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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    Stephen Jacobs' recent biography of Boris Karloff refers to a Hedda Hopper column from February 1953 which claimed Boris Karloff would return to England to film a Jules Verne story with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. An interesting prospect which never came off, but can our resident P&P experts shed any more light on this, or was it simply Hedda needing to fill a column or two?

  2. #2
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
    Stephen Jacobs' recent biography of Boris Karloff refers to a Hedda Hopper column from February 1953 which claimed Boris Karloff would return to England to film a Jules Verne story with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. An interesting prospect which never came off, but can our resident P&P experts shed any more light on this, or was it simply Hedda needing to fill a column or two?
    It's not one I've heard of and I don't think it's mentioned in Powell's autobiography or the Pressburger biography. It's not on the list of filmes that were considered but never made. I don't suppose Hedda Hopper mentioned which Verne story?

    They were casting around for a new project in 1953. The main aim was to make a film of Ondine with Audrey Hepburn & Mel Ferrer or to do a series of short films, one each about England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland, under the title Bouquet. To be released near the coronation of QEII

    But newspapers used to make up stories back then as well, or base them on the flimsiest evidence

    Steve

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    There's no clue as to which Jules Verne story was being considered, but if the report is true, it's interesting that Powell and Pressburger were thinking along these lines as the vogue for Verne didn't really start until Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea the following year (the release of which may have scuppered P&P's plans).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    Since there is no evidence P&P was considering such a project, and it would have to be in some late stages if Karloff had already been approached, I think it is more likely it was a made up story, not from Hedda Hopper, but from Karloff himself, or rather his press agent. Press agents did that a lot back then, anything to keep their client in the news.

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I do agree that this one sounds like a made up story. But Powell and Pressburger were both very well read gentlemen and would certainly have known all of the major Verne stories. In 1952 they had just about come to the end of all the original stories that they wanted to do together and were looking at quite a few stories by other writers which they could adapt as films

    Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States MonicaMC's Avatar
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    Slightly off topic: anyone here do a fair amount of research or have contacts with respect to Boris Karloff's great-nephew, production designer Anthony Pratt? Pratt has been involved in some impressive productions, such as Neil Jordan's remake of The End of the Affair and Spielburg/Tom Hanks mini-series Band of Brothers.

    He also happens to be a nephew of Gillian Lind, second wife of Cyril Raymond.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    Monica, I recently read Stephen Jacobs' new biography of Boris Karloff which sadly has no reference to Anthony Pratt. The book is well researched, but does not conclude with any clear view as to who Boris Karloff/William Henry Pratt was, which may be the way BK would have wanted it. I've just watched The Criminal Code (1930) and Karloff puts in a superb performance as a vengenceful convict, with no sign of his other well-known horror traits: a personality totally submerged.
    It's interesting that BK continued to write to his brother John as "Billy" throughout his life and, lack of biography clarification notwithstanding, I like to think he would have been proud of his great-nephew's achievements.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: United States MonicaMC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
    Monica, I recently read Stephen Jacobs' new biography of Boris Karloff which sadly has no reference to Anthony Pratt. The book is well researched, but does not conclude with any clear view as to who Boris Karloff/William Henry Pratt was, which may be the way BK would have wanted it. I've just watched The Criminal Code (1930) and Karloff puts in a superb performance as a vengenceful convict, with no sign of his other well-known horror traits: a personality totally submerged.
    It's interesting that BK continued to write to his brother John as "Billy" throughout his life and, lack of biography clarification notwithstanding, I like to think he would have been proud of his great-nephew's achievements.
    Something tells me there may be a good story in the Pratt family somewhere on this. Karloff (if he is the person in question) would have been the first in his family to pursue a career in the arts. If so, he paved the way for Gilly and Anthony Pratt later on.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonicaMC View Post
    Something tells me there may be a good story in the Pratt family somewhere on this. Karloff (if he is the person in question) would have been the first in his family to pursue a career in the arts. If so, he paved the way for Gilly and Anthony Pratt later on.

    Karloff's older brother was an actor (he also changed his name and was known as George Marlowe).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: United States MonicaMC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    Karloff's older brother was an actor (he also changed his name and was known as George Marlowe).
    I learn so much here. The Pratts are beginning to resemble the Barrymores (minus the substance abuse problems).

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