Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Rank Organization
A Maurice Cowan Production
TURN THE KEY SOFTLY
Starring: Yvonne Mitchell as Monica Marsden, Joan Collins as Stella Jarvis
Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Quilliam, Terence Morgan as David, Thora Hird as Landlady, Dorothy Allison as Joan, Glyn Houston as Bob, Geoffrey Keen as Gregory, Russell Waters as Jenkin, and Clive Morton as Walters.
Screenplay by Jack Lee & Maurice Cowan. From a novel by John Brophy. Music by Mischa Spollansky. Director of Photography, Geoffrey Unsworth. Produced by Maurice Cowan. Directed by Jack Lee
Three very different women are released from prison at the same time. Monica imprisoned for a crime the man she loved committed. Stella fond of men and what they can give her! Mrs. Quilliam old enough to know better, but with a petty shoplifting record and a hungry mouth to feed. Over the twelve hours following their release, they must face many temptations that may see them back behind prison walls. They must thread carefully and try to Turn The Key Softly!
© 1953 Rank. 81 Mins B/W REG 0 DVD AMCO.
“Turn the Key Softly” is another of Joan’s films that casts her as a wayward woman. Joan plays a West End prostitute who is trying to get out of the profession to marry her bus driver boyfriend Bob and move to Cannenbury. Shot on location in London in the middle of winter, Joan spent her days freezing in her far-from-winter wardrobe. She had to wear the traditional tarts outfit of tight black satin skirt, with a flimsy low-cut lurex sweater. She then had to go home exhausted and attempt to cook dinner for her then husband Maxwell Reed, who’s raging moods and occasional episodes of flinging her less-than-gourmet cooking at the walls of their Mayfair flat, not to mention having to share it with Max’s pet monkey! But she was beginning to get noticed by the press, who were featuring her so often that she was crowned Miss Press Clippings of 1952 and accepted her award by the Hollywood actor Forrest Tucker. One press photo used to publicise “Turn the Key Softly” showed so much cleavage that the paper got letters of outrage. Joan was still unhappy with her roles, as she continued to get the “Coffee Bar Jezebel” parts. She had auditioned for the role of Monica that finally went to Yvonne Mitchell, but had to settle for the part of Stella. The film’s opening scenes were shot on location in Holloway’s women’s prison. The film has very likeable characters and show’s a slice of London life in a bygone era.
The film received good reviews, including from The New York Times:
“Turn The Key Softly,” is pointedly realistic of its examination of the short courses of the lives of three ladies of varying degrees, after they have left London’s Holloway prison. While not precisely on a heroic scale, the producers have endowed the proceedings with compassion, sensitivity and a modicum of irony. Credit Jack Lee, the director and Maurice Cowan, the producer, who also collaborated on the script, with keeping their heroines on the move, without snarling the traffic in tales. Joan Collins is properly lush and brassy as the cockney charmer who almost, but not quite, reverts to her gay way of life!”
© 2010 Mark McMorrow
Sunday, January 31, 2010
An RKO Pictures Release
Starring: Joan Fontaine as Fiametta, Bartolomea, Ginevra, Isabella; Louis Jourdan as Boccaccio, Paganino, Guilio, Bertrando; and Joan Collins as Pampinea, Maria.
Binnie Barnes as Contessa, Countess of Florence, Witch; Godfrey Tearle as Ricciado, Bernabo; Elliot Makeham as Govenor of Majorca; Noel Purcell as Father Francisco; Marjorie Rhodes as Signora Bucca; Stella Riley, Mara Lane, and Melissa Stribling as Three Girls in the Villa.
Screenplay by George Oppenheimer Based on a treatment by Geza Herczeg. Edited by Russell Lloyd. Director of Photography - Guy Green B.S.C. Music by Anthony Hopkins, Associate Producer Montagu Mar
ks. Produced by M.J. Frankovich & William Szekely. Directed by Hugo Fregonese
Giovanni Boccaccio’s bawdy tales brought to the screen in 50’s Technicolor! Louis Jourdan plays Boccaccio who tells three tales to try and woo his love, Fiametta. “Paganino The Pirate,” tells of a young wife, married to a much older man who teaches her inattentive husband a lesson! “Wager On Virtue,” features an elderly merchant who believes his young wife is cheating on him. “The Doctors Daughter,” when Bertrando saves the life of a female doctor, Isabella, she falls in love with him and by orders of the king, he has to marry her! The love tales that millions have enjoyed are all in Decameron nights!
Released in 1953, this was Joan’s first American produced film, shot on location in Madrid and Segovia, the film took two years to plan and research. Publicity cited the film as having a cast of 2,200! The Spanish government loaned the makers an exact replica of the “Santa Maria,” Christopher Columbus’ famous vessel used in his voyage to discover America. The film’s co-star Binnie Barnes, married to the producer Mike Frankovich, also served as assistant producer on the film. In fifties Spain, items like makeup, eyelashes, lipstick brushes and hair glue for wigs, were very scarce. Binnie made several round trips from various Spanish locations to London to pick up such items! Joan recalled that the director Hugo Fregonese was a cold man and had no great feeling for his cast. Fregonese’s wife, the fifties star Faith Domerque acted as one of nine interpreters on the internationally cast film. According to Joan, the hotel in which the cast resided during the shoot, resembled a doss house and she recalled that Segovia was filthy. Joan later referred to her role as “A mischievous minx of a lady in waiting.”
