Archive for A Night to Remember

Maiden Voyage

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by dcairns

Vol. II of The Shadowcast begins with a voyage on the unsinkable Titanic. There will be shuffleboard, and dancing in steerage.

Dress warm.

Here.

 

Swapping Deckchairs

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by dcairns

Nice of Brian Aherne, in the Jean Negulesco TITANIC, to proudly display the name of his favourite Bob Fosse film.

Though I would have put him down as more of a LENNY man.

Working on a new Shadowcast, or at least talking about doing so… I realise if we’re going to make this podcast thing a success we’ll have to make some actual podcasts… thinking of theming it around movies about the Titanic. There are quite a few. We’ll just talk about the ones we’re interested in. Probably these:

ATLANTIC. EA Dupont, Britain, 1929. Stars Thomas Cromwell; Princess Flavia; Sir Henry Baskerville; Harry Blump, the Window Washer; Needle Nugent; Detective Frank Webber; Gen. Mercier; Emily Hill; Duke of Orleans; and One-Round

The Nazi TITANIC. Gervert Selpin, Germany, 1943. Stars Léone; Chef von Scotland Yard; Elephant Keeper Kellerman; Inspector Groeber; and Inspector Karl Lohmann.

TITANIC. Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953 which stars Waldo Lydecker; Martha Ivers; Jonathan Hart; Louise Kendall; Moe Williams; Maximilian I of Mexico; Ishmael; Cousin Albert Van Cleve; Lord Alfred Douglas; the Dear One; Herod the Great; and the voice of Klaatu.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. Roy Ward Baker, Britain, 1958, Which stars Douglas Bader; Cmdr. Fortune; John Quincy Adams; Pussy Galore; Hylas the Glaswegian argonaut; Don Jarvis; Ieuan Jenkins; David Copperfield; Illya Kuryakin; Chief Inspector Tim Oxford: Argos the Surrey Argonaut; Peter Coffin; Dickie Winslow; Catweazle; Lenin; Prof. Bernard Quatermass; Takyan; Det. Chief Supt. Charles Barlow; Q; Prince Otto; Sandy Youth; Norm; Tumak; Vivian Darkbloom; the Duke of Wuertemberg; Captain Winston Havelock; and Boba Fett.

And I guess we won’t be able to entirely avoid James Cameron’s TITANIC (USA, 1998) which stars Rick Dalton; Young Iris Murdoch; The Phantom; Annie Wilkes; Strawberry Alice; Margaret Waverton; Private Hudson; King Theoden; Henry Niles; Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury; Reed Richards; Jeremy Secker; Pontius Pilate; and Captain Winston Havelock again.

Why, it’s Captain Smith! The real one, seemingly. The little white blotch to the right of his head seems to be where somebody’s scratched out the name of another ship, for what reason I’m uncertain. All through this documentary short, frequently mislabeled as SAVED FROM THE TITANIC, the names of ships are erased.

The real SAVED FROM THE TITANIC is, I believe, lost. It was the first Titanic drama, released in 1912 to cash in quick, and it starred a real survivor of the disaster, Dorothy Gibson.

Well, you can’t really blame her for trying to salvage something from the experience.

Mr. Peachy, murderer

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2014 by dcairns

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THE OCTOBER MAN (1947) is written and produced by Eric Ambler and directed by Roy Ward Baker, the team who would make the best Titanic movie, A NIGHT TO REMEMkyER. It’s a modest little thriller with John Mills as a vulnerable chap released from psychiatric hospital after a breakdown brought on by a bus crash in which a child in his care was killed. (At times of stress he tugs knots in his handkerchief, recalling the rabbit he made from his hanky to entertain the kid in Scene 1.) He moves into a guest house full of rather unsympathetic people, and then there’s a murder and he becomes prime suspect.

The film takes an age to get underway and then wastes its most interesting personality, Joan Greenwood, in a colourless girlfriend role, but Mills gets to do his tormented bit, and others like Kay Walsh and Catherine Lacey are on hand. I very much enjoyed the dingy atmosphere, all studio-created, and the names — the hotel is run by Miss Selby, there’s a Mr. Pope and a Miss Heap. The previous occupant was Mr. Leaper, but he left for Australia so we don’t meet him. Best of all is Mr. Peachy.

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It’s no spoiler to reveal that Peachy is the killer — not only do we realize this as soon as someone turns up throttled, we realize he’s going to be a murderer before anyone is dead. Maybe it’s his glasses. Disturbingly, as played by Edward Chapman he looks a bit like Eric Ambler himself. He’s psychotic, with a creepy sexual fixation on his eventual victim, but he’s also devilishly cunning. I kind of wish he’d been more sane because then it would have been nasty sane person versus nice mentally-fragile person.

Interestingly, it turns out that Peachy is not his real name, leading us to wonder what kind of man would CHOOSE to be called Mr. Peachy? A madman, I suppose.

I have been working on a script set in a boarding house in the forties with lots of silly names, which my collaborator and I enjoyed making up. I will tell you one: Eustace Crump, armchair bully. But poor Eustace was surplus to requirements so we deleted him after a few pages. Some other time, Eustace!