Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Warlords of Atlantis ( 1978 )

An incredible tale of terror and suspense .....above and below the sea! 

So reads the tagline to Warlords of Atlantis, another one of director Kevin Connor's sci-fi adventure films of the 1970s. In this story, American inventor Greg Collinson ( Doug McClure ) and British scientist Charles Aitken ( Peter Gilmore ) set out under the sea in a diving bell to search for the lost city of Atlantis. They not only find the city still thriving underwater but find themselves trapped in it and unable to escape from the warlords who rule it!

Warlords of Atlantis aka Warlords of the Deep starts off with a bang and ends with an exciting finale but - like most of Kevin Connor's films - it is very tiresome in the middle segments. Nevertheless, it is a fun adventure film to watch ( especially if you leave the tele to take a sandwich break midway through ) and features some good stop-motion monsters by Roger Dicken. 

Connor loved working with Doug McClure ( this was their fourth film together ) so naturally, the all-American hero had the starring role, but Connor also cast that wonderful English actor Peter Gilmore ( The Onedin Line ) in a really strong supporting role. Gilmore portrays Charles Aitken, a brainy spectacled scientist who is fascinated with the creatures and culture of Atlantis and couldn't care less for their golden treasure. The warlords of Atlantis, Atraxon ( Daniel Massey ) and Atsil ( Cyd Charisse ) want to use Aitken's mental powers to expand their conquest. Why they need him and how they plan to use him is never really explained but, when Greg finds out their plan, he sets out to rescue his friend and return to the calm waters away from Atlantis. Gilmore's character reminds me of the engaging Dr. Perry ( Peter Cushing ) from At the Earth's Core ( 1974 ) and could have been his younger self. 

The screenplay to Warlords of Atlantis was penned by Brian Hayles, who is best known for writing several Doctor Who scripts but also wrote the children's miniseries The Moon Stallion ( 1978 ) and Arabian Adventure ( another Kevin Connor production ). Hayles included a good plot twist in Warlords of Atlantis involving Captain Daniels ( Shane Rimmer ) and his suspicious crew of sailors. 

Also in the cast is Lea Brodie as Greg's love interest, John Ratzenberger, and the striking Michael Gothard. While the film is not worth hunting feverishly for, if you happen to catch it on television then grab yourself some popcorn and sit back and enjoy it. Personally, I love cheesy adventure films and Warlords of Atlantis is a great example of that genre. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

From the Archives: The Three Lives of Thomasina ( 1963 )


Susan Hampshire is pictured getting close to two kittens in this candid photo from The Three Lives of Thomasina ( 1963 ) released by Walt Disney Studios. In the film, Hampshire portrays Lori, a "witch" of the glen who rescues animals. One of the animals she saves is Thomasina the cat, whom young Mary McDhui ( Karen Dotrice ) believes has died. In a more recent DVD interview, Hampshire mentioned that she filled her apartment with cats and other animals to really feel as Lori did. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Josie and the Pussycats - The Real Life Band

In September 1970, Hanna-Barbera launched a new cartoon series called Josie and the Pussycats featuring a group of girl singers who traveled around the world performing gigs and encountering adventures in the process. The show was Hanna-Barbera's own take on Filmation's 1968 musical cartoon sitcom The Archie Show which featured young Archie and his band performing teen-oriented pop tunes each episode. The series was immensely popular ( The Archies' song "Sugar, Sugar" reached #1 in 1969 ) and inspired Hanna-Barbera to launch a number of similarly themed cartoons with musical inserts. 

Unlike The Archie Show, which featured a fictional pop band, Hanna-Barbera hit on the brilliant idea of creating a real-life Josie and the Pussycats band to coincide with their new television series. Three young women would be selected from a nationwide talent search and it would be their voices that the children would hear performing on the show. 

Songwriter and producer Danny Janssen ( who wrote The Partridge Family theme ) and Bobby Engemann ( lead singer of The Lettermen ) of La La Productions were given the task of selecting the girls, writing their songs, and cutting the albums. To help in this task, they recruited Sue Steward as a songwriter and Austin Roberts who is best known for singing the 1975 song "Rocky" but also performed the leads for all of the Scooby-Doo -Where Are You songs. 

