Friday, December 30, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

"Calling in the New Year, calling in the New Year, are you there?"

"Hello, Old Year! New Year here. Getting ready to arrive and sending you my best wishes!"

This woman might not be connecting the Old Year with the New Year but she is certainly hooking someone up on the switchboard. We'll be kind and give you a hint about this screenshot: don't spend too much time trying to identify these two gals, they appeared only briefly in this musical. Good luck guessing....and Happy New Year to all our readers! 


Congratulations to The Tactful Typist for correctly identifying this scene from "Sun Valley Serenade" ( 1941 ) starring John Payne. This scene takes place just after the opening credits when John Payne and Glenn Miller and his orchestra arrive at the recording studio to audition. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Holiday Television Specials on Tubi

There has been a bevy of classic Christmas movies playing on television this year so you probably had no shortage of films to watch, but if you wanted to watch some classic singers crooning Christmas tunes, you may have to hunt a little further away from the mainstream channels and turn on your Roku instead. There, on the Tubi app ( also available for viewing online at ), you will find some delightful Christmas programs to watch, a few of which we have spotlighted below: 

The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour - Christmas Special ( 1970 ) - Country music legend Glen Campbell showed his audience a goodtime in this 1970 Christmas special that guest-starred Anne Murray and George Gobel. 

The King Family Color Christmas Celebration ( 1967 ) - The King Family aka "America's First Family of Song" gathered together for this colorful Christmas celebration that showcased the King sisters, the King cousins, Alvino Rey, and all the little Kings. 

Spend the Holidays with Liberace ( 1954 ) - If you want to enjoy some splendid piano music, then check out this special with the ivories-maestro Liberace, who is joined by his brother George Liberace in a celebration of holiday music. 

Andy Williams Best of Christmas ( 2001 ) - This fun feature first premiered on PBS nearly two decades ago and features clips from The Andy Williams Show over the years, all of which are introduced by Andy himself. 

Pat Boone & Family Christmas Special ( 1979 ) - If you want some laughs, check out this special, which has very little to do with Christmas. Pat Boone sent out invitations to 300 guests for a Christmas party and nobody wants to attend - except the Ropers!

The Bing Crosby Color Christmas Show ( 1965 ) - Bing Crosby made several Christmas specials over the years ( the 1970 show with Robert Goulet is a real treat ) but this show is actually an episode from The Hollywood Palace that Bing hosted. Guest stars include the cast of Hogan's Heroes and Dorothy Collins. 

Christmas with Lorne Greene ( 1966 ) - The star of one of television's most popular western series, Bonanza, Lorne Greene dons the beard of Santa and joins the UNICEF children's choir in this lost black-and-white classic from 1966. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Check it Out! Mary Costa Performs The Ukrainian Carol

We have a special treat to share with you today: Mary Costa performing The Ukrainian Carol ( set to words ) on Bing Crosby's The Sounds of Christmas television special filmed in 1970. The lovely opera singer is best known for providing the voice of Aurora in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty ( 1959 ), but she had a long career on stage performing operas all over the world, including La Traviata and Candide

We were unable to find a clip of this beautiful performance so instead, this links to the entire The Sounds of Christmas special. Mary Costa performs at the 18:20 minute mark ( it should begin right away if you are watching via this link )....and be sure to check out Robert Goulet's fantastic version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" while you are it. That begins at the 5:50 minute mark. 


Saturday, December 17, 2022

King of the Jungle ( 1933 )

A young boy is raised by a pride of lions in Africa after his parents are killed while on a safari. He loves the lions and speaks to them as friends. Years later, a group of hunters captures "the lion man" as he is now known, and along with his lions, they ship him to San Francisco to be exhibited in a circus. The Lion Man ( Buster Crabbe ) quickly escapes and finds refuge in the apartment of two startled women - one of whom takes a fancy to this strange two-legged creature. With her guidance, the lion man is soon tamed, taught to speak, and eventually goes on tour with the circus.....but his heart remains in Africa and his one dream is to buy back his lions so that he can free them in the wild again. 

When MGM premiered the jungle adventure Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, it became an overnight sensation and, not wanting to be outdone by their rivals, Paramount Pictures quickly put into production their own version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan - Kaspa the Lion Man in King of the Jungle. In place of Johnny Weismuller, they starred Buster Crabbe, the 1932 Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer whose virile presence could rival Weismuller's in any jungle. 

Buster Crabbe was an ideal man to portray Kaspa, a wonderful wild man who had never seen "civilization" before. Buster had a boyish innocent face and a physique that made him seem twice the size of any man next to him. Just like when Dr. Banner turned into the Hulk, Crabbe's clothes looked like they would split at any moment if he flexed his muscles. 

Not surprisingly, Kaspa quickly found a mate for himself when he arrived stateside - the lovely Frances Dee. He sneaks into her apartment to eat the porkchop dinner she left on the table and within ten minutes she was by his side and off to the circus with him!

