The disbelieving priest leaves, "Elizabeth" and "Paul" enter and will not support "Victor's" story and leave him. The movie ends with "Baron Victor Frankenstein" being taken to the guillotine for the murder of his maid, "Justine".
Returning to the "TCM" website trivia section:
Christopher Lee's monster make-up was almost literally done at the "last minute". After previous attempts to design a monster make-up using a cast of Lee's head had failed, make-up artist Philip Leakey made the final design the day before shooting began, directly onto Lee's face, using primarily cotton and other 'household' materials. Since he didn't use any latex or moulds, the make-up had to be recreated from scratch every day.
In 1957, exact date unknown, Jimmy Sangster wrote the television screenplay for a made-for-television motion picture entitled "The Assassin". It was about the police on the trail of a professional killer and starred John Loder, director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1936, "Sabotage", and the Sir Cedric Hardwicke, the 1937 version of British author H. Rider Haggard's, "King Solomon's Mines". I could not locate any specific information on the story.
Additionally, Jimmy Sangster wrote all six-episodes of the "ITV" documentary thriller, "Motive for Murder", June 15, 1957 - July 20, 1957. I could not locate the story line for this program.
DRACULA premiered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 8, 1958, but under its United States title, HORROR OF DRACULA.
The United States title was created to avoid confusion with "Universal International's", 1931, "Dracula". "Universal" for the first time, was the U.S. distributor of "Hammer Film Productions" United States releases.
Anthony Hinds assigned Jimmy Sangster the problem of fitting Irish author Bram Stoker's novel into the typical "Hammer Film Productions" budget as he had with Mary Shelley's. The result was a completely new storyline, but within the concept as outlined by Stoker.
After reading the novel, the character of "Lucy Westenra's" Texas suitor, "Quincy Morris", was dropped. Along with the character of "Renfield".
Next, Sangster reworked who the remaining characters were, the second suitor for "Lucy", "Arthur Holmwood", became the husband of "Mina Murray". While, "Lucy", now became "Arthur's" sister. "Jonathan Harker" was reduced from a major character to a very minor one with shades of "Renfield" as an agent of "Professor Van Helsing" . Who was reduced from a professor to a doctor and a professional vampire hunter.
Producer Anthony Hinds continued with his winning team.
The motion picture was assigned to Terence Fisher to direct. He had just finished directing the mini-series for the "Mickey Mouse Club", and would follow this feature with another by Jimmy Sangster, that I will be mentioning next.
Peter Cushing portrayed "Dr. Van Helsing", for the first time. He had just been in a BBC made-for-television movie, 1958's, "Uncle Harry", a classic British play in the same style as the American "Arsenic and Old Lace". He also followed this feature film with the next one written by Jimmy Sangster.
Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula", for the first time of eight movies for "Hammer Film Productions", plus another time in a Spanish production and one time in a Italian comedy. Lee had just been seen in an episode of American actor Rhodes Reason's television series, "White Hunter", "This Hungry Hell", March 1, 1958. Christopher Lee would follow this feature film with sixth-billing in the Michael Rennie, Second World War movie, 1958's, "Battle of the V-1".
Michael Gough portrayed "Arthur Holmwood". Gough had just co-starred with Ronald Howard in the 1957 mystery thriller, "The House in the Woods", and followed this feature with the Sir Alec Guinness comedy, 1958's, "The Horse's Mouth". The actor would be seen in 1959's, "Horrors of the Black Museum", and 1961's, "Konga". Starting with director Tim Burton's, 1989, "Batman", Michael Gough portrayed "Bruce Wayne's Butler Alfred", four-times.
Melissa Stribling portrayed "Mina Holmwood". Stribling had just been seen in an episode of the 1958 American television series "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan", entitled "The Man in the Wall", no month and day given. The actress followed this feature film with an episode of the British television series, "Murder Bag", "Lockhart Turns a Key", July 21, 1958.
Carol Marsh portrayed "Lucy Holmwood". Marsh was just in the made for television-movie, 1957's, "Dona Clarines", and followed this picture with an episode of "Saturday Playhouse", entitled "And No Birds Sing", May 10, 1958.
John Van Eyssen portrayed "Jonathan Harker". Van Eyssen was just seen in "Rinaldo", on the 1958 television series, "Ivanhoe", starring the then unknown, Rodger Moore. He would follow this movie with the Stewart Granger, Donna Reed, and George Sanders, 1958, motion picture, "The Whole Truth".
Valerie Gaunt portrayed the "Vampire Women". This was the actress's final on-screen role as I previously mentioned. It should be noted that this "Vampire Woman" next married the Reverend Gerald Alfred Reddington and became the mother of four-children.
The Basic Screenplay:
Unlike his story for "The Curse of Frankenstein", that covers several years in the Baron's life and has a more complex relationship between him and the other characters. Jimmy Sangster thought in terms of writing a screenplay not to exceed ninety-minutes, it ran eighty-two, and could be filmed almost entirely at Bray Studios to keep the cost down. Which is the main reason for the character changes I have mentioned above.
The result is a very taut straight-line screenplay.
The story opens with "Jonathan Harker" arriving in daylight in the village of Klausenberg and going to Castle Dracula and very carefully looking over the grounds and the inside of the castle.
He seems the only one present, but an excellent dinner has been set for him, by who? He sits down to eat and a beautiful young woman appears and begs him to help her escape, she is being kept a prisoner.
The young woman moves toward "Jonathan", as she comes very close, she suddenly freezes in her movement. The film quick cuts to "Count Dracula" standing in an alcove.
The young woman is dismissed and the count introduces himself to his new librarian, shows him the library, and his room. There he notices a picture of "Jonathan's" fiancée, "Lucy Holmwood".
The count leaves, and "Jonathan" takes out his journal and the audience finds out he is a vampire hunter working for "Dr. Van Helsing". His mission is to find "Dracula's" coffin and destroy the vampire and any wives he has at the castle.
Later, the beautiful young woman confronts "Jonathan" in the main room. This time she doesn't stop approaching, reveals herself to be a vampire, and bites him on the neck. "Dracula" appears, throws her across the room to the fireplace, and "Harker" faints.
"Jonathan" awakes late the following day in his room and discovers bite marks on his neck.
He realizes the lost time and heads for the crypts to carry out his mission, but before entering the crypt. "Jonathan Harker" places his diary outside of the castle in a place easy to be found.
"Jonathan" finds the resting place of "Count Dracula", and goes over to the beautiful young woman vampire.
Instead of immediately driving a stake into "Dracula's" heart. "Jonathan" goes to the woman's coffin, drives a stake through her heart, destroying the vampire, and returning her to her proper age.
Returning to "Dracula's" coffin, "Jonathan Harker" finds it now empty.
"Dr. Van Helsing" arrives in Klausenberg and the villagers are not being talkative after he mentions "Jonathan". As he leaves the inn, the innkeeper's daughter brings him "Harker's" journal that they had found on the castle grounds. Next, "Van Helsing" arrives at the deserted "Castle Dracula" ---
--- finds the picture frame without "Lucy Holmwood's" photo, goes to the crypt and finds the old women vampire with the stake in her heart. He goes over to "Count Dracula's" coffin and instead of the count, the body of the vampire "Jonathan Harker" is in it. "Dr. Van Helsing" now drives a stake into his friend's heart.
"Professor Van Helsing" ieaves for the town of Klausenberg for the town of Karlstadt to deliver the news of "Jonathan's" death to "Arthur" and "Mina Holmwood", the brother and sister-in-law of "Jonathan's" fiancée, "Lucy", who is ill at the time of his arriving. "Arthur" will not let "Dr. Van Helsing" see his ill sister and is reluctant to believe anything the doctor tells him.
That night "Lucy" goes to the glass doors leading from the outside of the house into her room. She opens them, leaves on the ground start to swirl in a supernatural breeze, and "Count Dracula" enters "Lucy Holmwood's" room. Where, "Lucy" has uncovered her neck that already shows two bite marks on it.
"Mina" seeks out "Van Helsing" to look at "Lucy". He examines the young woman and notes the bite marks on her neck.
He gives specific instructions not to remove the garlic flowers he has placed around the room and especially on the glass doorway.
However, the maid, "Gerda", portrayed by Olga Dickie, gives in to "Lucy's" pleas of being suffocated by the smell. "Dracula" enters the room that night and turns "Lucy Holmwood" into one of the undead.
"Arthur Holmwood" still cannot comprehend what "Van Helsing" claims and is in grief over the death of his sister. "Dr. Van Helsing" turns "Jonathan's Journal" over to "Arthur", so he can read "Harker's" own words.
Three days after the "Death of Lucy Holmwood", "Dr. Van Helsing" takes "Arthur" to the family crypt and shows him the empty coffin of his sister.
Next, the undead sister of "Arthur Holmwood" lures "Gerda's" daughter "Tania", portrayed by Janina Faye, to the graveyard to be her first victim. However, she sees her brother and forgets the little girl and attempts to sexually lure him to her to become her new first victim, but "Van Helsing" uses a crucifix and stops "Lucy". Who runs back to her coffin.
"Van Helsing" has "Tania" wait for him and "Arthur" while they revisit "Lucy's" coffin, now with her inside it.
"Dr. Van Helsing" explains that "Lucy" was to have replaced the vampire woman that "Jonathan" had met, and he now wants to use her to help find "Count Dracula", but "Arthur" refuses and a wooded stake is driven through "Lucy's Holmwood's" heart and "Arthur" views the now peaceful, at rest, sister he loved.
The following day the two men go to the undertaker, but the now identified coffin the count is using is missing from where the undertaker placed it. Back at the "Holmwood" house, "Arthur" wants his wife to wear a crucifix, but it burns her and she faints. "Dr. Van Helsing" knows she has been bitten by the vampire count.
"Van Helsing" using "Arthur's" blood, performs a transfusion on "Mina" to slow down the process of her becoming one of the undead.
A pursuit by "Dr. Van Helsing" and "Arthur Holmwood" begins and when the count reaches his castle, he realizes its close to sunrise. "Dracula" begins to dig a hole to bury "Mina" until the following day and he will return to his coffin.
However, "Van Helsing" and "Arthur" arrive in time to prevent "Mina's" burial and "Dracula" runs inside his castle followed by the vampire hunter. Inside the main room of the castle "Count Dracula" attacks "Dr. Van Helsing", and the two fight with the advantage to the vampire. However, "Van Helsing" sees the sunrise starting to appear through the drapes. He jumps at, grabbing the drapes, pulling them down, letting in the sunlight which freezes "Dracula" in his stride. Next "Doctor Van Helsing< takes two large candlesticks to form a crucifix and "Count Dracula" ages and turns to dust.
THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN with its premiere once more in the United States on June 13, 1958, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Some sites state the date of the premiere as June 1st.
I like the tag line that the movie was filmed in "Supernatural Technicolor".
Once again, I refer to the "British History Entertainment Project" and their interview with Jimmy Sangster. Executive producer Sir James Enrique Carreras, co-founder of "Hammer Film Productions" with William Hinds, approached Jimmy Sangster after Carreras returned from the United States. There, he had presold to "Columbia Pictures" a sequel to "The Curse of Frankenstein" and now wanted Sangster to write a screenplay. The writers response was:
I killed (Baron) Frankenstein in the first film.
Carreras response was:
You'll think of something.
Adding that shooting started in six-weeks and the screenplay needed to be written and approved before then. The production began on January 6, 1958, only three-days after "Dracula" had wrapped, and two of the main people involved on that previous motion picture were back for the first of what would become a major set of sequels from "The House of Hammer" about "Frankenstein". In one of my first blog articles, I discuss "Universal's 'Frankenstein' VS 'Hammer's' "Frankenstein", at:
Terence Fisher was the assigned director, and this feature film was followed by Fisher's second directed episode of the television series, "Sword of Freedom", "The Tower", June 13, 1958.
Peter Cushing portrayed "Doctor Victor Stein. Peter Cushing followed this motion picture portraying "Sherlock Holmes", in "Hammer Film Productions" version of British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskerville's", co-starring with Andre Morell, "Bernard Quatermass", in the 1958 BBC, mini-series "Quatermass and the Pitt", and Christopher Lee.
Eunice Grayson portrayed "Margaret Conrad". Basically, a television actress, Grayson portrayed the seductive "Sylvia Trench", in the first two "James Bond" motion pictures, 1962's, "Dr. No", and 1963's, "From Russia with Love".
Michael Gwynn had the interesting role of "Karl 2.0". He had just appeared in the Second World War movie, 1958's, "The Camp on Blood Island", and followed this feature film with the made-for-television movie, 1958's, "A Shaft of Light".
Jimmy Sangster came up with a gimmick to get around the previous movies perceived ending. Sangster opened this motion picture with a reworking of the ending of "The Curse of Frankenstein". The audience sees "Baron Victor Frankenstein" in his cell with Alex Gallier, who was the priest in the 1957 movie, and the "Baron" leaves escorted by the priest to the guillotine ---
The grave robbers above, on the left is "Fritz", portrayed by Lionel Jeffries, "Dr. Cavor" in stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1964 version of H.G. Wells', "First Men in the Moon", and Michael Ripper portraying "Kurt".
Next. "Baron Victor Frankenstein" and "Karl" appear at the grave site, one of the grave robbers has a heart attack upon seeing the baron and the other flees in terror. "Victor" and "Karl" rebury the casket and mark it with the baron's tombstone.
Meanwhile, the poor hospital's patients are being stirred up over all the surgeries that "Dr. Stein" seems to be conducting.
Not being sure where to go, "Karl" is hiding from the two doctors within the hospital, but a drunken janitor mistake's him for a burglar and a fight takes place. The fight ends with "Karl" killing the janitor.
Morning comes, and "Margaret" finds "Karl" hiding in her aunt's stables. "Margaret" leaves "Karl" to go and get "Hans", but while she's gone, "Karl" starts experiencing difficulties in both his right arm and leg. When "Dr. Kleve" and "Margaret" arrive back at the stable, "Karl" is missing again. That night "Karl" murders a local girl and again vanishes from everyone's sight.
The following evening "Dr. Stein", "Dr. Kleve", and "Margaret" attend a reception. At the height of the reception, "Karl" now almost looking like the original "Karl", breaks into the reception and approaches "Dr. Stein".
Back at the hospital for the poor, "Dr. Stein" is attacked by his patients now knowing the truth of why he has been operating on them. When the police arrive to arrest "Dr. Frankenstein", "Hans" shows them the dead body of the baron and they leave.
"Hans" now operates on "Victor" removing his brain and placing it inside another perfectly made body, knowing that the brain recreates its original self.
The motion picture ends in London, as "Hans" is helping "Dr. Franck" with his rich patients.
It seemed that "Hammer Film Productions" had a habit of premiering many of their motion pictures in the United States rather than the United Kingdom. On June 18, 1958, the crime horror thriller, about a young teenage girl vs her step-father, the cleared murderer of her mother, "The Snorkel", premiered in Boston, Massachusetts's. Jimmy Sangster and Peter Myers wrote the screenplay from a story by Anthony Dawson. There is confusion over Dawson being either Italian Horror director Antonio Margheriti, who used the name Anthony Dawson on several movies, or the British actor Anthony Dawson, who had appeared in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1954, "Dial M for Murder", "Hammer Film Productions", 1962, "Curse of the Werewolf", and the same year's "James Bond's", "Dr. No". That confusion, as of this writing, appears still argued.
Next, Jimmy Sangster found himself writing a screenplay for the British branch of the American "20th Century Fox" studios. The motion picture was the film-noir thriller, "Intent to Kill", premiering in London, on July 16, 1958. It was about a brain surgeon portrayed by Sir Richard Todd, forced to operate on a South American President, portrayed by Herbert Lom. The president survived one assassination plot, but the plotters are still attempting to kill him.
The motion picture was directed by Henry Cass, and this was his only horror film. Cass normally made low-budgeted crime dramas and the occasional comedy and documentary short.
Barbara Shelley portrayed "Madeline". Shelley had just been seen in 1958's, "The Camp on Blood Island", and followed this feature with the first two-episodes of the six-episode, 1958, television mini-series, "Solo for Canary". My article is "BARBARA SHELLEY: Hammer Pictures Horror Queen", at:
Above left to right, Barbara Shelley, Donald Wolfit, and Vincent Ball.
The Basic Screenplay:
Jimmy Sangster's screenplays opening title card deliberately misdirects the audience as does the film's title into thinking they are about to meet a Bram Stoker style vampire.
The title card is followed by establishing the year as 1874, the country Transylvania, and the audience sees a graveyard sequence. An executioner drives a wooden stake through a shrouded figure's heart. Again, a Sangster trick to get the audience to be thinking the living dead.
The year is now 1880, "Dr. John Pierre", had performed an emergency blood transfusion, a procedure never successfully performed before, and his patient died. He is put on trial for "Malpractice", and "Dr. Pierre" is sentenced to a penal colony, but his sentence is mysteriously changed to serve his time at a prison for the criminally insane. Watching at the trial is his fiancée, "Madeline".
Arriving at the prison, "Dr. Pierre" is greeted by "Dr. Callistraus", who runs it, and informed that he will be assisting in blood-serum research to find a safe means of performing the procedure to especially help those with an unnamed "rare and fatal blood condition".
At the trial, "John" had maintained that the patient's death was unavoidable, and requested the judge to write to "Professor Meinster", portrayed by Henry Vidon, in Geneva, who would vouch for him. The judge said he already had, but the professor claimed not to know "Dr. Pierre". "Madeline" and her uncle contact the professor and he travels to Transylvania and meets with a member of the prison commission name "Auron", portrayed by Bryan Coleman, who says he will reopen the case. However, "Auron" is on the payroll of "Dr. Callistraus" and had intercepted the original letter to "Meinster" and forged the reply.
Meanwhile, "John" has become uneasy with the transfusion research on inmates that end up dying.
"Callistratus" now takes "Madeline" to his laboratory and chains her to a wall.
"Kurt's" one good arm grabs "Dr. Callistratus" and a struggle takes place, giving "John" time to free himself and knock to doctor unconscious. "John" now unstraps "Madeline", and forcing "Callistratus" to lead them out of the prison and to freedom. "Carl" who is still alive, now unleashes the Dobermans, before he died. The dogs rip "Dr. Callistratus" apart as "John" and "Madeline" walk away.
Jimmy Sangster now made a pure science fiction movie for "Eros Films".
On Saturday, December 15, 1956, the first episode of the British "Associate Televisions (ATV)" six-part mini-series "The Trollengberg Terror" was first broadcast on "ITV". The series was written by one credited writer, Peter Key, and three uncredited writers Giles Cooper, George F. Kerr, and Jack Cross.
The mini-series would be picked-up by "Eros Films" and Jimmy Sangster given the assignment to turn it into a motion picture screenplay.
In the United States the motion picture was known as:
THE CRAWLING EYE released in the United States on December 31, 1958
Forrest Tucker portrayed "Alan Brooks". He co-starred with Peter Cushing, in "The Abominable Snowman (The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas"), which was adapted from the "BBC", 1955, mini-series, "The Creature". For those of my readers interested in that motion picture, my article is "The Abominable Snowman' As First Interpreted By Film Makers 1954 to 1967", is snowbound at:
Laurence Payne portrayed "Philip Truscott". Payne had portrayed "Philip Truscott" in the original mini-series. From 1967 through 1971, Payne portrayed the extremely popular British detective, created back in 1893, "Sexton Blake", in the "ITV" television series.
Jennifer Jayne portrayed "Sarah Pilgrim". At the time of this pictures release, Jennifer Jayne was portraying the wife of "William Tell", "Hedda Tell", in the "ITV" series.
Janet Munro portrayed "Anne Pilgrim". Munro would go on to appear in three Walt Disney feature films 1959's, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", 1959's, "Third Man on the Mountain", and 1960's, "Swiss Family Robinson". My look at the tragic short life of the actress is "Janet Munro: Crawling Eye Balls and Darby O'Gill", found at:
Above the sisters, Janet Munro and Jennifer Jayne.
Warren Mitchell portrayed "Professor Crevett". Character actor Mitchell had just been seen in the British television series "The Larkins", and followed this feature film with a role in the comedy motion picture, 1958's, "Girls at Sea", starring British actor Guy Rolfe.
"Alan" takes the cable car to the observatory and meets "Professor Crevett". The professor shows "Brooks" the placement of a radioactive cloud on the Trollenberg and speaks to other events that makes "Alan" remember a similar incident in their past in the Andes.
Later, back at the hotel, "Brett" staggers in, claims he has been lost on the mountain. It is noticed that his coordination is off. He misses pouring a drink into a glass, and lighting a cigarette that he needed help in just putting in his mouth.
Checking on "Brett", the hotel owner makes a mistake and the other is able to escapes the cellar room with a knife.
"Brett" goes upstairs to kill "Anne Pilgrim".
The last cable car is about to leave, when a mother realizes her daughter isn't there, and "Alan" gives them instructions about how long to hold the car for him. Seeing the cloud reaching the hotel, he returns to find the woman's daughter.
"Alan" calls the British government and a plane is being sent to drop napalm on the aliens. Meanwhile, Molotov cocktails are being made under "Alan's" direction. "Truscott" takes a Molotov cocktail outside and throws it at one of the aliens, but is caught by a tentacle from another.
Which brings me to a screenplay written by Jimmy Sangster, or possibly more than one?
JACK THE RIPPER premiered in London on May 28, 1959
The above poster was for the United States release and I could not locate the original United Kingdom poster with the "Cert X". However, the following is one of international posters used in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, but without the "Cert X" on it.
Back in 1926, Australian journalist and British Labour Party politician, Leonard Matters, proposed a theory that "Jack the Ripper" was an eminent physician. Matters was the first writer of this theory and it stated that the doctor's son had died from syphilis as a result of sex with a Whitechapel prostitute. Leonard Matters further claimed that the doctor used the pseudonym of "Mr. Stanley", committed the murders in revenge for the death of his son and fled to Argentina. In 1929, Matters expanded his theory and wrote the book, "The Mystery of Jack the Ripper". Below is a photo of Leonard Matters taken during the Second Boer War in South Africa.
Lee Patterson portrayed "New York Police Officer Sam Lowry". The following year, he joined actors Van Williams and Troy Donahue, as detectives on American televisions "Surfside 6", 1960 - 1962.
In 1888 London, a string of murders of prostitutes in Whitechapel has the city on edge.
That night "Jack the Ripper" kills again, but as before asks the same question of the prostitute:
Are you Mary Clarke?
Just minutes after the murder, chief surgeon "Dr. Tranter", portrayed by John Le Mesurier, arrives late for the operation on "Kitty Knowles", portrayed by Barbara Burke, at Mercy Hospital for Woman.
In another part of the hospital, hospital governor "Sir David Rodger's" performs an autopsy on the latest "Ripper" victim and as with the others, the knife wounds are consistent with someone with medical knowledge.
Meanwhile, "Dr. Tranter's" ward, "Anne Ford", has taken a position as head of Mercy Hospital for Women's charity cases. "Tranter" tells her he disapproves of "Anne" working with "the lower classes" and calls "The Ripper's" latest victim another drab woman unworthy of his time. When "Anne" and "Tranter" start to leave the hospital that night, an angry mob protesting the police lack of success finding the murderer, threatens the two, and "Sam" and "O'Neil" appear and get them to safety.
Which brings the audience to the start of a romance between "Sam" and "Anne", her help to try and catch "Jack the Ripper", and "Dr. Tranter's" dislike of her associating with the American police officer. "Anne" takes "Sam" to a nightclub that employed one of the "Ripper's" victim. Dancer "Hazel", portrayed by Jane Taylor, is alarmed when the owner of the club wants her to prostitute herself and runs out of the nightclub. The club owner sends "Harry", could not locate the actor's name, to bring her back and he passes a cloaked stranger on the dark street.
"Hazel" becomes the next victim of the "Ripper", while outside the club, "Anne" and "Sam" find "Dr. Tranter", claiming he has been following them and orders "Anne" home. "Sam" hearing about the murder, goes to the scene and finds an angry mob confronting the hunchbacked hospital assistant, "Louis Benz", portrayed by Endre Muller, who was carrying and dropped a medical bag full of scalpels. As the mob starts to close in on "Benz", "Inspector O'Neil" stops them from harming an innocent me, but with "Sam", "O'Neil" arrests "Louis Benz" for his own protection.
Next, "Sir David" calls on the police commissioner to have "Benz" released, because all the hospital staff are required to carry medical tools. "Benz" is released and the hunt for "Jack the Ripper" continues.
Jimmy Sangster didn't have much to work with and no actual known names were used in the screenplay. Which brings me to the question of what was his original screenplay? There are three known versions of 1959's, "Jack the Ripper".
At the climax the murderer is identified, and to be truthful, unless the viewer was truly dense. They should have figured that out about half-way through the movie. He hides from a pursuing mob, and "Sam" and "O'Neil", in an elevator shaft and some other people get in the elevator and the murderer is crushed by it elevator coming down upon him.
However, "Scotland Yard Inspector O'Neil" now ads the dialogue to clear this story from reality. He informs "Anne Ford" and "Sam Lowry" that because the murderer could not be confirmed as "Jack the Ripper", the "Ripper Case Will Remain Open and Unsolved".
The original British production ended with a technicolor scene of blood coming out of the shaft, but the "British Board of Film Classification" had that removed from the picture before release of this version.
The second version goes directly to the United States poster and the name of Joseph E. Levine. Levine restored the technicolor blood at the picture's ending, but also added more violent outtakes removed by the BBFC. The running time of the United States version is slightly longer then the British release and wasn't released until February 17, 1960, in a New York City premiere. The original musical score as heard in the British release was by Stanley Black. However, Joseph E. Levine hired Jimmy McHugh and Pete Rugolo to compose a new Jazz score for the United States release. Below, are the album covers for the two musical scores.
There is also a third-version for European release that contained even more volent scenes and is rumored to have had some total nudity. On November 16, 2017, the following Blu-ray was offered for sale.
Jimmy Sangster returned to "Hammer Film Productions" with:
THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH first released in the United States on June 17, 1959
His name was Alfred Edgar, but the British playwright wrote under the name of Barre Lyndon. Two of his most famous screenplays are for the 1944, classic "Jack the Ripper" tale, "The Lodger", and producer George Pal's, 1953, version of British author H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds". In 1939, Lyndon had written the successful play, "The Man in Half Moon Street". In 1945, screenplay writer Garrett Fort, both 1931's "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", adapted the play for a motion picture screenplay written by Charles Kenyon, 1936's "The Petrified Forest". Now, "Hammer Film Productions" acquired Barre Lyndon's play and turned the screenplay writing over to Jimmy Sangster.
Terence Fisher was assigned as director. He has just directed the highly successful, but with a more horror overtone, "Hammer Film Productions" version of British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", in 1959. Although Jimmy Sangster was not involved with "The Hound of the Baskervilles", the production keeps popping-up in this article. So, here is my article "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on the Motion Picture and Television Screens 1914 -2016", at:
Fisher followed this motion picture with the next one I will go into detail about.
Anton Diffring portrayed "Dr. Georges Bonnet". In 1939, Anton and his Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany, but some of his most memorable roles were as Nazi's. His first on-screen role, uncredited, was as a "U-Boat Officer" in 1940's "Convoy", starring Clive Brook and Edward Chapman. In 1958, Diffring was "Baron Frankenstein" in the unsold television pilot, "Tales of Frankenstein", directed by Curt Siodmak, the writer of 1941's, "The Wolf Man". Diffring's last on-screen appearance was in the "Silver Nemesis", one of Sylvestor McCoy's "Dr. Who" adventures.
It should be noted that Anton Diffring had portrayed this role on a British ABC-TV adaptation of the original play 18-months earlier. The motion picture role was originally cast with Peter Cushing portraying "Bonnet", but he bowed out. Cushing was just exhausted from the shooting of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" that had wrapped only a few days before shooting of this picture was to start. Someone at "Hammer Films Productions" threated Petter Cushing with a lawsuit, but he hadn't signed a final contract and there was nothing legally they could do. Besides, Cushing was to co-star in the next motion picture for "Hammer Film Productions" I will be speaking too.
Hazel Court portrayed "Janine Du Bois". Court was just seen in the British crime drama, 1959's, "Breakout", co-starring with Lee Patterson. Hazel Court followed this motion picture with an episode of Ray Milland's American television detective series "Markham", entitled "Double Negative", September 26, 1959.
Christopher Lee portrayed "Dr. Pierre Gerrard". Again, I mention "The Hound of the Baskervilles", with Lee portraying "Sir Henry Baskerville", as his role just before this feature film. He followed this movie with 1959's, "The Treasure of San Teresa", aka: "Hot Money Girl", with fourth-billing as "Jaeger".
Arnold Mare billed as Arnold Marle, portrayed "Dr. Ludwig Weiss". Berlin born Mare started his film career in 1919 Germany, but my reader might know him as the "High Lhama" in "Hammer Film Productions", 1957, "The Abominable Snowman" aka: "The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas", starring Forrest Tucker and Peter Cushing.
Delphi Lawrence portrayed "Margo Philippe". Lawrence had just been in the television drama "The Shadow of the Ruthless", April 26, 1959, on the program "Armchair Detective". She followed this motion picture with the television drama, "The Money Game", September 20, 1959, on the television program "Interpol Calling".
Francis De Wolf portrayed "Inspector LeGris". De Wolf had just been seen as "Doctor Mortimer" in 1959's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles". His next on-screen appearance was in 1959's, "Tommy the Toreador", starring Tommy Steele and Janet Munro.
The Basic Screenplay:
The setting is 1890 Paris, France, feel and unexpectedly, "Dr. Georges Bonnet" tells his party guests to leave.
All of his guests leave, but one overlooked woman.
The doctor is concerned , because "Professor Ludwig Weiss" is three-weeks overdue and he is starting to feel the effects of the time between his visits. "Georges" is a very good hobbyist sculptor and his latest model, the overlooked party guest. "Margo Philippe", accidently comes across him drinking a steaming green colored elixir and for that, it becomes, apparently, the end of her life.
"Professor Weiss" arrives and the audience learns that the 30-years-old looking "Dr. Georges Bonnet" is actually 104. The green elixir is a means of keeping the doctor looking young for no more than four-weeks, and he requires a transplant of the parathyroid gland, a small endocrine gland in the neck of humans, every ten-years to remain young.
However, when the 89-years-old "Weiss" arrives, he reveals he can no longer perform the surgery "Bonnet" requires, because he has had a stroke and his right arm is useless. "Dr. Ludwig Weiss" advises "Dr. Georges Bonnet" to find another surgeon to perform the required operation.
"Surete (The National Police Force of France) Inspector LeGris" arrives at another dinner party being hosted by "Dr. Bonnet" for his ex-lover, "Janine Du Bois", and her current lover, "Dr. Pierre Gerrard".
"Inspector LeGris" questions "Dr. Bonnet" as "Janine" and "Pierre" listen, about the disappearance of "Margo Philippe". "Bonnet" claims to have no knowledge about her disappearance, or "Margo's" whereabouts. When asked about the bust of "Margo" that the doctor sculptured? The reply is that "Dr. Georges Bonnet" accidently destroyed it that morning.
"LeGris" leaves and "Georges" admits to "Janine" and "Pierre" that he lied to the police inspector, afraid that the police might damage the bust. "Janine" again poses for "Georges", while "Professor Weiss" speaks to "Pierre" about the surgery, claiming that "Bonnet" is deathly ill.
"Ludwig" is growing suspicious, because "Margo" was the third of "Georges'" models that went missing around the time of the needed transplant. "Weiss" next discovers that the latest parathyroid gland is from a living person and not a revitalized corpse as it should be. Confronting "Georges Bonnet", "Professor Weiss" discovers that he had revitalized four glands from corpses, but they all died because of "Ludwig's" late arrival. Next, "Ludwig" destroys the bottle containing the green elixir after realizing how "Georges" has really been getting the glands.
In a rage, "Georges" kills "Ludwig", and the following morning "Pierre" arrives to perform the surgery. He asks about where "Ludwig" is and "Georges" tells "Pierre" that the professor was called back to Vienna. "Pierre" reconsiders the surgery and tells "Georges" to find another surgeon.
"Dr. Bonnet" goes to several surgeons, but cannot find one who will perform the surgery. Meantime, "Inspector LeGris" tells "Pierre" about the disappearance of three young women at 10-year intervals in London, San Francisco, and Bern, Switzerland.
Adding that each woman was a model for a doctor that was a sculptor and both would disappear at the same time. "LeGris" believes that "Dr. Georges Bonnet" is responsible for all three, but "Pierre" counters that would put "Bonnet" in his sixties and he is no older than thirty.
Back at his residence, "Georges" takes "Janine" to a storeroom containing his many sculptures and proudly shows her the one he first made at 12-years-of-age in 1798. "Janine" laughingly jokes about the date, saying it can't be true, or "Georges" would be 104-years-of-age. At which point, he leaves the storeroom locking "Janine Du Bois" in it.
"Georges" next goes to "Pierre" and reveals everything to him.
"Bonnet" tells "Pierre" that with "Ludwig", they discovered the secret of perpetual life, but he will never reveal the secret. His reasoning is, paradoxically, everyone would want perpetual life and eventually there would be no fresh supply of parathyroid glands. "Pierre" again refuses to perform the operation, but is being forced to after "Georges" reveals he is holding "Janine" captive.
While back in the storeroom, "Janine" now discovers that "Margo" is not dead, but mentally insane. That night "Pierre" performs the surgery, BUT makes an incision in "Georges" waste and does not insert the gland.
"Georges" now rushes to the storeroom being pursued by "LeGris" and "Pierre". Unlocking the storeroom door, "Georges", who believes the operation was performed, tells "Janine" that by performing the operation on her. That the two can live forever young, but she refuses. Suddenly, "Dr. Georges Bonnet" realizes that "Dr. Pierre Gerrard" did not perform the surgery as he starts to age rapidly.
As "Georges" declares he is dying, the insane "Margo" throws an oil lamp at him, setting "Bonnet" and the storeroom on fire. "Pierre" and "LeGris" rescue "Janine" as "Georges" and "Margo" die in the flames.
Having remade both of "Universal Pictures" 1931 "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", "Hammer Film Productions" made the logical choice of remaking 1932's, "The Mummy". However, they ran into an unexpected problem that did not come from their business partner, the studio, but one of the writers of the original motion picture.
The movie I am about to discuss is part of my article that starts with the actual search for the tomb of the Pharoah Tutankhamun. The title is "The Mummy (1932) vs The Mummy (1959) vs The Mummy (1999) vs The Mummy (2017)", unwrapped at:
However, I have added additional comments to the following, because I am telling the story of screenplay writer Jimmy Sangster.
THE MUMMY released initially in Japan on August 1, 1959
The motion picture was next released on September 25, 1959 in the United Kingdom.
"Hammer Films Productions" producers Michael Carreras and Anthony Nelson Keys had already spoken to the now, "Universal International", about the remake and the studio, who had distributed 1958's, "Horror of Dracula", was fully agreeable. Jimmy Sangster was given the go ahead to start writing a screenplay with the 1932, Boris Karloff character of "Ardeth Bey", aka: "Im-ho-tep".
BUT THEN a 77-years-old woman put a stop to Jimmy Sangster's assignment.
Her name was Nina Wilcox Putnam, she was a novelist, screenplay writer, playwright, and owned the copyright for her story that became the 1932, "The Mummy". Wilcox Putnam had seen both 1957's, "Curse of Frankenstein", and 1958's, "Dracula", and hated them. She was very vocal of all the blood and gore and refused her story's use by "Hammer Film Productions".
After this set back, it appears that it was Jimmy Sangster who suggested using the other mummy in the "Universal Pictures" horror library, which the studio controlled out right.
He started taking ideas from 1940's, "The Mummy's Hand", 1942's, "The Mummy's Tomb", and 1944's, "The Mummy Ghost". Apparently, he didn't use material from 1944's, "The Mummy's Curse".
Terence Fisher directed and would follow this film with 1959's, "The Stranglers of Bombay".
Peter Cushing portrayed "John Banning".
"B" singing cowboy and dramatic actor Dick Foran, below, had portrayed the role of "Steve Banning" in both "The Mummy's Hand", and "The Mummy's Tomb". Jimmy Sangster turned "Stephen Banning" into "John's" father.
Peter Cushing would follow this picture with 1960's, "The Flesh and the Fiends", set three-years earlier than Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher", with basically the same story. The picture co-starred Donald Pleasence.
Christopher Lee portrayed the third "Kharis".
Below, is first "B" cowboy star, Tom Tyler as the original "Kharis", that was followed by Lon Chaney, Jr's for the three remaining feature films in that series.
Christopher Lee, as previously mentioned, was seen in 1959's, "Hot Money Girl", before this motion picture. He followed it with the adventure, "Pedigree", September 8, 1959, a episode of the British television series, "Tales of the Vikings".
Yvonne Furneaux portrayed "Isobel Banning" the reincarnated "Princess Ananka".
Forgotten actress Ramsey Amdes, below, was the first actress to portray "Princess Ananka", who is within the body of "Amina Mansouri", in 1944 "The Mummy's Ghost". The ending of that film is almost duplicated by Jimmy Sangster in his screenplay.
In 1942's "The Mummy's Tomb", there is "Isobel Evans", portrayed by Elyse Knox, who by the end of the film marries "Dr. John Banning", the son of "Steve Banning", to become "Isobel Banning".
Yvonne Furneaux had just been seen in 1959's, "Carta al cielo (Letter of Heaven)", made in Spain, and followed this motion picture with Italian director Federico Fellini's 1960, "La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)".
George Pastell portrayed "Mehemet Bey". Pastell had just been in the crime mystery, 1959's, "Deadly Record", starring Lee Patterson and Barbara Shelley. He followed this movie with "Man in Power", an episode of the television series "The Invisible Man", first shown on November 28, 1959.
The setting for 1940's, "The Mummy's Hand" is Egypt, and the audience meets "Steve Ba.nning" as he walks the streets of Cairo. A found piece of pottery, bought at a bazar by "Banning", will lead him and others to the location of the tomb of the "Princess Ananka".
The setting for 1959's, "The Mummy", is also Egypt, but in the year, 1895, at an archeological dig. "John Banning", his father "Stephen Banning", and his uncle, "Joseph Whemple", are searching for the tomb of the "Princess Ananka". The original 1932, "The Mummy", opened on the site of an archeological dig, in 1921, one year before the actual finding of the tomb of "Pharoah Tutankhamun.
As the explosion to seal the tomb of the "Princess Anaka" takes place, "Mehemet Bey" also prepares to leave Egypt for England with "Kharis", but first prays to the great god, "Karnak".
Shortly after the visit, "Mehemet Bey", now calling himself "Mehemet Atkil", rents a house near the sanatorium, and across the swamp that is between his new house and "John Banning's".
As the two drunken men are moving the crate near the sanatorium, "Stephen Banning" senses that the mummy is near and starts screaming. His screams carry onto the road that the cart with the crate is traveling and the frightened drivers speed up, but the crate with the mummy within, falls off and into the swamp. Meanwhile, at the sanatorium, "Stephen Banning" requests a transfer to a padded cell to protect himself from his delusions.
When "Banning" knocks on the front door and "Mehemet" answers. It is the Egyptian who is shocked to find him still alive. The two discuss the ancient Egyptian relics in "Mehemet's" home and "John" deliberately tests "Mehemet Bey's" knowledge by misdating a piece. When "Mehemet" mentions the "Great God Karnak", "Banning" counters, by calling "Karnak" a minor deity, if that. As he watches the Egyptian's reaction.
After returning home, "Banning" informs "Mulrooney" that "Kharis" will attack him soon and a plan is out together to stop the mummy and capture "Mehemet Bey".
"Mehemet" now orders "Kharis" to kill "Isobel Banning", but "Kharis" sees his beloved, the "Princess Ananka", and instead, "Kharis" kills "Mehemet".
"Isobel" faints and "Kharis" picks her up and carries his "Ananka" out of the house and toward the swamp. This is a modified recreation of the same sequence in 1944's "The Mummy's Ghost", below.
THE BRIDES OF DRACULA premiered in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 3, 1960
Early in 1959, in-house producer Anthony Hinds retained Dracula scribe Jimmy Sangster to pound out a script for a proposed sequel, to be called Disciple of Dracula. By this point, the Count had been reduced to a celebrity cameo, turning up in the denouement to settle the hash of an overzealous acolyte, upon whose caped shoulders rested the soul of the plot.
What this original screenplay by Jimmy Sangster looked like, seems lost until somebody discovers it in a corner of a basement somewhere, if ever.
In the fall of 1959, Anthony Hinds hired screenplay writer, Peter Bryan, 1959's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", and not the actual British serial killer of that same name, to rewrite "Disciple of Dracula", that currently had the working title of "Dracula, the Damned". His assignment came with one condition, remove "Dracula" from the screenplay. So, we know the count was in what Jimmy Sangster had written. However, Peter Bryan thought it was important to bring back vampire hunter "Dr. Van Helsing". So, we know he was not in Jimmy Sangster's original screenplay. The climax of Bryan's screenplay has the doctor invoking the powers of hell to destroy "Dracula's" disciple by a plague of vampire bats. Which Peter Cushing stated his character would never do.
Next, a third screenplay writer, conservative Member of Parliament Edward Percy Smith, who wrote plays as Edward Percy, was hired to add historical touches to the screenplay.
On January 26, 1960, the principle photography started on "Dracula II", but before its release, Peter Bryan had renamed the picture, "The Brides of Dracula".
As the above poster indicates all three writers received on-screen credit for the final screenplay.
Terence Fisher directed the picture, he had just directed four-episodes of the British television crime drama, "Ghost Squad", and would follow this feature film directing "Hammer Film Productions" twist on Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", as 1960's, "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll".
Peter Cushing portrayed "Doctor Van Helsing" without a plague of vampire bats. He had just co-starred with Michael Craig and Bernard Lee in 1960's "Cone of Silence" aka: "Trouble in the Sky". Peter Cushing followed this motion picture with the crime drama, 1960's, "Suspect" aka: "The Risk", co-starring with Tony Britton.
Freda Jackson portrayed "Greta". Among her work is 1961's, "The Shadow of the Cat", starring Barbara Shelley and Andre Morell, 1965's, "Die Monster, Die!", based upon American author H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space", co-starring with Boris Karloff and Nick Adams. Stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1969, "The Valley of Gwangi" and would be in his 1981, "Clash of the Titians".
Marita Hunt portrayed "Baroness Meinster". Hunt's on-screen acting started in 1920 and in 1936 she had the uncredited role of "Miss Chatman", in director Alfred Hitchcock's, "Sabotage". She had the uncredited role of a "British Tourist on Bicycle" in the classic, 1939, "Good-bye Mr. Chips", starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson. In 1946, Marita Hunt portrayed "Miss Havisham" in director David Lean's classic version of British author Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations". While in 1952, the actress portrayed "Queen Eleanor" in Walt Disney's, "The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men", starring Sir Richard Todd.
Yvonne Monlaur portrayed "Marianne Danielle". The French actress had just been in 1960's, "Circus of Horrors", starring Anton Diffring. She followed this feature film with eleventh-billing in the Clark Gable and Sophia Loren, 1960, "It Started in Naples".
Not mentioned on the above poster and the stand-in for "Count Dracula", is actor David Peel, portraying "Baron Meinster", the vampire of the story. This was television dramatic actor Peel's next to last on-screen role out of thirty-one. He retired from acting to become a very prosperous real estate and antiques dealer.
The rewriting of the rewritten screenplay is described by the British "Monthly Film Bulletin", for August 1960:
The genuinely eerie atmosphere of traditional Vampire folk-lore continues to elude the cinema. This latest sequel in Hammer's apparently endless series adds little to the Dracula legend other than a youthful, good-looking vampire, and nothing to the familiar Hammer format of inappropriate colour and décor, a vague pretence at period and a serious surface view of the proceedings.While, the May 8, 1960 edition of the "Hollywood Trade Paper", "Variety", wrote that the film:
adds little to the Dracula legend and follows formula horror gimmicks,Adding:
it would have been considerably more scary if it had been filmed in old-fashioned black and white.The Basic Screenplay:
"Marianne Danielle" is on her way to a position as a teacher at a girl's school. The coach stops at an inn and after spotting a servant of the "Baroness Meinster", the coach driver leaves "Marianne" at the inn and flees the area. The inn keeper and his wife offer "Marianne" a room for the night, but just then the "Baroness Meinster" arrives and offers the school teacher a room at her castle. They leave together in the baroness's coach, after "Marianne" does not believe this nice woman fits the warning the inn keeper gave her.
From her rooms window, "Marianne" sees a young man, but "Greta" ignores her inquiry as to who he is? At dinner, the "Baroness Meinster" admits the handsome young man is her son, but that he has gone completely mad and is confined to that room for his and others safety.
Back in her room, "Marianne" spots the "Baron" on a ledge as if he plans to jump off it.
"Marianne" now runs to the baron's room, enters, and finds that he could not have jumped off the ledge, as he is chained to a wall and floor. The very handsome Baron plays on the young woman's naivete, claiming that his mother chained him to control his rightful inheritance and could she get the key on her dressing table and release him?
"Marianne" gets the key, releases the Baron, and the vampire is freed.
To "Marianne's" shock, the "Baron Meinster" now attacks his mother, draining her of blood, permitting "Greta" to deliver the one line that ties the count to the baron. By telling the dead "Baroness" she was to blame for letting "Count Dracula" get to her son. However, even now, "Greta remains loyal to the baron.
"Marianne" in shock, runs out of the castle into the countryside. She is found by "Dr. Van Helsing", but not remembering anything of the previous night. "Van Helsing" escorts her to the school for young women, after explaining he is "studying a local sickness".
Arriving at the village, "Van Helsing" observes a funeral in progress for a young woman found dead in the woods during the night. "Father Stepnik", portrayed by Fred Johnson, had requested "Van Helsing" to come to the village and the two start an investigation in the young woman's death.
The counter to "Father Stepnik" is the local doctor and amateur scientist "Dr. Tobler", portrayed by Miles Malleson, with "Van Helsing" balancing religion and science over vampirism between the two.
"Van Helsing" and "Father Stepnik" attempt to have the young woman not to buried, because the two believe she is the victim of a vampire. Her father refuses and she is buried, but that night "Van Helsing" and "Father Stepnik" watch the grave site as "Greta" is attempting to get the "village girl", portrayed by Marie Devereux, to rise from her coffin, which she does. The two men try to stop this, but "Greta" blocks them and the vampire girl flees into the woods.
"Van Helsing" next goes to the castle, only to discover that the "Baroness Meinster" is now a vampire created by her son as a means of revenge over his confinement.
"Van Helsing" takes pity on the baroness and the following morning, he drives a wooden stake through her heart, ending her agony.
That night, "Baron Meinster" comes to the school and asks "Marianne" to marry him and she accepts. Still not having any memory of what had transpired at the castle. Her roommate "Gina", portrayed by Andree Melly, is very envious of "Marianne".
However, later that night, the baron returns and drains "Gina" of her blood. The next day, "Dr. Van Helsing" inspects 'Gina's" body and orders that it be placed in the stable for observation. "Marianne" now remembers the truth about "Baron Meinster" and she is guarding "Gina's" coffin with the stable keeper, "Severin", portrayed by Harold Scott.
Next, a giant bat attacks and kills "Severin".
As "Gina" rises as a vampire and approached "Marianne", it is revealed that the "Baron Meinster" is hiding at the old mill.
Just as "Gina" is about to bite "Marianne", "Dr. Van Helsing" arrives and the vampire flees. "Van Helsing" goes to the old mill and is confronted by both of the baron's bride's and the still human "Greta".
"Van Helsing" wards off the two "Brides of the Baron" with a cross, but "Greta" attacks him attempting to get the cross and falls to her death from the rafters of the stable.
The Baron arrives and has a fight with "Van Helsing", overpowering the vampire hunter, the Baron is able to bite him on the neck and drain some blood.
As a result of the fight, the vampire hunter faints and doesn't wake up until the following morning.
"Van Helsing" now takes a metal tool and makes it red hot in a brazier of coals and applies it to the vampire's teeth marks. Next, taking "Holy Water", "Dr. Van Helsing" pours it on the wound and it disappears.
Meanwhile, as night starts to darken the sky, the Baron abducts "Marianne".
The Baron takes "Marianne" to the old mill expecting to find a vampire "Van Helsing" he can control with his brides. As the Baron attempts to hypnotize "Marianne", "Van Helsing" pulls a vial of holy water out and tosses the water onto the Baron's face and in pain, he kicks over the brazier of coals starting a fire.
"Van Helsing" now moves the sails of the wind mill to form a giant cross trapping the Baron in its shadow. The power of this make shift crucifix destroys "Baron Meinster".
THE HELLFIRE CLUB released in February 1961
Jimmy Sangster based his story on Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron le Despencer, English politician and rake. Along with being the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762 - 1763) and founder of the second "Hellfire Club". However, with John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, the two formed their own third "Hellfire Club" that was active during the 1730's. The real clubs, were popular during the 18th Century, and were known for high English society men engaging in depravity, debauchery, and even devil worship.
The screenplay was co-written by Jimmy Sangster and Leon Griffiths. Griffith was a television writer and this was only his third of five motion picture screenplays between 1960 and his death in 1992.
Adrienne Corri portrayed "Lady Isobel". Scottish actress Corri is probably best known as the rape victim in director Stanley Kubrick's, 1971, version of British author Anthony Burgess's, "A Clockwork Orange". In 1965, she had portrayed "Amelia" in direction David Lean's epic version of Russian author Boris Pasternak's, "Doctor Zhivago", and the same year portrayed "Dorothy" in director Otto Preminger's mystery thriller, "Bunny Lake Is Missing".
