Saturday, 6 February 2016


Mario Bava (1914 - 1980)

Mario Bava is easily the most famous and most talented of Italian horror film directors. His films are triumphs of style over content but are rarely boring thanks to his visual flair (he was formerly a noted cinephotographer). There were a few disasters along the way - his film with Vincent Price was an unhappy experience for both director and star - but the classics outweigh the less interesting films.
His films have many alternative titles but I have listed the titles of the copies I own. The first two films on this list were credited to Riccardo Freda but were completed by Bava. Films in my collection are : LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (1957) CALTIKI THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959) BLACK SUNDAY (1960) HERCULES AT THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH (1961) THE EVIL EYE (1963) BLACK SABBATH (1963) THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963) BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965) CURSE OF THE DEAD (1966) DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE SEX BOMBS (1966) DANGER DIABOLIK (1968) BLOOD BRIDES (1970) BAY OF BLOOD (1971) BARON BLOOD (1972) LISA AND THE DEVIL (1973) HOUSE OF EXORCISM (1975) SCHOCK (1977)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


David Lean (1908 - 1991)
I was lucky enough to meet David Lean in the mid-60's thanks to his Indian step-son, Ranju, with whom I worked. He was polite and friendly and obviously pleased that I admired his films but I sensed he would rather be somewhere else. I am a great admirer of David Lean, preferring his earlier black and white films (with one exception) to the later colour epics. On the basis of those earlier films I regard Lean as one of the greatest British directors. His films in my collections are : IN WHICH WE SERVE (1942) THIS HAPPY BREED (1944) BLITHE SPIRIT (1945) BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945) GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) OLIVER TWIST (1948) THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS (1949)SOUND BARRIER (1952) HOBSON'S CHOICE (1954) BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) RYAN'S DAUGHTER (1970) PASSAGE TO INDIA (1984).                  

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


Vincent Price (1911-1993)
Vincent Price is one of my very favourite actors. I was lucky enough to meet Vincent on many occasions, the first being in 1968 when he came to England to star in WITCHFINDER GENERAL and subsequently visited him on the sets several of the films he made in England. He was, as many others have testified, a gentleman of the first order, a great raconteur and a man of great generosity and charm. In his best known films he was, of course, most often a sinister figure - a role he relished, saying : "I sometimes feel that I'm impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I  know this sounds sick, but I love it." But there was, in reality, much more to his acting than that and his career is peppered with memorable performances. As an unashamed fan I have sought to collect as many of his performances as possible - still a few to go but I'll get there!  So far I have: SERVICE DE LUXE (1938) TOWER OF LONDON (1939) THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940) HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES (1940) SONG OF BERNADETTE (1941) LAURA (1944) A ROYAL SCANDAL (1945) LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) SHOCK (1946) DRAGONWYCK (1946) THE WEB (1947) MOSS ROSE (1947) UP IN CENTRAL PARK (1948) ROGUES REGIMENT (1948) THE BRIBE (1949) BARON OF ARIZONA (1950) CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR (1950) CURTAIN CALL AT CACTUS CREEK (1950) THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FABIAN (1951) HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951) LAS VEGAS STORY (1951) HOUSE OF WAX (1953) MAD MAGICIAN (1954) SON OF SINBAD (1955) WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)  THE STORY OF MANKIND (1957) THE FLY (1958) HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959) RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) THE TINGLER (1959) THE BAT (1959) THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960) MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961) PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)  THE BLACK BUCCANEER (1961) THE EVILS OF CHINATOWN (1962) TALES OF TERROR (1962) TOWER OF LONDON (1962) THE RAVEN (1963) DIARY OF A MADMAN (1963) THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963) TWICE TOLD TALES (1963) COMEDY OF TERRORS (1963) THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964) THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1964) CITY UNDER THE SEA (1965) DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (1965) THE WILD WEIRD WORLD OF DR.GOLDFOOT (1965) DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS (1966) HOUSE OF A THOUSAND DOLLS (1967) WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE (1969) THE OBLONG BOX (1969) SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN (1970) CRY OF THE BANSHEE (1970) AN EVENING WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE (1970) THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971) DR.PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1972) NIGHT GALLERY : RETURN OF THE SORCERER (1972) THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973) COLUMBO: LOVEY BUT LETHAL (1973) THE SNOOP SISTERS : BLACK DAY FOR BLUEBEARD (1974) MADHOUSE (1974) THE MONSTER CLUB (1981) VINCENT (1982) HOUSE OF LONG SHADOWS (1983) EDWARD SISSORHANDS (1990) plus various television guest spots.
Vincent Price in THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960)



