Mention the name BORIS KARLOFF, and "Universal Pictures", 1931, "FRANKENSTEIN" immediately comes to mind. Ask to name some of his other films, and the bets are on for 1932's, "The Mummy", or the first "Frankenstein" sequel, 1935's, "Bride of Frankenstein". While someone else might add to the conversation, Boris Karloff's three appearances with Bela Lugosi, 1934's, "The Black Cat", and both 1935's, "The Raven", and "The Invisible Ray". Myself, I might mention my favorite, 1945's, "Isle of the Dead", produced by Val Lewton and directed by Mark Robson.
However, this article is a look at the other Boris Karloff. Whose 206-roles contained a large variety of non-horror titles that spread into 1950's television and included his own motion picture and television detective series. All, which are usually overshadowed by his horror film work.
I may mention a horror title in transition to another work, but I will not be going into detail about any of them except for the last feature film I will mention in this article.
So, sit back, and enjoy many forgotten films and television appearances, including a western and a Mafia style "Romeo and Juliet".
William Henry Pratt, was born on November 23, 1887, in Dulwich, Surrey, England, today a part of greater London. His father was Edward John Pratt, of the "Indian Civil Service (ICS)", that was officially known as the "Imperial Civil Service" in India. It existed between 1858 and 1947, under the British rule of the country. His mother was Indian by birth, Eliza Sara Millard Pratt, and the reason for William's dark complexion. Eliza Millard's material aunt was Anna Leonowens, who wrote about her life in the royal court of Siam and who autobiography would be turned into Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's, "The King and I". Both of William's parents would die when their son was still young and his older siblings would raise him.
While attending "King's College London", William Henry Pratt took the studies necessary to enter the British Consular Service, but in 1909, left college and England for Canada. Where he started to act on the stage and took the stage name of "Boris", because it sounded foreign, and "Karloff", because he claimed it was a family name. However, his daughter Sara Karloff, stated she knew of no Slavic members of the family.
On January 15, 1919, actor Boris Karloff had his first known film role, as an extra, in the cliff-hanger, "The Lightning Raider". Which starred Pearl White, mainly remembered for the 1914 cliff-hanger, "Perils of Pauline", and Swiss actor, Warner Oland, whose film roles were overshadowed by his portrayal of "Charlie Chan" during the 1930's.
Between "The Lightning Raider" and 1931's, "Frankenstein", Boris Karloff appeared in 74-motion pictures. These included portraying an uncredited Native-American, in Wallace Beery's, 1920, "The Last of the Mohicans". 1924's,"The White Panther", that had his name reversed in the credits as "Karloff Boris", and co-starring with Evelyn Brent in 1925's, "Lady Robinhood", portraying "Cabraza", seen below:
Released on July 30, 1926, was "The Bells", starring Lionel Barrymore and Caroline Frances Cooke. Boris Karloff had 8th-billing as "The Mesmerist". The screenplay was based upon an 1871. stage play by Sir Henry Irving, that itself was based upon an 1867 play, "Le Juif polonais (The Polish Jew)".
Above, Boris Karloff portraying "The Mesmerist", and below with Lionel Barrymore portraying "Mathias". "Mathias" is a innkeeper who murders a wealthy guest, but whose conscience will not let him forget. Karloff's character is very much like the German cinema's, 1920, "Dr. Caligari", and the story does contain horror elements, technically making this Boris Karloff's first horror movie.
On March 20, 1927, Edgar Rice Burrough's, "Tarzan and the Golden Lion", was released starring Burrough's future son-in-law, James Pierce.
Below, on the far right, is 7th-billed, Boris Karloff portraying "Owaza".
January 16, 1928, saw the release of the first chapter in, the considered lost, three-hour-and-20-minute western cliff-hanger, "The Vanishing Rider". The star was actor William Desmond portraying "Jim Davis/The Vanishing Rider", his co-star was Ethlyne Clair portraying "Mary Allen". According to the official credits the final billed actor in the production, was 5th-billed, Boris Karloff, portraying "The Villain". I could not locate any still with Karloff in it.
For the cliff-hanger, "The King of the Kongo", Chapter One released on August 9, 1929, something new for Boris Karloff was added, his voice!
Historically, "King of the Kongo", was the first cliff-hanger to have sound. Although it was only part-talkie, as many films were in that transition year to complete with the few all-talking-motion-pictures released.
The serial actually starred actress Jacqueline Logan portraying "Diana Martin". Her co-star was Walter Miller portraying "Larry Trent". At 5th-billing was Boris Karloff portraying "Scarface Macklin". The audience thinks the bad guy must be Karloff, but instead, spoiler alert, he's "Diana's" missing father.
The plot has "Diana" searching the Congo for her missing father, and independent to her, is "Secret Service Agent Larry Trent" searching for his missing brother.
Nothing like a pre-motion-picture-code "B" western and on November 7, 1930, Boris Karloff portrayed "Baxter - a henchman", in "The Utah Kid", starring forgotten "B" cowboy, Rex Lease, who would appear mainly in "Poverty Row Westerns", for a total of 300-movies.
Above, Boris Karloff, below, front row, left to right, Boris Karloff, Dorothy Sebastian, Rex Lease, and Tom Santachi.
The director was Rowland V. Lee, 1939's, "Son of Frankenstein" and "Tower of London", the movie was "The Guilty Generation", released on November 9, 1931. It starred Leo Carrillo as "Mike Palermo", Constance Cummings as "Maria Palermo", and featured Robert Young as "Marco Ricca" and Boris Karloff as "Tony Ricca".
This is a brutal pre-code "Romeo and Juliet" story about two Italian bootleggers who were once partners, they hate each other now, but their two children are in love with each other.
Above, Boris Karloff as "Tony Ricca", below, Leo Carrillo as "Mike Palermo", and Constance Cummings as "Maria Palermo".
Below, Robert Young as "Marco Ricca".
Ten-days after the release of "The Guilty Generation", in Detroit, Michigan, Boris Karloff first became "The Frankenstein Monster", to motion picture audiences.
Which he immediately followed, on December 17, 1931, by portraying "A Waiter", with 8th-billing, in director Mervyn LeRoy's, romantic comedy, "Tonight or Never", starring Gloria Swanson and Melvyn Douglas.
SCAREFACE premiered in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 31, 1932.
The motion picture was also known by two other titles, "Scarface: The Shame of a Nation" and just "The Shame of the Nation".
This was the original pre-motion-code, violent and sex filled, motion picture. It would be remade by Brian De Palma in 1983.
There were two producers, both technically without credit, but whose names are on the picture.
The independently made motion picture was, in the terminology of the 1930's, "Presented by Howard Hughes". My article on the "Presenter" is, "HOWARD ROBARD HUGHES, JR.: The Motion Pictures", and can be read at:
The second producer was also the motion picture's director, Howard Hawks. I wrote an article on one of his classic westerns and the two remakes that Hawks, himself, made. That article is, "Howard Hawks: 'RIO BRAVO' Remade (?) as 'EL DORADO' and 'RIO LOBO' Starring John Wayne", found at:
The novel, published in 1930, was written by the interestingly named Armitage Trail, actually Maurice R. Coons.
There are six names that worked upon the screenplay.
The first was Ben Hecht, who turned the novel into a workable story for a motion picture. Hecht was nominated six-times for the "Academy Award" for his writing and won twice. His first win was for 1927's, "Underworld", with co-writer Howard Hawks, his other nominations included director William Wyler's, 1939, "Wuthering Heights", and director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1946, "Notorious".
Uncredited in writing the screenplay were Howard Hawks, and Fred Pasley, this was his only screenplay, but Pasley wrote a 1930 biography on Al Capone.
The realistic dialogue, important to both Howard's, had three-writers working just on that part of the screenplay.
The first writer was Seton I. Miller, 1930's, "The Dawn Patrol", directed by Howard Hawks, 1932's, "The Last Mile", 1937's, "Kid Galahad", starring Edward G. Robinson and Bette Davis, and the 1938, remake of his "Dawn Patrol", and 1946's, "Two Years Before the Mast".
The second writer was John Lee Mahin, 1932's, "Red Dust", and its remake, 1953's, "Mogambo", 1934's, "Treasure Island", 1941's, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", 1956's, "The Bad Seed", and 1959's, "The Horse Soldiers".
The third writer was W.R. Burnett, he had written the 1930 novel "Little Caesar", that became the 1931 movie starring Edward G. Robinson and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. He wrote the novel that John Wayne's, 1940's, "Dark Command", was based upon and both the novel and screenplay for the Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino's, 1940, "High Sierra". Burnett's other screenplays include both 1942's, "This Gun For Hire", and "Wake Island", and 1945's, "San Antonio". W.R. Burnett also wrote the novel that the classic John Huston crime story, 1950's, "The Asphalt Jungle", was based upon.
Paul Muni portrayed "Antonio 'Tony' Camonte". Muni had been born Frederich Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund and was a major actor in the Yiddish Theater. He had just been in his second on-screen appearance in the early all-talkie, 1929's, "Seven Faces", portraying five historical figures and two fictional. Muni would follow this motion picture with another crime classic, 1932's, "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang", directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
Ann Dvorak portrayed "Francesca 'Cesca' Camonte". Technically under her birth name of Anna Lehr, at the age of four, Dvorak, the "D" is silent, appeared in her first motion picture, 1916's, "Ramona". Two more movies followed as a baby, and then in 1929, at the age of 18, the actress started appearing as Ann Dvorak, in a short subject as a doll, starring Lionel Barrymore as the "Toymaker". Before this motion picture, she had co-starred with Spencer Tracy in 1932's, "Sky Devils".
Ann Dvorak, became the interest of Howard Hughes and he personally "Groomed" the actress for this dramatic role. My reader may take the term "Groomed" to have other meanings. This being a "Pre-Code" motion picture, made prior to the 1934 establishment of the Motion Picture Production Code, the relationship between brother and sister was implied to be extremely sexual.
Dvorak followed this motion picture co-starring with James Cagney and Joan Blondell, in 1932's, "The Crowd Roars".
Osgood Perkins portrayed "John 'Johnny' Lovo". His career consisted of only 21-roles, and had started with 1922's, "The Cradle Buster", Perkins had just been seen in 1931's, "Tarnished Lady", starring Tallulah Bankhead and Clive Brook, and directed by George Cukor. He would follow this feature film with 1934's, "Madame Du Barry", starring Dolores del Rio, Reginald Owen, and Victor Jory.
Karen Morley portrayed "Poppy". She was considered for the role of "Camonte's" sister, but suggested to Howard Hughes that her friend Ann Dvorak really looked the part. Just after "Scarface" was released, Morley would make the mistake of arguing with MGM management over her roles for the studio. The word was put out, and Karen Morley's career with the major studios was finished and she could only find minor roles from the Independents.
Morley had just co-starred with John Barrymore and his brother, Lionel Barrymore, in a major "MGM" motion picture, 1932's, "Arsene Lupin".
Above left to right, Osgood Perkins, Paul Muni, and Karen Morley.
