Thursday, September 28, 2023

James Mason: A Spotlight On His 1950's Roles

Between 1950 and 1959, James Neville Mason appeared in 35-roles, this is mainly a look at 11 of those. 

























It is very hard to choose a period, or a specific role in an actors life, when it covers 1935 through 1985. I chose the 1950's, because there is a definite variety of roles and genres in James Mason's career and several major works.

He was born on May 15, 1909, in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England, James was the youngest of three sons, born to a wealthy wool merchant, whose business was centered in France and Belgium, John Mason. His mother Mabel Hattersley Mason, was extremely well-educated for a woman at the time. 

What direction his life would take, did not seem to be indicated by his education. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, he attended Marlborough College, in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and moved on to Peterhouse, Cambridge, the oldest college that makes up the University of Cambridge. There he took a first, in the British undergraduate degree classifications, in architecture.  































While attending Peterhouse, James Neville Mason became involved with a stock theatre company (repertory theatre) in his spare time. Mason had no formal stage training and apparently embarked upon what would be his real career as a lark.

In 1931, the young actor made his stage debut in the town of Aldershot, Hampshire, in a production of "The Rascal". After which, he joined the prestigious "Old Vic", under the tutelage of Sir William Tyrone Guthrie.

 






























According to the actor, in his September 7, 1981, "Before I forget: autobiography and drawings", he had a small role in Sir Alexander Korda's, 1934, "The Private Life of Don Juan", starring Douglas Fairbanks, and Merle Oberson. The motion picture was being filmed in 1933, but  Mason was sacked after three-days of shooting.

On November 19, 1935, James Mason not only appeared in his first motion picture, but was the star of "Late Extra", made by the British subsidiary of William Fox's, "Fox Film Corporation". 


























Above, 26-years-old, James Mason portraying newspaper reporter "Jim Martin", with his co-star, Virginia Cherrill, portraying "Janet Graham". At the time she was married to Cary Grant, but their one-year marriage was about to end. 

Newspaper reporter "Jim Martin" is after a cop killer with tag-along reporter, "Janet Graham". Below, portraying his editor, "MacPherson", is Alastair Sim in his fifth-motion-picture, all five made in 1935.


































During the Second World War, James Neville Mason, registered as a "conscientious objector". This action on his part, caused his family to break with him for several years. He also refused to do non-combatant military service, and was to have appeared in front of a tribunal to explain himself. However, that became irrelevant, when he was exempted from military service, because of his morale building film work.

Born Pamela Helen Oster, was an English actress, authoress, and screenplay writer, aka: Pamela Kellino, from her first marriage. In February, 1941, she became Mrs. James Mason.





































James Mason became both a popular on-screen anti-hero and outright villain during those war years. This was especially in series of motion picture made by Gainsborough Pictures, starting with 1943's, "The Man in Grey", the first of the "costumed melodramas" that became known as "Gainsborough Melodramas".




























Above, Margaret Lockwood portraying "Heather Shaw", and James Mason portraying "Lord Rohan" in "The Man in Grey".

Three films featured the married couple of Pamela and James Mason following "The Man in Grey". However, for the first two, Pamela Mason was billed as Pamela Kellino, and for the third, she was billed, but uncredited, by her married name. Before I go to the movies this article is directly about, I want to speak to the second of those three.

"The Upturned Glass", premiered in London on June 17, 1947. The screenplay for this psychological film-noir, was co-written by Pamela Kellino, from a story by co-writer, John Monaghan billed as Jno. P. Monoghan. 

The following is from the website, French Films dot org at: 

http://www.frenchfilms.org/review/the-upturned-glass-1947.html
With its murky, noir-like passages, The Upturned Glass carries the seeds of the psycho-thriller genre that would become enormously popular just over a decade later, and James Mason's paranoic killer is a virtual template for the run of unsuspected murdering fiends that would chill audiences from 1960, onwards, beginning with Carl Boehm's Mark Lewis in Pepping Tom and Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates in Psycho.

The Plot:

British brain surgeon "Michael Joyce", portrayed by James Mason, falls in love with the mother of one of his patients, "Emma Wright", portrayed by Rosamund John. 

















"Emma" falls out of a second-floor window in her country manor home, but was it really as the coroner's inquests ruled, an accident? "Dr. Joyce" suspects, murder, and when he learns that "Emma's" sister-in-law, "Kate Howard", portrayed by Pamela Kellino, planned to blackmail her. "Dr. Joyce" plans to get revenge for his lost love, first by making "Kate" fall in love with him, and next, taking her to "Emma's" country manor house's second-floor window and pushing her out. However, is he correct that it was "Kate" that killed "Emma", and was he right that she was murdered?












































In the end, the question remains was it an insane "Dr. Joyce" that killed "Emma"? This is left to the audience, because the doctor questioning his own sanity over her death and the murder of "Kate", jumps off a cliff to his death, leaving the question unanswered.






















































James Mason had just co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, and Ava Gardner, in 1949's, "East Side, West Side", a glossy soap opera crime drama that movie critic Leonard Maltin gave 2 1/2 stars, out of a possible 4 stars. He would start the 1950's with an even lower rated motion picture.


A SPOTLIGHT ON JAMES MASON'S 1950'S ROLES


ONE WAY STREET released on April 1, 1950





The motion picture was directed by Argentine born, Hugo Fregonese. This was the fifth movie he had directed, the first four were in Argentina. He would direct several westerns for "Universal Pictures", but I recommend three, the 1954, American Civil War feature, "The Raid", starring Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft and Richard Boone, the 1958 adventure, "Harry Black and the Tiger", starring Stewart Granger and Barbara Rush, and Fregonese's 1965 Argentine western, "The Savage Pampas", starring Robert Taylor.

The story and screenplay was by Lawrence Kimble. Among his B-movies is 1937's, "Submarine D-1", starring Pat O'Brien, George Bent, and Wayne Morris, 1942's, "Bells of Capistrano", starring Gene Autry, Champion, and Smiley Burnette, and 1945's, "Zombies on Broadway", starring the comedy team of Wally Brown and Alan Carney, with co-star Bela Lugosi,

James Mason portrayed "Dr. Frank Matson". 

Marta Toren portrayed "Laura Thorsen". She has just co-starred with Dana Andrews and Stephen McNally in the overlooked, 1949, "Sword in the Desert", which is Robert Buckner's screenplay about the creation of the State of Israel in 1947, before author Leon Uris had even written his novel "Exodus". She would follow this feature film with film-noir director Robert Siodmak's, 1950, "Deported", co-starring a yet unknown, Jeff Chandler, who had also been in "Sword in the Desert".


























Dan Duryea portrayed "John Wheeler". He had just co-starred with Lizabeth Scott and Don DeFore in director Bryan Haskin's, 1949, "Too Late for Tears". Duryea followed this feature film with the classic Anthony Mann directed western, 1950's, "Winchester '73", co-starring with James Stewart, and Shelley Winters.
























This screenplay starts off like any other film-noir of the period, but once in Mexico, it becomes what some have called a Mexican western. Think similar scenes in director John Huston's, 1948's, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

After a bank robbery, "Dr. Frank Matson", sits waiting with gangster, "John Wheeler" for the rest of the gang to arrive. Also waiting is "Wheeler's" girlfriend, "Laura Thorsen". "Wheeler" is having a terrible headache, and asks "Laura" to get some pain pills from the doctor. She's given the pills, "Wheeler" takes them, and nonchalantly, "Dr. Matson", picks up his medical bag containing the $200,000 from the robbery and starts to leave. As he reaches the door, he informs "John Wheeler" that the pills contain poison and he'll call him with the antedate, "Laura" says she wants to go with him and the two walk away.

"Frank" and "Laura" start to drive away from "Wheeler's" apartment house, but are surprised by "Wheeler's" hired killer, "Arnie", portrayed by Jack Elam. There's a fight in the car and the gunman is killed.





"Frank" now reveals that the pills are really harmless, and reacting to the news, "Laura", who wants "Wheeler" dead, crashes the car. When the police arrive at the accident scene, "Dr. Frank Matson" tells them that "Arnie" was a hitchhiker killed in the accident. Later, "Frank" and "Laura" buy a used car and head for Mexico. "Laura: tells him that she loves him, but "Frank" isn't interested in love. 

Hearing about the accident, "Wheeler" starts to hunt the two down. They've crossed the Mexican border and hired a plane, but after a while the old airplane breaks down near a small village. "Frank" and "Laura" are approached by "Father Moreno", portrayed by Basil Ruysdael, a priest who offers them food and lives outside of the village. "Father Moreno" scares off two local Mexican bandit brothers, "Francisco Morales", portrayed by Rodolfo Acosta, and "Antonio Morales", portrayed by Margarito Luna.

Later, Mexican army officer, "Captain Rodriquez", portrayed by George J. Lewis, arrives with his men and offers to escort the plane's pilot to another town where he can purchase the needed parts for the plane. "Father Moreno" next takes "Frank" and "Laura" to the village, but surprises him by asking if he would look at a young girl that is very sick. "Dr. Matson" gets into a verbal fight with the local medicine woman, "Catalina", portrayed by Emma Roldan, over treating the girl, but he's too late, as the girl has died. "Frank" tells "Laura" that he once attempted to save the life of a woman he loved, but failed.

Learning from the girl's brother, "Santiago", portrayed by Robert Espinoza, that the village horse is sick, "Frank" volunteers to help and heals the horse. That night, "Laura" tells him that she wishes to stay in the village and not go to Mexico City as he wants. "Dr. Frank Matson" bows to the pressure from "Laura", "Santiago", and the village children and says he will stay.






























Above, Robert Espinoza and James Mason, below James Mason as "Frank Matson" having become just another member of the village.
































Next, "Ollie", portrayed by William Conrad, who was in on the bank robbery, tracks down the plane's pilot and is told that that "Laura" and "Frank" have gone to Mexico City. Meanwhile, "Dr. Matson" has set-up a hospital in the village and "Father Moreno" and "Captain Rodriquez" bring him needed medical supplies. During an operation, the "Morales" brothers appear and attempt to rob the hospital. "Santiago" tries to stop them and is shot; in response a soldier shoots the bandit brother. 

After "Father Moreno" reveals to "Frank Matson" that "John Wheeler" is still looking for him. "Frank" decides to return the money and settle with "Wheeler". He also promises "Father Moreno" that he will permit him to conduct a marriage ceremony when he returns to the village. Together, "Laura" and "Frank" travel to California, and before he meets with "John Wheeler", "Frank Matson" tells "Laura Thorsen" how much he loves her and how she has made his life worthwhile.

At "Wheeler's" apartment, "Frank" finds "Ollie", who has killed the other and demands the money. "Frank" reaches into his medical bag to give it to him, but instead shoots and kills the other through it with a concealed pistol. "Frank" now returns to "Laura", who is waiting across the street from the apartment building. She hurries across the street to him, but he leaves to call the airlines for tickets back to Mexico City.

As "Dr. Frank Matson" is crossing the street to the phone booth, he is hit by a car and killed.

Trivia:
If an uncredited actor portraying a "Truck Driver" looks familiar? That's Rock Hudson in his third role. 


James Mason followed "One Way Street" with two other films in the eleven I want to mention, both in 1951. For the first, James Mason returned to the United Kingdom.


PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN released in the United Kingdom on February 1, 1951





Described as a fantasy romance drama, based upon the legend of the flying dutchman. The ghost ship, allegedly not able to ever make land. The legend goes back to the 17th century "Golden Age", of the Dutch East India Company. 
































Above, a painting of the "Flying Dutchman", circa 1887, by Albert Pinkham Ryder in the "Smithsonian American Art Museum".

The screenplay is by the producer and director, Albert Lewin. Lewin also wrote and directed the 1942 version of "W. Somerset Maugham's, "The Moon and Sixpence", and the classic version of playwright Oscar Wilde's, 1945's, "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

Lewin based some of his screenplay upon the writings of Irish-born pickpocket, London socialite, and Australian author, George Barrington, after he was sent on a prison ship to Botany Bay, in 1792. Along with some of the writings of Persian poet, Omar Khayyam.


James Mason portrayed "Hendrik van der Zee". 
























Ava Gardner portrayed "Pandora Reynolds". Gardner had started in small roles for "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerin 1941. She first became noticed by the public in director Robert Siodmak's film-nor, 1946's, "The Killers", but still by 1951, Ava Gardner was not considered a star by either the public, or MGM.

However, Gardner had just completed filming the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's, "Show Boat", and "MGM" held the release of this motion picture in the United States for the release of the musical on July 17, 1951. "Pandora and the Flying Dutchman" finally premiered in New York City on December 6, 1951, and the two features created the birth of a new rising "Hollywood Star".






























Nigel Patrick portrayed "Stephen Cameron". He had just been seen in the submarine rescue story, 1950's, "Operation Disaster", co-starring with Sir John Mills, and followed this motion picture co-starring with Sir Michael Redgrave, in 1951's, "The Browning Version".


























Shelia Sim portrayed "Janet". This was her ninth of only thirteen film roles. Sim had just been seen in the British comedy, 1949's, "Dear Mr. Prohack", and followed with the biographical 1951's, "The Magic Box", starring Robert Donat and Maria Schell.



