Gossip at the time claimed that Joan was almost arrested for wearing tight jeans on the street in Spain! How times have changed! Incidently, Joan Fontaine later starred with Joan in “Island in the Sun”, and co-star Godfrey Tearle played Mr. Dove in Joan’s previous film “I Believe in You.” Decameron Nights probably seemed bawdy at the time of it’s release, viewed today it is very tame with some good locations and photography and a good cast.
Joan plays two roles in the film, like many of the main cast. Her main role as the young Pampinea, who has designs on the older Boccacio, who only has eyes for Fiametta. Joan is eager in the role and conveys both innocence and sultriness. The bulk of the film’s running time is concerned with the three tales told by Boccaccio and Fiametta, and as always everything has a happy ending!
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times reviewed the film 1953:
Even though M.J. Frankovich and William Szekely, dared at least to rush in where other film-makers have feared to tread, by taking the bawdy tales of Italian courtier, Boccaccio and making a motion picture that would vaguely embrace the salty themes of marital discontent and indiscretion, contained in the great “Decameron”. This big Technicolor panorama, is a tame and generally witless trifling with the materials of naughtiness, lacking completely the vitality and the trenchant comments of the original. Jourdan’s performance consists almost entirely in looking handsome and roguish in bright costumes, while Fontaine behaves all coquettish and throwing lady-like leers. Binnie Barnes, whips about without any point or purpose and Joan Collins and Godfrey Tearle are present in lesser roles.
© 2010 Mark McMorrow
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The J. ARTHUR RANK ORGANISATION
An Ealing Studios FilmI BELIEVE IN YOUStarring: Celia Johnson as Miss Mattie; Cecil Parker as Mr. Phipps;Godfrey Tearle; Harry Fowler; George Relph; Laurence Harvey; Ada Reeves; Ursula Howells Sidney James; Gladys Henson; Ernest Jay; and Katie Johnson
And Joan Collins as Norma Hart
Screenplay by Jack Whittingham / Michael Ralph / Basil Dearden; From the novel “ Court Circular” by Sewell Stokes; Music by Ernest Irving Dir of Photography - Gordon Dines; Produced and Directed by Michael Ralph & Basil Dearden.
Mr. Phipps (Parker) is enjoying a quiet life when trouble lands on his doorstep. Norma Hart (Joan), a wayward teenager on probation is involved in a robbery that ends in a joy ride crash. She seeks refuge in his building, and he takes her in. Phipps calls her probation officer Miss Matteson (Johnson) and thus begins his interests in the profession. Phipps takes on the job of probation officer and begins to see the other side of London life. He becomes friendly with Miss Matteson, and both their charges Norma and Hooker (Fowler), become romantically involved and vow to go straight and get married. After a series of events that almost sees them both back in court, they manage to keep out of trouble with the help of Phipps and Mattie and stay on course for marriage. "I Believe In You": Where a little guidance goes a long way. Where the older are certainly the wiser!
© 1952 J . ARTHUR RANK ORGANISATION 95MINS B/W
This was Joan’s first major role, and she had to do three screen tests before finally receiving a telegram while on holiday in Cannes, telling her she had won the part. Joan recalled that costumes for the film were found whilst trawling around London’s east end second hand shops! Joan earned £30 a week for her eight week shoot in the role as Norma.
The critics gave Joan strong reviews:
Jympson Harmon, wrote:
Joan Collins makes a tremendous impression as the wayward girl. She has a dark, luscious kind of beauty, which puts her in the Jane Russell class, but Joan already seems to be an actress of greater ability. On the showing of this first big film part, she looks like the most impressive recruit in British films for many a moon!
News Of The World raved:
A dozen of my darkest red roses to Joan Collins! Fire and spirit in her acting and that odd combination of allure and mystery that spells eventual world stardom!
After completing the film, Joan appeared in several plays including "The Seventh Veil"and "Jassy" with her soon-to-be husband, Maxwell Reed. Other plays included "Claudia and David" and "The Skin of Our Teeth." After the success of the film, Joan was signed to a five year contract with Rank.
Variety said of Joan:
Joan Collins turns in a strong dramatic performance.
The film is filled with weird and wonderful characters and familiar British film favourites, including Sidney James and Ursula Howells. Joan plays the part of Norma with both defiance and innocence. The role is similar to that of Lil in "Judgment Deferred" and later Stella in "Turn the Key Softly," and Rene in "Cosh Boy." Thus earning her the label of "Coffee Bar Jezebel" and "Britain’s Bad Girl."
One of her co-stars in the film is Laurence Harvey, one of Joan’s best friends off set who later appeared with her in "The Good Die Young."
