Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Valerie Hobson: From Frankenstein's Bride To Bringing Down the British Government

A 1935 Werewolf, the 1963 resignation of the "British Secretary of State for War", one commonality, Valerie Hobson.

The Story Begins:

Babette Valerie Louise Hobson was born in Larne, County Antrim, Ulster, Ireland, today Northern Ireland, on April 14, 1917. I could not locate the name of her mother, or her father. However, depending upon the source, he was either a Captain in the Army, or a Captain in the Royal Navy serving on a minesweeper at the time of her birth. I lean to that last explanation. 

At the age of three, Valerie was being educated at "St. Augustine's Priory". A Catholic Girl's School, whose motto remains:
Our Girls Will Transform the World

Little did the three years old's parents, her teachers, or herself, realize what role she would play in both Universal Pictures history and the British Empire's. 

Quoting Valerie Hobson's Obituary on the website for the British Newspaper, "The Independent":
When we moved to Hampshire and I was five, I was taken to London twice a week to be taught ballet by Espinosa. These lessons were intended to "give me grace", but were precious training for the stage, which I'd been heading for ever since I grabbed a bath towel and pretended to be the Queen of Sheba, with nanny for an audience.
After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she made her stage debut at the age of 15 in Orders Are Orders. Oscar Hammerstein II, who saw her in the show, spotted her lunching with her mother at Claridge's, went over to their table and offered her a small part in his production Ball at the Savoy, starring Maurice Evans, at Drury Lane. While appearing in the show, she made her first film, a minor thriller Eyes of Fate (1933).

The above quote from "The Independent" is incorrect. Valerie Hobson's first two motion pictures, were as an extra in two Comedy-Musicals, 1932's "His Lordship", her role was described as the "Last Face in a Montage", and 1933's "For Love of You", with a part described as "A minor role", in a cast list of seven actors.

EYES OF FATE released December 15, 1933 in London

In this "Sports Fantasy" feature, 16 years old, Valerie Hobson, had second billing to actor Allan Jeayes. The story was about a man buying a newspaper, strangely dated for the following day, and containing this days winning horse racing results. He immediately heads for the track to make some bets, but then notices that the paper also has a troubling story about himself that has yet to occur.

 Maurice Evans, "Dr, Zaius" in the original "Planet of the Apes" motion picture series and "Maurice" on televisions "Bewitched", 1964 through 1971, having worked with Hobson on stage. Asked her to appear in a motion picture he was making with actor Henry Daniell. Who would be known for Producer Val Lewton's 1945 version of Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher". That was Directed by Robert Wise and co-starred Boris Karloff. Daniell also portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "Professor Moriarty", in the 1945 Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, "Sherlock Holmes" entry, "Women in Green".

Of course the young actress agreed.

THE PATH OF GLORY released October 9, 1934

"The Path of Glory" was a satire on War, but I could not locate who wrote it. Second Billed, Valerie Hobson, portrayed "Maria". The plot has two poor European countries planning a war against each other, but neither country knows the other is planning the exact same thing. Each countries purpose is to immediately loose the war and have the other country pay reparations to boost their economy and people's lively hoods. 

The satire was too much for the British film board and the day following the picture's release, it was pulled from circulation. Today, it is considered one of the 75 "Most Wanted Lost Films" to be located by the "British Film Institute".

While appearing on the legitimate stage and making two more motion pictures. Valerie Hobson had "Film Tests" performed by Universal Pictures British Distribution Company and was offered a "Hollywood Contract". With her mother, the 17 years old actress, left the United Kingdom, crossed "The Pond", and all of the United States to arrive in North Hollywood, California and the American Studio.

Universal Pictures:

Her first production was the 1934 film version of Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations" in the role of "Biddy", but her own expectations fell short of the quality of this motion picture. However, to her relief and joy, Hobson's scenes were all deleted.

The young actress's next feature film was "Strange Wives", released December 10, 1934. She had 8th billing as "Mauna" and "Hello Jean Harlow". The studio had dyed Valerie's hair "Platinum Blonde" to follow the trend for copies of the American Bombshell. Also, at 6th billing, in his 5th motion picture, was Cesar Romero as "Boris".

In very small print on the above poster is Valerie Hobson's name and her Platinum Blonde face is right above the word "Wives". This was a Comedy about a stock broker who proposes marriage to a Russian refugee and finds her entire family living with him.

