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Bela Lugosi Sunday Night Triple Feature!!! Sun, Jan 22!!


markbeckuaf
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If you dig on Bela and classic horror, you have to be tuning in to TCM on Sunday night! Man, it's the bomb diggy!!! I mentioned this in my weekly grooves post, but it deserves one of its own just to make sure no one who would love to see these misses them!!!

 

Leading off with a very underrated flick, MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932), where Bela gets to shine as the maniacal Dr. Mirakle! I dig this one, and though the censors look like they had a hand in things, there is enough going on still to enjoy some pre-code horror touches! Same with the next one, in my opinion one of the very best of Universal horrors of the 30's, THE BLACK CAT (1934), with ****, satanism, you name it all showing up!! And I feel this is Bela and Boris' best teaming of their careers!!! Both have a pretty equal role in the film and that's a rarity for their match-ups! And as if that wasn't enough, check out Bela and Charles Laughton in ISLAND OF LOST SOULS from 1933, with more macabre and salacious pre-code horror content throughout!!

 

And following this incredible block of flix, the Silent Sunday feature is HAXAN from 1922, a totally bizarro horror treat!!

 

Dig it totally!!! I'm a HUGE Bela fan, so all I can say is THANK YOU, TCM! You are truly rockin' the house on Sunday night!

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Hi, Mark!

 

 

Thanks for the shout out on these fantastic movies. I've not seen "Murders in the Rue Morgue" for years, and I can't wait.

 

 

By the way, have you read Greg Mank's book "Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration?" It's a comprehensive look at the professional relationship between these two film and stage artists, which, as we've alll long been told, was less than sublimely happy.

 

 

The book, which features interviews with many of Karloff and Lugosi's (then living) co-stars, including David Manners, Valerie Hobson, and Russell Wade, is hard to find, but absolutely essential for any cinephile's library. Also quoted are Sara Karloff, Bela Jr., and Lillian Lugosi, Bela's fourth (I think) wife, who doesn't have a single positive thing to say about Karoff!

 

 

The book is packed with photographs and intersting side excursions into the less-than-perfectly happy film careers of figures like Colin Clive, Dwight Frye, Lionel Atwill and Edgar G. Ulmer. There is an extensive chapter dealing with the filming and subsequent refilming of "The Black Cat" after aghast Universal executives got their first look at the completed picture.

 

 

If you haven't read this book, track it down however you can. I guarantee, given some of your posts that I've read, that you will absolutely treasure it.

 

 

 

 

 

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You're welcome! Hope you dig MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE!! I believe it's vastly underrated! Please share your thoughts once you've seen it.

 

Thank you for the recommendation! I have not read that book, but certainly will be looking for it now following your detailed recommendation! I enjoy Greg Mank, he's done several good audio commentaries for some of the classic horror films as well!

 

 

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This may seem like a trivial complaint to non-sports fans, but I sure wish that TCM could have scheduled these relatively un-shown Lugosi movies at a time that didn't conflict with the final game of the NFL conference playoffs, which will probably end somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:00 pm. Eight o' clock tonight would have been a perfect time to show Splendor in the Grass or North by Northwest for about the 5000th time, rather than showing two early Lugosis that have seldom if ever been screened before.

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Hi folks!

 

Being Hungarian, I've always been a big Lugosi fan. Take a look at a thread I created devoted to his early fimography in Your Favorites called:

 

BELA LUGOSI FILMOGRAPHY- A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?threadID=162004&tstart=45

 

(You can watch the movie by clicking on the underlined hyperlink title!)

 

There you will be able to watch his films that I have posted as well as the film posters and graphics for his films from the Deerslayer (1920) to Murder By Television (1935). I have also included some of his serials like the Whispering Shadow (1933) as well as a lot of his early films!

 

I have also posted a number of his films to a thread called Bela Lugosi for SOTM, which includes his later works:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8568538?

 

There appeared a biography of Lugosi in an English website out of Budapest that you might find interesting:

 

http://www.pestiside.hu/20101029/sink-your-teeth-into-a-hungarian-stars-legacy/

 

Enjoy!

 

Hi Mark, I included Haxan- Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) for viewing on the exploitation filmography thread (page seven from current):

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?threadID=161844&start=90&tstart=0

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Yes, it is nice, isn't it?

 

Although I wish they were playing White Zombie- as TCM always shows the nicely restored version- it's still nice to see these on tonight.