A New York Times review from 1952 read:
I Believe In You is a largely placid resemblance of things past, but it shines with understanding and is a warm and adult adventure, which pins deserving medals on unsung heroes, without heroics.
Joan Collins, a comparative newcomer, is pretty and provocative as the fiery Norma, who finds in her a healthy love for Hooker, the answer to her problems. Although it rarely becomes impassioned, the film is a credible, satisfying and illuminating view of what generally is a dark scene! Nevertheless, viewed today it is still an enjoyable slice of a bygone day!
The film's star, Celia Johnson, was nominated for a BAFTA award for her performance as Best Actress in a leading role. But, the award went to Vivien Leigh for A Streetcar Named Desire.
© 2010 Mark Mc Morrow
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The thespian wrote and directed the black and white picture, about an amateur theatre group attempting to stage Hamlet at Christmas, in 1995, and paid for the movie himself with the revenue he had recouped from his big screen take of Frankenstein. After selling the low-budget movie to a studio at a profit, Branagh decided to share out the wealth with his cast and crew in an unconventional way - by handing out pay cheques at the film's screening.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Presents a Leslie Arliss-Bow Bells Production
Starring Cathy O’Donnell, Lois Maxwell, Claude Farell, and Edward Underdown. With Peter Reynolds, Marjorie Fielding, Isabel Dean, Anthony Nicholls, John Bentley, and Olaf Poole
and Joan Collins as Marina
Screenplay by Leslie Arliss. Adapted by Diana Morgan. Music by Robert Gill & Mabbie Poole Produced by Walter Mycroft. Director of Photography: Erwin Hillier. Directed by Leslie Arliss.
Robert Mansell is seeking a divorce from his wife Enid. During the divorce proceedings and a series of flashbacks, we discover that Robert has had dalliances with two other women. Nina a woman he met while on a vacation at a ski resort with his mistress Delsya, a famous ballerina. Will Enid give Robert his divorce? Will Delsya insist he go off with her? Will Nina finally get her man? Find out in “The Woman’s Angle”. See Joan Collins as a Greek maid!
Viewed today, it is ideal Saturday matinee fodder. It’s only redeeming feature for us is an early glimpse of Joan who we now know went on to greater things and a fabulous, enduring career. The same can't be said of the other members of the cast, apart from Lois Maxwell, who will be forever associated with her role of Miss Moneypenny in the iconic James Bond movie series. Joan was paid fifty pounds for her two day stint at Elstree studios. On it’s release in the USA in 1954, it was slated by NY Times critic, Bosley Crowther, who wrote.“ The Woman’s Angle, a baffling little British exercise on the subject of masculine behaviour. It is also a mildly vexing picture, a grim little sample of bad writing, bad acting and bad directing all around”. © 1952 ABP LTD.
© 2010 Mark Mc Morrow
Monday, January 4, 2010
A London Films Release
Directed by Frank Launder; Photographed by Wilkie Cooper Music by William Alwyn; Written by Frank Launder & Val Valentine.
Made in 1951 and produced by the legendary British duo of Sydney Gilliat and Frank Launder, “Lady Godiva Rides Again” is classic British movie making in the Ealing tradition. It was also directed by Frank Launder and features many familiar faces including Dora Bryan and Sidney James alongside future stars Jean Marsh Dana Wynter and, of course, Joan Collins! Even though the film’s leading lady Pauline Strouds career in movies sank into oblivion, its lesser featured lady Joan Collins went on to a lengthy career and an entertainment legend!
© 2009 Mark McMorrow
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Hello fellow fans! I am so delighted to be able to share my admiration and appreciation for the career and our living legend: Joan Collins. I do hope you enjoy reading my brand new weekly column on the Joan Collins Fan Club Blog. I will cover, in time, all of Joan’s film roles and later on her TV guest appearances, of which there are many. Starting off with her first film “Lady Godiva Rides Again”, up to at present “Banksy’s Coming to Dinner.”
I am proud to have been a fan of Joan’s since the late 70’s, before the advent of “Dynasty.” Whilst many fans have savoured her role as the eternally glamorous--if not treacherous--Alexis Carrington, I have enjoyed all her varied film roles and television work. My parents were fans of Joan’s as they enjoyed her in her films from the 50’s to the 70’s and have memories of going to the cinema with them to see the epic “Empire of the Ants.” When Joan joined “Dynasty,” I was fully aware of her as an actress and became an even bigger admirer. It was after meeting her for the first time in 1989, (when she came to Dublin for a book signing, for her first novel “Prime Time”), that I began collecting clippings and her books and eventually all her films and TV work, followed by hundreds of photos and memorabilia of all kinds connected with her many ventures.
Hopefully over time I can share many of them with you all! I am so glad that we have a new Official Joan Collins Fan Club and that Joan continues to keep active in her career and remains as vital and as busy as ever in this fickle world of entertainment.
Hope you all enjoy the blog and have a great 2010!
Mark McMorrow, Ireland
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Jennifer Jacobs: Jennifer is wearing a posh ensemble directly off the runway of New York's hot Phi collection by Andreas Melbostad. Her super powers include: fashion and design.