Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Flood Tide ( 1958 )

Behind the mask of innocence.....murder! 

Universal Pictures made a number of good melodramas in the late 1950s that have fallen into obscurity today, one of which was Flood Tide ( 1958 ) starring George Nader. It's similar to The Bad Seed ( 1956 ) with its main antagonist being a child, but instead of being just a melodrama, it has a touch of murder mystery to it as well. 

The film begins with Bill Holleran ( Russ Conway ) being tried and convicted of murder....the murder of a man who was found washed upon the beach. He had got into an argument with a drunken friend at a party at his beach house and, according to Bill, they had a fistfight and then his friend stumbled away down the street trying to hitch a ride to town. However, a key witness claims that he saw Bill murder the drunken man and then drag his body out to the Pacific Ocean. 

That key witness is David Gordon ( Michel Ray ). He's an intelligent and conniving 10-year-old who was crippled in an automobile accident, the same accident that killed his father several years previously. His mother Anne ( Cornell Borchers ) is devoted to his well-being and believes in the innocence of her son. She is so attentive to him that he develops an intense jealosy whenever he sees anyone take an interest in his mother. 

Steve Martin ( George Nader ), is the owner of the beach house that Bill Holleran had rented. He was away in South America for several months, but when he hears about the case, he comes back to testify against young David.....he believes the boy to be lying. Alas, he is too late and the trial is over. Steve attempts to explain why he thinks that David may have been lying and thus begins a flashback of the events leading up to the trial. 

If you expect to watch an engrossing murder mystery, then you would probably be disappointed with Flood Tide, but if you like a good melodrama, then it is well-worth checking out. I found the first half-hour to be difficult to watch because Anne so willingly allows David to rule her life, but after the flashback ends, the film takes a nice twist and we see Steve playing psychological games with David in the hopes of drawing him out of his selfish misery and getting him to confess to lying. 

Steve is in love with Anne and he sees that the only way he can marry her is by winning the love of David. He valiantly tries to give the boy confidence in himself and make him realize that just because he is physically crippled does not mean he has to be mentally crippled. 

George Nader and Cornell Borchers are both excellent in their parts. Their blossoming romance is both touching to watch and rather sad because it seems so hopeless. Michel Ray is also very good as David. He was very much like Martin Stephens from Village of the Damned ( 1960 ), without the glowing eyes but equally dangerous. Ray made his first film appearence in The Divided Heart ( 1954 ), an excellent British film, and then he came to Hollywood where he had a very short career. He made a handful of westerns but is best known for playing Bud Brewster in the B-film The Space Children ( 1958 ). 

Also in the cast is the lovely Joanna Moore as Steve's old flame, Judson Pratt as a doctor who wants to help David, and Charles Arnt as a kindly grocer. Troy Donahue also makes a brief appearence as a teenager on the beach. 

Flood Tide has not yet been released on DVD, but copies of the film taped from late-night television can be found online. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


Look at all that beautiful white fluffy snow! We've been posting a number of tricky photos lately, so to cap the year off we have an easier puzzle for our Impossibly Difficult followers. Be the first to identify the film this screenshot was taken from and you've got yourself a prize!

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


Congratulations to Brittany for identifying this screenshot from "How to Marry a Millionaire" ( 1953 ). In this scene, Betty Grable and Fred Clark just arrived at his lodge in Maine...and that's handsome Rory Calhoun fetching their luggage from the trunk. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The 12 Delights of Christmas Tag

Heidi of Along the Bradywine created a jolly Christmas tag to celebrate the season and we are pleased as punch to have been tagged by Paddy Lee, known by her readers as Caftan Woman. For those of you not familiar with tagging parties, they are simply a set of questions that you answer and then pass along to another group of bloggers whom you tagged. On to the questions! 

1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

There are a lot of them, most of which include watching favorite holiday films on the days leading up to Christmas...but one of our favorite traditions is making gesztenyepüré. It's a Hungarian chestnut purree dessert that our Oma ( grandma ) introduced to us when we were young. There is something delightfully nostalgic about tasting this frothy rum-soaked chestnut dessert on a cold winter afternoon.

2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside? 