On December 24, 1934, Valerie Hobson found herself in the first of two Claude Rains motion pictures. The misleading title of this drama was, "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head". Which is about a pacifist writer who goes insane. When he discovers his publisher is in league with munitions manufactures. Valerie Hobson's role was extremely small, without on-screen credit, as "Mimi--Carnival Girl".

1935 would be an auspicious year for Valerie Hobson. Even though it started with a forgotten, for good reason, minor Horror movie from Universal Pictures.

LIFE RETURNS released January 2, 1935


Onslow Stevens portrayed "Dr, John Kenrick". For Horror and Science Fiction fans, Stevens portrayed "J. Stanley McMasters", in Paramount Pictures 1941 "The Monster and the Girl", "Dr. Franz Edlemann", in Universal Pictures 1945, "House of Frankenstein", and "Brigadier General O'Brien", in Warner Brothers, 1954 "THEM!",

Depending upon whose cast listing, either 2nd or 4th billed, Valerie Hobson, portrayed "Mrs. John Kenrick".  



Above, Valerie Hobson and Onslow Stevens.

The so-called Horror movie was designed to showcase, alleged, actual footage of a dead dog being resuscitated. In the screenplay, the "Dead Dog" is brought back to life by "Dr. Kenrick". The rest of the story is about how his obsession to bring a person back from the dead affects his family life. All in 63 minutes. 

"Life Returns" was followed by Valerie Hobson's second Claude Rains production for Universal Pictures. This was a very good version of Edgar Allan Poe's, unfinished novel, the "Mystery of Edwin Drood". Hobson portrayed 6th billed, "Helena Landless", in the North American release of the picture.

However, she was moved up to 4th billing for the U.K. release. Just as Claude Rains was billed 1st in North America, but moved down to 2nd billing for the U.K. release. While, North American 2nd billed actor Douglas Montgomery was moved to 1st billing in the U.K.. Such are the ways of selling a film to a potential audience.

Valerie Hobson is in the lower left of the above U.K. poster, but notice she is now listed, again, with 6th  billing. 

Above Valerie Hobson and Heather Angel, 

Two long forgotten Universal entries followed, the murder mystery "Rendezvous at Midnight" co-starred Hobson with Ralph Bellamy. "Oh, What A Night", was a quickie Comedy that had the actress with 3rd billing.


Valerie Hobson was about to appear in two classic 1935 Universal Pictures Horror Film entries.

Released on November 19, 1931, was director James Whale's version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein". The picture starred British actor Colin Clive as "Dr. Henry Frankenstein", British actor Boris Karloff as "The Monster" and American actress Mae Clarke as "Elizabeth".

For those interested in the early film career of James Whale and his work with Colin Clive. My article, "JAMES WHALE: Jean Harlow to Louis Hayward" can be found at:
After the success of the motion picture, it would take Carl Laemmle, Jr. four years to release his continuation of Shelley's "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus"

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN released April 19, 1935

James Whale was back as the director. Boris Karloff, as "KARLOFF", was back, but now with first billing as "The Monster'. Colin Clive was back as "Dr. Henry Frankenstein", but Universal Pictures was faced with replacing Mae Clarke as "Elizabeth". Clarke was ill at the time and the Production, apparently, could not wait for her recovery.

A search of the studios contract actresses found still 17 years old Valerie Hobson for the role.

Above, Mae Clarke as "Elizabeth", in 1931, and below, Valerie Hobson as "Elizabeth", in 1935.


Above Valerie Hobson with Colin Clive as "Henry Frankenstein".

My article, "Colin Clive: Henry, Not Victor Frankenstein and Alcoholism!" is available to read at:

Below the actress is with Boris Karloff as "The Monster".

Below, Valerie Hobson is with Ernest Thesiger as "Dr, Pretorious". A role that both Claude Rains and Bela Lugosi were originally considered for.

Below, relaxing on the set with 4th billed actress, Una O'Connor, who portrayed "Minnie".

And below, "technically", the Third Bride of Frankenstein", actress Elsa Lanchester.

Valerie Hobson followed Universal Pictures second "Frankenstein" motion picture with their first "Werewolf" motion picture.

WEREWOLF OF LONDON released May 13, 1935

For the "Werewolf of London", Valerie Hobson was back with director Stuart Walker, 1934's "Great Expectations" and 1935's "Mystery of Edwin Drood".