Boris Karloff had the interesting billing as seen on the above poster, of "Boris 'Frankenstein' Karloff". He portrayed "Tom Gaffney". Karloff had been one of the "Guest Actors as Themselves" in "Universal Pictures", 1932 comedy, "The Cohens and the Kellys in Hollywood", the two families mentioned, first appeared in a silent comedy, with different actors, in 1926 at the start of the series. Boris Karloff followed this feature with 9th-billing in the Sylvia Sidney and Chester Morris, gangster romance, 1932's, "The Miracle Man".
George Raft portrayed "Guino 'Little Boy' Rinaldo". Known mainly as a dancer for the nine pictures that proceeded this one. George Raft raised his "Hollywood" status in this motion picture. As most of his scenes required him to just be seen, he started what became his trademark, flipping a coin in the air over and over again. Raft had just portrayed another dancer in the 1932, drama, "Dancers in the Dark", starring Miriam Hopkins and Jack Oakie. George Raft followed his film with a comedy crime drama, 1932's, "Night World", starring Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, and Boris Karloff, portraying "Happy' MacDonald".
"Tony Camonte, is a level one hood, who becomes the enforcer for bootlegger "Johnny Lovo".
"Tony" urges "Johnny" to take over the Northside of Chicago controlled by an Irish Mobster named "O'Hara", but "Lovo" says no to the idea. However, power hungry "Tony Camonte" starts attacking the Irish mob's businesses.
"Tony" is visited at this apartment by "Johnny's" girlfriend "Poppy". He has her look out his window at the neon sign slogan directly across the street for "Cook's Tours". Then tells "Poppy" that that slogan on the sign is now his belief:
THE WORLD IS YOURS!
During a night at the theatre, "Tony" leans that "Gaffney" and his men are at a bowling alley.
"Tony's" mother tells him that "Cesca" has moved in with another man. He rushes over to his sister's apartment to find her with "Guino". In a jealous rage, "Tony" shoots and kills his friend. "Cesca" with tears coming down her face, tells her bother that she and "Guino" had fallen in love, had just gotten married, and planned to surprise him.
Next, "Tony", laughing manically at the police, shoots out of a window. As a stray return bullet from the police hits and kills "Cesca" and maddens "Tony" even more.
He decides to make an escape, but will be gunned down by an unknown police officer and die on the street.
THE LOST PATROL released on February 16, 1934
The adaptation of McDonald's novel for the screenplay was done by Garrett Fort. Fort wrote the stage play "Dracula", that the 1931 movie was based upon. He co-wrote the screenplay for 1931's, "Frankenstein", and 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter". He co-wrote director Tod Browning's, 1936, "Devil Doll", and adapted Johnston McCulley's novel, "The Curse of Capistrano", into the working story for 1940's, "The Mark of Zorro".
Victor McLaglen portrayed "The Sergeant". McLaglen was one year away from receiving the "Best Actor Academy Award" for John Ford's, "The Informer". Most movie buffs know him as part of "The John Ford Stock Company" and his appearances in Ford's Cavalry Trilogy and "The Quiet Man". However, some of his other motion pictures include portraying "Hercules" in director Tod Browning's, 1925, "The Unholy Three", starring Lon Chaney, Sr., roles in both 1926's, "Beau Feste", and "What Price Glory?", Shirley Temple's, 1937, "Wee Willie Winkie", 1939's, "Gunga Din", and the Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo, 1944, "The Princess and the Pirate".
Boris Karloff portrayed "Sanders". The actor had just returned to the United Kingdom to appear in the British horror film, 1933's, "The Ghoul", co-starring with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Ernest Thesiger.
The Basic Screenplay:
The next day, "The Sergeant" sees two figures riding toward them and orders them shot, which is done. However, when they make it to the bodies, they find themselves looking at the mutilated bodies of "MacKay" and "Cook".
Next, "Sanders" learning that "Morelli" was a former music hall entertainer, berates him for his sins and the reason they're being killed at the oasis.
However, "Sanders" escapes his bonds, carrying an old fashion cross, heads directly for the Arab snipers.
Boris Karloff immediately followed "The Lost Patrol", with second-billing in "20th Century Fox's":
THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD New York City premiere on March 14, 1934
The other director was the uncredited Sidney Lanfield, the 1939 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", starring Richard Greene, Basil Rathbone, and Nigel Bruce, and the Bob Hope and Madeleine Carroll, 1942, "My Favorite Blonde". He would end his career on television with 54-episodes of "McHale's Navy", and 48-episodes of "The Adams Family".
There were four writers, but three just contributed, without credit, to the main screenplay written by Nunnally Johnson. Also in 1934, he wrote the screenplay for "Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back", starring Roland Colman in the role. Johnson wrote the screenplay for director John Ford's true-life story of Dr. Samuel Mudd", who unknowingly treated President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, 1936's, "The Prisoner of Sharks Island". Along with Ford's, 1939's, "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, and his, 1940 version of author John Steinbeck's, "The Grapes of Wrath", not forgetting Ford's, 1941, version of author Erskine Caldwell's, "Tobacco Road".
Two of the three uncredited writers were Maude Theresa (T.) Howell. She was one of the few women working in the motion picture industry during the 1930's that was an assistant director. However, she was primarily associated with making changes to screenplays for one-person, British actor George Arliss. Some of the screenplays, besides this picture, that Howell worked upon for the actor are 1931's, "Alexander Hamilton", 1932's, "The Man Who Played God", 1933's, "Voltaire", and 1935's, "Cardinal Richelieu".
Sam Mintz, wrote the Jackie Coogan, 1930 version of Mark Twain's, "Tom Sawyer", the Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rodgers, 1935, musical comedy, "Roberta".
George Arliss portrayed both "Mayer Rothschild" and "Nathan Rothschild". I have already mentioned four of George Arliss's motion pictures. He starred in the London and Broadway stage productions and the British 1929 motion picture version of the play about British prime minister, "Disraeli". However, Arliss also starred in the 1937, British film, "Doctor Syn", based upon a series of novels by Russell Thorndike that I recommend. That Walt Disney called "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh", and starred Patrick McGoohan, "Hammer Films" made Thorndike's stories into "Captain Clegg", starring Peter Cushing, in the role. Maude T. Howell was also the assistant director on 1937's, "Dr. Syn".
Robert Young portrayed "Captain Fitzroy". Young, not related to Loretta, first appeared on-screen in a 1928 short entitled, "The Campus Vamp", he portrayed a student seen "At the Dance", and "On the Beach". Robert Young had just co-starred with Katharine Hepburn and Ralph Bellamy in 1934's, "Spitfire". He followed this feature with the adventure drama, 1934's, "Lazy River".
The Basic Screenplay:
Depending on the reviewer, the film starts out in 1780, Frankfurt is still part of Prussia, Jews are forbidden to learn trades, farm, or to leave "Jew Street" after sundown. In their home, "Mayer Rothschild" and his wife, "Guldula", portrayed by Helen Westly, are going over the day's receipts while dinner is being prepared. The oldest son, "Nathan", the cast list doesn't identify the child actor, tells his father that the "Tax Collector", portrayed by Leonard Mudie, is coming. "Mayer" is able to strike a deal on his taxes with a bribe, but later, he learns that the man bringing him money from Hamburg, was waylaid by agents of the corrupt tax collector and the funds lost to him.
The "House of Rothschild" is established.
The screenplay now moves 32-years-later, "Napoleon Bonaparte", portrayed by Louis Shapiro, has overrun Europe. Austrian "Prince Klemens von Metternich", portrayed by Alan Mowbray, asks "Salomon Rothschild" to raise 15-million-florins to help him defeat "Napoleon". The other brothers are also approached in their countries for loans to defeat "Bonaparte". While on the other side, "Count Charles Maurice de Talleyrand", portrayed by Georges Renavent, has asked the "Rothschild's" for 50-million-francs to fight France's enemies. "Nathan" refuses the British governments request for five-million-pounds, because of what they already owed his bank. However, he offers the "Duke of Wellington", portrayed by C. Aubrey Smiths, below, ten-million-pounds to smash "Napoleon".
"Nathan's" bid is the best, but is rejected primarily in favor of " Barings Bank". At which point the antisemitism becomes more involved with the rejection of the Rothschild Bank of London. "Nathan" demands to know the reason for of the non-acceptance of his bid and it is the Prussian "Count Ledrantz" that responds.
The four men have no choice but to capitulate to "Nathan Rothschild" and turn the loan over to his bank. However, now two events take place as a result.
The first is the embittered "Nathan" forbids his daughter "Julie" to see the non-Jewish, "Captain Fitzroy".
As before, "Ledrantz" and others are desperately in need of money, "Nathan" turns the tables on them. He will loan them the funds, if they will sign a treaty allowing the Jews to have the rights, they have long denied them, and of course freedom. They agree!
"Nathan" at home, now gives "Captain Fitzroy" permission to marry his daughter, "Julie".
JUGGERNAUT premiered in London, on September 8, 1936
Boris Karloff portrayed "Doctor Victor Sartorius". He had just appeared in 1936's, "The Walking Dead", directed by Michael Curtiz, and would follow this British production with one from "Gaumont British Picture Corporation", 1936's, "The Man Who Lived Again".
Mona Goya portrayed "Yvonne Clifford". Born in Mexico City, she moved to France and became a major 1930's French actress.
The movie starts in Morocco and the audience meets "Dr. Sartoruis", a terminally-ill physician obsessed with research about infantile paralysis. "Sartoruis" relocates to the French Rivera looking for a way to get the £20,000 he needs to complete his experiment, that is not clear in the screenplay as to what it is. On the Rivera he meets "Yvonne Clifford", who is married to a millionaire she wants dead, so she can inherit millions.
Now knowing "Sartorius", she offers to give him the money, if he will kill her husband and he agrees. What scheming "Yvonne" doesn't know is her husband has changed his will to give the control of his money to his son, "Roger Clifford", portrayed by Arthur Margetson.
The doctor injects the millionaire with a very slow working poison with a syringe that "Nurse Rowe" hides in a magazine. She's not sure, but suspects a crime has been committed with whatever was in the syringe. "Dr. Sartorius" realizes the syringe is missing and starts looking for it and has suspicions his new nurse took it. Meanwhile, the change in the will has been revealed and "Rodger" is now a target. Can "Nurse Rowe" stop the next death? At the time of writing, my reader can click on this link and find out:
The motion picture was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone, who was one of the twenty-eight founders of "The Directors Guild of America". He would direct four movies in the "Charlie Chan" series, and the classic film-noir, 1941's, "I Wake Up Screaming", starring Betty Grable, Victor Mature, and Carole Landis. His other films included the John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, and Randolph Scott, 1942, "To the Shores of Tripoli", and the Tony Curtis, Colleen Miller, and Gene Barry, historical adventure, 1955's, "The Purple Mask".
The original story was by Bess Meredyth, who started writing movies in 1915, she was one of the thirty-six founders of the "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences". At "MGM" she worked directly under Irving Thalberg, after his death, she was fired.
There were two screenplay writers, the first was Scott Darling, his 213 writing credits began in 1914. Among his work are entries in the "Mr. Wong Detective" series, more later on that, 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein", 1942's, "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon", 1944's, "Weird Woman", and 1944's, "Cobra Woman".