That depends on how much snow fell down. If it was just a dusting, we'd stay in, but if it came down heavy, then we'd scurry to put our ski pants on and go cross-country skiing! 

3) Tea or hot chocolate? 

Definitely tea...with plenty of cookies. 

The "milk of human kindness"...if it tastes like Earl Grey, I'll take a large cup, too!

4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green, etc)?

White and green. The colors of snow and garlands. 

5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie? 

Diana: Thumbprints and sugar cookies. We make them every year!
Connie: I love spekulatius cookies because they taste so good with tea, especially the ones with the stamped image of the little old man carrying a sack on his back. 

6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)? 

About a week into December. We take it down a week after New Year's Day, so it is up for a whole month. 

7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols?

Diana: O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Joy to the World

Connie: The Star Carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day ( set to the Johnny Marks melody ), Here We Come A-Wassailing 

8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)? 

Diana: We Need a Little Christmas from Mame.
Connie: Little Altar Boy ( The Carpenters ) is such a jewel. 

9) A favorite Christmas movie? 

Diana: The Bishop's Wife ( 1947 )
Connie: Little Women ( 1933 ). 

10) Have you ever gone caroling?

Yes! It was an annual tradition at our church, but sadly, this year we did not have the pleasure of singing out door-to-door. 

11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowboarding? 

Skiing! Ice skating looks delightful but most attempts at it have turned into a wobbly mess. At least when you fall on skiis you land on snow. 

12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

Diana: Yams!
Connie: I'm still looking for that one. 

Since the 12 Days of Christmas runs up until January 5th, we're tagging the following bloggers - Critica RetroThe Wonderful World of Cinema, Vienna's Classic Hollywood - to join in, but if any of our readers want to share their responses too, we'd love to hear them! 

1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside? 

3) Tea or hot chocolate? 

4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green etc)? 

5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie? 

6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)? 

7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols? 

8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)? 

9) A favorite Christmas movie? 

10) Have you ever gone caroling? 

11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowboarding? 

12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

Sunday, December 20, 2020

All I Desire ( 1953 )

Naomi Murdoch is returning to the small town of Riverdale to see her daughter perform in a high school play and the town is in a gossiping uproar. Nearly ten years earlier, Naomi left Riverdale, her husband Henry ( Richard Carlson ), and her three children to pursue a career on the stage as an actress. The townsfolk - and her family - have not forgiven her. All except Lily ( Lori Nelson ), Naomi's younger daughter. It was a letter from Lily that brought Naomi on her homeward journey. 

Once back in Riverdale, Naomi comes to realize how much she has missed her family and her home. But she feels that it is too late to make amends. Henry and she argue the first night she arrives and their eldest daughter Joyce ( Marcia Henderson ) is particularly bitter towards her. To make matters worse, Dutch Heinemann ( Lyle Bettger ), a local shop owner, thinks that because Naomi is back in town they can pick on where they left off with their affair. 

All I Desire was directed by Douglas Sirk and, like most of his films from the 1950s, it is bubbling with soapy melodrama. Most of his films were shot in color, but this one was black-and-white and it was a good decision to film it in monochrome because of the emphasis it gives to the low-lighting and shadows that were beautifully captured by cinematographer Carl Guthrie ( Caged ). 

The script was an adaption of Carol Brinks' novel "Stopover" and, even though the film is only 80-minutes, it manages to pack in quite a lot of drama in such a short span....with, surprisingly, no loose ends. 

Barbara Stanwyck was ideally cast as Naomi and looks beautiful in the turn-of-the-century period costumes designed by Rosemary Odell. Naomi is a tired hardened woman who never really made it big in the theater world but she decides to play the part of being an elegant distinguished actress and make her family proud. Few actresses could have played this part with as much conviction as Ms. Stanwyck.

Richard Carlson is also well-suited in the role of Henry, the mild-mannered school principal who is shocked by his wife's return. Henry was beginning to grow attached to Ms. Harper ( Maureen O'Sullivan ), the school's drama teacher, but when Naomi comes back into his life, he has to re-evaluate his feelings. 

