The ever-searching Gary Teetzel has come up with a good one — a YouTube encoding of a vintage English Public Service Spot featuring a welcome celebrity host. As Gary explains:
“Here’s a rarity — a 1946 short subject about road safety, with Peter Cushing addressing the audience as a doctor. His contribution starts about 90 seconds in or so. We expect him to return at the end, but he doesn’t.”
It’s 14 minutes of ‘quality’ filmmaking. A young Alfie Bass is present as well. Cushing’s delivery and voiceover is as polished as ever. Gary’s further comment includes some close observation of the actor’s voice:
“Gee, if they had waited another ten years or so, Peter Cushing could have played the part as Baron Frankenstein, and encouraged the audience to get into accidents to provide him with more spare body parts. But we notice right away that Cushing’s voice is a little different here; it sounds a little thinner, and his diction lacks the crispness and theatricality he would use when playing aristocratic characters like Baron Frankenstein, Van Helsing or Grand Moff Tarkin. It’s maybe just a choice he made as an actor, but consider: The very next year Cushing gets cast in the film Hamlet, and afterward is invited to tour with Laurence Olivier. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Cushing’s crisp, precise, British theatrical diction was polished during his year or so of touring with Sir Larry & Viv.”
We’re definitely playing disc review catch up at CineSavant, with May’s offerings to cover and more good discs arriving every day. In hand and either being written or in the hopper is a tall stack of titles, in no particular order: The boxed set Mexico Macabre: Four Sinister Tales from the Alameda Films Vault 1959-1963; Alexandr Ptushko’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan; Cecil B. DeMille’s The Crusades; the naughty pre-Code Search for Beauty; Fritz Lang’s Kurt Weill drama You and Me; Raoul Walsh’s The Strawberry Blonde and A Lion is In the Streets; Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill; Marcel Ophuls’ Occupation documentary The Sorrow and the Pity.
The bounty continues with the new remasters of Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 animated cartoons; the boxed set From Hollywood to Heaven the Lost and Saved films of the Ormond Family; Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise 4K; Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter 4K; Max Ophuls’ There’s No Tomorrow (Sans lendermain), Robert Aldrich’s Hustle and The Longest Yard 4K; the Anna May Wong Collection, René Clément’s Joy House (Les félins); and three full Film Noir the Dark Side of Cinema collections: XII, XIII and XIV.
For June, we are expecting the earlier restored pre-Code Safe in Hell and are eagerly awaiting Otto Preminger’s Angel Face; Eleanor Parker in Caged; Joan Crawford in The Damned Don’t Cry; Howard Hawks’ Land of the Pharaohs; and John Sturges The Old Man and the Sea.
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson