Thursday, March 2, 2023

Joan Bennett: "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard" of "Dark Shadows"

In the afternoon of June 27, 1966, Joan Geraldine Bennett first became "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard", the matriarch of the "Collins Family", and living in Collinsport, Maine, in Episode One, Season One, of Producer-Director, Dan Curtis's, daytime, Gothic Soap Opera, "DARK SHADOWS"

This is a look at some of Joan Bennett's work as she journeyed to "Cult Status" as "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard".


Bennett was born on February 27, 1910, in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Her father was stage and silent screen actor, Clarence Charles William Henry Richard Bennett, who shorten his name to just Richard Bennett. Her mother was stage actress and literarily agent Mabel Adrienne Morrison, who dropped the Mabel, when on stage.

Joan was the youngest of three acting sisters, her oldest sister was Constance Campbell Bennett, who dropped the Campbell, and became the highest paid actress during the first half of the 1930's. Her middle sister was actress/dancer Barbara Jane Bennett, who dropped the Jane, and was the mother of television/radio "trash talk" host, Morton Downey, Jr. 

Above, is a 1918 photo of father Richard, on his left, Constance, on his right Joan, and Barbara.

The three girl's first motion picture was 1916's, morality play, "The Valley of Decision", written by and starring their father, and co-starring their mother. 

On September 23, 1928, 18-years-old, Joan Bennett portrayed "A Dame", in her third on-screen role, along with Carole Lombard as "A Dame", in "Power", starring pre-"Hopalong Cassidy", William "Bill" Boyd and co-starring Alan Hale, Sr. 

Above, Joan Bennett at the time, a natural platinum blonde.

Also in 1928, Joan first appeared on stage with her father in a three-act- play called "Jarnegan". I could not find out what it was about, but below is part of the original "Playbill" for the production. Which opened on October 1st with Joan listed fourth.

Five motion pictures after "Power" and premiering on October 2, 1929, in New York City, was the biographical epic, "Disraeli", starring British stage and screen actor George Arliss as Prime Minister "Benjamin Disraeli". 

Above, Joan Bennett portrayed "Clarissa". She had just appeared in the 1929 comedy, "Three Live Ghosts" and now was in a major production based upon the highly successful stage play also starring George Arliss. 

Anthony Bushell portrayed "Charles", British actor Bushnell had been touring on the American stage in "Her Cardboard Lover", co-starring with Jeanne Eagles. George Arliss saw the play and had the actor cast in his first motion picture.

Left to right, George Arliss, Joan Bennett, Florence Arliss, George's wife, and British actress Doris Lloyd.

In 1926, actor John Barrymore starred in a silent version of author Herman Melville's "Moby Dick". Barrymore re-remade the feature as the first sound version of the novel and it premiered in New York City on August 14, 1930.

In this version of the novel, Joan Bennett portrayed "Faith Maple", the woman "Captain Ahab Ceely", portrayed by Barrymore, loves. However, after his first encounter with the whale "Moby Dick", "Ahab" loses his leg, and returning to port believes that "Faith" will not love him anymore. In the end the white whale is killed and true love counters all.

The following year, on March 2, 1931, found the young actress in a romantic musical comedy "Many a Slip" and having first billing.

Joan Bennett
portrayed "Pat Coster". She had just portrayed "Xandra, Lady Ashley" in the 1930 crime drama, "Scotland Yard", co-starring Edmund Lowe. She would follow this feature co-starring with Warner Baxter, in 1931's, "Doctor's Wives".

Lew Ayers portrayed "Jerry Brooks". Ayers had just co-starred with Lupe Velez and Edward G. Robinson in the 1930 drama, "East Is West". He would follow this feature film co-starring with Robert Armstong and Jean Harlow, in director Tod Browning's, "Iron Man".

This pre-motion picture code comedy has fun with the question:

Is "Pat" pregnant and who's the father? 

It all starts out when "Pat's" recently divorced father won't let the 18-years-old date. At a party with her younger brother, she meets "Jerry". The two drive to a lake, start to kiss, and somehow, fall into the lake and go into an abandon cabin to dry off. After which the pre-code fun begins.

On February 19, 1932 in New York City, the adventure drama, "She Wanted a Millionaire", premiered. Joan Bennett had first billing as "Jane Miller", the young woman dreaming of the millionaire of the film's title. In second position, after only being in three short subjects and four forgotten movies, was Spencer Tracy as newspaper man William Kelley. 

However, for their next motion picture together, "Me and My Gal", released on December 4, 1932, Bennett and Tracy switched billing positions and Spencer Tracy became a full fledge leading man.

On, May 1, 1932, Joan Bennett portrayed "Vivienne Ware" in "The Trial of Vivienne Ware. This fast-paced courtroom drama has Joan Bennett on trial for killing her fiancé and being defended by her ex-boyfriend, "John Sutherland", portrayed by Donald Cook. The trial is being broadcast live on radio and America listens and gossips over did she, or didn't she? 

The motion picture is one of the films used by the "UCLA Film School", because of the idea of a trial being heard on radio as it takes place.

By this time, Joan Bennett was married to her second husband, screenplay writer, and producer, Gene Markey. They would divorce in 1937, and he would marry actress Hedy Lamarr. I could not locate any information on Bennett's first husband, John Marian Fox, as they were only married for two-years and had divorced in 1928.

LITTLE WOMEN released November 16, 1933

The motion picture was the first sound version of authoress Louisa May Alcott's, 1868 novel, and was produced by Merian C. Cooper. Who in March 1933, released his "King Kong", and the month after "Little Women", released his "Son of Kong".

The picture was directed by George Cukor. Cukor's previous release was 1933's, "Dinner at Eight", co-starring among others, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and Jean Harlow. He would follow this feature film with the 1935 version of British author Charles Dickens', "David Copperfield", starring Freddie Bartholmew and featuring among others, Lionel Barrymore, Elsa Lanchester, Basil Rathbone, and W.C. Fields.

Katharine Hepburn portrayed "Jo March". This was Hepburn's third motion picture, she had just co-starred with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Adolph Menjou in 1933's, "Morning Glory". Hepburn followed this picture with 1934's, "Spitfire", co-starring with Robert Young and Ralph Bellamy.

Joan Bennett
portrayed "Amy March". Bennett had just seen in the crime comedy, 1933's, "Arizona to Broadway", co-starring with James Dunn. She would follow this motion picture co-starring with actor Francis Lederer, in the 1934 comedy, "The Pursuit of Happiness". 

Above, Joan Bennett as "Amy", Katharine Hepburn as "Joe", and Francis Dee as "Meg".

THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD released on December 24, 1934

This mystery drama was directed by Edward Ludwig. Ludwig, an actor turned director, would go on to direct John Wayne's, 1944, "The Fighting Seabees", 1948's, "Wake of the Red Witch", and 1952's, "Big Jim McLain". Science fiction/horror fans know Edward Ludwig's 1957's, "The Black Scorpion", with some of the last and not completed, because of running out of money, stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien.

French playwright Jean Bart wrote the original play and he was also one of the two credited screenplay writers. The other was Samuel Ornitz, who became one of the "Hollywood Ten", accused by the "House Committee on Un-American Activity", and "Blacklisted" by the American studios as a communist.

Claude Rains portrayed "Paul Verin". Rains had just been in his second feature film, the 1934 crime drama, "Crime Without Passion". He would follow this film with the 1935 film version of British author Charles Dickens', "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". My article about the actor, "---CLAUDE RAINS WAS THE INVISIBILE MAN---", will be read at:

Joan Bennett portrayed "Adele Verin". 

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Henri Dumont". Atwill had just co-starred with Verree Teasdale and Richard Cortez in the 1934 mystery, "The Firebird". He would follow this feature film co-starring with Marlene Dietrich and Edward Everett Horton, in 1935's, "The Devil Is a Woman".

Briefly, in 1915, "Paul Verin" is walking the streets of Paris with his little daughter on one arm and a black satchel on the other. He enters his boyhood friend's office, attorney "Fernand De Marnay's", portrayed by Henry O'Neil", and tells his story.

"Paul Verin" is a pacifist political writer, whose wife wants to move to Paris and the grand life. To make more money to move, "Paul" starts working for politician "Henri Dumont" writing anti-war articles, but under "Dumont's" name. This result of having "Dumont" and not "Verin's" name on the article, has powerful people thinking how clever the politician is and he moves up in the political world of France.

When war breaks out, "Henri Dumont" wants "Paul's" articles to become pro-war for the armament manufactures he is now being paid by, but "Verin" refuses. The politician arranges for pacifist "Paul" to be sent to the front lines in the hope he will be killed, because "Henri Dumont" lusts for "Paul Verin's" wife, "Adele.

However, "Paul" is not killed, but the pacifist has gone insane over being forced onto the horrors of war. He finds his leave cancelled, because of interference by "Dumont" and without authorization, he leaves camp anyway. "Paul" returns home to see his wife and little girl, but instead, he walks in to find "Dumont" making sexual advances upon "Adele". "Paul Verin" taking a bayonet kills "Henri Dumont".

Switch back to "Marnay's" office as "Paul's" story ends and the other discovers "Dumont's" head in the black satchel.

In 1935 Joan Bennett met producer Walter Wranger, 1929's, "The Cocoanuts", starring the Marx Brothers, 1933's, and "Queen Christina", starring Greta Garbo. Joan Bennett's first motion picture for Wranger followed "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head".

PRIVATE WORLDS released on April 19, 1935

The movie was directed by Gregory La Cava, a former cartoonist for Walter Lantz. After the First World War, La Cava went to work for William Randolph Hearst as editor-in-chief for his "International Comic Division", but during the 1920's switched to live-action movie shorts. After this feature, Gregory La Cava would direct the classic motion pictures, 1936's, "My Man Godfrey" and 1937's "Stage Door".