Also in the cast is Billy Gray as Naomi's son Ted, Lotte Stein as the Swedish housekeeper, and Richard Long as Joyce's charming beau.  Stuart Whitman and Guy Williams also have small parts as Lily's school companions. 

The publicity department at 20th Century Fox probably thought that the film's period setting would turn away audience members and so they created poster art that, amusingly, had nothing to do with the film. One poster has a background of storm clouds while a man ( presumably Richard Carlson ) kisses the neck of a negligee-clad woman who looks a lot like Barbara Hale. Another has a dark-haired Barbara Stanwyck cradling the head of Robert Mitchum, both of them wearing outfits that look like they came out of the 1940s (!). 

All I Desire did not need the pulp-fiction publicity to sell it, because the film is a fine production all around and is one of Barbara Stanwyck's best films of the 1950s. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

British Pathé: Peter Cushing and His Toy Soldiers ( 1956 )

This 1956 British Pathé newsreel reveals that the inimitable English actor Peter Cushing was a toy soldier enthusiast. As if he wasn't marvelous enough already! 

As you will see in this 2-minute clip, Cushing had a little corner of his study in his Kensington house set aside for his hobby. He painted his tin soldiers to authentically match the colors of historic military uniforms. 

Cushing was a member of the Model Soldier Society and not only took pride in his painted creations but enjoyed playing with them as well. As the narrator states, he played with his soldiers in accordance with the rules laid down by H.G. Wells in his book "Little Wars". This was years before the outbreak of the wargamer's hobby and, without games like Axis and Allies and Conquest of the Empire, Mr. Cushing had to make do with playing soldiers without a 3-foot gameboard. In truth, he seems to have the advantage and was able to sprawl his soldiers over the entire floor of his study! 

Ready to watch Peter Cushing? Simply click on the link below: 

Peter Cushing ( 1956 ) - 2:12 minutes 

Similiar British Pathé newsreels:

Friday, December 11, 2020

From the Archives: The Fan ( 1949 )

Mrs. Windermere ( Jeanne Crain ) meets the conniving Mrs. Erlynne ( Madeleine Carroll ) for the first time at a dinner party, while her husband Lord Windermere ( Richard Greene ) looks on in this scene from The Fan ( 1949 ). This lush 20th-Century-Fox production was an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play "Lady Windermere's Fan".

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 :

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Joe Flynn - A Frustrated Fellow

Aurora, author of the blog Once Upon a Screen, is hosting the 9th annual What a Character! Blogathon this weekend along with Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled and Paula of Paula's Cinema Club. This event celebrates the many many great character actors that have appeared in films since movie-making began. 

It is usually a difficult choice for me to pick just one face to profile, but this time around the decision-making came quickly because Joe Flynn has been delighting me all year. 

This loveable bespeckacled character actor is best known for playing Captain Wallace B. Birmingham on the television sitcom McHale's Navy ( 1962-1966 ), but he also had supporting roles in a number of fun Walt Disney films from the 1960s-1970s and I'd like to put the spotlight on these. 

Joe Flynn was born in Youngstown, Ohio on November 8, 1924. After attending Northwestern University he played in local theater and on radio before joining the Special Services Branch of the Army and entertaining troops overseas during World War II. 

Like many character actors, Joe Flynn began his career in uncredited roles playing extras or characters like assistants or reporters. He started film work when he was only 24 years-old but he never looked very young so he was quickly put into roles that called for a more mature face. He had small parts in The Desperate Hours ( 1955 ), The Steel Jungle ( 1956 ), and Portland Expose ( 1957 ) while alternating between steady television work on shows such as The Thin Man, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Life of Riley and The Real McCoys

He tried his hand at playing in some western television shows but he fitted modern-day business suits and military outfits much better and in the 1960s he found his niche in comedy parts where he usually played a businessman or officer in a position of authority who is frustrated working with incompetent people. "I could just scream!" became his catchphrase on McHale's Navy. It seems like a difficult task to add humor to a character who chews other people's heads off, but Joe pulls it off with ease. 