King of the Jungle runs for only 73 minutes but it is filled to the brim with excitement. The jungle scenes, as well as some of the circus scenes, are not for the faint of heart. Back in the day, Paramount was able to put a lion in a cage with a tiger and just film them brawling, a practice that animal leagues would definitely not approve of today. While the fight scenes are frightening, what is most amazing is how many lions they were able to film in the wild. It would be nice to think that large prides of lions are still roaming in Africa like this. 

Buster Crabbe learned how to train lions while making King of the Jungle so in many of the scenes where he appears with the lions, that is Crabbe himself doing his own stunts. Impressive. 

The film also boasts a strong cast of supporting players including Sidney Toler ( not playing Charlie Chan ), Nydia Westman, Robert Barrat and Patricia Farley. 

King of the Jungle is available on DVD as well as on Youtube here

Friday, December 9, 2022

From the Archives: All This and Heaven, Too ( 1940 )

Bette Davis looks properly prim in this scene from All This and Heaven, Too ( 1940 ), the Warner Brothers' classic where she stars as Mlle. Henriette, a much-loved French governess who falls in love with her distinguished employer, played by Charles Boyer. 

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 :

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

We have a really tricky screenshot this month. It is obviously a scene of a woman dismayed about something, but what could she have seen? You would have to be a keen-eyed movie fan to remember this scene....but many of you are! So give a guess below and you may just hit on the right film title. 

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

Sunday, November 27, 2022

British Pathé: Model Village ( 1955 )

It has been quite a while since we shared a British Pathé newsreel but today we have a gem: Model Village from 1955. This 4:33 minute newsreel has footage of a very impressive model village in The Hague, Netherlands...and what a great opening! You think you are looking at a real building until a head of a giant man suddenly appears from behind it! This is a model village of such proportions that the toddlers who walk the streets of the village appear as large as Godzilla did to Toyko citizens. 

The 1:25 scale village is called Madurodam and was served by a committee of 35 children including a mayor and a queen. The role of the queen was awarded to Princess Beatrix, daughter of the then-reigning Queen Juliana. 

Madurodam has a village section, a suburban area and also has a fully-functioning railway service, a seaport capable of receiving freighters and ocean-going vessels ( all in miniature size, of course ), and even an airport, where mini KLM planes operate from. 

The details that can be seen throughout this village are so impressive. If you missed seeing it in the 1950s ( as most of us probably have ) then you can still check it out today. Madurodam not only still exists but has grown and been updated throughout the years. Here is their website:

Ready to watch Model Village? Simply click on the link below: 

Model Village ( 1955 ) - 4:33 sec

Other similarly themed British Pathe shorts:

Miniature Railway ( 1959 ) - 3:02 sec

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Check it Out! - The Landing of the Pilgrims ( 1940 )

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers! 

We hope you are having a wonderful day and counting all of your blessings. There is so much we can all be grateful for!

If you have a few minutes and want to watch something Thanksgiving-related then check out this fabulous little cartoon from 1940 - The Landing of the Pilgrims. It's a bouncy light-hearted look at how the pilgrims from the Mayflower came to America and contended with the Native Americans. It is far from being historically accurate but that's what makes it so wonderfully fun! 

Have a wonderful holiday! 

- Constance & Diana 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Film Albums: The Screen Scene starring Peter Nero

If you like piano music and classic films then this is an album not to be missed! Peter Nero was a maestro when it came to tickling the ivories. He was a downright jazzy player and his unique New York arrangements of familiar songs made the oldest of tunes sound fresh and vibrant. He was like Elmer Bernstein and Horst Jankowski rolled into one....what more could one ask for?

This RCA-Victor album ( LSP-3496 ) had only the newest of new film hits at the time of its release - 1966 - which included The Silencers, Ship of FoolsMy Favorite Things, and the phenomenal Thunderball. There were so many versions of Thunderball released in the mid-1960s, but Peter Nero's is so aggressive and yet smooth and jazzy. After listening to it, you welcome the change of tempo to the soft and romantic strains of "The Shadow of Your Smile" ( from The Sandpipers ). This album is a real pleasure to listen to all around. Sit back, have a cocktail, and savor it!

Track Listing:

Side One: 

Theme from "The Silencers"

Theme from "Harlow" ( "Lonely Girl" )

What's New Pussycat?

Ship of Fools

The Flick

Chim Chim Cheree ( from "Mary Poppins" )

Side Two:


Love Theme from "The Sandpipers" ( "The Shadow of Your Smile" )

Forget Domani ( from "The Yellow Rolls Royce" )

Theme from "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold"

My Favorite Things ( from "The Sound of Music" )


Top Music Picks: Thunderball, Theme from Harlow, Chim Chim Cheree, The Shadow of Your Smile

Click here to listen to the full album. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

From the Archives: Moment to Moment ( 1966 )


Jean Seberg is looking lovely here as usual, and she is seated next to director Mervyn LeRoy in this candid shot taken on the set of Moment to Moment ( 1966 ), a wonderful - and terribly underrated - thriller shot in the south of France. 