Harold Warrender portrayed "Geoffrey 'Geoff'' Fielding". He was just seen in the very controversial, odd spy love story, 1949's, "The Conspirator", starring Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. Warrender followed this feature by starring in the 1951 crime drama, "The Six Men".



























The screenplay opens in the summer of 1930, on the beaches of the fictious Spanish town of Esperanza. Fishermen discover the bodies of a man and women washed ashore in the surf. The ringing of the church bells brings both the police and the resident archaeologist, "Geoffrey Fielding" to the beach and the two bodies.
































"Fielding" returns to his villa, turning toward the viewing audience, breaks the fourth-wall of the theatre and tells the following story.

Esperanza's small group of English expatriates revolve around "Pandora Reynolds", an alluring American nightclub singer that the men would die for. In fact, "Reggie Demarest", portrayed by Marius Goring, will drink poison and commit suicide in front of "Pandora" and their friends, over the love she will not give him.























































"Pandora" tells her friends that she is relieved by the death of "Reggie", men may love her, but for some mysterious reason she cannot give love back. Some of "Reggie's" friends consider "Pandora" as heartless, but "Geoff Fielding" knows she's not. Several days later, "Geoff" encourages the land speed record holder, "Stephen Cameron", to take "Pandora" on a drive. "Geoff's" niece, "Janet" is in love with "Stephen" and "Geoff" knows that.

"Pandora" and "Stephen" take that drive in his race car and stop at a cliff with a beautiful view of the sea. They see a schooner off in the distance and "Stephen" remarks that it looks like "The Flying Dutchman". "Pandora" tells the "Stephen" he should marry "Janet", but he states that he's in love with her. "Pandora" has a habit of testing her admirers, by having them give her something of value. So, she tells "Stephen" to take his most precious possession, the racing car, and send it off the cliff, and she will marry him, which he does. "Pandora" then says she will marry "Stephen" in six months.






























 
Later, "Pandora" and "Geoff" are talking and he learns about what happened, to which he philosophically remarks that love is only as good as one person wants to give to the other person. Afterwards, with "Stephen" present, "Pandora" starts to ask the archeologist questions about "The Flying Dutchman", "Geoff" explains that according to the legend, "The Dutchman" was condemned to sail the earth eternally. While the two men are talking, "Pandora Reynolds" slips away to the beach, takes off her clothes, and swims out to the schooner.






























Once on board the schooner, "Pandora Reynolds" wraps herself in a canvas, approaches the main salon, and enters to see a man painting a portrait.





 
























The man, who is Dutch, introduces himself as "Henrik van der Zee", and asks her name. When she reveals it, the Dutchman seems amused, because he is painting a portrait of the mythical Greek legend "Pandora". However, "Pandora Reynolds" becomes shocked, when the portrait looks exactly like herself, and for some unknown reason, tries to ruin it. Just then, "Stephen" and "Geoff" cry out from a motorboat, and before she leaves, gets "Henrik" to promise to dine with the group the following night.

"Henrik" moves into a villa and becomes part of "Pandora's" circle. One evening in late August, "Henrik van der Zee" visits "Geoff", who has a 17th century manuscript that "Henrik" has promised him, he will help translate. 































"Geoff" is stunned when "Henrik" stops reading the manuscript and starts to recite it as if from memory. 

Flashback:

In the 17th Century, a wealthy captain returns home from a voyage and is eager to see his beautiful, young wife. While he looks upon her, he becomes certain that she has been unfaithful, pulling out his knife, the sea captain stabs and kills his wife. 







When he is tried and convicted of murder, the sea captain tells the judge that he could sail the oceans for eternity and never find a faithful woman.





























That night before his execution, the captain awakens from his sleep to find his cell door open. He escapes and goes to his ship with his crew preparing to set sail. The captain goes to his cabin and falls asleep, an in a dream a voice tells him that his wife was never unfaithful to him.























When he awakens, the crew has vanished, the ship is a sail, and he realizes that he pronounced his own sentence. "Captain Henrik van der Zee" will sail for eternity in search of a woman who would sacrifice her life for him and end his torment. He will be permitted to go on land every seven-years, for only six-months.






























By the end of the reading of the manuscript, written by "Henrik van der Zee", "Geoffrey Fielding" knows that his friend "Henrick" is the real "Flying Dutchman" of legend, and that "Pandora Reynolds" is the woman that can set him free.























































Just then, "Pandora" stops by to say she will be married on September 3rd, but "Henrick" tells her he will be unable to attend her wedding, because he must sail on that date.

A short time later, "Juan Montalvo", portrayed by Mario Cabre, Spain's greatest matador, returns to Esperanza, and invites them all to a midnight bullfight. He had once been "Pandora's" lover.

"Juan" takes "Pandora" to the house of his mother, a gypsy, who warns her son to stop seeing her and her foreign friends. "Stephen" breaks his own land speed record and the whole town celebrates. At dinner, a drunken "Janet" accuses "Stephen" of being a fool, slaps "Pandora", and runs off crying. "Pandora" tells "Stephen" to go after "Janet". The partygoers go to the beach and "Pandora" and "Henrik" go off together and kiss.













































The two are observed by "Juan", who hears "Pandora" speak of the deep love she has for "Henrik". That moment is shattered by "Henrik", who claims he is disgusted with her flirtation and leaves. Hurt, "Pandora" confides in "Geoff", who knows the sacrifice "Henrik van der Zee" is making, but tells "Pandora" nothing of what he now knows as fact.  






























A week before the wedding, "Juan" goes to "Pandora" to propose, but is extremely aggressive and instead of being accepted as a prospective husband. "Juan" is warned to not be solve his problems with violence. Stung by her words, he predicts that she will not marry "Stephen", because she loves "the other one", who does not love her.

That night when "Henrik" returns to his villa, "Juan" is waiting and throws a knife into his back, apparently killing him, and follows by throwing the knife at and killing the little dog "Pandora" had given "Henrik". After "Juan" leaves, "Henrik van der Zee", "The Flying Dutchman", awakens and prays that he can die and "Pandora" can live. At that exact moment, "Pandora" arrives, having had a dream that he would be killed.

The next day at a bullfight, "Juan" goes for the kill, but sees "Henrik" sitting in the audience next to "Pandora", and stunned at the sight, is gored several times by the bull.

























































"Pandora" goes to see the dying "Juan", and the religious man confesses he killed "Henrik" last night and it is God who is punishing him today.






























On the night of "Stephen's" bachelor party, "Pandora" visits "Geoff", who she suspects knows the truth about "Henrik". "Geoff" had been looking at the schooner through his telescope, and watching it prepare to sail.





























"Pandora" tells "Geoff" about "Juan's" confession and that she will die, if she doesn't see "Henrik" once more. Thinking it too late for her to stop the sailing of the Dutchman, "Geoff" gives "Pandora" the translation of the manuscript made by "Henrik" and leaves her alone.

"Pandora" finishes the manuscript, swims out to the schooner, reunites with "Henrik", reveals her deep love of him, and schooner leaves port. An extremely violent storm suddenly appears and "Pandora" tells her love she is not afraid.

Back in the present on the beach, "Geoff" keeps going over in his mind all that happened prior to finding the two bodies, while "Janet" comforts "Stephen".



James Mason went for being a legendary ghost to a legendary German Army Officer. 


THE DESERT FOX premiered in London, England on October 11, 1951






Brigadier Desmond Young OBE, MC, was an Australian born British army officer who wrote the first biography of German Field Marshall Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel, 1950's, "Rommel: The Desert Fox". The biography, which contains the story of Young's capture and the intervention of Erwin Rommel on his behalf, was the first to paint the Field Marshal as a "good German". This was the source material for the screenplay made in the United States.

Writing the screenplay was assigned to Nunnally Johnson. Among Johnson's screenplays is John Ford's, 1936, "The Prisoner of Shark Island". Along with John Ford's, 1940, "The Grapes of Wrath", based upon the John Steinbeck novel, and John Ford's, 1941, "Tobacco Road", based upon the Erskine Caldwell novel, 

Assigned to direct the film was Henry Hathaway. Hathaway had just directed a very hard edge, for the time, western, 1951's, "Rawhide", starring Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power. He would follow this picture with the Tyrone Power, and Patricia Neal, 'Diplomatic Courier".


James Mason portrayed "Field Marshal Erwin Johannes Rommel", Nunnally Johnson had the name wrong. James Mason would have a cameo role as "Rommel" in 1953's, "The Desert Rats", starring Richard Burton and Robert Newton, directed by Robert Wise.


























Sir Cedric Hardwicke portrayed "Dr. Karl Strolin". Hardwicke was just in the Lana Turner musical, 1951's, "Mr. Imperium". He followed this picture with the Glenn Ford, 1952, "The Green Glove".























Jessica Tandy portrayed "Fra Lucie Marie Rommel". She had been guest starring on television programs during 1950, and was in a stage production for the following year.




























Luther Adler portrayed "Adolf Hitler". Adler had just appeared in the overlooked, excellent, 1951 American remake of German director Fritz Lang's 1931, classic crime thriller, "M". He followed this film with the crime drama, 1952's, "Hoodlum Empire".


























Everett Sloane portrayed "General Wilhelm Burgdorf". Sloane co-starred with two of "Universal Pictures" young stars, Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie, in 1951's, "The Prince Who Was a Thief", and followed this feature film with the Jane Wyman, Charles Laughton, and Joan Blondell, 1951, "The Blue Veil".





























Leo G. Carroll portrayed "Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt". He had just been seen in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1951, "Strangers on the Train", and followed this feature film with 1952's, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", starring Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, and Ava Gardner, based upon a story by author Ernest Hemmingway.






























Above in the background, second from left, is Richard Boone portraying "Captain Hermann Aldinger", televisions "Medic", 1954 - 1956, and "Have Gun Will Travel", 1957 -1963.

Brigadier Desmond Young portrayed himself, at the time, "Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Young".
 





























The screenplay opens with narration by Michael Rennie, as a British commando unit goes ashore from a submarine on the North African coast. Their mission was to raid the headquarters of "Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and assassinate "The Desert Fox". There are casualties on both sides, but not to the Field Marshal who was not there.

June 1942, many British soldiers, including "Lt. Col. Desmond Young" are captured in North Africa. "Field Marshal Rommel" impresses captured "Desmond Young" by his following proper prisoner-of-war policies and his gentlemanly demeaner as a principled soldier not interested in the politics of Berlin.

The first Battle of El Alamein follows, July 1st to 21st.

Two-years-and-four-months-later, "Field Marshal Erwin Rommel" is dead! According to the Germans, he died in battle, but rumors spread about his death. After the war, "Desmond Young" decides to investigate and goes to speak to his widow, "Lucie Marie Rommel", and his son, "Manfred Rommel", portrayed by William Reynolds, 1957's, "The Land Unknown", and televisions "The F.B.I.", 1966 - 1974.



























"Desmond Young" finds out that "Rommel's" downfall began on October 23, 1942, while in a hospital in Germany recovering from a nasal diphtheria.

A phone call from "Adolph Hitler" brings orders for the Field Marshal to return to the Afrika Korps immediately. Hitler is mad that the British Eighth Army under "General Bernard Law Mongomery", portrayed by Trevor Ward, is poised for the Second Battle of El Alamein, October 23, 1942 through November 11, 1942. 





























Without adequate supplies, weapons, fuel for his tanks, or for that matter men, "Hitler" is ordering "Rommel" to hold fast to the last men. 

What is not mentioned in the screenplay, is the reality of the situation that "Adolph Hitler" had put "Field Marshal Rommel" in to fight the Second Battle of El Alamein against "General Montgomery".

That reality was that:

"Rommel" had at his command, 116,000 German/Italian soldiers, "Montgomery" had 195,000 soldiers. "Rommel" had 547 tanks; "Montgomery" had 1,029 tanks. "Rommel" had 192 armored cars. "Montgomery" had 435 armored cars. "Rommel" had 552 artillery pieces; "Montgomery" had 908 artillery pieces. However, when it came to available aircraft, "Rommel" had 900 aircraft, "Montgomery" had 750 aircraft.

 When "Rommel" first receives the message, he believes it does not come from "Hitler", but instead "the clowns" surrounding "The Fuhrer". He asks that it be verified and sent again, when he gets the same message, "Rommel" crumples the paper and plans not to follow it.

After ten-days of battle, "Rommel" realizes that he must retreat to save his men, and sends a message to Berlin. The reply he again receives, is "Hitler's" orders to stand and fight to the last man. Infuriated by "Adolph Hitler's" stupidity, "Rommel" disobeys his orders.






























Once more, not mentioned in the screenplay, is the reality of the result of the battle. "Bernard Law Montgomery" had an estimated total of 13,500 dead, wounded, missing, or captured. While "Erwin Rommel" had an estimated 9,000 dead or missing, 15,000 wounded, and 49,000 captured.

"Rommel" falls ill again and returns to Germany, after which in Tunis, the allies decimate the Germans and Italians. In Germany, "Erwin Rommel" is visited by an old friend, "Dr. Karl Strolin", the mayor of Stuttgart, who is part of a secret group wanting to eliminate "Hitler", before his unwise military decisions destroy Germany. "Erwin Rommel" is bitter over the deaths of his troops, but is not ready to join a plot against "Adolph Hitler".