The second writer was Charles Belden. Belden wrote the original story for 1933's, "The Mystery of the Wax Museum", and just before his death, co-wrote 1953's, "House of Wax". This was the first of his four "Charlie Chan" screenplays, he also wrote for Peter Lorre's, "Mr. Moto" series.
Charlotte Henry portrayed "Mlle. Kitty". Of her thirty-three acting roles, two where in classic motion pictures. In 1933, Henry had the title role in "Paramount Pictures", "Alice in Wonderland", based upon British author Lewis Carroll's, "Through the Looking Glass". Every one of the studios contract players had to appear in the film in costumes inspired by Carroll book and designed by William Cameron Menzies. For example, Cary Grant was the "Mock Turtle", Gary Cooper was the "White Knight", and W.C. Fields was "Humpty-Dumpty". Henry's other major film was 1934's, "March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland)", starring Laurel and Hardy, with Charlotte Henry as "Bo-Peep". My article is, "Charlotte Henry: 1933's, 'Alice in Wonderland' and 1934's, 'Babes in Toyland", at:
Margaret Irving portrayed "Mme. Lili Rochelle". In 1930, she was in the cast of the Marx Brother's, "Animal Crackers". In 1936, she was in the Clark Gable and Jeanette Mac Donald, "San Francisco", and in 1937, she was in the Bret Harte western, "The Outcasts of Poker Flats".
This film is regarded as the best of the entire 1930's and 1940's "Charlie Chan" series.
For seven years, opera star "Gravelle" has been locked away in an insane asylum. His identity lost even to himself, but that memory has started to return, and "Gravelle" remembers his wife and her lover tried to murder him, NOW is the time for REVENGE, and he escapes the asylum and returns to the scene of his many great performances, the San Marco opera house, and like Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera", he hides in the opera houses many rooms. Soon, like in Leroux's novel, members of the San Marco opera company are being murdered, one by one.
Detective "Charlie Chan" is called on the case, by Police "Sergeant Kelly", portrayed by William Demarest" and besides "Gravelle" there are other possible suspects for "Chan" and "Number One Son" to question and investigate.
His other suspects are:
"Lilli Rochelle", the opera company's prima donna.
"Enrico Borelli", portrayed by Gregory Gaye, the baritone, who is having an affair with "Lilli".
"Mr. Whitely", portrayed by Frank Conroy, "Lilli Rockelle's" husband, who has warned "Borelli" to stay away from his wife.
"Anita Borelli", portrayed by Nedda Harrigan, the opera company's number two soprano, who is aware of her husband's affair with "Lilli".
"Charlie Chan at the Opera"
THE New UNIVERSAL Present's
Carl Laemmle the founder of "Universal Pictures" back in 1915, had lost control of the studio by a hostile takeover in 1936.
This was the first story, of only seven, written by William A. Pierce.
There were two screenplay writers, the first being Tristram Tupper, this was his 16th of only 17 screenplays since 1923.
The second was Jack Moffitt, who also used the penname of John Moffitt, for writing a story and then Jack for the screenplay, as a ploy for both double credit on a feature and double pay. He was one of the co-writers on the Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains, 1944, "Passage to Marseille". Moffatt's total writing credits were 25-films.
The motion picture was directed by Lloyd Corrigan. Corrigan began acting in 1926 and ended his acting career in 1966, with 175-roles. As a director, he directed 17-motion pictures, this was his 16th. They included the classic 1931, "Daughter of the Dragon", starring Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa, and in his third film in the role, Warner Oland as "Dr. Fu Manchu". All three of Warner Oland's films, and a link to my biography of Anna May Wong, will be found in my article, "Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee: Fu Manchu The Movies", found at:
Boris Karloff billed for the last time as "KARLOFF", portrayed "David Mallory".
Warren Hull, billed as J. Warren Hull portrayed "Jim Travers". He starred as the crime fighter, "The Spider", battling a criminal master mind known as "The Octopus", in the 1938 cliff-hanger, "The Spider's Web". In 1939, Hull starred in the cliff-hanger, "Mandrake the Magician", and in 1940, he starred in another cliff-hanger as "The Green Hornet Strikes Again", finishing off his cliff-hanger films with 1941's, "The Spider Returns".
Jean Rodgers portrayed "Joan Mallory". Rodgers is best remembered for portraying "Dale Arden", opposite Larry "Buster" Crabbe in the 1930 cliff-hanger, "Flash Gordon", then again in 1938's, "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars". Before this motion picture, Jean Rodgers co-starred in the forgotten cliff-hanger, 1937's, "Secret Agent X-9", and followed this picture with the forgotten drama, 1937, "The Wildcatter".
Above, Jean Rodgers, and Warren Hull.
Samuel S. Hinds portrayed "Stephen Ranger". Hinds was a solid supporting character actor and portrayed Lew Ayres's father in the "Dr. Kildare" series, and James Stewart's father in Frank Capra's classic, 1946's, "It's a Wonderful Life", but this wasn't one of the "kindly character" roles.
The Basic Screenplay:
At the "Ranger Protective Agency", "Stephen Ranger" announces the capture of their ten thousandth crook, "Petty Louie", portrayed by Hobart Cavanaugh.
At the same time, "Ranger's" old partner, "David Mallory", who is going blind, arrives with a proposal. In the past the two men were in love with the same woman who became "David's" wife. As an act of revenge, "Stephen" first used legal, but unethical tactics to steal "David's" latest alarm invention and second, forced him out of the company and their partnership.
"David" has returned in good-faith to give his old partner a chance for the two to work together. "David Mallory" has invented the "Night Key", an alarm system that used by another company, would put the "Ranger Protective Agency" out of business. Their new partnership papers have no provision as to when the new alarm system must be developed by, and after "David" signs them. The still bitter "Stephen Ranger" informs "David Mallory" that he will never release the "Night Key" and as a result "Mallory" has no source of income as "Ranger" controls the patent.
Realizing he will never be able to give his daughter "Joan" the life he hoped for her. "David Mallory" now breaks "Petty Louie" out of jail and starts his own revenge against "Stephen Ranger". Using the "Night Key" and "Petty Louie's" help, "Mallory" breaks into "Ranger's" clients, but does not actually take anything. The two just pile whatever was in the safe in the center of the room the safe is in as a sign that it could have been taken.
However, as "Mallory" expected, this still causes the agency's clients to complain about the lack of security they're paying for.
While back at the "Ranger Protective Agency", "Stephen" assigns detective "Jim Travers" to stop "Mallory". Problems develop after "Jim" meets "David's" daughter "Joan" and the two fall in love.
Further complications take place when gangster "John Baron aka: the Kid", portrayed by Alan Baxter, becomes aware of what "Mallory" is doing and starts following him to his break-ins, and after he leaves, they actually steal from the unsecure homes and businesses.
Above front facing row, left to right, Hobart Cavanaugh, Boris Karloff, and yes, Ward Bond portraying "Fingers", Bond was just seen as the uncredited "Tartar Guard", in 1937's, "The Soldier and the Lady", and followed this motion picture with the uncredited role of a "Military Policeman" in the Spencer Tracy, Gladys George, and Franchot Tone, 1937,"They Gave Him a Gun".
"John Baron" captures "David Mallory", who now is forced to realize what has been happening. However, he now uses the "Night Key" to trap "Baron" and his gang during a bank robbery, but the system fails and "Mallory" destroys his invention to keep it out of "John Baron's hands.
Next, "Baron" kidnaps "Joan Mallory" and threatens to kill her, if "Mallory" doesn't rebuild the "Night Key". "Joan's" father agrees to rebuild his system, and after it's rebuilt, "Baron" locks "David Mallory" in a closest, but still takes "Joan" on the robbery as insurance. "Mallory" is able to escape from the closet, and going after the criminal gang, finds "Jimmy Travers". After explaining everything, the two go to the "Ranger Protection Agency" and set off all the alarms from the office, knowing that the one alarm that doesn't go off is where "Baron" and his gang are at.
Their plan works, "Baron" and his gang are captured, and "Joan" is rescued. This time, "Steven" and "David" form a real partnership, find an eye-specialist to cure "David's" blindness, and of course, "Jim" and "Joan" have plans for their own partnership.
WEST OF SHANGHAI premiered in New York City on October 28, 1937
This picture's screenplay is based upon Porter Emerson Browne's play, "The Bad Man", first performed on August 30, 1920, and a major Broadway production at the time. There are two points for my reader to consider, first, the original play revolves around Mexican Bandit "Pancho Villa", second the play was a comedy, and under the title of "The Bad Man", was filmed three-times in 1923, 1930, and 1941. However, for this motion picture, the story was moved from Mexico to China, and the character of "Pancho Lopez", instead of Browne calling him "Pancho Villa", became a 1937 Chinese warlord.
The screenplay was by Crane Wilbur, who wrote the play, "The Monster", that was turned into Lon Chaney's, 1925, movie of the same title. Wilbur followed this screenplay with the next movie I will mention. Rather than described it as a comedy, this motion picture is described as an adventure war drama.
The motion picture was directed by John Farrow, who started out writing title cards for silent motion pictures and what was called scenarios for them. He has the distinction of writing the title cards for the last major silent motion picture, 1929's, "The Four Feathers", starring Richard Arlen, Fay Wray, William Powell, and Clive Brook. As a director, besides this film, his work included the 1939 classic, "Five Came Back", with one of Lucille Ball's rare dramatic roles, 1940's, "Bill of Divorcement", starring Maureen O'Hara, and the Alan Ladd and Brian Donlevy, 1946, "Two Years Before the Mast".
The make-ups were by Percival "Perc" Westmore, one of the "Westmore Brothers" and the Head of the "Warner Brothers" make-up department. With brothers Bud and Wally, they formed the "House of Westmore", on Hollywood's, Sunset Boulevard.
Boris Karloff portrayed "General Wu Yen Fang". He might be the only actor in this movie that knew it was based upon a comedy. According to "Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews", August 5, 2019:
Boris Karloff is a hoot as a noble Chinese warlord, speaking in broken English.
Beverly Roberts portrayed "Jane Creed". Her career consisted of 28-roles, but the last one wasn't until 1973. This was her 8th-role since her first appearance on January 1, 1936, in "Two Against the World", co-starring with Humphrey Bogart in his 12th on-screen appearance.
Ricardo Cortez portrayed "Gordon Greed". Back in 1931, Cortez portrayed detective "Sam Spade", in the original version of author Dashiell Hammett's, "The Maltese Falcon". You can read about that role in my article, "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of': The Maltese Falcon in Writing and on the Motion Picture Screen", at:
For 1936's, "The Case of the Black Cat", Ricardo Cortez became the second actor to portray writer Erle Stanley Gardner's, "Perry Mason".
The Basic Screenplay:
This is not a comedy, but a war story about opposing Chinese Warlords.
On a train in China are "Gordon Creed", who meets "Myron Galt", some sites spell the last name as "Gault", portrayed by the uncredited Douglas Wood, and his daughter "Lola", portrayed by Sheila Bromley. Both men are going to see oil man, "Jim Hallet", portrayed by Gordon Oliver. Actually, "Hallet's" oil field is in financial trouble, "Galt" is coming to foreclose, and "Creed" to give "Hallet" the money to pay off the loan and become a large shareholder in the oil field.
