Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Coming Soon: TCM Presents Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ( 1982 )

Mark your calendar, Trekkies! TCM Big Screen Classics will be bringing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan back into theaters for a 3-day special event showing on September 4th,5th, and 8th. This film, the second in a five-film Star Trek series, has Ricardo Montalban's character Khan Singh ( who made a 1967 Star Trek appearance in "Space Seed" ) return to exact revenge on Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. 

You can purchase tickets online at Fanthom Events or at your local theater. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Home-Made Car ( 1963 ) - A BP Film Short

James Hill was a director of British films ( A Study in Terror, Born Free ) and television series of the 1960s and 1970s. He filmed numerous episodes of The Avengers, The Saint, and Worzel Gummidge, but he is best known as a director of family-oriented short films and documentaries. One of his most popular shorts was Guiseppina ( 1960 ), about a young girl who quietly observes the characters who pass by her father's petrol station. This little film earned him the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. It was produced by BP ( British Petroleum ) Films, a production company that James Hill made several films for... one of which was The Home-Made Car ( 1963 ). 

This 27-minute color silent short follows the trials of a young man as he builds his own car from spare parts which he finds at a junkyard. Observing his efforts is a little girl who, at first, looks on with curiosity but later lends him a helping hand. He also gets a hand from the local garage owner who, naturally, runs a BP station. Actress Caroline Mortimer has a brief uncredited role as a young woman who works at the garage. Our hero likes her but a man in a flashy Austin Healey takes her out most evenings, so he feels he doesn't have much of a chance of dating her, at least, not until he gets his own car built. 

The Home-Made Car is a lovely little short that is very entertaining to watch, even though the pace is slow and the film is silent. It is ideal for viewing on a rainy day or when you are stuck in bed with a cold. And for some reason, it is so charming that it is easy to watch multiple times. Ron Grainier provides the background music which seems a bit out of sync with the theme. It could have benefited from a spunkier score like Norrie Paramour penned for The Fast Lady. 

The film was shot in and around Farnborough and Cove in Hampshire and we get a glimpse of the beautiful English countryside as he test drives his finished car, which happens to be a Morris Oxford dating from the 1920s. With its bright blue paint job, it looks like Val Biro's Gumdrop come to life ( if only James Hill had made a CFF serial on the adventures of Gumdrop! )

The short was nominated for an Academy Award in 1963 but did not win. However, it became known in every household between 1967-1973 when it was shown almost on a daily basis on BBC2 as one of their afternoon trade test color films ( click here to read more about that interesting subject ).

The Home-Made Car is available as an extra feature - along with Guiseppina - on the DVD Lunch Hour ( also directed by James Hill )

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Tamarind Seed ( 1974 )

Judith Farrow ( Julie Andrews ) is still grieving over the breakup of a rather lurid liaison with her married paramour Group Captain Richard Patterson ( David Baron ). She is vacationing in Barbados, attempting to clear her muddled mind and heal her broken heart, when she meets the suave Colonel Feodor Sverdlov ( Omar Shariff ), a Soviet military attaché who is also vacationing for a respite. Feodor works in the Paris embassy circle and happens to know Captain Patterson. Coincidentally, he is also acquainted with Sam Neilson of the British Home Office, for whom Judith works as a personal assistant. 

Back in London, British intelligence officer Jack Loder ( Anthony Quayle ) and Home Secretary Fergus Stephenson ( Daniel O'Herlihy ) are curious as to why Feodor is in Barbados and decide to keep surveillance on him and his, supposedly, coincidental encounter with Judith. Loder believes Feodor is conspiring to win Judith over "to the other side" so that the Russians could use her as an inside agent. 

Judith thought she met a kind and understanding friend on her holiday but when Loder approaches her with his suspicions of Feodor's motives for meeting her, she begins to wonder if she is indeed being used as a pawn in a political chess game between the East and the West. 

The Tamarind Seed is an engrossing romantic espionage drama from director Blake Edwards. It is a long picture ( 125 minutes ) and the pace is slow, yet the story is riveting and the film never becomes tiresome. This is due to the fine performances of all the principal players and Edwards' compelling script, which was based on Evelyn Anthony's 1971 bestselling novel. 

Julie Andrews, who was married to Edwards at the time, delivers an excellent performance as the bewildered Ms. Farrow. Andrews portrays Judith as a woman of intelligence and strength, lost and confused though she may be. Judith follows her heart, in spite of being warned against doing so. "He's going to recruit you, isn't he?" Loder tells her. "You're wrong. He'll never do anything like that. I know him." "Do you? I doubt that, Mrs. Farrow"...."If you are right and he tries to involve me in anything, I will tell you, but I will not be used to spy against him," she replies. 