Claudette Colbert
portrayed "Dr. Jane Everest" in her "Best Actress Academy Award" nominated role. Colbert had just co-starred with Fred MacMurray and Ray Milland in the 1935 comedy, "The Gilded Lily" and followed this feature with the 1935 comedy, "She Married Her Boss", co-starring with Melvyn Douglas. 

Charles Boyer
portrayed "Dr. Charles Monet". The French actor had just appeared in the American musical, 1935's, "Caravane", co-starring French actress Annabella. He would follow this feature film with 1935's, "Break of Hearts" starring Katharine Hepburn.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Sally MacGregor". Bennett followed this motion picture co-starring with Bing Crosby and W.C. Fields in the 1935 musical, "Mississippi". 

Helen Vinson portrayed "Claire Monet". She had just been seen in the Gary Cooper, 1935, "The Wedding Night" and followed it co-starring with Paul Lukas, in the 1935 drama, "Age of Indiscretion".

Joel McCrea portrayed "Dr. Alex MacGregor". McCrea had just co-starred with Miriam Hopkins and Fay Wray in the 1934 comedy, "The Richest Girl in the World", and followed this drama with another comedy, co-starring with Shirley Temple, 1935's, "Our Little Girl".

There are two story lines in this Lynn Starling screenplay set in a mental hospital. 

The main one is about the progressive female psychiatrist, "Dr. Jane Everest", who runs a foul of her new supervisor, "Dr. Charles Monet". "Monet" is a very conservative psychiatrist who disapproves of the methods used by "Dr. Everest", but more to the point, she is a woman in a man's world. 

The subplot is about "Dr. Alex MacGregor" facing the fact that his wife, "Sally", is slowly going insane.

During the search for an actress to portray "Scarlett O'Hara" in "Gone with the Wind". Joan Bennett's screen test so impressed producer David O. Selznick, that she became one of the four finalists for the role with Vivian Leigh, Jean Arthur, and Paulette Goddard.

THE TEXANS released on August 12, 1938

Joan Bennett portrayed "Ivy Preston". Bennett had starred above second billed Henry Fonda in 1938's, "I Met My Love Again", a drama about two college students who plan to marry, but things change after she runs away with another man. She returns to her home town to meet her true love once again. The motion picture was directed by both Josh Logan and an uncredited George Cukor.

Joan Bennett would follow her only western with a musical comedy co-starring with Jack Benny, 1938's, "Artists and Models Abroad".

Randolph Scott
portrayed "Kirk Jordan". Scott had just co-starred with Shirley Temple in 1938's, "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm". He would follow this feature with a musical comedy, 1938's, "Road to Reno".

It's the reconstruction period after the Civil War and "Ivy Preston" wants to drive her Texas cattle to buyers in Mexico. While, Federal Government carpetbaggers are attempting to force "Ivy" into selling her large ranch. Her true love, "Alan Sanford", portrayed by Robert Cummings, is with ex-Confederate General Shelby's expedition to Mexico, a true historical event. 

While, confederate veteran, "Kirk Jordan", who has had enough with war, comes to her assistance and convinces "Ivy" not to sell her stock in Mexico, but at the closer, new rail head in Abilene, Kansas. However, he becomes upset learning that "Ivy" wants the money to help rebuild the confederate army.

With the following motion picture a slow change in the direction of Joan Bennett's career began.

TRADE WINDS released on December 28, 1938

The motion picture was directed by Tay Garnett. Who would go on to direct, among others, 1943's, "Bataan", starring Robert Taylor, 1946's, "The Postman Always Rings Twice", starring Lana Turner and John Garfield, and the Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming, 1949, version of author/pen name Mark Twain's, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".

Tay Garnett wrote this story and within it the first phase of the new Joan Bennett occurs. 

The screenplay was by a husband and wife writing team using their pre-marriage last names. He was Alan Campbell, 1937's "A Star Was Born" and 1941's, "The Little Foxes". She was Dorothy Parker, poet, writer, critic, and satirist. She wrote director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1942, "Saboteur", and the Susan Hayward, 1947, "Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman".

Frederic March portrayed "Sam Wye". March had just been in the 1938 comedy romance, "There Goes My Heart", co-starring with Virginia Bruce. He followed this feature with director George Cukor's, comedy drama, 1940's, "Susan and God", co-starring with Joan Crawford and Ruth Hussey.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Kay Kerrigan". 

Ralph Bellamy portrayed "Ben 'Homer' Blodgett". Bellamy had just co-starred with Anne Shirley in the 1938 drama, "Girl's School". He would follow this drama, co-starring with Fay Wray and Regis Toomey in 1938's, "Smashing the Spy Ring".

Ann Sothern portrayed "Jean Livingstone". My generation first knew Sothern from her television shows, "Private Secretary", 1953-1957, "The Ann Sothern Show", 1958-1961, and as a voice actress in "My Mother the Car", 1965-1966. 

However, Sothern was also both a dramatic and comic actress in feature films. Before this feature film, Ann Sothern starred in the 1937 comedy, "She's Got Everything" and would follow this motion picture co-starring with Robert Young in the 1939 comedy drama, "Maisie". The first of a series of motion pictures about the character that Sothern would portray.

Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Police Commissioner Blackton". Mitchell had just been in the 1938 drama, "Love, Honor and Behave", and followed this motion picture with his "Best Supporting Actor Academy Award" performance in director John Ford's, 1939, "Stagecoach".

This is a murder story, but the January 13, 1939 review, by Frank Nugent, in the "New York Times" gives my reader the origin of this story.
Tay Garnett earned the distinction yesterday of being probably the first man in history with the temerity to invite 80,000,000 persons to pay to see the movies he took on a world cruise. Mr. Garnett went abroad a few seasons ago and, having a rough outline of a script, he shot doorways in Japan, barrooms in Indo-China, the race track at Singapore, a pier in Bombay, a fishing village in the Laccadives, a twisting street in pre-war Shanghai. Hollywood bridged the gaps, set up the process screen, placed Fredric March and Joan Bennett before it ..
Detectives "Ben 'Homer' Blodgett" and "George Faulkner", portrayed by Robert Elliott, have found "Thomas Bruhme II", played by Sidney Blackmer" with a gunshot in the back of his head. By the body is the handbag of "Kay Kerrigan" and the police are now after her for the murder.

First, she fakes a car accident, driving her car into San Francisco Bay. Next, she makes plans to go to Hawaii, and pawns a unique piece of jewelry. Which tells "Commissioner Blackton" that she didn't die in the car and he assigns "Detective Sam Wye" to the case. 

To make things more interesting, director Tay Garnett with the help of Joan Bennett's future husband producer Walter Wanger, convinced Bennett to dye her platinum blonde hair brunette and that first step to change the direction of her career took place.

"Kay" is now traveling under a British passport as "Mary Holden" and from Hawaii she boards a ship to Saigon. While, "Sam Wye" and his secretary "Jean Livingstone", along with detective "Ben 'Homer' Blodgett" are following. 

In the end, "Sam" and "Kay" have fallen in love, as has "Jean" and "Ben". The detectives discover that the real murderer is "John Johnson", portrayed by Richard Tucker, whose wife was seduced by "Bruhme".

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK released on July 13, 1939

This version of French author Alexander Dumas' classic was produced by Edward Small, 1934's "The Count of Monte Christo", and 1936's "The Last of the Mohicans".

The motion picture was directed by James Whale, 1931's "Frankenstein", 1933's "The Invisible Man", and 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein". My article, "JAMES WHALE: Jean Harlow to Louis Hayward", is found at:

The screenplay was by George Bruce, who wrote another Joan Bennett screenplay I will be mentioning. His other screenplays included 1941's, "The Corsican Brothers", 1946's, "Two Years Before the Mast", and 1946's "The Return of Monte Christo".

Louis Hayward portrayed both "King Louis XIV" and "Philippe of Gascony". He had just been seen in 1938's, "The Duke of West Point", from a George Bruce screenplay. He would follow this feature with 1940's, "My Son, My Son!", co-starring with Madeline Carroll and Brian Aherne.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Princes Maria Theresa". She would follow this motion picture with what is described as a comedy crime film-noir, 1939's, "The Housekeeper's Daughter", co-starring Adolph Menjou.

Warren William portrayed "D'Artagnan". William was the first actor to portray "Perry Mason" on-screen, he also portrayed popular fictional detective "Philo Vance", and it was one of the films based upon author S.S. Van Dine's character, "The Gracie Allen Murder Case", that proceeded this picture. Comedian Gracie Allen portrayed herself in the film. Warren William followed this motion picture co-starring with Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell in the 1939 comedy, "Day-Time Wife".

Joseph Schildkraut portrayed "Fouquet". In 1937, Schildkraut portrayed French Jewish "Captain Alfred Dreyfus" in director William Dieterle's classic "The Life of Emile Zola", starring Paul Muni in the title role. In 1959, the actor was "Otto Frank" in director George Stevens film version of the play, "The Diary of Anne Frank".

Alan Hale, Sr. portrayed "Porthos". Hale had just been in the Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Ann Sheridan western, 1939's, "Dodge City". He followed this feature co-starring with John Garfield and Priscilla Lane in the 1939 drama, "Dust Be My Destiny".

In 1638, "King Louis XIII", portrayed by Albert Dekker", is proud that his wife has just bore him a son, "Louis", his heir, but minutes later she delivers a twin, "Philippe". The birth of twins presents a possible problem for the throne later on, and the King's trusted advisor, "Colbert", portrayed by Walter Kingsford, suggests sending "Philippe" to their friend "D'Artagnan" to be raised in secret, thus avoiding a possible civil war. However, "Fouquet", a cardinal's messenger, finds out about the twins and uses that to advance his career. 

