On the DRACULA Set with Bela Lugosi

Over the weekend I watched DRACULA (1931) on the big screen at a local multiplex. I suppose I’ve seen this film a few hundred times since I was about ten. I have purchased many video editions starting with an abridged 8mm Castle Films version when I was a kid, later a poor-looking 16mm print, then a video cassette, next a DVD, and more recently a Blu-ray. Now I even have it in HD streaming video. But it’s been a while since I’ve actually watched the whole thing from beginning to end without interruption so I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend’s screening. In fact, thanks to digital restoration technology DRACULA looks better today than it has ever looked, perhaps better than when it was new. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought a little tribute to Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) would be appropriate.
Lugosi Portrait_New_Final

A beautiful half-sheet poster from the original 1931 release:

Director Tod Browning and Bela chat with Broadway producer Horace Liveright who brought DRACULA to the stage in 1927 and hired Bela to play the role. On the right is film director Dudley Murphy:

Two views of Bela applying makeup. In those days many actors continued a theater tradition of putting on their own makeup:
Lugosi8 copy_Final Final

During some outdoor night filming Bela smokes one of his beloved cigars:
Lugosi 1_edited-Final_Dark Sky-2

The following two photos are courtesy of Vampire Over London: the Bela Lugosi Blog here on WordPress. First Bela still smoking his cigar, Helen Chandler smoking a cigarette, and director Tod Browning:

A fascinating behind the scenes photo showing the chaos of equipment and wires, none of which are seen in the filmed shot. Tod Browning, Frances Dade, and Helen Chandler:
Browning Dade Chandler

From my collection, here are two life masks of Mr. Lugosi that I’d guess were made some ten to fifteen years apart, circa 1933 to 1948. Life masks are the closest we will come to seeing these Golden Age stars face-to-face:
100_2186 copy
Old Lugosi 2

Finally, a humorous photo with the principal members of the cast: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, and Edward Van Sloan:
Lugosi3A copy_Final_Final_Final

Published in: on October 26, 2015 at 10:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

Vintage Glass Slides Celebrate Classic Horror Films + An Interview with Colin Clive!

Halloween 2015 gives us a good reason to take a fresh look at some of the greatest horror film classics ever made. But not by viewing the familiar artwork found in vintage posters and lobby cards. Instead we have found several rarely-seen and extremely fragile glass slides that were projected onto movie screens over 80 and 90 years ago. Let’s begin the tour.

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920) is often credited as the first American horror film. Although filmed many times beginning in 1911, this 1920 silent film version starring John Barrymore in his “breakthrough” movie performance is generally regarded as the best film version. This takes nothing away from at least two excellent sound film versions made in 1931 and 1941. The 1920 version is readily available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming video:
Jeykyll Hyde slide

Before Lon Chaney frightened audiences in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923), the Man of 1,000 Faces created chills in this 1922 film, which alas, is lost:
Chaney A Blind Bargain

Decades before JURASSIC PARK let loose an army of angry dinosaurs, movie audiences were awed by living prehistoric creatures in THE LOST WORLD (1925). Based on the popular novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this film is available on DVD:
Lost World copy_edited-Final

Lon Chaney scored a huge hit with one of the most memorable films of all time. New generations today find THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) is still a potent brew. The enduring popularity of the Chaney film has resulted in this PHANTOM being available on Blu-ray as well as DVD. We are also lucky to have TWO glass slides for this classic:
Phantom slide_edited-Final
Phantom_edited-1 copy

Chaney Sr. did not rest on his laurels with PHANTOM, but followed it up with edgy dramas such as THE ROAD TO MANDALAY (1926), which only partially exists today:
Road to Mandalay 1

American horror films didn’t become established until the talkie era with DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN, both released in 1931. A lesser-known film released in 1932 is THE WHITE ZOMBIE starring Count Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi. This low-budget film has grown in stature through the years and today is considered a classic. As a sign of its stature, ZOMBIE is available on DVD and even Blu-ray:
White Zombie