On the opposite spectrum, he could also play characters who have to take the gruff from others. He was the lowly Private Drexler in The Last Time I Saw Archie ( 1961 ), the obedient office worker Hadley in Lover Come Back ( 1961 ), and Thorndyke's stooge Havershaw in The Love Bug ( 1968 ). 

In 1962, Joe began his long association with the Walt Disney Studios when he had a small uncredited part in Son of Flubber. After The Love Bug, he was cast as Dean Higgins of Medfield College in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes ( 1969 ). Dean Higgins was a man who had little faith in the intelligence of his students at Medfield, especially Dexter Riley ( Kurt Russell ) who was continually getting into mischief. In spite of his short temper, the college students always turned to him for advice even though it was they who usually ended up saving him from a financial scrape or personal embarrassment. 

In this clip from Now You See Him, Now You Don't, Dexter and his friends were unable to save Higgins from embarrassment and they can only watch as Higgins make a fool out of himself during a televisied golf tournament. Dean Higgins fancies himself a pro golfer after he had an amazing first game of golf but little did he realize that it was Dexter who, while invisible, was moving his ball around on the course. Since Dexter was unable to attend the tournament, Dean Higgins finds out just how hard a game of golf can be!

Joe Flynn was a natural-born scene-stealer and no matter who he was acting opposite, he managed to take the spotlight position away from them. It is hard not to like Joe, especially when he puts on his goofy expression of bewilderment. The Disney screenwriters saw what a ham he was and in the sequels to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Dean Higgins' part was expanded on. 

He reprised the role of Dean Higgins in two more Dexter adventures - Now You See Him, Now You Don't ( 1972 ) and The Strongest Man in the World ( 1975 ) and also played opposite Kurt Russell in The Barefoot Executive ( 1971 ) where he got to mutter his frustration out on another wonderful character actor - Wally Cox. 

Joe Flynn was also a favorite among other comedians and one his friends was Tim Conway, with whom he starred with on The Tim Conway Show ( 1970 ). This short-lived series featured the two comics as pilots of a charter airline service. Conway was a good friend of Don Knotts and it may have been that connection that got Flynn a role in How to Frame a Figg ( 1971 ), a Universal Pictures comedy featuring Don Knotts. In this film, Flynn plays a corrupt member of city hall who is trying to finger the blame on Don Knotts. 

In real life, Flynn liked to fight for underdogs. Prior to coming to Hollywood, he had run for a  seat in the Ohio Senate as a Republican and, in the early 1970s, he launched a movement on behalf of the Screen Actors Guild for a more equitable distribution of TV residual payments. 

Throughout the 1970s, Flynn made guest appearences in a number of television sitcoms ( e.g. Family Affair, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, That Girl ), game shows ( It's Your Bet, The Match Game ) and was a very frequent guest star on The Merv Griffin Show, making no less than 52 appearences on that show! 

His final film was The Rescuers, where he voiced the character of Mr. Snoops. Flynn passed away in 1977 at the age of 49 from a heart attack while he was swimming at home. One can only wonder what great parts he may have had as an older character actor if his life had not been cut so short

Now, for a really "egg"-cellant treat, check out this fascinating story about Joe Flynn and his egg-farming hobby that turned into a business venture lasting ten years, thanks to the unwelcomed support of Marlon Brando. 

Thank you for stopping by! To read more posts about character actors, click on this link to be taken to the What a Character! Blogathon main page where you will find articles from other bloggers. Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Juliet Prowse on The Muppet Show ( 1977 )

The talented dancer and actress Juliet Prowse was one of the many fine performers that appeared on The Muppet Show during its heyday in the 1970s. This show appealed to children because of its puppets, but the line-up of great guest stars attracted the adult audience, which the show was created for. 

In this clip from the April 25, 1977 episode of The Muppet Show, Juliet Prowse performs a lovely dance to "Solace - A Mexican Serenade" ( a rare tango from ragtime composer Scott Joplin ). Afterward, she has a chat with Kermit and tells him that he is the "Robert Redford of Frogs"....quite a compliment! 

Juliet Dancing to "Solace":

If you enjoy these clips and want to hear more from Juliet, then check out this interview she made with Nola Joy Carello in 1987. Ms. Prowse talks about how she arrived in Hollywood and also her work as a ballroom dance competition judge.  

