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Thursday, March 21, 2019

From the Archives: Night Without Stars ( 1951 )

David Farrar and Nadia Gray are pictured in this dramatic publicity photo from the British thriller Night Without Stars released in 1951. This engaging picture tells the story of a blind man who regains his sight but decides to carry on a little charade while unmasking a smuggling ring in the Riviera. Winston Graham, who is best known for "Poldark", his series of historical novels, also penned this story. 

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 : http://stores.ebay.com/Silverbanks-Pictures

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Happy St. Patrick's Day, dear readers! 'Tis a grand day to be celebrating your Irish heritage, even if ye blood not be running green. 

This screenshot may be a wee bit difficult for some, but for fans of this film, it will be striking a familiar chord. As always, if ye be knowing nothing of what this game is about, simply click here to find out! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Three Cheers for the Irish ( 1940 )

Peter Casey ( Thomas Mitchell ) is proud to have served 25 years with Chicago's police force. He loves his job so much he never gave retirement a thought, but his superiors did,  and, on the day of his 25th anniversary no less, they tell him to collect his pension. Retirement would be bearable for Casey if it were not for knowing that the new cop ( Dennis Morgan ) taking over his beat is a Scotchman! 

"Scotsman! Scotsman! There be no such thing as a Scotchman!"

To make matters worse, this fetching young rookie has his eyes on Casey's darling daughter Maureen "the apple of me eye". 

Warner Brother's Three Cheers for the Irish begins as a pleasant light-hearted variation of Four Daughters but midway through the film shifts its focus to the growing animosity Casey has for his would-be son-in-law and his political pursuit for the office of city alderman ( councilman ). It would have benefited from having the domestic comedy sequences extended and the other two sisters' parts ( played by Virginia Grey and Irene Hervey ) expanded upon, but the picture nevertheless entertains. 

Priscilla Lane is simply peachy as Maureen, and Irish-American Dennis Morgan does a marvelous job of rolling his Rrrrs in a Scottish brogue. He only sings one song in the film but audiences do get to see his winsome bonny smile in many a scene. Alan Hale has a great part as an over-exuberant practical joker and Frank Jenks, Henry Armetta, and that veteran of Irish-themed pictures J.M Kerrigan are also in the cast. But it is Thomas Mitchell's film entirely, and this excellent actor milks the role for all its worth. 
Like Charles Winniger's character in Little Nellie Kelly, Peter Casey is a stubborn Irishman, and it is particularly sad to see that these two fathers were willing to be separated from their daughters rather than bend their pride and admit that they were being pig-headed. 

Richard Macaulay helped write the screenplay along with Jerry Wald. These two men collaborated on over twenty scripts for Warner Brothers during the 1930s and 1940s including Ready, Willing, and Able, The Roaring Twenties, They Drive By Night, Torrid Zone, Million Dollar Baby, Brother Rat, and Flight Angels. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Down Argentine Way ( 1940 )

Betty Grable and Don Ameche head south of the border in one of the most delightful Fox musicals of the 1940s - Down Argentine Way. Sparkling Technicolor, musical melodies to tickle your fancy, an amusing script, and Carmen Miranda chica-chica-booming in her tutti-frutti way are just a few of the pleasures it offers.

"Where there are rhumbas and tangos
To tickle your spine
Moonlight and music and orchids and wine
You'll want to stay down Argentina Way"

Don plays Ricardo, an Argentinian who comes to New York to sell some horses. Glenda Crawford ( Betty Grable ) wants to buy one and they make a deal, but the moment Ricardo discovers her last name is Crawford, he calls the sale off! His padre ( Henry Stephenson ) has a long-standing feud with the Crawfords and will not sell horses to them at any cost. So, in a huff, Glenda takes a trip to Argentina with her Aunt Binnie ( Charlotte Greenwood ) to settle the score...under the guise of purchasing some fresh studs for their stable. Naturally, she finds sweet romance under the Pampas moon with Mr. Ameche instead.

Bedecked in eye-popping Travis Banton costumes, Betty Grable is a veritable feast for the eyes in this picture. She jiggles her way through the samba-inspired "Down Argentine Way" dance number wearing a gorgeous two-piece ensemble adorned with blue beads and looked equally radiant in a sheer puffy-sleeved white dress singing "Two Dreams Met" with Don Ameche.

