December at the Movie Morlocks

cc38 Links to my December 2014 posts at the TCM’s Movie Morlocks:

Holiday Greetings from The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come!
Excerpt: “Dickens’ novella was first conceived as a political pamphlet designed to arouse the public’s compassion for the plight of the poor but to his credit, the writer realized his strength was in storytelling so instead of hammering out a straightforward screed against social injustice he wrote a ghost story that would haunt sympathetic readers for more than a century. A Christmas Carol has been adapted for the screen many times beginning with a number of short silent films and most recently as a 3D animated feature produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The 1938 version tends to get overlooked in the glut of screening options available and it’s also burdened by the fact that the late great Lionel Barrymore was supposed to star as Scrooge but was eventually replaced by Reginald Owen due to serious health concerns that had left him wheelchair bound. Critics have cited its gentle nature and point out that many of the darker elements of Dickens’ original story were removed in order to make the film more family friendly but that dismissal overlooks the fact that the 1938 MGM production contains one of the most frightening and disturbing filmed encounters with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. And for that reason, as well as others, it’s a movie well worth recommending.”

“Discover a savage world whose only law was lust!”
Excerpt: “Today TCM is airing a batch of great fantasy and adventure films produced by Hammer starring some of the studio’s most memorable leading ladies including the exotic brunette beauty Martine Beswick in PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1967), blond bombshell, Ursula Andress in SHE (1965) and the ravishing redhead, Raquel Welch in ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966). ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. is undoubtedly the most popular and widely seen film of the bunch thanks to a lucrative distribution deal with 20th Century Fox and financing from Seven Arts Productions that allowed Hammer to hire the up-and-coming Welch and procure the services of special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen. The bigger budget for ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. also allowed Hammer to shoot the film on the exotic Canary Islands where the rocky volcanic landscape and lush beachfronts made for a surprisingly believable primordial setting. The plot was based on the similarly titled 1940 Hal Roach film starring Victor Mature, Lon Chaney Jr. and Carole Landis that was nominated for a number of Academy Awards. The Hammer remake didn’t receive any award nominations but it did become the studio’s most commercially successful film and it made Raquel Welch an international star.”

The Wonderful World of Disney Comes to TCM
Excerpt: “As a kid growing up in 1970s my Sunday nights revolved around The Wonderful World of Disney. It was my cherished respite before the much dreaded school week began and I savored every last minute spent in front of the family television set. At the time, residents in the San Francisco Bay Area where I was born and mostly raised, only had access to 10 or 12 available channels to choose from and many of those were locally run and operated. There were no video stores renting movies in those days and the idea of streaming films directly into your own home was merely a faraway fantasy. In these limited environs, The Wonderful World of Disney offered kids and adults of all ages a surprisingly diverse and family friendly smorgasbord of programming that included animated and live action films, nature documentaries, educational shorts and special broadcasts made especially for television. Much to my delight, Turner Classic Movies has recently teamed-up with The Walt Disney Studios for a new on-going program called Treasures from the Disney Vault hosted by Ben Mankiewicz and film critic Leonard Maltin that’s making its debut this coming Sunday night on December 21st. TCM’s impressive 8-hour block of television is a throwback to The Wonderful World of Disney of my childhood and I hope it will introduce a new generation to the wonderful treasures hidden deep within the vaults of the Disney Studios.”

Celebrate Like the Stars
“There are some universal truths in life that we can probably all agree on. The world is round. Cary Grant looks damn good in a suit. Washington, D.C. is the capitol of the United States. And classic Hollywood sure liked to drink. The bottled spirits flowed freely in movies made from the silent era, through the Prohibition and well into the 1970s. So freely in fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find an adult film that didn’t show a scene of someone drinking, refer to booze or offer a glimpse of something vaguely referencing the sauce that seemed to keep Hollywood running. It may have just been a bottle of empty scotch placed casually in the background of a scene or a six-pack of beer spotted in an open fridge. There’s just no denying that many of our favorite film performers regularly shared bottles of the bubbly (and not so bubbly) on screen but this love of liquor also continued off-screen.The recently published book, Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History by Mark Bailey, offers readers an interesting look into the drinking habits of some of Hollywood’s most beloved and recognizable stars including Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn. To celebrate the holidays I thought I’d share a few cocktail recipes from the book that you can make at home.”

