Thursday, October 13, 2022

Laird Cregar: An Excellent Character Actor's Life Cut Short

Laird Cregar only appeared in 16-motion pictures, when his life was cut short at the age of 31! This is a small look at his 16-roles including as the definitive "Jack the Ripper"!

Samuel Laird Cregar was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 28, 1913. His mother was Elizabeth Smith, and Samuel's father, Edward Matthews Cregar, was a professional cricketer on the "Gentlemen of Philadelphia" team that played internationally until the out-break of the First World War. At the age of eight, Samuel's family moved to Hampshire, England and he attended Winchester College, a boarding school founded in 1382, by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and the Chancellor for both Edward III and Richard II.

At Winchester, Samuel was first exposed to acting, also at age eight, and he started appearing with the Stratford-upon-Avon Theatre Troupe. This would have been at the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, seen below, that burned down in 1926.

Laird Cregar was quoted in his obituary in the New York Times as saying about this period of his life:

From that time on, all I've ever wanted to do is go on stage

The boy's father passed away, and fourteen-years old Samuel and his mother returned to the United States. He was enrolled at the "Episcopal Academy", in Merion Station, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated city bordering Philadelphia. It was founded in 1785, by retired Reverend William White at Old Christ Church in Philadelphia.

After graduating, Samuel was considered too young to go to an American college at the time and he still wanted to act. Now, just Laird Cregar, he was able to convince a local amateur stock company, the Hedgerow Players, out of Germantown, that he was actor, joined the company, and performed with them and others groups through 1935. 

In 1936, Samuel Laird Cregar won a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena, California, and for the next two-years he acted and studied his craft.

Returning to his New York Times obituary, Laird Cregar is quoted as saying that his teacher and follow actor Thomas Browne Henry, seen below with Joan Taylor, in stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1956, "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", gave him the worst advice for his future career in acting. Especially if you're aware of Cregar's weight, Henry's advice was:

not to lose a pound of weight, but instead to develop a thin man's personality

Returning to Pennsylvania, Laird Cregar joined the company of actors working for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's, "New Deal Federal Theatre Project". This was both a relief effort to employ actors, writers, directors, and technicians, and give free performances to out-of-work American's during the "Great Depression".

After which, the actor returned to the Pasadena Playhouse to act and continue his theatrical education. He appeared on stage in "Brother Rat", March 1939, co-starred with Victor Mature in Ben Hecht's, "To Quito and Back", April 1939, "Winged Victory" by Maxwell Anderson, July 1939, and "The Great American Family", in August 1939.

Some sources state that during his return period at the Pasadena Playhouse, Laird Cregar had filmed some screen-tests for 20th Century Fox. Adding, that the studio had him under consideration as a replacement for Tyrone Power in "The Great Commandment". A religious drama being made by independent Cathedral Films, a Christian film company. Much later, after distribution by Cathedral, the feature would be re-released by 20th Century Fox to recoup their investment. 

"The Great Commandment" was released, on October 2, 1939, but only in Los Angeles churches by Cathedral Films. It starred "B" actor John Beal in the Tyrone Power role. The motion picture was then shelved by 20th Century Fox and they wouldn't release it until June 13, 1941. 

However, other biographies state that Laird Cregar found himself out of work after completing the run of "The Great American Family". For the next six-months he slept in a friend's car, if this was true it would mean the actor didn't work again until after February 1940. Which is disproved by the actor's work for Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers.

On January 1, 1940, the cast for a Universal Pictures, comedy musical romance, "Oh, Johnny, How You Can Love!", included Larid Cregar in the uncredited role of a character named "Sam". On February 10, 1940, Warner Brothers released a comedy western, "Granny Gets Your Gun", and the actor had the uncredited role of a "Court Clerk".

What can be confirmed as fact, is that in 1939, Laird Cregar had read a copy of the 1937 play, "Oscar Wilde", by British brothers, Leslie and Sewell Stokes. Cregar felt the role was perfect for him and started making the rounds of producers to find one he could convince to back him in the one-actor play. 

At some point, Laird Cregar found a producer, Arthur Hutchinson. He originally performed "Oscar Wilde", at the Hollywood "El Capitan Theatre", from April 22nd through May 19, 1940, and next, went to San Francisco for the month of June with it.

His performance received rave notices and even praise from John Barrymore, but also, depending upon the source of the story about "The Great Commandment". Cregar was either reconsidered by 20th Century Fox for motion pictures, or actually was given those screen-tests to see how he looked on film. Whichever story is the truth, the actor now appeared in his first major motion picture with third billing in only his third feature film.

HUDSON'S BAY premiered in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 24, 1940

"Hudson's Bay" initially started filming in August 1940, two-months after Laird Cregar finished his San Francisco run of "Oscar Wilde". 

The motion picture was directed by Irving Pichel, the director on "The Great Commandment". Who had just released 1940's, "The Man I Married", a pre-Second World War, anti-Nazi film, starring Joan Bennett, Francis Lederer, and Lloyd Nolan. He would follow this picture with the comedy musical romance, 1941's, "Dance Hall", starring Carole Landis, and Cesar Romero.

I would note that Irving Pichel also appeared 75-times as an actor. Among those roles was "Apollodorus" in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1934, "Cleopatra", "Sandor", in Universal Pictures, 1936, "Dracula's Daughter", "General Carbajal", in the Bette Davis and Paul Muni, 1939, "Juarez", and he narrated the "Woody Wood Pecker" cartoon in producer George Pal's, 1950, "Destination Moon".

The screenplay was by Lamar Trotti, who wrote Will Rodger's, 1934, "Judge Priest", and his 1935, "Steamboat Round the Bend". Trotti also wrote the screenplay for the Loretta Young and Don Ameche, 1936, "Ramona", the Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, and Don Ameche story of the great Chicago fire, 1938's, "In Old Chicago", and the Don Ameche, Loretta Young, and Henry Fonda, 1939, "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell".

Paul Muni portrayed the real life, "Pierre Esprit Radisson". Muni had just starred in an historical crime drama, 1939's, "We Are Not Alone", and would follow this motion picture with 1942's, "Commandos Strike at Dawn".

