His Satanic Majesty

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I stopped wishing people happy birthday on Shadowplay when I noticed they had a tendency to die shortly thereafter — Richard Widmark, Jules Dassin… and I felt quite good about stopping, because it seems like too easy a way to generate blog content (what an ugly phrase that is).

Nevertheless, today does happen to be the 87th anniversary of the birth of Christopher Lee, actor and expert’s expert, and I am somewhat celebrating the fact with an article about the Great Man’s very first film, over at BritMovie.

7 Responses to “His Satanic Majesty”

  1. Let’s hope the ‘ Cairns curse’ does not continue with our beloved Mr. Lee. He does seem to be in pretty good shape and is still working…

  2. Yes indeed. As long as he doesn’t make Cowboys for Christ he should be fine. If he does make that, they’d be putting him on a horse, on a tight schedule and low budget, and I’d be very worried.

    Many happy returns to him and long may he rise from the grave.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    Good review of CORRIDOR OF MIRRORS, David. The film has also been treated in STRUCTURES OF DESIRE: BRITISH CINEMA 1939-1955 and Susan Felleman’s ART IN THE CINEMATIC IMAGINATION (2006).

    Let us hope that “His Satanic Majesty” has more years of activity ahead of him.

  4. Watching THUNDER ROCK not too long back I immediately recognized Barbara Mullen, who has a significant part in CORRIDOR OF MIRRORS. Home Vision Cinema released this film here in the States on VHS quite a few years ago, I stumbled across a copy and snatched it up. I’ve watched it a few times over the past ten years, I was somewhat surprised you didn’t mention Georges Auric’s music, one of the better things about this film. Not a great film, but an interesting one. Didn’t catch the VERTIGO connection until you brought it up, but you’re right on target with it. Romney didn’t really possess much presence as an actress, not surprised to learn she didn’t have much of a resume. After I read your write-up I went to pull it off the shelf, only to discover it wasn’t there. Now I’ve got to figure out just who the hell I’d lent it to. Damn.

  5. Sounds fascinating.

    I shall never forget Christopher Lee’s entrance in Horror of Dracula. It’s in long shot and shadow, but his figure is so imposing and so entirely diffeent from Bela Lugosi (who up til then owned Dracula) that it made one’s blood run cold. Who was this tall incredibly powerful man?

    We soon found out.

  6. Tony Williams Says:

    Romney did appear in a BBC TV version of DARK VICTORY and became an “agony aunt” on a short-lived BBC TV program in the late 1950s. Barbara Mullen went on to become Janet in DR. FINLAY’S CASEBOOK and it takes a film like WELCOME MR. WASHINGTON, a forgotten 1940s piece of USA-UK relations to realize that she was young once.

    A fan of Eric Portman’s sent me a copy of THIS IS YOUR LIFE featuring her and Eric Portman made a guest appearance.

    Portman was one of the key figures in British film noir and Christine Norden (who made just a few films) was Britain’s equivalent of the “femme fatale” although her career never really took off.

    I’ve heard that her posthumous “tell all” autobiography may be published in the near future?

    Alsom David E. had not James Mason or Stewart Granger gone Hollywood either could have portrayed the immortal Count but may not have been so good as Lee.

  7. Auric, of course — one of the film’s key connections to the French cinema it aspires to.

    Didn’t know anything about Christine Norden, but she sounds like quite a gal. I hope she’s judged famous enough to warrant the publication.

    We got very lucky with Chris Lee — his casting as the Count was dirct result of his casting as the Creature in Curse of Frankenstein, and that role nearly went to chunky Carry On comedian Bernard Bresslaw (who at least got to play the Mummy, Rubbatiti, in Carry on Screaming).

    I like Scorsese’s contrasting of Lee’s urbanity with Lugosi, “with whom you knew you were in trouble.” He’s helped by Jimmy Sangster’s somewhat flat dialogue, emphasising his naturalism.

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