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John Carradine


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Always like John Carradine. He had a long and varied career and it seems sometimes that he was in just about everything....

Being a fanatical fan of the '30s and '40s horror films, I especially enjoyed his work in films such as THE MUMMY'S GHOST, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HOUSE OF DRACULA (although I prefer my Dracula in the guise of Christopher Lee), plus his small bits of business in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and, if you look quickly enough, in the '34 version of THE BLACK CAT.

In latter years, it was great seeing him pop up on television in the telefilm, THE NIGHT STRANGLER and that Dennis Weaver MCCLOUD episode....

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  • 2 weeks later...

I beg to differ about Carradine never appearing in a great horror film. As I mentioned previously, he had a small role in the classic THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. He was also seen in THE INVISIBLE MANN in 1933.

And, I agree with THE HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS being underappreciated. It may not be a great film, but it's the only time FOUR true icons of horror cinema graced the screen together....

Wish it was out on DVD.

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One great horror film that Carradine starred in was "Bluebeard," released in 1945. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, it was released by PRC, the B movie company.

 

In it, Carradine plays a puppeteer who is also a serial killer in 19th C. Paris. A policewoman poses as a prositute to catch him.

 

The cameraman was Eugene Schuftan, and the film looks like a million bucks. I rented it from Facets multimedia a few years ago, so I know it is on VHS. I don't know about DVD.

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BLUEBEARD has been released on DVD by Alpha Video and can be purchased via their website at Oldies.com.

 

I would also add the following to a list of Carradine horror movies, which, while they may not be 1st tier classics, do hold a special place in the hearts of many fans:

 

CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943)

THE MUMMY'S GHOST (1944)

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944)

THE INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE (1944)

HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945)

 

And the following, while grade-B efforts (or even lower) in anyone's book, are still pretty darned enjoyable, even if only for Carradine's presence:

 

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES (1943)

FACE OF MARBLE (1946)

THE UNEARTHLY (1957)

THE COSMIC MAN (1959)

INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959), also featuring John Agar!

 

Even in movies that are admitted bomberinos, like FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND or BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA, he's still a welcome sight, making even these pictures far more bearable to watch than they otherwise would be.

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Favorite John Carradine performance:

Casey, in GRAPES OF WRATH

 

Favorite John Carradine horror role:

Mr. Hawkins, in the BIG SURPRISE episode of the Night Gallery TV series

 

Favorite John Carradine "what's a nice guy like you doing in a role like this?":

The Wizard, in THE WIZARD OF MARS, a film which makes BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA look like... well, it still looks like BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA, but THE WIZARD OF MARS is even worse! It's craptacular!

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LOL, Bronxie, LOL.

 

Probably my favorite non-horror performance of Carradine's is as Tyrone Power's sailor buddy in SON OF FURY. I also thought his Aaron in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS wasn't bad, although the mind boggles at the gene pool that would have produced Carradine & Charlton Heston in the same generation!

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Carradine is very good as a German spy on the loose in London in "Man Hunt," a Fritz Lang film from 1941 or so. (He isn't the main character or the main villain in the film, but he is unforgettable.)

 

I also like him as the cattleman's politician in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." He made a wonderful blowhard in a number of movies, and this is probably the best of those kind of roles.

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There should be a sub-genre called Vampire Movies with Shiny Capes; Lugosi wore his well in A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN; Carradine looked a bit sorrier in BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA, and let us not forget the flashy sartorial splendors of the Mexican Counts.

 

My favorite non-horror Carradine performance is STAGECOACH, with DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK the runner-up. Ford uses John's lean physique to great advantage in both.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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i dont even know where to start with Senior Carradine..I liked him in House of Frankenstein & Dracula..

He was really a versatile character, usually playing a villian

I just saw Captive Wild Woman, he was great as a mad doctor, & I saw him a few days ago in an real obscurity called MONSTER aka Monstriod where he was a Spanish priest...

He was in some really crappy crap movies like Horror of the Blood Monsters, Invisible Invaders (sorry to any fans of this movie) & I guess Monster is a crap movie, but my kind of crap..:)

Seeing him as an aged vampire - Nocturna blah

He has a good singing voice as heard in Red Zone Cuba singing night train to mundo fine (MST3K played this) and I also liked him in the Unearthly...god what a cheesy movie that is...

