THE HORROR JAR: Genre Films Where PETER CUSHING Did NOT Play A Doctor/Scientist/Professor

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Peter Cushing - The Skull

Peter Cushing and the Skull in THE SKULL (1965), a horror film in which Cushing did not play a doctor.

 

Welcome back to THE HORROR JAR, that column where we look at lists of odds and ends pertaining to horror movies.

Up today, my all time favorite horror movie actor, Peter Cushing.

When you think of Peter Cushing, his two most famous roles immediately come to mind, Baron Frankenstein and Dr. Van Helsing, two characters who were also both doctors.  In fact, a lot of Cushing’s roles in horror movies were of medical doctors, professors, or scientists.  So much so, that I thought:  when did he not play a doctor?

Turns out— many times.

Here’s a look at those roles, the times Peter Cushing starred in a horror or science fiction film but did not play a doctor or scientist.

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959) – Sherlock Holmes.  Technically not a horror film, but that being said, Hammer Films added plenty of horror elements to their rendition of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tale.  Directed by Terence Fisher, with Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville.  Superior little movie, atmospheric and full of thrills, with Cushing’s energetic Holmes leading the way.

Peter Cushing - holmes

Cushing as Holmes in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959).

 

NIGHT CREATURES (1962) – Rev. Dr. Blyss – even though the character is identified in the credits as “Dr. Blyss” he’s really the vicar of the small village of Dymchurch— check that, he’s actually the infamous pirate Captain Clegg, hiding out, posing as the vicar, while secretly smuggling rum in this rousing adventure/horror tale by Hammer Films.  Cushing at his energetic best.

Peter Cushing - Night Creatures

Peter Cushing delivers one of his best performances, as Captain Clegg/Dr. Blyss in NIGHT CREATURES (1962).

 

SHE (1965) – Major Holly – lost cities, a supernatural woman, and lots of action in this fantasy adventure by Hammer Films.

THE SKULL (1965) – Christopher Maitland – plays a private collector interested in the occult who purchases the skull of the Marquis de Sade with deadly results.  Christopher Lee co-stars as Cushing’s rival in this fine horror film by Hammer’s rival, Amicus Productions.

TORTURE GARDEN (1967) – Lancelot Canning – another film by Amicus, this one an anthology film featuring five horror stories based on the works of Robert Bloch.  Cushing appears in the fourth segment, “The Man Who Collected Poe,” once more playing a collector of the macabre.  Jack Palance co-stars with Cushing in this segment.

THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR (1968) – Inspector Quennell-  One of Peter Cushing’s worst movies.  In fact, Cushing himself considered it his worst.  Produced by Tigon Films, a company that tried to join Hammer and Amicus as a voice in British horror but ultimately failed.  The monster is a woman who turns into a giant moth that preys on men’s blood, and Cushing plays the police inspector (in a role originally written for Basil Rathbone) who tries to stop her.

SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN (1970) – Major Heinrich Benedek – pretty much just a cameo in this film, famous for being the first time Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price all starred together in the same movie.  A bizarre flick, perfect for 1970, but ultimately a disappointment as Cushing and Lee only appear briefly, while Price gets a bit more screen time.

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) – General von Spielsdorf – Cushing finally appears in a vampire movie where he’s not a doctor or a professor!  This time he’s a general, but he’s still hunting vampires in this atmospheric and very sensual vampire film from Hammer, starring Ingrid Pitt as the vampire Carmilla.  The first of Hammer’s “Karnstein” vampire trilogy.

THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971) – Philip Grayson – Another anthology film by Amicus.  Cushing stars in the second segment “Waxworks” and plays a retired stockbroker who runs afoul of a nefarious wax museum.  Director Peter Duffell once said in an interview that Peter Cushing’s entire segment in this film was simply a contrivance to place his head on a platter, which remains one of the more shocking images from the film.