Nearly 500 finalists were under consideration before they settled on three girls who not only looked their parts but had fab singing voices, too. These were Kathleen Dougherty, a musical theater major from the University of Southern California; Patrice Holloway, an engaging R&B singer who penned, along with her sister Brenda and Berdy Gordy, the popular tune "You've Made Me So Very Happy" ( performed by Blood, Sweat, and Tears ); and lastly, Cherie Moor, a pretty South Dakota native who had a strong stage presence and a good singing voice. Cherie - born Cheryl Stoppelmoor - later became famous as Kris Monroe on the television series Charlies Angels ( 1977-1981 ) using her married name Cheryl Ladd. 

Kathleen Dougherty is credited as singing the lead character Josie, with Patrice as Valerie and Cheryl as Melody but Kathleen actually preferred singing background harmonies, so Patrice and Cheryl took turns doing the leads for the songs. 

Josie and the Pussycats recorded 19 songs, some of which were released as singles and others that appeared on their 1970 album "Josie and the Pussycats". The band never went on tour and none of their singles became hits but nevertheless, they had a groovy sound, and some of their numbers were really quite good. 

To read more behind-the-scenes stories about Josie and the Pussycats, check out this great article

"Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line! 

Friday, December 31, 2021

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

This rather blurry screenshot has a bald-headed man showing bug-eyes to his dance partner. We'll leave it up to you to guess where they are and what they are dancing. That will give you a hint as to which film this may be from. ;-)

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Age of Indiscretion ( 1935 )

Robert Lenhart's ( Paul Lukas ) book publishing business is suffering from a sales slump. He has to cut back on expenses at the office as well as at home to save enough money to pay his creditors, but his young ambitious wife ( Helen Vinson ) is aghast at the thought of wearing yesterday's clothes and leaves him to marry her wealthy lover Felix Shaw ( Ralph Forbes ), willingly leaving behind their son Bill ( David Holt ).

Robert is heartbroken but accepts the divorce. In the coming year, his loyal secretary, Ms. Bennett ( Madge Evans ), steps into his home life and acts as a surrogate mother to Bill. When Felix's mother ( May Robson ) starts yearning for a grandson she decides to use Ms. Bennett as a pawn to help her win custody of Robert's child. 

The Age of Indiscretion was one of many films MGM released in the early to mid-1930s that dealt with divorce, a common practice among society's rich. Lenore Coffee's story paralleled that of a popular news item of the time involving the Vanderbilt family trust. Instead of a grasping grandmother, it was an aunt who instigated the proceedings of a custody battle for young Gloria Vanderbilt and the four-million dollar trust. 

In this film, Mrs. Shaw witnesses an innocent pillow fight involving Ms. Bennett and Robert and uses it as grounds to obtain custody of Bill. May Robson portrays her usual crotchety character of a tough old dog whose bark is worse than her bite. Unfortunately, her scenes are brief and the reasons behind why she wants Bill are not adequately established. Much of the movie suffers from little incidents that are cut abruptly, leaving the audience to wonder what the motives behind certain actions were. This seems more like an editing error than the fault of director Edward Ludwig. 

Overall, The Age of Indiscretion is quite entertaining with the main draw being its winter setting (  Robert and his son rent a cabin in the mountains during the Christmas holiday ) and its principal cast. Paul Lukas gives a top-notch performance as the innocent publisher and Madge Evans is charming as the young secretary who is harboring a secret love for her employer. In one scene, Robert and she are enjoying an evening cocktail by the fireside on Christmas Eve. They discuss his recent divorce and her private life and, influenced by the scotch, she talks a little freer than usual....but never gives a hint of her true feelings. Nevertheless, Robert begins to see a side of her that he never realized she had. He saw her only as an efficient secretary and never imagined what she was like outside of that capacity. Little scenes like this give the film its sparkle. 

David Holt is also engaging as little Bill, even with his puzzling Southern accent. He was intended to be a male version of Shirley Temple but his career never reached such heights. Also in the cast are Shirley Ross, George Irving, and Minor Watson. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all our readers! 