Betty Grable had made nearly 50 films before she was cast as bubbly Glenda Crawford. Not knowing what to do with her, Fox had just decided to try Grable out as a dramatic actress with a lead opposite Tyrone Power in A Yank in the R.A.F when they discovered that Down Argentine Way, which was released one year prior, was raking in profits. Thank heavens! Betty may never have been a musical star if it wasn't for the success of this film. And Hollywood would have missed out on such a vibrant and adorable personality!

As critic Stephanie Zacharek so aptly described her, "Grable's appeal in Down Argentine Way...radiates from a place that has nothing to do with strict acting chops. She's a persistently warm, accessible presence; there's something kind and forthright about her." It is undoubtedly this quality - and her million dollar legs - that made Grable the pin-up gal favorite with the soldiers overseas during the war years.
The top attraction of the film, for me, was the presence of Don Ameche. Dapper Don, with his bright beady eyes, has such an infectiously happy personality and he even gets to sing two numbers in his pleasant tenor voice. Betty and Don were so well-suited to each other in Down Argentine Way that Fox studio teamed them up again the following year in Moon Over Miami. 

Down Argentine Way features a cast of excellent character players including Leonid Kinskey ( in a role originally intended for Cesar Romero ), Charlotte Greenwood, J. Carroll Naish, and Henry Stephenson. There is also an appearance by Carmen Miranda who was making her first US feature film. She got a chance to perform three upbeat tunes ( "Mamãe Yo Quero", "Bambu Bambu", and "South American Way" ). The movie is chock-full of musical and dance numbers and alongside Miranda, the Nicholas Brothers entertain with their tap-dance routines, Six Hits and a Miss perform the delightful "Two Dreams Met", and the Flores Brothers Trio gently croon "Nenita".
The film raked in nearly $2 million in profits, becoming 20th Century Fox's biggest hit of the year. It was originally made in response to President Franklin Roosevelt's request for Hollywood to make films to encourage the "Good Neighbor Policy" towards Latin America. Unfortunately, Argentina banned the picture during its initial release for its misrepresentation of the real culture of the country: inaccurate traditional costume designs and mixing rhumba and Spanish flamenco with the tango was a no-no. Even Miranda's presence was considered insulting because she was Brazilian, not Argentinian! 

Most Americans didn't recognize any of these errors and just enjoyed the film for what it offered - plenty of sunshine and merriment. And that alone probably boosted South American tourism and Good Neighbor relations!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Eugene Loring - Choreographer

It has been quite a while since we have profiled someone for our Behind-the-Screen: The Hidden Masters of the Golden Age of Filmmaking series, so as a special treat the spotlight will be put on an occupation not usually covered in this series - that of the choreographer. 

Eugene Loring was never a household name and yet his unique style of dance was recognizable in many musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. His best-known works are Silk Stockings ( 1955 ) and Funny Face ( 1957 ), but it was through the peppy "La Bamba" number in Fiesta ( 1947 ) that first made me take notice of him. Loring blended jazz with ballet and contemporary dance to create innovative moments that were exciting to watch onscreen.

Eugene Loring, born in 1911 in Milwaukee, fell in love with music and dance at a young age. His father ran a saloon and dance hall and Loring would always join in for the Friday night dances. He was also a self-taught pianist. One day, he saw Uday Shankar, a talented Indian dancer, perform and Eugene knew that he wanted to become a professional dancer. 

He went to New York City to study with George Balanchine at the School of American Ballet in 1934, beginning at the ripe old age of 24. Loring had a powerful physique and chiseled facial features that made him look like an ancient Grecian dancer. He joined with Michel Fokine's dance troupe only two months later and quickly moved from being a character dancer to a soloist in his productions. By 1936, Loring was already creating his own ballets for the Ballet Caravan, a touring company specializing in an all-American repertoire. These ballets included Harlequin for President ( 1936 ), Yankee Clipper (1937), and Billy the Kid ( 1938 ), which featured a score by Aaron Copland and is still often performed today.