The story now moves twenty-years forward:

"Louis" is on the throne and has become a cruel King and with the suggestions of his advisor, "Fouquet", has raised the taxes several times and executes anyone who refuses to pay them.

One group who refuses to pay "King Louis XIV's" taxes is led by "The Three Musketeers". Who along with others in the group were made exempt from being taxed in honor of their service to France by "King Louis XIII". "Fouquet" in the name of the new King, sends troops to capture the group, the first time they are driven off, but the second time with a larger force, succeed in capturing everyone including the musketeers and "Philippe".

"Louis XIV" orders everyone executed, but "Colbert" intervenes, telling the King of the uncanny resemblance to him by "Philippe". It just happens that "Louis" is aware of a planned assassination attempt and decides to send "Philippe" in his place, after agreeing to letting everyone be set free. The King figures "Philippe" will be killed and he can recapture the others and execute them. However, "Philippe" survives the assassination, but shows mercy to the killers, who are peasants protesting the taxation. 

"Princess Maria Theresa", whom "Louis XIV" is to marry to create an alliance with Spain, sees the new "Louis", still played by "Philippe" and likes him better than the old, but the King has his brother moved to the Bastille and placed in an iron mask, believing his beard will grow and strangle him. The Princess discovers the old "Louis" is having an affair with "Mademoiselle de la Valliere", portrayed by Marion Martin, and leaves France for Spain.

Of course, the climax comes with "Philippe" being rescued by the musketeers and taking the place of "Louis", "Fouquet" is killed and "Maria Theresa" marries "King Louis XIV" of France. Who has turned into a good and benevolent monarch. As for "Louis", he wears the iron mask and claims to the jailers that he is the King.

It should be noted that Alexander Dumas based this story on another going back to the reign of "Louis XIV" about a twin brother, the real heir, being locked in the Bastille wearing an iron mask.


On January 26, 1940, Joan Bennett was back under the direction of James Whale, co-starring with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., hunting for treasure in the jungles of the "Green Hell".

Joan Bennett's on-screen persona was changing from her early seemingly innocent roles like "Amy Marsh", and even "Princess Maria Theresa", to the tough women portrayed by actresses Ann Sheridan and Ida Lupino.

THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY released on March 1, 1940

The motion picture was directed by Archie Mayo, 1935's, "Bordertown", starring Paul Muni and Bettie Davis, 1936's, "The Petrified Forest", starring Leslie Howard and Bette Davis, featuring Humphrey Bogart, and 1937's, "Black Legion", starring Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan.

George Raft
portrayed "Steve Larwitt". Raft was just in the 1939 crime drama, "Invisible Stripes", co-starring with Jane Bryan and William Holden. He followed this picture with 1940's "They Drive By Night", co-starring with Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Brenda Bentley". 

Lloyd Nolan portrayed "Slant Kolma". Nolan had joined Jean Rodgers in the 1940 crime drama "The Man Who Wouldn't Talk" before this film and followed it with 1940's "Johnny Apollo", directed by Henry Hathaway, and starring Tyrone Power and Dorothy Lamour.

Walter Pidgeon portrayed "Tim Nolan", Pidgeon had just starred in director Jacques Tourneur's, 1939 "Nick Carter, Master Detective", and followed this picture by co-starring in the Deanna Durbin feature, 1940's, "It's a Date".

Gladys George portrayed "Mary Bogale". Character actress George is known for portraying "Rose Duffy", co-starring with Spencer Tracy in 1937's, "They Gave Him a Gun", "Panama Smith" in the James Cagney and Priscilla Lane, 1939, "The Roaring Twenties", featuring Humphrey Bogart, and "Iva Archer", in Bogart's, 1941, "The Maltese Falcon"

Gangster "Steve Larwitt" falls for his nightclub's singer "Brenda Bartley" and the two marry and live the high life. However, he is set up by someone and is sent to Alcatraz on racketeering charges for ten-years. "Brenda" suspects that "Steve's" lawyer, "Slant Kolma" help set her husband up. 

"Brenda" now rents a house on the San Francisco Bay with a clear view of Alcatraz. She meets "Mary Bogale", another wife with a husband in the prison, and the two become close friends. Over time, "Brenda" meets aircraft designer "Tim Nolan", who pursues her as a love interest, but she still loves "Steve". "Slant" sees the two together at a restaurant and attempts to blackmail her, but she has no money after selling all her fine jewelry for "Steve's" defense. 

Everything will come to a head, when "Steve" is released from prison and finds out about both "Tim" and "Slant".

THE MAN I MARRIED aka: I MARRIED A NAZI released on August 9, 1940

This anti-Nazi tract was directed by Irving Pichel, who was also a successful supporting actor. Among his directing works are producer Merian C. Cooper's, 1935. version of British author H. Ridder Haggard's, "SHE", starring Randolph Scott and Nigel Bruce, the 1940 mystery fantasy "Earthbound" starring Warner Baxter, and the Paul Muni and Laird Cregar, 1940's, "Hudson Bay". Fans of 1950's science fiction may not know it was Pichel who directed producer George Pal's classic "Destination Moon", written by Robert A. Heinlein.

Joan Bennett
portrayed "Carol Cabbott Hoffman". Bennett followed this feature co-starring with Louis Hayward and George Sanders in producer Edward Small's, "The Son of Monte Cristo".

Francis Lederer portrayed "Eric Hoffman". The actor would purchase land in the San Fernando Valley that would eventually become the city of Canoga Park and Lederer would be its first mayor. My article, "FRANCIS LEDERER the Forgotten 'Dracula': A Stage and Film Actor's Life", may be read at:

This was pure anti-Nazi propaganda about a naïve American art critic who married a handsome German American and they have a seven-years-old son, "Ricky", portrayed by Johnny Russell. The three are to travel to Germany to visit "Carol's" father-in-law, but she before they left. She was warned about the Nazi's and advised by friends not to go to Germany at this time. 

The story turns on "Carol" starting to suspect her husband is also a Nazi. After "Eric" starts attending Nazi gatherings and then meets his old school mate, a Nazi woman named "Frieda", portrayed by Ann Stern. Next, "Eric" declares to "Carol" his plans to divorce her, marry "Frieda", but keep custody of their son to be raised for the fatherland as the movie turns into legal battle over "Ricky".

It should be noted that Joan Bennett was a member of the Hollywood Democratic Committee and the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League at the time she made "The Man I Married". Francis Lederer was strongly anti-Nazi, but would be typecast as Nazi's during the 1940's.

Although the actress appeared in other feature film genres during the 1940's. It is her film-noirs directed by German American Fritz Lang that completed Joan Bennett's on-screen persona's change into a screen "Femme fatale", French for "Fatal Woman". Defined on the website, "Britannica", as:
a seductive and beautiful woman who brings disaster to anyone with whom she becomes romantically involved.

Director Fritz Lang had left Germany with the rise of Adolph Hitler, but his motion pictures in Germany, prior to that move, included the 1922 crime drama, "Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler", and the 1927, science fiction classic, "Metropolis". 

In 1929, Lang and his wife took their audience to our nearest neighbor in the "Women in the Moon". Fritz Lang and his wife, at the time, Thea von Harbou, invented the rocket count-down to increase the suspense in their silent motion picture. 

Of course, I cannot forget mentioning Lang's 1931, "M", that brought actor Peter Lorre to international attention. My article about Lang's work and another German director, a favorite of Hitler and Nazi Germany, entitled "Fritz Lang and Leni Riefensthal: Their Films", is available for your reading at:

The first of Fritz Lang's films with Joan Bennett was:

MAN HUNT released on June 13, 1941

Fritz Lang's latest release was 1941's, "Western Union", starring Robert Young, Randolph Scott, and Dean Jagger. He would follow this feature film with the next film I will mention. 

The screenplay was based upon the 1939 novel, "Rogue Male", by British author Geoffrey Edward West Household. It was written by Dudley Nichols, director John Ford's, 1934's, "The Lost Patrol", 1935, "The Informer", 1936's, "Mary of Scotland" and 1939's, "Stagecoach". 

Walter Pidgeon portrayed "Captain Alan Thorndike". Pidgeon has just co-starred with Robert Taylor and Ruth Hussey in 1940's, "Flight Command". He would follow this feature with director John Ford's, 1941, "How Green Was My Valley".

Joan Bennett portrayed "Jerry Stokes". Bennett had co-starred with Franchot Tone in the 1941 comedy "She Knew All the Answers", and followed this feature film with 1941, "Wild Geese Calling", co-starring with Henry Fonda and Warren William.

George Sanders portrayed "Major Quive-Smith". Sanders had just co-starred with Robert Montgomery and Ingrid Bergman in the 1941, thriller, "Rage in Heaven". He would follow this feature with the 1941 war drama, "Sundown", co-starring with Gene Tierney and Bruce Cabot.

John Carradine portrayed "Mr. Jones". The Shakespearian trained actor had just been part of the cast of the Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth, 1941, "Blood and Sand". Carradine followed this film with the Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, and Anne Baxter, 1941 crime mystery, "Swamp Water".

Roddy McDowall portrayed "Vaner". McDowall had just been in the cast of a British musical biography, 1941, "You Will Remember", and followed this picture with another British film, 1941's, "This England".

On July 29, 1939, big game hunter "Captain Alan Thorndyke" is seen walking through the forest near Berghof, the residence of Adolf Hitler. He takes aim with his rifle's telescopic sight and fires, but this was a unloaded test shot and "Thorndyke" now loads his rife for the real kill shot of Adolph Hitler.