Gene Tierney portrayed the fictional "Barbara Hall". This was the actresses second motion picture and her first was 1940's, "The Return of Frank James", starring Henry Fonda. She would follow this feature with the 1941 motion picture version of author Erskine Caldwell's "Tobacco Road", directed by John Ford.

Laird Cregar portrayed the real life "Medard Chouart de Groseilliers" aka: "Gooseberry". 

John Sutton portrayed the fictional, "Lord Edward Crewe". Sutton had just appeared in actor Sydney Toler's, "Charlie Chan" mystery, 1940's, "Murder Over New York", and would follow this picture with the 1941, Jane Withers comedy, "A Very Young Lady".

Above, Paul Muni and John Sutton.

Virginia Field portrayed the real life, "Eleanor 'Nell' Gwyn". Field had just appeared in the Maureen O'Hara, Louis Hayward, and Lucille Ball, 1940, "Dance, Girl, Dance", and would follow this movie with the sports romance, 1941's, "Knockout", co-starring with Arthur Kennedy.

Vincent Price portrayed the real life, "King Charles II". Price had just portrayed "Joseph Smith" in director Henry Hathaway's, 1940, "Brigham Young", and followed this feature with 1943's, "Song of Bernadette", starring Jennifer Jones.

Nigel Bruce
portrayed the real life, "Prince Rupert". Character actor Bruce had just appeared with Edward G. Robinson in the biography of the founding of the Reuters news organization, 1940, "A Dispatch from Reuters", and followed this picture with the 1941, comedy, "Play Girl".

Above, Nigel Bruce, Vincent Price, and Paul Muni.

The screenplay is based upon actual events in 1667 Canada, about the founding of the "Hudson Bay Company", but with a fictious love story intertwined. 

Basically, French trapper "Pierre Esprit Radisson" and his friend "Gooseberry" want to open a trading post in the Hudson Bay region of northeastern Canada. They go to the English governor at Albany for funding, but the governor believes the two are rogues and has them jailed. Where they meet jailed English Lord, "Edward Crewe", manage to get him and themselves out of jail.

According to the screenplay, the fictional "Lord Crewe", was banished from England by "King Charles II" as a means of acquiring his land to rebuild London after the fire of 1666.

The screenplay moves forward as a noble adventure film with the three arriving in Montreal and "Pierre" and "Gooseberry" convincing "Lord Edward" to finance their expedition to establish free trade with the native Indian tribes. The three spend the next six-months guided by "Pierre's" Indian foster father, "Orimha", portrayed by Chief Thundercloud, trapping and trading with the Indians.

Finally arriving with their pelts at a French settlement, the governor of "New France", the real life, "Pierre de Voyer d'Argenson, Vicomte de Mouzay", portrayed by Montagu Love, takes all the furs as payment for fines, only created upon their arrival. Not to worry, the three steal back their furs and head for England.

The three men meet "Prince Rupert", who gets "King Charles II" to stop his attacks on "Lord Crewe" and finance the three. The King agrees, but for 400,000 pelts in return for that help. At the court, "Edward's" sweetheart, "Barbara", is happy to be with him once more.

Financed by "King Charles II" the three head for Canada, but they have picked-up "Barbara's" brother, "Gerald Hall", portrayed by Morton Lowry, and he will become trouble. The first trading post is established at "Fort Charles", but "Gerald" complains about the hard work and he is left to run the trading post and the others push on. 

A wounded Indian finds their camp, informs the three that "Gerald" paid a band of Indian trappers with brandy and they went wild. Rushing back to "Fort Charles", "Pierre" finds a drunken "Gerald and "Orimha" tells him that there will be an Indian war, if "Gerald" doesn't pay for the crime of inciting violence. "Pierre" permits "Gerald" to be shot by a firing squad for his crime.

The three with their furs, return to England, but the King having heard of "Pierre Radisson's" execution of "Gerald Hall", has him arrested. "King Charles II" is forced to reconsider his action, when he learns that "Orimha" was instructed to have the tribes stop trading with the English unless "Pierre" returns to Hudson Bay. 

At the films end, "Lord Edward" and "Barbara Hall" are to be married. while "Pierre" and "Gooseberry" head back to Canada singing.

BLOOD AND SAND premiered uncut on May 22, 1941 at Hollywood's, Grauman's Chinese Theatre. 

I know the picture was shortened for its General Audience release to two-hours-and-five-minutes, but how long the original uncut film ran, I could not locate.

This was a remake of Rudolph Valentino's, 1922, silent classic. Tyrone Power had just portrayed "Don Diego Vega" aka: "Zorro", in 1940's, "The Mark of Zorro". Linda Darnell had just been seen in 1940's, "Chad Hanna", co-starring with Henry Fonda. In this motion picture, she was not only being reunited with her "Mark of Zorro" co-star, but that picture's director, Rouben Mamoulian. While, Rita Hayworth had just co-starred with James Cagney and Olivia De Havilland in 1941's, "The Strawberry Blonde".

Laird Cregar 
had ninth-billing portraying "Natalio Curro". He broke out with a case of measles and the production stopped filming and went into quarantine until the doctors were sure the measles was over.

The basic plot has Spanish matador "Juan Gallardo", Power, rising to fame and fortune, but having also to choose between his wife "Carmen Espinosa", Darnell, who as children he promised to marry, and the beautiful temptress "Dona Sol des Muire", Hayworth. With his competition both as a matador and for "Dona Sol" coming from another childhood friend, "Manolo de Palm", portrayed by Anthony Quinn.

The May 23, 1941, "New York Times" film review wrote the following:

For there is too little drama, too little blood and sand, in it. Instead the story constantly bogs down in the most atrocious romantic cliches... (There are) glimpses of a stunning romantic melodrama with somber overtones. But most of the essential cruelty of the theme is lost in pretty colors and rhetorical speeches...The better performances come in the lesser roles—Laird Cregar as an effeminate aficionado, J. Carrol Naish as a broken matador, John Carradine as a grumbling member of the quadrilla. For one enthralling moment Vincente Gomez, the musician, appears on the screen. If the film had only caught the barbaric pulse of Gomez's incomparable fingers at the guitar, there would be good cause for cheers. Instead it has been content for the most part to posture beautifully..

