January 2, 2017

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Old Mother Riley: The Life and Career of Arthur Lucan


One of the most neatly kept and most visited graves in Kingston-upon-Hull's Eastern Cemetery is that of Arthur Lucan, better known as the Irish washerwoman Old Mother Riley. Today, more than fifty years after his death in the wings of the city's Tivoli Theatre on 17th May 1954, people still regularly go to pay their respects and lay flowers. Whilst the grave is not forgotten, the career and films of one of the most popular British entertainers are sadly neglected. Arthur Lucan, was born … [Read more...]

Pitkin: The Life and Films of Norman Wisdom


Norman Wisdom was born in February 1915 into a family that fell apart when he was nine. His father was violent and abusive and when his mother left in 1924, Norman and his brother were left in charge of the family but after being thrown out of their home, were placed into care. His father remarried but Norman was never accepted back into his life and at the age of thirteen, Norman and a friend walked from London to Cardiff to get a job down the mines. From then until joining the army a year … [Read more...]

The Forgotten Man: The Films of Maxwell Reed

During a chat show appearance in 2007, the actress Joan Collins was shown a clip of one of her early screen performances. The film in question was THE SQUARE RING (1953), an excellent boxing drama from Ealing Studios. The clip provoked a good deal of mirth from both Joan and her interviewer as she recalled the making of the film quite clearly. However, neither of them mentioned the very tall, good looking young actor appearing opposite her. He had been a ‘matinee idol’ … [Read more...]

Tod Slaughter: Barnstorming Butcher of Melodramatic Menace

Several years ago, a young ‘expert’ (or so he seemed intent on telling everyone) on the British Horror genre, who shall remain nameless, held a lecture at an also-unnamed UK film festival, at which his opening gambit consisted rather bravely and foolishly of the assertion that British Horror had begun in 1956 with Hammer’s The Curse Of Frankenstein. The fact that he had overlooked the same company’s groundbreaking The Quatermass X-periment a year earlier, … [Read more...]