November 1943, it is clear that the allies will be invading Europe and Germany shortly, "Rommel" is assigned to inspect the French coast line defenses. He reports to "Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt" that all the defenses are inadequate. "Von Rundstedt" informs "Rommel" that all military decisions are being made personally by "Adolph Hitler", who is under the influence of astrologers. "Von Rundstedt" adds, that "Erwin Rommel" will be very closely watched, as all the military leaders are now being.


























February 1944, "Strolin" visits "Rommel" at his home, but "Rommel" still does not want to join the plan to dispose of "Hitler". He tells "Strolin" that although he admits hating "Adolph Hitler", the plot seems to be one the Communists, not a German Soldier, would be involved in.





























June 6, 1944, "D-Day", to "Rommel's" surprise, he is at home observing "Lucie's" birthday, the allies storm the beaches of France and move with lightning speed inland. Later, "von Rundstedt" and "Rommel" criticize the way "Hitler" did not respond to the needs of the German officer corps. 























"Von Rundstedt" admits knowledge of the plot to kill "Adolph Hitler", but also admits he's to old to be a rebel and will not take part.



























After their conversations, "Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel" attempts to speak to "Adolph Hitler" one last time, but comes to the conclusion that the "Bohemian colonel's" refusal to listen to him, forces "Rommel" to join the plot.

"Rommel" is back at the front, his car is bombed by allied aircraft, and he is hospitalized, unconscious, when the attempt to kill "Hitler" fails. Over the next three-months, the recovering "Erwin Rommel" is surprised at the lack of coverage about him in the news, as he is extremely popular with the German people.

























October 1944, "Generals Burgdorf" and "Maisel" visit "Rommel" and inform him that he has been charged with treason in the plot to kill "Hitler". "Rommel" states he will defend himself in court, but "Burgdorf" informs him that he has already been found guilty. However, if he commits suicide, both his wife and son's safety will be guaranteed. "Rommel" tells his wife good-bye, and she promises to tell "Manfred" the truth later on. He goes to his son and says good-bye to him without revealing what's happening. Next, asks his old friend, "Captain Aldringer" to look after "Lucie" and "Manfred", enters the card with "Burgdorf" and "Maisel", and drives off into history.


Moving directly from a German Field Marshal, James Mason became a famous real-life, German spy.


5 FINGERS (FIVE FINGERS) premiered in New York City on February 22, 1952






The screenplay is based upon the non-fiction book, "Der fall cicero", by Ludwig Carl Moyzisch, the diplomatic attaché for Nazi Germany in Ankara, Turkey.

Michael Wilson
wrote the screenplay, but he became "blacklisted", and it took from 1962 to 1978, for Wilson to have his name restored as the writer of "Lawrence of Arabia". Prior to this screenplay, Michael Wilson had just written 1951's, "A Place in the Sun", that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and Shelley Winters.

The motion picture was directed and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who was an uncredited co-screenplay-writer. He would direct the next motion picture I will mention and in 1963, the Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison, "Cleopatra", among other movies.

James Mason portrayed "Ulysses Diello". 



























Danielle Darrieux portrayed "Countess Anna Staviska". The French actress had just been seen with Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 1952's, "Le Plaisir", and followed this picture with 1952's, "Adorable Creatures", a comedy romance with an all-star French cast.






























Michael Rennie portrayed "Colin Travers". Rennie had co-starred with Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, and Gary Merril, in 1952's, "Phone Call from a Stranger", and followed this feature film with the role of "Jean Valjean", in 1952's, "Les Misérables", co-starring Debra Paget, Robert Newton, and Edmund Gwenn.































During the Second World War in 1944, Turkey was both a neutral country and the main country for diplomatic espionage. One evening at a reception in Ankara, German ambassador "Count Fritz von Papen", portrayed by John Wengraf, and English ambassador "Sir Frederick Taylor", portrayed by Walter Hampden, are both conversing with "Countess Anna Staviska", the French widow of a pro-German Polish Count. The once-wealthy socialite is now poor and offers to spy for "Count von Papen". The "Count" gently refuses the offer. 

Later the same night, German military attaché "L. C. Moyzisch", portrayed by Oskar Karlweiss, is approached by a mysterious man offering to sell top secret British documents for 20,000 English pounds.



























At first "Moyzisch" isn't sure about this man, but his self-assurance, elegant demeanor, wins over the military attaché. He will take the offer to the German ambassador, "Count Fritz von Papen", to see if he wants to do business with this man. The stranger agrees and returns to the British Embassy, entering without any problems, because "Ulysses Diello" is the personal valet of the British ambassador "Sir Frederick Taylor". "Sir Frederick" is aware that "Diello" was once the valet to "Countess Anna Staviska's" late husband. What he doesn't know is that "Ulysses Diello" is also in love with her, but the two discuss "Anna's" poverty.































At the German Embassy, "Von Papen" receives authorization from Berlin to make the deal with the mystery man. Next, "Moyzisch" meets with "Ulysses Diello", now given the code-name of "Cicero" and the money is transferred for a roll of undeveloped camera film. When it is developed, even the German ambassador is shocked to discover that "Cicero's" film contains the minutes of the Allies' Teheran conference. 

"Diello" now demands 15,000 English pounds for new rolls of film and arranges to meet with "Moyzisch" in a week.


























Next, "Ulysses" goes to a seedy part of Ankara and the place that "Anna Staviska" now lives. "Diello" gives the once wealthy woman 5,000 English pounds and if she will hide his money, he will subsidize her once luxurious lifestyle. She slaps him on the face for admitting his feelings for her, but agrees and finds herself in a beautiful villa.


































Meanwhile, "L. C. Moyzisch" is summoned to Berlin, where "General Joseph Kaltenbrunner", portrayed by Alfred Zeisler, and "Colonel von Richter", portrayed by Herbert Berghof, are uncertain about the validity of "Diello's documents. The two men decide to test the documents by waiting for an Allied bombing mentioned in one of the papers. 





























The two German officers do not alert the German citizens of the target, and many are killed as the allied bombing takes place. "Ambassador von Papen" is angry at the decision not to warn fellow Germans. However, "Moyzisch" is instructed to buy another set of filmed documents. That "Cicero" is getting by photographing the contents of "Ambassador Taylor's" safe.

When the British, Turkish foreign office, begins to suspect that "Fritz von Papen" may be involved in espionage. The British counter-intelligence service sends agent "Colin Travers" to Ankara. 































While, in Germany, their intelligence service still has fears that "Ulysses Diello" is actually a British counter-intelligence agent and sends "Colonel von Richter" to Ankara to investigate.

In Ankara, "Diello" has his own room in "Anna's" villa and their relationship seems to be getting closer to each other. However, he is now worried that "Anna's" sudden change in financial situation is making her a target of the suspicions of "Colin Travers". To complicate the situation further, the Germans are thinking that "Anna" is British intelligence and "Ulysses" is working for her.
































"Von Richter" meets "Diello", who insists all the documents he has been providing are genuine and his motives are strictly monetary. 































Hoping to test "Ulysses Diello" once more, "Colonel von Richter" asks him for documents about a rumored British operation named "Operation Overlord". This was the code name for the invasion of France on June 6, 1944. "Diello", who only photographed documents marked "Top Secret" before, agrees to look for anything related to "Overlord" and sell them to "Von Richter".

"Colin Travers" believes the information was coming from remarks overheard at "Anna's" soirees. Now, upsetting his thinking, is an intercepted message from "Fritz von Papen" that the information is coming from somebody within the British Embassy in Ankara code named "Cicero".

"Travers" installs an alarm on Ambassador "Sir Frederic Taylor's" safe, and this causes "Diello" to miss the next meeting with "Von Richter", out of fear of being found out. He arranges for "Anna" to obtain fake passports and train tickets for them.

However, on the morning they are to leave, "Diello" is stunned to discover that "Anna" took the money, fled to Switzerland, and left behind a mysterious letter to "Sir Fredrick". Desperate for money, "Ulysses Diello" calls "L. C. Moyzisch" and informs him he will deliver the "Operation Overlord" documents to him in Istanbul. 

























"Diello'" removes the fuse leading to to the alarm system and photographs the documents in the safe, but when a cleaning woman replaces the fuse, the alarm sounds, and "Travers" sees "Diello" running away. Figuring out the other man's scheme, "Colin Travers" and his men will follow "Ulysses Diello" to Istanbul, where "Travers" is prepared to kill him rather than have "Diello" turn over the documents to the Germans. While, "Von Richter" has sent men to Istanbul to also kill "Diello", to prevent him from being taken and talking to the British.

While the two sides men are on their ways to Istanbul to kill him, on the train "Ulysses Diello" reads the letter "Anna" wrote to "Sir Fredrick". 




























In it, "Anna" tells "Sir Frederick" that is valet is a German spy. Despite his fury of betrayal by "Anna", he successfully evades his pursuers and sells them the real plans for "Operation Overlord", for 100,000 English pounds. 

Realizing that the Germans plan to kill him, "Ulysses Diello" turns himself in to "Colin Travers", but soon runs away from the agents. While in Ankara, "Von Papen" receives a letter from "Anna Staviska" telling him that "Diello" is actually a British spy. As a result, "Von Papen" throws away the real documents about "Operation Overland", for the June 6, 1944, Allied Invasion of Europe.

Later happily living in a villa in Rio de Janeiro, "Ulysses Diello", is visited one evening by his Brazilian banker and a police officer. The two men inform him that his money is German counterfeit and he is arrested. They also mention they became aware of this, when a woman in Switzerland was arrested with the same counterfeit German money. 

As he is taken away, "Diello" says:
Poor Anna!

In 1599, British playwright, William Shakespeare published "Julius Caesar", at the time it was common practice for young boys to portray the female roles. In 1953, when producer John Houseman and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz put together the cast for his motion picture version, the leading actor's name shocked the Shakespearian purists and even those of the actor's fan base, because his "nickname" was "The Mumbler", but it worked.


JULIUS CAESAR premiered in Sydney, Australia, on May 8, 1953






Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz would follow this motion picture with 1954's, "The Barefoot Contessa", starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner.

William Shakespeare was given on-screen credit for writing the original play, but it was the uncredited Mankiewicz who adapted it for the motion picture screen.


Marlon Brando portrayed "Mark Antony". Brando had just starred as "Emiliano Zapata", in director Elia Kazan's, 1952, "Viva Zapata", from a screenplay co-written by John Steinbeck. Marlon Brando followed this motion picture with his signature role in, 1953's, "The Wild One".

Marlon Brando was nominated for the "Best Actor Academy Award", for the third consecutive time, and won the "BAFTA" for "Best Foreign Actor".




























James Mason portrayed "Brutus". Mason had just had that cameo role as "Rommel" in 1953's, "The Desert Rats", and followed this motion picture with director Carol Reed's, 1953 crime film-noir. "The Man Between", co-starring with Claire Bloom.

































Sir John Gieguld portrayed "Cassius". He had last been seen on-screen in the uncredited role of "King Hamlet's Ghost", in Sir Laurence Olivier's, 1948, "Hamlet". Sir John followed this motion picture with Laurence Harvey's, 1954, "Romeo and Juliet".






























Louis Calhern portrayed "Julius Caesar". He had just co-starred with Van Johnson and Janet Leigh, in the 1953 comedy, "Confidentially Connie", and would follow this picture, again co-starring with Van Johnson, but also June Allyson in the 1953 comedy, "Remains to Be Seen".



























Edmond O'Brien portrayed "Casca". O'Brien had just appeared in the forgotten "B" western, 1953's, "Cow Country", and followed this feature with "China Adventure", co-starring Barry Sullivan, and Marlon's older sister, Jocelyn Brando.






























Greer Garson portrayed "Calpurnia". She had co-starred with Michael Wilding and Fernando Lamas in the film-noir, 1951's, "The Law and the Lady". Garson followed this movie co-starring with Walter Pidgeon and Agnes Morehead, in 1953's, "Scandal at Scourie".
































Deborah Kerr portrayed "Portia". Kerr had just co-starred with Stewart Granger and James Mason, in 1952's, "The Prisoner of Zenda". She followed this motion picture by co-starring with Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, and Charles Laughton, in 1953's, "Young Bess".































The screenplay with very slight modifications is completely William Shakespeare's words. 



























































At the time of this writing, the following link will take my reader to James Mason delivering "Brutus's" speech.











































Next, I want to look at three motion pictures James Mason made, one after the other, in 1954. The second and third are very memorable roles and the first is just Mason having restrained, over-the-top, fun with the villain.


PRINCE VALIANT released on April 5, 1954






 The motion picture was once more directed by Henry Hathaway. Hathaway had just directed 1953's, "White Witch Doctor", starring Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, and Walter Slezak. He would follow this straight from the Sunday Newspaper's Comic Strips, with another western with Susan Hayward, 1954's, "Garden of Evil", with co-stars, Gary Cooper and Richard Widmark.

The screenplay based upon Hal Foster's comic strip was by Dudley Nichols. Among his screenplays were director John Ford's, 1934, "The Lost Patrol", 1935's, "The Informer", and 1939's, "Stagecoach". Just before this movie, Nichols wrote director Howard Hawks', 1952, "The Big Sky", and he followed this feature film with the Richard Widmark, Trevor Howard, and Jane Greer, 1956, "Run for the Sun".