"Creed" is upset that their train compartment is taken over by "General Chow Fu-Shan", portrayed by Vladmir Sokoloff, who is on his way to deal with a warlord who calls himself "General Wu Yen Fang". "Fu-Shan" is under orders of "General Ma", portrayed by Tetsu Komai.
However, the takeover of the train compartment doesn't last long, as "Fang" has "Fu-Shan" assassinated.
After being questioned by the local military governor, the three American travel by horseback to the oil fields and not only find "Hallet", but the estranged wife of "Gordon Creed", "Jane Creed". She has been working for missionary "Dr. Abernathy", portrayed by Gordon Hart. While they all sort out their relationships to each other. Adding, that "Jane" and "Jim" are in love with each other, but she is keeping it on a platonic level, she does not believe in divorce. The new arrivals are also surprised that they've walked into a civil war.
The town is taken over by "Captain Kung Nui", portrayed by Chester Gan. When the Chinese captain starts to eye "Jane", impulsively, "Jim Hallet" punches "Kung Nui". For that, he is locally imprisoned. "Jim Hallet" escapes with the help of an associate disguised as one of "Fang's" soldiers and sends him to notify "General Ma" of "Fang's" whereabouts.
Next, "General Fang" arrives and the general speaks to "Jane", offering her great joy, if she comes with him, because:
I am Fang!At which point, "Jim Hallet" breaks in on their conversation. "Captain Kung Nui" attempts to tell "General Fang" about what "Hallet" did to get him imprisoned, but "General Fang" remembers a coolie with three bullets in his shoulder that "Jim" took out and hid. That coolie rose to become "General Wu Yen Fang".
Above standing far left, Gordon Hart, Richard Loo portraying "Mr. Chen", Boris Karloff, in corner, Chester Gan. Seated on left, Beverly Roberts, Ricardo Cortez, Gordon Oliver, standing Douglas Wood, seated right, Sheila Bromley.
"Fang" decides to help his benefactor, he robs "Creed" of $50,000 dollars, pays off "Galt", and gives the reminder of the money to "Dr. Abernathy". "Creed" wanting to get even, bribes "Kung Nui" to rebel against "Wu Yen Fang". The General appearing to give in to "Kung Nui's" point of view about "Jim Hallet, instructs "Mr. Cheng" to arrest him. "Hallet" is put in front of a firing squad, but instead of shooting him, the firing squad kills "Kung Nui".
Then, attempting to help fix "Jane" and "Jim's" romantic problems, "Fang" shoots "Creed", but only wounds him,
Government troops arrive and force their way into town. In the confusion, "Jane" accompanied by 'Jim", goes over to treat her husband's wound. However, "Greed" pulls out a gun and announces that "Hallet" is about to have a fatal accident. This time "Fang" doesn't miss and kills "Gordon Creed".
The battle against the government troops seems lost, and "Fang" makes a decision not to risk his "hostages" lives and surrenders. The movie ends with the execution of "Warlord General Wu Yen Fang"
THE INVISIBLE MENACE premiered in London, on January 11, 1938
The screenplay was based upon the Broadway play, 1937's, "Without Warning", by Ralph Spencer Zink. The play was turned into a screenplay by Crane Wilbur, and adding to what I previously wrote about him. Later on, Wilbur co-wrote with Charles Belden, the 1953 screenplay for Vincent Price's, "House of Wax", and followed that feature with the screenplay for Price's, 1954's, "The Mad Magician". Crane Wilbur also co-wrote stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1961 version of French author Jules Verne's, "The Mysterious Island".
The motion picture was directed by John Farrow, adding to what I previously wrote about Farrow. For John Wayne, he directed 1953's, "Hondo", and 1955's, "The Sea Chase", and in 1959, directed producer Samuel Bronston's, biographical epic, "John Paul Jones", starring the miscast Robert Stack.
Boris Karloff portrayed "Mr. Jevries aka: Dolman". He would follow this motion picture with the next one I will mention.
Regis Toomey portrayed "Lieutenant Matthews". He had just been in the Pat O'Brien, George Brent, and Wayne Morris', 1937, "Submarine D-1". In 1939, Toomey was in director Cecil B. DeMille's, "Union Pacific", and in 1940, DeMille's, "Northwest Mounted Police".
Above left to right behind Boris Karloff, are Regis Toomey, Marie Wilson, and Eddie Craven.
Marie Wilson portrayed "Sally Wilson Pratt". Wilson had just appeared in director James Whale's, 1937, "The Great Garrick", starring Brian Aherne, Olivia de Havilland, and Edward Everett Horton, and followed this motion picture by appearing in the Carole Lombard, Fernand Gravey, and Ralph Bellamy's, 1938, "Fools for Scandal". She was an excellent comedian and played up the dumb blonde characterization.
Eddie Craven portrayed "Army Private Eddie Pratt". This was his 8th film of eleven, I could not locate any more information other than he came from a stage family.
Above left to right, Eddie Craven, Boris Karloff, and Marie Wilson. Eddie and Marie provided the comic relief in the motion picture.
The Basic Screenplay:
This is described as a Comedy-Mystery-Thriller, and it holds to the 1930's formula found in many low-budgeted pictures, but came from "Warner Brothers". It should be noted that actress Jane Wyman was to have portrayed "Sally", she had just become a contract player at "Warner's". When this picture was shot, Wyman had very minor roles including an uncredited "Party Guest" in the 1937, sports comedy, "Over the Goal", she was 19.
"Private Eddie Pratt" smuggles his wife onto an army base so they can have a honeymoon. To find a place to go, they enter a explosive storage building, but find a dead body. The dead man, "Reilly", portrayed by Harland Tucker, was an ordinance expert. Just then the murderer, unseen by the audience, punches "Eddie" in the chin, and knocks him down, and makes his escape.
Puzzled, "Colonel Hackett", portrayed by Henry Kolker, calls in investigator "Colonel Bob Rodgers", portrayed by Cy Kendall. The murder investigator is surprised to find a shipment of new guns in the building. Looking at the contract workers, Rodgers" recognizes "Jevries", whom he knew from Haiti, but called "Dolman" back then.
"Dolman" was sentenced to ten-years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, framed by his wife "Aline", portrayed by Phyliss Barry, and "Reilly". "Rodgers" is sure he has found the killer and orders the arrest of "Jevries/Dolman". "Jevries" starts to flee, causing confusion among those assembled, and is stabbed in the hand by the same bayonet that killed "Reilly".
"Colonel Rodgers" now believes that "Dolman" stabbed himself to throw suspicion on someone else. However, "Sally" now notices a swelling on "Eddie's" chain and it appears to have left a mark from the murderer's ring when he hit him. Her attempt to show "Colonel Rodger's" fails as he discounts her remarks. "Jevries" is quickly caught and "Rodger's" orders that he be locked up and "Lieutenant Matthews" is assigned to guard him. "Matthews" tells "Jevries" that he believes in his innocence and will let him escape.
However, before "Jevries" can run away, "Sally", who had been hiding during the confusion, comes out and confronts "Matthews". She tells him he's been lying and mentions the ring mark on "Eddie's" chin." "Matthews" grabs her and prepares to frame "Jevries" for another murder.
Meanwhile, "Jevries", overhearing the conversation and forgotten by "Matthews" has gone to "Colonel Rodgers". When "Rodgers" appears, "Matthews" holds a gun on "Sally", admits he has been smuggling guns and that "Reilly" found out. "Matthews" attempted to get "Reilly" to come in on his racket, but was forced to kill him. "Jevries" is able to shoot "Matthews", "Rodgers" admits his mistake, and "Sally" and "Eddie" finally get their honeymoon.
I mentioned that Warner Oland portrayed Hawaiian-Chinese-American detective, "Charlie Chan", now I look at Boris Karlof portraying:
MR. WONG DETECTIVE released on October 5, 1938
In "Collier's Magazine" was a very popular detective series created by and written by Hugh Wiley, about San Francisco based Chinese-American detective "James Lee Wong".
The motion picture was directed by William Nigh, like many who started out in silents. He was all three, an actor, writer, and director. In 1927, Nigh directed Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the Chinese man known as "Mr. Wu". In 1934, it was Bela Lugosi's turn to be Chinese in the William Nigh directed, "The Mysterious Mr. Wong", and besides this entry. Nigh would direct Boris Karloff in the other four films of the series.
The screenplay was by Hugh Wiley, he would write all five-screenplays for the Boris Karloff series, and 1940's, "Phantom of Chinatown", starring Keye Luke in the role of "James Lee Wong".
As I have repeatedly mentioned, Boris Karloff portrayed "James Lee Wong". The actor would follow this feature film with the next one I will mention. My reader might be interested in my article, that mentions all five "James Lee Wong" motion pictures, entitled, "Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Warner Oland, Sidney Toler: '3' Famous Asian Literary Detectives Portrayed By Non-Asian Actors", at:
Grant Withers portrayed "Police Captain Sam Street" in all five film. He had just portrayed the last credited role in the Janet Gaynor, Robert Montgomery, and Franchot Tone, 1938, "Three Loves Has Nancy". Withers followed this feature with the uncredited role of "Coach Andrews", in 1938s', forgotten, "Touchdown, Army", starring John Howard, and Robert Cummings.
Maxine Jennings portrayed "Myra Ross". Jennings was a musical stage actress who appeared on in the Jerome Kerns and Oscar Hammerstein II"s, "Show Boat", the Earl Carroll "Vanities", and several of Florenz Ziegfeld "Ziegfeld Follies" productions. Her film roles totaled 39, plus 2-1960's, television appearances.
Evelyn Brent portrayed "Olga Petroff". Brent's silent film career was between 1914 and 1928, while her sound carrier was between 1928 and 1950.
The Basic Story:
According to author Hugh Wiley, "James Lee Wong" is six-feet-tall, a graduate of "Yale University" in criminology. and works for the "United States Treasury Department" as an investigative agent. He is also a "Professor of Criminology" at an unnamed San Francisco University.
"Simon Dayton", portrayed by televisions "The Adventures of Superman's", "Perry White", John Hamilton, is in fear for his life and meets with "James Lee Wong".
Just prior to a second meeting with "Wong", "Simon Dayton" is found dead without a mark on his body. The police interview several witnesses who all confirm that "Dayton" was alone in his office and the door was locked from the inside. There are is no other way into the office, the office does not have even one window, except by that locked door.
Above "Professor James Lee Wong" having received the news of "Simon Dayton's" death. Below "Detective Captain Street" and "Mr. Wong" discuss the case.
"Professor Wong" discovers a broken glass ball and upon chemical examination determines that the police finding of "Simon Dayton" suffering a heart attack is incorrect. The residue in the ball goes to a poison gas that the "Dayton Chemical Company" was creating.
The Chinese American Detective's suspects include Foreign Agents after the gas formula, multiple Business Partners working together, who want "Dayton" out of the way so they can take control of the company, and there's the actual inventor of the poison gas, who feels cheated by his late boss.