According to British film historian, H. Mark Glancy, in his 1999 work, "When Hollywood Loved Britain":

Joseph Breen of the United States "Hayes" motion picture censorship office was "alarmed" that the Dudley Nichols screenplay was a German "hate film".

My reader must remember two points here.

First, although the year was 1941, the picture's release was still six-months prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. American's had an isolationist position over the war in Europe.

Second, this would turn-out to be the first of four films by Fritz Lang that were anti-Nazi and because of his personal feelings brought into Nichols screenplay, there were "no good Germans" in it.

Joseph Breen insisted that because there are "no good Germans" in the screenplay, the two torture sequences had to be edited of actually showing "Thorndyke" being tortured, but the dialogue could imply that the torture had taken place.

At the studio, producer Daryl F. Zanuck banned Fritz Lang from the editing room and gave orders to editor Gene Fowler of how the film was to look. However, Fowler was a friend of Lang and the two men worked together on the editing of "Man Hunt".

According to author M. Todd Bennett in his 2012 book, "On World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II". American isolationists and Nazi-sympathizers called the motion picture a pro-Britain feature to influence the United States to join the war in Europe.

Overview of the rest of the screenplay:

"Thorndyke" aims his rife with its live round, but a guard discovers him and the shot goes wide. 

"Alan Thorndyke" is beaten for information, but gives out nothing. He is next taken to "Quive-Smith", also a big game hunter and very familiar with the other, who listens as "Thorndyke" claims he had no plans to kill Hitler, that this was just a thrill adventure to see if it could be done.

"Quive-Smith" orders "Thorndyke" to be once more tortured for information, but what comes out of it wasn't what the Nazi major expected. "Captain Alan Thorndyke" reveals "that questions will be asked in high places" about his torturing and that his brother is the very important British diplomat "Lord Risborough", portrayed by Frederick Worlock. With that last piece of information and to avoid complications, "Quive-Smith" gives orders to have "Thorndyke" pushed off a cliff to give the appearance he committed suicide.

Wearing his knapsack and dressed as he was last seen, "Alan Thorndyke" is pushed off the cliff, but his knapsack gets caught on a tree and he survives. Alluding his pursuers, "Alan Thorndyke" makes it to the nearby seaport, takes a rowboat to a neutral Dutch ship, is helped and hidden by British cabin boy named "Varner", and the Germans search of the ship doesn't find him. However, "Quive-Smith" places a "Mr. Jones" on-board using "Alan Thorndyke's" passport to search for him.

Once in London, "Mr. Jones" is met by German agents, while "Alan" believes he's now safe, but is spotted by the Germans. He is able to find refuge in the apartment of a young woman he meets, "Jerry Stokes", who also gives him money to use to reach his brother. 

"Lord Risborough" tells "Alan" that under England's pre-Second World War policy, if he is found, they would have to extradite his brother back to Germany, Meanwhile, "Major Quiver-Smith" arrives in London to join in the German "Man Hunt". "Alan" is in love with "Jerry" and her with him, he gives her a silver hat pin looking like an arrow for the beret she is always wearing. 

At the right time "Alan" plans on going to Africa and offers a large monetary gift to "Jerry" for all her help, which she refuses, but "Lady Risborough", portrayed by Heather Thatcher, believes the money was really for "other services" provided by "Jerry Stokes" to her brother-in-law.

"Alan" leaves the apartment and is chased into a London subway tunnel. Where "Thorndyke" and "Mr. Jones" fight and the Nazi is killed after being tossed onto the electrified train rail.

"Alan Thorndyke", now decides to go into temporary hiding and asks "Jerry" to tell his brother to send him a letter in three-weeks to the post office in the West Dorset town of Lyme Regis, but when the letter arrives it is not from "Lord Risborough".

"Thorndyke" who has been hiding in a cave discovers its from "Quive-Smith", he has murdered "Jerry", the arrow pin still on her beret is passed to the other in the cave, and the Nazi wants "Alan" to sign a confession.

In the end, "Captain Alan Thorndyke" takes his belt, a slat from his bed, and a stick to make a bow and arrow and kills "Nazi Major Quive-Smith". The motion picture ends with "Alan Thorndyke" on a secret mission parachuting with his rifle into Nazi Germany.

The Joan Bennett's next motion picture was an American made war drama set in London entitled, "Confirm or Deny", released on November 19, 1941.

There are two interesting credits, or one non-credit and one full to be precise, for the Don Ameche and Joan Bennett routine war drama romance, "Confirm or Deny", that are of interest. For some reason Fritz Lang was an uncredited director on the motion picture, but for what reason and what he filmed I could not locate.

The other credit is that the original story came from journalist, screenplay writer, and during the Second World War, a serving member of "The Big Red One", the army's "First Infantry Division", Samuel Fuller. He would write and direct, a biographical motion picture in 1980 with Robert Carradine as his fictional self. My article "Samuel 'Sam' Fuller: The Ever Present Cigar and Six Movies: 'I Shot Jesse James' 1949, 'The Baron of Arizona' 1950, 'The Steel Helmet' 1951, 'Pick Up on South Street' 1951, 'Shock Corridor' 1963 and 'The Big Red One' 1980", will be found at:

"Margin for Error", released on January 8, 1943, was an already outdated drama as it was based upon a 1939 two-act play written by Claire Booth Luce, and turned into a screenplay by Sam Fuller. The movie was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Joan Bennett, and Milton Berle, in a dramatic, not comedy role, and Otto Preminger in one of his Nazi roles. It was based upon the real incident of a Jewish New York City police officer being assigned the duty of guarding the German consulate in 1938. Berle's character's name was changed from the plays, because the real officer, named in the play, had committed suicide over some of his own criminal activity that was discovered at the time of his retirement.

Then came two more motion pictures directed by Fritz Lang, co-starring Edward G. Robinson, and "Presented" by Joan Bennett's husband Walter Wanger.

WOMAN IN THE WINDOW released October 25, 1944

The film-noir was produced and written by Nunnally Johnson. Among his screenplays are 1934's, "The House of Rothchild", 1936's, "The Prisoner of Shark Island", 1939's, "Jesse James", 1940's, "The Grapes of Wrath", and 1942's, "Roxie Hart", which became the musical "Chicago".

Fritz Lang had just released 1944's, "Ministry of Fear", starring Ray Milland, and would follow this feature film with the next motion picture I will be mentioning.

Edward G. Robinson portrayed "Professor Richard Wanley". Robinson had just been in the Second World War comedy, 1944's, "Mr. Winkle Goes to War", he would follow this picture co-starring with Margaret O'Brien in the family drama, 1945's, "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes".

Joan Bennett portrayed "Alice Reed". She would follow this picture with director Henry Hathaway's, 1945, "Nob Hill", co-starring George Raft and Vivian Blaine.

Raymond Massey portrayed "Frank Lalor". Massey had just been in 1944's, "Arsenic and Old Lace", starring Cary Grant, and followed this feature with 1945's, "Hotel Berlin".

Edmund Breon portrayed "Dr. Michael Barkstane". He had just been seen in the cast of 1944's, "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay", and followed this film with 1945's, "The Man in Half Moon Street". In 1951, Breon was "Dr. Ambrose" in Howard Hawk's classic science fiction "The Thing from Another World".

Dan Duryea portrayed "Heidt/Tim". Duryea was just in the Cary Grant, and Ethel Barrymore's, 1944, "None But the Lonely Heart", and followed this motion picture with 1945's, "Main Street After Dark".

The story starts out innocently enough, as College professor "Richard Wanley" sends his wife and two children off on a vacation. He goes to his club to meet friends and sees a portrait of "Alice Reed", enjoys diner with those friends, and then stops to look at the portrait once more. Watching "Richard Wanley" is "Alice Reed", she approaches him, they talk, and she invites the professor to go out for drinks. After which they return to her home and that's when things first twist.

"Reed's" clandestine lover, known to her as "Frank Howard", but really, "Claude Mazard", portrayed by Arthur Loft, unexpectedly arrives. Words are said, a fight takes place between the two men, and "Professor Wanley" kills "Claude Mazard" in self-defense.

"Wanley" and "Reed" now conspire to hide the murder and the professor takes the body to the countryside to get rid of it. There is an investigation into "Mazard's" disappearance and one of the investigators is "Richard Wanley's" fellow club member, district attorney "Frank Lalor", but "Lalor" doesn't suspect the professor, even with "Wanley" slipping and dropping clues to the murder.

Meanwhile, "Mazard's" bodyguard, "Heidt", a crocked ex-cop, starts to blackmail "Alice Reed". "Manley" and "Reed" discuss the problem and the professor decides the best way to end the problem is to murder "Heidt".

I will not go further in this great plot and recommend this motion picture to my reader.

SCARLET STREET released on December 28, 1945

Fritz Lang would follow this motion picture with 1946's, "Cloak and Dagger", starring Gary Cooper, Robert Alda, and Lilli Palmer.

The film-noir's screenplay was by Dudley Nichols, the writer of 1941's, "Man Hunt", who had just written the screenplay for the Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby's, 1945, "The Bells of St. Mary's", and followed this feature with the screenplay for Rosalind Russell's, 1946, "Sister Kenny".

Edward G. Robinson
portrayed "Christopher Cross". Robinson was just in a British war propaganda motion picture with 23rd billing, 1945's, "Journey Together". The motion picture about navigators on British bombers, actually starred Sir Richard Attenborough, but opens with this credit:

Edward G. Robinson followed this motion picture with 1946's, "The Stranger", co-starring with Loretta Young and Orson Welles.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Katharine 'Kitty' March". She followed this picture with the comedy, 1945's, "Colonel Effingham's Raid", co-starring with Charles Coburn.