One of the best of the early 1930s horror classics is THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933), based on a novel by H.G. Wells, and starring Claude Rains in his first film. The romantic lead was Gloria Stuart who 60 years later appeared in TITANIC (1997):
Invisible Man Final

1933 was a banner years for classic films and horror movies were no exception. In addition to THE INVISIBLE MAN, the public was treated to KING KONG:

The public barely had time to catch its collective breath when later in 1933 the sequel to KONG was released. While not as good as the original, SON OF KONG is enjoyable on its own terms:
Son of Kong Glass Slide

Another early horror talkie that has grown in stature is THE BLACK ROOM (1935) starring the Frankenstein monster himself, Boris Karloff. And yes, it’s available on DVD:
The Black Room 1935 copy

It was only a matter of time before those Twin Princes of Horror Films, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, were co-starred. THE RAVEN (1935) is the second of several successful films from the Karloff-Lugosi team and, yes, is on DVD:
Raven Final

Is there a consensus on one classic horror film that is considered the best ever made? Well, if there is, that film would be the sequel to FRANKENSTEIN (1931). Filmed under the working title of THE RETURN OF FRANKENSTEIN, this stunning film would be known to the world as THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). Of course, this one is available on Blu-ray and DVD:

British actor Colin Clive played Dr. Henry Frankenstein in those first two films of the series, FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). Here is a candid of Colin Clive and Valerie Hobson on the Universal backlot in January 1935 during the filming of BRIDE:
Clive_ Hobson-copy_Final

Colin Clive was regarded as a gifted actor but a troubled individual. He passed away in 1937 following years of alcohol abuse complicated by tuberculosis. Typical of many actors of that time, Mr. Clive was unhappy with his being cast in these so-called “horror films.” But unlike other actors, he had no hesitation to go public with his concerns. Here is a rare interview with the man that many consider to be the definitive Dr. Frankenstein:
Clive Interview


Happy 4th of July 2015

Greetings from Rin Tin Tin, Marion Davies, George Arliss and Alan Mowbray (as Hamilton and Washington):
4th-of-july-wallpapers-Final bmp

and Greetings from Lon Chaney Sr.:
American Eagle_Final bmp

Major New Book – Behind the Scenes of John Ford’s THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945)

John Ford established himself as a major film director during the silent film era with classics such as THE IRON HORSE (1924), 3 BAD MEN (1926), and FOUR SONS (1928), among others. Then Ford made some of the finest films of the talkie era such as THE INFORMER (1935), THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (1936) and GRAPES OF WRATH (1940), and many, many others. This book takes us behind the scenes of one of his best films – THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) – using unpublished photos that only today are being seen for the first time in 70 years.
They Were Expendable

The stars – Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed and John Wayne:

Ward Bond, John Wayne and Robert Montgomery:
Poster - They Were Expendable_08

Poster - They Were Expendable_05

Poster - They Were Expendable_06
Author Lou Sabini and photographer Nicholas Scutti have provided a major addition to the John Ford Bibliography. This volume will continue to be a unique and important account of the filmmaker’s art and skill for many years to come.

A Colorful Super Star: Douglas Fairbanks in ROBIN HOOD (1922) and THE BLACK PIRATE (1926)

Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) was one of the first movie super stars long before that term was ever coined. A young “juvenile” actor on the stage, Doug gave early films a try in 1915 in a series of popular modern dress comedies. He added some incredible athletic stunts that left movie audiences amazed. By 1917, he was one of the highest paid stars but Doug wasn’t content and decided to produce his own films. He became a partner with his pal Charlie Chaplin, the great director D.W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford (whom he married in 1920) to form United Artists. This company is still in business today.

One of Doug’s earlier films, the now-lost KNICKERBOCKER BUCKAROO (1919) with Marjorie Daw:
Fairbanks (11)_edited Final

Doug Fairbanks literally invented the “action” film genre that remains extremely popular – think Jackie Chan. In 1922, Fairbanks began his most ambitious production yet, a swashbuckler chronicling the legends of Robin Hood. No, it wasn’t a primitive version of the later Errol Flynn film, but a fully developed saga of how the Earl of Huntingdon went from being one of the noble Knights of the Realm to the hunted outlaw Robin Hood rebelling against the unscrupulous Prince John. Fairbanks wanted his film to have the look and feel of old illuminated manuscripts that recalled the glorious Age of Chivalry – and he got it!