Kai Fischer portrayed "Yvonne". Progue born German actress Fischer was basically appearing in German motion pictures at the time.
Peter Cushing portrayed "Mr. Merryweather". He had just portrayed "The Sheriff of Nottinham", in director Terence Fisher's, 1960, "Sword of Sherwood Forest". Cushing followed this motion picture with the 1961 adventure, "Fury at Smuggler's Bay"
The Basic Screenplay:
Almost every site I could find that mentioned this motion picture has the same exactly worded description of the screenplay. That description was written by Jonathan Broxton at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Years after fleeing his ancestral home with his mother, Jason returns home to claim his birthright, only to find his way blocked by his evil cousin Thomas. In order to reclaim his title, Jason must do battle with his cousin, who calls upon the members of the deadly Hellfire Club to stop him.
A very few reviews add that "Jason's" cousin had declared him dead and assumed "Jason's" father's title of "Lordship" and took his seat in Parliament. Adding that "Jason" became a circus acrobat and that assisted him in taking down his cousin.
In short this was a very routine period story that had the infamous "Hellfire Club" as its backdrop.
"Armchair Theatre", on March 3, 1961, showed Jimmy Sangster's "The Big Deal". A drama about an unscrupulous business man's attempt to get a particular power station contract and his manipulations to get it low-bided. The role was portrayed by Edward Chapman.
THE TERROR OF THE TONGS released in the United States on March 15, 1961. The movie did not come to the United Kingdom until September 29, 1961
Anthony Bushell directed the motion picture and as an actor would have 67-roles, between 1929 and 1964. Among those was "Army Colonel James Breen" in the original 1958 - 1959, BBC mini-series of "Quatermass and the Pit", starring Andre Morell. He had portrayed "King Arthur" in American actor Alan Ladd's, 1954, "The Black Knight". As a director, Anthony Bushell only directed 11-titles, but they included 6-episodes of Michael Rennie's, "The Third Man", and 2-episodes of Patrick McGoohan's, "Danger Man".
The screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster and resembled "Hammer Film Productions" earlier, 1959, "The Stranglers of Bombay", written by David Z. Goodman, but with the setting moved from 19th-Century India, to 1910 "Hong Kong". Both movies were made by "The House of Hammer" for American studio, "Colombia Pictures".
Christopher Lee portrayed "Chung King". As strange as this sounds, this was the first "Hammer Film Productions" feature that actually gave Christopher Lee first billing. He had just been seen in 1960's, "The Hands of Orlac", and followed this feature film with the next one I will mention.
Lee considered this make-up the worst of his entire career to this point. Christopher Lee would return to oriental make-up in 1965's, "The Face of Fu Manchu", the first of a five-film series starring Lee as British author Sax Rohmer's "Yellow Peril". "The Insidious Doctor Fu Manchu". My article is "Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee: Fu Manchu The Movies", at:
Geoffrey Toone portrayed "Captain Jackson Sale". He had just portrayed private investigator "Steve Gardiner" for the first season of "ITV's" "The Odd Man". He would follow this motion picture with "The Villa", June 6, 1961, Season Three, Episode Thirty-two, of American televisions "One Step Beyond".
Above, Geoffrey Toone with Burt Kwouk, "Cato" in 1964's "A Shot in the Dark", 1975's "The Return of the Pink Panther", 1976's,"The Pink Panther Strikes Again", 1978's "Revenge of the Pink Panther", and 1982's "Trail of the Pink Panther", portraying "Mr. Ming" in this feature.
Yvonne Monlaur portrayed "Lee". She had just appeared in the previously mentioned, "It Started in Naples", and followed this feature with the, 1961, Italian film, "Gerachi si muore".
The Basic Screenplay:
In the year 1910, a group of Chinese are fighting against the Tongs, a secret organization (brotherhood) of criminals. "Mr. Ming", an agent of the group is sailing to Hong Kong and meets British sea "Captain Jackson Sale", who lives with his daughter, "Helena", portrayed by Barbara Brown, in the actresses sixteenth of her eighteen roles.
"Mr. Ming" hides a note about the "Red Dragon Tong", the largest tong in Hong Kong inside a book of poetry he has given "Jackson Sale" as a gift for "Helena". "Sale" is indifferent to the "Red Dragon Tong", because it doesn't affect him. The note is for "Helena's" servant, another agent fighting the "Red Dragon".
The head of the "Red Dragon Tong", "Chung King", orders the ceremonial murder of "Mr. Ming". This is carried out in a very populated location with a ceremonial axe and gauntlet. However, "Mr. Ming" is able to kill his assassin also.
Other tong members search the body of "Mr. Ming", but find no incriminating note that could have hurt their cause as they were led to believe he had.
"Chung King" now orders the death of anyone who might have received information from "Mr. Ming".
The "Red Dragon" knows that "Mr. Ming" had contact with "Captain Sale" and members of the tong go to his home, search it, and kill both "Helena" and her servant.
Returning home, and learning of his daughter's murder, "Captain Jackson Sale" vows revenge against the "Red Dragon Tong". While the note is delivered to "Chung King".
"Inspector Bob Dean", portrayed by Richard Leech, warns "Sales" not to investigate on his own, but "Sale" ignores the inspectors advise.
As "Captain Sale" continues to investigate he gets into a fight with a tong member and kills the man. The man's wife, "Lee", explains being half-Chinese she was forced into a loveless marriage and decides to help "Jackson Sale" against the "Red Dragon". He is worried about her safety and tells her to stay at his house. This will lead to a romance.
"Sale" is kidnapped and tortured by the tong to discover what he knows.
A "Beggar", portrayed by Marne Maitland, who is an agent of the group attempting to stop the "Red Dragon Tong", will rescue a badly tortured "Captain Jackson Sale" and bring him to his home and "Lee".
The beggar visits "Captain Sale" and gives him two choices to make.
One, if he only cares about his own life, he should leave China now.
Two, if he cares about bringing down the tongs, he should stay in China, and become a target of a ceremonial murder.
IF he survives the second choice in front of a crowd of people. That might be the spark the beggar needs to get the people to finally rebel against "Chung King" and the "Red Dragon Tong".
"Captain Jackson Sale" decides to stay and fight the tong.
That same night at the port, the attack on "Sale" is to take place, but "Lee" suspects something else, even more sinister, is really going on. She rushes to the port to save the man she loves. The assassin appears in front of a group of people at the port and moves on "Captain Sale", but "Lee" gets in the assassin's way and is shot. "Sale" reacts by shooting the tong assassin and "Lee" dies in his arms.
The beggar takes the advantage of the moment and incites the people into the start of a revolution which will bring down the "Red Dragon".
The enraged crowd now reaches the headquarters of the "Red Dragon Tong" in Hong Kong, they are yelling for the death of its leader, "Chung King". However, before they can do anything, "Chung King" sets himself on fire, hoping his ancestors will not be disappointed in him.
Next, Jimmy Sangster wrote a motion picture that was either the:
best film he made ever,
if the actor was Christopher Lee. Because, according to Chris Fellner, in his 2019, "The Encyclopedia of Hammer Films", Christopher Lee stated:
it had the best cast, best director, and the best story.
Or, the feature was:
the worst film she ever made,
if the actress was Ann Todd. Because, according to Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes, 2007, "Taste of Fear": The Hammer Story: The Authorized History of Hammer Films", Ann Todd stated that she couldn't stand:
Susan Strasberg's "Method Acting".
TASTE OF FEAR premiered in London on March 30, 1961.
The Back Story according to Chris Fellner, in his 2019, "The Encyclopedia of Hammer Films". Jimmy Sangster originally wrote the story for producer Sidney Box, the James Mason and Ann Todd's, 1945, "The Seventh Veil", and Fredric March's, 1949, "Christopher Columbus", but Box became very ill. The project was turned over to his brother-in-law, Peter Rodgers, producer of the classic British comedy "Carry On" series.
At which point, Jimmy Sangster bought the unmade film rights from Rodgers and sold it to Michael Carreras upon the condition that he was allowed to produce his screenplay.
The motion picture was directed by Seth Holt. This would be Holt's second directing assignment, his first was co-directing 1958's, 'Nowhere to Go", starring American actor George Nader and Maggie Smith, that he had co-wrote. Seth Holt was primarily a film editor.
Susan Strasberg, daughter of New York stage director and method acting teacher Lee Strasberg, portrayed "Penny Appleby". She had just starred in 1960's, "Kapo", set in a concentration camp for Jews and co-produced by Italian, French, and Yugoslavian film companies. Strasberg followed this film by co-starring with Louis Jourdan and Curd (Curt) Jurgens in the Italian and French, 1962, "Disorder".
Ronald Lewis portrayed "Robert". Lewis was primarily in historical dramas during the 1950's, such as the Korda Brothers, 1955, "Storm Over the Nile", and director Robert Wise's, 1956 epic, "Helen of Troy". However, by this time he seemed to have been reduced to psychological trillers. Ronald Lewis had just been in director Val Guest's, 1960, "Stop Me Before I Kill!", and would follow this feature with director William Castle's, 1961, "Mr. Sardonicus".
Ann Todd portrayed "Jane Appleby". English actress Todd had started in films in 1931, but it was the previously mentioned 1945, "The Seventh Veil", that brought her to international attention. In 1947, she co-starred with Gregory Peck in the crime drama, "The Paradine Case". Between 1954 and this motion picture, Ann Todd was appearing in major television dramas on both sides of the pond and only made a couple of feature films.
Christopher Lee portrayed "Dr. Pierre Gerrard". Yes, Lee's character had the same name and profession as in Jimmy Sangster's "The Man Who Could Cheat Death". Christopher Lee followed this motion picture with "The Sorcerer", May 23, 1961, Season Three, Episode Thirty-one, of televisions "One Step Beyond".
I have deliberately not told my reader anything specific about this picture. However, as I have learned, many horror/thriller film historians consider "Taste of Fear/Scream of Fear" an overlooked and almost forgotten psychological thriller masterpiece from "Hammer Film Productions" and Jimmy Sangster.
With that in mind, as of this writing the following link will take my reader to the complete original British version of Jimmy Sangster's screenplay.
The following is the accompanying British description to the above link:
Janette Scott portraying "Eleanor Ashby". In 1953, 15-years-old Scott portrayed 12-years-old "Elspeth Honey", the daughter of James Stewart in the excellent "No Highway in the Sky", co-starring Marlene Dietrich and Gynis Johns. Scott had just appeared in the motion picture song writer/actor Richard O'Brien had immortalized her with the lyric "And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills", 1963's, "The Day of the Triffids". The actress followed this feature with the historical drama, 1963's, "Siege of the Saxons"
Three-years after the plane crash, the eldest son, 15-years-old "Tony", jumps in the sea and drowns. "Tony" had left a suicide note, but his body was never recovered!
Eight-years-later, the youngest son, "Simeon", is a cruel spendthrift alcoholic, who is trying to convince everyone that his sister, "Eleanor" is insane. "Eleanor" has been in a state of depression ever since the death of her "best friend", "Tony", and "Simeon" needs "Eleanor" committed so he can control all the family's wealth.
That is all I will tell my reader and, as of this writing, the following link will take my reader to "Paranoiac".
Staying in his psychological thriller genre, the next story and screenplay for Jimmy Sangster was:
MANIAC released in the United Kingdom on May 20, 1963
The motion picture was both produced and written by Jimmy Sangster and the movie is below the writer's past screenplays.
A couple of reviewers felt that Jimmy Sangster must have seen director Henri-Georges Clouzot's original 1955 French film, "Les diaboliques (Diabolique) more than once. After my watching this movie, there is something to that thought.
American artist "Jeff Farrell" is vacationing with his girlfriend in Camarga, France, and he dumps her. At a local bar, "Jeff" meets 18-years-old waitress, "Annette Beynat". "Jeff" is attracted to "Annette", but it is her stepmother, "Eve", that seduces him, and he starts an affair with.
"Eve" has an ulterior motive for the affair and wants "Jeff" to help her break "Annette's" father, her husband, out of the asylum he was placed in four-years-ago. He was charged with murdering "Annette's" rapist with a blow torch. "Jeff", as many reviewers mention, doesn't do the logical thing of breaking off the relationship when he is asked to break the law, but agrees to help "Eve" in her plan.
There are twists within twists to this screenplay and the viewer may wish Jimmy Sangster would stop them until they reach the last twist in the climax. The only character, in my opinion and some reviewers, that is really interesting is "Inspector Etienne", portrayed very low keyed by George Pastell. Whose character seems to suspect, or does know, the actual reason for what is happening on-screen and the actual person behind it.