Henry Hull portrayed "Dr. Wilfred Glendon". Hull had been the star of Universal's "Great Expectations". He had co-starred in 1917's "Rasputin, the Black Monk" and had the male lead in the 1918 version of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women", but after "Werewolf of London". Henry Hull would establish himself as a solid 1930's and 1940's character actor. This started with the Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, 1938, "Boys Town".

Warner Oland portrayed "Dr. Yogami". Oland was another character actor, who portrayed the Chinese villain, bent of destroying the "White Race", "Fu Manchu", in both a 1929 and 1930 movie. However, the Swedish actor, is mainly remembered for portraying Chinese American detective "Charlie Chan", in a series of motion pictures starting in 1931. 

Above, the two werewolves, Henry Hull on the left, and Warner Oland on the right.

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Lisa Glendon".

Above Henry Hull, Valerie Hobson and Lester Matthews as "Paul Ames".

Botanist "Dr. Glendon" goes to Tibet, to find the elusive mariphasa lupine lumina plant that only bloom under moonlight. The second word in the plant's name should be a give-away to the audience, but is normally overlooked.

In Tibet, he is attacked by an animal and returns home with a specimen of the plant. At home, "Glendon" starts ignoring his loving wife, "Lisa" amd meets the strange oriental "Dr. Yogami". Who claims the two met in Tibet. Next, turns into the tormented werewolf of the title, kills "Dr. Yogami", and goes after his own wife at the film's climax. Only to be killed by the Uncle of "Paul Ames", Scotland Yard's "Colonel Sir Thomas Forsythe", played by Lawrence Grant.

Returning to the "Independent's" obituary, my reader finds these comments from Valerie Hobson, about working at Universal Pictures and making Horror movies for the studio:
I'd been there 18 months and learnt a great deal, but I was getting tired of horror pictures and doing nothing but scream and faint . . . In The Bride of Frankenstein, I was carried by Boris Karloff over almost every artificial hill in Hollywood.
Just before "The Werewolf of London", the actress had made a typical "B" crime drama for a small studio co-starring with Lyle Talbot. "Chinatown Squad", was distributed on May 31, 1935, by Universal Pictures. Just 18 days after the studios Werewolf entry was already bringing in large box office receipts. 

The "Mysterious Chinese girl", of the Lobby Card tag line, was portrayed by Valerie Hobson.

Above Valerie Hobson in Chinese make-up and below with Lyle Talbot

My reader would have thought Valerie Hobson would have been moved up in value to the studio. After making two box office Horror hits, but, as she discovered, you would be wrong.

In 1920, author E. Phillips Oppenheim, wrote a novel, "The Great Impersonation", that is set before the start of World War 1. In Africa, German "Leopold von Ragastein", meets his doppelganger, Englishmen "Everard Dominey". The German spy decides to make "Dominey" disappear and assumes his identity, but with unforeseen consequences related to "Rosamund Dominey". Who is the insane wife of "Everard" and part of the reason he was in Africa.

The first film version of the novel was in 1921, from Paramount Pictures, and followed it fairly well. The second version didn't and was from Universal Pictures.

THE GREAT IMPERSONATION released December 9, 1935

Edward Lowe portrayed "Everard Dominey and Leopold von Ragastein". Lowe started out to become a priest, switched to studying law, switched again to vaudeville, and then ended up as a "B" leading, or supporting actor between 1915 and 1960. He is best remembered for the title role in 1932's "Chandu, the Magician".

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Eleanor Dominey". There is no "Rosamund".

Wera Engels portrayed "Princess Stephanie Elderstom". Kiel, Germany, born Engels, appeared in only 20 motion pictures between 1926 and 1937.

Dwight Frye portrayed, without credit, "Roger Unthank". My article, "DWIGHT FRYE: Ovelooked Horror Icon" is found at:

After six writers worked on the screenplay. The idea of a German Spy impersonating a Englishman was somewhat changed and the idea of an insane wife toned down. What Universal Pictures wanted was more of a Horror story than a Spy story. 

Basically, you have arms dealer "Leopold von Ragastein" banished to Africa for killing a rival in a duel. He meets "Sir Everard Dominey", also banished for a drunken killing of a rival. Both men attended Oxford together and for the first time, "von Ragastein" realizes the strong resemblance between the two.

