Posts Tagged ‘cedric hardwicke’

Things To Come

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Things to Come (B&W + Colorized Versions)

Tagline – What Will the Next Hundred Years Bring to Mankind?

Starring – Raymond Massey (John Cabal/Oswald Cabal), Edward Chapman (Pippa Passworthy/Raymond Passworthy), Ralph Richardson (The Boss), Margaretta Scott (Roxana/Rowena), Cedric Hardwicke (Theotocopulos).

Released – April, 1936

Directed By – William Cameron Menzies

Produced By – London Films Productions

Distributed By – United Artists Corporation

Description – A British science fiction film about the present and the future. In the British city of “Everytown,” businessman John Cabal is unable to enjoy this Christmas day as the threat of war has cast a dark cloud over the world.

John’s holiday guests, Dr. Edward Harding shares his concern, while Pippa Passworthy feels that it will not occur. Mr. Passworthy’s over-optimism is shattered by a bombing raid that evening and the breakout of global war.

John Cabal, now a pilot, shoots down an enemy bomber. He lands in the area of the bomber’s crash and tries to tend to the wounded enemy. As poison gas surrounds them, the pair put on gas masks and speak of the horror of war. A little girl passes in a daze and the wounded enemy gives her his mask accepting his own death.

John takes the girl to his plane and heads for safety. The war rages on for decades, taking a deadly toll, until the remaining people are mostly those born after the start of the war. There is desolation everywhere, and society has totally broken down. The only remaining hints of cities are groups of small primitive communities.

It is now 1966, and a great plague called the “wandering sickness” is spread by the enemies few remaining airplanes. With little medical equipment still in existence, a cure is hopeless. Four years pass and a warlord, known only as “The Boss,” has emerged as leader. His cure for the plague is to kill all those infected.

In May of 1970 a futuristic airplane lands, carrying John Cabal, announcing a new society called, “Wings Over the World.” They are rebuilding civilization and have renounced war and all independent nations.

However, The Boss is not ready to give up his power and authority. He takes John prisoner forcing him to help repair some remaining planes. One repaired plane is taken on a test flight, but the pilot heads for the location of the new society and tells them of John’s capture.

The people of “Wings Over the World” attack Everytown, killing The Boss and freeing John. The next few decades will provide a period of reconstruction. The people now live underground due to the poison air above them.

There is now hope for a new and peaceful society. That is until a revolution against progress begins to take root and the cycle of war begins again.

NOTABLE: The screenplay for Things to Come was written by H. G. Wells, and is an adaptation of his 1933 novel, The Shape of Things to Come.

Things To Come proved to be a prediction of the future as, in the film, war began on Christmas day 1940.  World War II would start on September 1, 1939. Also, the depiction of poison gas used in the film was a very real fear during World War II.

Personal Note: Here is a poignant quote from the film made by character John Cabal, “If we don’t end war, war will end us.”

A fearful and sad sentiment that is still with us today.


The Lodger

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Fox Horror Classics Collection (The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster)

Tagline – Probing Eyes that marked the woman he loved for death!

Starring – Merle Oberon (Kitty Langley), George Sanders (Inspector John Warwick), Laird Cregar (Mr. Slade), Cedric Hardwicke (Robert Bonting).

Released – January, 1944

Directed By – John Brahm

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – It’s 1889 London, and financial difficulties have caused Robert and Ellen Bonting to consider taking in a lodger. They are to be cautious as London is being terrorized by a murderer known as Jack the Ripper who has already killed four women in their area.

A gentleman known as Mr. Slade answers the ad for a lodger, and although Ellen feels that he acts a little strange agrees to rent to him partly because he not only wants to rent the spare room, but also rents the attic space.

Mr. Slade has claimed to be a pathologist and will use the attic space for his experiments. He also tells Ellen that he is a very private man who keeps irregular hours.

Also living with the Bonting family is Kitty Langley, their niece, who is an actress. Kitty will be starring in a show at the local theatre and on opening night is visited before the show by former actress Annie Rowley who wishes her luck.

The show is a success, but after its conclusion Scotland Yard Inspector John Warwick questions Kitty about her conversation with Annie and informs Kitty that Annie has just been murdered. The details of the killing cause the theater’s doctor to suggest that the murderer must be a medical man.

The newspaper story of the killing states that a witness claims the killer was carrying a small black bag. A bag similar to the one lodger Mr. Slade was seen burning shortly after the murder. This is not the only coincidence as Slade was also seen destroying his blood-stained overcoat. Slade explains this by claiming the coat was contaminated during a pathology experiment.

Kitty refuses to believe that her Aunt’s bible-reading, sincere lodger, admittedly with an aversion to actresses, could possibly be the killer. She decides to invite Mr. Slade to come and see her show.

NOTABLE: During the making of The Lodger, actress Merle Oberon fell in love with Lucien Ballard the film’s cinematographer. The couple were married the next year.

Actor Laird Cregar had built a solid reputation as a character actor over the years, but his screen presence and performance in this motion picture caused Twentieth Century Fox to offer him numerous roles in other productions. Sadly, these plans were cut short when Cregar suffered a fatal heart attack at the end of the year.

The Desert Fox

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

The Desert Fox

Starring – James Mason (Field Marshall Erwin Rommel), Cedric Hardwicke (Dr. Karl Strolin), Jessica Tandy (Lucie Marie Rommel), Luther Adler (Adolph Hitler), Everett Sloane (Gen. Wilhelm Durgdorf).

Released – October, 1951

Directed By – Henry Hathaway

Produced By –  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – A film biography of German Field Marshall Rommel highlighted by a strong performance by James Mason.

Rather than just a film showcasing military exploits, this story concerns itself with Rommel’s increasing concern regarding Hitler’s wartime decision making. Growing disillusioned with Hitler’s leadership, Rommel is approached by a group who would like to remove Hitler from power and imprison him.

Refusing, Rommel decides to visit Hitler in an effort to bring him to reason. However, he is met with a ranting Hitler claiming to have new weapons that will sway the war in favor of Germany.

The situation worsens with the Allies landing in France and an attempt is made to kill Hitler by one of his own Generals. Hitler survives the plot and all those involved with its planning are caught and executed. Rommel’s friendship with some of the conspirators finds him charged with treason.



Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Suspicion [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Each time they kissed… there was the thrill of love… the threat of murder!

Starring – Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth), Cedric Hardwicke (General McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce (Gordon Cochrane ‘Beaky’ Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. Martha McLaidlaw).

Released – November, 1941

Directed By – Alfred Hitchcock

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – A psychological noir thriller. Lina Mclaidlaw has been swept off her feet after a chance meeting with Johnnie Aysgarth on a train. Despite the strong objections of her father, Lina agrees to run away with Johnnie and get married.

It doesn’t take long before Lina realizes that Johnnie may not be all that he seemed. She catches him in one lie after another, finds out that he has sold some of their wedding presents in order to continue with a gambling habit, and to top it off, may be a murderer.

Her wedding vow of “Till Death Due Us Part” may be closer than she thought.

NOTABLE: Suspicion won one Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Joan Fontaine), and was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Music Scoring for a Dramatic Picture.

Suspicion was Alfred Hitchcock’s first film as both Producer and Director.

There is some controversy over the ending of the movie as described by William L. De Andrea in his book Encyclopedia Mysteriosa. Suspicion “was supposed to be the study of a murder as seen through the eyes of the eventual victim. However, because Cary Grant was to be the killer and Joan Fontaine the person killed, the studio — RKO — decreed a different ending, which Hitchcock supplied and then spent the rest of his life complaining about.”