Welcome to Monday! And that of course means another Mystery Photo. I’m hoping that it at least gives you one good thing about this day to look forward to. I knew our last photo was going to be a tough one and it seems I was right. The shot was from a Mexican horror film that came out in 1959 called Misterios de Ultratumba, or The Black Pit of Dr. M. This little feature has more style and atmospher than you can stake a stick at. Well worth checking out….though, I think that I say that about most of these movies….Anyway, kudos out to Hoby Abernathy and Alan Tromp for sending in the correct answer. Well done!
So let’s get to our latest photo. Might be a little dark but as you can see in the photo, there is a reason for that. Take a peak and see what you can come up with. As always, please do not post your answers here, but send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The world has lost a great talent in the world of cinema with the passing of cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, who passed away last Monday at the age of 103. Slocombe was in the business over 40 years, working on 80 films, in which he received 3 Oscar nominations and 11 BAFTA nominations, winning 3 of those. But aside from his filmwork, his eariler days are a movie waiting to be made!
He started in journalism, working for the British United Press as a junior editor, while in his free time, he continued his passion for photography. He eventually started selling his stills to different magazines around the world, as well as continuing to write. His introduction to filmmaking came when he convinced Life to send him to Danzig in 1939, where he filmed some very dangerous subjects, like a meeting of SS stormtroopers. At the time, Danzig was known as the most dangerous place in Europe because of the German occupation. Slocombe’s work was being smuggled out by the Polish Embassy, but he was being watched very closely by the Germans. He would later spend a lot of time on different navy ships such as Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers, and more. After the war, he made his way into Ealing Studios, which is where he started his movie career.
It looks like now that Arrow Video is satisfied with just putting about amazing releases on blu-ray, but now are moving into the reference book market. How dare they! Like this company couldn’t do anything else to make me love what they are doing, they put out this book! Major kudos to them!
Born Dec. 20th – Died July 15th, 2001
It’s a very old story how Hammer CEO would take a poster art of a new film to the distributors and sell the picture, only to then give the poster to the screen writer and tell them to write the movie! One of men responsible for those posters was Tom Chantrell, who turned out over 7000 designs in his career, averaging about 3 posters a week! If you’re a fan of Hammer films then you are well aware of his work, even if you didn’t know it. His designs highlighted the selling points of what Hammer was trying to do…sell tickets! Just try doing a Google image search of his name and see the hundreds of works of art that this man did in his career.
His first film poster was for the 1938 film The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, and he continued to work well into the late ’70s. When the ’80s came, that style of poster art seemed to be replaced by cheap computer Photoshop works of “art”. He did work a bit designing video covers, but it just wasn’t the same.
But at least that before his death, he was able to learn and realize that his artwork, as well as many other great poster art, was now being regarded as great works of art and had become highly collectable. Never one to give himself the credit he deserved, Chantrell was very modest, calling a good poster a “ripsnorter”.
Maybe one day this style of poster art will come back. We can always hope.
For a great interview with Chantrell, along with some great examples of his work, as well as many other Hammer posters and celebrities, head over to Hammer Horror Posters.
Hollywood’s Maddest Doctors: A Biography of Lionel Atwill, Colin Clive, and Geoge Zucco
By Gregory William Mank
Midnight Marquee Press, 1998. 320 pages.
Frankenstein: A Cultural History
By Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. 392 pages. Hardcover.
Born Feb. 16th, 1907 – Died Mar. 31st, 1973
Woodbridge was one of those English character actors that we’d always see in the background or in bit parts, like in a more than a few Hammer films. Usually playing an innkeeper or maybe a policeman, even if only in the film a short time, he always help fill out the picture with interesting characters. With his booming voice, he had always made a last impression with me, though never really knew his name. So we’re trying to change that here today.
Woodbridge appeared in over 140 movies and television programs. His last appearance was in a children’s television program called Inigo Pipkin, where Woodbridge played the title character who was a puppet maker, who created such characters as Hartley Hare, George the tortoise, Topov the monkey, and Octvia the ostrich. The show was a success, but Woodbridge died of a heart attack while starting the second season. This was the first children’s program to deal with death, by saying character of the actor who passed away actually died as well, writing into the story, explaining to the viewers that the puppet creator had died. This was quite a few years before Sesame Street did the same thing when the actor playing Mr. Hooper passed away.
But at least we still have his movie appearances that will always put a smile on my face and remember this larger than life actor.