Feodor does indeed seem to be the honest, undeceptive gentleman she believes him to be. As their holiday in Barbados comes to a close, they agree to meet again - discreetly - in Paris. Here Feodor informs her that he told his superior General Golitsyn ( Oskar Homolka ) that he is building a relationship with her in the hopes of recruiting her as a KGB agent and that she must be frank and tell Loder of their meeting as well. “Let me teach you the first lesson about these little games,” Feodor explains. “You must try to tell the truth as long as possible. That way, when times change and you have to lie, there is a great chance that you will be believed.” 

Judith has no taste for these Soviet cat-and-mouse games and yet she finds herself embroiled in them through her relationship with Feodor, a relationship she has no intention of pursuing since he is a married man and decidedly Marxist. "It is a good sign that we have many dialectic disagreements and yet get along so well together", Feodor exclaims. Perhaps so, but when Feodor's life becomes endangered, Judith must weigh her feelings for him against her loyalty to her own values.

The Tamarind Seed was released in theaters in the summer of 1974 and was received with critical acclaim. The film was chosen to be shown for a Royal Command Performance and returned over three times its $2.4 million budget at the box office.

Freddie Young's beautiful cinematography elevates the film beyond a standard espionage drama and makes you feel like you are watching an epic. Indeed, with location filming in London, Paris, Barbados, and Switzerland and John Barry's lush score ( not to mention Wilma Reading's wonderful rendition of "Play it Again" ), it could very well be classified as a dramatic spy epic.

Also in the cast are Sylvia Syms, Bryan Marshall, Kate O'Mara, and Celia Bannerman.

The Tamarind Seed is currently available on DVD and via streaming on Tubi.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

What a cute kid! He's not Spanky and he probably made only one film in his whole life but we noticed him...and if you did too, you may remember what film he appeared in. Test your memory and give a guess.

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 the Tactful Typist for correctly identifying this scene from Slightly Dangerous ( 1943 ) starring Lana Turner and Robert Young. This little boy was enjoying a banana split when havoc broke out at the department store after Lana's departure.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Portrait of Captain Gregg

Several years ago we posted an article on the whereabouts of the oil painting of Captain Gregg from the 1947 film classic The Ghost and Mrs. MuirThis post ( Whatever Became of the Portrait of Captain Gregg? ) is one of our most viewed posts and I was surprised by how much interest film fans have in that particular painting. My sister and I have long considered The Ghost and Mrs. Muir to be one of our favorite films but we had not known that it is considered to be a favorite by many. Two things most fans like best about it is the beautiful setting - Gull Cottage at Whitecliff-by-the-Sea - and the portrait of Captain Gregg that came with the house that Mrs. Muir rented. 

Several people commented that they would like to own the portrait of Captain Gregg but, if you read the article, you will see that it no longer exists as it was seen in the film, having been painted over with the likeness of Edward Mulhare for use in the 1968 television series The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. 

Since even a print of this handsome captain was unattainable, I decided to paint a version for myself. It's been a good 15 years since I have painted in oils but the result turned out fairly well....Captain Gregg himself would have been pleased, methinks. 

It took a few days to make and, after the painting was finished, I scanned it. Then, with the magic of Picasa ( Google's now-obsolete photo editing software ), I enhanced the portrait. You can buy it now on Etsy as a digital download for $6.99. The resulting file size is large enough to make a 36" x 45" print from, so anyone can print it on canvas and have their very own "Portrait of Captain Gregg" hanging in their seaside retreat. 

There is no guarantee that the ghost of Captain Gregg will emerge when you hang it up, but it will make a nice conversation piece nonetheless. 

Click here to view the listing on Etsy.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

From the Archives: The Go-Between ( 1971 )

Margaret Leighton and Julie Christie have a slight difference of opinion as young Dominic Guard looks on in this scene from The Go-Between ( 1971 ), a beautifully filmed adaptation of L.P. Hartley's 1953 novel about a schoolboy who spends his summer at an English estate and acts as a messenger for Julie Christie and Alan Bates while they have a secret romance. The Go-Between won the Palme D'Or at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. 

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, August 6, 2022

Judith Durham of The Seekers Passes Away at 79

We generally do not write about music on Silver Scenes ( unless, of course, it is film music ), but a legend in the music industry passed away yesterday - Judith Durham. This lovely woman was one of the founding members of The Seekers, a group that had hits in the 1960s with "Georgy Girl", "I'll Never Find Another You" and "A World of Our Own". 

The Seekers were comprised of Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, Athol Guy, and Durham. They formed as a group in 1962 and catapulted to stardom in 1964, becoming the first pop band from Australia to achieve international success. In 1968, Judith Durham launched a career as a solo performer while Keith Potger went on to form and manage The New Seekers. The group reunited in 1992 and continued to perform in concerts throughout the world. 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the group. 

Judith Durham had such a beautiful voice that truly captured the spirit of Australia, especially in all of the traditional folk songs she performed. Judith passed away at age 79 from complications from a chronic lung disease.