Based on his work in these productions, he was offered a lucrative six-month MGM contract in 1943. But, in typical Hollywood fashion, the studio did not know what to do with Loring after they signed him and so his first work in film was actually an acting job as jockey Taski in National Velvet ( 1944 ). It was not until 1945 that Loring was tasked with choreography work, helping to create some of the dances in Ziegfeld Follies. It was during the making of this film that he met Fred Astaire, whom he would work together with on four films, including his next production Yolanda and the Thief, which gave Loring his first onscreen credit as choreographer.
Loring staged a number of interesting dances for productions throughout the 1940s including The Thrill of Brazil ( 1946 ), Fiesta ( 1947 ) which showcased Ricardo Montalban's fine dancing ability; Abbott and Costello's Mexican Hayride ( 1948 ) and even The Inspector General ( 1949 ). Most of these films featured only a few dance numbers and so Loring had plenty of time to continue his work in ballet, his true love. He choreographed the marvelous "Carmen Jones" on Broadway and in 1948 founded the American School of Dance in Hollywood. 
Loring felt strongly about how American dancers ought to be trained. He always believed that dance was dance and no dancer should learn simply one style but instead embrace a wide variety of forms and movement.

“Americans are a composite lot and American dancers must be as many-faceted as the melting pot” Loring said in an interview conducted for Dance Magazine in 1956. The American School of Dance was open to anyone interested in dance and featured all forms - tap, ballet, jazz, modern dance - blended in a unique well-rounded curriculum. 

In the early 1950s, Loring worked on several MGM productions that featured Mario Lanza including the fun "Tina-Lina" from The Toast of New Orleans ( 1950 ), and "One Alone" and "It" from Deep in My Heart ( 1954 ) that beautifully showcased Cyd Charisse's ballet ability and Ann Miller's fantastic tapping skills. 

But Loring is best known for his work with Fred Astaire in two MGM musical classics - Funny Face ( 1957 ), which gave Audrey Hepburn a chance to jazz to an eclectic beat in "Bohemian Dance", and Silk Stockings ( 1957 ) which again featured the lovely Cyd Charisse in the exciting "The Red Blues" and "All of You" dance numbers. 

Eugene then took time off from Hollywood productions and, aside from a few television productions ( including Cinderella in 1965 ), he focused his attention on teaching. He founded the dance department at the University of California at Irvine where he taught up until his death in the early 1980s.
Eugene Loring may be one of the lesser-known choreographers, but during his lifetime he created a fine body of work. He invented marvelous dance numbers for all of the films he worked on and left "Billy the Kid" as his legacy to the world of dance. Please click on the links hidden within the text to enjoy and appreciate Loring's work, the man deserves more recognition for his contribution to film choreography than he has received. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

On the Set of "Fantastic Voyage" ( 1966 )


"Four men and one woman on the most fantastic, spectacular and terrifying journey of their lives!" 

Director Richard Fleischer helmed this classic 1966 sci-fi film about five intrepid individuals who undertake the most fantastic voyage of their lives - a journey through the bloodstream of an ailing scientist. Shrunk to microscopic size, they battle the body's incredible defenses to make a desperate attempt to save his life. 

Stephen Boyd, Edmund O'Brien, Donald Pleasance, Arthur O'Connell and Arthur Kennedy all have feature parts but the film became popular primarily due to the presence of the curvaceous Raquel Welch. This exciting adventure features a clever premise of microscopic medical research.... years before nano-technology was even developed! 

Let's take a peek at some behind-the-scenes images of the cast and crew during the making of Fantastic Voyage


A contact sheet featuring behind-the-scenes images of Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasance, and Raquel Welch

A view of the Proteus Submarine before being miniaturized.

Interior view of the Proteus
Constructing the "intestines"
Ick...the human body can be difficult to travel through!

Dale Hennesy and Jack Martin Smith were responsible for the art direction of Fantastic Voyage while Stuart A. Reiss and Walter M. Scott handled set decor. Hennesy was also the production designer for Young Frankenstein ( 1974 ) and King Kong ( 1976 ). 

Raquel Welch, taking a breather during filming

Raquel Welch pictured in that famous tight-fitting diver suit
"Fantastic Voyage" utilized the "blue screen" which was later replaced with graphics of the insides of a human body

Ms. Welch posing in front of the screen

Another contact sheet, this time with Raquel striking some glamour poses for the photographer

A scene with the blue-screen visible in the background....

...and a similar scene with the graphics inserted.

Publicity photo of Stephen Boyd and Raquel Welch

A contact sheet of the publicity shots that were taken

A costume test photo showing that the film was in production in April 1965

An original ABC television publicity photo

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


Hmmm....we have here a handsome Indian brave sitting atop a horse. You're probably wondering when was the last time you saw a movie with a shirtless American Indian on a horse, and I'll tell you something, they are not as common as you'd think! 