He did so many movies, I think he broke all records...

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Carradine's career really had its highs and lows. One writer said that his epitaph should be:

"He never turned down a part."

 

Thought he was good in MONSTER, the rest of the movie I could take or leave.

 

My feelings about INVISIBLE INVADERS are what yours seem to be about THE UNEARTHLY: I thought it was good, cheesy fun.

 

I liked him in HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS. That movie has been dissed by many folks, but what a cast: not only Carradine, but also Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee!

It's worth watching just for that once-in-a-lifetime screen meeting of those guys. Even Desi Arnaz Jr. isn't bad.

 

Agree about HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, but really, it isn't Carradine's fault that that movie is so terrible, it's the director, Al Adamson's. Even though his movies are enjoyably bad the way that Ed Wood's are, I don't think he ever made a really good movie.

 

If you ever get the chance, you should check him out in an episode of the McCloud TV series starring Dennis Weaver called "McCloud Meets Dracula," in which he plays an actor who thinks he's a vampire, and who knows? He just may be.

 

Trivia: Did you know that Carradine, or at least his voice, was in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN? In the will reading scene, Carradine provided the voice of the elder Dr. Frankenstein. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the scene was deleted & re-shot without his participation.

 

I don't know if he holds the record for film appearances, but according to IMDB, it's well over 300.

Pretty good by any standard.

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at his peak, John carradine was one sexy dude and terrific actor. Just watch him in "Captive Wild Woman" with sweat beading his face as he confronts his nurse--Fay Helm--and listens to her threat to denounce his experiments. There's a terrific close-up of Carradine as his eyes glitter with either lust--or homicidal fury. The same thing goes for Carradine as the High Priest in "The Mummy's Ghost." When Kharis brings Ramsay Ames into the shack and places her on the table, Carradine's eyes light up with undisguised lust. I've always thought these were his penultimate peaks in his long and varied career.

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It is interesting to watch "Bluebeard," because that allows Carradine to have romantic appeal as well as be a murderer. Also, his Dracula is very seductive in "House of Dracula" and "House of Frankenstein." Of course, he couldn't just go into women's bedrooms as Lugosi's Dracula had done in 1931 because of strengthened censorship, so he had to be a slick talker.

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Mike -- Carradine is very good as a German spy on the loose in London in "Man Hunt," a Fritz Lang film from 1941 or so. (He isn't the main character or the main villain in the film, but he is unforgettable.)

 

Man Hunt? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I hope to see this film in the future.

 

Here's John Carradine in one of my favorite noirs, Fallen Angel:

 

fallen1.jpg

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I've stated this in another thread, and I'll do so here. John Carradine is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood history. His Dracula in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula makes even me, a Lugosi fan, think twice about the character. He appeared in everything from A-list John Ford classics, to bottom-of-the-barrel 'Z' productions, and I think that's what I admire about him the most. He, like Lugosi, never acted down to the material. He just enjoyed what he was doing. I think one of my favorite Carradine performances is as the delegate in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Libert Valance. It's a small part, but he gives that character every bit of bravado, and charisma and eccentricity that is requires.

 

Let's put it this way. I have yet to see Billy The Kid vs. Dracula, and I'm pretty sure you all know why. However, after having been pleased that someone thought enough of John Carradine to devote an entire thread to him (much oblidged, DwayneBrue), I am more compelled than ever. Because, as with Bela, The Great, John Carradine always elevated the material.

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I would place Carradine in that special class of actor whose presence could always be counted on to uplift an otherwise total piece of schlock.

 

As is true of Lionel & John Barrymore, Carradine was a special breed of "Ham", in the best sense of that word.

 

I've read that in the mid-forties, he could often be seen strolling the sidewalks of Hollywood of an evening in his black cape quoting Shakespeare! What a town that must have been then.

 

As to the varying quality of his films, Carradine was always trying to raise funds for his own Shakespearean theatre group, and in order to do this, often accepted less-than-stellar roles in less-than-stellar films, a fact for which his fans can be grateful since it has left us with so many opportunities to see him today, long after his death.

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