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This week on SVENGOOLIE...

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MikeBSG
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby MikeBSG » March 19th, 2012, 12:09 pm

Moira,

I didn't see "Ghost of Frankenstein" Saturday night, but I agree with your comments. I think the little girl was the best part of the movie. I loved the scene with her and the monster on the rooftop.

Cedric Hardwicke seemed too old and stuffy to be a mad scientist to me, but Lionel Atwill and Bela Lugosi made sure the film wasn't lacking in villainy.

One "in-joke" in the scene that opens the movie: the two townspeople most vocal about destroying the castle are played by actors whose characters were killed in the previous film, "Son of Frankenstein."

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby RedRiver » March 19th, 2012, 12:28 pm

the Monster didn't really seem to believe that his impulse to take Cloestine's brain was really a wise choice

That's an odd concept altogether, Moira. Can't you just see Frank playing with a ball, taunted by the schoolboys? And Heaven help the dressmaker who has to fit that frame! I had forgotten about the scene with Dad's ghost. Reminds me a little of Hamlet! It also helps justify the title. Ghost of the monster? What else is new. Ghost of Frankenstein...

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby MichiganJ » March 19th, 2012, 2:39 pm

moirafinnie wrote:Because of the dramatic difference between the first and second halves of the movie and its relative brevity, I wonder if they had a completed script when they began filming

The script was finished when filming started, but is considerably different from the first drafts, which had Igor and the monster following Wolf von Frankenstein to Vasaria, where he operates a sanitarium. As an assistant, Wolf has the disfigured Theodore, and Theo and Igor become fast friends, and mayhem ensues.

While I like Ghost of Frankenstein, I don't particularly like Chaney's monster. While not being fair to compare him with Karloff, it's also hard not to, and besides, Ghost does include flashbacks of both Frankenstein and Bride. Karloff's monster is sympathetic; Chaney's not only earns no sympathy, but, even in the scene with the little girl, which echoes that in the original Frankenstein, Chaney's monster is upstaged. Much of the "humanity" of Karloff's monster comes from his vocalizations, offering different growls in various situations. Remember that sound of "awe" and "wonder" when the monster first sees the sun? Chaney's monster, on the other hand, is entirely mute; except for after the brain transplant, of course, which makes him a little ridiculous.

On topic, the documentary American Scary is all about the hosts of horror shows and includes Svengoolie (as well as Dr. Shock, Ghoulardi, Hives the Butler and Moira the Banshee). A lot of fun.
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby moira finnie » March 19th, 2012, 3:33 pm

Thanks so much for that background info about the script, Mich. I think they could have spent more time on the script and less time covering up Chaney's face with rubber and the movie might have been much better. I have always felt that Boris Karloff used his eyes as well as his entire body to express his monster's longing, despair and emotional plight, which seems to have been impossible for Chaney given the heavier makeup.
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby intothenitrate » March 19th, 2012, 9:03 pm

Karloff's make-up was the perfect, synergistic blend of prosthetics and his own striking facial features. Chaney's facial structure just isn't that compelling. I wonder what John Carradine would have looked like if he had donned the bolts in one of those sequels.
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby Fossy » March 20th, 2012, 8:51 pm

The Mummy`s Ghost

Mention of this film brings back memories. As a young boy I would go and see all the horror movies I could. No one at the theatre seemed too concerned about it, although sometimes I was charged adult admission. In late 1944 this became the last horror movie I saw for years, not because it was particularly scary, but because of what happened after.

My mother died when I was 3 years old, and I became a ward of the state. After four years in the state welfare home I went to live with my sister (Beryl). Her husband (jack) was a POW, taken prisoner at Singapore. Each time my sister learned that I had seen a horror movie she would warn me by saying that my brain was too young and I would go mad. I wondered what it would be like to go mad, and I decided that it didn`t matter because I would not know about it. She would also warn me that one of the monsters would jump off the screen, follow me home and “get” me. I thought this was a great joke.

So here I was, a 9 year old boy who had been to the pictures, come home and gone to bed. Beryl had gone to a different movie with my other sister, Verna, and Verna`s husband. During the night I heard voices downstairs and got up to investigate. Beryl was in the lounge with this apparition, with eyes sunk back in his head, and skin stretched tight, a skeleton with skin on. I was terrified, a monster HAD leapt from the screen and had come to "get" me. I know that I became incoherent, and that I begged my sister not to let him “get” me.

When I eventually settled down I learned that it was Beryl`s husband , Jack who was no longer a POW and had returned home (go to youtube and type in USS Sealion) . It was several days before I was able to talk to him, which, I think upset him a bit, and it was several years before I saw anther horror movie.

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby moira finnie » March 21st, 2012, 8:28 am

Oh, Fossy, what a haunting story. I hope that your brother-in-law recovered as much as possible. He probably looked like an apparition that first night to your sister Beryl as well. Thank God he made it home after all he had been through.

I sometimes forget what a remarkable impact that movies like The Mummy's Ghost would have had on us as children. You've brought it all back to me with this post. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby RedRiver » March 23rd, 2012, 12:35 pm

I don't know if I'll watch THE MOLE PEOPLE this weekend. I've seen it recently. Not one of my favorites.