CHARLEY'S AUNT premiered in Los Angeles on July 31, 1941

Laird Cregar moved from playing an effeminate aficionado of Spanish bull fighting to portraying six-billed, "Sir Francis Chesney", in a Jack Benny comedy based upon an 1892 British play.

Above, Laird Cregar and "B" Cowboy star James Ellison as his son, "Jack Chesney".

This farce was perfect for Jack Benny, portraying "Lord Fancourt 'Babs' Babberly", who is talked into impersonating the aunt from Brazil, of "Charley Wycham", portrayed by Richard Haydn, and "Jack", his two Oxford roommates.

Things go wrong when the real aunt shows up, but she hides her identity adding to the elements of this farce. Both "Jack's" father and the guardian of the girl's "Babs" and "Charley" love, "Stephen Pettigrew", portrayed by Edmund Gwenn, want the aunt's fortune and being in on the joke adds to the viewer's fun. The motion picture is debated with 1942's, "To Be or Not to Be", as to which feature is Jack Benny's best work.

From comedy to a classic Crime Film-Noir:

I WAKE UP SCREAMING was originally released October 31, 1941 under the title HOT SPOT

When the film began production on July 21, 1941, the title was "I Wake Up Screaming". When it was originally released in October 1941, the title had been changed to "Hot Spot", but when it was re-released, in New York City, the title was back to "I Wake Up Screaming".

Under either title is this one very good film-noir from director H. Bruce Humberston. Humberston was known for directing series crime dramas with both fictional character "Charlie Chan" and "Philo Vance". However, immediately before this picture, he directed 1941's, "Sun Valley Serenade", a very popular musical starring Olympic Ice-Skating Champion, Sonja Henie, "B" leading man John Payne, and Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.

The screenplay was based upon the novel "I Wake Up Screaming", by Steven Fisher. Another of his stories had been turned into the forgotten Fay Wray motion picture, 1939's, "Navy Secrets". In 1946, Steven Fisher wrote the screenplay for the Raymond Chandler, "Philip Marlowe" mystery, "Lady in the Lake".

The actual screenplay was written by Dwight Taylor, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodger's, 1935, "Top Hat", and their 1936, "Follow the Fleet". 

Betty Grable portrayed "Jill Lynn". She had just co-starred with Tyrone Power and John Sutton in 1941's, "A Yank in the RAF", and followed this feature with the comedy musical romance 1942's, "Song of the Islands", co-starring with Victor Mature and comedian Jack Oakie.

Victor Mature portrayed "Frankie Christopher". Mature co-starred with Anna Nagle and Richard Carlson in the 1940 version, the first film was in 1930, of the 1919 musical play, "No, No, Nanette". The actor would follow this feature with another film-noir, 1941's, "The Shanghai Gesture", co-starring with Gene Tierney and Walter Huston. My article, "Victor Mature: 'One Million B.C.' to 'The Big Circus'---The Leading Man as a Character Actor", will be found at:

Carole Landis portrayed "Vicky Lynn". Landis was "Loana" in 1940's, "One Million B.C.", opposite Victor Mature's, "Tumak". She had just starred in the comedy musical, 1941's, "Dance Hall", her co-star was Cesar Romeo. She followed this picture, starring in the 1941 comedy, "Cadet Girl", with George Montgomery as her co-star.

Above left to right, Landis, Grable, and Mature.

Laird Cregar portrayed "Detective Ed Cornell".

The story is told in flashbacks, as sports promoter "Frankie Christopher" is in a police station being interrogated about the murder of actress "Vicky Lynn".

The following lobby card was made for the title "Hot Spot", but had a sticker added over that title to make it read "I Wake Up Screaming".

Above, in front is Betty Grable as "Jill Lynn", directly behind her is Victor Mature as "Frankie Christopher", to his right is Allyn Joslyn portraying fading actor "Larry Evans", a close friend of "Frankie", next to him is Carol Landis as "Jill's" sister, "Vicky Lynn", and next to her, another friend of "Frankie's", gossip columnist, "Robin Ray", portrayed by Alan Mowbray. 

Being a gambler, "Frankie" takes the dare from "Larry" and "Robin" to turn "Vicky" into a major actress. Then someone murders her and "Frankie Christopher" becomes suspect number one for "Detective Ed Cornell", who is pressuring him to confess. However, "Jill" and "Frankie" decide to find the real murderer as the two slowly fall in love.

Below, Laird Cregor's "Detective Ed Cornell", on the left, is drilling Betty Grable's "Jill Lynn" over her sister's murder.

Either this scene was shot twice with Grable in different dresses, or taking a black and white still and making it a colored lobby-card, somebody thought she looked better in red.

Eventually the real murderer was "Vicky" and "Jill's" apartment house, front desk manager, "Harry Williams", portrayed by the great Elisha Cook, Jr. Who admits to the murder, but also says that "Detective Cornell" always knew he did it. "Detective Ed Cornell" is obsessed with "Vicky Lynn". When "Frankie", followed by the police, enters "Cornell's" apartment, he finds the walls covered with pictures of the actress. "Ed Cornell" now admits he was jealous of "Frankie's" closeness to "Vicky" and was attempting to frame him.

In his look back review of "I Wake Up Screaming", December 4, 2004, in "Ozus ' World Movie Reviews", Dennis Schwartz writes:
Dwight Taylor bases his screenplay on the book by pulp writer Steve Fisher. In a jarring move that works in an odd way, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' is the soundtrack that can be heard throughout. This early film noir, shot in a naturalistic style, showed how dark photography can increase a brooding mood and make the film more tense...The conclusion is filled with plot twists and surprise character revelations, as the marvelously sinister performance by Laird Cregar as the sicko detective dominates the screen.


Next was a patriotic Second World War motion picture.

JOAN OF PARIS premiered on January 23, 1942 in New York City

"New York Times" film critic Bosley Crowther, on January 28, 1942, wrote: is a tale of personal valor and selfless sacrifice which is told so simply and eloquently, and is so beautifully played that it might be a true re-enactment of a gallant episode. At least, it cheers the heart and stirs the pulse to think that it might be. "Joan of Paris' is a rigidly exciting and tenderly moving film. It will do as a tribute to high courage until the lamps of Paris burn once more.

 The motion picture was filmed from September through October, 1941, less than two-month before "Pearl Harbor", and so, the motion picture tells the story of five RAF pilots shot down over German-Occupied France and not American flyers as later films would use. 

