One more of these before I start saving ’em for next year. The D&R Theater in Aberdeen, Washington, went all Universal International. Brides Of Dracula (a Hammer import) and The Leech Woman (both 1960) had been paired by U-I when they were originally released.
Category Archives: 1964
This is a good one. First, this would’ve been a great night in Vineland, New Jersey — Vincent Price, twice!, and a cool Gordon Scott peplum. I’m going to assume the Laurence Harvey picture is actually The Ceremony (1963); not sure where “OF DEATH” came from.
Second, I’m so happy to report that the Delsea Drive-In is still in business!
Hope y’all are enjoying these old Halloween movie ads. They’ve been a lot of fun to track down.
The Graham Cinema in Graham, North Carolina, is running a James Bond film every Monday and Tuesday night. Tonight is From Russia With Love (1964).
The Graham Cinema
119 N Main St, Graham, NC 27253
This is a great old theater and they typically put a great image on the screen. Of course, you can’t go wrong with these early Bond pictures. I’m hoping they include On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).
Directed by Quentin Lawrence
Screenplay by David T. Chantler & Lewis Greifer
Based on the teleplay The Gold Inside by Jacques Gillies
Director Of Photography: Arthur Grant
Film Editor: Eric Boyd-Perkins
Music by Wilfred Josephs
Cast: Peter Cushing (Harry Fordyce), André Morell (Colonel Gore Hepburn), Richard Vernon (Pearson), Norman Bird (Arthur Sanderson), Kevin Stoney (Detective Inspector Bill Mason), Barry Lowe (Peter Harvill), Edith Sharpe (Miss Pringle), Lois Daine (Sally), Alan Haywood (Kane)
What’s better than a heist movie? A heist movie starring Peter Cushing, from Hammer Films. Cash On Demand (1961) is another Hammer picture that’s eluded me over the years, and I’m so glad I finally caught up with it.
It’s a couple days before Christmas, and Harry Fordyce (Peter Cushing) is running the Haversham branch of City And Colonial Bank as coldly and efficiently as ever. Then Colonel Gore Hepburn (André Morell) comes in, announcing that he’s an insurance investigator. But once he’s in Fordyce’s office, Hepburn reveals that he’s actually a bank robber, he has Fordyce’s family hostage and that he fully expects the branch manager to help him clean out the vault.
From there, it gets very tense. Cash On Demand proves that when you have a good script to work with, along with a strong cast and crew, you don’t need much money. (They say Hammer spent just £37,000 on this thing.) The entire picture takes place in the bank or in front of it (Morell’s Maserati parked out front is nice to see).
The performances here are top-notch, and I think that’s the key to the film’s success. André Morell is charming as the robber, but we completely believe him when he threatens Fordyce’s family. Peter Cushing is incredible here. We don’t care much for the bank manager, he’s the ultimate cold fish, but Cushing makes us sympathize with him over the course of the film. For his sake (and his family’s), we want the heist to succeed. Cushing plays his rather Scrooge-ish redemption at the end just perfectly.
The US prints run 80 minutes, while the UK theatrical cut is just 67. As tight as the longer version is, I’d love to see how the shorter version plays. The Indicator Blu-Ray gives you both, by the way.
Richard Vernon has a good part in this. I’ve been aware of him for ages, thanks to movies I watched constantly as a kid: A Hard Days Night, Goldfinger, The Tomb Of Ligeia (all 1964) and The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973). Both Morell and Richard Vernon were in the television play this was based on, The Gold Inside, and Morell played Watson to Cushing’s Holmes in Hammer’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959). Norman Bird was in The League Of Gentlemen (1960), Maniac (1963) and The Wrong Box (1966).
Director Quentin Lawrence worked largely in television, but he also did The Crawling Eye (1957). And, of course, cinematographer Arthur Grant’s work is as masterful as ever. Editor Eric Boyd-Perkins excels here, putting the pieces together to really ramp up the suspense.
Another familiar “face” is Bray Studios. I recognized some of the bank sets from other Hammer films, namely The Phantom Of The Opera (1962).
My Peter Cushing bias is splattered all over this blog — he’s one of my absolute favorites, and I’d list him as one of the greatest, and most under-appreciated, screen actors of them all. Cash On Demand is yet another picture that supports my lofty claims. But from one end to another, this is an excellent film, one where everything — script, cast, direction, etc. — comes together perfectly. Highly, high recommended.
Don Siegel’s films are scattered throughout my list of all-time favorites — if I was to ever sit down and make such a list. Here are some photos I’ve come across while researching him for various things (some of these images have appeared on this blog before, but are worth repeating).