Nola Joy Carello Interview:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

These two men look like they are giving a darn good look at something interesting, but what could that something or someone be? We hope this scene piques your interest because only the keen-eyed amongst you will be able to identify this Impossibly Difficult screenshot! 

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

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The People That Time Forgot ( 1977 )

The 7th Continent - a lost world shut off by a wall of ice, roamed by beasts unknown to Science, ruled by men lost to History, doomed to vanish in a chaos of leaping flames! 

This was the tagline to The People that Time Forgot, the sequel to The Land that Time Forgot ( 1975 ). Quite a fetching tagline....and the poster of the film is even more enticing! It shows a man ( supposedly Patrick Wayne ) walloping a hairy caveman with the butt of his rifle while a pterodactyl flies overhead. This scene was actually in the movie but it did not seem quite as exciting as the poster makes it out to be. 

The People that Time Forgot does have its share of excitement though. Within its 90-minute runtime, our heroes have to face a continual string of encounters with prehistoric cavemen, wicked warlords, dinosaurs, and erupting volcanoes. 

The story, based on the 1918 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, begins where The Land that Time Forgot left off. If our readers remember, Bowen Tyler ( Doug McClure ) and Lisa Clayton ( Susan Penhaligon ) were left stranded on the island of Caprona, a land untouched by evolution. Tyler writes an account of his whereabouts, places it in a bottle, and throws it out to sea. 

This is where The People That Time Forgot begins. A sailor discovered this bottle off of the coast of England and Tyler's friend Major Ben McBride organizes a search party to rescue them. Members of this expedition include a woman photographer, Lady Charlotte Cunningham ( Sarah Douglas ), a paleontologist ( Thorley Walters ), and a mechanic ( Shane Rimmer ). 

They arrive on Caprona with an amphibious aircraft but a dogfight with a pterodactyl wrecks the propellor and three of the members decide to embark on their search by foot. En route they meet Ajor, a cavewoman, played by the tremendously buxom Dana Gillispie. She knew Tyler and tells them that he was captured by the Nargus, a samurai-like band of warriors, who are keeping him a prisoner on the Mountain of Skulls. 

Once they find him they have to battle the Nargus' not-so-jolly green giant before scurrying back to the airplane before the island erupts in flames ( volcanoes usually sit undisturbed for hundreds of years but are always ready to erupt when visitors come ). 

The plot is simple enough and it allowed screenwriter Patrick Tilly to add any number of creative hazards for the party to encounter during their rescue mission. These included a few dinosaurs, a tunnel of serpent heads ( who looked surprisingly similar to the Arthur O'Connell serpent from The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao ), and, of course, the prerequisite escape-from-a-sacrificial-ceremony. 

Director Kevin Connor made a series of adventure films based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels in the 1970s beginning with The Land that Time Forgot. All of these films are - unfortunately - quite forgettable, but nevertheless, they make great Saturday-afternoon viewing. The stop-motion dinosaurs are not as impressive as Ray Harryhausen's creatures but the special effects are otherwise done very well. The scenes with the airplane flying through the mountains and the ship cutting through the icy waters are especially good.  

If you enjoy popcorn movies like this, then check out Walt Disney's Island at the Top of the World ( 1974 ) as well...these two films would make for a great double-feature!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Hideaways aka From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler ( 1973 )

Claudia Kincaid wants to run away from home. She is a romantic dreamer at heart and feels like her parents do not appreciate her. So, when she finds a train ticket with an unpunched ride, she decides to take off on an adventure of a lifetime. Together with her younger brother Jamie ( who is financing their expedition ), she plots their escape and, while riding in the bus to school one day, they take off for New York City. "You don't run away from a place, you run away to a place," Claudia says. And New York City is the place she wants to go to because that is where the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located. 

Claudia wants to live in the museum and immerse herself in history. One night, while at the museum, she sees a statue of an angel in a backroom and falls in love with it. It is part of a new art exhibition and may possibly have been sculpted by Michaelangelo. The famous Italian sculptor's mark is on the base of the statue but art experts have been baffled for years as to whether it is a genuine mark or not. 

Claudia was wondering just why she had run away and now it occurs to her that she wants to prove that she is capable of doing something grand and noble... just like the knights in the legends of King Arthur that she reads about. Solving the mystery of whether or not Michaelangelo carved the angel statue would be such a gesture. It would make her feel important. The only person who can help Claudia and Jamie solve the mystery is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler ( Ingrid Bergman ), a recluse who once owned the statue.

"You know Jamie, this is really a great adventure, something we'll remember as long as we live. Not even a king has lived in a fabulous place like this."

The Hideaways is based on the popular children's book "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" written by E.L. Konigsburg. It was required reading for many elementary students during the 1980s and 1990s. This film adaptation escaped me as a youngster and the only filmed version of the story that I was aware of at the time was the 1995 television adaptation starring Lauren Bacall. 

The Hideaways is by far a superior adaptation of the story and a much better film overall. Sally Prager and Johnny Doran are excellent in the lead roles and Sally especially gives a touching performance as the imaginative and spunky Claudia. For such a little thing, she really does have a lot of wisdom. 
The dialogue throughout the film is so loose and natural which makes everything that the children say seem believable. It was Blanche Hanalis who penned the script. This marvelous screenwriter had a knack for writing dialogue for children. She wrote the script to The Trouble with Angels ( 1966 ) and also many episodes of Family Affair and Little House on the Prairie

The Hideaways could be classified as a coming-of-age film because Claudia and Jamie learn, grow, and mature through their experience of running away from home. Their sibling bond strengthens throughout their adventure and Claudia comes to see just how much she loves her family and how much they love her. 

Ingrid Bergman gives an excellent and sensitive portrayal of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She is immediately captivated by Claudia and her interest in the angel statue and is eager to help this kindred spirit to solve the mystery. You get the idea that perhaps seeing Claudia and Jamie makes Mrs. Frankweiler regret that she did not have any children herself. 
George Rose, a fine English actor, has a marvelous part as Mrs. Frankweiler's patient butler Saxonburg. Richard Mulligan and Georgann Johnson have small parts as the children's parents and Madeleine Khan also has a brief appearance as a schoolteacher at the museum.

The Hideaways also features fine cinematography by Victor J. Kemper ( The Last Tycoon ), beautiful music by Donald Devor, and an excellent setting - The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was filmed on location within the museum and it is wonderful to get an inside view of such a famous New York institution. The children wander through all the major rooms and, as an audience, we get to see beautiful paintings by Degas, Leutze, Rosseau, and Monet. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

British Pathé: Bicycle of the Future aka Moulton Bicycle ( 1963 )

Leave it to the Brits to re-invent and improve upon something that seems perfectly suitable already. That's exactly what Dr. Alex Moulton did with the bicycle. Moulton was dissatisfied with the large wheels and diamond frame of traditional bicycles and decided to create his own. 

His new creation - the Moulton cycle - was known as a small wheel bicycle and, in addition to being lightweight and easily packed into a car, it featured a rubber suspension system so you had a smooth ride wherever you went. 

The Moulton cycle debuted at the Earls Court Cycle Show in 1962. It gained enough attention that Moulton Bicycles Ltd. opened a factory in Bradford-on-Avon ( in Wiltshire ) and began manufacturing them for public use. This 2:12 minute British Pathé newsreel shows how versatile the little cycle was and how fast it could travel - up to 50mph!

To learn more about the history of this great company and its cycles check out their website or watch this short film about the Moulton Bicycle Company. 

Ready to watch Bicycle of the Future? Simply click on the link below: 

Similiar British Pathé newsreels:

Solex Bicycle ( 1968 ) - 2:33 minutes 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

From the Archives: High Barbaree ( 1947 )

Who said you can't kiss with a mask on? Van Johnson and June Allyson prove that it can be easily done in this photo from a scene from High Barbaree ( 1947 ). 

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 :

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Horror Hotel aka City of the Dead ( 1960 )

"Is it Whitewood you seek?" 