"Leopold" is working for a munitions dealer who wants to start a war between two countries to sell arms. The German now arranges with his men to kill "Dominey" and will return to England assuming the others identity.

At this point the screenplay takes a decidedly Universal Gothic Horror twist. When "Leopold von Ragastein/Everand Dominey" returns from Africa. He discovers that "Dominey's" Victorian house hasn't been cared for and has become run down. That the housekeeper. "Mrs. Unthank", played by Esther Dale, believes "Everard" murdered her son "Rodger", but his body has yet to be found. While, "Eleanor Dominey" was traumatized, on her wedding day, by "Rodger's" murder and claims to hear "Rodger's" ghostly voice within the house.  

Then, there's "Princess Stephanie Elderstom". who was the lover of "Leopold von Ragastein" and believes "Everard Dominey" is "Leopold".      


At the motion pictures end there remains a question, left unanswered, for both the audience and the character of "Eleanor Dominey".

Who actually returned from Africa?

Because the returning "Sir Everard Dominey," never acted like the man who left "Eleanor", but as "Stephanie" notices, "Leopold von Ragostein", doesn't act like the man she knew either. 

"The Great Impersonation" was Valerie Hobson's last motion picture for Universal and on February 18, 1936, the drama "August Weekend" was released from Chesterfield Films, and became her final film made in the United States.

Returning to the England:

Valerie Hobson's first British motion picture was:

THE SECRET OF STAMBOUL released October 6, 1936

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Tania".

James Mason portrayed "Larry". This was James Mason's 6th motion picture.

Above James Mason and Valerie Hobson in a story about a British Secret Agent in Istanbul, Turkey, attempting to stop a revolution.

Unlike the way she was treated in the United States. After Valerie Hobson made the British "B" Film, shot in Canada to circumvent the "British Film Quota Law" of the 1930's, 1936's "Tugboat Princess", she was becoming a major star and made:

NO EXIT aka; NO ESCAPE released May 3, 1937

The thriller was based upon a popular British play, "No Exit", by Frank Witty. The screenplay tells of a man agreeing to hide a friend for one month. However, the man is missed and soon the friend is being questioned for his murder.

The film led to the first of two major moves for the actress. American director Raul Walsh had seen the feature and cast her in picture he was shooting in the U.K. 

JUMP FOR GLORY aka: WHEN THIEF MEETS THIEF premiered March 5, 1937 in London

Raul Walsh had just released another film shot in the U.K.. 1937's "O.H.M.S. (On His Majesty's Service)" aka: "You're in the Army Now" and would follow this picture with a Musical Comedy starring Jack Benny and Ida Lupino, 1937's "Artists and Models".

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. portrayed "Ricky Morgan". Prior to this feature, Fairbanks was in the crime drama, 1936's "Accused", and would follow this film with 1937's "The Prisoner of Zenda", starring Ronald Colman. 

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Glory Fane aka: Glory Howard".

Above Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Valerie Hobson

Alan Hale, Sr. portrayed "Jim Dial aka: "Colonel Fane"

Above Alan Hale, Sr. and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

"Rick Morgan" was heavily involved with "Bootlegging" in the United States and the Feds are closing in on him. He leaves America for the United Kingdom to become a successful "Cat Burglar", but while entering a house to steal from. "Rick" meets the owner's daughter "Glory Howard" and the two fall in love. Problem for the two is her father, "Colonel Fane" posing as "Mr. Howard", a respectable member of British society. "Howard" turns out to really be "Jim Dial", a "Bootlegging" associate of "Morgan's" from years before, who threatens to block the two and reveal "Rick's" past.

On March 22, 1938, Valerie Hobson appeared on British television. She was in a production of "Henry IV'. The first example of British television was on January 26, 1926, and in November 1936, it went public, but only in London. Hobson also made a short subject that was broadcast at the time.

While this was happening, Producer Alexander Korda, 1933's "The Private Life of Henry VIII" starring Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester and 1936's Science Fiction classic "Things to Come" from a screenplay written by H.G. Wells, had seen "Jump for Glory" and cast Valerie Hobson in his next picture:

THE DRUM aka: DRUM aka: DRUMS released April 1, 1938

The picture was an massive epic based upon A.E.W. Mason's already popular adventure novel, 1937's "Drum". This was a Korda Brothers Production, Directed by Zoltan Korda, 1935's "Sanders of the River" starring Paul Robeson and Leslie Banks and 1937's Rudyard Kipling "Elephant Boy" starring Sabu. 