Again, I will not reveal the ending to my reader, but at the time of writing this article the following link will take you to "Mr. Wong Detective":
It seems that the movies had a thing for the French penal colony of "Devil's Island". The first film was the 1926 silent, "Devil's Island", in 1928 was a German film about an innocent man sent there entitled "Escape from Hell", 1928 also saw the movie "The Red Mark", in 1929, Ronald Colman was "Condemned" to the island, in 1936, Lionel Barrymore escaped from "Devil's Island" to seek revenge in director Tod Browning's, horror classic, "Devil Doll", the island was one of the settings in 1937's, "The Life of Emile Zola", while 1937's, "The Mysterious Mr. Moto", starring Peter Lorre, opened on the island. and so it was now Boris Karloff's turn.
DEVIL'S ISLAND premiering in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 31, 1938
The motion picture was based upon a story idea by two writers, Anthony Coldeway, who started writing westerns in 1911, and ended his writing career with 155 screenplays in 1957, still mainly writing westerns. The other story writer was Raymond L. Schrock, who started writing in 1915, and wrote his last screenplay, his 159th, in 1951, for the television series, "The Cisco Kid".
The actual screenplay was written by two other writers. Kenneth Gamet started writing for "Warner Brothers" in 1937 with entries in both the "Nancy Drew", and "Torchy Blane", series. He also worked on both John Wayne's, 1942 "Pittsburgh", and "Flying Tigers". The other screenplay writer was Don Ryan, who had started in 1926 and worked on several of the original "Perry Mason" motion pictures.
Boris Karloff portrayed "Dr. Charles Gaudet". The actor would follow this motion picture with the last time he appeared as "The Monster", in 1939's, "Son of Frankenstein", co-starring with Basil Rathbone and Bela Lugosi. Karloff would follow that motion picture with back-to-back, the second and third, "James Lee Wong" mysteries, 1939's, "The Mystery of Mr. Wong", and "Mr. Wong in Chinatown".
James Stephenson portrayed "Colonel Armand Lucien". He had just appeared in the Dick Foran adventure film, 1938's, "Heart of the North", and followed this film by co-starring with Humphrey Bogart and Kay Francis, in 1939's, "King of the Underworld".
The Basic Screenplay:
"Dr. Charles Gaudet" is sentenced to ten-years on "Devil's Island", for upholding his medical oath and helping a wounded revolutionary that he had never met, but came to his doorstep.
It isn't long before "Dr. Gaudet" is speaking out against the brutal prison commander, "Colonel Armand Lucien", but things change when "Lucien's" daughter "Collette" requires major medical attention and "Gaudet" is the only person that can help her.
Back on February 28, 1936, "20th Century Fox" released director John Ford's, "The Prisoner of Shark Island". This plot is very, very, very similar to that screenplay. That was based upon the story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who made the mistake of giving medical aide to John Wilkes Booth.
BRITISH INTELLIGENCE premiered in Melbourne, Australia, on November 10, 1939
The screenplay is based upon the 1918 play, "Two Faces East", by playwright, Anthony Paul Kelly. The screenplay was written by Lee Katz, who wrote the Humphrey Bogart horror movie, 1939's, "The Return of Dr. X". http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/08/humphrey-bogart-horror-movie-actor.html
The motion picture was directed by Terry O. Morse, don't recognize the name? How about a motion picture he directed, edited, and wrote, starring Raymond Burr? That 1956 title, was, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters"!
Boris Karloff portrayed "Valdar". The actor had just been in the horror movie, 1939's, "The Man They Could Not Hang", and followed this picture with the next one I will mention.
Margaret Lindsay portrayed "Helene von Lorbeer aka: Frances Hautry". She had just co-starred with Randolph Scott and Preston Foster in the action drama, 1939's, "20,000 Men a Year", and followed this picture with a comedy film-noir, 1940's, "Honeymoon Deferred", co-starring Edmund Lowe. Lindsay also became "Ellery Queen's" girlfriend in a series of 1940's movies.
Bruce Lester portrayed "Frank Bennett". Lester was seen with co-stars Edmund Lowe and Wendy Barrie, in 1939, "The Witness Vanishes". He would follow this motion picture with the uncredited role of a "Chaplain", in the Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Vincent Price. 1940, "The Invisible Man Returns".
The Basic Screenplay:
The question in the screenplay is who isn't a spy?
It is the First World War, the unseen German spy "Franz Strendler", has cost the British dearly. "British Intelligence" contacts their best agent, currently undercover in Germany, a pilot named "Frank Bennett". However, the German spy network forewarns them and "Bennett" is shot down.
In a British hospital, nurse "Helene von Lorbeer" is caring for "Bennett". He tells her that he's in love, but she replies that she must go. "Bennett" falls asleep and she kisses him on the cheek.
Next, "Helene" is seen being given a medal by the Kaiser, she is a German spy.
The story switches to the London home of British cabinet minister, "Arthur Bennett", portrayed by Holmes Herbert, and "Frank's" father. There we meet refugee "Frances Hautry", who is being helped by the minister and takes her orders from the minister's butler, "Valdor", also a German spy, or is he?
"Valdor" actually reports to "Colonel Yeates", portrayed by Leonard Mudie, the head of British intelligence.
Above left, Holmes Herbert and on his right, Leonard Mudie.
Above, Margaret Lindsay, Holmes Herbert, Boris Karloff, and William Bailey portraying an uncredited British Intelligence Agent.
Meanwhile, "Arthur Bennett's" secretary, "Miss Risdon", portrayed by Louise Brien, who is also a German spy, is in "Bennett's" house's office, and taps out a coded message on her typewriter. "Colonel Yeates" happens to be present and recognizes what's being typed. Also, in the office is "Francis Hautry", who "Yeates" realizes must also be a German spy, and he sets a trap for her.
While the British have just captured German spy "Otto Kurz", portrayed by Frederick Giermann, in "Arthur Bennett's" house, but he escapes and goes upstairs to "Hautry's" bedroom. Where she hides him in the closet, but then betrays him to "Yeats" and his men. Next, she explains to "Valdor", that she knew "Kurz" was an imposter.
As the story progresses, unexpectedly "Frank Bennett" shows up at the house, his squadron and others have been recalled to London for some reason. "Frank" is surprised to see "Helene" there under another name, and she reveals that she is loyal to the British. However, "Valdor" has overheard their conversation.
That night, there is to be a cabinet meeting at "Arthur Bennett's" house. "Valdor" at gunpoint forces "Hautry" down into the basement where he is planting a bomb to blow-up the house during the meeting, which will be during a Zeppelin bombing of London. She now tells "Valdor" that the story he overheard was to allay "Frank Bennett's" suspicions and shows "Valdor" the award she received from the Kaiser. "Valdor" now reveals that he is "Strendler".
Fortunately, he has been under surveillance and "Yeats" and his men rush the locked basement door, but 'Strendler" escapes through a coal shute. "Hauter" unlocks the door and informs "Colonel Yeats" of the bomb, revealing to him that she is a double agent. "Strengler" rushes to his hideout to transmit the plans for the British spring offensive, but is killed in the Zeppelin bombing before he can do it.
Boris Karloff now found himself in a historical motion picture inspired by William Shakespeare. This section of my article comes from another article I wrote, "Basil Rathbone: From the Boer War to The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini", found at:
TOWER OF LONDON released on November 17, 1939
Lets get one thing straight, this is not a horror movie, but sometimes a reviewer describes it as such. For their review to be true, one would have to consider Shakespeare's, 1594 play, "Richard III", a horror story. However, based upon historical fact, one might consider the life of "Richard III" a horror story as to his actions to gain the throne of England. It is the inclusion of the Boris Karloff character and his other movie roles that brings that comparison and no other.
The motion picture was directed by Roland V. Lee and reunited his two leads from that year's "Son of Frankenstein". Lee had just directed Basil Rathbone and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in 1939's, "The Sun Never Sets", and would follow this feature with the Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, and George Sanders, 1940, "The Son of Monte Cristo".
Robert N. Lee wrote the screenplay and was the brother of the director. Lee was nominated for the "Best Screenplay, Academy Award" for 1931's, "Little Caesar", he had just written the Paul Robeson, 1937, "Jericho" aka: "Dark Sands", and would write, for his brother, 1945's, "Captain Kidd", starring Charles Laughton and Randolph Scott.
Basil Rathbone portrayed "Richard, Duke of Gloucester/Richard III". Rathbone had just appeared in the film "Rio", and followed this feature with 1940's, "Rhythm of the River", a comedy musical, co-starring with Bing Crosby and Mary Martin. She was the original lead, on Broadway, in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific", and had the title role in the Broadway musical, "Peter Pan".
Boris Karloff portrayed the created role of "Mord, Richard's club-footed executioner". Karloff followed this feature film with 1940's, "The Fatal Hour", another of his appearances as the American-Chinese detective, "James Lee Wong".
Vincent Price portrayed the "Duke of Clarence". This was Vincent's third motion picture and it was immediately proceeded by the Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, 1939, "The Privates Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". Vincent Price would follow this film with the title role in 1940's, "The Invisible Man Returns".
Nan Grey portrayed "Lady Alice Barton". Grey had just been in the 1939 musical comedy, "The Under-Pup", co-starring with Gloria Jean and Robert Cummings. She would follow this feature with 1940's, "The Invisible Man Returns", co-starring with Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Vincent Price.
Tower of London
Here's a grim and grisly picture, if ever there was one. Some of the chillers of the Lugosi-Karloff school may be more lurid, but "Tower of London" will make your hair stand on end and the cold sweat break out just as surely—for you'll suddenly realize that all the gruesome goings-on which are unwinding there on the screen, actually happened!
It's the story of Richard III of England, known as "Crookback" Richard to his pals. Torture and murder were to him what oatmeal was to his people—just an everyday occurrence. The King rode rough-shod over everything and every person who stood in his way to power—including his own flesh and blood. Basil Rathbone, portraying the ruthless Richard, gives a superb performance. Ian Hunter, in the role of King Edward VI, gives a sincere and believable characterization. Boris Karloff is right in there, too, with a role that must have made him shudder, himself. He's the crippled, bald-headed chief executioner by vocation, and Rathbone's stooge in the little leisure time allotted him. Barbara O'Neil, Vincent Prince, Ernest Cossart and Nan Grey deserve special mention. Outstanding throughout this picture is the wealth of pageantry and beauty in the background, and remarkable, too, is the fact that the story clings as closely as possible to actual history. directed by Rowland V. Lee.—
"King Henry VI" is a weak monarch and "Richard" arranges for "Mord" to kill him.
"Henry Tudor" and his troops return from France, and "The Battle of Bosworth Field" takes place, ending with "Richard the Third's" death and his executioner "Mord".
(The Three Horror Men)
This is a comedy mystery and not a horror movie. Kyser is the star, and he appears with his band playing songs and in routines most Americans and Canadians only heard on their radio. The movie had a final budget of $371,000 dollars and had a box-office of $1,000,000 dollars.
The motion picture was directed by David Butler, he had just directed the Bing Crosby musical, 1940, "If I Had My Way", and followed this musical with the Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour comedy, 1941, "Caught in the Draft". Then another Kay Kyser musical with John Barrymore, 1941's, "Playmates". Butler also worked on the story for the screenplay, but there still four others.
James V. Kern was a comedy writer and had just worked on 1940's, "If I Had My Way", and followed this movie with the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, 1941,"Look Who's Laughing".