A tall distinguished-looking man asks this of Nan Barlow ( Venetia Stevenson ) when she comes to a crossroads one dark, foggy evening searching for an old village. It is indeed Whitewood that Nan seeks. After hearing her college professor Alan Driscoll ( Christopher Lee ) tell her tales of the witchcraft that took place in the 17th-century Massachusetts village, she decides to spend a week at the legendary Raven's Inn in Whitewood. 

This old and rotting inn was the site where Elizabeth Selwyn was burned at the stake for being a witch, way back in 1692. There is even a plaque on the wall to inform visitors about the historical significance of the inn. When Nan arrives, the town and the inn, appear to be deserted. 

The innkeeper, Mrs. Newless ( Patricia Jessel ), attempts to turn Nan away claiming that there are no rooms available...until Nan mentions that Professor Driscoll sent her. Mrs. Newless gladly gives her a room then because this misguided young woman is clearly intended to be the next sacrificial victim for the witches.

Patricia Russell ( Betta St. John ), the daughter of Reverend Russell, the sole minister in the town of Whitewood, has her suspicions about the evil lurking within Raven's Inn but she doesn't realize the danger that she herself is in until Nan disappears one evening. It is not until Nan's brother Richard ( Dennis Lotis ) and her boyfriend Bill ( Tom Naylor ) come to visit Whitewood in search of her that the centuries-old coven of witches is finally destroyed. 

"We'll be waiting for you!"

City of the Dead was a British production, yet it perfectly captured the atmosphere of New England with its legends of witchcraft. It was a budget horror film that did poorly at the box office when it was first released. The film did a little better in ticket sales when it was retitled Horror Hotel for its U.S. release a year later but has only recently gained the recognition it deserves because it really is a very chilling film and a well-made production, too. 

John Llewellyn Moxey, an Argentinian director, was making his directorial debut and he did a splendid job of packing in a lot of story and action in such a short runtime ( 76 minutes ).....not to mention a lot of fog! Moxey later devoted his time to television work and directed numerous episodes of shows such as The Saint, The Baron, Hawaii 5-0, Mission Impossible, Charlie's Angels, and Murder, She Wrote

The cinematography of Horror Hotel makes it seem like a production with a much bigger budget than it had. This was thanks to its cinematographer, Desmond Dickinson, who had a long career in film in England ( he photographed Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Browning Version, and Murder Most Foul to name a few ). 

Venetia Stevenson is pretty-as-a-picture as the ingenue Nan, and Betta St. John has a good role, too, but the film's starring attractions really are Patricia Jessel and Valentine Dyall ( he portrays Jethrow Keane ). These two pros, both Shakesperian stage actors, lend their characters such devilish charm that it is almost disappointing to see their demise, especially after centuries of living at the Raven's Inn.  
Christopher Lee has a small but interesting part as Nan's professor, while Norman MacOwan, an old character actor, was making his final film appearance as Reverend Russell. His character, who fervently pleads a warning to all visitors of Whitewood, helps to increase the fear factor.

All in all, if you want a good scare on a Halloween night, then it is well worth checking out this bewitching 1960 gem. 

Want to spend an evening in Whitewood?

Friday, October 30, 2020

TV/Movie Set: Bedknobs and Broomsticks ( 1971 )

It has been a long, long time since we have featured a TV/Movie set article, so to bring the series back to life, my sister and I selected a house design that we have loved for years - the Bedknobs and Broomsticks manor. It's so fitting for this time of year, too. 

This beautiful English Tudor belonged to Eglantine Price ( Angela Lansbury ), the heroine of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a bewitching 1971 musical from Walt Disney Studios. The film tells the story of a would-be witch who attempts to learn the secret of the missing spell of "Substituiary Locomotion" in order to help England defeat the Nazis during World War II. 

Miss Price's secluded house overlooked the chalky white cliffs of Dover. It was an ideal place for her to practice witchcraft without the citizens of Pepperinge Eye knowing what she was doing. She was disappointed to get saddled with three orphaned evacuee children from London, but once they learned that she was an apprentice witch, they come to her aid and help her to locate the missing spell.

Here is a quick sketch of the layout of the interior of the house. Since only one side of the living room was shown, I left that part of the sketch undone. 

