Thursday, 18 September 2014

A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VERONICA CARLSON TODAY!


A SPECIAL DAY.. A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY: Join us in wishing VERONICA CARLSON a VERY Happy Birthday TODAY!

Image: Veronica Carlson and Peter Cushing pose for a publicity photograph during the making of #hammerfilms 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' at Elstree film studios in 1969

Monday, 15 September 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREE MELLY !


A very Happy Birthday to ANDREE MELLY, who was born this day in 1932. As the 'pretty' Gina in Hammer films, 'The Brides of Dracula' she terrified audiences with her ability to transform into Baron Meinster's victim in 1960 under the direction of Terence Fisher. Three years later she worked with Fisher again in 'The Horror Of It All' as Natalia Marley alongside Anton Diffring and Hazel Court.


Friday, 12 September 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FREDDIE JONES!


#‎FRANKENSTEINFRIDAY‬ : We kick off today's ‪#‎ff‬ by marking the birthday of Freddie Jones! Born today, 12th September 1927 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, We know him here for his quite outstanding performances in ‪#‎hammerfilms‬ ‪#‎frankensteinmustbedestroyed‬ as Professor Richter and as Prof. Julian Keeley in ‪#‎thesatanicritesofdracula‬. A truly, remarkable actor. Personally I've never seen him in performance, I didn't like. The Elephant Man, Young Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Baynes in Granada tv's The Return of Sherlock Holmes.. Dune, Zulu Dawn. There are many. Always entertaining and own's any scene he appears in! So, join us in wishing him...A Very Happy Birthday, Freddie! What's your favourite Freddie Jones performances?

 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

GOING BACK 42 AGO YEARS THIS MONTH! THROWBACKTHURSDAYS!


During the month of SEPTEMBER we'll be celebrating #hammerfilms 'DRACULA AD 1972' with a series of galleries, featuring images, artwork and behind the scenes photographs, many in hi res and colour. It's over 42 years ago this month, that production started at Elstree film studios on the film that would bring Christopher Lee's Dracula and Cushing's Van Helsing back to the screen... together for the first time since they starred together in the box office breaking 'Dracula' in 1958.


Here are some samples of images and galleries that are also being shared with other images, at our uk Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Fan page... more next Thursday!


Director, Alan Gibson rehearses Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing during filming of the coach top - fight to the death, prologue. A behind-the-scenes image from Dracula A.D. 1972. ( #hammerfilms, 1972.)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

SHOCK RELEASES OUTSTANDING 'HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES' FOR THE FIRST TIME ON BLU RAY: TROY HOWARTH REVIEWS



BLU RAY AND DVD REVIEW:
Hammer films 1959, The Hound of the Baskervilles makes its blu-ray debut courtesy of the Shock label in Australia. The blu-ray/DVD combo pack is region B for the blu-ray and region 4 for the DVD. The blu-ray offers a terrific transfer: the blacks are appropriately deep and inky, the primary colors truly do pop and the image retains a pleasing coating of natural film grain. Detail is very sharp throughout and the print is in excellent shape, even retaining the original United Artists distributing logo at the beginning. The mono English soundtrack is in very robust shape, too. Extras are sparse, but what is there is very good: the featurette on Andre Morell paints a warm and compelling portrait of a fiery but good natured individual.


Morell seldom seems to get the sort of love he deserves among fans; from my point of view, he’s every bit as good as Cushing and Lee, so it’s really nice seeing him paid tribute like this. A commentary by Jonathan Rigby and Marcus Hearn would have been gratefully received, but no matter… the film itself is presented in a more or less immaculate transfer and the featurette is most entertaining. The Christopher Lee interview included on the Region 1 MGM DVD release has not been included, so fans may want to hold on to that DVD if they are looking to upgrade.


Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and Dr. Watson (Andre Morell) are called upon to protect Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) from the family curse…


Confession time: I used to be pretty unenthusiastic about this version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best known Sherlock Holmes adventure. Truth be told, I have been generally lukewarm on most of the screen versions. Part of the problem is the story itself: it’s not nearly as clever and surprising as the best of Doyle’s Holmes adventures, truth be told, and it is at an obvious disadvantage in one key area – namely, Holmes himself is off screen for a large chunk of the narrative. Most of the adaptations are further handicapped by another major problem: the hound itself. This version is certainly no exception in that particular area, but it outdoes much of the competition where atmosphere is concerned. As you have probably gathered by now, my feelings towards this Hammer adaptation have changed for the better.


It is almost certainly the best screen version of the story to date, though it has to be noted that a number of silent versions are lost to this day and a few more obscure adaptations have eluded me thus far. But put in a match against the Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett versions, it looks very smart indeed; we won’t drag in the Paul Morrissey-directed spoof with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, since that is a very different kettle of fish, indeed.


The film opens with a bravura extended flashback sequence, in which the viewer bears witness to the nefarious misdeeds of Sir Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley) and his drunken cronies. Director Terence Fisher, production designer Bernard Robinson and cinematographer Jack Asher work in perfect harmony to create a tremendous sense of gloom and foreboding right from the opening frames. Oxley’s magnetic performance teeters on the edge of becoming over the top, but he emerges as a truly frightening presence – more frightening by far than the actual hound itself, when it is finally revealed. But more on that later.


From there, the viewer is introduced to Peter Cushing and Andre Morell as Holmes and Watson. Cushing’s performance looks forward to that of Jeremy Brett in some respects, but it manages to avoid the grotesque overacting which would mar Brett’s later performances. Cushing’s Holmes is wound as tight as a drum. He is rude, arrogant and condescending. He has no patience for ego beyond his own and he possesses a cutting sense of humor. It has been suggested that Cushing’s performance implies the character’s drug addiction, but this is overstating things in an effort to make the performance look more “modern.” Most of the screen versions of Doyle’s stories sidestepped the drug angle for the reasons of censorship, though the Rathbone Hound (released in 1939, that most golden year of the golden age of Hollywood) did manage to toss in a surprisingly explicit reference at the very end, when a weary Holmes snaps at Watson, “The needle!”  Cushing’s many interviews on the topic of the character never made much of the drug angle and it doesn’t seem likely that it was something that he was unduly keen to bring in to the picture. Inevitably, if one chooses to view his tics and mannerisms as indicative of a cocaine dependency, they are free to do so. From my point of view, however, his Holmes is less of a dope fiend than he is a volcano of the mind, always ready to spring into action when “the game is afoot.” 


As for Morell, he was in a tricky position in that the character of Watson had become popularized on film as a bumbling idiot, thanks to the performance of Nigel Bruce in the Rathbone series. Unlike many Doyle fans, I can’t really fault Bruce’s performance: he and Rathbone had great chemistry and it was his touches of humor that helped to make the films popular in a period when the world was at war and audiences were looking for a bit of escapism. Even so, he was far removed from Doyle’s intelligent man of medicine and Morell was determined to restore the character’s dignity. He was more than successful in this. Morell’s Watson is intelligent, reliable, fiercely loyal to Holmes but capable of being bruised by the detective’s rapier-like wit. Cushing and Morell were often paired as adversaries (c.f., Cash on Demand or 1984), but this film proved that they could play friends with equal facility.


Once Holmes accepts the challenge to investigate the mysterious Baskerville family curse, we are introduced to the imperiled Sir Henry, played by Christopher Lee.  Lee’s reserved screen presence is put to good use here. Sir Henry is a man who does not suffer fools gladly, but as the character is lured into falling for a femme fatale (played by Marla Landi, in the film’s only truly unsatisfactory performance) he is able to convey the character’s inner passion and desire for love… and sex. Sir Henry is typically a rather dull and colorless character, but screenwriter Peter Bryan and Lee manage to imbue him with a vulnerability that makes him endearing.