All you have to do is tell me the name of the movie this scene is from ( you don't even have to guess the name of the brave ) and you win this round of The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game! 

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the game or the prize, simply click here.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tintin et le Temple du Soleil ( 1969 )

Tintin, the beloved comic book creation of Belgium illustrator Herge, was transferred to the big screen as a fabulous full-length feature film in 1969 - Tintin et le Temple du Soleil. It was based upon one of Tintin's most famous escapades, his search for the missing Professor Calculus and a band of archeologists who are under the spell of an ancient Incan curse. The film took the two-part adventure ( from the books The Seven Crystal Balls and The Prisoner of the Sun ) and condensed it into one 77-minute film.
This was a French production from Belvision studios and the animation is spot-on, matching Herge's style as closely as if the artist himself painted each cel. This isn't surprising, considering Raymond LeBlanc was the producer of the film. LeBlanc was the publisher of the original Tintin magazine series, as well as the founder of Editions du Lombard and Belvision Studios. He was a giant in the Belgium animation industry, much like Walt Disney was here in the States. 
In 1957, Belvision brought the Tintin stories to television as an animated serial of five-minute episodes which covered seven of Hergé's most popular books. The success of this series made the studio attempt two animated feature-length films: Asterix the Gaul ( 1967 ) and Asterix and Cleopatra ( 1967 ), both featuring the comic strip character Asterix. These films were great successes and it led them to bring Tintin to the screen. 

Tintin and the Temple of the Sun differs only slightly from Hergé's original story, with a few additional scenes added and Thompson and Thompson ( the twin detectives ) getting a much larger role. Like the book series, however, it is filled with adventure and plenty of opportunities for Captain Haddock to lose his temper..."Ten thousand thundering typhoons!!"  Beautiful music by François Rauber also enhances the picture. 
Three years later Tintin returned for Tintin and the Lake of Sharks which featured many of the same actors voicing the characters. Both pictures are available on DVD in their original French language version and dubbed in English. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze ( 1975 )

Have no fear, Doc Savage is here! 

The intrepid Doc Savage and his Fabulous Five journey to the wilds of South America to investigate Doc's father's death in the jungles of Hidalgo. En route, they encounter numerous dangers as the maniacal Captain Seas tries to thwart them as they come closer to discovering his vast treasure of stolen Incan gold.

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze is a delightful globe-trotting adventure film based on the popular 1930s pulp fiction character. It features some exotic locales, great set design, plenty of excitement, and loads of tongue-in-cheek humor...much in the vein of the original Batman! television series. 

Savage is indeed a "man of bronze". He's an American who has Herculean strength, shiny white teeth, perfectly groomed hair, and impeccable manners. He also has the morals of a Boy Scout and would never hesitate to aid an old lady crossing the street. When asked what he would like to be served onboard Captain Seas' yacht he responds, "A Coke, please". 
His Fabulous Five are equally honorable and, like typical comic book characters, have a range of capabilities to help their leader in times of trouble. There is Monk, a chemist ( Michael Miller ); Major Roberts, an electrical wizard ( Paul Gleason ); Littlejohn, an archeologist ( Eldon Quick ), Ham, the "brains" ( Darrell Zwerling ), and Colonel Renny, a construction engineer aka "the strongman" ( William Lucking ). Like Doc, these men, devote their lives to traveling around the world for the sake of justice. 

Also in the cast are Pamela Hensley as Mona, a love interest for Doc; Carlos Rivas, and Paul Wexler as the diabolical Captain Seas. 
The character of Dr. Clark Savage Jr. originally appeared in magazine format in 1933, written by Lester Dent under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson. The series lasted for 181 issues and was brought to even greater fame in the 1960s when artist James Bama created new cover designs for the Bantam Books paperback re-issues. By the mid-1970s, over 20 million Doc Savage stories had been sold around the world. Hence, he was a fantastic character to bring to the silver screen. 

This idea was considered in 1966 after the James Bond films proved to be such box-office attractions. Chuck Connors was to star in the filming of the 1934 story "The Thousand-Headed Man", but the securing of the film rights failed and it was shelved. It was not until 1974 that producer George Pal decided to make a Doc Savage film and obtained both film and television rights with the plans of creating a televised adventure series after the picture was released. 