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 :

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Murder at the Gallop ( 1963 )

"Yes, old Enderby was frightened to death!"

One afternoon, while collecting funds for charity, Miss Marple witnesses the death of Mr. Enderby, a death that the doctor claims was due to a heart attack. Miss Marple believes it was deliberate murder: a heart attack triggered by the sight of a cat. Mr. Enderby, a rich recluse, had "a weak heart and a pathological horror of cats. What easier than for some interested party to slip a cat into the house, a cat that the old man would come upon accidentally. Yes, old Enderby was frightened to death!"

She takes her suspicions to Inspector Craddock of the local police, whom she had worked with on a previous murder case. Craddock found her to be "of some small help" before but, upon hearing this new theory of hers, suggests she read fewer thrillers.

At the reading of the will, Mr. Enderby's family members are shocked to hear demure Aunt Cora also suggest that his death was deliberate. "He was murdered....wasn't he?" When Aunt Cora is dispatched with - by a hatpin of all weapons! - Miss Marple decides to don her Sherlock Holmes cap and solve the mystery herself. 

Murder at the Gallop was the second of four Miss Marple mysteries made in the 1960s starring the engaging English character actress Dame Margaret Rutherford. It was a follow-up to Murder, She Said ( 1961 ) and many of the elements used in Murder, She Said are repeated in this second outing, notably the family inheritance plot line, the eccentric male lead ( this time played by the perpetually baffled-faced Robert Morley ), the surly stablehand, and the multiple murders. Yes, when Miss Marple attempts to solve a case, murder is never a solitary occurrence. Even the finale of Miss Marple receiving a marriage proposal is repeated. 

The members of the Enderby family are not as interesting as the Ackenthorpes of Murder, She Said but they do make wonderful murder suspects. Each of them received a goodly inheritance from old Mr. Enderby, but one of them is obviously out for a larger share of the money. 

Hector Enderby ( Robert Morley ) leads the list of suspects as the head of the family and proprietor of the Gallop Hotel, where the Enderbys, Aunt Cora's companion Miss Milcrest, and Miss Marple are all staying. Hector loves to be in the saddle more than anything else and he sees "this whole murder business" and the police's presence as interference with running his business establishment. 

His niece Rosamund, portrayed by Katya Douglas, is a spoiled and demanding woman. She is not overly interested in the Enderby fortune because her mind is preoccupied with curiosity as to why her husband Michael ( James Villiers ) lied about what he was doing the afternoon Enderby died. Nephew George ( Robert Urquhart ) is certainly greedy enough to murder. He quickly becomes Miss Marple's prime suspect, but when he turns up dead, she - and the audience - are forced to re-examine the case. 

"Agatha Christie should be compulsory reading for the police force."

Murder at the Gallop is one of the best of MGM's Miss Marple mysteries. It was loosely based on Agatha Christie's 1953 Hercule Poirot novel "After the Funeral". Credit should be given to screenwriter James P. Cavanaugh ( a frequent writer of episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ) for reworking the story into such an entertaining yet baffling mystery. Murder mysteries are often filmed as dramas or comedies but Murder at the Gallop straddles both of these genres. It is neither serious drama nor farce. It is simply an enjoyable - and highly amusing - tea and crumpet mystery. 

Ron Goodwin's sprightly harpsichord music greatly contributes to the entertainment and the overall production is top-notch. The cinematography by Arthur Ibbetson is properly atmospheric and the location filming around Buckinghamshire adds to the film's appeal. But make no doubt about it, the film's most charming asset is Dame Margaret Rutherford herself, the endearing star of these films.

Rutherford's characterization of the popular sleuthing spinster bears little resemblance to the Jane Marple you will find in Agatha Christie's novels. Plump and energetic, Rutherford completely transformed Miss Marple into a spunky, emancipated, lovable old gal with a taste for mystery and mayhem. With jowls jiggling and a tongue firmly jutted in her cheek, Jane swings her tweed cape about her, squares her shoulders, and is ready to face any danger that stands in the way of her amateur sleuthing. She has an indomitable spirit that will suffer no nonsense - not even from a murderer!

Often aiding Miss Marple in her detective work is her loyal friend, Mr. Stringer, custodian of the local library in Milchester. This character was newly created for the series to give Margaret Rutherford's husband, Stringer Davis, a co-starring role in the series. Mr. Stringer, or "dear Jim" as Miss Marple affectionately calls him, is an invaluable source of support and the perfect partner to Jane. In Murder at the Gallop, he does the "leg work" in town for Miss Marple while she remains at the Gallop Hotel keeping a close eye on the suspects. At the exciting climax, they also get to perform the twist together!