Sabu portrayed "Prince Azim". Before Sabu came to the United States, he made four classic motion pictures for the Korda's. The four were the already mentioned, "Elephant Boy", this motion picture, 1940's "The Thief of Bagdad" and 1942's "The Jungle Book". 

Raymond Massey portrayed "Prince Ghul". Among Massey's 12 feature films prior to this picture were, Universal Pictures 1932 "The Old Dark House", Directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton, 1934's "The Scarlet Pimpernel" starring Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, H.G. Wells' 1936 "Things to Come" Directed by William Cameron Menzies, 1937's "Fire Over England" starring Laurence Olivier, and 1937's "The Prisoner of Zenda" starring Ronald Colman. Raymond Massey also appeared in an episode of the television interview program, "Picture Page", just prior to this film's release.

Desmond Tester portrayed "Bill Holder". In 1936 the 17 years old actor was billed 3rd in 6th motion picture, Alfred Hitchcock's "Sabotage". This was Tester's 8th film and because of his looks he always played younger roles.

Above Desmond Tester and Sabu

Roger Lively portrayed "Captain Carruthers". Immediately prior to this film's release, character actor Roger Lively, was seen in a television short, 1938's "Black Magic". The actor's previous motion picture was the Korda Brother's biography, 1936's "Rembrandt", starring Charles Laughton, Gertrude Lawrence and Elsa Lanchester. Lively would follow this film with a made for television movie entitled "Spring Meeting", also in 1938.

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Mrs. Carruthers".

Set during the British Raj period in India. "Drum" tells the story of undercover British agent, "Captain Carruthers", who has been sent to discover the source of smuggled arms into the Norther Frontier area. There he meets "Prince Ghul", who is obviously behind the smuggling and the upcoming rebellion against the British, but how to prove it? "Prince Azim" meets British Army Drummer Boy, "Bill Holder", and learns how to play the instrument. Which becomes an important part of the story's climax.

Valerie Hobson was about to show off her comic timing that had yet to be seen on screen.

THIS MAN IS NEWS released in September 1938

Below is a newspaper ad for the motion picture.

Barry K. Barnes portrayed "Simon Drake". Barnes was both a legitimate stage actor and appeared in only 19 feature films between 1936 and 1952.

Valerie Hobson portrayed his wife "Pat Drake".

For this feature think the obvious, William Powell as "Nick Charles" and Myrna Loy as "Nora Charles", in the popular 1930's Screwball "The Thin Man" movie series in the United States.

Again, letting Valerie Hobson describe the impact of "This Man Is News" on the U.K.:
As a nation we hadn't made a high comedy successfully until then. When they put it on at the Plaza there were queues literally round the block to see it.


While drunk, thanks to his wife, a tipsy fired reporter, "Simon Drake", calls his ex-boss "Macgregor", played by the excellent Alastair Sim, 1951's "A Christmas Carol" as "Ebenezer Scrooge", that a criminal that turned state's evidence was just murdered by his ex-gang. This was suppose to be a joke to get even with "Macgregor" for firing him, but this back fires. As the man does turn up dead and "Drake" is now the prime suspect.

Valerie Hobson's next British Spy motion picture, "Q Planes aka: Clouds Over Europe", released February 21, 1939, co-starring with Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, was followed by her first marriage on April 12, 1939.

On that date, the actress married British Film Producer and Screenplay writer, Sir Anthony James Allan-Havelock-Allan, 4th Baronet. Who was known simply as Anthony Havelock-Allan.

Valerie Hobson's next feature film was produced by her husband. "The Silent Battle", released in March 1939, takes place upon "The Orient Express" as a woman is blackmailed into throwing a bomb at a Balkan State President. Can someone stop the blackmailer? Hobson's co-stars were Rex Harrison and John Loder. The picture came to the United States on March 1, 1942 as the "Continental Express".


Above John Loder, Alfred Hitchcock's 1936 "Sabotage", and 1937's "King Solomon's Mines" co-starring with Sir Cedrick Hardwicke, and Valerie Hobson. In 1939, Valerie Hobson and Barry K. Barnes were back as the "Drakes" in "This Man in Paris aka: Shadows of the Underworld", released in the U.K. in July.

Next, Valerie Hobson co-starred with Conrad Veidt, 1920's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" as "Cesare the Somnambulist", in:

THE SPY IN BLACK premiering on August 3, 1939 in London

Above Valerie Hobson as "Fraulein Tiel", the German Spy of the films title. She has taken the identify of a new school teacher that German agents have intercepted and on her way to England's Scapa Flow.

Below, Conrad Veidt is "Captain Hardt", in the center, on the right is Torin Thatcher, "Sokurah the Magician" in Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen's 1957 "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad".

Set during the First World War, "Tiel" is to provide information about the area for "Hardt's" mission to lead an attack against the British fleet at the Scapa Flow. The film was a box office hit in the U.K.

22 days after the London premier, September 1, 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland and England was in the Second World War.

Hobson and Veidt made a good team and both followed "The Spy in Black" with "Contraband", released March 25, 1940,

Valerie Hobson was given a way out of the U.K. as the war intensified. Producer David O'Selznick offered her a Hollywood contract, but she refused it. Lady Valerie Havelock-Allan didn't want to leave her husband with a war raging.

As a result, like many in the motion picture industry, her career suffered. Between her next feature film, "Atlantic Fury", co-starring with Michael Redgrave, released September 6, 1941, and the end of the Second World War. Valerie Hobson was seen in one more feature with Redgrave, "Unpublished Story", released August 10, 1942, and one other with Robert Donat, "The Adventures of Tartu", released September 24, 1943. 

The date was "December 16, 1946! The place was London, England! The motion picture was Produced by "Cineguild Productions", a partnership of Anthony Havelock-AllanRonald Neame and David Lean.

Lean had started out as a Second Unit Director in 1928, moved to a Film Editor in 1930, appeared as an actor in 1933, became a full time Director in 1941 and also worked on Screenplays starting in 1944, Over his Directing Career, besides this motion picture were, 1957's "The Bridge on the River Kwai", 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia", 1965's "Doctor Zhivago", and 1970's "Ryan's Daughter" 

GREAT EXPECTATIONS released December 16, 1946

Director David Lean would adapt Charles Dickens' novel for the screen. The actual screenplay writers were Executive Producer Anthony Hallock-Allan, Producer Ronald Neame, Kay Walsh, David Lean's 1948's "Oliver Twist", and Cecil McGivern, 1948's "Blanche Fury" with Valerie Hobson and Stewart Granger.

Sir John Mills portrayed the grown "Pip". Mills started acting in 1932 and ended his career in 2005 at the time of his death. The actor went from leading man to character actor in such pictures as, 1939's "Goodbye Mr. Chips" starring Robert Donat, 1943's "At Dawn We Dive", 1948's "Scott of the Antartic", 1955's "The Colditz Story", 1956's "War and Peace", 1959's "Tiger Bay" with his daughter Hayley Mills, Walt Disney's 1960 "Swiss Family Robinson" and the 1967 Western "Chuka" that was a variation of "Beau Geste".

Valerie Hobson portrayed the grown "Estella".

Jean Simmons portrayed the "Young Estella". The future star of 1953's "Young Bess", 1954's "The Robe", 1955's "Guys and Dolls" and 1960's "Spartacus" was 17 at the time of this picture in her 8th on-screen role.

Anthony "Tony" Wager portrayed "Young Pip". This was his first on-screen appearance and he would move to a British television character actor afterwards.

Above, Jean Simmons, Marita Hunt as "Mrs. Havisham" and Tony Wager

The picture contains the most memorable of all of Valerie Hobson's roles.

The motion picture is still considered the finest screen version of Charles Dickenson's novel. In 2004, the "British Film Institute" named "Great Expectations" the 14th greatest British film of all time.

The aforementioned "Blanche Fury", the above still with Valerie Hobson in the title role and Stewart Granger as "Phillip Torn", was released on February 14, 1948. Apparently, there was a personal back story to the Technicolor motion picture.

According to Brian Macfarlane in his 1997 book, "An Autobiography of British Cinema", quoting Valerie Hobson about her husband and son:
I had just had our son, who was born mentally handicapped, and he meant the film as a sort of 'loving gift', making me back into a leading lady, which was a wonderful idea. The film didn't work completely

The above quote is misleading, because Simon Anthony Clerveaux Havelock-Allan, who had Downs Syndrome , was actually born in May 1944. However, between the release, on September 24, 1943 of "The Adventures of Tartu" and "The Years Between", released July 6, 1946, Valerie Hobson did not make any motion pictures and was probably caring for her son.