The picture was directed by a favorite of mine, Robert Stevenson, if you do not recognize his name. I am sure you would recognize the small selection of his later work. Stevenson directed both Walt Disney's 1957 "Johnny Tremain" and "Old Yeller", and three episodes of Disney's television series "Zorro" in 1958. Along with both Walt's, 1959, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", and Walt's version of author Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped", the original 1961 "The Absent-Minded Professor", 1962's Jules Verne's "In Search of the Castaways", 1963's, "Son of Flubber", and in 1964, "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones", and his "Academy Award" nominated "Mary Poppins".

The story came from two writers, the first was, Jacques Thery. Who had left France prior to the start of the Second World War, made one motion picture in the United Kingdom, and came to the United States and co-wrote with Billy Wilder, the 1940, Mary Martin, Bing Crosby, and Basil Rathbone musical comedy, "Rhythm on the River".

The second story writer was Georges Kessel, this was the first of only five motion pictures he worked upon.

The actual screenplay was written by two other writers, the first being Charles Bennett. Who had written for director Alfred Hitchcock, 1934, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", 1935's, "The 39 Steps", both 1936's, "Secret Agent", and "Sabotage", and 1940's, "Foreign Correspondent". 

The second writer was Ellis St. Joseph, who only wrote one radio program, 1938's, "Passenger to Bali", for Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre on the Air".

Michele Morgan portrayed "Joan". Morgan had been acting in French films since she was 16-years-old, but fled France as Hitler's troops moved into country. This was her first English language film since leaving.

Paul Henreid portrayed "Paul Lavallier". Henreid followed this feature film co-starring with Bette Davis in 1942's, "Now Voyager", and portraying, "Victor Lazzo", in 1942's, "Casablanca". The picture Jack L. Warner, the head of Warner Brothers, thought was a waste of the studio's money to make.

Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Father Antoine". Mitchell had just appeared in 1941's, "Out of the Fog", starring Ida Lupino and John Garfield. He would follow this film with 1942's, "Song of the Islands", starring Betty Grable and Victor Mature.

Laird Cregar portrayed "Her Funk". 

May Robson portrayed "Mademoiselle Rosay". This was the actresses last on-screen appearance and her sixty-fifth motion picture. She began her film career in 1908 and passed away, at 84, the following October.

The plot was the staple of many American war films made during the Second World War, but as I mentioned, the United States had yet to become officially involved. Five RAF flyers are attempting to avoid the German's and make it back to England from France. 

Standing behind Paul Henreid, second from the right, is a young Alan Ladd portraying "Baby", this was one movie away from 1942's, "This Gun for Hire", which I will be speaking too and Ladd's stardom.

In 1941 France, the five downed flyers make their way to Paris, there they meet "Father Antoine", who agrees to hide them in his chapel. He gives their leader, "Paul Lavallier" instructions on how to contact the underground and "Lavallier" meets "Joan", who he falls in love with. Meanwhile, German Gestapo Agent "Herr Funk" is after them, but interviews "Paul" and appears to believe his story, but is laying a trap for all five men. "Joan" meets with "Mademoiselle Rosay", who will arrange for a seaplane to fly the men back to England. In the end "Joan of Paris", think "Joan of Arc", delays "Funk" and his men so the others can escape and is executed.

Laird Cregar's next motion picture had two major 20th Century Fox stars, but ended up losing money for the studio.

RINGS ON HER FINGERS released March 20, 1942

This was director Rouben Mamoulian's first motion picture since 1941's, "Blood and Sand", and was a comedy.

Henry Fonda portrayed "John Wheeler", Gene Tierney portrayed "Susan Miller", Laird Cregar portrayed "Uncle Warren", and Spring Byington portrayed "Mrs. Maybelle Worthington".

Con-artists "Mrs. Maybelle Worthington" and "Uncle Warren" spot girdle sales lady "Susan", who wants to see how the rich live, as the perfect addition to their con's of wealthy men. Unknowingly, "Susan" joins them as "Mrs. Worthington's" daughter in their con's. However, when they spot "John Wheeler" about to purchase a yacht for cash, they make the mistake of thinking he's a millionaire. "John" is only an accountant who has saved all the money from his work for his dream yacht. In the end "Susan" and "John" fall in love and her conning days are over.

"Rings On Her Fingers" may have failed for 20th Century Fox, but Laird Cregar's next motion picture is still considered a crime classic.

THIS GUN FOR HIRE premiered in Denver, Colorado, on April 24, 1942

The motion picture was directed by Frank Tuttle. Tuttle started directing in 1922 and in 1929, he directed the sound sequences for the hybrid silent talkie mystery, "The Canary Murder Case", with actor William Powell as author S.S. Van Dine's "Philo Vance". In 1930, Frank Tuttle once again directed William Powell as "Philo Vance" in "The Green Murder Case". Tuttle's 1929 silent, "The Studio Murder Mystery" had cast members Neil Hamilton, Warner Oland, Fredric March, and Mischa Auer.

This motion picture was based upon author Graham Greene's, 1936, "A Gun for Sale". His other novels include 1943's, "Ministry of Fear", 1949's, "The Third Man", 1955's, "The Quiet American", and 1958's, "Our Man in Havana", all were turned into motion pictures.

The screenplay came from two writers, the first was Albert Maltz, 1943's, "Destination Tokyo", 1948's, "The Naked City", and in 1950, Malta fronted for "Black Listed" writer, Michael Blankfort, on the James Stewart and Jeff Chandler, Western, "Broken Arrow".

The second writer was W.R. Burnett, he was primarily a novelist and he wrote the novel "Little Caesar" that became the break through 1931 movie for Edward G. Robinson. He also wrote the novels that 1940's, "Dark Command", and 1941's, 'High Sierra" were based upon.

Veronica Lake portrayed "Ellen Graham". Constance Francis Marie Ockleman started her on-screen acting career under her birth name with an uncredited role in 1939's, "Sorority House". For her next appearance in a short subject, 1939's, "The Wrong Room", she was now Connie Keane, for 1939's, "All Women Have Secrets", Connie had become Constance, and for 1940's, 'Forty Little Mother's", the young actress was now Veronica Lake. Three movies later, Veronica Lake had co-starred with Joel McCrea in director Preston Sturges', 1941, "Sullivan's Travels", and this motion picture followed.