The remaining cast, which includes Finlay Currie, the talented Flora Robson, Charles Tingwell as the kindly Inspector Craddock, and Duncan Lamont, add to making this an overall delightfully entertaining that even a loyal Agatha Christie fan would enjoy. 

This post is our contribution to the Movies are Murder! Blogathon being hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. Click here to read more reviews of murder-themed classic films and click here to view the original trailer for Murder at the Gallop

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Take a Girl Like You ( 1970 )

If you were to look for a summary of Take a Girl Like You, you would probably find a plot description labeling it as a sex comedy because it is....well...about sex. But oddly enough, it does not fit into that genre at all. There are hardly any bedroom scenes ( certainly nothing graphic ) and not much comedy either. It is more of a drama that talks about sex and virginity. Not my usual cup of tea.... and yet, I found it quite appealing. 

Hayley Mills is one of the main reasons this film came off as enjoyable. Another actress may not have been able to convincingly play a virgin with morals. That is what Take a Girl Like You is really about: morals regarding pre-marital sex. 

Hayley Mills stars as Jenny Bunn, a new schoolteacher in town. She meets Patrick, an art teacher ( Oliver Reed ), whom she is attracted to even though she knows that he likes to "play the field". When he invites her to his apartment one evening ( and not to look at his sketches ), she surprises him by telling him she is a virgin and intends to stay that way until she marries. Patrick wants to bed her and so he goes on with a lot of debates about how "nobody cares about that" anymore and such. Jenny obviously cares and - if Patrick cared for her - would respect her views, but this isn't a film about respect. It is just about Patrick trying to have "it" with Jenny.

There is not much in the plot worth building a script around. Even the fluff surrounding this basic plot ( which includes her landlord trying to run for a labor party ) does not have much substance...and yet, the film was still entertaining. 

Perhaps it was the location scenery. Take a Girl Like You was shot in and around Middlesex in southeast England and we get a glimpse of an average working town of the late 1960s. 

Or perhaps it was the music. The peppy opening theme was sung by The Foundations who were one of the biggest British soul bands of the era. The music for the picture was scored by Stanley Myers who, in spite of the unfamiliarity of his name to most people, penned quite a bit of film and television music from the 1950s-1980s. 

It certainly had nothing to do with Oliver Reed being in the film. He was never my idea of a leading man and a more handsome and engaging fellow, such as Michael Caine, would have made this story much more entertaining. Noel Harrison's presence in the film helps quite a bit. The rest of the supporting cast was made up of familiar British character actors: John Bird, Sheila Hancock, Penelope Keith, and Aimi MacDonald. 

Take a Girl Like You was based on the 1960 Kingsley Amis novel of the same name. Director Jonathan Miller thought that "it was probably one of Amis' best novels but there were a lot of things to be said against filming it." Indeed, Miller felt like he had lost control of the filming as it progressed and it ultimately turned into a critical and commercial flop. 

That is not surprising. It is not the kind of film you would watch with your family or even your spouse. In fact, I cannot picture dating couples attending the film in 1970 and walking out of the theater with smiles on their faces...and yet, if you watch it by yourself, it keeps you entertained. In fact, I may just watch the film again this week. 

Take a Girl Like You is available for streaming on Tubi or, if you want to hear some insightful commentaries, on Blu-ray DVD. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Murder She Wrote: Night of the Headless Horseman ( 1987 )

Angela Lansbury, that wonderful actress of the stage and screen, passed away on October 11th at the age of 96. She was one of those rare actors who was equally well known for her work in film ( The Portrait of Dorian Gray, The Manchurian Candidate, etc ), in the theater ( Mame, Sweeney Todd ), and on television, where she played one of the most beloved sleuths in television history -  Mrs. Jessica Fletcher in the long-running series Murder, She Wrote

Murder, She Wrote premiered in 1984 and ran for 12 seasons, ending in 1996. There were over 260 episodes made and if you ask fans of the show which is their favorite, few can name just one. In fact, it would be difficult to narrow the choice down to a top ten list. However, since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to share a review of one of the eeriest episodes made and certainly one of my top favorites: "Night of the Headless Horseman". 

"Night of the Headless Horseman" was the eleventh episode from season three, a season that was filled with juicy episodes. It tells the story of Dorian Beecher ( Thom Bray ), a young poetic English teacher at a private school for boys. He is in love with Sarah DuPont ( Karlene Crockett ), daughter of the president of the school, but he has a rival for his affections - the nasty Nate Findley ( Barry Williams ), one of the school's riding instructors. Several times Dorian has encountered a "headless" horseman on the old wooden bridge near the village and he believes the apparition to be Nate playing tricks with him. 

One evening, after having a row with Nate at the local inn, Dorian decides to walk home across the bridge and, once again, the masked rider on horseback comes charging out of the night, this time pushing Dorian down to the ground. 

When he awakes, hours later, the town is abuzz with the news that Nate Findley's body was found near the bridge...with his head cut off! 

