First Night

Just kidding! Got in to Dublin and joined my co-director Paul for lunch, visited the dormant office where our edit is happening, and then went to the cottage where I’m staying. I didn’t know you could have a cottage in a city, but it turns out you totally can. The great shock of a cottage is that the door from the living room opens directly onto the (-4°C) outside world.

But that was all fine until Paul plugged in a faulty kettle he’d “repaired” and blew out the electricity. I want to make it clear that this was in no sense an unwise thing for him to have done.  He’d changed the plug and that should have done it, and even if it had not, I can’t see any good reason why one kettle should knock out all the electricity. My dad’s a trained electrical engineer but it turns out that knowledge isn’t passed on genetically. The fuses had tripped, Paul re-set them, and ten per cent of the power came back. So I had my laptop, a (hastily borrowed) heater, and the lights.

It turned out to be a perfectly nice evening, with the rain lashing down outside, the heater clenched between my knees, and THE JUNGLE CAPTIVE playing on the laptop. Acquanetta (born with the less exotic name of Mildred Davenport), Universal’s resident jungle woman, has been written out of her own series (using an inversion of Hammer’s later FRANKENSTEIN series’ structure, each of the three episodes features the same monster but a different mad scientist — this time it was Otto Kruger, following in the unsteady footsteps of John Carradine and J. Carroll Naish), replaced by Vicky Lane. But we do get Rondo Hatton. And Jerome Cowan, as a detective not so much hard-boiled as scrambled.

Poor Paul was guilt-stricken about the black-out he’d inadvertently triggered, had a sick kid at home to tend to, and a plane to catch, so he was really suffering more than me. He left me with a bottle of wine, a shepherd’s pie, and an incredibly warm duvet. No complaints from me.

Inexplicably, Universal hasn’t made the entire “Paula Dupree, ape-woman” series available on home vid, but you can get the first installment (helmed by Dmytryk!) in this fine box set —

Universal Horror: Classic Movie Archive (The Black Cat / Man Made Monster / Horror Island / Night Monster / Captive Wild Woman)

8 Responses to “First Night”

  1. His Monkey Wife!

  2. Wait, my living room door opens out onto the outside world. Most houses I’ve been in around here are like that. I guess because -4°C isn’t a usual condition.

  3. It would be unfair to suggest that it’s the usual condition here… today is wonderfully crisp and bright. Five degrees.

  4. I can go years without seeing -4°C even once. I think the all time record cold is -7°C or thereabouts. The last time snow fell here, I was in high school.

  5. Oh, I’d miss snow. Although two years ago we had too much of it — a week of thick snow on the ground, deteriorating into dark slush, finally thawing, and then it snowed all over again. That was a bit much. But once a year is about right for me.

  6. A few years ago a friend of mine paid a visit to a large house outside of Dublin. The owner and he sat facing each other in armchairs across a vast hall, the owner with a greyhound coiled languidly on his lap. He inquired if my friend was cold – my friend nodded – a bell was rung whereon a second greyhound walked in and sat on my friend’s lap.

  7. That’s service for you! Our housecat aspires to the status of sporran by because of her modest girth she can only warm a relatively small area. The duvet in my present locale however defies medical science by providing total warmth whenever even the smallest part of the body is in contact with it.

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