Dan Duryea portrayed "Johnny Prince". The actor had just been in the cast of the Deanna Durbin comedy crime film-noir, 1945's, "Lady on the Train". He would follow this feature starring in 1946's, "Black Angel", co-starring June Vincent and Peter Lorre.

The setting is 1934, New York City, "Christopher 'Chris' Cross" is an amateur painter in a loveless marriage, and works at a clothing retailer as a cashier. For his 25-years with the company, he receives a gold watch and kind words from his employer. "Cross's" employer leaves the ceremony, enters a waiting car, and drives away with a beautiful blonde next to him. "Christopher" wishes he could meet such a beautiful woman.

Walking home through "Greenwich Village", "Cross" sees a beautiful woman being attacked by a man, he uses his umbrella to knock out the man, and calls for a policeman. Next, "Christopher" walks "Kitty" home to her apartment and as the two talk. The clothing salesman speaks about his painting and not his actual work.

After he leaves, "Kitty's" boyfriend, "Johnny Prince", the man who attacked her, arrives. "Kitty" believes "Chris" is a wealthy painter and the two figure out a plan to get some of his money. 

Now things start to twist, with money loaned him by "Johnny", "Chris" sets up a studio to paint. However, the signature on the paintings is not "Christopher Cross", but unknown to him, "Katharine March". "Johnny" steals some of the paintings to show art critic "David Janeway", portrayed by Jess Parker. "Janeway" likes what he sees and wants to meet the painter, "Miss March". Another unknown to "Chris" is that he is a commercial success, but will never see the money that "Kitty" is getting from his paintings.

"Chris" wants to divorce his wife "Adele", portrayed by Rosalind Ivy, and marry "Kitty". While, "Adele" sees what are obviously her husband's paintings in a window with "Kitty's" signature. Adding to the situation and complexity of the story is that "Adele's" thought dead husband, "Patch-Eye-Higgins", portrayed by Charles Kemper, returns to attempt to extort the supposedly rich "Chris".

"Chris" now believing he is free from his loveless marriage with the return of "Adele's" husband. Decides to go to "Kitty's" apartment, but finds her and "Johnny" in an emotional embrace. When "Chris" says he wants to marry her. She laughs at him and says she wouldn't marry an old and ugly man like him. Enraged, "Chris" takes an ice pick and stabs "Kitty" to death and the twists continue as a murder trial, not of "Christopher Cross", but "Johnny Prince" takes place.

From feme fatale to loving wife (?), and a story by Hemmingway.

THE MACOMBER AFFAIR premiered in New York City on April 20, 1947

The motion was directed by Zoltan Korda, of the British Korda Brothers, who had remained in Hollywood after his two brothers had returned to the United Kingdom to continue to make movies there. My article, "ALEXANDER, ZOLTAN, VINCENT: THE KORDA BROTHERS FROM HUNGARY WITH LOVE", at:

The screenplay was based upon a short story by Ernest Hemmingway, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber", that had appeared in a 1936 issue of "Cosmopolitan" magazine.

The screenplay co-written was by Casey Robinson, the Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, 1945, "Saratoga Trunk", and co-written by Seymour Bennett, this was his first of only two screenplays.

Gregory Peck portrayed "Robert Wilson", the Hemmingway based character. Peck had just portrayed "Lewton 'Luke' McCandles", see my attached link, in the 1946 over-sexed western, "Duel in the Sun", co-starring Jennifer Jones. He would follow this motion picture with 1947s', "Gentleman's Agreement". My article, "Gregory Peck: Five Westerns-Five Different Characters", can be read at:

Joan Bennett portrayed "Margaret 'Margo' Macomber". Bennett would follow this motion picture with the 1947, crime film-noir, "The Woman on the Beach", co-starring with Robert Ryan, and directed by the great French director, Jean Renoir.

Robert Preston portrayed "Francis Macomber". This was Preston's first motion picture since the end of the Second World War. When he was an intelligence-officer with the U.S. 9th Air Force, based in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the desert air force fighting German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and later as part of the invasion of Sicily. 

The screenplay opens in the Kenya Colony of British East Africa as American "Margaret 'Margo' Macomber" and her husband's guide, English big-game hunter, "Robert Wilson", land at the airport in Nairobi. The viewer learns that "Margo's" husband, "Francis", is dead from a gunshot to the back of his head. 

The screenplay now becomes a flashback of the events leading to "Francis Macomber's" death.

"Francis" and "Robert" are at a the Fairmont Norfolk hotel in Nairobi to plan a safari into Africa. As the safari starts, it becomes obvious to "Margo" that her husband is a coward and she becomes attracted to "Robert". "Francis", to prove his masculinity leaves camp on his own to kill a lion, instead he just wounds the animal after it charged him, and it's up to "Robert" to find and kill the lion, before it kills a person.

Animosity has grown between husband and wife and to humiliate "Francis", in front of him, she kisses "Robert" on the lips. Meanwhile, "Francis" starts treating the African members of the safari with cruelty. He attacks a native servant and "Robert" has to restrain him. The following day the three are on Safari and with a courageous shot, "Francis" proves himself by shooting a cape buffalo. Which brings "Francis Macomber" to come to terms with his cowardness and his physical weaknesses "Margo" kept pointing out.

However, like the lion before, the buffalo is not dead and turns and charges. "Margo" takes aim and fires, but instead of hitting the buffalo, which "Robert" will kill, her shot hits "Francis" in the head, killing him.

Switch to the present, as "Margo Macomber" prepares for her trial on charges of murdering "Francis". "Robert" is attempting to get her to admit the shot was accidental, but the screenplay ends not answering that question.

Above still signed by Gregory Peck and Joan Bennett.

After filming 1947's "Woman on the Beach", Joan Bennett continued as a femme fatale in three more movies and then she changed her career's direction once more.

FATHER OF THE BRIDE premiered in New York City on May 18, 1950

The motion picture was directed by Vincente Minnelli. Minnelli's latest was 1949's, "Madame Bovary", starring Jennifer Jones, James Mason, Van Heflin, and Louis Jordan. He would follow this feature with the next motion picture I will mention.

The screenplay was based upon the 1949 novel of the same name by Edward Streeter. The screenplay was co-written by Francis Goodrich, among her work was 1946's, "It's a Wonderful Life", and 1948's, "Easter Parade", co-starring Vincent Minnelli's wife, Judy Garland.

The other writer was Albert Hackett, Francis Goodrich's husband at the time.

Spencer Tracy portrayed "Stanley T. Banks". Tracy had just co-starred with James Stewart in 1949's, "Malaya". He would follow this feature with the next motion picture I will mention.

Joan Bennett portrayed "Ellie Banks". Bennett had just appeared in the last of her femme fatal feature films, 1949's, "The Reckless Moment", co-starring with James Mason and Geraldine Brooks. She would follow this feature appearing in another comedy, "For Heaven's Sake", starring Clifton Webb as as angel sent to get future parents, Joan Bennett and Robert Cummings to stop putting off having a family, so the daughter that has chosen them can be born.

Above "Mr. and Mrs. Banks".

Elizabeth Taylor portrayed "Kay Banks". Taylor was just seen in a very controversial motion picture for the year, because of her age compared to her lover in the story, Robert Taylor, 1949's, "Conspirator". The actress followed this film with the 1950 comedy, "The Big Hangover", co-starring with Van Johnson. Elizabeth Taylor was married to her first husband, Conrad Hilton, Jr. My article, "The '7' Husbands of ELIZABETH TAYLOR", can be explored at:

Don Taylor portrayed "Buckley Dunson", the groom. As an actor, Taylor had just been seen in the 1950, Robert Taylor western, "Ambush". He followed this picture with the Second World War story, 1951's, "Target Unknown". In 1956, Don Taylor switched careers to television direction, but among his feature films are 1971's, "Escape from the Planet of the Apes", 1976's, "The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday", starring Lee Marvin and British actor Oliver Reed, the Burt Lancaster and Michael York, 1977 version of H.G. Wells', "The Island of Dr. Moreau", and the excellent Kirk Douglas, time traveling to December 6, 1941 with a modern aircraft carrier, 1980's, "The Final Countdown".

This is a classic comedy about the trials and tribulations of "The Father of the Bride", portrayed by Spencer Tracy, and his wife, portrayed by Joan Bennett, who's attempting to keep him calm and on track. This role was literally an overnight change of character for the actress.

Apparently, Spencer Tracy wanted Katharine Hepburn to portray his wife, but it was felt they were known as a too romantic team for the roles. Instead, Joan Bennett was considered, because it was felt, even after all her femme fatal roles, that she could portray a happily married 1950's wife.

The motion picture would be nominated for three "Academy Awards", "Best Picture", "Best Actor", and "Best Screenplay", but didn't win. The estimated final budget for the motion picture was $1,215,000, with an estimated Worldwide Box Office of $6,084,000.

Joan Bennett and Spencer Tracy were back, as was Elizabeth Taylor and Don Taylor. The sequel was entitled "Father's Little Dividend", released on April 27, 1951, and now "Kay's" parents were faced with a pregnant daughter and the laughs continued to a second box office hit.

In 1951, Joan Bennett switched her career, as many 1930's, 1940's, actors and actresses had done before her, to the new medium of television making "Guest Star Appearances", BUT there was a specific incident that caused this to take place:

When Fiction Became Reality

For the last twelve-years, Jennings Lang was Joan Bennett's agent. On December 13, 1951, she met Lang, who was the head of the west coast television operations for the "Music Corporation of America (MCA)". Bennett had parked her Cadillac convertible in the parking lot behind the "MCA" office, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford Drive, which happened to be located across the street from the Beverly Hills Police Department. Jennings Lang and Joan Bennett next drove away together in his car. 