One bad motion picture sometimes leads to a classic motion picture and in this case a classic "Black Comedy" starring Sir Alec Guinness in Nine Roles. 

KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS released June 13, 1949

Quoting Hobson, once more, from "The Independent's" obituary about this great black comedy:
I have always thought that the main reason for the success of Kind Hearts was that it was played absolutely dead straight. I think they were very clever and cast two such contrasting types as Joan Greenwood and myself as the women.
Valerie Hobson portrayed "Edith".

Dennis Price portrayed "Louis". Price always seemed to play the stiff-upper-lip stereotyped British gentleman. Probably, because he was the son of a Brigadier-General and was supposed to follow the family traditions of the military, or the church. Instead, he shocked them all and became an actor.

Above Valerie Hobson and Dennis Price

Joan Greenwood portrayed "Sibella". Just prior to this feature, Greenwood had portrayed "Cecily Cardew" in the 1949 made-for-television version of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and, then, "Lady Caroline Lamb" in the same years motion picture, "The Bad Lord Byron".

Above Joan Greenwood with Dennis Price

Sir Alec Guinness portrayed the entire "D'Ascoyne Family:
The Duke, The Banker, The Parson, The General, The Admiral, Young Ascoyne, Young Henry, Lady Agatha".

Guinness had been seen in David Lean's 1946 "Great Expectations", was "Fagin" in Lean's 1948 "Oliver Twist" and of course would later become "Colonel Nicholson" in Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Prince Faisal" in the Director's "Lawrence of Arabia". Not to forget the original "Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi" in the original version of "Star Wars" in 1977.

The plot is simple, in Edwardian England, the 10th Duke of Chalfont, "Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini", awaits his execution by hanging in prison. He begins to write his memoirs and in flashback, the audience sees his literal affairs and murders of all eight of Alec Guinness' characters.

Three films later and Valerie Hobson went against character as the very selfish, self-centered mother, "Hester Grahame". This was in a very faithful adaptation of author D.H. Lawrence's "The Rocking Horse Winner", released November 30, 1949. The motion picture was Produced by Sir John Mills, who played "Bassett".


In 1952 Valerie Hobson divorced Anthony Havelock-Allan. Her second son, the future Sir Mark Havelock-Allan, had been born in 1951.

On October 8, 1953, Valerie Hobson returned to the London Stage in the original British Cast of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "The King and I". She portrayed and sang the role of "Mrs. Anna Leonowens" opposite Herbert Lom as the "King of Siam".

Above, Herbert Lom, "Napoleon" in 1956's "War and Peace", "Captain Nemo" in Ray Harryhausen's 1961's "The Mysterious Island", the title character in Hammer Film's 1962 "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Inspector Dreyfus" in the "Pink Panther" movie series. 

"The King and I" ran for 926 performances at the "Royal Theatre" on Drury Lane.

April 3, 1954, saw the last motion picture Valerie Hobson appeared in released in France as "Monsieur Ripois". In the U.K., the film, under the title "Knave of Hearts", was released the same month and came to the United States as "Lovers, Happy Lovers" in September. 

Bringing Down the British Government:

The following is the bare facts as this is a blog.

 In 1954, Valerie Hobson married John Dennis Profumo, CBE, OBE, (MIL).

Who was Valerie Hobson's Second Husband?

From March 6, 1940 through July 5, 1945, while in the British Army, John Profumo served as a member of Parliament, in the "House of Commons", representing Kettering, Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. After losing his seat, later in 1945, with the British Army Rank of Brigadier, John Profumo was made Chief of Staff for the British Military Mission to Japan after the Japanese surrender ending World War 2. He left the army five years later.

From February 23, 1950 through June 6, 1963, Profumo represented Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, in the West Midlands of England, in the "House of Commons". 

During this last period, from November 24, 1952 through January 9, 1957, John Profumo served as "Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation" under both Prime Ministers, Sir Winston Churchill, and Sir Anthony Eden.

From January 17, 1957 through November 28, 1958, Profumo served as "Under Secretary for the Colonies" in Prime Minster Harold Macmillan's government. Then, from January 16, 1959 through July 27, 1960, he served as "Minister of State for Foreign Affairs". On July 27, 1960, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan made John Profumo the "Secretary of State for War" and that's where the real story comes into play.