Monte Brice had worked on the Charlie Ruggles comedy, 1939's, "Night Work", and followed this picture with the James Stewart and Paulette Goddard musical comedy, 1941's, "Pot o' Gold".
Andrew Bennison had worked on the Johnny Mack Brown musical western, 1939's, "Chip of the Flying U", and followed this feature with 1941's, "Pot o' Gold".
R.T.M. Scott only worked on this motion picture.
Kay Kyser portrayed himself. He had just appeared in the short, 1940's, "If I Forget You", a tribute to the late Will Rodgers, and featuring Judy Garland and Bette Davis. He followed this feature film with 1941's, "Playmates".
Peter Lorre portrayed "Professor Karl Fenninger". He had just been in 1940's, "Stranger on the Third Floor" and followed this feature with 1941's, "The Face Behind the Mask". My article, "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances", may be read at:
Boris Karloff portrayed "Judge Spencer Mainwaring". He had just been in the low-budget horror entry, 1940's, "The Ape", and followed this film with 1941's, "The Devil Commands".
Bela Lugosi portrayed "Prince Saliano". Lugosi had just starred in 1940's, "The Devil Bat", and followed this feature film with 1941's, "The Invisible Ghost".
Trivia: This is the only film with all three together in it.
Helen Parrish portrayed "Janis Bellacrest". She had just co-starred with Dennis O'Keefe and Constance Moore in the 1940, musical comedy, "I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now", and followed this film co-starring with Leon Errol and Charles Lang, in the 1941, musical comedy, "Where Did You Get That Girl?".
Dennis O'Keefe portrayed "Chuck Deems". O'Keefe had just been in 1940's, "I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now", and followed this picture with the crime drama, 1940's, "Bowery Boy".
Above left to right, Kay Kyser, Helen Parrish, and Dennis O'Keefe
Ginny Simms portrayed herself. Simms was a popular "Big Band" singer who almost married Kay Kyser, but instead married Hyatt von Dehn, the founder of the "Hyatt Hotel" chain. She also sang with Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jo Stafford.
Above left to right, Kay Kyser, Ginny Simms, Boris Karloff, Helen Parrish, and Dennis O'Keefe.
The Basic Screenplay:
"Kay Kyser" and his band featuring "Ginny Simms", arrives at a mansion shaped like a medieval castle, to entertain at a party, but as soon as they arrive, mysteriously, the drawbridge, the only way in, is dynamited.
Like all of "Kyser's" films, there are the expected musical numbers, and comic routines from his "College of Musical Knowledge", and band member M.A. Rogue, better known to the radio audience and these films as "Ish Kabibble".
Above, "Ish" with Alma Kruger portraying "Aunt Margo Bellacrest".
"Janis Bellacrest" has returned to her aunt's house that she hasn't seen in years. Strange, typical for haunted house movies, things start happening. "Kay Kyser" has become suspicious of "Prince Saliano" being behind the events. Apparently, he is taking "Aunt Margo's" money, because of her belief in spiritualism. Meanwhile, "Kay's" manager, "Chuck Deems", has taken an interest in "Janis Bellacrest".
There were three writers on the screenplay, the first being Ken Englund. Englund had worked without credit on the Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo, 1946, "The Kid from Brooklyn", right before this motion picture. He followed this movie with the Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan, 1948, "Good Sam".
Everett Freeman was the second and among his classic screenplays is W.C. Fields', 1939, "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man", both Jack Benny's, 1940, "Buck Benny Rides Again", and 1942's, "George Washington Slept Here", and the Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo, 1944, "The Princess and the Pirate".
The third writer was the uncredited Philip Rapp, whose work included Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo's, 1945, "Wonder Man".
"Walter Mitty" is henpecked by everyone in his inconsequential life as a proofreader for the Pierce Publishing Company. The henpeckers include his own mother, "Mrs. Eunice Mitty", his dimwitted fiancée, "Gertrude Griswold", her obnoxious suitor even though she's engaged, "Tubby Wadsworth", portrayed by Gordon Jones, "Gertrude's" loudmouth mother, "Mrs. Griswold", portrayed by Florence Bates, "Mitty's" boss that takes credit for all his ideas, "Bruce Pierce", portrayed by Thurston Hall, and least I forget, "Gertrude's French poodle Queenie".
Enter one of "Boot's" henchmen, "Dr. Hugo Hollingshead". Whose job is to convince "Mitty" that everything is actually a dream.
Speaking of Boris Karloff and the "Frankenstein" monster. There was a deleted comedy dream sequence with Boris and Danny Kaye, removed from the final cut by producer Samuel Goldwyn. In which, "Walter Mitty Meets Frankenstein', but most film historians claim the sequence is lost.
LURED premiered in New York City on August 28, 1947
Back on December 5, 1939, there was a French crime drama "Pieges (Traps)", starring Maurice Chevalier and Marie Dea. The picture was directed by German-American Robert Siodmak, who was one of the major film-noir directors of the 1940's. With his brother, Curt, writer for 1941, "The Wolf Man" and the story for 1956's, "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", as screenwriter, the two made 1943's, "Son of Dracula". My article about the brothers is, "CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film-Noir" at:
Now, 8-years later, the motion picture was remade by an American independent company. The motion picture screenplay writer was Leo Rosten, Humphrey Bogart's, 1942, "All Through the Night", and the Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid, 1944, "The Conspirators".
A somewhat spoiler alert, Boris Karloff's role and name is a "Red Herring" to draw in potential audiences, but is excellent.
"Sandra Carpenter" is an American dancer who came to London to perform in a show. Now, with her friend "Lucy Barnard", portrayed by Tanis Chandler, they are taxi dancers.
tells "Sandra" that she is quitting dance hall dancing to travel with a handsome man she met through a newspaper personal advertisement. However, before "Sandra" can go to the audition.
"Lucy" disappears, and her disappearance fits as the victim of the "Poet Killer". Next, "Inspector Temple" tracks down "Sandra Carpenter", the last known person to see "Lucy Barnard" alive. He hirers her to act as a decoy to trap the unknown "Poet Killer".
The following first picture is a publicity photo for the motion picture and is also on the sheet of stills that follows it. It appears Boris Karloff and Lucile Ball where having fun with Karloff's "Horror persona".
"Robert" is arrested and drilled.
The story ends with "Sandra" and "Rodger" back together again.
The motion picture was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The movie came between DeMille's 1944, "The Story of Dr. Wassell", starring Gary Cooper and Laraine Day, and 1949's, "Sampson and Delilah", starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr.
The screenplay was based upon American author, Neil H. Swanson's, January 1947, novel, "Unconquered: A Novel of the Pontiac Conspiracy".
There were three credited and one uncredited writer on the screenplay. The first credited writer was Charles Bennett. In 1929, he turned his own play "Blackmail", into the screenplay for the first British sound movie which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Bennett also wrote Hitch's, 1934, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", 1935's, "The 39 Steps", both 1936's, "Secret Agent", and "Sabotage". Along with 1940's, "Foreign Correspondent". For Cecil B. DeMille, prior to this picture, Bennett wrote, 1942's, "Reap the Wild Wind",
The second writer was Fredric M. Frank, his other films for DeMille were 1949's, "Samson and Delilah", 1952's, "The Greatest Show on Earth", and 1956's, "The Ten Commandments".
The third credited writer was Jesse Lasky, Jr., among his films was Alfred Hitchcock's, 1936, "Secret Agent", DeMille's, 1938, "The Buccaneer", 1939's, "Union Pacific", 1940, "Northwest Mounted Police", 1942, "Reap the Wild Wind", and 1949s, "Samson and Delilah", and in 1956, "The Ten Commandments".
The uncredited writer was Jeanie Macpherson, she started writing films in 1913. Among her films for Cecil B. DeMille was 1923's, "The Ten Commandments", 1927's, "King of Kings", 1935's, "The Crusades", 1936's, "The Plainsman", 1938, "The Buccaneer", 1939's, "Union Pacific", and 1942's, "Reap the Wild Wind".
Paulette Goddard portrayed "Abigail 'Abby' Hale". Like Cooper, she had a cameo in 1947's, "Variety Girl", and followed this motion picture with Alexander Korda's, 1947, version of playwright Oscar Wilde's, "An Ideal Husband".
"Abigail Hale" is put on trial for the death of a Royal Navy officer she accidently killed, while attempting to rescue her brother from a press gang. She's sentenced to death, but the judge offers her "King's Mercy", if she agrees to be transported to the British colonies in North America for a term not less than 14-years as an indentured servant, and to be sold at auction upon arrival.
Meanwhile, "Garth" gets the slave dealer to believe that "Holden" was only jesting about "Abby", is handed her freedom papers and burns them.
Later, "Garth", having made it clear that he is attracted to his slave "Abby", is speaking to a group of likeminded men. When his Native American wife, "Hannah", daughter of the Chief of the Seneca's, "Guyasuta", portrayed by Katherine DeMille (Cecil B. DeMille's adopted daughter), arrives with a message, and after reading it. He hastily leaves everyone he has been speaking with to go to a meeting.
"Garth" is attending a meeting with "Colonel George Washington of the Virginia Regiment", portrayed by Richard Gaines, his subordinate, "Captain Holden", the colonial governor, "Sir William Johnson", portrayed by Alan Napier, and others.
However, when "Holden" and his two companions are ambushed, he realizes he must deal with "Garth". When "Christopher" comes for "Garth", he is reunited with "Abby", and their mutual misunderstanding is cleared up, before the two now flee "Garth" and go to Fort Pitt.
"Martin Garth" now comes for "Abigail Hale", and "Christopher Holden" challenges "Garth" to a duel. However, "Garth" has the bill of sale for "Abby" and the miliary governor turns her over to him.
Eric Taylor wrote 1940's, "Black Friday", starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, the 1941, comedy mystery, "The Black Cat", 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein", and 1943's, "Phantom of the Opera",
There is a line in the movie's screenplay that was taken and reworked from the 1944, Broadway play, "Arsenic and Old Lace", by Joseph Kesserling. This line referred to Karloff's character of "Jonathan Brewster" looking like "Boris Karloff". The reworked line is used in this movie by "Tracy's" sidekick, "Pat Patton", referring to "Grusome".
Just released from jail, "Gruesome" goes to the Hangman's Knott saloon and sees his old gang member, "Melody", portrayed by Tony Barrett, playing the piano.
Meanwhile, at headquarters, "Dick Tracy" is speaking to "Dr. A. Tomic", portrayed by Milton Parson, about the doctor believing he is being followed. While at the morgue, "Pat" has his body turned from the table with "Gruesome's" body on it. When the other gets up and knocks him out. Back at headquarters, "Pat", explains what happened and makes that "Boris Karloff comment".
It's hard to see, but on the right is actor Robert Clarke in the uncredited role of a lab assistant who is analyzing the gas residue. Next to him is Anne Gwynne, Lyle Latell, and Ralph Byrd.
Dead men tell no tales!