 

A not-often-mentioned-or-shown Lugosi title I'd suggest would be The Thirteenth Chair from 1929, directed by Todd Browning and starring Margaret Wycherly (who is excellent as a bogus fortune teller and Lugosi in a straight (and talky) role as a police inspector in India out to solve a drawing-room murder.) It's very inn-teresting and a good print used to be available on u-yay ube-tay (and may still be.)

 

Some of you may be a trifle disappointed by Rue Morgue, although it is entertaining in its own goofy way- John Huston's (possible) contributions as one of the screenwriters are (to me) evident in some of the scenes- like the two medical student roommated who become like an old married couple.

 

The Black Cat is just weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeird. But inn-teresting in it's own weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeird way.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Jan 22, 2012 5:32 PM

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JG, you make me long to see The Thirteenth Chair -- I don't know it at all. I love Margaret Wycherly. Though perhaps best known for her role as Ma Jarrett in White Heat, I actually prefer her brilliant performance as Mother York in Sergeant York and her endearing performance as Mrs. Deventer in Random Harvest.

 

But *The Black Cat* -- it's certainly weird, but it is one of the great stylistic horror films of all time. Ulmer's masterpiece. Lots of nice touches -- the chess scene between Karloff and Lugosi may have inspired Ingmar Bergman to use it in The Seventh Seal. There is an (albeit bizarre) homage to architect Hans Poelzig: the Karloff character is named Hjalmar Poelzig. And Karloff's black mass -- it's a hoot. Look up the translation of the Latin, it's online. And so much more. All in all, one of the really great, odd films of all time. And what Lugosi does to Karloff at the end bears mentioning, but I won't mention it, to avoid a "spoiler." Anyone who hasn't seen it should try to catch it.

 

P.S. Look for Arlene Francis in a small role in Murders in the Rue Morgue, decades before she became a panelist on "What's My Line."

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One of my favorite early Lugosi flicks was *The Black Camel (1931),* one of the *Charlie Chan* films. Shot on location in Honolulu at the vintage *Royal Hawaiian Hotel*, it offers a wonderful documentary glimpse of what Hawaii looked like in those days before mass tourism and jet travel. You had to be rich in time and money to visit the islands back then. Here it is:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZZOTEi5NKo

 

One of his silent films that was quite good was the *Silent Command (1923),* which was shot on location in the *Panama Canal Zone*:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ6QsIgvb2E

 

I have the *Black Cat (1934)* posted for viewing on the *Lugosi Birthday thread* I mentioned in my last post. A very dark film, with depictions and suggestions of satanism, torture and incest. In terms of style and atmosphere, a marvel.

 

The *Thirteenth Chair (1929)* is not currently available on the internet. It's a murder mystery where Lugosi plays a rare good guy role as police investigator.

 

 

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LUGOSI!!! Bela, The Great!!!

 

 

One of my all-time favorite actors, and simply one of the most entertaining to watch. He had such technique and charisma; such presence and extremely charming, even when he was being evil. And for once, we get a line-up of Lugosi films that rank as some of his finest work. I'm a huge fan of Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat and Island of Lost Souls, both as movies and as showcases for the unique talents of one, unjustly underrated (in his time) Bela Lugosi.

 

 

There are many actors of both past and present that I admire greatly, but the great horror icons of early Hollywood are the ones I always seem to adamently make a case for, and Lugosi is the one whose talents of an actor always seem to come under question, especially when compared to his on-screen rival, KARLOFF, THE UNCANNY. To my taste, they were both really great actors, and when they got together (as in The Black Cat), it was pure movie magic. And Lon Chaney (Sr.)...well, he's simply the greatest actor who ever lived...

 

 

 

 

 

I'm so happy that TCM is giving Bela the prime spot in their line-up tonight!

 

 

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}JG, you make me long to see The Thirteenth Chair -- I don't know it at all. I love Margaret Wycherly. Though perhaps best known for her role as Ma Jarrett in White Heat,

Alas, I checked u-yay ube-tay and The 13th Chair has been removed. Didn't mean to whet yer appetite for naught.

 

The only way I discovered it was an entry for it in The Psychotronic Film Guide which I keep in my bathroom- I immediately went and looked it up online and watched it. It's fascinating for Wycherly's ace performance, its status as an early talkie thriller and the rare presence of Lugosi in a good-guy role, and (as aforementioned) he has loads of dialogue, which shoots down the old rumor about his having to learn his lines for Dracula phonetically.

 

If it ever airs again, check it out.