Pal originally hoped to cast Hercules-legend Steve Reeves as Savage. But he changed his mind eventually and selected Ron Ely ( Tarzan ) for the part instead, dying the man's hair blonde for the role. He was an excellent Doc, exuding charm and uttering his campy lines with dead seriousness. 

"Mona, you're a brick!"
However, in spite of all its merits, the film bombed at the box-office. The timing of its release was just a matter of ill fortune. This was the mid-1970s and not many people wanted to watch a 1930s-themed adventure film with such goody-two-shoes humor. By the late 1970s, the mood had changed and the similarly campy Wonder Woman did very well on television. Perhaps Doc Savage would have performed better if it was geared towards adults and made into a dramatic adventure flick instead. 

It truly is unfortunate that Doc Savage became such a loss for George Pal ( it was the last film he produced ) because, while it isn't a comedic gem, it really is colorful and quite entertaining. So entertaining, that it is disappointing to learn that the sequel  ( promised at the end of the credits ) was never put into production! It would have been great to see the follow-up. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Egyptian ( 1954 )

"I feel the fever of Thebes in my blood, and I know that I was born to live in the sunset of the world and that nothing matters, nothing, but what I see in your eyes."

Sinuhe, a poor orphan in Egypt during the eighteenth-dynasty, rises to fame as a great physician and, along with his friend Horemheb ( Victor Mature ) is appointed to the service of the new Pharaoh ( Michael Wilding ). During the span of ten years, he learns dangerous secrets in the royal court, discovers enemies plotting against the pharaoh, learns who his true friends are, and has a life-changing encounter with the temptress, Nefer ( Bella Darvi ). Along the journey, Sinuhe seeks to find the answer to a question that has aroused his curiosity since his youth - Who Am I? and Who is My God? 

The Egyptian, a 20th Century Fox release, was beautifully filmed in Cinemascope and featured a magnificent score by Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann. It should rank among the top epics of the 1950s but unfortunately, it has not yet shaken its reputation of being the first box-office flop shot in Cinemascope. 

Why did it fail at the box-office? That's difficult to fathom because the film really is entertaining and the production quality is top-notch. Michael Curtiz ( Casablanca, Mildred Pierce ) directed the picture, which was based on Mika Waltari's best-selling novel "The Egyptian". 
This book was first published in 1945 in Finnish and is still considered one of the greatest books in Finnish literary history. The unchanging nature of mankind is essentially the theme to the novel and this provides the basis of the film, too, but, it being a Hollywood production, Nefer's seduction of Sinuhe and how this leads to his downfall gets the spotlight attention. Bella Darvi entraps her man so cunningly that he is bewitched and does not know that he is sacrificing everything he worked so hard to earn. Or rather, he does know but is addicted to her love by that point. 

It is only Kaptah ( Peter Ustinov ) and Merit ( Jean Simmons ), his two dear friends from his days in poverty, that stay near him in his hour of peril. Merit has loved him since he was a boy but he is blind to it and instead, searches for a greater meaning to his life outside of his medical work. Merit is such a lovely character, so loyal to Sinuhe, which makes it especially difficult to watch him cast her aside. 

On the opposite scale is another romance, a much more animal relationship, between the Pharoah's sister ( Gene Tierney ) and Horemheb, who is seeking to use her to climb his way up to becoming the commander of the Egyptian army. 

The Egyptian has as much intrigue in its production history as it does in its plot. The film was originally planned as an epic vehicle for Marlon Brando. Kirk Douglas and Jean Peters were to be his co-stars, but just a week before filming was to begin, Brando backed out....hence, the role was given to MGM-star Edmund Purdum ( after Cameron Mitchell, Farley Granger and Dirk Bogarde were all first dismissed ). 

Peters was later replaced by Simmons, and Kirk Douglas went on to make 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea instead. Bella Darvi was a protege of producer Darryl Zanuck and his wife Virginia ( "Darvi" is a combination of their first names ) and, at the time of filming, Darryl was besotted with Bella, so the film really became a way for him to promote her career as well. 

The picture had an enormous budget of $3.5 million dollars. Many of the sets, costumes, and props were later loaned to Paramount for Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, which was released the same year. Peter Ustinov, when asked what it was like being involved in such an enormous production, said, "It was like being on a monstrously huge set of Aida and not being able to find the way out."