TWINS OF EVIL (1971) – Gustav Weil – Cushing is excellent (as he always is) in this vampire film from Hammer, playing a different kind of vampire hunter.  He leads the Brotherhood, a fanatical group of men seeking out witches in the countryside, a group that is every bit as deadly as the vampires.  As such, when the vampire threat becomes known, and the Brotherhood turn their attention to the undead, it makes for a much more interesting dynamic than the typical vampire vs. heroes.  It’s one of Cushing’s most conflicted roles.  There’s a scene where he laments that he only wanted to do the right thing, that really resonates, because for most of the film, he’s been doing the very worst things.  The third “Karnstein” vampire film.

peter cushing - twins of evil

Peter Cushing as the fanatical Gustav Weil in TWINS OF EVIL (1971).

 

I, MONSTER (1971) – Utterson – plays a lawyer in this version of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale by Amicus, which changed the names of Jekyll and Hyde to Marlowe and Blake, played here by Christopher Lee.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) – Arthur Edward Grimsdyke – famous Cushing role in yet another anthology film by Amicus.  Cushing appears in the third segment, “Poetic Justice” where he plays an elderly junk dealer who is terrorized into suicide by his neighbors, but a year later, and this is why the role is famous, he returns from the grave.

DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1972) – Captain – cameo in this Vincent Price sequel.  Blink and you’ll miss him.

ASYLUM (1972) – Smith – appears in the segment “The Weird Tailor” in this anthology film by Amicus.

FEAR IN THE NIGHT (1972) – The Headmaster – plays a sinister headmaster, in this thriller written and directed by Jimmy Sangster, and also starring Joan Collins and Ralph Bates.

FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1974) – The Proprietor – plays the owner of an antique shop, and the man in the wraparound story in this Amicus anthology horror vehicle.

MADHOUSE (1974) – Herbert Flay – plays a screenwriter in this one, and best friend to Vincent Price’s horror actor Paul Toombes.  Toombes is having a rough go of it, as the character he played in the movies- Dr. Death – seems to be committing murders in real life.  A really interesting movie, not a total success, but definitely worth a look, mostly because Price and Cushing share equal and ample screen time in this one.

TENDRE DRACULA – Macgregor – bizarre ill-conceived French horror comedy, notable for featuring Cushing’s one and only performance as a vampire.

LAND OF THE MINOTAUR (1976) – Baron Corofax – plays the villain to Donald Pleasence’s heroic priest in this tale of devil worship and demons.

STAR WARS (1977) – Grand Moff Tarkin – aside from his work in Hammer Films, the role which Cushing is most known for.  As Tarkin, he’s the one character in the STAR WARS universe who bossed Darth Vader around and lived to tell about it.

Peter Cushing - Tarkin

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in STAR WARS (1977).

 

SHOCK WAVES (1977) – SS Commander – Nazi zombies attack!    Nuff said.  With John Carradine.

THE UNCANNY (1977) – Wilbur – Cushing plays a writer who learns that cats are a little more “active” than he first imagined in yet another horror anthology film.

MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND (1981) – William T. Kolderup – plays the “richest man in America” in this bizarre horror comedy.

HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983) – Sebastian Grisbane – famous teaming of Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, and John Carradine in the same movie for the first (and only) time ever, this really isn’t a very good movie.  It tries hard, and ultimately isn’t all bad, but could have been so much better.  Price and Lee fare the best.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MASKS OF DEATH (1984) – Sherlock Holmes – Holmes comes out of retirement to solve a case.   Again, not horror, per se, but since this film was directed by Roy Ward Baker, written by Anthony Hinds, and of course starred Peter Cushing, there is a definite Hammer Films feel about this movie.  John Mills plays Dr. Watson.

There you have it.  A list of genre films starring Peter Cushing where he did not play a doctor, scientist or professor.  Perhaps next time we’ll have a look at those films where he did don a lab coat or carry a medical bag.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IN THE SHADOWS: HAROLD GOODWIN

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harold goodwin

Harold Goodwin in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)

Welcome back to IN THE SHADOWS, that column where we look at character actors in the movies, especially horror movies.

Today we look at Harold Goodwin, a familiar face if you’re a Hammer Film fan.  Goodwin showed up as a burglar in the suspenseful opening scene in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) and he also enjoyed a memorable bit in Hammer’s THE MUMMY (1959).