Robert Preston portrayed "Michael Crane". Preston had just been seen in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1942, "Reap the Wild Wind", and followed this feature with the Second World War entry, 1942's, "Wake Island". 

Laird Cregar portrayed "Willard Gates". 

Alan Ladd portrayed "Philip Raven". After his seventh billed role in 1942's, "Joan of Paris", Ladd moved up to fourth billing in this feature and third in his next motion picture co-starring with Veronica Lake and Brian Donlevy, 1942's, "The Glass Key".

In 1942 war-time San Francisco, chemist and blackmailer "Albert Baker", played by Frank Ferguson, is killed by "Hit-Man Philip Raven", but "Raven" is doubled-crossed by his employer, "Willard Gates", and paid with marked bills. "Gates" reports the bills to the Los Angeles Police Department as stolen from his company, Nitro-Chemical Company of Los Angeles.

"Raven" learns of the set-up and decides to get revenge upon "Gates". In San Francisco, Los Angeles Police "Detective Lieutenant Michael Crane" is there to visit his girlfriend, nightclub singer and magician, "Ellen Graham". He receives a call to take the case, but on his first attempt to capture "Raven", he slips away.

Meanwhile, after an audition, "Ellen" is hired by "Gates" to work at his Los Angeles nightclub. Next, she finds herself meeting "Senator Burnett", played by Roger Imhof, learns that the government is investigating Nitro Chemical, they believe "Gates" is actually a traitor, and she becomes a spy for the United States government.

"Ellen" and "Gates" board a train for Los Angeles followed by "Raven", who sits down in the chair next to "Ellen". The following morning, walking through the train, "Gates" spots the sleeping "Raven" with his head on the sleeping "Ellen".

This is as far as I want to go with a description of this classic and recommend it to my readers to find out the very tricky ending.

TEN GENTLEMEN FROM WEST POINT released on June 26, 1942

This was a troubled production before it even started filming and the backstory is probably more interesting than the motion picture. 

20th Century Fox executives, assigned the production to director Henry Hathaway. Whose 1941, "Sundown", another pre-Pearl Harbor Second World War story about British soldiers in Somaliland fighting the Nazi's, starred Gene Tierney, Bruce Cabot, and George Sanders, and had just been released. He would follow this feature with another Second World War film, 1942's, 'China Girl", starring Gene Tierney, George Montgomery, and Lynn Bari.

Malvin Wald
had come-up with the story about the re-established West Point and the first class there. This was only Wald's second story idea for a motion picture.

The first problem came with turning Wald's idea into a screenplay. Initially the screenplay, "School for Soldiers", was written by Richard Maibaum, 1937's, "They Gave Him a Gun", that starred Spencer Tracy, Gladys George, and Franchot Tone, 1937's, "The Bad Man of Brimstone", that starred Wallace Beery, Virginia Bruce, and Dennis O'Keefe, 1938's, "Stablemates", starring Wallace Beery, and Mickey Rooney, and 1940's, "20 Mule Team", starring Wallace Beery, Leo Carrillo, and Margorie Rambeau.

Next, the screenplay was given to Talbot Jennings to rewrite. Jennings had written the Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, 1935, "Mutiny on the Bounty", 1937's, "The Good Earth", starring Paul Muni and Louise Rainer, and 1940's, "Northwest Passage", starring Spencer Tracy, and Robert Young.

Still not satisfied with the screenplay, George Seaton, was hired to rewrite some of the dialogue. Seaton had written the original screenplay for the Marx Brothers, 1935, "A Night at the Opera", the screenplay for the brothers, 1935, "A Day at the Races", and the screenplay for Jack Benny's, 1941, "Charley's Aunt".

Then Darryl F. Zanuck was asked to go over the screenplay, without credit, and make any corrections he thought needed. 

Finally, not satisfied with the screenplay, director Henry Hathaway asked playwright and screenplay writer Ben Hecht, 1932's, "Scarface", 1934's, "Viva Villa", and 1939's, "Wuthering Heights", to completely, without credit, rewrite the entire screenplay.

Which brings me to the casting, the role of "Joe Dawson". The role was originally written for Tyrone Power, but he wasn't available as he had enlisted in the Marine Corps, next it was given to Henry Fonda, but his schedule was full and he was enlisting in the Navy. The studio decided to give the role to Randolph Scott, but Scott was at Universal Pictures filming "The Spoilers", co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, and John Wayne. John Payne was given the role and was ready to start filming, but he became ill and the role went to George Montgomery. Who had just appeared opposite Ginger Rodgers in 1942's, "Roxie Hart".

Maureen O'Hara portrayed "Carolyn Bainbridge". She had just appeared with John Payne ans Randolph Scott in 1942's, "To the Shores of Tripoli", and would follow this picture with 1942's, "The Black Swan", co-starring Tyrone Power.

John Sutton portrayed "Howard Shelton". Sutton had just appeared in 1942's, "My Gal Sal", co-starring with Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. He followed this feature with the Second World War story, 1942's, "Thunder Birds: Soldiers of the Air", co-starring Gene Tierney and Preston Foster.


Laird Cregar portrayed "Major Sam Carter".

With Twenty-sixth billing is African American actor Noble Johnson as one of only five real people in the screenplay, "Native American Chief Tecumseh". Most people know Johnson for portraying the stereo-typed "Native Chief of Skull Island" in 1933's, "King Kong". However, that role overshadows an excellent character actor and early Civil Rights advocate My article, "Noble Johnson African-American Pioneer Actor", will be found at:


Above, Noble Johnson is on the left.

The final screenplay is very routine and has "Major Sam Carter", who does not believe you can make soldiers, let alone officers, from text books in charge of the academy. "Carter" is also against the re-establishment of West Point, and his feelings are shared by the regular army soldiers stationed at the Point, especially "Sergeant Scully", played by Ward Bond.

"Cadet Dawson" is a backwoodsman and sees things from that perspective. While, "Cadet Shelton" is an aristocrat, believes everything is owed him, because of his status and his fiancée is "Carolyn". Of course, the two become rivals for her affections. 