At 2:30 PM, Walter Wanger drove by the office and noticed his wife's car in the parking lot, a half-hour later, he returned and saw the car still there. Wanger decided to wait, a few hours later, he was still waiting for his wife's return. Jennings Lang's car arrived and both Lang and Bennett got out. Jennings escorted Joan to her convertible and Joan Bennett Wanger started up the car's engine. Her husband Walter Wanger approached, pulled out a pistol, shot Jennings Lang in the leg, tossed the pistol into the front seat of his wife's car, and according to the police report, she told her husband:

Get away and leave us alone. 
Police from the station across the street came running after hearing the shots. Walter Wanger was taken into custody as Joan Bennett and the parking lot's service station manager took Jennings Lang to a local hospital. When questioned by the police, Walter Wanger stated:
I shot him because I thought he was breaking up my home,

Joan Bennett denied having an affair with Jennings Lang stating:

But if Walter thinks the relationships between Mr. Lang and myself are romantic or anything but strictly business, he is wrong,

On December 14th, Walter Wanger went to his home, collected his belongings, moved out, stating there would be no divorce. Later the same say, in her bedroom, a group of newspapermen with television cameras listened to a prepared statement from Joan Bennett Wanger that included her plea that her husband not be blamed too much for shooting her agent Jennings Lang.

After requesting not to have a jury trial and putting his sentence in the hands of a judge with a temporary insanity plea. Walter Wanger served four-months at the "Los Angeles County Honor Farm" in Castaic, 39-miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, and resumed his career as a successful motion picture producer. 

However, the major studios looked differently upon Joan Bennett's alleged affair with Jennings Lang,  and she found herself "Blacklisted" by them, without the term "Blacklisted" being used. She would turn to television. 

Fourteen-years after the above incident, Joan Bennett and Walter Wanger would divorce in 1965.


Between her first appearance on the long-forgotten anthology series, "Nash Airflyte Theatre", in season one, episode twenty-one, entitled "Peggy", February 8, 1951, through her appearance on actor Gene Barry's, "Burke's Law", season two, episode twenty-four, entitled "Who Killed Mr. Colby in Ladies Lingerie?", March 3, 1965. Joan Bennett appeared on television programing twenty-one times, and was in six forgotten motion pictures during the same time period.

Which brings my reader to the aforementioned afternoon television of June 27, 1966, on the "American Broadcasting Company (ABC)":



Daniel Mayer Cherkoss was born on August 12, 1927 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He would attend "Syracuse University" and receive a degree in sociology. 

Turning to his obituary in the "Los Angeles Times", by staff writer Valerie J. Nelson, March 28, 2006, I learned:

Daniel Cherkoss became Dan Curtis upon his graduation. During college he met his future wife, Norma Mae Klein. The two would marry in 1952 and have three daughters, Cathy, Tracy, and Linda. 

Not stated, but my guess, is Daniel changed his "Foreign Jewish sounding name" to a more "1950's acceptable American sounding one" to be able to find work easier. His first position was as a syndication salesman for the "National Broadcast Company (NBC)". 

In 1963, after forming "Dan Curtis Productions", Curtis became the owner and executive in charge of production for the Emmy winning television golf series, "CBS Match Play", from 1963 through 1973. Which, if I hadn't read his obituary, I would never knew existed, because all the listings I could find of Dan Curtis' work starts with "DARK SHADOWS". Which he was the Executive Producer for all 1,225 episodes, and had Directed only 20 of those. The most episodes from the other eight directors, were by Lela Swift with 592.

The show was on the air from June 27, 1966 through April 2, 1971, starting out in black and white and switching to color in August 1967.

"Dark Shadows" had ten scripts writers, but contrary to belief, Dan Curtis never wrote even one episode, however, he received credit on all 1,225 as the "Series Creator".

My reader should note, that while there are several smaller story arcs, they all intersect with one main story arc in each of the parts that I have divided the series into below.

1966 through 1967

Part One:

Victoria Winter's Parentage, episodes 1 through 92

Burke Devlin's Revenge for His Manslaughter Conviction, episodes 1 through 201

Roger Collins' Mysterious Car Crash, episodes 13 through 32

The Murder of Bill Malloy, episodes 46 through 126

Laura Collins the Phoenix, episodes 123 through 192

Jason McGuire Blackmails Elizabeth Collin Stoddard, episodes 193 through 275

The program had a small but loyal audience for the first 210 episodes. However, one of Dan Curtis' daughters suggested to make the show scarier and "Cousin Barnabas" was introduced and the ratings went up and up.

The Arrival of the Vampire Barnabas Collins, episodes 211 through 220

The Kidnapping of Maggie Evans, episodes 221 through 220

Julia Hoffman's Attempt to Cure Barnabas Collins, episodes 265 through 351

Barnabas Terrorizing Julia Hoffman, episodes 352 through 365

Part Two:

"Dark Shadows" moved all the characters back to the year 1795.

Angelique Bouchard's Vampire Curse on Barnabas,
episodes 366 through 426

Victoria Winter's Witchcraft Trial, episodes 400 through 461

Nathan Forbes' Manipulation of Millicent Collins, episodes 419 through 460

1968 through 1969

Part One:

The Mystery of Jeff Clark, episodes 461 through 665

The Creation of Adam, episodes 466 through 636

The Dream Curse, episodes 477 through 636

Elizabeth's Fear of Being Buried Alive, episodes 513 through 672

Nicholas Blair's Scheme to Create a Master Race, episodes 549 through 634

Chris Jennings' Werewolf Curse, episodes 627 through 700

The Ghost of Quentin Collins and Beth Chavez Haunt Collingwood, episodes 639 through 700

Part Two:

"Dark Shadows" moved the characters to 1897.

Barnabas' Mission to Save David Collins, episodes 700 through 839

Jenny Collins, the Man Woman in the Attic, episodes 707 through 839

Laura Collins the Phoenix, episodes 728 through 761

Magna Rakoski's Werewolf Curse on Quentin, episodes 749 through 834

Gregory Task's Manipulation of Judith Collins, episodes 762 through 884

The Hand of Count Petofi, episodes 778 through 814

The Creation of Amanda Harris, episodes 812 through 850

Josette's Return, episodes 844 through 885

Count Petofi Body Swaps with Quentin, episodes 849 through 883

1969 into 1970

This section begins with the end of the 1796 flashback at the end of Part Two, above, and Barnabas returning to 1969.

Barnabas Falls Under the Control of the Leviathans, episodes 886 through 950

The Mystery of Grant Douglas and Olivia Corey, episodes 888 to 934

Chris Jennings' Werewolf Curse, episodes 889 through 934

The Leviathan Child, episodes 891 through 929

Jeb Hawkins the Leviathan Leader, episodes 935 through 980

The Ghosts of Gerald Stiles and Daphne Harridge Haunt Collinwood, episodes 1071 through 1109

The following are all about Parallel Time.


The Death of Angelique Collins, episodes 969 through 1060

Cyrus Longworth's Experiment, episodes 978 through 1035


The Destruction of Collinwood, episodes 1061 through 1070


Barnabas' Infatuation with Roxanne Drew, episodes 1081 through 1150

The Head of Judah Zachery, episodes 1117 through 1138

Judah Zachery's Possession of Gerald Stiles, episodes 1139 through 1197

Quentin Collin's Witchcraft Trial, episodes 1162 through 1197


For the record there never were episodes 1226 through 1245, blame "ABC". The network preempted the series twenty-times, but to keep the weekly numbering system in place for broadcasting. The network compensated by either skipping an episode number, double-numbering, and in some cases, triple-numbering episodes, resulting in creating episodes with numbers higher than the actual count of 1225.

Bramwell Collins and Catherine Harridge's Love Affair, episodes 1186 through 1245

The Cursed Room Lottery, episodes 1194 through 1245

There were 280 cast members, obviously I am not going to go into all of them, but instead will mention the most familiar actors/actresses and the unique changing characters they played crossing the story arcs. Anticipating the question, not one actor/actress appeared in all 1,225 episodes.

Joan Bennett portrayed the multiple roles "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard", "Judith Collins", "Naomi Collins", and "Flora Collins". Bennett appeared in 390 episodes. 

In 1968, Joan Bennett was nominated for an "Emmy" for "Best Actress" for her role on the series.

Below, an undated interview with Joan Bennett about how she became "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard".

Jonathan Frid portrayed "Barnabas Collins", and "Bramwell Collins". Frid appeared in 592 episodes, the most of any actor. 

Many people ask what happened to Frid after "Dark Shadows"? Jonathan Frid was primarily a legitimate stage actor and he returned to Broadway, starring as "Thomas Becket" in the verse drama by T.S. Eliot, "Murder in the Cathedral". 

Between 1968 and 1969, there was a game show called "The Generation Gap". Three teenagers face off against three adults with the teens answering questions about the adults time period, and the adults about present teen culture. Jonathan Frid appeared on two episodes as both himself and "Barnabas". He was also a "Guest" in the 2012 movie.


Grayson Hall portrayed "Dr. Julia Hoffman", "Dr. Julia Hoffman Collins", "Magda Rakosi", "Julia Collins", "Natalie du Pres", "Constance Collins". Hall had the second largest number of episodes with 474. 

In 1964, Hall was nominated for both the "Best Supporting Actress Academy Award", and "Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe" for the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, "Night of the Iguana". 

Grayson Hall basically stayed on television after this series ended, but did appear in the two-motion pictures Dan Curtis made.