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby moira finnie » March 23rd, 2012, 2:05 pm

All I remember about The Mole People (1956) was how dark many scenes were, (maybe it was my local station's print), how unthreatening mole people seemed and how sad to see John Agar and Alan Napier in this fairly listless movie. It would probably be more fun to watch at the giddy age of 14 with a friend who could talk back to the movie with you!
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby knitwit45 » March 23rd, 2012, 6:13 pm

That's exactly what I did! I saw this at the local movie house, and my friends and I giggled all the way thru it. :roll: :lol: :roll:

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby moira finnie » March 23rd, 2012, 6:26 pm

knitwit45 wrote:That's exactly what I did! I saw this at the local movie house, and my friends and I giggled all the way thru it. :roll: :lol: :roll:

Good for you. One time one of my sisters and a friend were yukking it up at a showing of Hatari!, the John Wayne movie, and an old guy (he probably wasn't that ancient) who wanted to hear every deathless word of dialogue had them thrown out of the theatre. Since neither of them were older than 12, the manager didn't call our parents or the cops. Killjoys!
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby RedRiver » March 24th, 2012, 4:09 pm

Dude! Ward Cleaver!

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby moira finnie » March 25th, 2012, 10:39 am

RedRiver wrote:Dude! Ward Cleaver!

Yeah, I forgot that Hugh Beaumont was among the poor devils trapped in The Mole People. I tried to stay with it last night, but I think I can pin the blame for my falling asleep on John Agar's snappy repartee, such as "Archaeologists are underpaid publicity agents for deceased royalty," and the exchange that began with Agar observing that "This one died from a blow from a heavy blunt instrument," and Beamont replying "Well, that's a sign of a higher civilization!" That last one sounded like something Dad would have said to Wally and The Beav when confronting their lackadaisical cleaning skills.

Btw, in this interview with Tom Weaver in the book Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers, Agar mentioned that he left Universal-International just after this movie, hoping to find work in something other than sci-fi (that didn't work out too well, in part because of the disintegration of the studio system, Agar's alcoholism, and his changing agents repeatedly ). At one point Agar told the author regarding "the silly dialogue in The Mole People...[prompted him to go] to producer Bill Alland and tell him, 'Bill, people don't say things like this.' He said something to the effect that he paid a guy a lot of money to write that dialogue, and I said, 'Well, you got cheated!'..."And I think I got my nose out of joint one time when I was on the set and Rock Hudson came over. [This was at the time when Hudson, along with Tony Curtis, Jeff Chandler and George Nader was getting a big build-up by the studio as leading men] He [Hudson] looked around at the production that was going on and he said, "How'd you get into this thing?"

Poor actors, they have such little control over their own fates, and so often their own impulsive instincts are not the best. I kind of admire them more because they take so many chances, but I would imagine the missteps are easier to see in retrospect.

The good news is that Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943-Roy William Neil) is being repeated next weekend and on April 7th, one of the few films to actually star the great Strother Martin,the drive-in hit, SSSSSSS (1973-Bernard L. Kowalski), is going to be aired. The synopsis says that "A famed herpetologist bends the laws of nature experimenting with the transformation of man into snake." Since the overlooked but seemingly ubiquitous Tim O"Connor and Jack Ging are also in the cast of this movie, I'll try to overlook my latent dislike of second lead Dirk Benedict and my fear of snakes for this one.
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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby RedRiver » March 25th, 2012, 2:49 pm

Wonderful post, Moira! If I were an actor, I think I'd be happier with stupid movies many years later than at time of filming. Kind of a "look back and laugh" concept. And if it pays the bills...

I remember hearing about SSSSS! Didn't see it. I share your dislike of things reptile, and usually avoid those movies. SNAKES ON A PLANE was much talked about. Might have been good. I wouldn't know! Gotta watch "Frank Meets Wolfie," though! Not that I haven't seen it sveral times already. But it's different when you know other people across the nation are sharing the experience. It adds a level of interest.

I don't think I'll be introducing my girlfriend to this one. I guess she's, um, mad at me. And I guess I, um, laughed at her. That probably wasn't a good idea!

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Re: This week on SVENGOOLIE...

Postby MikeBSG » March 25th, 2012, 3:48 pm

I've never seen "Leave It to Beaver." It wasn't on TV in Cleveland when I was growing up.

My favorite Hugh Beaumont in a horror movie experience is "The Seventh Victim" (1943), a true Val Lewton classic. However, apart from Tom Conway, who reprises the role of Dr. Judd from "Cat People" (although he was killed in the earlier film), the male performers in "The Seventh Victim" are pretty lackluster. This includes Hugh Beaumont, who is the husband of a woman who disappeared when she betrayed a Satanic cult. Her sister initiates the action of the film by looking for the missing woman.

The first time I saw "The Seventh Victim," I was so put off by Hugh Beaumont's coldness that I would have been money he had secretly helped the Satanists get rid of his wife. (I would have been wrong.) His performance is one of the weaknesses in "The Seventh Victim," one of the things that ensures that it will never be as highly regarded as "Cat People."


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