We want to wish all of you a very jolly Christmas day and here's hoping 2022 will be a year filled with happiness, good health, and prosperity for you! 

Make sure you have a box of Lucky Strikes in your house because Joan Crawford just may stop by for Christmas dinner! 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Wintry Westerns - 8 Classic Westerns Set in Winter

I love westerns. I don't review them nearly as often as I should but I certainly do watch plenty of them! And, at this time of year, the best westerns to watch are the Wintry Westerns....those that are set in snowy locales. Most westerns take place in dusty desert areas such as Arizona and Texas or in lush green cattle-grazing lands like Wyoming and Colorado so this is a small niche. They are great to watch on a cold winter's day with a cup of hot cocoa, especially when the snow is falling outside.

I'll share with you some of my favorites ( from the oldest to the newest ) and hopefully, you'll share some of your favorite wintry western titles as well. 

THE WILD NORTH ( 1952 ) 

Stewart Granger plays a trapper accused of murdering a man in a Canadian village. He takes refuge in the mountains but can't shake a Mountie ( Wendell Corey ) off his trail. Instead, during a fierce snowstorm, they band together to battle the forces of nature and survive in the "wild North". This is one of my favorites, not only because of the great location scenery of Idaho ( not Canada ) but because of the presence of Stewart Granger and Cyd Charisse as an Indian maiden. 


Perhaps this might not qualify as a western, but it takes place in the 1870s in snowy Alaska, so that's close enough for me. Rock Hudson plays an American sea captain who is taking a cargo of furs down to the states from Canada via dogsled. Contending with the weather is harrowing enough, but Rock also has a broken leg and two dangerous villains on his heels. 

TRACK OF THE CAT ( 1954 ) 

Robert Mitchum stars in this visually striking western as the son of a ranching family who heads out into the snow to track down a panther who is killing the family's livestock. Diana Lynn and Teresa Wright co-star and yes, that's William Hopper Jr. with a beard. Director William Wellman's son stated that his father created the picture as a "black and white film shot in color" with specific pops of color adding a beautiful splash to the overall monochromatic look. 


"A day you'll never forget!" declares the poster to this Robert Ryan film. Unfortunately, I did forget most of this gritty western, but I do remember the winter landscape and Burl Ives cutting a powerful image on horseback. It's about a cattleman trying to save a small frontier town from Burl Ives and his gang of thugs. 

WILL PENNY ( 1967 ) 

This film starts off as a regular "sunny" western but about half way through we see the winter scenes. Will Penny ( Charlton Heston ) is an aging cowboy who gets a line camp job on a large cattle spread and finds that there is a woman ( Joan Hackett ) and her son already living in the cabin he is supposed to occupy by himself. He lets them stay over the winter and protects his "family" when the wicked Quint ( Donald Pleasance ) invades his home. 


Spaghetti westerns are one of those genres that you either love or hate. I could live without them - especially the brutal ones - but I had to include this film because it is set is a snow-covered Utah and is renowned for being one of the best spaghetti westerns ever made. It's about a mute gunfighter who takes it upon himself to defend a group of outlaws from a band of bloodthirsty bounty hunters. Jean-Louis Trintignant, a French actor who couldn't speak a word of English, starred as the mute gunslinger "Silence". 


Warren Beatty and Julie Christie star as a gambler and a prostitute who become business partners in a brothel in a remote mining town. Their business trives until a major corporation comes to buy them out. This film is often cited as one of the first "anti-westerns" because it features no gunfights and no heroes but our purpose it can be classified as a western. McCabe and Mrs. Miller really captures the cold environment of winter and features some beautiful filming from director Robert Altman. 


Robert Redford stars as mountain man Jeremiah Johnson in this outdoorsman's adventure set in the beautiful hills of Utah ( and filmed on Redford's recently acquired Sundance ski area ). Johnson is a  Civil War veteran who abandons mankind and heads for the mountains of Utah to become a trapper. With the help of another grizzled mountain man ( Will Geer ), he learns to live of the land but must contend with hostile natives when he incurs the wrath of a Crow chief.