The screenplay was written by Alan Le May, author of 1934's, "Thunder in the Dust", aka: "The Sundowners", the motion picture title. He wrote 1954's, "The Searchers", and 1957's, "Kiowa Moon" aka "The Unforgiven", the motion picture title. Also, Alan Le May was the screenplay writer for director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1940, "Northwest Mounted Police", and 1942's, "Reap the Wild Wind"
Additional dialogue was by Lionel Wiggam, this is only one of the three films he worked upon between 1944 and 1948.
George Marshall directed, he was the director for 1947's, "Variety Girl", but some of his other 186 titles include the overlooked and forgotten crime drama, 1937's, "Nancy Steele is Missing", starring Victor McLaglen and Peter Lorre, 1939's, "Destry Rides Again", starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard's, 1940, "The Ghost Breakers", with Hope and Goddard, the life of "Texas" Guinan portrayed "Hollywood Style" by Betty Hutton, in 1945's, "Incendiary Blonde", and producer George Pal's, 1953's, "Houdini", starring Tony Curtis and his wife, Janet Leigh.
Susan Hayward portrayed "Morna Dabney". Hayward and just co-starred with Robert Cummings and Agnes Morehead, in the film-noir, 1947's, "The Lost Moment", and followed this film by co-starring with Robert Montgomery, John Payne, and Audrey Totter, in 1948's, comedy drama, "The Saxon Charm".
The movie is described as a western and American civil war story. It could also be described as 1939's, "Gone with the Wind" meets the daytime soap opera, "All My Children".
The screenplay starts in 1860.
"Big Sam Dabney", portrayed by Russell Simpson, founded the "Dabney Plantation" in Levingston, Mississippi. He urges his oldest granddaughter, "Morna" to marry her military officer beau, "Clay MacIvor".
"Morna" isn't that urgent for marriage, until she realizes that her younger sister, "Aven" is also interested in "Clay".
Incensed over an editorial about his grandfather in "The Mississippi Whig", by the newspaper's owner and publisher, "Keith Alexander". "Morna" and "Aven's" brother, "Bruce Dabney", wants to challenge "Alexander" to a duel, but it stopped by "Big Sam's" Choctaw Indian friend, "Tishomingo".
Meanwhile, "Morna's" father "Hoab", plans to annex the Lexington Valley of Mississippi as neutral territory during the upcoming war. "Keith" tells "Hoab" that he will support his plans in "The Mississippi Wig".
However, "Clay" is using his knowledge of the "Dabney Plantation" and Levington, to prepare a massive Confederate attack, cutting off the valley's supply lanes from the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, "Bruce" and "Tishomingo" capture one of "Clay's" men and learn of a surprise Confederate attack coming from the North. Knowing that "Keith" is at least 12-hours away, "Morna", now able to walk, takes a horse and rides to "Clay". Learning of "Morna's" plans, "Tishomingo" rides to stop her, but is killed by a Confederate sentry. While, in the Confederate camp, "Morna" seduces "Clay", delaying the attack long enough for "Keith" and his men to be recalled to the Levington Valley.
"Keith" now tells "Morna" that her family legacy will live on, as long as the "Tap Root" upon with "Big Sam" proclaimed his ownership lives on.
BUD ABBOTT AND LOU COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF released on August 22, 1949
Note that this movie was originally titled "Easy Does It", and it was intended to be a Bob Hope comedy! However, the movie "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" had just come out and was a huge hit, and Universal reworked the script for Abbott & Costello, and changed the title to "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killers"! In that script, the lead villain was a FEMALE character named "Madame Switzer"! Five days before shooting began, Boris Karloff was hired, and the character became a swami, and the title of the movie was changed yet again, to include Boris Karloff's name!
For the above to be correct, the screenplay for "Easy Does It", had to be originally with "Paramount Pictures". Where Bob Hope was under contract since 1938's, "The Big Broadcast of 1938", starring W.C. Fields. Of course, borrowing actors from another studio was not unknown. Trivia: "Paramount Pictures" released a Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming motion picture, three-months after "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff", on November 23, 1949, entitled "The Great Lover". One of the used alternated titles was "Easy Does It".
Above is one of the original movie posters, but before the film actually went into full release. Someone had a brainstorm in the "Universal International" publicity department and decided to add a not too veiled reference to 1948's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" on other posters. Which made some reviewers call this entry a horror comedy which it is not.
Two writers are credited with the story that screenplay was based, I could not determine if they had anything to do with the Bob Hope screenplay.
Howard Snyder also worked on the two Abbott and Costello films that Hugh Wedlock, Jr. did. However, he also wrote for the television series' "I Married Joan", "Fiber McGee and Molly", "The Jack Benny Program", and "The Bob Newhart Show".
Another writer worked strictly on the screenplay. John Grant was Bud and Lou's personal writer and either directly wrote, or rewrote other writer's scenes for the duo. His pictures, before this one, started with 1940's, "One Night in the Tropics". His work continued with 1941's, "Buck Privates", "In the Navy", "Hold That Ghost", "Keep 'Em Flying", 1942's, "Rio Rita", "Pardon My Sarong", "Who Done It?", 1943's, "It Ain't Hay", "Hit the Ice", 1944's, "In Society", "Lost in a Harem", 1945's, "Here Come the Co-Eds", "The Naughty Nineties", 1946's, "The Time of Their Lives", 1947's, "Buck Privates Come Home", "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap", 1948's, "The Noose Hangs High", "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", "Oysters and Muscles" (Short), and "Mexican Hayride". John Grant worked with the comedy team through 1955.
Lou Costello portrayed "Freddie Phillips" The two were last seen in 1949's, "Africa Screams", one of the few films that John Grant did not work on. They followed this motion picture with another written by Grant, 1950's, "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion".
Alan Mowbray was in many historical dramas such as George Arliss', 1933, "Voltaire", and 1934, previously mentioned "House of Rothschild". Look for the actor in director John Ford's, "Mary of Scotland", starring Katharine Hepburn and Fredric March.
It just happens, that coincidently, staying at the same hotel, are seven of "Strickland's" former clients. They are "Swami Talpur", "Angela Gordon", "Mrs. Hargreave", portrayed by Victoria Horne, "T. Hanley Brooks", portrayed by Roland Winters, "Lawrence Crandall", portrayed by Harry Hayden, "Mrs. Grimsby", portrayed by Claire Du Brey and "Mike Relia", portrayed by Vincent Renno.
Additionally, "Amos Strickland" is always accompanied by his secretary, "Gregory Milford", portrayed by Morgan Farley. To hotel detective "Casey Edwards", these eight hotel guests are suspects.
The seven clients meet and together decide to make sure the blame for the murder stays with "Freddie" and their own histories are to be kept hidden from the police. They also make a pact to kill "Freddie" and are able to trick him into signing a confession. "Angela" trays to seduce "Freddie", but the police stop her, thinking she poisoned the champagne.
Want to know "who done it" and why?
The following link will take my reader, at the time of this writing, to the full movie:
--- and on May 12, 1951, a 1949, stop-motion-animated Chekhovian movie was released in the United States with the English language narration by Boris Karloff. This was an award-winning version of Danish storyteller Han Christian Anderson's, "The Emperor's Nightingale".
That television appearance was followed by an episode of the television mystery thriller series, "Suspense", "The Lonely Place", Christmas Day, December 25, 1951. Once more I can tell you the cast, but not the plot.
Completing his appearances in 1951, was Boris Karloff's role of "Sir Arthur Strangeways", in a comedy on the "Lux Video Theatre", "The Jest of Hahalaba", December 31st.
The Jest of Hahalaba is also a classic ‘be careful what you wish for’ storyline, but is darkly comical rather than horrifying. It was written by the fantasiest Lord Dunsany, famous for his novel The King of Elfland’s Daughter. It is a cautionary tale on the evils of greed, which was ironically written shortly before the 1929 stock market crash.
1952 ended with two horror entries, and a comedy. The two horror entries were "The House of Death", July 4, 1952, on televisions "The Schlitz Playhouse". The other was the first directed motion picture by Nathan Juran, the overlooked, gothic horror story, "The Black Castle", released first in Los Angles on November 20, 1952. The comedy was entitled "Fear", and was shown in Season Three of the "Lux Video Theatre", December 8, 1952.
After filming "The Black Castle", in early April 1952, Boris Karloff and his wife Evelyn, took a cruise to the United Kingdom. Boris was going to film a pilot for a proposed television detective series to be sold to British "ITV" executives. I am about to tell the whole story and afterwards, I will return to March 2, 1953.
COLONEL MARCH OF SCOTLAND YARD
The pilot turned into three, shot between October 1952 and November 1952, were "Hot Money", a bank robber accuses a prominent attorney of the crime, "Death in the Dressing Room", a Javanese dancer is murdered after alerting Colonel March of Danger, and "The New Invisible Man", a man witnesses a pair of gloves, nothing else visible, shooting a man dead.
Above, Ewan Roberts, portraying "Inspector Ames" speaking to Boris Karloff as "Colonel March". Below, Ronald Leigh-Hunt portraying "Ireton Bowlder", in "Hot Money".
There is no list of the series running order that agrees with another.
On March 17, 1953, Boris Karloff portrayed "Grigori Yefimovich Raputin", Leslie Nielson portrayed "Serge Soudekine", in "The Black Prophet", Season Five, Episode Twenty-two, of televisions "Suspense". This is a fact-based story about one of the failed attempts to murder "Rasputin", who had complete control over the Czarina. Below, Karloff as "Rasputin".
Back in February, it was announced that Boris Karloff was to star in a Jules Verne motion picture, but the deal fell through.
The motion picture premiered May 15, 1953 under the title of THE HINDU, but I could not locate exactly were. The name would be changed to SABAKA and this is the story.
Actually, the original title for this motion picture was "Gunga Ram", but "RKO" protested that the title could be confused with that studio's classic 1939, "Gunga Din", and the name was changed to "The Hindu".
The motion picture was produced, directed, and written by Frank Ferrin. Other than this one feature film, Frank Ferrin was the producer of the television children's show, first called "Smilin's Gang", until the host Ed McConnell died from a heart attack. Next, the show was renamed "Andy's Gang", as I remember watchin it, starring Andy Devine. Who was also co-starring with Guy Madison, on televisions "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok". For my reader who is a fan of Andy Devine, my look at his career is "ANDY DEVINE: "Hey Wild Bill, Wait for Me!", at:
Boris Karloff portrayed "General Pollegar".
All of Boris Karloff and Victor Jory's scenes were filmed in the United States, but the rest of the motion picture's cast and crew filmed the other sequences of the movie in Mysore, Karnataka, India.
Released on August 1, 1953, was Boris Karloff's next appearance with the comic duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. This time it was a horror comedy taking on Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson. As this comes under the titles I will not go into detail in this article, my reader should read my other article, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Universal Studio Classic Monsters", at:
Boris Karloff, Evelyn and their daughter Sara went on a working Italian vacation for Boris.
ll mostro dell'isola (THE MONSTER OF THE ISLAND) released in Italy on January 2 1954
As I said this was a paid Italian vacation for the Karloff family and like many an American actor at the time. When the movie reached the United States three-years-later, as "The Island Monster", Boris Karloff's voice was dubbed.
Boris Karloff portrayed "Mr. Blue Ocean".