Let's take a look at the house more closely with some screenshots......


John B. Mansbridge, a fabulous art director who was in charge of many of Walt Disney's productions throughout the 1960s and 1970s, was the art director of this film and he did a beautiful job of recreating a World War II-era English manor. Peter Ellenshaw is also credited as art director for the production, but since he was a matte artist, most of his work was probably painting the exterior shots of the house ( see the two screenshots above ). 

Like many old manor homes, Mansbridge designed the house to look like it had a number of additions added to it over the years. The "original" house did not have a kitchen, so as you can see in the sketch, it is one of the additions and located off the living room instead. 

When Miss Price first arrives home with the children in tow, we see a glimpse of a stone wall behind her. Later in the film, this would be the wall that the Nazis attempt to climb when they attack her house. 

Miss Price's house is very strongly built. The local clergyman ( Roddy McDowall ) knows this, too, and when he comes to deliver a telegram for Miss Price he tests out her porch by jumping up and down on it! He wants to have her house as his own, although the reason why is never expanded upon in the script. 


Our first view of the interior is the living room. Isn't it charming? Miss Price's house is filled with numerous chairs, bric-a-brac, and lots of pictures hanging on the walls. The old beams add character to the place and it makes one think of the interior of an old inn. 

In this scene, Miss Price is heading towards a closet to stow away her new broomstick and below we see the stairs leading up to the room which she will give to the children to use. 

You can see the dining room behind Miss Price in this screenshot:

When the Nazis take over her house ( because of its prime location overlooking the Channel ), they make the living room their "headquarters". That's John Ericson as the handsome young Nazi captain. 

Emile Kuri and Hal Gausman were responsible for the set decoration and they did such a wonderful job. Both Kuri and Guasman had worked as set decorators on other Disney productions such as The Parent Trap ( 1961 ), Mary Poppins ( 1964 ), That Darn Cat ( 1965 ), The Secret of the Pirates Inn ( 1967 ), and Blackbeard's Ghost ( 1968 ). 

As Miss Price leads the children up the staircase we see lots of prints of hunt scenes and animals on the wall and, in the children's room, there is a picture of a military officer and battle scenes which gives us a hint into the character of Miss Price's father ( it was once his house ). 


The fact that Miss Price left his room unchanged and told the children to "be very careful of everything in it" tells us a little bit about her character. 

Carrie is given the devon to sleep on and the boys will share the brass bed. Later, this becomes a traveling bed when the famous "traveling spell" is applied to one of the brass bedknobs. 

It's a plain room, but it gets plenty of light from the window. It could do with some new wallpaper, however. 

"Now how's a ruddy big bed like that going to get out of this room with those little windows?" asks Charlie. He's at the "age of not believing" and doubts magic altogether. But as you can see, the bed does indeed whisk itself away!


We don't get to see much of the dining room in the film. It's small but cozy. Miss Price serves the children cabbage buds, rose seeds, and other vegetarian goodies. The kids naturally like Mr. Brown's cooking better - he makes sausages and mash!


Speaking of Mr. Brown, here he is. This floundering magician helps Miss Price in her hour of need and the more time they spend together the fonder she grows of him. He was portrayed by that wonderful English actor David Tomlinson ( Three Men in a Boat, Mary Poppins ). 

The kitchen is very bright and cheerful and has a beautiful hearth stove in one corner. Miss Price also keeps the pantry well stocked with garlic ( does she believe in vampires, too? )


Just off the kitchen is a storage room which we only get a glimpse of when the door to the workshop is open. This is the entry way leading to Miss Price's "witching room". She practices all of the latest spells from Mr. Brown's Correspondance College of Witchcraft here. 

She was especially excited when she got to fly her first broom. Cosmic Creepers, her cat, watched as she came tumbling down from the sky after her first attempt. It takes some practice to work a broom properly. 
Miss Price didn't have too much luck the first time she tried the Substituary Locomotion spell either and the household wardrobe began to take on a life of its own. 

At the end of the film we see this view from the front of the manor. I wonder if Miss Price knew what a prime piece of property she owned! Perhaps she did, and that was why she wanted to defend her corner of England...even via witchcraft.