Nancy Barrett portrayed "Carolyn Stoddard", "Charity Trask", "Melanie Collins", "Millicent Collins", "Leticia Faye", "Carolyn Loomis", "Carolyn Stoddard Hawkes", "Amanda Collins", "Melanie Collins Young", and "Pansy Faye". Barrett appeared in 402 episodes. 

She portrayed "Nurse Cathy Ryker" on the daytime soap opera, "The Doctors", from 1971 through 1972, and was "Dr. Faith Coleridge" on "Ryan's Hope", in 1976.

Alexandra Isles portrayed "Victoria Winters". She appeared in the role 335 times, but returned to her Swedish birth name of Alexandra Grevina von Moltke to become a successful documentary film maker. 

Von Moltke only appeared once more on-screen after "Dark Shadows", and that was in the made-for-television movie, 1968's, "Certain Honorable Men" written by Rod Serling, and starring Van Heflin and Peter Fonda.

Louis Edmonds portrayed "Roger Collins", "Edward Collins", "Joshua Collins", the "Ghost of Joshua Collins", "Daniel Collins", the "Ghost of Daniel Collins", "Brutus Collins", "Amadeus Collins", and the "Ghost of Amadeus Collins". He appeared in 321 episodes. 

Louis Edmonds had been appearing in roles on different television series since 1950. He portrayed "Langley Wallingford" on the daytime soap opera, "All My Children", from 1979 through 1995.


David Selby portrayed "Quinten Collins", the "Ghost of Quinten Collins", "Grant Douglas", and the "Unknown Man". He appeared in 312 episodes. 

Selby also appeared in one of the feature films "Night of Dark Shadows".

 After this series he appeared on the forgotten television series "Flamingo Road", from 1981 into 1982. From 1982 through 1990, David Selby was "Richard Channing" on the television series "Falcon Crest". From 1997 through 1999, Selby was a regular on the forgotten television series "Soldier of Fortune, Inc.", Like Jonathan Frid, David Selby was a "Guest" in the 2012 remake.

Kathryn Leigh Scott portrayed "Maggie Evans", "Maggie Collins", "Maggie Evans Collins", "Josette du Pres", the "Ghost of Josette Collins", "Rachel Drummond", "Kitty Soames", and "Lady Hampshire", through 304 episodes.

 Scott stayed with television roles, she appeared as "Stephanie Marsh" in episodes of Brian Dennehy's, forgotten television show, 1979 to 1981's, "Big Shamus, Little Shamus". She also did voice acting for the animated series "The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang", 1980 through 1981.

David Henesy portrayed "David Collins", "Jamison Collins", "Daniel Collins", and "Tad Collins". He appeared in 277 episodes. 

David had appeared in one episode of the daytime soap opera, "Another World", before this series. After his episodes, David Henesy appeared on television one more time on a episode of "The Waltons". As an adult with his wife, they started a series of restaurants, while living in Panama City, Florida.


Lara Parker portrayed "Angelique Bouchard", "Angelique Stokes Collins", "Alexis Stokes", "Catherine Collins", "Cassandra Collins", "Valerie Collins", "Casandra Blair Collins", "Catherine Harridge", and "Miranda duVal". She appeared in 268 episodes. 

Lara Parker started appearing on other television series after this show ended. She was also a "Guest" in the 2012 movie.

Thayer David portrayed "Ben Stokes", "Professor Timothy Stokes", "Count Andreas Petofi", "Matthew Morgan", "Sandor Radoski", "Victor Fenn-Gibbon", "Mordecai Grimes", and "Peter Bradford". He appeared in 224 episodes. 

The actor had been "Count Saknussem" in the 1959 classic version of French author Jules Verne's, "Journey to the Center of the Earth", starring James Mason. Pat Boone, and Arlene Dahl. Thayer David portrayed "Dragon" in Clint Eastwood's 1975, "The Eiger Sanction".

John Karlen portrayed "Willie Loomis", "William H. Loomis", "Desmond Collins", "Kenrick Young", and "Carl Collins". He appeared in 177 episodes. 

Karlen had been acting on television since 1957, he appeared in 120 episodes of the first season of the forgotten 1958 through 1961 soap opera, "From These Roots". In 1963, he portrayed "Danny Boy Delaney" in a five-part episode on the daytime soap opera, "The Doctors", and in 1967, he was "Jock Porter" for the 74 episodes of the daytime soap opera, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing". After this series, John Karlen continued to appear on television programing.

Above is the "Seaport Terrace", also known as "The Carey Mansion", in Newport, Rhode Island. However, as every fan of "Dark Shadows" knows, this is "Collinwood".

The First Episode:

The aforementioned Lela Swift directed the first episode of the show. Season One, Episode One, on that eventful June 27, 1966. There was no individual title for the program, and it ran only 22-minutes without commercials. 

As I mentioned the credits listed Dan Curtis as the shows "Creator" and Art Wallace as its writer. 
In all, Art Wallace would create the stories for 1,137 episodes, write 65 episodes, and receive creator and developer credit for another 20.

Wallace had been writing for television since 1960, starting with the forgotten television series, "Hong Kong", starring Rod Taylor, Lloyd Bochner and Jack Kruschen. 

The First Episode's Cast:

Joan Bennett portrayed "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard".

Alexandra Isles billed as Alexandra Moltke portrayed "Victoria Winters".

Louis Edmonds portrayed "Roger Collins".

Mitchell Ryan portrayed "Burke Devlin" for 107 episodes. 

Joseph Julian portrayed "Wilbur Strake" for 2 episodes.

Elizabeth Wilson portrayed "Mrs. Hopewell" for 2 episodes.

Kathryn Leigh Scott portrayed "Maggie Evans".

Jane Rose portrayed "Mrs. Mitchell" for 1 episode.

Conrad Bain portrayed a "Mr. Wells, the clerk at the Collinsport, Inn" for 4 episodes.

Katherine Bruce
portrayed "Sandy" for 1 episode

Alfred Hinckley portrayed the "Train conductor" for this 1 episode, but later for 1 other episode he was "Dr. Ian Reade".

Tom Murphy portrayed the "Chauffeur" for 1 episode.

Bob O'Connell portrayed "Bartender Bob Rooney, the Eagle Inn Keeper" for 1 episode.

The Story: 

The episode opens with the voice over:
My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning-------



The audience learns that "Victoria Winters" was an orphan raised in a New York City Founding Home,  and had received a letter from "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard". The letter specifically offers "Victoria" the position of a companion and governess for young "David Collins" at Collinwood, in Collinsport, Maine.

The character of "Victoria Winters" is a reworking of British authoress Charlotte Bronte's title character, "Jane Eyre". "Victoria" looks upon the position of companion and governess as a means of discovering her past. A past that she believes is somehow connected to Collinwood. 

When "Victoria" gets off the train in Collinsport, the audience is reminded of a scene in Irish author Bram Stoker's "Dracula". 

Everywhere in the small fishing town when "Victoria" meets one of the locals, she is given the same warning:
Don't go to Collinswood! 

Before "Dark Shadows" ended its run, Art Wallace would use plot ideas, among others, from French author Alexander Dumas' "The Count of Monte Christo", American playwright Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible", Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Premature Burial", English playwright Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play "Gas Light", Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein", American author Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw", American author Richard Condon's, 1959 novel, "The Manchurian Candidate", American author H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror", British short story writer W.F. Harvey's, 1919, "The Beast with Five Fingers", and of course, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" in the character of "Barnabas Collins".

When "Victoria" finally arrives at Collinwood, she is introduced to the matriarch of the family, "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard". Whom "Victoria" finds staring out of the drawing room window and who has never left Collinwood the last 18-years!

"Victoria" also meets "Roger Collins", "Elizabeth's" brother, who seems very aloof and disinterested in the arrival of "David's" new governess. However, "Roger" inquires of his sister about why she hired a complete stranger? 

The audience now has three mysteries to solve:

1. Who is "Victoria Winters", and why is she so important to "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard"?

2. Why has "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard" remained at Collinwood for 18-years without leaving even to go into the town of Collinsport?

3. Why is "Roger Collins" seemingly shaken by the arrival of any stranger to Collinwood?

The Final Episode: Sunset at Collinwood

This was according to the "American Broadcasting Company (ABC)" Episode 1245, but as I have previously mentioned, in reality Episode 1225. The final episode of "Dark Shadows" was broadcast originally on April 2, 1971 and was directed by Lela Swift.

The writing credits read:

Dan Curtis, Creator.

Art Wallace, Story.

Sam Hall, Writer.
This was Sam Hall's 318th episode as the writer on the show. 

He had started out as co-writer with Irna Phillips, writing the first religious themed daytime soap opera "The Brighter Day", 1954 through 1962. After this program, Hall wrote 826 episodes of the daytime soap opera "One Life to Live".

The Cast for the Final Episode of "Dark Shadows" was small.

Joan Bennett now portrayed "Flora Collins". 

Jonathan Frid now portrayed "Bramwell Collins".

Nancy Barrett portrayed "Melanie Collins Young".

Louis Edmonds portrayed "Brutus Collins".

Grayson Hall portrayed "Julia Collins".

John Karlen portrayed "Kenrick Young".

Lara Parker portrayed "Catherine Collins".

Thayer David portrayed "Ben Stokes".

Keith Prentice portrayed "Morgan Collins" in the final episode. He had also portrayed "James Forsythe and appeared in a total of 40 episodes.

Gordon Russell portrayed "Harris the 2nd Footman" for 1 episode.

The Basic Story:

The Opening Voice Over:
Collinwood, just before dawn. The most important dawn the Collins family has ever faced. For Morgan, knowing that his wife carries Bramwell's child, has put her in the locked room with him. And, as the rest of the family pray that Bramwell and Catherine may survive the night and that the curse upon them all may come to an end, Morgan goes down the corridor to the room determined that if the spirits in the room have left Catherine and Bramwell alive, he will kill them.