Like the other writers Jimmy Sangster's screenplay for the British television series was designed as a feature length motion picture for release in the United States and other countries. A British CID Detective is lured into a plot by a girl that pretends to be in love with him. She is murdered and everything points to the detective, but then there's the discovery of a twin sister.
Jimmy Sangster was once more teamed up with director Freddie Francis for the psychological thriller:
NIGHTMARE first released in West Germany on February 28, 1964. The picture would come to the United Kingdom on April 19, 1964, and the United States on June 17, 1964.
Then, added that it proved that writing this type of screenplay for "Hammer Film Productions" put:
an increasing burden of late for the writer, Jimmy Sangster, in his efforts to find even the slightest variations
As I mentioned above, Freddie Francis was assigned to direct. Francis hadn't worked on anything since "Paranoiac" and would follow this film with writer and producer Anthony Hinds', 1964, "The Evil of Frankenstein".
David Knight portrayed "Henry Baxter". Right before this motion picture, Knight was eighth-billed in 1962's, "The Devil's Agent". David Knight followed this motion picture with the role of "Dudley Knightshade", in "Trial and Error", Episode Two, Season One, of the television series, "Laughter from the Whitehall"."
Moria Redmond portrayed "Grace Maddox". She had just appeared in "Another World", Season Four, Episode Ten, of the television series "Maigret", on December 3, 1963. She would follow this movie by appearing in "The Case of the Elegant Mistress", Season Three, Episode Five, May 2, 1964, on "Sergeant Cork"
"Janet" is a student at a finishing school who witnessed her mother stab and kill her father. That happened six-years ago, but "Janet" still has nightmares. "Janet's" mother was committed to a asylum.
The nightmares continue for "Janet" about a white-shrouded woman roaming the corridors of the house, and inviting "Janet" in her parent's room.
"Grace" now gets the impression that "Janet" has escaped the asylum and is coming after her. "Grace" under growing fear, stabs "Henry" to death,
Now, "Mrs. Lewis", "Mrs. Gibb", and "John" reveal that they were on to "Grace" and "Henry's" plan to drive "Janet" crazy. The three decided to get revenge for "Janet" on both of them. The three reveal that "Janet" is doing well and on the road to full recovery. As the police arrive, "Grave" finally snaps on her way to the same asylum "Janet" is at.
Taking a break from psycho's, Jimmy Sangster returned to pirates.
THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES premiered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1964 and wouldn't reach the United Kingdom until July 19, 1964 in Leicester, Leicestershire.
The story and screenplay were both by Jimmy Sangster. "Pirates of Blood River" had been a financial success for "Hammer Film Productions" and they approached Sangster to write another. According to Christopher Koetting's article in the magazine "Hammer Horror", issue four, June 1995, page nine,
Sharp had just made his first feature for Hammer, Kiss of the Vamireand was invited back to work at the studio by Tony Hinds. Sharp says the film was aimed at the school holiday market so it needed to have a "U" certificate. "But they wanted it to look like a X film. So we had an action film with kids in it," said Sharp.
I started this article mentioning the British rating system for motion picture. For those of my readers unfamiliar with the system, a "U" Certificate is "Suitable for All Ages".
Christopher Lee portrayed "Captain Robeles". Lee had just co-starred with Israeli actress Daliah Lavi in director Mario Bava's 1963 horror film, "La frusta e il corpo (The Whip and the Body)". He would follow this feature film with "The Sign of Satan", co-written by Robert Bloch, "Psycho", and Barre Lyndon, May 8, 1964, on televisions "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour".
Andrew Keir portrayed "Tom". Keir had just portrayed the real-life "John Brown", in "The Devil and John Brown", set in 1845, on "Studio '64", February 23, 1964, part of the television series, "Drama 61 - 67". Andrew Keir would follow this motion picture by portraying "Polybius" in producer Samuel Bronston's, 1964 epic, "Fall of the Roman Empire", starring Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Sir Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, and James Mason.
This is a pirate film that could have been made during the first half of the 1950's in Hollywood, in short, it is fun.
Another plot point, I've mentioned, in Jimmy Sangster's screenplay to push that "U-rating", is that the village is full of children that interact with the pirate crew.
Next for John Sansom was a West German and British co-production of an Edgar Wallace novel.
"Rialto" borrowed Jimmy Sangster to write the screenplay, and as this was a 1927 Edgar Wallace novel, Sangster used his pen name of John Sansom.
Note: the position of the actor's names on the two above posters and the addition of Klaus Kinski and Eddi Arent on the German. With that in mind, here is the list per the West German poster.
The Basic Screenplay:
Jimmy Sangster updated the story from 1927 to 1965. A business man is also a criminal master mind as a sideline. "Thrayne", plans to steal the English Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. He breaks out of prison, "Graham", who looks exactly like a guard on the tower. "Thrayne's" secretary, "Hope" knows nothing about the robbery, but unwittingly becomes involved. Her boyfriend is "Dick" the guard that "Graham" looks like. The robbery is going on as planned, but a tourist becomes involved after seeing "Hope" being kidnapped by "Thrayne's" gang. The intricate heist goes off as planned, but there's more to the intrigues of "Dinah Pawling" than "Thrayne" thought and they're caught.
HYSTERIA released in the United States in April 1965, and the United Kingdom on June 27, 1965.
Freddie Francis directed, and he followed this feature with the Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, 1965,"The Skull". About a man being possessed by the skull of the "Marquis de Sade".
In his apartment, through the walls, "Chris" keeps hearing a man and a woman arguing. While out in town, "Chris" sees a woman who resembles the one in the photograph. Next, he's about to take a shower, but finds a bloodied knife in it.
"Hemmings" has been putting things together and with the help of "Chris", the two set a trap for the woman's murderers. The two trick "Denise" and "Dr. Keller" into revealing they murdered the woman in the photo, "Keller's" wife. "Chris" with his amnesia was the perfect foil to set up into believing he murdered "Keller's" wife.
In the end "Chris" and "Gina" come together permanently.
THE NANNY premiered in London, on October 7, 1965, and in Detroit, Michigan, on October 27, 1965
American writer Miriam Levant's married name was Merriam Modell. She wrote short stories and novels using the pen name of Evelyn Piper. Her 1957 novel, "Bunny Lake Is Missing", became the 1965 motion picture, with the story moved from New York City to London, and starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley and Keir Dullea, directed by Otto Preminger.
Bette Davis portrayed "Nanny". The actress had started on-screen acting by co-starring with Conrad Nagel and Sidney Fox in 1931's, "Bad Sister". Immediately before this feature film, she co-starred with her number one, Hollywood leading lady competition over the years, Olivia de Havilland, in director Robert Aldrich's, 1964, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte".
Wendy Craig portrayed "Virginia Fane". She had just appeared in "A Couple of Dry Martinis", June 14, 1965, Season Ten, Episode Forty-one, of the "ITV Play of the Week", co-starring with Alan Badel. The actress followed this feature film with "I Can Only Offer You Sherry", March 19, 1966, on Patrick McGoohan's "Danger Man".
Welcome to a really dysfunctional family, before the now ten-years-old son "Joey", who has just spent the last two-years in a special school for emotionally disturbed children, returns home. The school's headmaster informed the boy's father, "Bill Fane", that "Joey" has an intense dislike for middle-aged-woman, but the school could not determine why? When "Joey" is picked-up, to return to their flat, in the back seat is his "Nanny", a middle-aged-woman.
When shown the room his "Nanny" has prepared for him. "Joey" refuses it and moves himself into a room with a strong lock on the door. This behavior upsets his mother, "Virginia", who is herself, neurotic over the death of "Susy" and believes "Joey" deliberately killed his sister. She breaks down frequently and cries over her dead little girl.
Two points that Jimmy Sangster's screenplay and Seth Holt's direction create to bring the audience further into the suspense of the feature.
When "Joey" arrives, the audience sees that the "Fane" flat is extremely modern looking for the year.
"Susy" is playing with one of her dolls in the bathroom and accidently drops one of her dolls in the bath tub. The shower curtain is drawn down the side of the tub and when "Susy" goes to get the doll, she falls into the tub behind the curtain. "Nanny" enters, does not see "Susy", and turns on the water on without looking in the tub.
Not being able to find "Susy" for her bath, the "Nanny" returns to the bath room. When she moves the curtain, face down in the water is "Susy". All of this being observed by "Joey", who then leaves before the "Nanny" notices him.
In the flat above the "Fane's" lives a doctor and his fourteen-years-old daughter, "Bobbie".
The next scene, has "Joey" showing up at "Bobbie's" window soaking wet and claiming the "Nanny" attempted to drown him.
The audience knows this is the present, because "Joey Fane" finishes his story sitting with "Bobbie Medman" in her room. Her father enters and "Dr. Medman" takes "Joey" back to his concerned "Aunt" and "Nanny". "Aunt Penn" leaves "Joey" in the care of "Her Nanny" and goes to the hospital to visit her sister. Returning to the "Fane" flat, "Penn" is surprised to find "Her Nanny" outside of "Joey's" room holding a pillow, claiming it was an extra one for "Joey". However, she remembers "Nanny" refused to permit the sisters to have pillows, because she was afraid that could suffocate under them. "Penn" now suspects that "Joey" was never lying. "The Nanny" reveals who she really is after all these years.
She wants to eliminate the only witness to her accidental mistake in caring for a child in her care. "Aunt Penn" starts to have a heart attack and "Nanny" takes her medicine away from "Penn".
"Nanny" attempts to enter "Joey's" room, but his make-shift alarm system wakes him as she gets past the door. He attempts to escape, but "Nanny" grabs him by the ankle, causing him to fall and is knocked unconscious. She carries "Joey" into the bathroom, fills the tub with water, and places him in it. Then the memory of finding "Susy's" body comes to her and she takes the boy out of the water saving his life.
The story cuts to "Dr. Medman" visiting "Virginia Fane" in her hospital room. He tells her "Nanny" is mentally ill and will receive treatment for her illness. He next tells her, that "Joey" is at the hospital and wants to see his mother. She will tell her son that she knows everything about "Nanny", "Joey" hugs his mother and now acts like any other normal ten-years-old boy.
I didn't speak in that picture. The reason was very simple. I read the script and saw the dialogue! I said to Hammer, if you think I'm going to say any of these lines, you're very much mistaken.
While, according to Jimmy Sangster, as reported by Wheeler W. Dixon, in "Hollywood in Crisis or: The Collapse of the Real", Palgrave Macmillan, August 13, 2016:
Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster disputed that account in his memoir Inside Hammer, writing that "Vampires don't chat. So I didn't write him any dialogue. Christopher Lee has claimed that he refused to speak the lines he was given...So you can take your pick as to why Christopher Lee didn't have any dialogue in the picture. Or you can take my word for it. I didn't write any.
However, besides credit to Bram Stoker for creating the original story. There was one other name mixed into the screenplay and he had the real power. Anthony Hinds, the son of the co-founder of "Hammer Film Productions" claimed the original story idea. Except his actual name was not on the motion picture, he used his pen name of John Elder (See my link about "Guy Endore", in "The Pirates of Blood River" section, for an interesting look at "John Elder").
Speaking of pen names, for some reason you will not find Jimmy Sangster's name on this feature, but his pen name of John Sansom.
As the above poster indicates, the motion picture, whichever story is the correct one, had three solid leading actors to go with a solid director.
Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula". Lee was just in 1965's, "The Skull", and followed this picture with the excellent, 1966, "Rasputin: The Mad Monk".
Barbara Shelley portrayed "Helen Kent". Prior to this motion picture, Barbara Shelley was in the Second World War story, 1965's, "The Secret of Blood Island", and she followed this picture with "Falling Star", an episode of the American Second World War television series, "12 O'Clock High", January 3, 1966.
Andrew Keir portrayed "Father Sandor". Keir had just been seen in "The Phantom Piper of Tannochbrae", November 21, 1965, a episode of the television series "Dr. Finlay's Casebook". He would follow this picture with one of the two controversial Peter Cushing "Dr. Who" films, 1966's, "Dalek's Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.". I'll leave the controversy to my fellow "Whovian's" across the pond.
Above, Andrew Keir on the right with Francis Matthews portraying "Charles Kent".
The Basic Screenplay:
The February, 1966, "Monthly Film Bulletin" wrote:
Apart from one or two welcome innovations–notably the sort of Instant Vampire recipe by which Dracula is resuscitated, and his final destruction by drowning rather than by the usual procedures–this is the same old hash as before ... The interiors are quite tastefully decorated, but script, direction and acting (except for Philip Latham's sinister butler, and Andrew Keir's forthright Father Sandor) leave much to be desired.