James Mason
portrayed "Sir Brack". He had just appeared with his wife Pamela Mason, billed as such, in 1954's, "Charade". The screenplay contained three short stories with the two portraying three different roles each. Keeping it in the family, so-to-speak, the motion picture was directed by Pamela's ex-husband, Roy Kellino.


















Janet Leigh portrayed "Princess Aleta". Leigh had just co-starred in the musical comedy, 1954's, "Walking My Baby Back Home", her co-stars were Donald O'Connor and Buddy Hackett. She followed this motion picture co-starring in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, 1954, "Living It Up".

During the 1950's Janet Leigh was married to Tony Curtis, my article is, "Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh: Their 5-Motion Pictures Together and 2-Interludes", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/03/tony-curtis-and-janet-leigh-their-5.html

For those who are into the 1960's and beyond, my article is "Janet Leigh Going 'PSYCHO' Within 'The Fog", at:




























Robert Wagner portrayed "Prince Valiant". Robert Wagner had just been in 1953's "Beneath the 12-Mile-Reef", co-starring Terry Moore and Gilbert Roland, he followed this movie with 1954's, 'Broken Lance", co-starring with Spencer Tracy, Jean Peters, and Richard Widmark. 

Robert Wagner is one of three actors, the other two were Tony Curtis and Alan Ladd that contractually had to appear in a movie basically set around legendary British Knighthood, note the wig worn by Wagner below. The three movies, this is one, can be found in my article, "Tony Curtis, Robert Wagner, and Alan Ladd Visit King Arthur", at:


















Debra Paget portrayed "Ilene". She had just co-starred with Robert Wagner and Clifton Webb, in 1952's, "Stars and Stripes Forever". After this film, Paget was seen in the title role of 1954's, "Princess of the Nile", co-starring with Jeffrey Hunter and Michael Rennie.


























Sterling Hayden
portrayed "Sir Gawain". Hayden had been seen in 1953's, "Fighter Attack", co-starring J. Carrol Naish, and followed this feature film with 1954's, "Arrow in the Dust".


















Victor McLaglen portrays "Boltar". McLaglen is well known to fans of director John Ford, and won the "Best Actor Academy Award" for Ford's 1935, "The Informer", and appeared in Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy", 1948's, "Fort Apache", 1949's, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", and 1950's, "Rio Grande". Not to forget he played Maureen O'Hara's brother in 1952's, "The Quiet Man".


















Above is Victor McLaglen on the left with Donald Crisp portraying "King Aguar".

The basic plot, has Christian Viking, "King Aguar", his wife the "Queen of Scandia", portrayed by Mary Philips, and their son "Valiant" sent into exile by the usurper, "Sligon", portrayed by wrestler, Primo Carnera. 
























They flee to Britain and come under the protection of "King Arthur", portrayed by Brian Aherne. The young "Valiant" grows to manhood and is sent to Camelot to be trained by his father's friend, the noble knight of the "Round Table", "Sir Gawain".

On his way to Camelot, "Prince Valiant" comes across a meeting between "Sligon" and a "Black Knight". 


















The Vikings spot him, but he is able to get away and meets "Sir Gawain". He has to first convince "Gawain" who he is and then relates the meeting between the "Black Knight" and "Sligon". "Sir Gawain" tells "Valiant" that there has lately been a rumor of a knight in black armor who may be working against "King Arthur". The two next go to the court at Camelot. Where "King Arthur" decrees that "Prince Valiant" will go through the training and responsibilities of squirehood as a prospective "Knight of the Round Table". One of "Arthur's" knight's, "Sir Brack" offers to train "Valiant", but the king assigns him to "Sir Gawain".








































"Sir Brack" offers to take "Valiant" to the place where he had seen the "Black Knight" in order to possibly find leads to his whereabouts. 













































Once there, the two get separated, and a group of "Sligon's" Viking bowman appear and ambush "Valiant". While escaping, "Prince Valiant" is shot in the back with an arrow and stumbles into the territory of "King Luke", portrayed by Barry Jones, and is rescued by the king's daughter's, "Aleta" and "Ilene".

"Valiant" is recovering when "Sir Brack" arrives with concern thinking he was dead. 




























While he is recovering, "Valiant" and "Aleta" fall in love, but her father disapproves of a Viking as a future son-law and "Aleta" reveals that her sister is in love with "Sir Gawain".

"Valiant" upon his return to Camelot, discovers that "Sir Gawain" went looking for the young prince and was also attacked by the "Black Knight" and "Sligon's" Vikings. The young prince speaks to "Sir Gawain" about his suspicions that "Sir Brack" may be the "Black Knight", but "Gawain" tells him to suppress search suspicions about a "Knight of the Round Table".

Some time later, the sisters and their father attend a tournament at Camelot, and "King Luke" adds "Aleta" as an extra prize to the winner of the joust without consulting her.





















However, "Sir Gawain" had been  injured and can't participate, "Valiant" puts on his armor and enters in "Gawain's" place to prove to "King Luke" that he is worthy of "Aleta". Best laid plans and all of that. He fails and is unmasked, when it appears that "Sir Brack" is the winner, another knight appears, wins the joust, but falls off his horse afterwards. It is the injured "Sir Gawain" who is taken to his tent, regains consciousness, sees "Aleta" and thinks he's in love with her.

For being so presumptuous, "Prince Valiant", is confined to his quarters and forced to attend to "Sir Gawain". A mysterious messenger arrives in Camelot, and meets with "Sir Brack". Later that night, the seal ring of "Valiant's" father, "King Aguar", is tossed through the window of "Sir Gawain's" chambers and is picked-up by "Valiant". This was a planned signal that his parents are in trouble, "Valiant" immediately leaves Camelot with "Aleta" wondering why?

Outside of Camelot, as "Prince Valiant" heads for his home, he is ambushed by the "Black Knight" and "Sligon's" Vikings, as the "Black Knight" reveals himself to be "Sir Brack".





















"Sir Brack" has made a pact with "Sligon", for "Brack" to deliver "King Aguar's" family to him, and the Vikings will help "Brack" become the King of Britain in "Arthur's" place. Having followed "Valiant", "Aleta" is also captured, and the two are brought to Scandia and thrown into the dungeon with "Prince Valiant's" parents.










































As the prisoners are about to be executed, a group of Christian Vikings led by "Boltar" stage a revolt. "Boltar", enters the castle, frees "Valiant" and the others, and "Prince Valiant" joins "Boltar's" plan of attack. Once "Boltar" assassinates "Sligon", "Valiant" will give a signal to their main force to attack the castle. However, "Prince Valiant" is discovered before "Sligon" is dead and the Christian Vikings are given a false signal and attack the castle.































"Valiant" comes upon "Sligon", the two fight and the usurper is killed.





























"Valiant" now sets parts of the castle on fire, confusing "Sligon's" Vikings and the rebels win the day restoring the royal family. "Prince Valiant" and "Princess Aleta" return to Camelot and in front of "King Arthur" and the "Knights of the Round Table", "Valiant" accuses "Sir Brack" of being the "Black Knight" and joining with "Sligon" to take control of Britain and be placed upon "Arthur's" throne.


































"Sir Brack" calls for a trial by combat, "Sir Gawain" offers to fight him for "Valiant", but "Prince Valiant" accepts the challenge. There now follows an exciting duel between the two.























At one point, "Valiant" loses his sword and picks-up the enchanted Viking "Singing Sword", which of course leads to the death of "Sir Brack".





























In the end, "Prince Valiant" is knighted and joins the "Round Table".























As to the love story, "Sir Gawain" has had a talk with "Ilene" and learned the truth about "Aleta", but also has fallen truly in love with the younger sister. He now tells this to the other couple and wishes them happiness.



































Below, a rare shot of James Mason and Robert Wagner practicing their sword fight. The scene is one long shot and no doubles were used for the actors.





































The next motion picture James Mason was a co-star  had ended a feud between Walter Elias Disney and Max Fleischer that started in approximately 1922. For those of my readers who might be interested in that story, my article is "The Walt Disney, Max Fleischer Animation Feud", animated at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/04/the-great-walt-disney-max-fleischer.html


20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, in West Germany, on June 29, 1954





The screenplay was based upon French author Jules Verne's novel, originally serialized from March 1869 through June 1870, in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's monthly magazine, "Magasin d'éducation et de récréation (Education and recreation store)".

The screenplay was by Earl Felton, who started writing screenplays in 1935. In 1949, he wrote the screenplay for director Preston Sturges' comedy western, "The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend", starring Betty Grable, Cesar Romero, and Rudy Vallee. In 1952, Felton wrote the crime film-noir, "The Last Vegas Story", starring Jane Russell and Victor Mature, featuring Vincent Price, and in 1956, he wrote "Bandido!", starring Robert Mitchum, Ursula Thiess, and Gilbert Roland.

The motion picture was directed by Max Fleischer's son, Richard Fleischer. He was chosen, because he understood both animation and live action features and their correlation to each other. Walter Elias Disney felt Ricard Fleischer was the best director for his envisioned "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and Disney's animosity toward the father was put aside.

Among Richard Fleischer's later movies is 1956's, "Bandido!", 1958's, "The Vikings", starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernest Borgnine, the 1966 science fiction, "The Fantastic Voyage", and the American footage in 1970's, "Tora, Tora, Tora".


Kirk Douglas portrayed "Ned Land". Douglas was making movies in Europe at the time of the production for this motion picture and two of them bookended it. The first was the 1953, French Second World War love story, "Un acte d'amour (Act of Love)". The second was made in Italy and filmed in Italian, based upon the Greek poet Homer's, "The Odyssey", October 6, 1954's, "Ulisse (Ulysses)", it would not arrive in the United States until August 17, 1955, in New York City.
























Above, this was one of the few motion picture's guitar player and singer, Douglas, was able to perform in.

James Mason portrayed "Captain Nemo". There have been several actors portraying "Captain Nemo", and only one motion picture calling him by his birth name of "Dakkar". My article is "Captain Nemo Movie Star", found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/02/captain-nemo-motion-picture-star.html

























Paul Lukas portrayed "Professor Pierre Aronnax". Lukas started in Hungarian silent films in 1915, and his motion pictures included the 1933 version of authoress Louisa May Alcott's, "Little Women", starring Katharine Hepburn, director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1938, "The Lady Vanishes", Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard's, 1940, "The Ghost Breakers", 1943's, "Watch on the Rhine", co-starring with Bette Davis, and the 1950 version of British India born author, Rudyard Kipling's, "Kim", starring Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell.




























Peter Lorre portrayed "Conseil". He was in director John Huston's 1953, "Beat the Devil", starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, and Gina Lollobrigida. Lorre followed this feature film with appearances on television through 1955. One of these appearances was on the television anthology series "Climax", as the FIRST "JAMES BOND" VILLIAN on October 21, 1954. My article is "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/11/peter-lorre-overlooked-or-forgotten.html 



























In 1868, three-years after the end of the American Civil War, rumors of a giant monster in the Pacific Ocean destroying ships moves from one country to the next as the sea creatures size grows. (In Jules Verne's novel the year is 1866.)

Because of the monster, French marine biologist, "Professor Pierre Aronnax" of the Paris Museum and his apprentice/assistant "Conseil", find themselves stranded in New York City. The United States' "State Department" offers the two a means of reaching their destination by a roundabout means, taking a few months on a Naval warship to prove, or disapprove, the existence of the sea monster.

One of the theories circulating is that the monster is a giant narwhal, normally a medium-sized whale with a tusk like protrusion on its head, that for some unknown reason is attacking and punching a hole in the side of the wooden sailing ships causing them to sink.

The professor and his assistant accept and with harpooner "Ned Land" (in the novel a Canadian) board a United States Navy frigate the "Abraham Lincoln", and go in search of the monstrous narwhal. "Captain Farragut", portrayed by Ted de Corsia, below center, has searched the Pacific Ocean for the last six-months without results. He calls a meeting to discuss his options and that he believes his mission has been completed. He now plans to take the professor and his assistant to their original oriental port of destination, or any other port they may choose.
































Everyone on board has relaxed, when the monster is spotted just setting still in the water, as if studying the frigate.


















Suddenly, it moves slowly towards the ship, picking up speed, and more speed, ramming the rudder area. "Professor Aronnax" is knocked overboard and "Conseil" dives into the water after him. "Ned Land" and the longboat are next, as the ship sails away without being able to turn, unknown to "Captain Farragut", three men are missing.





















The professor and his assistant watch the "Abraham Lincoln" move away from them, helpless, and facing exhaustion and drowning they come across what appears to be the monster sleeping. After reaching the monster, "Professor Aronnax" realizes in is a underwater ship, a submarine, and starts to explore a seemingly empty craft.

The two come to a room, the captain's quarters, and an open window looking into the Pacific Ocean, but underwater. "Professor Aronnax" is transfixed by an underwater funeral and points out to "Conseil" the tall man that appear to be the leader.




















