Saturday, October 13, 2018

Born Today October 13: Helena Pickard


Famed British actress of the stage and screen Helena [Marie] Pickard was born on this day in Sheffield, England. Though she started her career on the stage, she quickly also found herself in motion pictures in her early 20's.  Her work in silent film is confined to one film dating from 1924; she had a starring role in the comedic short The Clicking of Cuthbert produced by the UK company Stoll.  She did not appear in another film until 1930 when she appeared in an uncredited role in the now lost early British talkie Lord Richard in the Pantry.  Her first talking picture credit came in 1931 in the short comedy Cupboard Love.  She would make her televised debut in the also lost BBC two and one-half hour When We Are Married  in 1938 (the film was based on a J. B. Priestly play--his novel is responsible for the the James Whale horror comedy The Old Dark House).  She made her television series debut in the 1950's ABC/ITV joint production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1956 (unfortunately also lost).  She also worked in radio for the BBC as well. And since this is October, and Halloween is on the way, it is also worth noting that she made an appearance in John Brahm's 1944 remake of The Lodger, which starred her husband, famed British actor Cedric Hardwicke.  Her marriage to Hardwicke ended in divorce in 1950 and she remarried a banking financier in 1956. She ended her own life, probably on purpose, by ingesting an over-dose of sleeping pills on the 27th of September just shy of her 59th birthday--at the time she had been living in the Oxfordshire area.  She was buried in a non-cemetery burial somewhere in the region (possibly on the estate of her husband Herbert Rothbart or his family?).  She was the mother of beloved British character actor Edward Hardwicke, who is best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Watson, to Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, on the Britain's Granada TV.  

In The Lodger

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Born Today October 11: Luis Firpo


Argentinian boxer Luis Ángel Firpo was born in Junin barrio of Argentina's capital city of Buenos Aires. He is an historical figure known for his boxing skills and his colorful nickname of "The Wild Bull of the Pampas."  During the height of his career in the early 1920's, he appeared in two films: one a documentary and one as an actor.  The first of these was a short entitled Will He Conquer Dempsey, made in 1923 and featuring him and his principle rival Jack Dempsey--though the documentary was principally about Firpo.  The bout, which took place in New York on the 14th of September is the stuff boxing history is made of; Firpo almost won, but was eventually defeated by Dempsey after Firpo had literally knocked him out of the ring, sending him head first into a reporters typewriter! The second silent that he appeared in was an Argentinian short fictional film entitled La vuelta del toro salvaje released in 1924 and titled after his nickname--the film partially fictionalized his life to date.  In his lifetime, he appeared as an actor in just one other film in the 1950's; also an Argentinian drama.  Firpo retired from boxing in 1940, but went on to be a boxing manager; he was also a large scale rancher.  He died on the 8th of August 1960 at the age of 65.  He was interred at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, in a large customized mausoleum.  

More Mèliés Tricks

Back from dealing with Hurricane Michael yesterday, and wanted to share a little Mèliés flummery to express my sense of relief! This dates from 1903 and shows his prowess at careful film editing at it's best. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Silent Horror Of The Day Embed--Mèliés The Vanishing Lady (1896)

This was not Mèliés' first horror film, but it was close.  He is credited with making the very first horror film earlier in 1896 (there is one Edison short from the year before that counts as the first horror just wasn't intended to be when it was produced). This, like many of Mèliés' films, has several titles in both French and English.  It is one of is his rather delightful and macabre trick films--he was the master of them!

Silent Era Halloween Images

This year I am posting up creepy Halloween photographs from the silent film era (not necessarily from silent films). I am starting off from this one.  I have looked and can't find the exact year --though it was taken some time during the 1920's. Bonus image below...the 1950's weren't much less creepy when it came to Halloween costumes! Happy October 1!!