"Carolyn" writes a letter to Congress complaining about "Carter" and he believes one of the cadets wrote it. Demanding that the letter writer be revealed, the cadets band together not to reveal the name of the letter writer. "Major Carter" makes them all ride a canon as horses drag it over rough terrain throughout the night. Should a "Cadet" fall off the canon, they will be expelled from the academy. The following morning ten cadets remain on the canon. What "Carter" didn't expect to see was "Joe Dawson" having shamed "Howard Shelton" into staying on the canon throughout the punishment. "Major Carter" now receives orders to take the cadets and his regular army soldiers to report to "General William Henry Harrison", another of the five real persons, played by Douglas Dumbrille, in the Indian Territory.

"Major Carter" is put in charge of the fort, Native American Chief "Tecumseh" attacks and takes "Carter" prisoner. It is the "Ten Gentlemen from West Point" that save him. At graduation, the changed "Carter" is proud of the cadets and new United States Army Officers.

THE BLACK SWAN released on December 4, 1942


The motion picture was directed by Henry King. He had already directed Tyrone Power in 1936's, "Lloyd's of London", 1938's, "In Old Chicago", 1938's, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", 1939's, "Jesse James", and 1941's, "A Yank in the RAF".

Ben Hecht co-wrote the screenplay based upon another of author Rafael Sabanti's, "Captain Blood", novels. Hecht had just written the screenplay for the all-star, multi-story, 1942's, "Tales of Manhattan", and would follow this feature with 1942's, "China Girl". In 1954, Hecht took Homer's "The Odyssey" and wrote the screenplay for Italian director Mario Camarini's, "Ulysses", starring American actor Kirk Douglas.

The other co-writer was Seton I. Miller, Errol Flynn's, 1938, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and Flynn's, 1940, "The Sea Hawk".

Tyrone Power portrayed "Jamie Waring". Power had just co-starred with Joan Fontaine in 1942's, "This Above All", and followed this motion picture billed as Tyrone Power U.S.M.C.R., in 1943's, "Crash Dive".

Maureen O'Hara portrayed "Lady Margaret Denby". She had just been in 1942's, "Ten Gentlemen from West Point", and would follow this picture with 1943's, "Immortal Sergeant", co-starring with Henry Fonda.

Laird Cregar portrayed "Captain Henry Morgan". 

Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Tommy Blue". Mitchell had just been seen in 1942's, "Tales of Manhattan" and followed this picture with 1943's "Immortal Sergeant".

George Sanders portrayed "Captain Billy Leech". Sanders had just portrayed "Charles Strickland", in author W. Somerset Maugham's fictional life of "Gauguin", in 1942's, "The Moon and Sixpence". The actor would follow this film with the crime film-noir, 1942's, "Quiet Please: Murder".

Anthony Quinn portrayed "Wogan". Quinn had just portrayed "Juan Martinez" in director William 'Wild Bill' A. Wellman's, 1942, "The Ox-Bow Incident", starring Henry Fonda. He would follow this feature film with 1943's, "Guadalcanal Diary".

George Zucco portrayed "Lord Denby". Zucco had just portrayed "Andoheb" in 1942's, "The Mummy's Tomb", the first motion picture with Lon Chaney, Jr. as "Kharis, the Mummy". The actor would follow this motion picture with the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, 1943, "Sherlock Holmes in Washington". Below, the two-governors meet!

This is a lavish tale of pirates and buccaneers, as the notorious pirate "Captain Henry Morgan" wants to reform and is made Governor of Jamaica, taking the place of "Lord Denby". "Morgan" has a mandate to rid the seas of the pirates he once led. Of course, the English and the Jamaican's don't trust him, and definitely the pirates don't.

"Captain Jamie Waring" and his lieutenant "Tom Blue" willingly give-up the trade out of their friendship with "Morgan". However, "Captain Billy Leech" and "Wogan" feel otherwise. "Waring" is falling for the beautiful daughter of the former governor, "Lady Margaret Denby", but she is engaged to the dashing "Roger Ingram", played by Edward Ashley. Who is actually a spy for "Leech" and the other pirate captains that want to stay in the trade.

As I said put this all together and the viewer has a very good time with a fast moving story.

Did you ever wonder what pirates did when not being pirates?

Next, Laird Cregar went from the scene stealing "Captain Henry Morgan" to a role I could only locate the name of and two stills with him in them. What his role actually did, or what its relationship to the story was, I could not locate.

HELLO FRISCO, HELLO which, of course, premiered on March 11, 1943 in San Francisco, California

The motion picture was designed for one purpose, to once more show-off singer, actress, Alice Faye, and here, portraying "Trudy Evans". The motion picture was a remake of the 1936 musical, "King of Burlesque", starring Alice Faye as "Pat Doran". This was also Faye's last motion picture for 20th Century Fox.

Looking at this picture's cast, Jack Oakie portrays "Dan Daley", in the 1936 feature, his role was that of "Joe Cooney". In this motion picture actress Lynn Bari portrays "Beatrice Croft", in 1936, she was an uncredited dancer, along with actress Jane Wyman.

John Payne
portrayed "Johnny Cornell", the reworked Warner Baxter role of "Kerry Bolton".

Laird Cregor
portrays a character named "Sam Weaver".

Above, Laird Cregar, John Payne, and Alice Faye, below, Cregar and Payne.

The plot has "Johnny Cornell" too ambitious to realize the love of "Trudy Evans", but takes his fired quartet to the big time in his own saloon, "The Grizzly Bear", but loses "Trudy" by marrying socialite "Beatrice Croft". "Trudy" goes to London, becomes a musical star, "Johnny" divorces "Beatrice", is down on his luck and "Trudy" comes to his rescue and Alice Faye sings the "Academy Award" winning "Best Song", "You'll Never Know", as the two are reunited.

For his next feature film, Laird Cregar had a devilishly good role.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT premiered in San Francisco on August 4, 1943

This fantasy motion picture was directed German-American Ernst Lubitsch. Lubitsch had just directed Carol Lombard, and Jack Benny, in the 1942 comedy drama classic, "To Be or Not to Be". He would next direct Charles Boyer and Jennifer Jones in the 1946 comedy drama, "Cluny Brown". Back in 1939, he directed Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in "Ninotchka", and in 1940, it was Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart in "The Shop Around the Corner".