A voice is heard coming from outside and "Conseil" goes up and finds "Ned Land" on the top of the upside-down longboat and asks the other for help flipping it over. The leader of the funeral has noticed "Professor Aronnax" at the window and gives hand signal instructions to the crew members with him. "Professor Aronnax" joins "Ned" and "Conseil" in the longboat and the three attempt to get away from the submarine boat. 



















Suddenly, men in diving suits appear around the longboat.






 























They are joined by other men from inside the ship.


































The three captives are taken into the pilot house and from below decks a man appears and introduces himself as "Captain Nemo". He has "Ned" and "Conseil" taken to the area of the deck the submarine boat's longboat is located. Recognizing "Professor Pierre Aronnax's" name, "Captain Nemo" offers to let him stay in the pilothouse, but he chooses to go with his two friends. "Captain Nemo" watches from the pilothouse as he starts to take the submarine down and the water starts to rise near their necks. "Nemo" stops the dive, returns completely to the surface and has his men take the three below decks to get dry and give them clean clothing.










The three men now find themselves at dinner with "Captain Nemo" on board the submarine boat he named the "Nautilus". "Nemo", does not say much about himself, but earlier had told "Professor Aronnax" he might have a use for his misplaced loyalty to his friends.






"Ned" and the others are complimenting "Captain Nemo" on the food, until they discover it all comes from the sea. "Ned" moves himself right to the desert and was complimenting about the pudding until "Captain Nemo" told him it was his own recipe made from unborn baby squid. 



















"Captain Nemo" suggests that "Ned" and "Conseil" might like to get their own food and the two find themselves in diving suits walking not on the Island of Crespo, but under it.


















While observing the underwater party, "Professor Aronnax" is invited to join "Nemo" under water, and the professor accepts. However, the two find the other two have gone treasure hunting. Only to be saved from a shark attack by "Nemo" and discover that sunken treasure is used for ballast. This just ads to "Nemo" and "Ned's" dislike of each other. Later, giving "Professor Aronnax" a tour of the "Nautilus", "Nemo" reveals the submarine boats power supply and it appears almost to be nuclear.


















The "Nautilus" now surfaces off the coast of a penal island and "Captain Nemo" takes "Professor Aronnax" there to observe the cruelty of those who run it.







































"Professor Aronnax" now learns what created "Captain Nemo", and where his crew came from. "Nemo" speaks of both his wife and son being tortured to death to make him reveal his scientific secrets. He never did and his wife would never have let him and with loyal prisoners, they escape, build the "Nautilus" and declare war on that unnamed country and other ships of war. The man called "Nemo" also mentions that they are heading for his base, "Vulcania", where he plans to show the professor his secrets and have him become his emissary to the rest of the world. As "Nemo" now plans to pass-on some of his secrets in a slow progression.

"Professor Aronnax" does not reveal the history of "Nemo" to "Conseil" and "Ned", but makes the mistake of mentioning "Vulcania" as the destination for the "Nautilus". Now "Ned" looks for charts that might tell him the location of "Captain Nemo's" base and throws out messages with that information in bottles.

The "Nautilus" next becomes stranded on a reef opposite New Guinea and must wait out high tide to free itself. "Conseil" asks if he can go ashore to gather specimens, is given approval, but "Captain Nemo" warns "Ned Land" to stay on the shore, because the island is inhabited by cannibals. Of course, "Ned" wants to escape, disregards "Nemo's" warning, goes inland himself, finds signs of cannibals, returns to the shore with the cannibals coming after him and now "Conseil.

 




























"Nemo" to "Ned's" surprise, just calmly waits below the open hatch for the first of the cannibals to enter.




























Then "Nemo", turns a dial and sends a mild electrical shock through the hull and the frightened cannibals in panic go back to their island. "Captain Nemo" now orders "Ned Land" to be locked in his cabin for disobeying his orders. Next, a warship appears and starts firing on the "Nautilus" still stuck on the reef, but the firing also starts to break the reef apart and frees the submarine boat. 


















However, there is damage and while being repaired, the "Nautilus" sinks lower in depth to a point "Captain Nemo" state's that man has never gone. Repaired, the submarine boat starts back towards the surface, but a giant squid appears and attaches itself, but "Nemo" repels it with the same electricity he used on the cannibals. Yet, the squid returns, holds tight, and the "Nautilus" surfaces in a raging storm to fight the giant squid.























Meanwhile, below decks, "Ned Land" is freed and is attempting to find out what's happening. A crewmember falls down the steps in front of "Ned" and he sees the markings of the suction cups from the squid's tentacles on the face. 























































The crews has not killed the giant squid and "Captain Nemo" becomes trapped in its tenacles. 
































































"Ned" comes on deck with a harpoon, kills the squid, and saves "Captain Nemo".





























































Once safely back inside the "Nautilus", "Captain Nemo" asks "Ned Land" why he save him, and "Ned" doesn't really have any answer to the question,

The "Nautilus" arrives at "Vulcania", only to see the island surrounded by warships, and "Captain Nemo" decides to enter through a narrow underwater tunnel system. "Ned" attempts to wave at the soldiers climbing the island's hill, yelling they're the ones who sent the messages. "Professor Aronnax" is shocked and informs both "Ned" and "Conseil" that "Nemo" is going to blow-up the island.








































































Having set explosives, returning to the "Nautilus", "Captain Nemo" is shot in the back by the troops coming down the inside of "Vulcania". He now takes the submarine boat out through the tunnels and calls everyone to his quarters.

















"Captain Nemo" explains to "Professor Aronnax", "Ned Land", "Conseil", and his crew that he is dying and therefore, the "Nautilus" is dying too. "Ned" objects, but the crew will follow their captain's orders.






























"Ned", "Professor Aronnax", and "Conseil" are locked in their cabins, but as the "Nautilus" settles on the ocean bottom, "Ned" escapes. He goes to the deserted pilot house and starts the "Nautilus" toward the surface, in his quarters, "Nemo" opens the large window to view the sea and dies. "Ned", and the other two are almost out of the submarine boat, when the professor remembers his diary, but is knocked out by "Ned" as they all make it, along with "Nemo's" pet sea lion, "Esmeralda", to the long boat and row away from the "Nautilus".


















The three friends look back towards "Vulcania" as it explodes in what appears to be a nuclear blast and the move concludes with the voice of James Mason:
There is hope for the future. And when the world is ready for a new and better life, all this will someday come to pass, in God's good time.


James Mason next co-starred in the first of three American remakes to date of a classic 1937's love story, drama. For those of my readers who are interested in all four remakes, my article is "A STAR IS BORN' X 4: Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand and Lady Gaga", found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/02/a-star-is-born-x-4-janet-gaynor-judy.html

A STAR IS BORN premiered in Los Angeles on September 29, 1954

 




The screen writing credits for the motion picture are very interesting. On screen the screenplay is credited to "Tony Award" winning playwright Moss Hart. Hart started writing screenplays in 1932 and among his work is the Helen Morgan and Chester Morris, 1936, "Frankie and Johnnie", 1947's, 'Gentleman's Agreement", starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, and John Garfield, and Danny Kaye's, 1952, "Hans Christian Anderson".

The story is credited back to 1937, and director William A. Wellman, who directed the first "Best Motion Picture Academy Award" winner, 1927's, "Wings". Wellman had been an American flyer for the French during the First World War. My article on his flying career and three of his motion pictures is "WILLIAM A. 'WILD BILL' WELLMAN: '3' with JOHN WAYNE: 'Island in the Sky', 'The High and the Mighty', and 'Blood Alley", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/07/william-wild-bill-wellman-3-with-john.html

Additional credit mentioned from the 1937 production in screenplay writing was for Robert Carson, 1937's, "The Last Gangster", starring Edward G. Robinson, 1939's, "The Light That Failed", starring Ronald Colman, and Fritz Lang's, 1941, "Western Union".

Both William Wellman and Robert Carson are credited in the 1976 and 2018 versions as the source for the story.

Continuing from the 1937 writing credits mentioned in 1954, are Dorothy Parker, 1941's, "The Little Foxes" starring Bette Davis, and Alfred Hitchcock's, 1942, "Saboteur".

Alan Campbell,
the Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon, 1938, "The Cowboy and the Lady", and the 1938,  Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, and Frank Morgan, "Sweethearts".


The motion picture was directed by George Cukor. He started directing in 1930, it is of interesting note that George Cukor was the director of 1932, "What Price Hollywood?", starring Constance Bennett. Which had a very similar story line as the 1937 "A Star Is Born", and accusations of plagiarism still are made as of this writing. Some of Cukor's other work includes the Katharine Hepburn, 1933, "Little Women", Katherine Hepburn's, 1935, "Silvia Scarlett", the Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, 1938, "Holiday", and the 1940, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart, "The Philadelphia Story".


Judy Garland portrayed "Vickie Lester". In 1950, Judy Garland co-starred with Gene Kelly in the musical "Summer Stock". Then there was a four-year, non-active period, that included a marriage to Sidney Luft, and the birth of her daughter, Lorna. This motion picture was to be Garland's big come back, and she was nominated for the "Best Actress Academy Award"but right after filming was completed, Judy Garland started complaining about being ill, as she had at MGM, and it wouldn't be until director Stanley Kramer's, 1961,"Judgement at Nuremberg" that Judy Garland returned to the motion picture screen in a dramatic role that was nominated for the "Best Supporting Actress Academy Award". For those who may be interesting in a young Judy Garland, my article is "Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney: Their Movies Together" at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/05/judy-garland-mickey-rooney-their-movies.html











James Mason portrayed "Norman Maine". Like his co-star, Judy Garland, James Mason was nominated for an "Academy Award", and did not win.













Jack Carson portrayed "Matt Libby". Carson was a solid supporting actor who was known more for his comic roles than drama, but as with most good comedians. It was his dramas such as 1945's, "Mildred Pierce", co-starring with Joan Crawford and Zachary Scott, or the 1958, Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor's, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" that he excelled. Three of his semi-comedy roles are in, 1939's, "Destry Rides Again", starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. The same years "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" again with James Stewart, and first billed Jean Arthur, and the Gary Grant dark comedy 1944's, "Arsenic and Old Lace".



























Charles Bickford portrayed "Oliver Niles". Charles Bickford's face and voice gave him a worn look that he used to his advantage. Especially in westerns, detective thrillers, and as a sometime gangster. Some of his 113 roles included 1934's "Little Miss Marker" starring Shirley Temple and Adolphe Menjou, Cecil B. DeMille's, 1936, "The Plainsman", starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, DeMille's, 1942, "Reap the Wild Wind", starring John Wayne and Ray Milland, 1948's, "Command Decision", starring Clark Cable and Walter Pidgeon, and 1951's, "Jim Thrope-All American" starring Burt Lancaster. Bickford is great as the big cattle rancher in William Wyler's, 1958 epic western, "The Big Country", starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carol Baker and featuring Burl Ives as the man Bickford is at war with over water rights.





























Tommy Noonan portrayed pianist "Danny McGuire". Comedy actor Noonan started in films with 1938's, "Boys Town", starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. He was "Charlie Ford", the brother of "Bob Ford", portrayed by his own half-brother, actor John Ireland, in director Sam Fuller's controversial, 1949, "I Shot Jesse James". Then both brothers repeated their roles in 1950's, "The Return of Jesse James". In 1953, Tommy Noonan was "Gus Esmond, Jr" who's in love with Marilyn Monroe's "Lorelei Lee" in, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"


















In typical "Hollywood Style", the major studios are giving an over-the-top benefit concert at the "Shrine Auditorium" in downtown Los Angeles to raise money for the "The Motion Picture Relief Fund" 

At one time he was the biggest male star and women around the world had dreams about him. However, now "Norman Maine's" star has fallen and he arrives drunk at the fund raiser and an obvious target of the "Hollywood Press". The head of the studio that still has "Maine's" contract, "Oliver Niles", tells the head of publicity, "Matt Libby", take "Norman Maine" away from the audience and press areas. While, on the stage is the "Glenn Williams Orchestra", with attempting to get recognized, female vocalist "Esther Bodgett".


































"Libby" takes "Maine" to the Press Room, but the other man knocks him into a mirror and blindly heads for the performance stage. On stage, "Esther Bodgett" is performing with the orchestra, but she notices the drunken "Norman Maine" heading for her and the orchestra. Thinking fast, as the drunken man comes onto the stage area, "Esther" grabs "Maine's" hands, locks hers with his, and makes the audience believes that the two are an act and they love it.

After the show "Norman" thanks "Esther" for saving him from embarrassment. He takes a lip stick and makes a heart on the wall of the Shrine Auditorium. Next, he asks her out for dinner, but she declines. She has another gig at the "Coconut Grove" with "Danny McGuire".





















"Maine" decides to go there, but by the time he arrives, "Esther" and "Danny" have left for a third gig at the "Ambassador Hotel". "Norman" arrives to only discover she has headed for another gig at the "Downbeat Club" on the Sunset Strip. There he finds her performing and is amazed at her talent.































Again, "Norman Maine" asks "Esther" to go out to dinner with him. The two end up at her apartment as "Norman" listens to her life story.

During their moments together, "Maine" mentions "Oliver Niles", the studio head, and tells "Esther" he will arrange a meeting with him for the next day. However, two things happen the following day that change "Esther's" feelings toward him. 

