Archive for Graham Cutts

Rhymes and Misdemeanors

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by dcairns

Because sometimes you just want to get roaring drunk and bite Mike Henry on the jaw.

A bunch of limericks, here, here and here. All about that hollering ham, Tarzan the Ape Man. Did I already link to this DAUGHTER OF DRACULA one? Or this?

BUT — as if that weren’t enough, some Hitchcock-related limericks as part of the For the Love of Film: Film Preservation Blogathon.

This is a button. Click it, and spend a little money on something wonderful.

Hmm, I can’t really participate in a blogathon with just some links to another site. So here’s an exclusive –

Hitch serves as assistant for Cutts

Unswervingly busting his nuts

And thanks to his aid

When the film is displayed

The seats are all filled up with butts.

***

But THE WHITE SHADOW fades from the screen

Mislaid by the movie machine

Now this great blogathon

We’re all slogging upon

Will allow it once more to be seen.

Comic Cutts

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on May 14, 2012 by dcairns

Some kind person rejoicing in the name of nogorecords has helpfully uploaded the entirety of CAR OF DREAMS, directed by Graham Cutts and Austin Melford.

Since Cutts is enjoying probably his first bout of fashionability since shooting his last movie in 1940, I thought it’d be nice to link to this. Also, because my late friend Lawrie remembered it fondly, and could still hum the theme tune after about seventy years.

The title song is at 16:50.

Cutts is getting some attention because half of a film of his, THE WHITE SHADOW, was rediscovered after being lost for decades. Unfortunately for Cutts, the excitement this caused was all because of a novice filmmaker called Alfred Hitchcock, who wrote the script, art directed, designed the sets, edited the film and served as assistant director. Cutts seems to have found his young assistant a trifle uppish, so I imagine he might not be pleased at being usurped all over again.

CAR OF DREAMS is a very mild musical comedy, of some interest for the performance of John Mills, a former Noel Coward chorus boy (and I’m sure none of us have any idea what THAT entailed) who rarely got to exercise his musical comedy chops on screen.

British musicals, asides from Jessie Matthews, George Formby and a few wonderful one-offs like BUGSY MALONE and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, have never really been a great thing on the screen. So this is an intriguing novelty.

The point of all this: DONATE HERE –

What it’s all about.

The Sunday Intertitle: Rats

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2012 by dcairns

My main purpose here is to alert anyone who still needs alerting to the great event of the film blogging calendar, For The Love of Film, the film preservation blogathon, hosyed by Ferdy on Film, This Island Rod and the Self-Styled Siren.

You’ll find a wealth of reading material via these sites, but don’t forget the purpose of the thing — donate! (By clicking on this thing below.)

We raise money, we get a free streaming version of THE WHITE SHADOW, scripted by Alfred Hitchcock, directed by Graham Cutts, and we get an original score to go with it.

Graham Cutts was one of the annoying lesser minds Hitchcock banged up against during his early years, a company which also included several producers and studio heads. And that’s how he is chiefly remembered. Hitch and Alma attempted to direct THE WHITE SHADOW by remote control, pointing out shots to the director, helping him along but also incurring his resentment.

Still, Cutts did enjoy some success apart from Hitch, most of it via the series of films he directed with Ivor Novello — THE RAT, TRIUMPH OF THE RAT and RETURN OF THE RAT. Novello, apart from his charming songs, is best remembered today for THE LODGER, Hitch’s first real thriller, hit, minor masterpiece. He was a heart-throb and matinee idol, and although Hitch was prevented from casting him as a serial killer, he tended to write bad-boy roles for himself, albeit with a last-reel redemption — in this sense, the ultimate revelation of his innocence in THE LODGER is quite in keeping with the kind of role he was associated with.

In THE RAT, Novello plays a Montmartre cat burglar entrusted with his devoted young ward daughter Odile (Mae Marsh), who falls in love with sophisticated rich lady Zelie de Chaumet (Isabel Jeans). The Rat finds himself in over his head, especially as his young ward faces a murder rap. Finding in himself a strange form of gallantry, he confesses to the crime — now only Zelie can save him.

Cutts serves this up with a cinematic flair which puts the lie to Hitch and Alma’s claim that he was visually illiterate — unless he had someone else in Hitch’s place, helping him along, this time.

THE RAT is a corking melodrama, and it not only merited two sequels but a remake in 1937. By then, Novello was out of movies for good, his strong Welsh valleys accent apparently considered unsuitable — in his few talkies, he tends to be cast as Eastern European or otherwise foreign, in hopes that his unfamiliar yet musical delivery could be disguised as exotic (not that I’m saying Wales is NOT exotic, you understand. Heaven forbid). So the role went to (drum roll)… Anton Walbrook, a true exotic.

Doesn’t this image make you very happy and excited? It does me.

Adding to the excitement, Odile is played waif specialist Rene Ray from THE PASSING OF THE THIRD FLOOR BACK (who also wrote THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X, intriguingly) and Zelie is embodied by Ruth Chatterton, visiting Britain as part of her downward career spiral. All three actors are ideally cast and excellent, and if director Jack Raymond doesn’t have quite the expressionist chops to paint a really memorable Montmartre demi-monde, he doesn’t do badly.

THE RAT is a fun character, though perhaps not suited to sequels (how many times CAN you be redeemed?) — really, there should have been a Hammer remake in the fifties, and maybe a Woodfall one in the ‘sixties in the wake of TOM JONES. Instead, British cinema dropped the ball and this character has fallen into disuse, slipping out of the public memory until there’s no longer any commercial value in bringing him back. Alas for The Rat!

The silent RAT has one thing the talkie inexplicably omits — a bar called The White Coffin, where all the doorways are coffin-shaped and all the floozies carry a torch for Novello. 

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