Thursday, August 19, 2021

German lobby cards for SCARS OF DRACULA (1970)

This is one of the few Hammer Draculas I hadn't watched multiple times. I remember not taking to it first time round, found it tacky and that those early 1970s hair styles were jarring and had turned me off the movie. 

And jar they do indeed and yet, despite this, some dodgy bats and having both one of the lamest resurrection and destruction scenes, as a whole this film was actually a lot of fun and giving Lee (in whiter, sicker looking make-up than usual) considerably more lines than in any of the previous productions outside the very first one. 

It also had more gore than normally associated with Hammer until then and some wonderful performances. I particularly enjoyed Anouska Hempel's impatient "Love me!" seduction spiel. 

Directed by Roy Ward Baker, shooting took place in Elstree from May 07 - June 23. The film then premiered on November 08 on a double bill with Horror of Frankenstein

 For appearing in this film Lee would receive £10.000 plus a 10% share of the profits. Unfortunately this production would prove to become the least successful of all Hammer Draculas. Lee himself considers it to be “the weakest and most unconvincing of the DRACULA stories”. 

Jenny Hanley remembers that his singing had drowned out the music from Bread, the rock band she was listening to at the time. When requested to turn down his voice a bit, he asked to be introduced to what she listened to and promised to sing this instead. 

 Lee suffered from back problems during the production and had to rely on stunt double Eddie Powell for some of the heavy lifting required when carrying Hanley to her bed room.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Face the Music (1953)

A jetlagged and overworked Jazz musician discovers a fascinating singer. They go to the best spaghetti house in town: her place! There they exchange cheesy quotes from songs about girls who lie and men who cheat. When he leaves the place, he forgets his trumpet and ends up being one of the main suspects when she is discovered killed. He turns amateur sleuth in order to find the real killer. 

This very noirish thriller is one of Hammer’s best quota pictures from the early 1950s before they turned into a horror power house. Alex Nichol from South Pacific was Hammer’s American star du jour and was also used as the lead in Hammer’s next movie, The House Across the Lake. Terence Fisher directs and Michael Carreras manages to instill his love for jazz into the production. He can even briefly be glimpsed as one of the Band members in Kenny Baker’s Dozen. 

 Jazz permeates the entire movie and is the narrative thread that ties it all together: It introduces the main characters who are also repeatedly seen playing it. Jazz records are leads and red herrings in this mystery and Jazz instruments are even seen as potential murder instruments. 

The screenplay was adapted from his own novel by Ernest Borneman, a fascinating character, jazz critic and musician, crime fiction writer, dedicated socialist and – most (in)famous of all – well known sexologist. Jimmy Sangster at that stage had not been elevated to writer status yet and acted as Assistant Director. Watch out for Geoffrey Keen who would later appear in many a Bond movie as Sir Frederick Gray. 

There is one annoying plot hole when we discover that only two copies of an important demo record were ever pressed yet we can clearly see three copies making the round. Nevertheless the film overall is quite enjoyable especially given the novel jazz twist. 

 Oh yeah, in the US the film is also known under title The Black Glove, although it completely beats me as to why.


Saturday, July 31, 2021

Wayne Kinsey: The Hammer Vampire Scrapbook

Hammer Vampire Scrapbook, Wayne Kinsey, Peveril Publishing
 Wayne Kinsey has done it yet again!

Only a few months after publishing The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Scrapbook, his Peveril Publishing House has now released The Hammer Vampire Scrapbook.

Their previous Hammer Dracula Scrapbook focused on the Christopher Lee Dracula movies and is now out of print and goes for crazy money on Ebay (on the rare occasions that it actually surfaces). And needless to say - and to my everlasting chagrin - I didn't grab it when it was still available, just like I also failed to obtain a copy of their Hammer Frankenstein Scrapbook.

Ah well, life is made up of a series of regrets...

His new book now concentrates on The Brides of Dracula, Kiss of the Vampire, Vampire Circus and Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, leaving room for the Karnstein Trilogy for a later publication.

Don't know what to write without falling into the ever same superlatives with regards to the Peveril Books. I seriously never tire of them and The Hammer Vampire Scrapbook is no exception with 352 pages choke full of often ultra rare and never before published images from contact sheets as well as promotional material, scripts, lobby cards and posters covering everything from promo photos of actors and other crew members, to behind-the-scenes coverage of the shooting, a look at the sets and locations, censor reports etc etc.

My own copy was 516/700 and no doubt this will sell out as fast as most of their other books did. This book can as always exclusively be purchased only on their website.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Stranglers of Bombay (German Film Program)

  Illustrierte Filmbühne 5276

Scan of a four-page German film program for The Stranglers of Bombay (1959) that I just received in the mail today.

Also check out a similar film program I had previously posted for The Pirates of Blood River.

The Stranglers of Bombay, Illustrierte Filmbühne, Film Program

The Stranglers of Bombay, Illustrierte Filmbühne, Film Program

The Stranglers of Bombay, Illustrierte Filmbühne, Film Program

The Stranglers of Bombay, Illustrierte Filmbühne, Film Program

Thursday, April 8, 2021

German SHATTER poster

Ti Lung - Der tödliche Schatten des Mr Shatter, German film poster

German poster for Shatter/Call Him Mr Shatter (1975), Hammer's second co-production with Shaw Brothers following right after The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff promoting STARCRASH


Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff on promo tour for STARCRASH
Just discovered this photo on The Grindhouse Sleaze & 80s VHS Trash Facebook Group.

I know absolutely nothing about where this originally came from other than that after years of obsessing over Starcrash this is the first time I have come across this image.

Given that this was obviously a well stage promo event for the film, I suspect that there must be other similar material out there somewhere.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Traitor (1957)

I watched this movie for Christopher Lee and stayed for the sheer abundance of Hammer actors. 
 This film gives Lee yet another opportunity to sport a fake German accent and act opposite a number of future Hammer Horror colleagues such as Anton Diffring (The Man Who Could Cheat Death), Oscar Quitak (The Revenge of Frankenstein) and John Van Eyssen (Dracula) as well as Robert Bray of Lassie fame. 
 It was the first production to be filmed in the New Elstree Studios, a place that Christopher Lee does not appear to have been too enamoured with. In his autobiography, he remembers that he introduced co-star Donald Wolfit to Tolkien’s The Hobbit there “as a much-needed distraction from the water pouring down the cement walls, the duck boards between the stages traversing a sea of mud, the lights that didn’t work, the absence of windows in the dressing-rooms and the economies made on paint”. 
 The film focuses on a group of German Ex-Resistance fighters who meet annually at a mansion in England at the anniversary of their former leader’s death who had been executed by the Nazis. During this meeting, it becomes apparent that one of the friends must have betrayed him. Before the identity of the traitor can be revealed, however, they are also faced with some other murders in the midst. 
 This is a wonderfully old fashioned chamber piece in the tradition of Agatha Christie that lives by its superb cast and betrays nothing of the challenges associated with the new studio. A specially commissioned piano piece, Prelude Without A Name, plays an important role and the effectiveness of the movie is only somewhat marred by a gimmicky denouement that is out of step with the prior plot developments. 
 I watched the UK release which is probably the preferred one, even though the shorter US version also contains additional scenes not in the UK cut as per this review