Back in 1934, Hungarian-American playwright, Ladislaus Bus-Fekete as Lazlo Bus-Fekete wrote the play "Szuletesnap (Birthday)". The screenplay is based upon that work, but the author was now Leslie Bush-Fekete.

The screenplay was written by Samson Raphaelson, 1940's, "The Shop Around the Corner", and director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1940, "Suspicion", starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine.

Gene Tierney portrayed "Martha Strabel Van Cleve". She had just starred in 1942's, "China Girl", and followed this picture with the classic film-noir mystery, 1944's, "Laura", co-starring with Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb, directed by Otto Preminger.

Don Ameche portrayed "Henry Van Cleve". Ameche was just in director Gregory Ratoff's comedy, 1943, "Something to Shout About" and followed this feature with a drama about parents receiving a telegram from the Navy about their son being killed in action, 1943's, "Happy Land".

Laird Cregar portrayed "His Excellency" in a very small, but important role. He is only seen at the film's beginning and at its end.

The elderly "Henry Van Cleve" enters an opulent reception room and meets "His Excellency". As their conversation begins, the audience realizes that "His Excellency" is actually "The Devil" and "Henry" believes his life has brought him to the entrance of hell to serve for the bad things he has done.

The motion picture is told in flashback as "Henry Van Cleve's" life story is told. Once the flashback ends and the story returns to the reception room, "His Excellency" tells "Henry", he should try "The Other Place". Where he meets his loving wife and grandfather, who tells him there's a vacant room in the annex for him,

HOLY MATRIMONY released on August 27, 1943

This is a very refined comedy based upon a 1908 comedy novel entitled "Buried Alive: A Tale of These Days", by British author Arnold Bennett. Screenplay writer, Nunnally Johnson, director John Ford's 1940 version of author John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", was nominated for the "Academy Award" for his screenplay, but lost to "Casablanca".

Monty Woolley portrayed painter "Priam Farll". "Farll" is a famous English painter who has been living in seclusion for the last 25-years and learns that he is to be knighted. He returns to London with his valet, "Henry 'Harry' Leek", portrayed by Whit Bissell. "Leek" is ill and dies and "Farll" assumes his identity to maintain his seclusion from publicity.

Gracie Fields portrayed "Alice Chalice", who had been corresponding with "Henry" and applied to the marriage bureau for a license for the two. She has only a photograph of her future husband, whom she never had seen, and it has "Priam Farll" in it. She assumes, and "Farll" doesn't say otherwise, that he is "Henry" and he falls in love with "Alice" and they're married.


Laird Cregar portrayed "Clive Oxford", "Farill's" art dealer while he was "alive". "Farill" is still keeping his identity a secret with "Alice", but he still paints. "Oxford" recognizes the work and starts buying up "Henry Leek's" paintings at a cheap price to make a large profit when his real identity is discovered.

Enter, "Leek's" widow, "Sara", portrayed by Una O'Connor and three-sons and things get really complicated for "Priam Farll". 

Everything comes together in a court of law with claims and counter claims and a possible nullification of "Priam's" marriage to "Alice".


THE LODGER released on January 19, 1944

History does not know his real name, but his nickname is known worldwide, "Jack the Ripper". The following link will take my reader to my article, "JACK THE RIPPER: In Motion Pictures and Television",

"The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes was the bestselling mystery based upon the murders of "Jack the Ripper", changed to the "Avenger". In 1927, British director Alfred Hitchcock made a classic silent film version, but he changed the ending to a happier one than Lowndes had written.

The first sound version of the story was directed by John Brahm. Brahm had directed another mystery, about a family curse and a werewolf, 1942's, "The Undying Monster". The film was a low-keyed atmospheric piece, and which family member is cursed is not revealed until the last scenes. Just before this release, John Brahm had directed the 1943 musical, "Wintertime", starring Olympic Skating Champion Sonya Henie and Caesar Romero. He would follow this feature directing the crime film-noir, 1944's, "Guest in the House", starring Anne Baxter, and Ralph Bellamy.

The screenplay was written by playwright, Alfred Edgar writing as Barre Lyndon. He had just written director Henry Hathaway's, 1941, "Sundown", and followed this picture by writing a play that was turned into the film-noir science fiction thriller, 1945's, "The Man in Half Moon Street". In 1953, producer George Pal filmed Lyndon's screenplay for author H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds".

Merle Oberon portrayed "Kitty Langley". Oberon was just seen in the Second World War spy drama, 1943's, "First Comes Courage". The actress followed this picture by co-starring with Franchot Tone and Thomas Mitchell in the film-noir mystery, 1944's, "Dark Waters".

George Sanders portrayed "Scotland Yard Inspector John Warwick". Sanders was just in the Second World War drama, 1943's, "Paris After Dark". He followed this feature with 1944's, "Action in Arabia", co-starring Virginia Bruce.

Laird Cregar portrayed "Mr. Slade, the Lodger".

Sir Cedric Hardwicke portrayed "Robert Bonting". The actor had just been seen in 1943's, "The Cross of Lorraine", and would follow this feature film with the Second World War Navy motion picture, 1944's, "Wing and a Prayer".

Sara Allgood portrayed "Ellen Bonting". She was last seen on-screen with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine in the 1943 film version of authoress Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre". Allgood followed "The Lodger" appearing in the John Garfield, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet and Eleanor Parker, 1944, fantasy mystery, "Between Two Worlds".

The mood of "The Lodger" is set by cinematography of "Lucien Ballard". The following is from the on-line "Yale News" about the 1944, "The Lodger"

Why should the fog in “The Lodger,” one of many films about Jack the Ripper, stand out? The black-and-white cinematography of Lucien Ballard sharply divides the buildings from the fog, lending thickness to the haze. The soupy fog’s ceaseless rolling transforms into a pulsating creature that whispers death. When the first murder occurs off-screen, fog creeps around a close up of a woman’s limp arm and hair next to a flowing sewer. The shot is so unflashy, yet twistedly beautiful in its simplicity. The same goes for “The Lodger”: it may be skimpy on narrative and psychological depth, but John Brahm’s clear direction and the visuals deliver icky-ness, if not mystery.

Scotland Yard has been investigating the brutal murders of prostitutes in the White Chapel area of London. "Mr. and Mrs. Bointing" have a room for let and the advertisement is answered by a "Mr. Slade".