Suspicion naturally points to Dorian, but luckily for him, Mrs. Fletcher is there to defend him and uncover the clues to discover the real murderer. 

While all of the Murder, She Wrote episodes featured a murder ( some had as many as three ), none were so ghastly as this beheading. 

"Oh Jessica, if I were going to kill anybody I certainly wouldn't decapitate them. That is really disgusting!" - Dorian

What reason was there to behead, Nate? Was it to embellish the legend of the headless horseman? Could be. But Mrs. Fletcher had an even stranger puzzle on her mind. Nate Findley's boots were on opposite feet when his body was found. 

"Night of the Headless Horseman" has a number of good clues to help television viewers piece together the puzzle but whether you solve the mystery or not, you will enjoy watching this story unfold. 

The setting is picturesque ( a fictional Vermont village in autumn ) and the guest stars are great to see. Hope Lange ( The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ) plays the principal of the school where Dorian teaches. Fritz Weaver is Dorian's employer and the father of his beloved Sarah. Charles Siebert plays a local dentist, Judy Landers a waitress at the village inn, Guy Stockwell a groundskeeper, and best of all, Doug McClure stars as the town sheriff. 

Of course, like in all Murder, She Wrote episodes, it is Angela Lansbury who takes center stage and she is particularly fun to watch in this episode. Knowing that his potential father-in-law is anxious to meet his mother, orphan Dorian brings Mrs. Fletcher out to the school and introduces her as his mother. Angela Lansbury's various expressions of surprise as she is called Mrs. Beecher throughout the episode are delightful to watch. 

Susan Littwin, an editor for TV Guide, was invited backstage to see this episode being made and she wrote about it in the January 3-9, 1987 issue of the magazine. "Putting this almost-movie on the air every week, 22 times a year, is one of the fast-food miracles of television," she writes. Littwin goes on to say that this episode cost a surprising figure - $1.3 million dollars - and involved a staff and crew of 76 and a cast of 14. 

Lansbury worked 12-hour days, nine months a year. It is easy to forget that when you see how effortlessly she plays Mrs. Fletcher. Luckily, with the instantaneous wonder of DVDs and streaming, we can enjoy episodes like Night of the Headless Horseman over and over again and appreciate the work and talent involved. This one in particular is great to watch on an autumn afternoon cuddled up with a warm sweater and a cup of tea. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

From the Archives: Werewolf of London ( 1935 )

Henry Hull, who usually plays kindly men in films, turned vicious in Universal Pictures' Werewolf of London ( 1935 ). Luckily, his friends and family only had to put up with his fierce lycanthropic side when the moon was full. 

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 22, 2022

Check it Out! - Preparing for Bedknobs and Broomsticks

On October 7, 1971, Walt Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a delightful and magical musical starring the late great Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson, had its world premiere in London. Earlier that day, John Noakes, the host of Britain's popular children's series Blue Peter, was in Leicester Square, helping the owner of the famed Odeon Theater prepare for this event. 

It takes quite a bit of doing to hang up those large BEDKNOBS letters outside the theater, not to mention suspending from the roof the lifesize mockup of Angela Lansbury as the witch Eglantine, so it is hard to believe that they undertook this task the very morning of the premiere! John was his usual brave self and climbed up those amazingly long ladders with ease. Check out the clip here: 

BBC Archive - Bedknobs and Broomsticks ( 1971 )

Unlike most Disney-related promo clips, this one did not follow up the news bit with footage from the film. I was hoping to find some newsreel clips of the actual premiere but had no luck, so you will just have to imagine what it was like that evening. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Orson Welles' Great Mysteries

Orson Welles always loved a scary tale. In 1938, he and other players of his Mercury Theater company put on a radio play of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" for Halloween that scared the heebie-jeebies out of most of his listeners. Then in 1951, while taking a break from filming Othello in Ireland, he filmed a short horror film called Return to Glennascaul about a man who unknowingly gives two ghosts a ride on a deserted country road. 

While most of his films steered clear of horror or suspense, he delved deep into the muddy waters of mystery in 1973 when he played host to a British anthology series entitled Orson Welles' Great Mysteries. The series was very similar to the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents and, like Hitchcock, Orson Welles merely had to act as host, introducing and closing each episode with some pithy words. Unlike Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the episodes of Great Mysteries were all based on famous works or short stories by authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. 

Orson Welles had a long career as a director, producer, screenwriter, and actor, but by the early 1970s he was in debt ( owing money to the IRS for back taxes ) and, unable to fund his latest docudrama F for Fake, he began to do numerous television appearances to help raise money. In the early months of 1973, he crossed the pond to England to film the intros/outros to the series at the Anglia Television studios in Norwich ( East Anglia ).

Welles was known to be a difficult person to work with and the production team at Anglia studios found this to be true ( in fact, the Sky Arts series Urban Myths made an entire episode in 2020 about his visit called "Orson Welles in Norwich" ). Nevertheless, he gave a marvelous performance as a mystery host. He donned a black cape and hat and, purring sardonic wit, he beautifully introduced each tale of the macabre in his deep silky voice. 

