Cool Robot

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Cool robot from OLD MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE, aka MY SON THE VAMPIRE, a retitling by Columbia which makes no sense — Lugosi’s character has no parents in the film, and Mother Riley is Irish, not Jewish. She’s also a man, Arthur Lucan. In his memoirs, Ken Russell writes about this alarming, unfunny theatrical drag act as if it was all that was on offer from British cinema. I suppose it must have seemed so to him as a child — his mother scorned British movies and they would go to proper American musicals whenever they had the option.

But it’s a cool robot.

Interesting how director and writer John Gilling’s career kept circling around the horror genre, whether it was writing for Tod Slaughter or Bela Lugosi, until he finally made his mark at Hammer. I think I’ll run his PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES soon — I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched it.

Meanwhile, I’m back in Edinburgh, and just listened to Jan Harlan give a lecture on film music. More on that soon.

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4 Responses to “Cool Robot”

  1. F here – While you were away during the EIFF I went to see Doc Of The Dead and was shocked by the omission of Plague Of The Zombies, so shocked in fact, that when I spotted Niall and Jenny standing in front of the Filmhouse, I went racing down Lothian Road to confront them. “Where was Plague Of The Bloody Zombies!” I cried. “That’s got a sociopolitical subtext!” I think it was on this basis that they concluded I had as much knowledge of film as you had and should therefore become a candidate for employment by the EIFF. The poor fools. ; )

  2. Well, it worked!

  3. American song parodist Allan Sherman had a hit album, “My Son the Folk Singer” in 1962. A quick look at Wiki says Columbia disinterred the movie and retitled it in 1963, getting Sherman to provide a title song.

    Sherman was huge here for a while, particularly for “Camp Granada”, a boy’s complaining letter home set to Dance of the Hours. (“Hello Muddah . . . Hello Fadduh . . . Here I am at . . . Camp Granada . . .”)

  4. Yes, that song even crossed the Atlantic and was thought very witty. Grafting him onto an Old Mother Riley movie that already had Bela Lugosi grafted on, plus a robot, was a bizarre brain-fart of an idea.

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