Up top, there’s Siegel directing Clint Eastwood in Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970). The original screenplay was by Budd Boetticher, who was supposed to direct (he ended up with only a story credit). Budd not happy with the finished film, which co-starred Shirley MacLaine. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called the picture “a solidly entertaining film that provides Clint Eastwood with his best, most substantial role to date; in it he is far better than he has ever been. In director Don Siegel, Eastwood has found what John Wayne found in John Ford and what Gary Cooper found in Frank Capra.” They’d make five movies together.
Here he is with Ronald Reagan and Vinveca Lindfors (Mrs. Siegel at the time) shooting Night Unto Night (1949).
Neville Brand and Dabbs Greer (?) get direction from Siegel on Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954).
Nick Adams and Siegel go over the script for Hell Is For Heroes (1962).
Siegel, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and John Cassavettes (back of his head) on the set of The Killers (1964).
With Eastwood on the set of Coogan’s Bluff (1968), their first picture together.
Andy Robinson goes over the script with Siegel on Dirty Harry (1971).
Siegel and Walter Matthau having a laugh on Charley Varrick (1973). I think Don’s wearing the same hat he has on in the photo from The Killers.
Eastwood and Siegel on location for Escape From Alcatraz (1979).
I was trying to find a picture of Siegel working on Baby Face Nelson (1957), one of his best, but had no luck. It’s highly underrated, probably because it’s almost impossible to see.
Directed by Jack Cardiff
Starring Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Russ Tamblyn, Rosanna Schiaffino
In June, Imprint is bringing Jack Cardiff’s The Long Ships (1964) to Blu-Ray, and a Technirama picture coming out in high definition is always a good thing.
I’ve never seen The Long Ships, and I’ve always wanted to. It’s got Richard Widmark as a Viking, Sidney Poitier with crazy-looking hair and the already-mentioned Technirama. What’s not to like? Plus, it was done around the same time Poitier and Widmark made the incredible The Bedford Incident (1964). Really looking forward to this one.
Screenbound in the UK has announced a cool Blu-Ray set: The Films Of Michael Reeves. Many see Reeves’ death at just 25 as a huge blow to British cinema. His last film, Witchfinder General (1968, AKA The Conqueror Worm in the States), was terrific and showed that he had incredible potential.
From the press release: “This ultimate Blu-Ray collection includes both of his iconic works (Witchfinder General and 1967’s The Sorcerers), along with the first-ever Blu-Ray release of The Castle Of The Living Dead, where he was part of the scriptwriting team… completing this stunning collection is the brand new feature-length documentary The Young General, featuring Ian Ogilvy.”
Reeves’ The She-Beast (1966) is already available on Blu-Ray
Here’s wishing a happy 91st birthday to Mr. James Earl Jones.
He’s done so much, and has been so good in so many things. But I always marvel at his performance in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964). He comes off so natural, matching the film’s documentary style, and is at the same time very funny — all while working to set up the story and build suspense in the early scenes. And he does it all sitting down!
Was in the airport in DC one time, and I heard this laugh that cut through all the usual terminal noise. Instantly knew who it was. He’s every bit as commanding exchanging hellos as he is doing Shakespeare.
The screensavers on Roku are pretty cool, featuring all sorts of hidden references and images to old movies. Tonight, I noticed a couple of things worth sharing. First was King Kong and Godzilla (thankfully looking like their 1962 selves instead of those wretched new things).
Then, there’s 007’s bullet-marked Aston Martin DB5 parked along a Christmas street scene.
Please forgive the crummy-looking phone-photo-of-the-TV-screen quality.
In the early 60s, Hammer invested heavily in the Psycho ripoff industry. And while those investments didn’t pay off like their Dracula or Frankenstein pictures did, they were pretty solid movies. Scream Factory is bringing a couple of them to Blu-Ray soon (each is a standalone release). Both were written and produced by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Freddie Francis.
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Janette Scott, Oliver Reed, Sheila Burrell, Alexander Davion
His older brother dead, his sister declared insane, Oliver Reed is all set to have the family fortune all to himself. Then, the brother turns up again. Or is an imposter?
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring David Knight, Moira Redmond, Jennie Linden
Technically, this is probably more of a riff on Diaboliques (1955) than Psycho (1960). A girl witnesses her mother kill her father. Mom is sent to an asylum, while years later, at a finishing school, the daughter starts having nightmares of stabbings. But are they dreams, or are the bodies really piling up?
In both the UK and the US, Nightmare played theaters with Evil Of Frankenstein (1964), also directed by Francis.
These are cool, stylish pictures with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing who’s real, who’s dead and who’s gonna be dead. They were both in black-and-white Scope, which looks terrific in high definition. If these get the usual treatment Scream Factory lavishes on their Hammer releases, with stellar transfers and lots of nice extras, these will be very nice indeed. Highly recommended.