Orson Welles' Great Mysteries ran for two seasons with a total of 26 episodes being produced. Some of the titles included were "The Monkey's Paw", based on the short story by W.W. Jacobs, and "La Grande Breteche" by Honoré de Balzac. What made the episodes entertaining was all of the stories selected had unexpected endings, usually with a sting.

John Barry composed a haunting but typically 70s theme for the series ( it could have worked equally well for a James Bond and the Haunted House film ) and the episodes were similarly chilling like other popular British anthology series of the time ( namely Brian Clemens' Thriller and Hammer House of Horror ) but not nearly as violent or gory. 

With a 25-minute runtime, the tales entertained without getting boring. Plus, there was the added bonus of playing spot the actor with each episode featuring numerous British character actors plus acting legends such as Eli Wallach, Joan Collins, Christopher Lee, Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Peter Cushing, Jane Seymour, Dean Stockwell, Jose Ferrer, and Shirley Knight. 

Network Distributing released the entire Orson Welles Great Mysteries on DVD in two volumes.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

We have an eeeeeerie screenshot here since it is the bewitching month of October. If you have been watching Halloween classics then you probably have seen this scene flash before your eyes just reach past the cobwebs into your memory vault and see if you can pull out the title of this film.

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 Karen for correctly identifying this scene from Ladies in Retirement ( 1941 ). Just before the end credits roll, Ida Lupino dons a cloak and steps out into the foggy marshlands of England to see what her fate will be. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Bejewelled ( 1991 )

Eustacia "Stacy" Orpington ( Emma Samms ) is entrusted by her boss Gordon ( Dirk Benedict ) to deliver the famous Orpington jeweled crown from the Thringsby Museum in Massachusetts to the prestigious London Museum in England. Instead of having the jewels securely packaged, Gordon thought it would be better - "no...cheaper" - for her to carry them on the jet in an inconspicuous black hatbox...the same black hatbox which just about every other passenger is carrying.

On exiting the jet there is a mix-up with the passengers' luggage and all those same-looking hatboxes get shuffled. When Stacy finally opens the hatbox she was given by the stewardess, she finds that it is the wrong one! In one short weekend, Stacy must track down the passengers from her flight to find the missing jeweled crown and return it to the museum by Monday. 

Aiding her in her search is fellow passenger and budding investigator Alistair Lord ( Denis Lawson ), and the two youngsters he is chaperoning: wise-cracking American Marvin ( Aeryk Egan ) and the little French countess Eloise ( Jade Magri ). This foursome soon finds themselves in a deeper mystery than jewel robbery when they discover the dead body of their stewardess at her apartment. 

Bejewelled was a made-for-television film released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1991. The movie is clearly aimed at a juvenile audience but it has comedy, romance, and mystery for all ages to enjoy. This was a film that my sister and I grew up with and, like two other Disney favorites - The London Connection and Diamonds on Wheels, I find Bejewelled especially fun to watch because it is filmed entirely in England, primarily London, and features a great cast of English actors. 

"Al, we better not let this lady out of our sight!.... After all, we're talking murder here."

The opening credits are marvelous with that memorable theme song playing while the camera slowly pans over the treasured jewels. It is also refreshing to see a film where a family solves a mystery. In Bejewelled, Stacy and Alistair are not married and the children are not their own, yet they act like a family group, sticking together in all they do - and squabbling while they do it.

This patchwork family spends one madcap weekend together tracking down key passengers from their flight, not knowing who may be a suspect in the theft, nor who may be a murderer. And what a motley group they are! An elderly spinster ( Jean Marsh ) who likes to knit socks seems willing to help them, as does a glamourous fashion model ( Jerry Hall ), but there was also a policeman escorting a handcuffed prisoner onboard. "He probably murdered somebody," Marvin deduces. 

Everywhere they go, someone seems to be one step ahead of them and Stacy constantly finds her room being ransacked, which she finds puzzling. "I don't even have the jewels!" she exclaims. "I don't have any jewels!.... I don't even wear earrings."

Emmas Samms is delightful as the befuddled Stacy Orpington. It is odd to find her cast as an American visiting England when she herself is English. Ms. Samms was good in comedy and the same year co-starred with John Candy in the comedy Delirious.

Denis Lawson is equally wonderful as Alistair, the wanna-be detective. He has a soft spot for Stacy from the start but it takes a bit of courage on his part - and a lot of prodding from the children - to get him to express his feelings. 

As well cast as these two were, the children who play Marvin and Eloise are the ones who really deserve mention. These youngsters not only got some of the best lines in the film but were very natural actors acting just like, well, children their age would act. As Stacy put it, "Eloise is adorable" and quite a level-headed little girl. She admires and puts her full trust in Marvin and his clever mind, impetuous as he may be at times. Marvin has a big mouth but is willing to take risks when it counts. Also in the cast are Chris Langham, Trevor Peacock, Frances de la Tour, John Bird. 