Goodwin appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows, but for horror fans, especially Hammer Films fans, he’ll always be remembered as the ill-fated burglar who in the opening moments of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED unfortunately chose to break into a home owned by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing).  In a memorable sequence, his character finds himself trapped in a mysterious laboratory, only to be discovered by a hideous man with a pock-marked face.  The man attacks him, there’s a struggle, which damages the lab, and at one point Goodwin’s burlgar crashes into a table, knocks over a container, and a severed head spills out.  He flees in terror, and once he’s gone, the pock-marked man removes his mask and we see that he is the Baron Frankenstein.  A rousing way to start a very exciting Frankenstein movie, and Goodwin was a big part of this scene.

Goodwin also enjoys a funny bit in THE MUMMY (1959) where he plays a man who is hired by a foreign gentleman to transport some crates full of relics to the foreigner’s house.  Of course, it turns out that the foreign gentleman is Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), the man  who is controlling Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee), and the crates of “relics” include Kharis himself!  In one of the film’s more exciting scenes, the horses pulling the wagon get spooked and Goodwin’s character loses the crate containing Kharis into the local swamp.

Before this happens, Goodwin’s character and his buddy get rip-roaring drunk just before they’re to deliver the relics, and on their way to the horse and cart, Goodwin’s character approaches the horses and says “A man’s best friend is a horse,” to which his buddy replies “It’s a dog!”  Goodwin then looks directly at the horse in front of him and says, “It’s a horse!  I’m not that drunk!”

Interestingly enough, there were two Harold Goodwins working as character actors in the movies at the very same time!  The subject of this article was British and appeared in mostly British movies, whereas the other Harold Goodwin was an American.  The American Goodwin appeared in such films as ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930), YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939), and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN (1951), and made movies between 1915-1973, whereas the British Harold Goodwin worked in the biz between 1946-1992.

Here’s a partial look at the acting credits of Harold Goodwin, focusing mostly on his genre films:

THE MASQUE OF KINGS (1946) – Goodwin received his first screen credit in this made-for-TV movie.

THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE (1950)- Edwin- Goodwin’s first credit in a theatrical release was this comedy about the merging of an all-boys school with an all-girls school, starring Scrooge himself, Alastair Sim.

WHO DONE IT? (1956) – Pringle- uncredited peformance in this comedy, notable for being the film debut of British comedian Benny Hill.  Also featured in the cast, Dr. Pretorious himself, Ernest Thesiger, and Hammer Film character actor Thorley Walters.

THE LAST MAN TO HANG? (1956) – Cheed – Goodwin adds his support to this crime drama directed by the man who would go on to direct Hammer Film’s best movies, Terence Fisher.  Starring Tom Conway [I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)] and Hammer Films’ actresses Eunice Gayson [THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)- Gayson also appeared in the first two James Bond movies DR. NO (1962) & FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963) as Sylvia,in what was originally intended to be a recurring character in the series], and Freda Jackson [THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960)].

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) – Baker –  The classic war movie by director David Lean, starring William Holden and Alec Guinness.  Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, Best Actor for Guinness, Best Adapted Screenplay by Pierre Boulle, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, and Best Music Score by Malcolm Arnold. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle (PLANET OF THE APES).

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (TV Mini-series 1958-59- Colonel Gibson-  recurring role in this famous British TV production, later turned into a feature film by Hammer Films as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (1967).

THE MUMMY (1959) – Pat – Goodwin’s first appearance in a Hammer horror film, a humorous role as a local hired to transport a crate carrying Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee) only to lose it in a muddy swamp.

THE TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961) – uncredited appearance in this crime thriller by Hammer Films starring Christopher Lee as Asian villain Chung King.  Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962) – Bill – Nice role here in the Hammer remake of Gaston Leroux tale, starring Herbert Lom as the Phantom.  Directed by Terence Fisher.

THE LONGEST DAY (1962)- uncredited role in this classic WWII epic chronicling the D-Day invasion.  All-star cast includes John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, and about 40 more major stars.

THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1964) -Fred – Another brief appearance in this second Mummy movie from Hammer Films, unrelated to their first.

DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965) – Taxi Driver- Horror movie with an aged Boris Karloff playing a scientist in a wheelchair who discovers a mysterious meteorite and tries to harness its powers.  Also stars Nick Adams, and Hammer veterans Freda Jackson and Suzan Farmer.  Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space.”