Who Was Christine Keeler?

On January 8, 1961, would be night time model and showgirl, 19 years old, Christine Margaret Keeler, was introduced to "Secretary of State for War", John Profumo, by a mutual friend, Stephen Ward, a doctor of Osteropathy, at a pool party at "Cliveden House". 

Above Stephen Ward outside the Court House. Below "Cliveden House", owned at the time, by Lord William Waldorf Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor.

Christine Keeler and John Profumo would have a brief affair meeting at Ward's house. Depending upon whose account, it either ended by August 9, 1961 or December 1961. Did Valerie Hobson know of it? Probably, but the affair would have gone unnoticed by everyone else. Except for the involvement of a Russian Attaché that John Profumo had briefly met, introduced by Stephen Ward again, and unknown, to Profumo, was in an affair with Christine Keeler at the same time.

Yevgeny Mikhailovich Ivanov aka: Eugene Ivanov was not only a Russian Attaché, but a Russian Spy. Ivanov had been originally introduced to Stephen Ward, by the managing editor at time, of the newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. Military Intelligence , Section 5 (MI-5) took an interest in Ivanov and thought he might be "Turned". Indirectly, MI-5 set in motion what would become known as "The Profumo Affair" and the bringing down of the current British Government.

According to testimony, Stephen Ward and Yevgeny Ivanov, both asked Christine Keeler to question John Profumo about when American nuclear missiles would be placed in West Germany aimed toward the Soviet Union. My reader should understand that in 15 months from that questioning, "The Cuban Missile Crisis", would take place.

On August 9, 1961, Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook warned John Profumo about the seriousness of his involvement with Stephen Ward and what MI-5 called "The Ward Group". Brook had been informed by the Director General of MI-5, Roger Hollis about Ward, Keeler and Ivanov. 

In July 1962, the first hints of a Profumo-Keeler-Ivanov love triangle appeared in the gossip column of the society magazine "Queen", but went unnoticed. Keeler was now seeing a merchant seaman Johnny Edgecombe, but would break up with him.

On December 14, 1962, Edgecombe came to the apartment leased by Christine Keeler and "actress" Mandy Rice-Davies and shot up the front door.

The police arrested Edgecombe for attempted murder and the during interviews with the press. Christine Keeler dropped hints of her love affairs with John Profumo and Yevgeny Ivanov.

On January 22, 1963, the Soviet Union recalled Ivanov, sensing that the scandal was about to blow-up.

On March 14, 1963, the trial of Johnny Edgecombe began, but the Crown's star witness, Christine Keeler, had fled to Spain and could not testify.

By March 21, 1963, the Press furor over the missing "Show Girl", Christine Keeler, and the stories of her affairs with the "Secretary of State for War" and the "Russian Spy" came to the eventual head in the "House of Commons". This lead to John Profumo giving a "Personal Statement", resigning from the Macmillan Government. His Political career ended. 

By Summer 1963, Conservative Party Chairman Lord Poole, urged Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to retire. Specially on June 21, 1963, Prime Minister Macmillian, asked Lord Alfred Thompson "Tom" Denning, Baron Denning, the Court of Appeals Master of the Rolls (President of the Court of Appeals of England and Wales), to make a full report on the "Profumo Affair".

On September 26, 1963, the "Denning Report" was published.

On October 18, 1963, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan resigned as a result of the affair between John Profumo and Christine Keeler. THE BRITISH GOVERMENT HAD BEEN BROUGHT DOWN IN A MAJOR SCANDAL THAT ROCKED NOT ONLY THE U.K., BUT THE WORLD!

On March 3, 1989, John Hurt portrayed "Stephen Ward", Joanne Whalley portrayed "Christine Keeler" and Ian McKellan portrayed "John Profumo", Bridget Fonda was "Mandy Rice Davies" and Deborah Grant portrayed "Valerie Hobson" in the motion picture "Scandal".

On December 3, 2003, Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Stephen Ward" opened. It was based upon "The Profumo Affair".

Returning to the personal life of Valerie Hobson:

Back on October 16, 1955 her son David John Profumo was born. Valerie Hobson stayed with her husband John Profumo until her death on November 13, 1998.

After her death, per her wishes, Valerie Hobson's body was cremated.  Half of her ashes were interred in the family vault in Hersham, Surrey, England. The other half would be scattered, on January 1, 1999, on the family farm in Scotland.

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