A very polite man, but he asks "Mrs. Bointing" to remove the pictures of the "Dancehall Girls" on the walls and she complies. He pulls our two pictures of two men, one is a young "Slade", the other his brother.

Additionally, "Mr. Slade" asks permission to conduct experiments in his room, which "Mrs. Bointing" agrees, because she and her husband need the rent.

The "Bonting's" niece, "Kitty Langley" is a singer at one of the Dancehall's and lives at the "Bonting's". There are two romances in this motion picture, the first is between "Kitty" and Scotland Yard Inspector, "John Warick".

The second is the attraction "Kitty" starts to feel to the mysterious "Mr. Slade".

The papers speak to the murders and mention that a medical bag was seen being carried by the possible suspect. "Mr. Slade" has one and causes "Mrs. Bonting" to start to imagine he is the murderer and "Mr. Slade" seems to be destroying his experiment in a stove used to heat his room. Laird Cregar is downright frightening in the role.

Slowly, "Warwick" is casting his suspicions toward "Mr. Slade", he attempts to trick him to reveal himself, but fails.

According to the January 20, 1944, review of "The Lodger" in the "New York Times":
If The Lodger was designed to chill the spine—as indeed it must have been, considering all the mayhem Mr. Cregar is called upon to commit as the mysterious, psychopathic pathologist of the title—then something is wrong with the picture. But, if it was intended as a sly travesty on the melodramatic technique of ponderously piling suspicion upon suspicion (and wrapping the whole in a cloak of brooding photographic effects), then The Lodger is eminently successful.

The film's climax comes when "Mr. Slade" goes to watch "Kitty" perform and then goes backstage to her dressing room with the intent of making her his next victim,

"Inspector Warick" and his men appear and "Mr. Slade" leaves, being chased by the police, not wanting to be taken, he jumps into the Thames and disappears.

The average weight of Laird Cregar was around 300 pounds and while filming "The Lodger", the actor went on a crash diet, supplemented by prescribed amphetamines, still on this diet, the actor filmed his next motion picture and the change in his weight is obvious.

On December 9, 1944, Laird Cregar suffered a severe heart attack and passed away. The eulogy at his funeral was given by his best friend actor Vincent Price. 

HANGOVER SQUARE premiered on February 7, 1945 in New York City

Once again the motion picture was directed by John Brahm with the screenplay by Barre Lydon.

The screenplay was based upon the 1941 novel, "Hangover Square", by playwright and novelist Patrick Hamilton. Who wrote the 1929 play, "Rope", turned into the 1948, Alfred Hitchcock motion picture, and the 1938 play "Angel Street", turned into both the 1940 and 1944 motion pictures "Gaslight". This novel was a favorite of Laird Cregar and he requested 20th Century Fox to film it for him and they agreed.

Laird Cregar, sadly had reached first billing portraying "George Harvey Bone" and would not know his recognition


Linda Darnell portrayed "Netta Longdon". Darnell had just co-starred with Benny Goodman and His Band, in 1944's, "Sweet and Low-Down". She followed this motion picture with 1945's, "The Great John L.", co-starring Barbara Britton and Greg McClure. 

George Sanders portrayed "Dr. Allan Middleton". Sanders had just co-starred with Darnell in the crime film-noir, 1944's, "Summer Storm". Sanders would follow this film with author Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", co-starring Hurd Hatfield and Donna Reed.

The setting is Edwardian England in the year 1903, and the screenplay opens as a Scottish shop owner is stabbed to death by distinguished composer, "George Harvey Bone". Who sets the shop on fire and stumbles onto the street in a stupor. He doesn't make it back to his basement flat on "Hangover Square" until the following night, has no memory of the previous day, and finds his very concerned girlfriend, "Barbara Chapman", played by "Faye Marlowe", and her father, "Sir Henry Chapman", played by Alan Napier. "George Harvey Bone" has just finished a grand concerto.

The newspapers are full of stories about the murder and "George" goes to "Dr. Allan Middleton", who works with Scotland Yard, and tells him that when he's stressed, or overworked he suffers periods of amnesia brought on from discordant musical sounds. He wonders if he may have been the murder?

For a change of pace, "George" goes with his friend, "Mickey", played by the uncredited Michael Dyne, to a working class pub and meets ambitious and conniving singer "Netta".

"Netta" finds "George' boring, but is able to manipulate him for money and other things. While, "Barbara" can't understand his interest in her and considers ending their relationship. "George" has another amnesia night and attempts to struggle "Barbara" to death.

Meanwhile, "Allan Middleton" is getting closer to "Barbara" as he tries to help George. Something sets "George" off and in an amnesia state he murders "Netta", wraps her body, and walks with it in his arms through the streets on "Guy Fawkes Night and deposits "Netta's" body on top of the biggest bonfire.

Having no memory of the murder, "George" convinces the police he's innocent. Everything comes to a head the night of his concerto's performance with "Dr. Middleton" still suspicious of the murders and the composers amnesia spells being caused by music.

"Dr. Allan Middleton" insists for his own safety, "George" call off his concerto performance, because the doctor now believes music brings on the episodes and the composers personality changes. "George" locks the doctor in a closet and leaves to perform. 

"Middleton's" banging on the closet door brings a workman who releases him. With police, "Allan" shows up at the performance and this causes "George" to go into one of his amnesia episodes. Returning to his piano, "George" knocks over an oil lamp starting a fire. The other musicians and the audience leave for their safety as "George" continues to play, but "Barbara" tries to get him to leave. "Allan" takes her away from the burning building telling her:
it's better this way!


A February 7, 1945 review of the motion picture in "Variety" states:

Hangover Square is eerie murder melodrama of the London gaslight era—typical of Patrick Hamilton yarns, of which this is another. And it doesn't make any pretense at mystery. The madman-murderer is known from the first reel...Production is grade A, and so is the direction by John Brahm, with particular bows to the music score by Bernard Herrmann.

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Lionel Atwill: The Legitimate Stage, Classic and Not So Classic Horror, and "Sherlock Holmes"

His name was Lionel Alfred William Atwill, and he was born into a wealthy family, on  March 1, 1885, at 2 Upton Villas, South Norwood,  in C...