First, she calls "Danny" and quits the orchestra dreaming of an acting career, but the second event is the more problematic. A very early morning studio car comes to pick "Norman" up and take him to a ship leaving for a South Seas movie shoot. As a result, "Norman" was unable to set up the meeting with "Niles" for "Esther".

The now unemployed young woman has to become a waitress and moves to a very shabby apartment.

Weeks past and finally "Norman Maine" returns and is able to both straighten things out with "Esther", but also get her a bit part in a movie. The role puts "Esther" in a blonde wig with a prosthetic nose. "Maine" is mad and goes to "Niles" to give her a singing screen test. The studio head is more than impressed and "Vicki Lester" is born.

















The musical numbers start to really kick in and the power of Judy Garland in both song and dance takes over. A very different element from the 1937 motion picture.



























































What is also happening is that "Norman Maine" and "Vicki Lester" are falling in love. 







































The two decide to get married, pleasing both "Oliver" and "Matt". Who are thinking that she is helping "Maine" stay sobber and "Matt Libby" is also thinking of the publicity this will make to increase revenue on both of their feature films and his commissions.































However, the two decide to elope instead of having the big Hollywood Wedding "Matt Libby" had in mind. Returning from their honeymoon "Vicki" and "Norman" throw a major party at their new Malibu Beach home. 





A little while later, happiness is about to turn ugly, when "Oliver Niles" informs "Norman" that the New York studio heads have dropped his contract. He is now out of work.







"Libby" sees this as a means to get revenge on "Maine". Who has always caused him frustration and most recently denying the Publicity Man a chance to promote a major wedding. Instead of telling the truth. "Matt Libby" sends out inflammatory press releases that state "Norman Maine" wanted out of his contract.





"Norman" is now stuck alone at home as "Vicki's" career keeps sky rocketing.


















 "



Danny McGuire" has returned to become "Vicki's" accompanist one more.























Then comes the news that "Vicki" has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The studio takes her to the ceremony and when the award is announced. "Vicki Lester" has won Best Actress.



















"Vicki Lester" goes up to the stage, accepts the award, and begins her acceptance speech. When we have a re-enactment of when "Esther Bodgett" first met "Norman Maine". He shows up at the awards ceremony extremely drunk, walks right up on the stage to disrupt his wife's speech, and in his drunken state, inadvertently slaps her in the face.




















The Hollywood Gossip Columnists move in on this scandal. As "Norman Maine' enters a sanatorium for treatment. Screenwriter Moss Hart pulls no punches about the real Hollywood behind the glamour. After his treatment has been completed, the vultures await his release, tipped off by "Matt Libby". 


























After "Norman" returns home, he remains depressed, and "Vicki" who truly loves him makes a major decision in her career.





























"Vicki" calls "Olivier", and unknown to her, "Norman", in their bedroom, overhearing her tell the studio head that she is retiring from the industry to care for her husband.

When "Esther Blodgett Maine" returns to the bedroom, "Norman" tells her he's going for a swim before bed. 































"Norman Maine" goes out of their house, walks into the Pacific Ocean, and drowns himself. 



















"Matt Libby" gets another feeling of revenge. as his Press Release tells of "Norman Maine's Tragic Accident", and the Press Agent smiles to himself.

After the funeral as "Vicki" leaves the church an overflowing crowd of morbid fans close in around her and she experiences a nervous breakdown. This results in "Esther Blodgett Maine" becoming a recluse.

"Danny McGuire" arrives at her Malibu Beach house to take "Esther" to a benefit concert she promised to attend prior to "Norman's" death. She refuses to go, but "Danny" reminds "Esther" of what "Norman" gave her. She agrees to go to the concert that is, as at the start of the motion picture, at the "Shrine Auditorium". Backstage she notices the lip stick heart "Norman" once made and her attitude changes.

She comes out and addresses the large gathering.

HELLO EVERYBODY. THIS IS MRS. NORMAN MAINE.


For his next motion picture, James Mason starred in a very controversial screenplay from a very controversial novel for the 1950's.

ISLAND IN THE SUN premiered in New York City on June 12, 1957



 

The 1955 best-selling novel was written by London, England, born Alec Waugh. The book was very controversial dealing with race relations on a British held island and interracial love.

The British screenplay writer was Alfred Hayes. His latest motion picture was 1955's, "The Left Hand of God", that starred Humphrey Bogart, Gene Tierney, and Lee J. Cobb. He followed this motion picture by co-writing the screenplay for 1957's, "A Hateful of Rain", with blacklisted and uncredited Carl Foreman.

The motion picture was directed by Robert Rosen, he had just produced, written, and directed the excellent 1955, "Alexander the Great", starring Richard Burton, Fredric March, and Claire Bloom. He followed this feature by writing and directing, 1959's, "They Came to Cordura", starring Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin, and Tab Hunter.


James Mason portrayed "Maxwell Fleury". 



































Joan Fontaine portrayed "Mavis Norman". Fontaine was appearing on television just prior to this motion picture, but followed it with 1957's, "Until They Sail", co-starring with Jean Simmons and Paul Newman and directed by Robert Wise.

According to "Variety", June 19, 1957, because of her interracial scenes with Harry Belafonte, Joan Fontaine received "poison pen mail", that included threats from the Ku Klux Klan. The actress turned all of this mail over to the FBI.





























Dorothy Dandridge portrayed "Margot Seaton". Singer and entertainer Dandridge last on-screen appearance was in 1954's, "Carmen Jones". The "Academy Award" nominated motion picture version of the African-American Broadway musical co-starred Harry Belafonte. Dorothy Dandridge was nominated for the "Best Actress Oscar" for he role. She followed this movie with the French and Italian, 1958, "Tamango".

































Joan Collins portrayed "Jocelyn Fleury". Collins had just co-starred with Jane Mansfield, and Dan Dailey, in the 1957, motion picture version of American novelist John Steinbeck's, "The Wayward Bus". She followed this film by co-starring with Robert Wagner and Edmond O'Brien in 1957's, "Stopover Tokyo".
































Michael Rennie portrayed "Hilary Carson". Rennie had just appeared in "Circle of the Day", May 30, 1957, on the television anthology series, "Playhouse 90". He followed this motion picture with 1957's, "Omar Khayyam", co-starring with Cornel Wilde and Debra Paget.

























Harry Belafonte portrayed "David Boyeur". After 1954's, "Carmen Jones", Belafonte appeared in two television shows and then made this motion picture. After this picture, he stayed with a racially charged theme. This time a science fiction end of the world story, 1959's, "The World, the Flesh, and the Devil", with the only other two survivors of an atomic holocaust, portrayed by Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer. 

The movie's title song, "Island in the Sun", was written by Harry Belafonte and Irving Burgie. The major hit has over 40 cover artists and was parodied in 1992's, "The Muppet Christmas Carol".




















Diana Wynard portrayed "Mrs. Betty Fleury". She starred in the original British version of "Gaslight" in 1940, which is considered superior to the 1944 remake that starred Ingrid Bergman. At this time the British actress was appearing on American television.






























John Williams portrayed "Colonel Whittingham". Williams is known to American audiences for two classic portrayals in two Alfred Hitchcock movies, 1954's, 3-D, "Dial M for Murder", and 1955's, "To Catch a Thief". At this time, John Williams was appearing on American television.





























Above, John Williams with James Mason


Stephen Boyd portrayed "Euan Templeton". Boyd had 4th-billing in 1957's, "Away All Boats", aka: "Seven Waves Away", starring Tyrone Power, Mai Zetterling, and Lloyd Nolan. He followed this movie with "Seven Thunders" aka: "The Beasts of Marseilles", co-starring James Robertson Justice.
































Patricia Owens portrayed "Sylvia Fleury". Patricia Owens would achieve science fiction/horror immortality four movies later, co-starring with Al Hedison, before he became David Hedison, in the 1958, original, "The Fly". That cult classic is part of my article, "THE FLY: The 1958, 1959, 1965, Original Trilogy of Science Fiction/Horror", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/12/the-fly-1958-19591965-original-trilogy.html


































Basil Sydney portrayed "Julian Fleury". He started on-screen acting in 1920. He had just co-starred with Joan Collins and Richard Burton, in 1957's, "Sea Wife". Among his other roles were "Captain Smollett", in Walt Disney's, 1950, "Treasure Island", "Pontius Pilate", in the Rita Hayworth, Stewart Granger and Charles Laughton's, 1953, "Salome", and "Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris", in the 1955, true Second World War story, "The Dam Busters".


























You've met the cast of characters, keep your program handy, this motion picture beat the filmed version of authoress Grace Metalious's "Peyton Place" to movie theaters by six-months. 

The setting is a fictious British West Indian Island, named Santa Marta.

The screenplay based upon the novel is a look at the complex relationships of four couples, of black, white and mixed race. 

Couple #1: "Maxwell Fleury" is the son of a wealthy plantation owner, has an inferiority complex, and is very jealous of his wife, "Sylvia".




























Couple #2: "Maxwell" is envious of his younger sister, "Jocelyn", who is being courted by Oxford-bound "Euan Templeton", newly arrived to the island on a visit to his father the island's governor, "Lord Templeton", portrayed by Ronald Squire.





























Couple #3: "David Boyer" is an ambitious black union leader and emerging power that might be dangerous for the white ruling class. "Lord Templeton" is courting him diplomatically, to be on his side. "Mavis Norman", the widow of the deceased elder scion of the Fleury plantation, "Arthur", has developed a romantic interest in "David Boyer".



















Couple #4: "Denis Archer", portrayed by John Justin, the aide-de-camp to Governor "Templeton". He wants to be a novelist and has become "smitten" with the mixed-race "Margot Seaton". Who wants to better herself through hard work and not her beauty.



















The British Soap Opera:



















Things get going when the very insecure and childish, "Maxwell Fleury", finds the butt of an exotic Egyptian cigarette left in an ashtray and imagines his wife, "Sylvia" is having an affair.




















The "Fleury's, "Maxwell", his wife "Sylvia," and younger sister, "Jocelyn", attend a garden party at the governor's house in honor of his son "Euan Templeton", who is visiting the island on his way to Oxford. At the party is American investigative reporter, "Bradshaw", portrayed by Hartley Power.

Also invited to the party is "David Boyeur, a black activist that is barely tolerated by the white ruling class. "David" has insisted that "Margo Seaton", even though she protests to him that she will feel out of place, accompany him to the party. 




















At the party, "Euan" is immediately attracted to "Jocelyn Fleury", while "Margo" attracts the attention of "Dennis Archer", the white aide-de-camp to the governor. 

"Maxwell" is called over to a group of men who want him to run against "David Boyeur" to protect the white majority rule of their island.

Later, "Maxwell" finds "Sylvia" with "Harry Carson" and notices that he smokes the same brand of Egyptian cigarette he found the butt in the ashtray from and he becomes somewhat aggressive toward the other. 






























At another part of the garden party, "Sylvia Fleury's" sister, "Mavis Norman", who husband has passed away, is closely watching "David Boyuer", who she remembers as a childhood playmate. 




















Meanwhile, the agitated "Maxwell" now clashes with "David", whose father was once a slave on the "Fleury" plantation. On his drive home with "Sylvia", "Maxwell" accuses "Sylvia" of infidelity and rapes her. 

The following day, on the beach, "Jocelyn" is with "Euan" and voices her desire to leave the island, while "Euan" speaks of assuming a seat in the "House of Lords".



















At another part of the island, "Dennis" goes to the pharmacy where "Margo" works and asks her to the governor's dance.























Still suspicious of his wife and "Carson", "Maxwell" drives into town and finds them together, further fueling his rage. At the dance, "Mavis" finds "David" and asks him to join her in a glass of champagne and confides she would rather be useful than privileged. 




























"Dennis", now in love with "Margo" takes her to his home and reveals he wants to be a writer. 

The next day, after making his decision, "Maxwell" informs his parents that he wants to run for the legislature. "Maxwell's" father expresses skepticism over his running, and his son explodes, and accuses his parent of favoring their late son, "Arthur", who died a war hero, and whines that he'd been better off born black.

"David" escorts "Mavis" to the poor, but proud fishing village he was born in.






 













"Jocelyn" and "Euan" drive to his country home and observe a sinister figure wearing a mask. Later, as they prepare to leave, the two discover someone has taken part of the car's engine and cut the phone wirers, forcing the two to spend the night together. The next morning "Euan" takes "Jocelyn" home and he proposes to her. "Jocelyn's" mother encourages her daughter to accept to stop any gossip against the family. 




















However, "Jocelyn" isn't certain about the marriage and knows that "Euan" will be assuming a very important position in white society.

The reporter "Bradshaw" publishes an article stating that "Julian Fleury's" grandmother was black, making "Maxwell" and his younger sister, "Jocelyn" both part black. This has two effects on the current "Fleury" family. 

The first is to "Jocelyn", who fears her baby, she's now pregnant from "Euan", will be born black.





Her mother confesses she had an affair and that "Julian" is not "Jocelyn's" true father. and she has nothing to fear as she is racially pure.

That night, "Maxwell" confronts a drunken "Carlson" on the streets, and forces his way into the other's house. "Maxwell" demands that "Carlson" leave "Sylvia" alone, but the drunken "Carlson" replies with a racial slur about "Maxwell" being black. In a rage, "Maxwell Fleury" attacks "Hilary Carlson" and strangles him to death. He next makes the death appear to be from a robbery gone wrong.


