After the opening with Peter Cushing, the story has "Father Sandor" lecturing the local authorities over disposing a local woman's corpse as if it was a vampire. Reminding everyone that "Count Dracula" was destroyed 10-years earlier.
At a local inn, "Father Sandor" meets four English tourists looking for a thrill. He warns the four "Kents", "Diana", portrayed by Suszan Farmer, "Charles", "Helen", and "Alan", portrayed by Charles "Bud" Tingwell to stay away from the town of Karlsbad. Of course. all he does in stir their curiosity.
They decide to go to Karlsbad, but as night approaches, their coach driver abandons them, turns around, and head back to the town he came from.
The four are next met by a driverless coach and taken to castle, where the dining room table is set for four guests.
Note: Castle Dracula above, is not really the same as Castle Dracula in 1958, below. He apparently moved from his earlier castle near Klausenberg, to a more Gothic looking castle higher in the mountains around Karlsbad.
There they meet "Klove", portrayed by Philip Latham, who explains to the four that his late master, "Count Dracula", always wanted his table set to welcome strangers. After they have eaten, "Klove" shows them to their rooms.
The story now turns to using the four English travelers by "Klove" to bring his master back to life, or more correctly undead life. The movie in many respects is the best of the entire series, except for the facts that Christopher Lee's "Dracula" does not make his appearance until somewhere between a third and half the movie and does not speak.
Hearing noises during the night, "Alan" decides to investigate and will end up dead, thanks to "Klove", with "Alan''s" blood dripping onto "Dracula's" ashes from the 1958 feature we saw blowing away.
The mixing of "Alan's" blood with the counts ashes brings the Count back. Next, "Klove" entices "Helen" into the crypt and she becomes the count's first victim.
The next morning, "Charles" and "Diana" cannot find either "Klove", "Alan", or "Helen". "Charles" takes "Diana" to a woodman's hut, leaves her there, and returns to the castle and searches for the other two "Kent's". Meanwhile, "Klove", tricks "Diana" to return to the castle. As "Charles" finds the body of "Alan" in a trunk within the crypt, as night falls, and the count rises from his coffin.
"Diana" encounters "Helen", now a vampire, that attacks, but before "Helen" can bite the other, "Dracula" appears and stops her. Before "Dracula" can make "Diana" his next bride, "Charles" now enters and starts to struggle with the count. "Diana" realizes her crucifix is a weapon against the undead and that gives "Charles" a chance to create a large cross ala "Van Helsing".
"Charles" drives "Dracula" away for the moment, taking "Diana", the two escape the castle in a carriage, but the steep roads cause "Charles" to lose control of the carriage and it crashes in the woods. Carrying an unconscious "Diana" for several hours, they are finally rescued by "Father Sandor", who takes them to his Abby.
"Klove" shows up at the Abby with two coffins containing both "Dracula" and "Helen". He is refused entry, but "Father Sandor" knows the Count will find another way in. That comes when "Ludwig", a patient at the Abby and a new thrall of the Count invites him in.
"Diana" has regained consciousness and sees "Helen" at the widow. Now, the vampire is able to convince the other that she is free of the Count's control and escaped. "Diana" lets her inside the Abby and is immediately bitten on the arm, but "Dracula" appears, pulls "Helen" off of "Diana", claiming her for himself.
"Charles" again breaks into the room and manages to drive the two vampires off. "Father Sandor" sterilizes the bite on "Diana's" arm with the heat of an oil lamp and with "Charles" assistance, places silver crosses in the two coffins used by the two vampires.
This is followed by "Helen" being captured in the Abby and a stake driven into her heart.
Later, "Ludwig" is able to lure "Diana" into the presence of "Dracula". The count is able to hypnotize "Diana" into removing her crucifix and wants her to drink his blood from the cut he makes on his chest.
Once again it is "Charles" who stops the count's immediate plans and "Dracula" flees with the unconscious "Diana" in a wagon driven by "Kloves". Who had apparently removed the silver crosses from the two coffins that are now in the wagon. "Charles" and "Sandor" get on horses and are able to get ahead of the wagon.
As the wagon arrives by the castle's moat, "Charles" is able to shoot "Kloves". "Diana" is rescued as "Dracula's" coffin is thrown onto the ice that's covers the moat's water. "Charles" attempts to stake "Dracula", but the count springs out of his coffin and attacks him.
"Father Sandor" shoots the ice and as it breaks, "Diana" rescues "Charles", but "Count Dracula" slips under the ice and is frozen within the moat.
WHO'S HUGH "BULLDOG" DRUMMOND?
After an unsuccessful first appearance in England's "The Strand Magazine", author H. C. McNeile. reworked his First World War character into a "Gentleman Adventurer" in 1920. Before his death in 1937, McNeile had written ten "Bulldog Drummond" novels, four short stories, four stage plays, and one screenplay about his character.
McNeile's friend, writer Gerard Fairlie continued the series between 1938 and 1954, with seven more novels.
A "Bulldog Drummond" radio series had two runs, April 13, 1947 - January 12, 1949, and January 3, 1954 - March 28, 1954, with Sir Cedric Hardwicke in the role,
Between 1922 and this motion picture, twenty-two motion pictures about the character were made, and one other followed this film in 1969. Among the actors portraying "Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond" on-screen, where, Ronald Colman, Sir Ralph Richardson, Ray Milland, Walter Pidgeon, and in seven features, John Howard.
Jimmy Sangster came up with the story and co-wrote the screenplay. The other two writers were David Osborn, this was his tenth of only fifteen screenplays, and Liz Charles-Williams, this was the first of only four screenplays.
Ralph Thomas directed, he had started directing in 1949. He directed some of Sir Dirk Bogarde, "Doctor" comedy films, and without on-screen credit, some of the popular "Carry On" comedy series. Thomas also directed Bogarde and Sylva Koscina in a "James Bond" rip-off, 1964's, "Agent 8 3/4".
Richard Johnson portrayed "Hugh Drummond". He had been director Terence Fischer's choice to play "James Bond" in 1962's, "Dr. No". In 1963, he starred in director Robert Wise's, "The Haunting", in 1966, Johnson had third-billing behind Charlton Heston and Sir Laurence Olivier, in the Cinerama epic story of British General, "Charles 'Chinese' Gordon", "Khartoum".
Elke Sommer portrayed "Irma Eckman". German actress Sommer became internationally known with director Blake Edwards' sequel to his 1963, "The Pink Panther", 1964's, "A Shot in the Dark". In 1968, she would be in the Dean Martin, "Matt Helm", "The Wrecking Crew".
Sylva Koscina portrayed "Penelope". Her father was Greek, her mother Polish, and she is known as an Italian actress. She is best remembered for co-starring with Steve Reeves in 1958's, "Hercules", and its sequel, "Hercules Unchained", as his wife.
Nigel Green portrayed "Carl Peterson". Speaking of "Hercules", Green portrayed him in stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1963, "Jason and the Argonauts". Among his other roles is "Colour-Sergeant Bourne", in 1963, "Zulu", starring Stanley Baker, and a fifth-billed, internationally unknown, Michael Caine. Speaking of Michael Caine and stardom. Nigel Green portrayed "Major Dalby" in Caine's, 1965's, "The Ipcress File". The same year, Green portrayed British author Sax Rohmer's, "Nayland Smith" in 1965', "The Face of Fu Manchu", starring Christopher Lee.
This was the 1960's and everyone was ripping off "James Bond". Like turning American author Donald Hamilton's "Matt Helm" into a "Bond Clone". This screenplay turned H. C. McNeile's, "Bulldog Drummond" into "Bulldog Bond".
The screenplay had "Drummond" chasing two "Bond-Girls", oops, "Peterson's Assassination Girls" to eventually stop "Carl Peterson". Along the way, "Hugh" falls for "Peterson's" secretary. "Grace", portrayed by British actress Suzanna Leigh, below.
Next, Jimmy Sangster produced and wrote for Bette Davis a second time.
THE ANNIVERSARY premiered in London on January 11, 1968 and premiered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 7, 1968
Jimmy Sangster wrote a "Black Comedy" screenplay tailored and rewritten for Bette Davis, based upon the 1968 play by Bill Macllwraith.
For those not familiar with what "Black Comedy" is, the website, "Filmmaking Lifestyle",
https://filmlifestyle.com/what-is-black-comedy/, explains it this way:
The motion picture was directed by Roy Ward Baker, the Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming, and William Lundigan, 1953 3-D, "Inferno", 1958's classic "Titantic" film, "A Night to Remember", and 1967's, "Quatrmass and the Pit".
Director Alvin Rakoff had been fired by Jimmy Sangster ten-days into shooting the picture. According to the 1974 biography, "Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis", by Whitney Stine and Bette Davis. Alvin Rakoff clashed over how the role was to be played and Davis felt that he:
didn't have the first fundamental knowledge of making a motion picture, let alone what an actor was all about
Rakoff countered with:
Not the most rational woman one can meet. But a great screen actress. She didn’t want a director. She wanted someone enthralled to her.
Bette Davis portrayed "Mrs. Taggart". On October 1, 1966, Davis had appeared in Season Twelve, Episode Three, of the television western, "Gunsmoke", entitled "The Jailer". She followed this motion picture with an episode of Robert Wagner's television series, "It Takes a Thief", entitled "Touch of Magic", January 26, 1970.
Sheila Hancock recreated her stage role of "Karen Taggart". Hancock had just been seen on-screen in the 1967 comedy, "How I Won the War", starring Michael Crawford and "Beatle", John Lennon. She followed this motion picture with the March 18, 1968 television episode of " Beryl Reid Says Good Evening".
The three sons gather to celebrate mom and dad's wedding anniversary. Oh, did I forget to say he died ten-years-ago?
The eldest son, "Henry", is a cross-dresser.
The middle son, "Terry", plans to migrate to Canada with his shrewish wife, "Karen", and their five-children.
The youngest son, "Tom", is a promiscuous philanderer and arrives with his pregnant girlfriend, "Shirley".
Each has his reason to want to get away from their mother.
There is a downside to the picture as described by "TV Guide":
Davis is great, but the film suffers from the staginess of the play on which it was based.
The director was Roy Ward Baker, he had just filmed "The First Space Western", 1969's, "Moon Zero Two", for "Hammer Film Productions". He followed this picture with "But What a Sweet Room", December 14, 1969, for the British television series, "My Partner the Ghost".
Sebastian Cabot portrayed "Max". Cabot was also known to American television audiences for co-starring in the detective series "Checkmate" 1960 - 1962, "The Beachcomber" 1962, and his voice as the narrator for several animated stories on "The Magical World of World Disney", including "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" 1956 - 1967. He would follow this made-for-television movie with the second Jimmy Sangster.
"John Smith" is an ex-Intelligence Spy who now works as a private eye and has a new girlfriend named, "Mary Harper". He is accused of murdering the husband of his ex-wife.
A Russian agent is arrested in London, and "Max" wants "John Smith" to participate in a secret mission behind the "Iron Curtain", negotiating a spy exchange. When "Smith" refuses the mission, his American girlfriend, "Mary Harper", is threatened with immediate deportation from the United Kingdom, because of "an error" in her visa. "Smith" realizes this is the devious "Max" at work, and reluctantly agrees.
CREDCENDO released on June 7, 1970 in the United Kingdom and strangely not in the United States until November 29, 1972
The Cambridge Dictionary defines "Convoluted" simply as:
very twistedThat is a good explanation of how this movie came about.
Sometime during the first-half of the 1960's, British television drama writer, Alfred Shaughnessy, the future primary writer for "Upstairs, Downstairs", 1971 - 1975, wrote an original, unproduced, stage play.
At the start of 1966, director Michael Reeves, the Barbara Steele, 1966, "The She Beast", approached "Hammer Film Productions", with the play and his plan to turn it into a movie. James Carreras, co-founder of the studio, tried unsuccessfully, for two-years, to get financing even with American actress Joan Crawford signed to portray "Danielle Rymer". The project was dropped at the end of 1967, because the needed money could not be raised.
Apparently, something changed, and in 1969, Jimmy Sangster was given the play and told to turn it into a working screenplay.
Alan Gibson, a Canadian born British television drama director, was assigned to the film. Even though Michael Reeves was available. Gibson would direct two of Christopher Lee's "Dracula" series, 1972's, "Dracula 1972 A.D.", and 1973's, "The Satanic Rites of Dracula". He had previously directed three-episodes of televisions "Journey to the Unknown", 1968 - 1969.
Stefanie Powers portrayed "Susan Roberts". Powers had just been in an episode of the Robert Wagner television series, "It Takes a Thief", "Fortune City", on February 2, 1970. She followed this movie with Walt Disney Productions, 1970, "The Boatniks".