Tom Astle penned the script for Bejewelled which was based on the book of the same title by Marian Babson. It's a very witty script but it has its moments of silliness that juvenile viewers will enjoy but adults may find corny. This includes Dirk Benedict getting a plate full of onion pudding dumped on his head. 

Unfortunately, Bejewelled has not yet been released on DVD so if you want to check out this Disney rarity you will have to hunt down an old VHS copy on eBay or view the film on Youtube

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Film Albums: From Russia with Love ( 1964 ) - Si Zentner and his Orchestra

If you ever heard the music of big band leader Si Zentner you would know that he is famous for his exciting bold brassy sound, so, when the James Bond films exploded onto film in the early 1960s with their bold sound as well, it seemed a natural choice that Si Zentner would release an album of Bond themes. And what a fun album to listen to! The title song, From Russia with Love is especially spunky. This album was released in 1964 by Liberty Records ( who also released Matt Monro's From Russia with Love theme ) as LST-3353.

Included with the 007 theme and other Bond themes, is a fantastic rendition of Charade ( by Henry Mancini ) as well as Mancini's famous themes to Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky

Track Listing:

Side One:

The James Bond Theme

Burke's Law Theme

Mr. Lucky


The Third Man

Peter Gunn

Side Two:

From Russia with Love

M Squad Theme


Bond's "007" Theme

The Man with the Golden Arm

The Fugitive Theme

Top Music Picks: From Russia with Love, Charade, Mr. Lucky, The Fugitive

You can listen to Si Zentner's From Russia with Love album on Youtube as well as through Spotify, audio CD, and of course LP. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Men of Sherwood Forest ( 1954 )

Before Hammer Film Studios began its regular output of horror films, they made quite a number of dramas and also experimented in other genres...including swashbucklers. One year before Richard Greene became the idol of youth in television's The Adventures of Robin Hood, Hammer tried their hand at spinning a yarn of the legendary English outlaw with The Men of Sherwood Forest ( 1954 ). 

In this jolly outing, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck attempt to track down a band of thieves who had attacked an abbot passing through Sherwood Forest, an abbot who was carrying a secret message hidden within a small statue. King Richard, who was held captive in Austria, has been freed and is returning to England to reclaim his throne from Prince John. The message tells where and when he will land, but it is now in the hands of one of Prince John's noblemen who will use the information to set a trap to kill the king. Only Robin Hood and his band of merry men can save the king!

The Men of Sherwood Forest was the first film that Hammer Studios shot in color and it proved successful enough for them to continue making color productions, even though this was costly for such a small production company. In 1951, Hammer signed a four-year distribution agreement with Lippert Pictures, an American producer. Robert Lippert insisted that the films he would be receiving from Hammer have American actors in their leads so that they would be more marketable stateside. Hence, in The Men of Sherwood Forest, we see a band of British outlaws led by a very American Robin Hood - Don Taylor. At first, this bit of casting seems strange ( especially since Don makes no attempt at an English accent ) but as the film progresses, his portrayal of Robin Hood grows more likable and by the film's end you'll find yourself thinking what a fun Robin Hood he made!

The film is indeed a merry lark. The plot is not substantial, romance is minimal, and it is sorely missing the presence of Little John ( although Reginald Beckwith makes up for this omission with his amusing portrayal of Friar Tuck ), but the location filming in England is scenic and the antics and escapades that Robin finds himself in are fun to watch. 

It was refreshing to see a new Robin Hood tale being spun from its old familiar characters. Allan MacKinnon penned the screenplay. Val Guest ( The Abominable Snowman ) did a fine job directing the sprightly 77-minute film, keeping the action flowing and not allowing for boredom.  

Eileen Moore plays Lady Alys in the film, a winsome lass who is captivated by the presence of the famous outlaw. Douglas Wilmer makes a suitably contemptuous villain and Patrick Holt portrays the noble King Richard. Also in the cast are David King-Wood and Harold Lang. 

The Men of Sherwood Forest is available on DVD. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Yellow Rolls-Royce ( 1964 )

Rex Harrison, Shirley MacLaine, and Ingrid Bergman head up the all-star cast of The Yellow Rolls-Royce, a colorful anthology film of three stories linked together by a sparkling 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. 

The opening segment shows the first owner of the beautiful Rolls, the Marquess of Frinton ( Rex Harrison ) purchasing the car as an anniversary present for his wife ( Jeanne Moreau ) who, unbeknownst to Lord Frinton, is engaging in an affair with his attaché John Fane ( Edmund Purdom ). When he spies them together in the Rolls...back it goes to the dealer!