The year is 1841 and "Bramwell Collins" has been looking for a way to end the curse on the family and discover if there really is a vampire? One that placed those two marks on the jugular vein of "Melanie Collins Young". While, "Morgan Collins" wants to have his wife "Catherine" watch him kill her lover and the father of her child, "Bramwell". Both have been placed in "The Locked Room" and when "Morgan" enters, he does not find the two, but the ghosts of past members of the "Collin's" family.

The Ending Voice Over for "DARK SHADOWS":
There was no vampire loose on the great estate. For the first time at Collinwood, the marks on the neck were indeed those of an animal. Melanie soon recovered and went to live in Boston with her beloved Kenrick. There, they prospered and had three children. Bramwell and Catherine were soon married and, at Flora's insistence, stayed on at Collinwood, where Bramwell assumed control of the Collins business interests. There love became a living legend. And, for as long as they lived the dark shadows at Collinwood were put a memory of the distant past.


HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS released on October 28, 1970

Dan Curtis directed his first of two feature films based upon Gothic Soap Opera characters.

The screenplay was co-written by Sam Hall, on August 26, 1969, the Sam Hill and Dan Curtis written made-for-television horror movie "Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon", was first shown. The feature was directed by Lela Swift. The cast included Thayer David and Louis Edmonds.

The other co-writer was Gordon Russell, who had written 370 episodes of the television series.

Prior to writing for Dan Curtis, Russell was the head writer for 385 episodes of the 1965 through 1967, prime time series, "The Nurses".

Jonathan Frid portrayed "Barnabas Collins". 

Joan Bennett portrayed "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard". 

Grayson Hall portrayed "Dr. Julia Hoffman".

Kathryn Leigh Scott portrayed "Maggie Evans".

Roger Davis portrayed "Jeff Clark". For 126 episodes of the television series, Davis was either "Jeff Clark", "Peter Bradford", "Charles Delaware Tate", "Dirk Wilkins", or "Ned Stuart".

Nancy Barrett portrayed "Carolyn Stoddard".

John Karlen
portrayed "Willie Loomis".

Thayer David
portrayed "Professor T. Elliot Stokes".

Louis Edmonds
portrayed "Roger Collins".

Don Briscoe billed as Donald Briscoe, portrayed "Todd Blake". For 94 episodes of the television series, Briscoe was either "Chris Jennings", "Tim Shaw", "Tom Jennings", or "Chris Collins".

David Henesy portrayed "David Collins".

Dennis Patrick
portrayed "Sheriff George Patterson". For 65 episodes of the television series, Patrick was either "Jason McGuire", or "Paul Stoddard".

Lisa Blake Richards billed as Lisa Richards, portrayed "Daphne Budd". For 29 episodes of the television series, Richards was "Sabrina Stuart".

Jerry Lacy portrayed the "Minister". For 109 episodes of the television series, Lacy was either "Gregory Trask", "Lamar Trask", "Tony Peterson", "Reverend Gregory Trask", or the "Ghost of Reverend Trask".

Humbert Allen Astredo portrayed "Dr. Forbes". For 100 or 98 episodes, depends on the site, of the television series, Astredo was either "Nicholas Blair", "Evan Hanley", or "Charles Dawson". 


Terrayne Crawford billed as Terry Crawford,  portrayed "Todd's nurse". For 63 episodes of the television series, Crawford was either "Beth Chavez", the "Ghost of Beth Chavez", or "Edith Collins".

Michael Stroka portrayed a "Pallbearer". For 64 episodes of the television series, Stroka was either "Aristede", "Bruno Hess", or "Lazlo". 

Barbara Cason portrayed "Mrs. Johnson" and was the only cast member not in the television series.

Should you be a book reader, or of an older generation, you know about "Reader's Digest" books. A company that would take a novel, or long biography and condense them into a smaller and easier read without destroying the actual work of the author. "The House of Dark Shadows" has a "Reader's Digest" screenplay of the television series with a few twists to make the story work on the big screen and throwing in a lot more Bram Stoker.

The opening sees "Willie Loomis" looking for treasure in the "Collin's" family mausoleum and finding a chained coffin. He believes it must contain the treasure but instead releases the 175-years-old vampire "Barnabas Collins", who enslaves "Willie" to his will. Next, "Barnabas" encounters and attacks "Daphne Budd", the personal secretary to the family matriarch, "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard". "Daphne" is found by "Jeff Clark" and taken to the resident guest, "Dr. Julia Hoffman". Shortly afterwards, "Cousin Barnabas", from England appears and introduces himself to the family, completing the set-up of what is to follow.

All of the family, with the exception of "Elizabeth's" daughter "Carolyn", are intrigued by their English cousin, but family friend, "Professor T. Eliot Stokes" is somewhat leery of the unknown cousin. "Barnabas" is asked to stay in Collinwood, but insists on living in the old rundown house, which actually was his home 175-years-ago.

As the screenplay progresses, "Cousin Barnabas" and "Willie" fix up the old house and a costume ball takes places. While getting ready for the ball, "Carolyn" will be bitten by "Barnabas". At the ball the vampire will be introduced to the governess of "David Collins", "Maggie Evans". Who is both the girlfriend of "Jeff Clark" and the image of "Barnabas'" long lost love, "Josette du Pres". "Professor Stokes" and "Julia" compare blood from "Daphne" and "Carolyn" and theorize that there is a vampire.

 Later, "Carolyn Collins" overhears "Barnabas" telling "Willie" that he will make "Maggie" his wife. The jealous "Carolyn" attacks "Barnabas", who gives her a second bite that drains enough blood to kill her. There will be a funeral and the undead "Carolyn Collins" will rise and almost kill "David". Her once fiancé, "Todd Blake", encounters her and is bitten. The family now realizes that "Professor Stokes" and "Julia Hoffman" were right about a vampire at Collinwood and "Carolyn" is found and staked. 

This will lead to "Julia" approaching "Barnabas" and telling him that she believes there is a cure for his vampirism. "Julia" starts giving "Barnabas" injections and he's able to walk in sunlight. "Barnabas" and "Maggie" start spending time with each other. The problem that develops, as the professor points out, is that "Julia" is in love with "Barnabas Collins", but he's in love with "Maggie Evans".

"Julia" gives "Barnabas" an injection that makes him rapidly age and in a rage he strangles and kills her. "Maggie Evans" has witnessed this and is bitten by "Barnabas", who vows to return for her as he leaves.
"Jeff" learns of the family history from "Rodger Collins" and "Professor Stokes" and that "Barnabas
wants to make "Maggie" his bride. That night "Barnabas" returns, bites "Maggie", rejuvenates himself, and kidnaps her. 

A pursuit takes place, both "Rodger" and "Professor Stokes" are killed by "Barnabas" and turned into vampires. They both will be staked out, all leading to a confrontation at the old house with "Maggie" wearing the wedding gown that was to have been "Josette's". "Jeff" has a crossbow and when he shoots at "Barnabas", "Willie" moves in front of the vampire and is hit instead. "Barnabas" lunges at "Jeff", but screams in pain as "Willie" pushes the crossbow's bolt into the vampire's back. 

Turning, even a vampire can get a look of shock as "Willie Loomis" redeems himself saving "Maggie" and "Jeff".

As I mentioned there was a second feature film from Dan Curtis centering on David Selby's "Quentin", 1971's, "Night of Dark Shadows", but Joan Bennett bowed out of appearing in it. However, she was seen in 1972's, "Gidget Gets Married", a made-for-television movie.

Then there was a little trip to Italy and a classic Italian horror motion picture.

SUSPIRIA released in Italy on February 1, 1977

The motion picture was directed by Dario Argento. Argento's previous feature as a director was 1975's, "Profondo rosso (Deep Red)" starring British actor David Hemmings. He would follow this picture with 1980's, "Inferno", starring American Leigh McCloskey. My article, "Dario Argento and Mario Bava: Two Italian Masters", will be read at:

The screenplay was by Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi. She had also co-written the screenplay for "Deep Red".

Jessica Harper
portrayed "Suzy Bannion". Parker, who had the "Christine" role in Brian De Palma's, 1974, "Phantom of the Paradise", had just been in director, writer, and star, Woody Allen's, 1975, "Love and Death". Allen's comedy take-off on Russian author Leo Tolstoy's, "War and Peace" with Harper in 28th billing as "Natasha". Jessica Harper followed this feature with appearances on two American television shows in 1977, "Hawaii Five-O", and the mini-series "Aspen".

Joan Bennett portrayed "Madame Blanc". Bennett would follow this feature with her last three on-screen appearances, all in made-for-television movies starting with the Cindy Williams 1978, "Suddenly, Love".

The screenplay is about an American ballet student, "Suzy Bannion", who is accepted at a prestigious ballet school in Germany. As she arrives in a torrential downpour, a student runs by her fleeing in terror. Not everything is as it seems and soon students start disappearing, and maggots rain down from the ceiling onto the food being served the students living at the school. 

One of the students that disappeared was "Sara Simms", portrayed by Stefania Casini, a good friend of "Suzy". Eventually, "Suzy" discovers the school was established by a Greek immigrant, "Helena Markos", in 1895, who was supposedly a witch. Along with finding "Sara's" disfigured corpse and that "Madame Blanc" and the other teachers are a coven of witches and "Helena Markos" is still living and wants to use her as a sacrifice.

At the climax "Suzy" kills "Markos" and the coven perishes without the power of "Helena Markos" to keep them alive.

Joan Bennett passed away on December 7, 1990 of heart failure, RIP!

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