All posts filed under: MOVIES

Films Rathbone Almost Made

Have you ever thought about movie roles that Basil tried out for, but didn’t get, or roles that he was offered, but declined? And then there were films Basil was contracted to do, and for some reason the film wasn’t made, or it was made and Rathbone wasn’t in it. In this post we will take a look at Rathbone’s close encounters with the following films: The Hurricane The Gamblers The Knight and the Lady Victoria Docks at Eight The Hunchback of Notre Dame It Can’t Happen Here Lady of the Tropics Dark Victory The Boudoir Diplomat Reunion in Vienna Blood Beast Terror One of those films was The Hurricane. (See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029030/) In 1936 producer Sam Goldwyn was eager to give Rathbone a role in the film, but he wanted Rathbone to sign a four-year contract with his company. Rathbone didn’t want to sign the contract, so that role went to someone else. See “Was Basil Rathbone a Diva?” In April 1937 The Film Daily announced the following: “Feodor Dostoievsky’s celebrated novel ‘The Gamblers,’ will be directed …

Pre-Code Rathbone

An occasional series giving you a chance to see and discuss some of Basil Rathbone’s pre-1934 talking films. The period in filmmaking known as “pre-code” because it predates the enforcement of the highly constraining Motion Picture Production Code in 1934. This code had actually been put on the statute books in 1930, but remained all but unenforced until the Production Code Administration was established – on Basil Rathbone’s 42nd birthday – and Joseph Breen was appointed to run it, with powers to censor or suppress any film it considered to have inappropriate content. Breen enforced these powers to the max. The effect this had on filmmaking was sweeping and fairly horrendous, and resulted in the butchering and infantilising of many story lines. Remember how in REBECCA (1940) Maxim de Winter doesn’t kill his first wife, but instead she dies by the totally lame method of falling down and hitting her head? Thank the Code which stated “the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin,” requiring …

Tower of London (1939)

Part of the Vincent Price Blogathon hosted by Nitrate Diva We have a lot of Vincent Price fans as regulars here on The Baz. I’m one myself in fact, so it seems appropriate to take part in the VP blogathon and celebrate Vincent’s talent. I thought about looking at A COMEDY OF TERRORS, a movie I actually like quite a lot (though many deplore it), but I want to leave that to a more general consideration of Basil’s later movies. So, today I’m talking about that strange hybrid film, TOWER OF LONDON. Part faithful historical exploration. Part Universal Horror. Featuring fine nuanced performances from the likes of Price, Basil Rathbone and Ian Hunter on the one hand, and Karloff with a club foot and a bald wig on the other, TOWER OF LONDON covers the life of Richard III, from the second accession to the throne of his brother Edward IV in 1471 to his own death at Bosworth in 1485. Much as I love it, I have to concede it’s a car crash of …

A Feather in Her Hat (1935)

A FEATHER IN HER HAT (1935) is a weird little film, and the Baz’s presence in it is hard to explain in some ways, though interesting and engaging to watch. He plays Captain Courtney, a WWI vet, psychologically scarred and taken to booze to ease his pain, who is adopted by “cockney” widow, Pauline Lord, as a live-in life and speech coach for her only son, in the hope he can turn him into a Gentleman. The plan succeeds brilliantly as the son turns into Louis Hayward, with cut glass Bertie Wooster vowels and patent leather hair – but this is only the start of the angst, pain and misunderstandings… Basil is grayed up for much of the film and evidently intended to be playing someone considerably older than his real age (60+ presumably, though this doesn’t really fit with his having been active in WWI), and he is also required to be a colorless, retiring sort of chap, which doesn’t fit easily with his always vibrant (in those days) on-screen persona and general physical …

Review: Kind Lady (1935)

A while back I did a review of Kind Lady for basilrathbone.net. Thought I’d add it here, with thanks to MJ And check out the Kind Lady caps KIND LADY(1935) is a strange little package. Put together as a quite unambitious thriller, based on the story “The Silver Casket” by Hugh Walpole and adapted from the play “Kind Lady” by Edward Chodurov, who also co-wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of a middle-aged spinster – (Aline McMahon)– who takes pity on an impoverished but charming and educated pavement artist (Basil Rathbone) – only to get herself in a lot more trouble than she bargained for. As a film it’s not especially well constructed or original. The plot and character development have sometimes massive hole and lapses of credibility. It seems rushed in places, badly edited and incoherent in others. The end is predictable and underdeveloped. But…there are still things about it that surprise and impress, and moments when this unpretentious little film suddenly wanders into genre-defiance and dares to play with audience expectation in …