Years later, the Rolls turns up in a showroom in Italy where it catches the fancy of Mae Jenkins ( Shirley MacLaine ), the "fidanzata" of big-time mobster Paolo Maltese ( George C. Scott ). He is giving his lady-love the grand tour of Italy but, when he is called back to America to "settle a score with O'Leary", she ends up having a grand time herself with the amoral photographer Stefano ( Alain Delon ). 

Lastly, the Rolls becomes a transport bus for mercenary soldiers in Yugoslavia when the snooty but socially prominent Mrs. Millett ( Ingrid Bergman ) decides to aid a rebel ( Omar Shariff ) in his fight against the Nazis. 

The Yellow Rolls-Royce was one of only a few anthology films to be released in the 1960s. This was a style of storytelling more frequently seen in British and American films of the 1940s and 1950s ( e.g. Encore, Tales of Manhattan ). These kinds of films are entertaining when all three segments are equally engaging but when one segment is boring it tends to pull the entire film down. In The Yellow Rolls-Royce, the last segment featuring Mrs. Millet is the weakest, even though it is the only segment that hints that the Rolls could be of more use than just a cozy love nest. 

Terrance Rattigan's script tries to include a little adventure and romance in each segment but it ends up leaning heavily on the side of romantic drama. This is just as well as all the leading actors were well-equipped to handle romantic drama. Rex Harrison gives an especially good performance as the jilted husband in the first story. 

The film features beautiful costumes and cinematography by Jack Hildyard ( The Bridge on the River Kwai ) with location filming in England, Italy, and Austria...which was standing in for Yugoslavia. But the most entertaining aspect of watching The Yellow Rolls-Royce is spotting all of the supporting players which included Art Carney, Joyce Grenfell ( affecting a Southern accent ), Wally Cox, Roland Culver, Isa Miranda, Moira Lister, and Michael Hordern. 

Riz Ortolani's musical score is also delightful and includes the catchy "Forget Domani" theme which was performed onscreen by his wife actress Katyna Ranieri and later made popular by Frank Sinatra. Ortolani had a huge success with his song "More" from the pseudo-documentary Mondo Cane released two years earlier. 

The Yellow Rolls-Royce received mixed reviews from critics but was a great hit at the box-office, becoming one of the top ten films of the year. MGM later released a 10-minute promotional short titled "The Car that Became a Star" which gave audiences a glimpse of the grand vehicle on the set of the film. 

The film is currently available on DVD and by streaming through Amazon Prime.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

From the Archives: Good Neighbor Sam ( 1964 )

Jack Lemmon as Sam Bissell, proudly posing with his "junk art" in this publicity photo from Good Neighbor Sam ( 1964 ). As Bissell's mother so aptly put, "I don't know a thing about art, I just know what I don't like". Such a great comedy film. 

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, September 10, 2022

Check it Out! - Mitzi Gaynor singing "Love is Blue" ( 1968 )


Can anyone top a Mitzi Gaynor performance? This glamorous woman was the full package deal....a fantastic dancer, singer, and actress, plus she had a fabulous figure! This performance from 1968 features Mitzi performing "Love is Blue", a Eurovision ballad that French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat made popular in the United States in 1967. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

For a Greater Attendance: 1962 Release Schedule Promotional Book

Last year I came across a great series of annual promotional books called "For a Greater Audience" that were released by American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres Inc. in the 1960s. Each catalog contained a section devoted to each studio where the current release schedule for that studio was posted along with movie posters, photos or blurbs describing their upcoming projects. 

These books were most likely distributed to theater chains in America in the hopes that the theater owners would take a greater interest in the various studios' upcoming releases. They are wonderful books to look at but, unfortunately, are quite rare. I managed to snag the 1962 book which has a great selection of films in it and I'll be sharing images from the 1964 and 1966 issues in a future post. 

The catalog is made of colored cardboard with tabbed fold-out sheets separating each studio's release schedule between August and December of '62. It begins with Paramount Studios which, as you can see, were promoting their two big releases of the year: Elvis in Girls, Girls, Girls and the ( now forgotten ) Charleton Heston comedy The Pigeon That Took Rome. Also on their release schedule were two Jerry Lewis comedies and several re-releases ( including Rear Window ). 

20th Century Fox had two epics in their late 1962 lineup: The Longest Day and Cleopatra, which was slated for an early 1963 release. The Spartans was due out in September, Gigot in October, and The Lion in November. 

The photos and posters are great to look at, but what I found most interesting about these books were all the films that were being promoted that later had their titles changed or their casts changed. For example, The Grand Duke and Mr. Pimm starring Glenn Ford and Hope Lange later became Love is a Ball; Not on Your Life starring Robert Preston and Tony Randall became Island of Love; Jason and the Golden Fleece became Jason and the Argonauts, and Gidget Goes to Paris eventually was changed to Gidget Goes to Rome. One can only guess what film Touch Fire-Catch Flame starring Cary Grant was ( Father Goose? ) or Monsieur Cognac starring Tony Curtis referred to.