Prior to this feature film, Scott was in "Dangerous Corner", May 2, 1970, on "ITV Saturday Night Theatre". She would follow this film with "The Dead Live Longer", September 14, 1970, on the television series, "Ryan International".
The premise is familiar, a young music student, "Susan Roberts", comes to the south of France to research a composer named "Henry Ryman" for her master's thesis. "Danielle Ryman", the composer's widow, had answered "Susan's" letter and invited her to stay at the "Ryman" home with complete access to "Henry's" papers.
Once at the house, "Susan" is introduced to "Danielle's" son "Georges", who is wheelchair bound, from an accident six-years before that ended a promising tennis career.
There are only two other people at this isolated house, the valet, "Carter", and the maid, "Lillianne".
Secrets start to slowly revel themselves, "Danielle" is suffering from dementia, and has decided that after meeting "Susan", she is the perfect mate/wife for "Georges" to guarantee that genius of his father will carry-on. The problem is he is not musically inclined, but mother's dementia won't permit her to see his real self and as "Susan" will discover, "Danielle" is just a little bit psychotic.
While, "Lillianne" is oversexed, swims naked, and wants "Georges" to marry her so she can be wealthy for the rest of her life. Another aspect of their relationship (?) is that she keeps feeding him drugs, because "George" is a heroin addict. A dependency that "Susan" will learn is also helped on by "Danielle".
Not to forget the valet, "Carter", who seems to know more about the family secrets then he lets on.
"Georges" reveals that "Susan" is almost a doppelganger of his lost love, "Catherine", portrayed by Danish actress Kirsten Lindholm, billed as Kirsten Betts, below. "Catherine" just mysteriously left "Georges" after the accident without even one word of explanation.
What other secrets will "Susan" learn that might cost the young student her life, and was her interest in "Henry Ryman" preplanned by someone she never knew?
Other than the first movie mentioned, what do the others have to do with Jimmy Sangster?
Jeremy Burnham brought his screenplay, a direct remake of "The Curse of Frankenstein". to "Hammer Film Productions". The executives didn't like what they read and asked Jimmy Sangster to do the rewrite. At first, he didn't want too, but after getting an agreement to direct and produce, Sangster agreed. The original Jeremy Burnham title was just "Frankenstein", and the new title became "Horrors of Frankenstein", until it was released as "The Horror of Frankenstein".
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley received full credit for the novel and one might wonder what she would have felt about the "Black Comedy/Gallows Humor" version Jimmy Sangster wrote? An example has "Frankenstein" running electricity into a detached hand and arm. The fingers start to move and the middle one gives a very recognizable jester to the audience.
David Prowse, billed Dave Prowse portraying "The Monster". David Prowse portrayed the body of director George Lucas' "Star Wars" character, "Darth Vader", but not the voice. He was also "Julian" in director Stanley Kubrick's, 1971, "Clockwork Orange", and a "Minotaur", in episodes five and six, of "Time Monster", June 17, and June 24, 1972, on the "BBC's", "Dr. Who".
Jimmy Sangster's screenplay, without knowing what the original by Jeremy Burnham looked like, is best described as a good idea gone wrong. One cannot say that Sangster doesn't do "Black Comedy" well, as "The Anniversary" showed. However, he tries to make comedy out of what should have been, and feels like, a straight horror movie. Four years later, Mel Brooks', 1974's, "Young Frankenstein", succeeds, because it is a true comical parody of "Universal Pictures" 1931 "Frankenstein" and 1935 "Bride of Frankenstein". The director of both originals, James Whale, would have gotten it and loved it.
David Bedwell, January 29, 2018, on the website, "frame rated", describes Jimmy Sangster's problem https://www.framerated.co.uk/horror-frankenstein-1970 correctly, as:
The biggest issue is with the lead character, as this version of Frankenstein is just so different from what we’ve come to expect. Cushing’s version had a tension and calculated nature about him, while Bates’s version seems unfocused and more interested in women than science. That’s not to say he doesn’t find time for killing and when he does he definitely finds enjoyment in it, but Horror of Frankenstein feels far more of a mishmash of ideas than anything Hammer produced before. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be.
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE released in the United Kingdom on January 17, 1971, and in the United States on September 2, 1971
This was the second movie from "Hammer Film Productions" based upon Irish writer Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu's, 1872 novel, "Carmilla". A work that is overlooked by the popularity of Irish writer Abraham "Bram" Stoker's, 1897 novel, "Dracula". In 1936, "Universal Pictures" made a sequel to the studio's 1931, "Dracula", "Dracula's Daughter", using Le Fanu's novel as the basis for the screenplay. That movie and this one are a part of my article "Not the Same Old VAMPIRE Movies, or Get Your Dentures Away from My Jugular Vein" at:
The screenplay was by Tudor Gates, a British television writer known for creating and writing 1966 - 1968, "Vendetta". In 1968, Gates was one of the ten-writers who worked on director Roger Vadim's, "Barbarella".
Jimmy Sangster had nothing to do with the writing of the Lesbian vampire screenplay, but became the movie's director in a roundabout way. Terence Fisher was the original director, but he was seriously injured in a car accident prior to the start of shooting. Actor and casting director Harry Fine was to take over, but that fell through. So, Jimmy Sangster was asked to direct.
According to Roy Fowler and Rodney Giesler, in three-interviews, November 26, 2003, February 19, 2004, and September 14, 2004, with Tudor Gates, for the website "The British Entertainment History Project",
Gates stated that Jimmy Sangster clashed with the producers during production, because they wanted to insert a pop-song, like used in the bicycle riding sequence in director George Roy Hill's, 1969, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". An unknown teenage girl singer named "Tracy" recorded the song "Strange Love", not to be confused with the same title of a 1987 song by English group, Depeche Mode.
The British Board of Censors also got into what Jimmy Sangster was filming, because of the amount of Lesbian sequences in the first movie, 1970's, "The Vampire Lovers". The amount of Lesbianism in this screenplay, which was based upon the same Lesbian vampire story, was cut, even to having "Carmilla" fall in love with a man.
Returning to the August 18, 2008 interview with Jimmy Sangster, for the "The British Entertainment Project", he called "Lust for a Vampire" the worst motion picture he ever made.
A TASTE OF EVIL made for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and first shown on October 12, 1971
The screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster, with twists and turns. Admitted by Sangster, on the "Extra's" track for "The Horror of Frankenstein", is that his screenplay was nothing more then an American rewrite of "A Taste of Fear". However, with an added opening rape, off-screen, of a 13-years-old teenage girl. A strange start to a made-for-television movie shown at 8:30 on a Tuesday night, in an Aaron Spelling production.
As I've mentioned, 13-years-old "Susan Wilcox", portrayed by Dawn Fame, is raped in the woods by an unseen person.
All of the above will lead to Jimmy Sangster's double conspiracy climatic ending. Which I will not spoil for my reader, because, at the time of this writing. The following link will take them to "A Taste of Evil".
Actress Shelley Winters requested that Curtis Harrington direct this motion picture. He had already directed her and Debbie Reynolds in another subgenre known as "Psycho-biddy", in 1971's,"What's the Matter with Helen?". For those unfamiliar with the genre of "Psycho-biddy", Rebecca Pahle, in her October 24, 2019, "A primer for the unexpectedly awesome hagsploitation horror subgenre", on the "SYFY" website, defines:
The psycho-biddy is the figure at the center of the "hagsploitation" — also known as "hag horror" or "grand dame Guignol" — genre, a particular subset as horror that has as a prerequisite for its existence Hollywood's disdain for older women... that, in subversive fashion, gives these women some of the best roles of their later careers.
If you do not recognize the name Curtis Harrington, look him up for an interesting read. The following is from my article on actress Luana Anders, about Harrington's 1961, "Night Tide", starring Dennis Hopper.
The story is meant to be a Fantasy Film, but some reviewers look at it as a pure Horror Film, or a Psychological Thriller.
Curtis Harrington wrote the original short story, turned it into a screenplay, and directed the feature film.
Harrington started out as a film critic and became an underground film maker. It was Curtis Harrington, a fan of director James Whale's, forgotten at the time, 1932, "The Old Dark House", who is responsible for locating a print at the "Columbia Pictures" studio. "Columbia" had purchased the rights to the film from "Universal Pictures" years before for a proposed remake that was never shot. Harrington acquired the print and convinced the now, "Universal International Pictures", to restore the print and release "The Old Dark House" again.
Curtis Harrington was also considered a forerunner to what would be called in the 1990's, "New Queer Cinema". Harrington never hid his sexuality, but in the underground film world it was never a problem for him.
Curtis Harrington, after reading Robert Blees' screenplay hired Gavin Lambert to rewrite it. Directly prior to this screenplay, two of Lambert's novels were used as basis for screenplays. In 1965, he wrote the screenplay based upon his own novel for "Inside Daisy Clover", and next, his novel "The Style of the Countess", became an August 24, 1970, drama on "ITV Playhouse".
This is the most likely as it is based upon Curtis Harrington's, 2013, "Nice Guys Don't Work in Hollywood: The Adventures of An Aesthete in the Movie Business". published by "Drag City", Chicago, Illinois.
The original adaption of "Hansel and Gretel" was by Jimmy Sangster writing as James Sangster. However, he does not get credit for that, but as a co-screenplay writer according to "American International Pictures" official cast and crew records. On them, the story credit stays with David Osborn, but what his actual role in writing the screenplay was, I could not clarify.
Arkoff and Nicholson did hire Robert Blees and Curtis Harrington hired Gavin Lambert not to rewrite the entire screenplay, but worked on improving the dialogue. As to the screenplay, Harrington had Jimmy Sangster work on that also.
The setting is sometime during the 1920's-, and one-time American movie star, "Rosie Forrest", now lives alone in a lavish mansion in the English countryside. Her husband was a magician and their young daughter died in a tragic accident some years ago that "Rosie" blames on herself.
Now, every year, "Mrs. Rosie Forrest", who loves to recreate her once motion picture lifestyle by wearing gowns and jewelry from her past, throws a lavish Christmas Party for the ten best mannered children from the local orphanage.
There's a slight problem, "Auntie Roo" in demented and mentally ill, and keeps the mummified body of her daughter, Katherine, in the attic that she sings too and acts as if she's still alive.
The question is who is really the most mentally ill and evil, "Rosie Forrest", or the obsessed with "Hansel and Gretel" "Christopher"? For that matter which one is the most sympathetic character?
In the end obsession wins over "Christopher's" mind, and with the help of his sister rescued from the Witch. "Hansel" and "Gretel" steal all of the Witch's jewelry and valuables, place them in a teddy bear that belonged to "Katherine", fight their way out of the "Ginger Bread House" against the Witch, after having set the mansion on fire, with "Rosie Forrest" trapped inside.
While, the butcher, "Mr. Harrison", portrayed by Hugh Griffith, that was delivering food saw the fire, and got the local fire brigade, as "Katy" and "Christopher" serenely walk by them.
Tell me, if you've heard this one before?
The film didn't come to the United States until October 1974, but could have in 1963, nine-years before it was made.
However, my above question is answered by the fact that Barnes and Hearn speak to this produced and directed by Jimmy Sangster feature film under the heading of "Taste of Fear".
A review on the website for London's, "Time Out (magazine)", confirms the obvious and explain the screenplay:
One of those neatly constructed but slightly mechanical psycho-thrillers which make you feel as if someone is pushing buttons connected to electrodes in your brain. Geeson plays a young woman recovering from a nervous breakdown who is terrorised into wanting to kill the aged, deranged headmaster of the prep school where her husband (Bates) teaches. What she doesn't know is that Bates is in league with the headmaster's wife (Collins). There is a sporadically effective use of prowling camera movements and atmospheric sounds, but Hammer fans will soon recognise the plot as a thinly disguised reworking of A Taste of Fear, which Sangster scripted for Seth Holt back in 1961.
A short look at the four stars when the movie was shot.
Judy Geeson portrayed "Peggy Heller". She had just starred in the horror science fiction, 1972's, "Doomwatch", and followed this picture with "Poor Little Rich Girl", October 6, 1972, an episode of British television's, "The Adventurer", starring American Gene Barry, in an updating of his American television millionaire police captain, "Amos Burke", into an international secret agent named "Gene Bradley".
Ralph Bates portrayed "Robert Heller". Bates had just been in "Lina", May 2, 1972, on the British television series set in France, "Crime of Passion", and followed this feature film with the British six-part television biography, "A Picture of Katherine Mansfield", starring Vanessa Redgrave.