Quote of the Day: Frankenstein On The Buses
‘The only copy in existence of the FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED script was on the top deck of a London bus. It was unaccompanied.
‘Bert Batt, who had just completed his first draft, had gone to visit Tony Keys at his home in Twickenham in West London. Being a non-driver, he had had to go by public transport to the appointed stop. Within seconds he realized what he’d left on a seat, but already the bus was making good its getaway. Hurrying to Tony’s house, he blurted out the bad news. Into ANK’s car they piled, and the chase was on. Wonderful suspense. Each corner they rounded, they prayed the bus would come into sight. If only they could overtake it, Bert could leap from the car and re-board at the next stop… Apparently, the hard work of four months was eventually retrieved at the bus depot at the end of the run.’
~ From Rungs on a Ladder, Hammer Films Seen Through a Soft Gauze by Christopher Neame.
I’m struck by the fact that, then as now, when the producer has a car and the writer doesn’t, it is the writer who must travel to the producer’s house.
With its hilariously clunky, lame title and best-behaviour prose style, this is rather a sweet book, with many insights into the haphazard way Hammer did business. Scripts were written by whoever was around, and Neame shamefacedly confesses to conning extras out of their overtime by turning the clock back. Everything is just as shoddy as you could wish.
Shadowplay’s next big project is to spend a week watching and writing about all five Terrence Fisher FRANKENSTEIN flicks. Watch this space!