No expense was spared as Fairbanks literally built a full-scale castle on the studio lot. He recruited top art directors Wilfred Buckland and William Cameron Menzies, and costume designer Mitchell Leisen (later a major film director). This original color German transparency gives you a good idea of the magnificent sets:
Robin German Transparencies 4

A rare still with another view of the castle:
Robin-Hood 3

Robin Hood with Maid Marian, played by Enid Bennett – another German color transparency:
Robin German Transparencies 3_edited-1

That castle set was huge!
Robin-Hood 1

Fencing expert Frank Cavens designed the sword stunts as he would for many later swashbucklers including the Flynn ROBIN HOOD:
Robin German Transparencies 2

Fairbanks as Robin Hood is the master of all he surveys:
Robin German Transparencies 1

Sheet music was published for playing the love theme at home on the piano:
Robin Hood Sheet Music001-1

Not to mention a book version of the film’s story:
Robin Hood Cover 1 copy

In 1926, four years after the tremendous success of ROBIN HOOD, and two more epics, Doug was ready for a new challenge: he wanted to be the first major star to produce a film entirely in Technicolor. The result was THE BLACK PIRATE:
Black Pirate

These are original color plates from the rare Photoplay Edition novelization of the screenplay:
Fairbanks (5)

Fairbanks (4)

Fairbanks (7)

Fairbanks (6)

THE BLACK PIRATE has been restored to its original Technicolor brilliance and is available today on DVD and Blu-ray. Likewise, Douglas Fairbanks in ROBIN HOOD is restored and available on DVD. Both films can also be viewed on streaming video. Fairbanks would no doubt be pleased that his productions continue to delight viewers well into the 21st century!

Best Wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!

Take your pick and print out any or all of these:

Kearon Old Hd 2015

Chaney calendar 2015_Base_Final

2015 Colman Calendar_Final

Arliss Calendar 2015 1_Final

Garbo Gilbert 2015_Final

Conrad Veidt 2015

Published in: on December 30, 2014 at 5:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2015!

Old Hollywood Christmas 2015_Final
From left to right: Al Jolson & Rin Tin Tin, Richard Barthelmess & Mary Astor, Clara Bow, Will Rogers & Myrna Loy, and Rudolph Valentino.

Halloween 2014 – From the Artists’ Viewpoint

There are a number of talented modern-day artists who have turned their skills to the Classic Horror Films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. These individuals have made their works available on the Internet so what follows is a Halloween roundup with credit given where it is properly deserved.

Robert Semler offers a few of the 1,000 Faces of Lon Chaney Sr.:

Chaney’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923) by Robert Semler:

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) by Robert Semler:

The lamentably long-lost LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) by Robert Semler:

Another artist, Daniel Horne, painted this exquisite portrait of THE PHANTOM:
PHANTOM PAINTING 3 by Daniel Horne

Daniel Horne gives us LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT:
CHANEY VAMPIRE2-1 Daniel Horne

Moving into the 1930s, Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster by Daniel Horne:
Horne-Frankenstein 1931-1-1 by Daniel Horne

Mr. Horne also sculptures. Here is Karloff again in two works as Ardath Bey aka THE MUMMY (1932):
The Mummy by Daniel Horne
ARDETH BEY SCULPT02 by Daniel Horne

The Monster again in sculpture by Daniel Horne:

Everybody’s favorite Halloween couple, Karloff and Elsa Lancaster in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) by Daniel Horne:
Horne-TheBrideOfFrankenstein-1-5 by Daniel Horne

An exquisite painting by Daniel Horne of the BRIDE herself:
BRIDE by Daniel Horne

