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Val Lewton Horror Flicks

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Western Guy
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Western Guy » October 18th, 2012, 8:42 am

My all-time favorite horror film is THE BODY SNATCHER. The acting duel between Karloff and the wonderful if tragically underrated Henry Daniell is without question one of the high points in genre cinema. Heck - forget genre, in cinema, period!

Some years back I was the director and principal instructor of a program called Media Acting, in which I worked with students interested in pursuing work in film, television and commercials. Often I would bring along videos of movie scenes where I felt the individual acting or interplay was particularly effective. Examples in superior acting I always utilized were the Christopher Walken-Dennis Hopper scene in TRUE ROMANCE and various scenes between Boris and Henry in THE BODY SNATCHER. All students of acting should be required to study these fine samples of thrust and parry.

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JackFavell
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby JackFavell » October 18th, 2012, 9:28 am

Well, you've managed to pick out two of my favorite movies, Stone, only 50 years separate them.

The Body Snatcher is divine. Boris AND Henry get such great roles here, in fact it's almost the definitive Henry Daniell role, outside of Camille. Daniell's name is enough to draw me to any movie he's in. I want to feel so sorry for him here, but he never really lets you, he's too full of hubris and foolish cold desire. He retains that odd air of aloofness that keeps everyone at arms length, even when they all see how he's dug his (sorry for the pun) own grave, how pathetic he has become. I especially feel for him in the scenes with the little girl, the doctor he wants to be is the young man he's teaching.

Boris is the perfect tormentor, there's such humor in his comments, and yet such hatred. They are true equals as actors, which makes it like watching a great tennis match.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Rita Hayworth » October 18th, 2012, 11:04 am

JackFavell wrote:Boris is the perfect tormentor, there's such humor in his comments, and yet such hatred. They are true equals as actors, which makes it like watching a great tennis match.


I totally agree with this statement of your JF!

Western Guy
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Western Guy » October 18th, 2012, 11:08 am

Perfect way of describing Daniell's character, Wendy. Yes, you do want to feel sympathy for him but he manages to hold you back just far enough with his icy attitude that you maintain that emotional distance. Interesting to think of what Basil Rathbone would have done with the role. Although both Basil and Henry were apparently nice men, both could effectively play characters who could chill the air by their mere presence.

Still hoping that someone might tackle a Daniell biography. That`s one I`ve been waiting - nay, drooling for.

RedRiver
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby RedRiver » October 18th, 2012, 12:47 pm

I've been a fan of Henry Daniel since I saw, well...THE BODY SNATCHER! The actor does remind me in a vague way of Basil Rathbone. Both were as cold as ice, as you say. But Basil had a more pure, cultured look. Daniel looked hawkish and sinister. Yet, he does a cute comic bit in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Is that right? The conniving editor?

Boris is the perfect tormentor

Never get rid of me! Never get rid of me!

instructor of a program called Media Acting

I teach Acting Like an Idiot. My students are well prepared!

Western Guy
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Western Guy » October 18th, 2012, 1:15 pm

Daniell is always a treat. One of those actors who may pop up in a film you don't expect to see him in. Never saw The Philadelphia Story, but now discovering that Henry has a comic bit in it, will make it a point of checking out. Heck, think I just missed a recent showing on TCM. Absolutely right RedRiver about those differences between Henry and Basil, Perfectly put.

Love Basil but Daniell fascinates me.

Hey, maybe we could combine our classes (some of my students would certainly apply): Media Acting for Idiots.

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JackFavell
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby JackFavell » October 18th, 2012, 3:32 pm

There is a wonderful atmospheric article by our own MoiraFinnie about Henry Daniell here (one of my favorite Skeins entries):

http://moirasthread.blogspot.com/search?q=henry+daniell

RedRiver
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby RedRiver » October 18th, 2012, 3:41 pm

our own MoiraFinnie

Do we share ownership of Moira? Is that like women in a binder?

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JackFavell
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby JackFavell » October 18th, 2012, 4:02 pm

our own MoiraFinnie

Do we share ownership of Moira? Is that like women in a binder?


OMG! :D :D :D

Brian McFadden
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Brian McFadden » February 10th, 2015, 6:38 pm

I'm afraid my picks are based on the actresses who scared me most when I was watching these films on TV as a Kid! Elizabeth Russell was a Lewton favorite and she appeared in Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People, The Seventh Victim and Bedlam. Helene Thimig, meanwhile, appeared with Boris Karloff in Isle of the Dead.

It was nice to find both of these women in a couple of very good Republic whodunits when I was researching my new book on "Republic Mysteries." Russell appeared with Robert Lowery in A Scream in the Dark and Thimig was at her crazed best in Anthony Mann's Strangers in the night!
Brian
Thimig as madwoman for ssoasis.jpg
Helene Thimig as a madwoman in "Strangers in the Night"
Thimig as madwoman for ssoasis.jpg (114.3 KiB) Viewed 3161 times


Elizabeth Russell, Robert Lowery for ssoasis.jpg
Elizabeth Russell and Robert Lowery in "A Scream in the Dark"
Elizabeth Russell, Robert Lowery for ssoasis.jpg (113.68 KiB) Viewed 3161 times

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Rita Hayworth » February 10th, 2015, 10:02 pm

Helene Thimig, was an exceptional Actress and I respected her works on many of her films in this genre and beyond. She was very talented indeed.

Brian McFadden
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Brian McFadden » February 10th, 2015, 11:24 pm

I couldn't agree with you more about Thimig...what an actress! Republic credits her as "Helen" for Strangers in the Night...a really great, scary film. But RKO uses her real name, Helene, in Lewton's Isle of the Dead. Here's a shot of Helene with Boris in Isle:
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Helene Thimig with Boris.jpg
Helene Thimig with Boris.jpg (40.86 KiB) Viewed 3147 times

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Rita Hayworth » February 11th, 2015, 3:33 pm

Thanks for posting these pictures Brian!

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Major Rogers
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Re: Val Lewton Horror Flicks

Postby Major Rogers » February 16th, 2015, 7:06 am

I'm a huge fan of the Val Lewton films. I bought the DVD box set years back and was able to enjoy them over and over.

I'm dying to see Mademoiselle Fifi, but it has never come on broadcast or DVD since I've been interested.


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