ONE BODY TOO MANY (1944) Directed by Frank MacDonald **

If, like me, you are a fan of the "Old dark house" sub-genre this is a fairly entertaining example from the 1940's. The clichés come thick and fast - relatives gather in an old mansion for the reading of the Will of an eccentric rich relative, a stormy night, a sinister butler and....well, if you've seen THE CAT AND THE CANARY you know the score. Jack Haley (the tin man of OZ) is the cowardly hero and Lugosi as the sinister butler who gets some of the best lines in what is an above average script for this kind of film. Available on You Tube.

Monday, 18 January 2016


Steven Spielberg (b. 1946)

Steven Spielberg needs no introduction. He started as a young film fan and has become a one man film industry. Hugely influential he has ventured into every area of film and television production. Of his own work as a director he said "My movies are all different. I've tried to make every movie as if it was made by a different director, because I'm very conscious of not wanting to impose a consistent style on subject matter that is not necessarily suited to that style. So I try to re-invent my own eye every time I tackle a new subject. But it's hard, because everybody has style. You can't help it. It just comes off you like pollen. I mean, if you're a bee, you're a bee, but at the same time I try very hard to work a little out of the box every time I make a choice. And I had to go back to a box that I had helped invent in the 1980s to accomplish the task of bringing Indiana Jones back to life in the 21st century. We went right back to the blazing Technicolor style of the first three instalments. For MUNICH (2005), I certainly tried to bring an early-70s Hollywood style, a cinéma-vérité style, with zoom-lenses, and a lot of the tools that were used to make movies in the 70s, one of my favourites being THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973), the Fred Zinnemann film. Films directed by Steven Spielberg in my collection are : THE NIGHT GALLERY (1969) COLUMBO : MURDER BY THE BOOK (1971) DUEL (1971) JAWS (1975) CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) JURASSIC PARK (1993) LOST WORD: JURASSIC PARK (1997) AMISTAD (1997) SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001) MINORITY REPORT (2002) WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005) MUNICH (2005) INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) LINCOLN (2012). Films produced by Steven Spielberg in my collection : ARACHOPHOBIA (1990) CAPE FEAR (1991) THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998) THE HAUNTING (1999) JURASSIC PARK III (2001) FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006) LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006) TRUE GRIT (2010) JURASSIC WORLD (2015)

Saturday, 16 January 2016


THE MAN WHO TURNED TO STONE (1957) Directed by Leslie Kardos *

The only reason I got to see this film is because I ordered via Amazon a four film set for the sole purpose of obtaining the Vincent Price film THE MAD MAGICIAN. Other films in the set are TERROR OF THE TONGS, FIVE and THE MAN WHO TURNED TO STONE. A Sam Katzman production directed by Leslie Kardos, this tells the unlikely tale of a group of reform school administrators who are scientifically sucking the life from their female charges to prevent themselves turning to stone. That's about it, flat direction, little suspense, no imagination. At seventy odd minutes it long out stays its welcome. Victor Jory stars.


John Ford (1894-1973)

John Ford was much more than his famous description of himself "I'm John Ford and I make Westerns." He certainly did that and much, much more. The man himself was a mass of contradictions - cantankerous, rude, a bully, a liar - who happened to make some of the most beautiful American films ever and who inspired both loyalty and love from the actors and technicians who worked with him regularly. It is hard to assess Ford's entire career (over 140 directorial assignments) as most of his silent films are lost or simply not available but his sound output is quite remarkable. Ford was a poet and is, arguably, the greatest American director. Films in my collection are : THE IRON HORSE (1924) JUDGE PRIEST (1934) YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939) STAGECOACH (1939) DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939) THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) THE LONG VOYAGE HOME (1940) THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY (1942)  DECEMBER 7TH (1943) THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) FORT APACHE (1948) THREE GODFATHERS (1948) SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) WAGON MASTER (1950) THE QUIET MAN (1952) MR. ROBERTS (1955) THE SEARCHERS (1956) THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959) SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961) THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962) DONOVAN'S REEF (1963)  also MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949) produced by Ford and the documentary DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD (1971) directed by Peter Bogdanovich.