It just wouldn’t seem like Halloween without Bela Lugosi. From THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935) by Daniel Horne:
BELA LUGOSI'S EYES4 by Daniel Horne copy

One of my All-Time Favorites – Henry Hull as THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935) by Daniel Horne:
Werewolf of London by Daniel Horne

Finally, here is your blogmeister’s attempt at an artistic potpouri of images from our favorite ghouls!
Universal 1935 ltrhead Final_Halloween_edited-1

THE LOST WORLD (1925) – The Original Continuity Script

We can’t equal our recent post here where we provided the complete continuity script for LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927), perhaps the most famous “lost film” of all time. However, we’re not being too shabby by providing the script for the granddaddy of all dinosaur films —
Herald 5

THE LOST WORLD was based on the best-selling 1912 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A corking good adventure yarn, this 1925 film version ran ten reels and was booked at special “road shows” prior to its general release. But for decades, the only surviving version was a truncated 16mm edition that ran about half the length, or 50 minutes, of the original.

You know you’re dealing with a prestige film when a special “Photoplay Edition” of the novel is published with photos from the movie. Here is a worn but surviving dustjacket showing the romantic couple Bessie Love and Lloyd Hughes:
Lost World Cover Photoplay

This glass slide was projected onto gigantic screens of movie palaces of the day as an advertisement. Perhaps we’re jaded now, but at the time audiences were amazed to see humans and dinosaurs together:
Lost World copy_edited-1

An original color lobby card with Bessie Love and Lloyd Hughes:

The film offered comedy relief from these characters that, even in 1925, was considered the weakest part of the movie:
LC 3

A love triangle with Lewis Stone (later “Judge Hardy” in Mickey Rooney’s ANDY HARDY films) playing Bessie Love’s fiance. In the 1920s, Stone was a popular leading man and certainly a better actor than Mr. Hughes!
LC 2

A bearded Wallace Beery on the right played the fiesty Professor Challenger, leader of the expedition to a mysterious plateu in the South American jungles to prove his theory that dinosaurs still exist:
Lost World Still 2

Two sides of a movie “herald” to alert the town to the forthcoming attraction:
Herald 4

The special effects work by Willis O’Brien won much praise with the monsters even appearing to breathe. O’Brien would later animate KING KONG and SON OF KONG (both 1933) and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949). O’Brien’s protege, Ray Harryhausen, brought a new generation of monsters to screen life beginning in the 1950s.

A vintage Swedish poster. THE LOST WORLD became an international hit!
Lost World Swedish_edited-1

Restored editions of THE LOST WORLD have been available on DVD for several years now, and a Blu-ray version is apparently in the works. But alas, there is much missing footage gone from the film since its 1925 release. However, you can “see” the complete film by reading through the script here:
LOST WORLD 1925_Complete Script

London After Midnight – The Original 1927 Continuity Script

Chaney London Final_edited-1
Who knew that all these years the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. held a shot-by-shot cutting continuity made from viewing an actual print of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT? This Lon Chaney Sr. vampire tale is perhaps the most famous – and most eagerly sought – lost silent film. The last known print was destroyed in a vault fire in 1967, and intensive searching of the world’s film archives has so far failed to locate another print.

But now you can “see” LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT simply by reading this 38-page document (it’s a quick read) and using an average amount of your imagination. We are supplying you with a series of photos and lobby cards below to assist you. Enjoy!
Click here:
London After Midnight LOC Script copy

Lon Chaney plays Professor Burke, a detective/hypnotist who is investigating the “suicide” of Roger Balfour:
London 4
There are strange goings-on in the old Bafour Mansion, and some mighty strange creatures too:
London 2
A curious inhabitant seems to have supernatural powers:
Chaney Midnight_Final
Burke questions the various suspects and uses hypnotism too:
London 5
Looks like it’s going to be a long night at the Balfour Mansion:
London 8
London 1
London 6
Burke eventually proves that Bafour’s death was murder and collars the killer:
London 3a
But what about those strange creatures? We suggest you read the script if you’re not able to see the movie!
london novel old 2


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