May 29, 2013

The Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon : Day Five

Peter Cushing painted by the great Basil Gogos kicks off Day Five of our Centennial Blogathon.

In the late Thirties, even as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, Cushing traveled halfway ‘round the world to try his luck in Hollywood. Soon enough, he was drawn back to England, determined to contribute to the war effort, but getting home was problematic. He made it to New York, then up to Montreal where he had to wait for transportation and repatriation. His adventures there included ushering at the city’s largest theatre, and being pursued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!

Here’s a link back to a post I made about Cushing’s early Hollywood experience, and his wartime stay in my home town of Montreal.

Our friend David Saunderson of The Spooky Isles reports on the fabulous Peter Cushing stamp, part of the “Great Britons” series issued recently by the Royal Mail and goes on to examine other horror film-related stamp sets from all over the world.

Stick around, we’ll have another contribution from The Spooky Isles later today!

Craig Edwards continues his chronicle of Peter Cushing’s career in movie posters on his blog, Let’s Get Out of Here! Today’s collection covers 1966 to 1972, with such titles as Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and — illustrated above — One More Time, a sub-Rat Pack comedy that featured cameos by Cushing and Christopher Lee.

The art is by Jack Davis and one of several movie posters he did in the gangs-all-here Mad Mad World style. Note Frankenstein’s Monster (another Davis specialty) and Dracula among the runners. 

Our Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon rates a mention on Keyframe, the information arm of Fandor, a movie streaming site. Reviewer David Hudson singles out contributions here by Tim Lucas and Richard Harland Smith. 

Also mentioned are two new books: David Miller’s Peter Cushing: A Life in Films, and Peter Cushing: The Complete Memoirs.

On WeirdFlix, in a piece called Best Served ColdRayRay walks us through The Revenge of Frankenstein from 1958, which featured a beheading, loose body parts and a cannibalistic chimpanzee.

The image here is from my favorite scene, wherein Cushing conducts a job interview while carving a chicken.

Mike Segretto of Psychobabble contemplates the influence of classic horror films on the Star Wars saga. Darth Vader as a patchwork Frankensteinian character, aliens and monsters, down to the presence of Dave Prowse, Christopher Lee — as a “Count”! —and, of course, Peter Cushing’s Baron-like villainy.

It’s a thought-provoking essay entitled Twisted and Evil.

David Saunderson of The Spooky Isles has light-hearted — or is it light-headed? — fun with the tonsorial career of Peter Cushing, tracking whiskers, sideburns, ‘staches and crumb-catchers, goatees and all manner of beards and bristles, and one Helen Hayes wig sported by the actor in the composition of his roles.

Read, if you must, Hairy and Scary!

Here’s a second review from WeirdFlix today as RayRay pursues his exploration of the Hammer Films Frankenstein chronology. On tap: The Evil of Frankenstein, featuring a swashbuckling Baron, a Karloffian Monster frozen in ice, a mute wild girl, a dastardly hypnotist, mountain sets and a thunderous lab.

Ray’s piece is called The Evil That Men Do.

Artist Zombie Rust’s Cushing Portrait today is that of the mysterious Reverend Dr. Blyss, of Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg, 1922).

Peter Cushing first played Sherlock Holmes when he was 46. He was 55 when he brought the character to television and his last stab at the role came when he was 71. Like his Baron Frankenstein and the stalwart Van Helsing, Cushing’s Holmes evolved over the actor’s lifetime. 

Patricia at Caftan Woman offers a heartfelt appreciation of Peter Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes.

Ben, of Breakfast in the Ruins, bravely offers up a list of his Top Fifteen Hammer Films. Part One is posted, collecting numbers 15 to 11, and Peter Cushing, naturally, is a constant presence.

James Russell at The Cameraman’s Revenge offers up a series of short, sharp and to-the-point reviews of Cushing films. Posted so far: A rare look at Nineteen Eighty Four, broadcast live in 1954, and a nice mix of films: Captain Clegg/Night Creatures, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Horror Express and Madhouse.

Good stuff here, well-written and knowledgeable.

By the way, the BBC’s Nineteen Eighty-Four featuring Cushing’s remarkable performance as Winston Smith is up on YouTube. A must-see!

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