Above, Ronald Squire portraying "Governor Lord Templeton", and John Williams portraying "Colonel Whittington".

However, "Colonel Whittington", the chief of police, confides to his friend "Maxwell Fleury", and his main suspect, that he believes that "Carlson's" death was murder and the murderer won't be able to bear his guilt. A game of cat-and-mouse begins. Apparently "Whittington" is a reader of classic mysteries and starts dropping hints to "Fleury" drawn from Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's, 1866 novel, "Crime and Punishment".


The second effect of the newspaper article is to "Maxwell". He holds a political rally and acknowledges the fact that his great-grandmother was black, and states how proud he is to be bi-racial. However, a group of black islanders claim that "Maxwell" is attempting to get their votes with his words and "David" steps forward and quiets them down. However, "Maxwell's" mouth gets in his way, and he blurts out:
I never wanted to be one of you

Back at the plantation, "Maxwell Fleury" is in his locked bathroom with two objects. One is a pistol, the other a copy of "Crime and Punishment" sent to him by "Colonel Whittington". He cannot pull the trigger on the gun, smashes his hand against the mirror, leaves the bathroom to find the chief of police and turn himself in.


















"Dennis", whose love for "Margo" has displeased the governor, resigns his post, and asks her to accompany him to London. There he plans to write his exposé of the island of Santa Marta. 

The newly married "Jocelyn" and "Euan" board an airplane for England. They are followed by "Dennis" and "Margo". 

On the ground watching the airplane take off are "Mavis" and "David". She suggests that the two also take an airplane to another country and get married. He replies that his skin is his country, and that his people would never understand a relationship with a white woman.

The movie ends with "Mavis" walking away, alone.



NORTH BY NORTHWEST premiered in Chicago, Illinois, on July 1, 1959




The motion picture was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He had just released 1958's, "Vertigo", starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, and followed this feature film with 1960's, "Psycho", starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and with third-co-star, Janet Leigh. I looked at five of "Hitch's" films that are obscure to many non-fans in my article, "HITCHCOCK: A Scarf and a Medical Bag, A Conscience, 19th Century Ship Wreckers, The Third Dimension, and A Roving Dead Body", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/01/hitchcock-scarf-and-medical-bag.html

The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman. In 1954, Lehman wrote the screenplays for both "Executive Suite", and "Sabrina". In 1956, he wrote both the screenplay for the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical, "The King and I", and "Somebody Up There Likes Me". 


Cary Grant portrayed "Roger Thornhill". He had just been in 1958's, 'Houseboat" co-starring Sophia Loren and Martha Hyer, and followed this picture with "Operation Petticoat", co-starring Tony Curtis.
















Eva Marie Saint portrayed "Eve Kendall". This role was bookended by two major roles in two epic motion pictures. Just prior to this film, Eva Marie Saint portrayed Nell Gaither" in 1957's, "Raintree Country", co-starring with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. She would follow this motion picture portraying "Kitty Fremont", co-starring with Paul Newman and Sir Ralph Richardson, in director Otto Preminger's production of American author Leon Uris's, "Exodus".








James Mason portrayed "Philip Vandamm".























In 1958 New York City's "Plaza Hotel's Oak Room" restaurant, a waiter pages a "George Kaplan". However, at the exact same time, advertising executive "Roger Thornhill" summons the same waiter. The timing of "Thornhill's" summoning causes him to be kidnapped by two thugs, who have mistaken him for "Kaplan". They take "Roger Thornhill" to the estate of "Lester Townsend", portrayed by Philip Ober, in Glen Cove, a city in Nassau County,































There "Philip Vandamm", a spy and Cold War enemy of the United States interrogates "Thornhill". "Vandamm" poses as "Lester Townsend" and then arranges for "Roger Thornhill" to die in a drunk driving accident.























Above, James Mason's "Vandamm" with "Leonard", portrayed by Martin Landau,

























"Thornhill" survives the accident, but cannot convince either the police, or his mother, "Clara Thornhill", portrayed by Jessie Royce Landis, about what happened, but does discover, after revisiting the estate that "Lester Townsend" is a United Nations diplomat. 

"Thornhill" and his mother go to "Kaplan's" empty hotel room at the "Plaza Hotel".






The phone rings and "Roger Thornhill" answers it and "Vandamm's" thugs, who used one of the hotel lobbies phones, now start their pursuit of "Thornhill", to kill one man they still believe is another.

























"Thornhill" now heads for the United Nations General Assembly room and meets the real "Lester Townsend". 

























One of "Vandamm's" thugs throws a knife killing "Townsend" who falls into the arms of "Roger Thornhill".


























"Thornhill" is photographed as he grabs the knife giving the appearance, he is the killer.




























"Roger Thornhill" flees and now attempts to find the real "Kaplan". 





















What he doesn't know is that an unnamed government intelligence agency, led by a man called "The Professor", portrayed by Leo G. Carrol, created "Kaplan" to lure "Vandamm" out and capture him.























However, this same intelligence agency makes the decision of not rescuing "Thornhill", because that would endanger their mission of getting "Vandamm", who apparently wants "Roger Thornhill" dead, believing he's "Kaplan". Besides they have an agent working undercover with "Vandamm".

"Thornhill" boards the "20th Century Limited" that will be going to Chicago and meets an attractive blonde named "Eve Kendall". The police show up and she misdirects them away from "Roger". He next evades the conductors searching for him and sits down at "Eve's" table in the dining car. She admits to tipping the waiter to have him sit at her table and having seen the newspaper articles about him.
























The train makes an unscheduled stop to allow two detectives to come on-board, and "Eve" hides "Roger" in her sleeping compartment overnight.
































The two form a relationship, but what "Roger" doesn't know is that "Eve" is secretly working for "Vandamm". 

"Eve" informs "Roger" that she has made contact with "Kaplan", but that he, alone, must meet the other man at an isolated rural bus stop. He goes there, but instead of meeting the non-existent "Kaplan", "Roger Thornhill" is attacked by a crop duster,









 



















"Thornhill" unsuccessfully attempts to hide in a corn field.





























Back at the road, "Roger Thornhill" steps in front of a speeding gas tanker truck, forcing the driver to hit the brakes, it stops and the crop duster crashes into it.


























"Roger Thornhill" makes it back to Chicago and "Kaplan's" hotel, only to find out he checked out of his room, before "Eve Kendall" claimed to have spoken to him. Then in the lobby he spots "Eve", follows her to her room where she's startled to see him.





"Eve" tells "Rodger" that they cannot be together, demands that he leave her room, he does, but follows her again. She enters an art gallery and joins "Vandamm", who is attending an auction. "Roger" angerly confronts both over "Eve's" betrayal". 
































The three are unaware that "The Professor" is in the gallery audience watching them. 





























"Roger" starts to leave, but the two thugs working for "Vandamm", "Leonard",  and "Valerian", portrayed by Adam Williams, block his exit. 

























"Thornhill'" makes a scene and starts to fight them to get himself arrested. The police make a report of "Roger's" seizure and are instructed to take him to the airport and he meets "The Professor".

 




"The Professor" explains the fictious "Kaplan" and the need to capture "Vandamm" before he leaves his ranch in South Dakota with incriminating evidence about his spying to another county.

"Roger Thornhill" refuses "The Professor's" request that he continues to be "Kaplan". "Thornhill" is prepared to walk away until "The Professor" reveals that "Eve Kendall" is actually an agent working undercover and is in danger from "Vandamm", unless she can still prove her loyalty to him.

"Roger" now clearly working for the government, after arriving in Rapid City, South Dakota, sets up a meeting with "Vandamm" at the Mount Rushmore memorial cafeteria. 























"The Professor" stages an argument between "Roger" and "Eve" for the benefit of "Vandamm". The fake argument will end with "Eve" shooting "Roger" with blanks.

Finding stills for the shooting sequence, shows how pictures, overtime, can be misleading as to what color dress Eva Marie Saint wears in the scene.






























































































"Vandamm" and "Leonard" are convinced that "Roger" is critically injured. With the two believing that, "The Professor" takes "Roger Thornhill" to meet "Eve".
 






















In the woods, "Roger" and "Eve" apologize to each other over all their misunderstandings. "The Professor" now discloses that "Eve" must accompany "Vandamm" out of the country, which upsets and dismays "Roger". Next, "The Professor" has "Eve" go back to "Vandamm" and places "Roger" in protective custody at a local hospital.

"Roger" escapes the hospital, goes to "Vandamm's" ranch, and sees an airfield that is lite up awaiting a plane.














































Hiding near an open window, "Thornhill" overhears "Vandamm" and "Leonard" discussing some microfilm placed in the figure of a warrior that was purchased at the auction. "Leonard" next shows "Vandamm" proof of his suspicion that "Eve" was not as she seems, her pistol that is still loaded with blanks. 

























"Vandamm" tells "Leonard" he will get rid of "Eve" during the plane flight. Alarmed, "Roger Thornhill" climbs up the side of "Vandamm's" house to warn her, but she leaves the room as he gets there. He then writes a message with his initials in a matchbook and tosses it into the living room "Eve" is with the two men, who didn't notice the matchbook being tossed into the room.
















































She sees it, picks it up and reads the message as a small plane is heard landing on the airfield. "Eve" leaves for her room and meets "Roger", who tells her about the microfilm and "Vandamm's" plans for her. When "Eve" leaves with "Vandamm" and Leonard", "Roger" attempts to sneak out of the house, but is stopped by the maid at gunpoint. 























After escaping the housekeeper, "Roger" steals "Valerian's" car and goes after "Eve" who has stolen the warrior statue from "Vandamm". She joins him in the car, but they are stopped by a locked gate leading off the ranch. Now on foot, the two are being followed by "Valerian" and "Leonard". Next, they realize they're trapped on top of Mount Rushmore and start down.















































'Roger" is attacked by "Valerian", and "Leonard" goes for "Eve". "Roger" finally tosses "Valerian" off the monument to his death.




























While "Leonard" grabs the warrior statue from "Eve", and pushes her off a cliff, but she is hanging on and "Roger" comes to her aid.























"Leonard" starts to menace the two once more, but "The Professor" and his men arrive, killing "Leonard" and capturing "Vandamm".


The last James Mason feature I want to mention in this article, was also the last motion picture that was released starring the actor during the 1950's.


JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH premiered in New York City on December 16, 1959






Publicity is as important, and in some cases more important, than the cast in a movie during the 1950's, because of the growing popularity of the scourge of motion pictures, television. At one point, if you had enough television sets, you could have watched 46 different western-programs in one week during that decade in the United States.

As to the publicity for "Journey to the Center of the Earth", both of the above posters, the first from the United States, the second from the United Kingdom, specifically referenced, for the potential audience, the motion picture, "Around the World in Eighty Days". That major, 1956, all-star production, there were 4-main-stars and 40-cameo roles (the word "cameo" was created for the movie), was also the first motion picture in Michael Todd's "Todd A-O" process. That feature film was still playing in movie theaters, literally, "Around the World", when this picture was released. 

While, the second poster also references that, 1954's, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", having thrilled millions.

Mentioned on both posters was the name of the author of the two referenced motion pictures, French writer and dreamer, Jules Gabriel Verne. Whose 1864 novel this screenplay was based upon.

My article on the films based, so far, on the works of Jules Verne, is simply entitled, "Jules Verne on the Motion Picture Screen", to explore at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/01/jules-verne-on-motion-picture-screen.html

The screenplay was written by two writers. 

The main writer was Walter Reisch. Austrian born Reisch started writing his 107 screenplays in 1921 and they included Greta Garbo's, 1939, "Ninotchka", the Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr, 1940, "Comrade X", the Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, and Joseph Cotton, 1944, "Gaslight", the Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotton, and Jean Peters, 1953, "Niagara", and the Ray Milland, Joan Collins, and Farley Granger, 1955, "The Girl in the Red Swing".

Charles Brackett started writing screenplays in 1925 and his work included Katharine Hepburn's, 1933 version of Louisa May Alcott's, "Little Women", director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1935, "The Crusades", Greta Garbo's, 1939, "Ninotchka", director Billy Wilder's, 1943, "Five Graves to Cairo", director Billy Wilder's, 1945, "The Lost Weekend", director Billy Wilder's, 1950, "Sunset Blvd.", the Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, "Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton, Thelma Ritter, Brian Aherne, and Richard Basehart, 1953, "Titantic".


Henry Levin directed the motion picture. Levin started directing with an excellent, very different, but overlooked and forgotten werewolf feature, 1944's, "Cry of the Werewolf". Among his films is the 1947, crime comedy, "The Corpse Came C.O.D.", starring George Brent and Joan Blondell, 1949's, "Jolson Sings Again", the Glenn Ford and Viveca Lanfors, 1950 submarine movie, "The Flying Missile", the Susan Hayward and Charlton Heston, 1953, "The President Lady", Pat Boone's first movie, 1957's, "Bernadine", co-starring Terry Moore and Janet Gaynor, and his second feature film, 1957's, "April Love", co-starring Shirley Jones.