Advertisements

October & November at the Movie Morlocks

SORCERORSLinks to my posts at the TCM’s Movie Morlocks October – November.

Ghost Stories: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)
Excerpt: “THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is often referred to as an “Abbott and Costello movie for people who don’t like Abbott and Costello” but as a fan of the comic duo I find that proclamation a bit off base. The film does distinguish itself from the popular formula pictures they made during this period that often contained well-honed routines and the two funny men don’t exchange much direct dialogue but it still contains the same kind of slapstick humor and fast-paced jokes that made them one of the most beloved comedy teams in Hollywood during the 1940s.”

Freak Shows: Come one, come all to the Scariest Show On Earth!
Excerpt: “The award-winning horror anthology’s latest incarnation is called FREAK SHOW and it’s set in Florida during the 1950s at a circus sideshow where strange goings-on take place in and outside of the Big Top. The show’s creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, have admitted in recent interviews that they found inspiration for the new season in two classic horror films, Tod Browning’s FREAKS (1932) and Herk Harvey’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962) but circuses and carnivals have long been a staple of horror cinema and director Tod Browning used the sideshow as a setting for numerous uncanny films before he made FREAKS. With Shocktober upon us it seems as good a time as any to showcase some of my favorite horrific or just plain odd and unusual films with scary clowns and sideshow performers that paved the way for AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW.”

Aaahoo! She-Wolf of London (1946)
Excerpt: “What I really appreciate about this short 61 minute movie is its unique female protagonists as well as its low-key shocks that only register after you’ve had time to digest the film’s streamlined plot. The four most interesting characters in SHE-WOLF OF LONDON, include Phyllis, her aunt Martha as well as her female cousin and the quietly lurking housekeeper Hannah (Eily Malyon). The men in the movie are merely romantic love interests, victims of the werewolf (the beast doesn’t kill any women) or hapless police investigators who do very little to move the plot along, which must have puzzled some viewers who were expecting the men to take control of the situation and save the day. In most Universal monster movies that’s exactly what they’d typically do but this isn’t a typical monster movie.”

Mummy Dearest
Excerpt: “Hammer Films produced four Mummy movies between 1959 and 1971 and this coming Saturday (Oct. 25th) TCM is airing one of my favorites, Seth Holt’s BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971). This unabashedly sexy horror extravaganza was the last Mummy movie produced by the ‘Studio that Dripped Blood’ and thanks to a great cast and some creative directing choices it turned out to be one of their best. But before it reached the screen the production was plagued by some serious setbacks that seemed to resemble the effects of a ‘mummy’s curse’ that’s often associated with doomed adventure seekers and tomb raiders. Was it just circumstance and bad luck or did something supernatural interfere with the making of the film? Read on to find out!”

Halloween Viewing Recommendations with a Feminine Touch
Excerpt: “…I decided to ask some of my favorite female film journalists who also happen to be fellow horror devotees to join me in recommending one movie from TCM’s Halloween line-up for your viewing pleasure. I think you’ll enjoy our enthusiastic endorsements but you might want to approach them with caution. A few contain minor spoilers along with some surprising scares but I hope that won’t stop you from joining us in celebrating Halloween with TCM. Demonic monsters, scary chauffeurs and axe-wielding killers are just a few of the shocking thrills that await you!”