Bramwell Fletcher portrayed "Mr. Green Mountain". Don't recognize the actor's name? This was a homecoming for Fletcher and Karloff. It was Bramwell Fletcher portraying "Ralph Norton" that brings Boris Karloff back to life in 1932's, "The Mummy". For those of my readers that dig mummy's, a look at both actors will be found in my article "The Mummy (1932) vs The Mummy (1959) vs The Mummy (1999) vs The Mummy (2017)", unwrapped at:
Anthony Perkins portrayed "West Wind". Perkins' previous role was also on television as "Pedro" in an episode of the real-life anthology series, taken from cases of different law enforcement agencies across the United States, "The Man Behind the Badge", in "The Case of the Narcotics Racket", September 5, 1954. Perkins followed this program with one written by Ray Bradbury, entitled "The World Out There", the only date for the production is the year of 1955, and this was the fourth and last episode of an anthology series entitled "Windows". No information about any of the four stories is apparently known.
The producers were Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.
Next, Boris Karloff was "Doc Dixon", on another television anthology series of the 1950's, "The Alcoa Hour", April 15, 1956, in a western entitled "Even the Weariest River". The setting is a frontier village in which a 70-years-old lawman, with failing eyesight, is facing the fact that he's obsolete.
Next, Boris Karloff was back on the anthology series "Climax", the date was September 6, 1956, the title seemed appropriate for the actor, "Bury Me Later". English "Vicar Tellworth", Karloff, believes that artist "Mark Yorke", portrayed by Sean McClory, director John Ford's, 1952, "The Quiet Man", and the 1954 science fiction classic, "THEM!", is innocent of a murder charge and starts to prove it. Also, in the cast was Angela Lansbury portraying "Justina Marshall", and British character actor Torin Thatcher portraying "John Philippson". Thatcher is known to fans of the work of stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen, as the magician "Sokurah", in 1958's, "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad". My article is "TORIN THATCHER: The Career of a Great British Character Actor", can be read at:
The episode was directed by John Frankenheimer, who between 1956 and 1960, directed 27-episodes of "Playhouse 90", and between 1955 and 1956, he had directed 26-episodes of "Climax". We know his first motion picture was a made-for-television one entitled "The Ninth Day", starring Piper Laurie, but that's all we know about it.
Tom Drake portrayed "Johnny Mark". Drake had just been on the television anthology series, "Studio 57", in "Farewell Appearance", starring Mary Astor on February 7, 1956. He would follow this program with an episode of televisions "The Millionaire", portraying "Millionaire Dr. Alan March", April 3, 1957.
Franchot Tone portrayed "Hugh Strickland". He had just appeared in the previously mentioned "Even the Weariest River", and would appear on "The Kaiser Aluminum Hour", January 29, 1957, in "Throw Me a Rope".
Laraine Day portrayed "Florence Strickland". Day had just been seen in the "Lux Video Theatre", production of "Now Voyager", October 4, 1956, and followed this program on "The Ford Television Theatre" with "The Woman Who Dared", November 14, 1956.
Boris Karloff portrayed "Ward Allan".
Viveca Lindfors portrayed "Martine". Lindfors had just appeared in "Kyria Katina" with William Bendix, about a widow's life changing with a proposal. The show was seen on both "The Philco Television Playhouse", and the "Goodyear Playhouse", February 12, 1956. She followed this production with "Adventure in Diamonds", December 9, 1956, on "The Alcoa Hour".
Julie Harris portrayed "Joan of Arc". In 1955, she had first billing in the movie "East of Eden", second went to James Dean, in 1959, Harris was in James Costigan's script for the television production of Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen's, "A Doll House". In 1961, Julie Harris was seen on television as "Queen Victoria", in "Victoria Regina", opposite James Donald, and Basil Rathbone.
Boris Karloff portrayed "Bishop Cauchon".
Basil Rathbone portrayed the "Chief Inquisitor". Rathbone had an interesting year with British author, Charles Dickens's, "A Christmas Carol". On the television anthology series, "Shower of Stars", he was seen as "Marley's Ghost", and on the television anthology series, "The Alcoa Hour", he was "Ebenezer Scrooge". He followed this live production by portraying "The Duke", on "The United States Steel Hour", in Mark Twain's, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".
Ed Kemmer portrayed "Ted Van Allen", and was known to my generation as "Buzz Corry" of televisions "Space Patrol". Along with starring in producer/director Bert I. Gordon's, 1958, "The Earth vs the Spider". "Space Patrol" is part of my article, "Boldly Going Before Kirk and Spock: 1950's TV Science Fiction" at:
June Lockhart portrayed "Grace Blair", and was a year and a half away from becoming "Ruth Martin" on televisions "Lassie" from 1958 - 1964, and eight-years from being "Lost in Space", 1965 - 1968.
Tom Laughlin portrayed "Jess". Laughlin was ten-years away from creating his character of "Bill Jack", in 1967's, "The Born Losers". Which he would recreate in 1971's, "Billy Jack", and 1974's, "The Trial of Billy Jack". For those of my readers unfamiliar with the character and its impact of the Vietnam Generation. His story is part of my article "Five Influential Vietnam Era Movies You May Never of Heard About", raising hell at:
On February 25, 1958, we come to a series that was made, but never seen. Which is in the mold of "One Step Beyond". It was hosted by Boris Karloff, who appeared in eleven of the twelve episodes, but only the pilot was ever broadcast and that was on another anthology series, "Telephone Time", sponsored by the "Bell Telephone Company". What was not mentioned at the time, was that the story, "The Vestris", was a "Backdoor Pilot" for a series. To be truthful, "Bell" may not have known that.
The cast of "The Vestris", starred Torin Thatcher portraying "Captain Robert Norrich", and Rita Lynn, as his wife "Mary Norrich". Who has visions of another ship sinking and convinces her husband to go and rescue the survivors. Boris Karloff is the man in her vision, "Dr. Pierre", and the story is based upon one first written down by Robert Dale Owens in 1828, and the truth of his story has been investigated many times over the years.
Shirley Temple portrayed "Katrina van Tassel". She had last been seen on-screen, in 1949's, "A Kiss for Corliss", an entry in the popular "Corliss Archer" series of films. "Corliss" was the typical American teenager who was created by F. Hugh Herbert in a series of stories published in "Good Housekeeping Magazine", starting in 1943. Since that start, "Corliss Archer" was in a series of radio programs, a 1945 movie with Shirley Temple, a comic book series, and a 1951 television series.
To the confusion of the reporters and his family, "Koernig" refuses interviews, and photos of being taken of him. The first clue as to what he may be hiding, comes when "Koernig" attempts to block reporters from interviewing the wife of his dead assistant. In the end he has been hiding the fact that he stole his assistant's work, without giving him the credit he was due, and arranges for the award to honor the other as well. This is a very good story directed by Ralph Nelson and, as of this writing, can be watched at the following link:
The above poster's tag-lines brought, at the time, eleven-years-old Lloyd to see the motion picture. It is a very good story idea destroyed by a $110,000 dollar budget, equal to the inflated amount of $1,171,515.22 at the time of this writing. However, the film makers made a profit, when "Allied Artists" purchased the completed motion picture for distribution for $250,000, 1958 dollars.
Charles A. Moses was the other person that came up with the story idea. Moses was actually a publicist for just three other movies.
However, the writing of the screenplay was in two extremely good hands. Which lets me believe someone else played with it and one particular scene I will mention with Boris Karloff.
The first writer was Richard H. Landau, whose work included the 1951, "Lost Continent", Hammer Films, 1953, "Spaceways", Hammer Films, 1955, "The Quatermass Xperiment", 1957's, "Voodoo Island" starring Boris Karloff, and the overlooked 1957's, "The Pharoah's Curse".
The second screenplay writer was George Worthing Yates, 1954's, "THEM!", both producer George Pal's, 1955, 'Conquest of Space", and stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen's, "It Came from Beneath the Sea", Harryhausen's 1956, "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", and both producer/director Bert I. Gordon's, 1957, "The Amazing Colossal Man", and 1958's, "War of the Colossal Beast". My article is "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's LIGHTNING LARIATS to 1962's KING KONG VS GODZILLA" found at:
The movie's title had nothing to do with the year it was supposedly taking place, other than to give the impression that it wasn't happening in 1958. Proposed titles included "Frankenstein 1960", "Frankenstein 2000", and one title that could have placed the film in the year of its release, "Frankenstein's Castle".
Tom Duggan portrayed "Mike Shaw". Duggan started out on radio and with a local Chicago television interview program in 1949. His total on-screen roles were 26, mostly on television. His first motion picture was the 1956 musical, "The Vagabond King", starring Kathryn Grayson, Duggan had 16th-billing.
Jana Lund portrayed "Carolyn Hayes". Lund's total on-screen appearances was 19, there was only two other movies, 1958's, "High School Hellcats", and the same year's "Hot Car Girl". What is interesting is that Lund's first on-screen appearance was as a "Hatcheck Girl", in 1937's, "Our Gang Follies of 1938", at the time Jana Cozette Ekelund was four-years old.
The 1931 movie was based upon the 1927 play, "Frankenstein", by Peggy Webling, below. She changed "Victor's" name to "Henry", and Webling was also the first writer to refer to the monster as "Frankenstein". So, another name change is not out of the question, but may have had to do with possibly royalties.
The atomic reactor arrives, "Victor's" old friend, and the manager of the estate, "Wilhelm Gottfried", portrayed by Rudolph Anders, is worried that "Victor" might actually want to recreate "Richard's" failed experiments. He even asks "Victor" if he's aware of the disappearance of bodies from the morgue?
"Victor" is upset when it turns out that "Morgan's" blood doesn't match his creation and he can't use the very good eyesight of the cinematographer.
"Doug Rowe" is starting to believe something is going on, first "Shuter" suddenly leaves to visit his family, next, "Judy" just suddenly quits the production without being paid, and now "Morgan" has disappeared. So, he contacts the local German police and "Inspector Raab", portrayed by Irwin Berke, arrives. "Victor" states each of the disappearances can be easily explained and claims the "Mike" has arranged all of this for publicity.
Next, "Wilhelm" confronts "Victor" in the laboratory and "Frankenstein" has his creation kill the other for his eyes. While at police headquarters, "Inspector Raab" and "Doug Rowe" have spoken to the last of the taxi drivers in town, and found that none of them took a fare from the castle. The two now head as fast as possible back to the castle to confront "Victor Frankenstein".
Meanwhile, "Victor" has ordered the creature to bring him "Carolyn Hayes".
"Carolyn" realizes that it is "Shuter's" brain inside the thing carrying her to "Victor's" laboratory. She tries to get "Shuter" to help her escape. As they enter the laboratory, she is still trying to get the creature to set her free. When it sees what Victor von Frankenstein plans to do with "Carolyn Hayes", "Shuter/Creature" goes berserk. It destroys the laboratory as "Carolyn" escapes, sets off the atomic reactor, and the radiation fills the lab.
When it's determined safe to enter the laboratory, "Inspector Raab", "Douglas Rowe", and "Mike Shaw" enter "Victor's" laboratory. They find "Frankenstein" and his creation dead, peeling back the face wrapping on the monster, the three men stare at a younger "Victor Frankenstein".