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)- Burglar, uncredited – the role I most remember Harold Goodwin for- the burglar who has the misfortune of breaking into Baron Frankenstein’s home where he must face the wrath of the Baron (Peter Cushing) himself. His final Hammer horror appearance.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed - Goodwin

Harold Goodwin’s unfortunate encounter in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE (TV Series) (1992)- Window Cleaner – Goodwin’s final screen appearance in this British TV comedy.

There you have it.  A partial listing of Harold Goodwin’s screen credits.

Harold Goodwin passed away on June 3, 2004 in Middlesex, England, UK.  He was 87.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at the career of Harold Goodwin.  Join me again next time for the next edition of IN THE SHADOWS where we’ll look at the career of another character actor from the movies.

Harold Goodwin – October 22, 1917 – June 3, 2004.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

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PICTURE OF THE DAY: THE MUMMY (1959)

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"Say, Aaaahh!"  That's Christopher Lee as Kharis, the Mummy, about to have his tongue cut from his body in the Hammer Film THE MUMMY (1959)

“Say, Aaaahh!” That’s Christopher Lee as Kharis, the Mummy, about to have his tongue cut from his body in the Hammer Film THE MUMMY (1959)

PICTURE OF THE DAY: THE MUMMY (1959)

“Say, Aaah!!!”

That’s Christopher Lee as Kharis the Mummy-— well, as Kharis before he becomes a mummy— about to get his tongue cut from his mouth in the Hammer Film THE MUMMY (1959).

Yikes!

Hmm. Having your tongue pulled out with a set of tongs, to then be severed from your mouth with a sharp blade. Very nasty.

While my favorite movie Mummy remains Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis in the Universal Mummy movies, I do like Christopher Lee here in this version from 1959. Like so many other Christopher Lee performances, this one was largely overlooked when this film was initially released. Sure, fans have always liked Lee, but critics have been less than kind. Want further proof? Lee is largely recognized today more for his longevity in the movies than for his acting chops, which is too bad, because he’s a darn good actor. If he weren’t, he would have stopped making movies years ago.

Sure, at first, Lee was overshadowed by Hammer’s other star, Peter Cushing, who also stars here in THE MUMMY. But more importantly, Lee’s strength, especially in his role here as the Mummy and earlier as the Creature in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN  (1957) is his ability to do more with less, and in the case of these monster roles, to incorporate his pantomime skills. Even when playing these brutal monsters, Lee makes his mark by doing the little things. The strength of a Christopher Lee performance is its subtlety, and this often gets lost on critics.

For example, once his tongue is cut from his mouth, Kharis is mute, which means as the Mummy, Lee has to perform without saying a word, and he doesn’t disappoint. He does so much with just his eyes, the way they dart to the left and right for full dramatic effect. Sometimes it’s just a quick shake of his head, or a gaze of longing as he sees the reincarnated body of his long dead love for the first time.

Lee is terrific as Kharis the Mummy, and he does it all here without saying a word. Of course, in the flashback sequence in THE MUMMY, Lee does speak dialogue as the human high priest Kharis, before he commits blasphemy by trying to resurrect his dead girlfriend, the Princess Ananka. Yup, even back in ancient Egypt, men were getting in trouble over women. Lee is great in these speaking scenes as well, until, of course, as we see in today’s Picture of the Day, he loses his tongue, in a not-so-pleasant manner.

Think going to the dentist is bad? Look once more at this picture, and think again!

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

 

THE QUOTABLE CUSHING: THE MUMMY (1959)

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Peter Cushing - THE MUMMY

Peter Cushing gets ready to face Kharis, the Mummy, in THE MUMMY (1959)

THE QUOTABLE CUSHING:  THE MUMMY (1959)

 

Welcome to another edition of THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, the column where we look at Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies.

Today we check out some of Peter Cushing’s lines from the Hammer Film THE MUMMY (1959) in which Cushing played archeologist John Banning, and Christopher Lee played Kharis, the Mummy.

THE MUMMY was Hammer’s third film in its Universal monster movie remake triumvirate, following upon the heels of the wildly successful THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) and HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), the two films that put Hammer on the map, along with its two stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  THE MUMMY is the least effective of the three movies.  Yet it’s still an enjoyable film, and Peter Cushing, as always gets to deliver some memorable lines of dialogue.