"I have spent my life in seeking knowledge. This is what I know. I have written this for you my son, wherever you are and for your children and your children's children. It's a poor legacy. But it's all I have."

The Egyptian has always been a personal favorite of mine because it mixes action and adventure with romance and the drama of Sinuhe's life, from his quick rise to becoming a physician to the pharaoh, to being a condemned criminal and an outcast in his homeland. The entire cast is excellent, especially Peter Ustinov, who provides some comic relief. Also in the cast is Henry Daniell, John Carradine, Judith Evelyn, Tommy Rettig, and Michael Ansara. 

This review is my contribution to the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon running today through January 31st. It is being hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, so be sure to head over to either of these sites to read more Jean Simmons film reviews!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Trio ( 1950 ) - The Sanatorium

During my school years, William Somerset Maugham was one of my favorite authors. He is famous for his novels "The Razor's Edge", "The Moon and Sixpence" and "Of Human Bondage", but he was also an excellent short story writer and many of his best works were short stories. 

In 1948, Gainsborough Studios decided to film a selection of these stories as an anthology film. It was called Quartet and included the tales "The Facts of Life", "Alien Corn", "The Kite", and "The Colonel's Lady". These were excellent adaptations and because they were so entertaining and so well received, two more compilations were made: Trio ( 1950 ) and Encore ( 1951 ). 

Trio included three great stories - "The Verger", the story of a man who climbs to business success not even knowing how to read; "Mr. Know-All", about an obnoxious jewelry dealer who has a change of heart onboard a cruise ship; and the best of the three, "The Sanatorium". This little 45-minute gem shares the stories behind the patients of a rest home in a secluded part of Scotland. 

Most of these patients suffer from tuberculosis and, because of the care they need, have been living at the sanatorium anywhere from two to twenty years. The film focuses on the lives of four of the patients with a particular emphasis on Major Templeton ( Michael Rennie ), the latest arrival. The Major is a hero from battles in British India and is also regarded as quite the ladies' man. He was, and is, a confirmed bachelor. However, the moment he sets his eyes on Evie Bishop ( Jean Simmons ), he desires to not only woo her, but win her as his wife. Miss Bishop has been living at the sanatorium for seven years and, in spite of the lack of social entertainment and companions her own age, is cheerful, confident, and quite flirtatious. Bishop, however, shows very little interest in Templeton at first and it is only slowly that he gains her admiration - and love. 
Roland Culver stars as Mr. Ashedon, sort of the narrator of the story. We come to know the inhabitants of the sanatorium through his eyes and his astute observations of them. He is particularly interested in Mr. Chester ( Raymond Huntley ) and the way he treats his wife when she comes for her monthly visits. For a man who looks forward to seeing his wife as eagerly as Mr. Chester does, Ashedon wonders why he behaves so rudely and indifferent to her when she finally arrives. 

Then there is Campbell ( John Laurie ) and MacLeod ( Finlay Currie ), the two fighting Scotsmen. They are constantly at each other's throats over their game of chess and yet are very dear companions. 
The Sanatorium is beautifully filmed by Geoffrey Unsworth and features a stunning array of English character actors. The episode is filled with so many wonderful details and subtle interchanges between these characters. These really shine when seen over multiple viewings ( the segment's short length lends itself easily to this ), but it is the romance between Major Templeton and Miss Bishop that I find so very entertaining. Both are independent spirits who have no interest in getting involved in marriage and yet, when they find out the state of their health, it is marriage that instantly comes to the forefront of their thoughts. 

Jean Simmons was such a talented actress, even as a child, and, in spite of her youthful appearance, always acted with a maturity beyond her years. When The Sanatorium was filmed, she was twenty years old and never looked more beautiful. Simmons was often cast in films with a contemporary setting but she was so well-suited for these period films, possessing the beauty of Edwardian women.

Her character, Miss Bishop, is both independent and headstrong and yet demure and gentle, and Simmons brings out both of these qualities excellently. It is easy to see why Major Templeton is so quickly taken by her charms. 

Unfortunately, Trio is not yet available on DVD in the United States, but it is available in PAL format through Network DVD both independently and as part of the three-film W. Somerset Maugham collection

This review is my contribution to the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon running today through January 31st. It is being hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, so be sure to head over to either of these sites to read more Jean Simmons film reviews!