Category Archives: 1964

Cash On Demand (1961).

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.

How’d that vault get backstage at the London Opera House?

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.

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Filed under 1961, 1964, Arthur Grant, Columbia, Hammer Films, Indicator/Powerhouse, Peter Cushing

Making Movies: Don Siegel At Work.

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.

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Filed under 1954, 1957, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1979, Angie Dickinson, Budd Boetticher, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #383: The Long Ships (1964).

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.

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Filed under 1964, DVD/Blu-ray News, Imprint Films, Jack Cardiff, Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier

Blu-Ray News #380: The Films Of Michael Reeves (1964-68).

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 

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Filed under 1964, 1967, 1968, AIP, Boris Karloff, DVD/Blu-ray News, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price

Happy Birthday, James Earl Jones.


James Earl Jones
January 17, 1931

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.

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Filed under 1964, Stanley Kubrick

King Kong Vs. Godzilla Vs. James Bond Vs. Roku.

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.

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Filed under 1962, 1964, James Bond

Blu-Ray News #367: Two Psycho Rip-Offs From Hammer Films And Freddie Francis.

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. 

Paranoiac (1963)
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? 

Nightmare (1964)
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.

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Filed under 1964, DVD/Blu-ray News, Freddie Francis, Hammer Films, Oliver Reed, Shout/Scream Factory, Universal (-International)

Happy Birthday, Sam Katzman.

Sam Katzman
(July 7, 1901 – August 4, 1973)

The great B-movie producer Sam Katzman was born 120 years ago today.

In the photo above, Sam’s on the right with (L-R) Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley and Colonel Tom Parker). This was taken while Kissin’ Cousins (1964) was in production. Katzman produced two Elvis movies, this one and Harum Scarum (1965).

Incidentally, today is also Fred F. Sears’ birthday. He was one of the directors in Katzman’s unit at Columbia. Just recorded a commentary for the Katzman/Sears crime picture Chicago Syndicate (1955). Watch for it coming from Powerhouse in a few months.

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Filed under 1964, Elvis Presley, Fred F. Sears, Sam Katzman

Blu-Ray News #329: The Eurocrypt Of Christopher Lee Collection (1962-72).

Severin Films has announced The Eurocrypt Of Christopher Lee Collection, an exhaustive eight-disc set coming out May 25.

The Castle Of The Living Dead (1964)
Directed by Warren Kiefer
Starring Christopher Lee, Gaia Germani, Philippe Leroy, Mirko Valentin, Donald Sutherland
Lee plays a 19th century Count who lets a theatrical troupe spend the weekend in his creepy castle. As you’d expect, it would’ve been better if they’d turned down his invitation. 4K restoration from the Italian negative; English audio.

Challenge The Devil (1963, AKA Katarsis)
Directed by Giuseppe Vegezzi
Starring Christopher Lee, Giorgio Adrisson, Vittoria Centroni
One of Lee’s most obscure films. He turns out to be the devil. 2K restoration from the Italian negative; Italian audio.

Crypt Of The Vampire (1964, AKA Terror In The Crypt and Crypt Of Horror)
Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque
Starring Christopher Lee, Adriana Ambesi
Another adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, with Lee as Count Karnstein. 2k restoration from a fine-grain 35mm master print; Italian and English audio.

Sherlock Holmes And The Deadly Necklace (1962)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Christopher Lee, Thorley Walters, Senta Berger
Lee and director Terence Fisher follow Hammer’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959) with Sherlock Holmes And The Deadly Necklace, giving Lee and chance to play the world’s greatest detective. (It was Peter Cushing in Hound.) Written by Curt Siodmak, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Valley Of Fear. 2K restoration from the German negative; English & German tracks.

Theatre Macabre (1971-1972)
Christopher Lee hosts an anthology TV series, providing and intro and wrap-up for each episode. 24 surviving episodes have now been scanned in 2K from the original negatives.

The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism (1967, AKA The Blood Demon, The Snake Pit And The Pendulum, Castle Of The Walking Dead)
Directed by Harald Reinl
Starring Christopher Lee, Karin Dor, Lex Barker
Count Regula (Christopher Lee) is executed for killing 12 virgins in his dungeon. Years later, he comes back for revenge. 4K restoration from from the original German negative; English and German audio.

Relics From The Crypt
A collection of interviews with Lee over the years and other related horror featurettes.

In addition to the Relics From The Crypt disc, each disc is packed full of extras, from commentaries and interviews to trailers and still galleries. There’s a CD of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s score for The Castle Of The Living Dead, and an 88-page illustrated book by Lee biographer Jonathan Rigby. This is really gonna be something. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Karin Dor, Peter Cushing, Senta Berger, Severin Films, Sherlock Holmes, Terence Fisher

Blu-Ray News #326: The Time Travelers (1964).

Directed by Ib Melchior
Starring Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt, Joan Woodbury, Delores Welles, Forrest Ackerman

Who can resist a picture from American International in 1964 that gives you a Playboy Playmate (Delores Welles, June 1960), hideous mutants and Forrest J. Ackerman and promises to let you “SEE women use the Love Machine to allay the male shortage!”

Merry Anders and Delores Welles dig the future.

Ib Melchior’s ideas were too big for his budget, but he still managed to pull off a pretty big-looking sci-fi flick. This thing just oozes mid-century, early 60s cool — from the costumes and hairstyles to the sets and the tacky Pathécolor (shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond).

Scorpion Releasing is bringing this crazy thing to Blu-Ray, distributed by Kino Lorber, in April. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1964, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Forrest Ackerman, Ib Melchior, Kino Lorber, Scorpion Releasing