Here’s a look at a few of those lines spoken by Cushing in THE MUMMY, screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.

The movie opens in Egypt, where John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer), and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) discover the tomb of the Princess Ananka, a discovery that drives Stephen Banning mad.  Well, that’s what John and Uncle Joe believe anyway.  The truth is old Stephen loses his marbles because he comes face to face with Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee).

Anyway, shortly after making their discovery, John Banning and his uncle Joe prepare to seal off the tomb once again, and at this moment, John shares his uneasy feelings with his uncle.

JOHN BANNING:  Want to see the inside of the tomb for the last time?

UNCLE JOE:  The sooner you seal it up again, the happier I shall be.

JOHN BANNING: Yes, I feel the same way.  I’ve worked in dozen of tombs.  It seems the best part of my life has been spent amongst the dead.  But I’ve never worked in a place that had such an aura of— menace.  There’s something evil in there, Uncle Joe.  I felt it.

Later, John discovers his wife Isobel is the splitting image of the Princess Ananka, and he teases her about this.

JOHN BANNING:  It’s extraordinary.  I never noticed it before, but with your hair like that, you’re the image of Ananka.

ISOBEL:  Am I?

JOHN BANNING:  She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

ISOBEL:  Oh, I am flattered.

JOHN BANNING:  Mind you, the world wasn’t so big then.

After the Mummy murdered both Stephen Banning and Uncle Joe, Inspector Mulrooney (Eddie Byrne) interviews John Banning, and John tells the Inspector of his suspicions that the murders were committed by a Mummy.

JOHN BANNING:  All right, Inspector.  I believe the intruder was a Mummy, a living mummy.

MULROONEY:  A mummy?  One of those Egyptian things?

JOHN BANNING:  That’s right

MULROONEY:  I thought they were always dead people.

JOHN BANNING:  They usually are.  By rights this one should be dead, too.

And a bit later in the conversation:

MULROONEY:  Mr. Banning, are you trying to tell me that these two murders were committed by— by a dead man?

JOHN BANNING:  I knew you wouldn’t believe me.

MULROONEY:  You’re right, I don’t.  I find it incredible that you should even imagine such a story.  I deal in facts, Mr. Banning.  Cold hard facts.  And the facts tell me that someone broke in here, committed a murder, and then got away.  There is no doubt whoever did it killed your father, too.  This I consider a fact also.  But that’s where the facts run out.  It’s my job to dig around until I unearth some more facts.  But facts, Mr. Banning, not fantasies straight out of Edgar Allan Poe.  If you have any more ideas please let me hear them.  They make fascinating listening if nothing else!

JOHN:  There is one more.  I think I’m the next to be killed.

And in one of the movie’s best scenes, John Banning pays a surprise visit to Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), the man who is controlling the Mummy.  Banning goes out of his way to agitate Bey, to try to get him to slip up and give away his true reason for being in town.

JOHN BANNING:  The history of your country is steeped in violence.

BEY:  Indeed, it is.

JOHN BANNING:  I remember the opening of Princess Ananka’s tomb.  She was high priestess to a pagan god, Karnak.  We have reason to believe that over 100 people were put to death during her funeral rights.

BEY:  That’s probably.

JOHN BANNING:   And Karnak wasn’t a particularly important deity.  A third rate god.

BEY:  Not to those who believed in him.

JOHN BANNING:  Perhaps not.  But their standard of intelligence must have been remarkably low.

BEY:  Why do you say that?

JOHN BANNING:  He was insignificant.  He had nothing to commend him to anyone with the slightest degree of intelligence.

BEY:  But surely you’re assuming a great deal.

JOHN BANNIGN:  I don’t think so.  I made an extensive study of this so-called religion.  It’s based upon artificial creeds and beliefs, some of them ludicrous in the extreme.

BEY:  Did it ever occur to you that beneath the superficial you’ve learned about, there could be a great and passionate devotion to this god?

JOHN BANNING:  It occurred to me, but I dismissed it.

BEY:  You’re intolerant, Mr. Banning.

JOHN BANNING:  Not intolerant.  Just practical.

There you have it.  Some memorable Peter Cushing lines from THE MUMMY.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

—-Michael