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Lugosi just moves me to tears in The Black Cat! This really is the best film he ever did. And the great thing is, the film is as much of a showcase for Karloff as it was for Lugosi's raw intensity, under Edgar Ulmer's visonary influence. Ulmer may or may not have thought much of Lugosi's uniquely theatrical style. Who knows, right? There aren't any quotes that I've read, other than the ones where he refers to "cutting away, to cut him down". In any event, he knew how to film and direct Lugosi in a way that eccentuated his best qualities. In a movie where Karloff represents the ultimate Lucifer, Bela is the moral force we identify with, and sympathize for. He truly appears heroic at the end, even after sadistically skinning Karloff alive! Very few directors ever even tried to "direct" Lugosi, which is, I think, one of the many, varied reasons Bela's career was, essentially doomed from the start. Nobody in the nineteen-thirties really knew what to make of this weird, exotic foreigner, who was so intense in real-life, it always seemed as if he was playing "Dracula" over and over again. Atleast in films like The Black Cat, The Body Snatcher, Island of Lost Souls and especially Son of Frankenstein, we got to see that Bela Lugosi was not only a star, and a horror icon, but certainly alot more talented than he ever got credit for being in his lifetime.

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Carl, perhaps you can answer a question. In one of the perhaps lesser Lugosi films, Dark Eyes of London (aka The Human Monster ), Lugosi plays the double role of Dr. Orloff and Professor Dearborn. As I recall, in one of the most effective scenes, Dearborn is seated at a long table, with many blind men. He speaks to them in an impeccable English accent. Was that Lugosi's voice, or was it dubbed?

 

 

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Carl, great thoughts!!!

 

I wonder what Edgar G Ulmer may have produced as a director with Universal budgets if he hadn't got on the bad side of the head of the studio! I always thought he had a great flair even in his low budget films later in his career, with DETOUR and THE MAN FROM PLANET X probably being the best of those. But THE BLACK CAT, wow, I agree, one of Bela's very finest performances and by far the best pairing of the two horror icons!

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}As I recall, in one of the most effective scenes, Dearborn is seated at a long table, with many blind men. He speaks to them in an impeccable English accent. Was that Lugosi's voice, or was it dubbed?

 

Lugosi was dubbed by London-born O.B. Clarence

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But don't overlook *The Invisible Ray*, perhaps not as truly great as *The Black Cat*, but an excellent and interesting film, perhaps one of the first which deals with the misuse of science. As Mother Rukh (played by Violet Kemble Cooper) says to her son Janos (Boris Karloff) as she ensures his death at the end, "My son, you have broken the first rule of science." And Boris Karloff plunges to his death, turning to flames. The great cast also included Bela Lugosi, Beulah Bondi, and Walter Kingsford.

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Swithin, I dig THE INVISIBLE RAY a lot, definitely! Also THE RAVEN!! I just feel THE BLACK CAT had the most equal roles between the two of any of their films, and I have a special spot for this film, as it's among my top 5 horror favorites of the decade!

 

THE INVISIBLE RAY was a nice early sci-fi film!

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Mark, I agree that The Black Cat is very special in many ways and the best paring of their geniuses! And a truly great film. The design is amazing!

 

An Ulmer film I haven't seen in decades is Daughter of Dr. Jekyll. I'd like to see that again.

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Yeah, Bela's accent was as much an invaluble asset to his acting arsenal, as it limted the kinds of roles he could play. It was necessary to dub him for his dual-role in Dark Eyes of London. Hey, atleast they gave him the chance to play both roles himself. They could have just created two different characters all-together, but instead they thought enough of Bela to present him with the kind of acting challenge that he VERY rarely ever got in his career. The British seem to treat Lugosi very well when he "hopped across the pond" in the thirties. They respected him. The Phantom Ship aka The Mystery of the Mary Celeste is by no means, a classic, but it's still a well-furnished, "respectable" British production, that was actually quite a hit in England at the time. Bela is a true revelation in this film. Dark Eyes of London is also pretty well-regarded among fans of thirties horror films, atleast in relation to the Poverty Row stuff it is often mistaken for.

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Robert Osborne mentioned that Lugosi and Karloff did eight films together but I can only think of six. Can someone list their eight films? Thanks! By the way, I also agree THE BLACK CAT is one of Lugosi's best. He and Karloff are equals in this movie. I've never seen THE INVISIBLE RAY; hope TCM shows it someday as I've always wanted to see it.

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Lugosi and Karloff did eight films together-

Five films at Universal:

 

*The Black Cat, The Raven, The Invisible Ray, Son of Frankenstein, Black Friday* and both appeared in minor cameo performances in 1934's *Gift of Gab*.

 

They did two films at RKO: *You'll Find Out* and *The Body Snatcher*

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