 
Pat Boone portrayed "Alec McEwan". If you're not of my generation, you might ask how could Pat Boone be billed above James Mason? Simply because he was a major teen-singing-idol and pre-teens and teens brought in the money. He had just been in the very forgotten 1958, "Mardi Gras", co-starring another teen-singing-idol, Tommy Sands. Pat Boone followed this motion with a Navy comedy, but the posters told you he would sing four-songs. 

Pertaining to this role, Pat Boone didn't want to do a science fiction motion picture until he was offered 15-percent of the profits. The estimated budget for the movie was $3.44 million dollars, its initial worldwide profit was $10 million dollars.


































James Mason portrayed "Sir Oliver S. Lindenbrook". Pertaining to this role, James Mason was not originally cast as "Lindenbrook", that was actor Clifton Webb. According to an interview with Walter Reisch, in Patrick McGillian's, 1991, "Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940's and 1950's", Reisch stated the role was meant for Webb and:
That was absolutely the most beautiful idea, because Clifton Webb had a certain tongue-in-cheek style, suited to playing a professor with crazy notions, which could be paired with Pat Boone as his favorite disciple. Every week Clifton visited Brackett's office, where we described scenes to him and he became very excited at the prospect of playing that kind of part. Maybe two or three weeks before we actually began to shoot, Clifton Webb went to the hospital for a checkup, and they never let him out. He had to undergo major surgery. Unless my memory fails me completely, it was a double hernia, and he was, as you can imagine, a very sensitive man, very touchy about sickness. He called Zanuck himself on his private line, and said he could not play the part because it was such a physical part.



















Arlene Dahl portrayed "Carla Goteborg". She had just co-starred with Jack Hawkins in the American-British co-production, 1957, "Fortune Is a Woman" aka: "She Played with Fire". After this film, Dahl appeared in an episode of televisions "Riverboat", entitled "That Taylor Affair", first shown on September 26, 1960.






















Diane Baker portrayed "Jenny Lindenbrook". This was the young actress's fifth role, all in 1959, two were on television anthology series. Her first was as "Margo Frank" in the motion picture version of the Broadway play, "The Diary of Anne Frank", Diane Baker returned to television after this movie.

I discovered why, although fourth-billed, Baker had extremely little on-screen time. Apparently there were, according to Walter Reisch, five songs or possibly more, shot with her and Pat Boone and only one is seen. It was kept because it established their relationship, otherwise "20th Century Fox" studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck, thought Boone's songs distracted from and slowed the movie down.





David Thayer (David Thayer Hersey) portrayed "Count Saknusseumm". Thayer started in television in 1950, his first motion picture role was in Mickey Rooney's, 1957, "Baby Face Nelson", but was mainly on television. In 1966, David Thayer was cast by producer/director Dan Curtis for his gothic television soap opera, "Dark Shadows". Between 1966 and 1971, Thayer portrayed "Matthew Morgan", "Ben Stokes", "Timothy Stokes", "Professor Stokes", "Sandor", "Victor Fenn-Gibbon", "Count Petofi", "Count Andreas Petofi", "Professor Timothy Stokes", "Mordeci Grimes", besides providing the show's "Opening voice" in most of the episodes.




















Peter Ronson portrayed "Hans Belker". This was the only role for the Icelandic National Decathlon team member. He met a member of the USC team during a competition, and that led to a full scholarship at the University and becoming a member of that decathlon team and cast in this film role.
























Gertrude the Duck portrayed the uncredited role of "Gertrude the Duck".































About the screenplay, I return once more to Walter Reisch:
I had written a lot of science fiction for magazines, and Charles Brackett knew about that. They also knew that I had written magazine articles on Jules Verne. I had studied Jules Verne, and always wanted to write his biography, but I never got around to doing it. When they bought the Jules Verne novel from his estate and assigned me, I was delighted. The master's work, though a beautiful basic idea, went in a thousand directions and never achieved a real constructive "roundness". With the exception of the basic idea, there is very little of the novel left in the film. I invented a lot of new characters—the Pat Boone part, the part of the professor's wife played by Arlene Dahl, the [part of the] villain—and the fact that it all played in Scotland.

The year is 1880, the location is Edinburgh, Scotland, geologist, "Professor Oliver Lindenbrook" of the "University of Edinburgh, has just been knighted and all of Scotland is excited for him, but especially his students. Which includes "Alec McEwan", a student of little financial means, but of vast intelligence. He has presented the professor with a gift from "Lindenbrook's" students over his knighthood. However, there was some funds left over from the collection and "Alec" had noticed an interesting rock in a shop window and purchased it for the professor.

That night, "Alec" knocks on the door of the "Lindenbrook" home, having been invited to dine by the professor. He has borrowed clothing from one of his follow students, a young Scottish Lord, and apologizes for that fact to the girl he loves, "Professor Lindenbrook's" niece, "Jenny". Other diners will arrive, but before that, "Alec" plays the piano and sings a love song to "Jenny".















The evening is progressing, but her uncle hasn't come home and "Jenny" is worried. She and "Alec" go to "Professor Lindenbrook's" lecture hall and office and find him trying to melt the rock down. He tells "Alec" that the rock is lava and weighs too much, there has to be something in it. 











When, by accident, the Icelandic lava found on the slope of an Italian volcano is destroyed, a plumb bob is found. 












 "Professor Lindenbrook" realizes that there are words on the plumb blob in someone's blood.












There is a signature on the plum bob, the name of "Arne Saknussemm", an Icelandic scientist who disappeared almost 100-years-ago. There is also a message, while an upset "Jenny" simmers over her uncle and now "Alec" ignoring her and the dinner, the professor translates the message. It is instructions on when to enter the volcano, "Snæfellsjökull", and "Journey to the Center of the Earth". "Professor Lindenbrook" sends his findings to "Professor Peter Goteborg", portrayed by the uncredited Ivan Triesault, in Stockholm, Sweden, for verification. However, when he hasn't received a reply and inquirers about "Goteborg", "Lindenbrook" learns that he has just disappeared.





"Professor Oliver Lindenbrook" realizes that the Swede is off on his own for Iceland and plans on leaving immediately, because it is almost the end of May. The decent must occur on the last day of May when the sunrise pinpoints the entrance they must take.

"Alec" says good-bye to his now fiancée, "Jenny Lindenbrook", and with her uncle is off to Iceland and what he hopes will be the center of the earth.



 

 














In Iceland, "Oliver" attempts to get all the equipment they will need to make the descent, but soon discovered that "Goteborg" has bought all of that was available. "Oliver" goes to confront "Peter Goteborg", however "Goteborg" and his assistant kidnap both "Lindenbrook" and "McEwan", who find themselves in a storage room full of goose feathers and the knocking of what they presume is another prisoner on the wall. 



 








The knocking turns out to be "Gertrude the Duck", but along with her comes "Hans Belke", she his pet, and he frees the two men. The three returns to the same hotel that "Professor Peter Goteborg" is using and enter his unlocked room. In it they find all the equipment the two needs, including "Ruhmkorff Lamps", a form of portable electric lamps named after its inventor, Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff, and first used during the 1860's. Below is an illustration from the first edition of "Journey to the Center of the Earth.





The three men also find "Professor Peter Goteborg" lying dead in his room, poisoned by potassium cyanide. They learn from "Hans" that there is a living descendent of "Arne Saknussemm", "Count Saknussemm". 

"Clara Goteborg" shows up looking for her husband, is told of his death by "Oliver Lindebrook", who asks to purchase the equipment her husband has for his own expedition to the center of the earth.



 








 "Clara" accuses him of wanting to take over her husband's research. "Oliver" explains that it was his research and discovery and that her husband was the one using the information of another. She will not accept this, until she reads her husband's diary in which he admits he stole "Oliver Lindenbrook's" discovery and is afraid that "Lindenbrook" has arrived and must be stopped.

"Clara" is now willing to give the equipment to "Oliver Linderbrook", but on the condition that she goes with him, "Alec", and now "Hans". After attempting to tell "Clara Goteborg" of the dangers and lack of "comports" for a woman, "Oliver" reluctantly agrees.

All four explorers now are together on the top of "
Snæfellsjökull", and wait for the sun to rise on the last morning of May 1880.



 








What the four do not see is below them on a ledge of the volcano, "Count Saknussemm", and his servant await the same morning sun to learn the entrance his ancestor used. 



 






The sun starts to come up and a sunray lands on what should be the entrance, but it is too small for a person to have ever entered. "Gertrude the Duck", which "Hans" has brought with him, gets away, but also finds the real entrance and the four explorers walk through it.





 








A few minutes later, the "Count" and his servant follow!



 








A slight earthquake takes place and a bolder narrowly misses the four explorers, but it uncovers a marking made by "Arne Saknussemm", giving them a pathway to the center of the earth. 



 











The heat is getting to "Clara" and "Oliver" asks if she's wearing "Stays", when she responds yes, he suggests she go behind some rocks to remove them. Below are the typical 1880's variation used by women in the United Kingdom.



 

"Count Saknussemm" changes some of the markings, his elderly servant dies from overexertion, and "Alec" goes the wrong way. Finding a piece of his clothing near a deep ravine, the other three members of "The Lindenbrook Expedition", believe he fell in and is dead. "Oliver" instructs "Clara", who is keeping the log to change the name to the "McEwan Expedition".

After wondering alone for some time, "Alec" comes upon the count. The count demands that he takes his servant’s place.




 








"Alec" refuses the count's demand and is shot in the arm, falling on the salt flats that make-up the area they're in. The shot is heard by the others, and it leads them to find "Alec" and the count, who threatens all of them at gun point, but "Oliver" distracts him and throws salt into the count's eyes. 



 








A mock trial is held and "Count Saknussemm" is found guilty and sentenced to death. However, "Hans" will not harm a "Saknussemm", and not one of the other three can pull the trigger and, grudgingly, the count becomes part of their expedition. The "Ruhmkorff Lamps" are failing from the salt deposits, but the count finds some luminescent algae, has everyone turn off their lamps, and the area is lite-up from the algae.











It is now 256-days since the expedition started and "Clara Goteberg" and "Oliver Linderbrook" are still bickering, but also it seems the widow and widower are falling in love.

"Alec" discovers a forest of giant mushrooms and "Clara" prepares mushrooms for dinner. 


















 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 











The explorers discover a large under-the-earth-ocean and while the others relax, "Count Saknussemm" orders "Hans" to cut down some of the giant mushrooms and build a raft.





















The raft is built, but "Oliver" and "Alec", while walking on the beach, come across a family of dimetrodons. The dimetrodons pose a threat and the group must get beyond them and out on the ocean. "Oliver" shoots one of the dinosaurs and causes them to go into a frenzy attacking the bleeding dimetrodon.





























 

 

 

 

 

 


They start crossing the under-earth-ocean and after several hours, they find themselves in a giant whirlpool. Then everything made of metal, including their gold tooth fillings, are pulled off the raft into the maelstrom. 



 























"Oliver" determines that the magnetic forces of both the north and south poles have met, and the explorers are at the center of the earth.












Exhausted, the group rests on a beach across the ocean from their original starting point.















While everyone sleeps from exhaustion, a very hungry "Count Saknussumm" makes a meal out of "Gertrude". Discovering this "Hans" cannot be restrained by the others and he lunges at the count. 

















Backing up from the other man, "Count Saknussumm" loosens some rocks that fall and bury his body. Behind the now collapsed rock face, the others stare at the lost city of Atlantis.




 

 

 

 

 









 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Walking around Atlantis "Professor Oliver Lindenbrook" finds the remains of geologist and explorer "Arne Saknussemm". Who was the first person to reach the center of the earth.



 

 

 

 

 

 



As "Oliver" studies the remains, he notices the direction "Saknussemm's" right hand and finger are pointing toward. It appears to be a volcanic vent and "Clara" goes over to it and there is a rush of fresh air moving within the vent.











The volcanic vent is obviously a way to the surface and "Oliver" looks at a large rock blocking anyway up, but there seems to be 100-years-old-gunpowder in a sack attached to "Saknussemm's" skeleton. Believing it's worth a chance, he instructs the others to get into an altar bowl, and joins them as he lights the makeshift fuse he made to set off the gunpowder and blow-up the rock.










Just then a giant lizard appears and attacks, but the gunpowder explodes and a lava flow appears in what was for decades an inactive volcano.























The lizard is covered in lava, and the altar bowl moves on the flow into the volcanic vent and rushes up through the vent and out of the cone of the erupting volcano.










The explorers land in the Mediterranean Sea and are picked-up by fishermen, except for "Alec" who lands without his clothes in a tree at an Italian nunnery and falls out of it.













Back in Scotland the explorers are national heroes. "Hans" tells "Professor Lindebrook" that if ever goes back to the center of the earth, he will go with him.












In the end, "Clara Goteborg" will have to change her last name, as well as "Jenny Lindenbrook".




















On March 16,1960, James Mason started the 1960's with the United Kingdom and United States comedy "A Touch of Larceny", co-starring with George Sanders and Vera Miles.

On July 17, 1984, 75-years-old, James Mason, passed away in Lusanne, Switzerland.









John Steinbeck Motion Picture Screenplay Writer

Mention John Steinbeck  and his 1939  novel, "The Grapes of Wrath" ,  usually comes to a persons mind. In fact, I wrote an article...