Like other Hammer films of the period, the film has an air of cozy familiarity in hindsight due to the casting of familiar character faces like Francis DeWolff, Miles Malleson and Ewan Solon, while the recycled sets (Baskerville Hall is Castle Dracula redressed) and James Bernard’s pounding soundtrack evoke the spirit of their more overt Gothic horrors.


Fisher directs with a sure and steady hand, building the mood and atmosphere to good effect. The climax is particularly exciting – but it has to be admitted that the hound itself is a let down. Fisher had toyed with the idea of using children to double for Lee, Cushing and Morell so that the dog would look appropriately imposing, but the rushes revealed that they looked very much like kids in suits and the effect was ludicrous. A mask was finally strapped onto the face of a large, rather friendly great dane – Lee does his best to wrestle convincingly with it (and with a puppet, as well) but, well, it’s not exactly ideal.



But let us not dwell on the negative. The film’s faults (including a lack of Baker Street exteriors) are relatively minor in context. What the film does offer is a richly atmospheric, occasionally spooky take on a familiar story – and a fine cast of British acting talent giving the material the treatment it deserves.





 
The Hound Of The Baskervilles Blu Ray / DVD Competition: During the month of September, The UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society in association with Shock Entertainment, Cinema Cult and Screenpop are launching TWO competitions, offering TEN copies of Hammer films classic 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee...for the very first time on Blu Ray...as prizes!

Here we present the first competition, with FIVE blu rays up for grabs! All you have to do is use your POWERS of OBSERVATION to win your copy! - See more at: http://petercushingblog.blogspot.co.uk/#sthash.Deej1Zaw.dpuf
Here we present the first competition, with FIVE BLU RAY DVD COMBO PACKS up for grabs! All you have to do is use your POWERS of OBSERVATION to win your copy!

OBSERVE EXHIBIT ONE: A vintage photograph from 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' Featuring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Andre Morell as Watson.

OBSERVE EXHIBIT B: The same photograph, but with TEN DIFFERENCES. Things moved, changed or missing!. 

To ENTER the competition, list ALL TEN CORRECT DIFFERENCES and send your list to us, BY EMAIL TO THEBLACKBOXCLUB@GMAIL.COM. ANY entries posted onto the comments feed will be deleted and not counted as an entry. ALL correct entries will be placed in a hat and FIVE winning names will be drawn.

Competition ENDS Saturday 27th SEPTEMBER 2014 at MIDNIGHT! Winners names will be posted here on the PCASUK account news feed on Sunday 28th SEPTEMBER 2014.

Have FUN and Good LUCK!



Our thanks to Screenpop and Cinema Cult in making our pcasuk competition possible. Please show your support by visiting their website and following their facebook pages. http://www.screenpop.com.au/
The Hound Of The Baskervilles Blu Ray / DVD: During the month of September, The UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society in association with Shock Entertainment, Cinema Cult and Screenpop are launching TWO competitions, offering TEN copies of Hammer films classic 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee...for the very first time on Blu Ray...as prizes! - See more at: http://petercushingblog.blogspot.co.uk/#sthash.Deej1Zaw.dpuf
The Hound Of The Baskervilles Blu Ray / DVD: During the month of September, The UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society in association with Shock Entertainment, Cinema Cult and Screenpop are launching TWO competitions, offering TEN copies of Hammer films classic 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee...for the very first time on Blu Ray...as prizes! - See more at: http://petercushingblog.blogspot.co.uk/#sthash.Deej1Zaw.dpuf
The Hound Of The Baskervilles Blu Ray / DVD: During the month of September, The UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society in association with Shock Entertainment, Cinema Cult and Screenpop are launching TWO competitions, offering TEN copies of Hammer films classic 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee...for the very first time on Blu Ray...as prizes! - See more at: http://petercushingblog.blogspot.co.uk/#sthash.Deej1Zaw.dpuf

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