Mind Over Matter: THE SORCERERS (1967)
Excerpt: “Since Michael Reeves unfortunate death in 1969 at the age of 25, the British director’s life has become the stuff of cinematic legend. His reputation as a sort of Byronic hero who challenged the British film establishment was secured when he died much too young due to an accidental drug overdose leaving behind just a handful of low-budget horror films that attained cult status in subsequent years. His distinct talent and the ephemeral nature of his work have led many of Reeve’s colleagues and admirers to speculate on the direction his career might have taken if he had lived longer and it’s not uncommon to see his name mentioned along with better known British filmmakers who also dealt with controversial material including Michael Powell and Ken Russell. Reeves’ bone-chilling WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1969), which explored the brutality of the witch hunts in England during the 17th century, is often cited as one of the greatest and most gruesome horror films produced during the 1960s but his most intimate and introspective film might be THE SORCERERS (1967).”

Artist, Activist & Star-Maker: Photographer Eliot Elisofon
Excerpt: “When I first started writing about Hollywood glamor photography here at the Movie Morlocks, one of the photographers I was particularly keen on featuring was Eliot Elisofon. His captivating images of numerous Hollywood stars have mesmerized me for decades but back in 2010 there was very little information about the man available online. This year that changed significantly thanks to the Smithsonian museum, which launched the first retrospective of Elisofon’s photography at the National Museum of African Art.”

10 Things You Might Not Know About Rod Taylor
Excerpt: “I’ve always liked Rod Taylor. The broad shouldered, barrel-chested actor with a booming voice is intimidating on screen but there’s a warmth in his smile that’s undeniably inviting. He was universally good in every film genre he took part in and made the challenging transition from serious drama to action movies, thrillers and romantic comedies seem effortless. He was at home in military fatigues or a three piece suit and that breadth and depth of character makes him extremely fun to watch. Tonight TCM viewers can tune in and catch Taylor in a few of his best films including THE BIRDS (1963), THE TIME MACHINE (1960), DARK OF THE SUN (1968), SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963) and HOTEL (1967) so it seemed like a good time to share some of the interesting facts I recently discovered about him after reading Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood.”

Spies, Frankenstein & . . . Sports?!

I’m afraid that I’ve been too busy and preoccupied with home renovations, family matters and work to updated Cinebeats regularly. Most of my film writing is done at The Movie Morlocks now so it often seems redundant to re-post links to everything here. If you want to keep track of my weekly activities on a consistent basis you should probably add The Movie Morlocks to your news feed or bookmark the site for future reference. In the meantime here are some links to various posts I’ve recently written and hopefully I’ll get back on top of updating Cinebeats soon.


Last month I continued my ongoing Spy Games series with a look at Robert Hossein’s French thriller DOUBLE AGENTS (aka La nuit des espions) – Spy Games: Double Agents (1959).


To celebrate the 2012 Olympic games currently taking place in London I hosted this lively symposium on sports films – Winning Isn’t Everything: A Sports Movie Symposium.


My regular readers known how much I love writing about the Hammer Glamour girls and after recently rewatching Susan Denberg in Terence Fisher’s FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967) I couldn’t resist compiling a post about her and the film – Franknestein Created Susan Denberg.

Interview with Marcus Hearn

This week I interviewed Official Hammer Films Historian, Marcus Hearn about his new book The Hammer Vault: Treasures From the Archive of Hammer Films for TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog. We discussed many topics including Hammer’s enduring legacy and their upcoming adaptation of THE WOMAN IN BLACK, which is scheduled for release in February of 2012. Follow the link below to read the interview:
Hammer’s Enduring Legacy: An Interview with Marcus Hearn

Jacqueline Susann’s Love Machine (1971)

The Love Machine (1971)

The Love Machine (1971)

The Love Machine (1971)

The Love Machine (1971)

I recently got the chance to review the Warner Archive DVD release of THE LOVE MACHINE (1971) based on Jacqueline “Valley of the Dolls” Susann’s book and naturally I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve mentioned the film at Cinebeats before during my farewell post to John Phillip Law, which was written after he passed away in 2008. I think it’s a great film so I went to bat for it at the Movie Morlocks this week. It’s not an easy movie to recommend. It’s been mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000, bashed by an endless parade of critics over the years and celebrated as a kitsch classic worthy of cult camp status and not much else, but I think it’s got more to offer than unintentional laughs. Few films feature three leading men that I absolutely love (John Phillip Law, Robert Ryan AND David Hemmings!) as well as Hammer glamour girls, Mary and Madeleine Collinson (TWINS OF EVIL), Anitra Ford (INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS) and ’60s beauty icon Lynda Moran just to name a few of the lovely ladies in this film. THE LOVE MACHINE also contains lots of fabulous ’70s fashions, plus stylish decor by the likes of Burke and inspired by designer Eero Saarinen. Do I need to say anymore? If you’re a Cinebeats’ reader chances are you’re going to enjoy this film as much as I do. An excerpt from my post:

“Taken seriously, THE LOVE MACHINE could be seen as an interesting predecessor to NETWORK (1976), which depicted the drama unfolding in the boardrooms and backrooms of high-powered television networks. The film also smartly critiques our blind fascination with popular news personalities who often manipulate the public trust for their own gain. Like Mark Robson, who adapted VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, director Jack Haley Jr. was obviously inspired by filmmakers like John M. Stahl and Douglas Sirk who created shrewd and stylish melodramas in the 1940s and ‘50s such as MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. And although I wouldn’t categorize THE LOVE MACHINE as a “woman’s picture” it was based on a woman’s novel that appealed to a large female audience. As a period piece, THE LOVE MACHINE is an unusual time capsule. It’s of its time and yet totally outside it. But as pure entertainment I think it has lots of visual interest and an oddly involving (and at times convoluted) plot. However you decided to approach the film, I think it makes for some unforgettable viewing.”

You can find my full post about THE LOVE MACHINE at The Movie Morlocks:
Jacqueline Susann’s The Love Machine @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

I also created a Flickr Gallery for THE LOVE MACHINE that you can view here.

Remembering Ingrid Pitt 1937-2010

ingridpitt

Hammer Glamour girl, Ingrid Pitt has suddenly passed away at age 73 due to heart failure. Her unexpected death took me by surprise and my condolences go out to her friends and family.

One of my fondest blogging memories occurred in 2007. After writing up a brief birthday tribute for Ingrid Pitt and receiving a few comments from other fans, the actress herself stopped by my blog and left me a note (still posted there) in which she said:

“Mind-blowing! It really is wonderful to have so many people wishing me good fortune as I enter the ranks of the septuagenarians. I’m only sorry I didn’t find this site earlier so that I could thank you all.”

I was stunned and absolutely thrilled that the actress took the time to read and respond to my blog post. Her generous nature was made more apparent when we exchanged a few brief emails after she left her comment. I was rather star struck because as I mentioned in my birthday tribute to the actress, Ingrid Pitt has always been one of my favorite Hammer Glamour girls. Her bold, sassy and uninhibited nature came across in every Hammer film she was in and she never shied away from her past or made excuses for appearing in horror films. Ingrid embraced her history and celebrated it. She was proud of her roles in movies like The Vampire Lovers (1970), Countess Dracula (1971), The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973). And of course she should be. Her beauty, brains and sense of humor shouldn’t be underestimated. Ingrid Pitt was the real “bad girl” of Hammer studio and and her edgy performances often dominated the movies she was in. She could be extremely seductive but unlike countless other onscreen beauties that have bared their fangs for the camera, Ingrid also knew how to generate fear.

I’m incredibly thankful that Ingrid took the time to contact me because it gave me the opportunity to tell her how much I admired her and appreciated her work. She was a very special lady and she’ll be sincerely missed.

Recommended Links:
BBC News Obituary: Hammer horror actress Ingrid Pitt dies aged 73
Pitt of Horror (Ingrid Pitt’s Official Site)
Ingrid Pitt’s Film Column @ Den of Geek
Hammer Films (Official Site)

A Little Night Music with Caroline Munro

cmpuppy2

Hammer Glamour girl Caroline Munro turned heads in the 1970s appearing in a number of noteworthy horror films including The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) as well as popular genre films such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), At the Earth’s Core (1976) and the James Bond feature The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Her “girl next door” sex appeal and sassy screen persona has gained Caroline a cult following over the years that even led to the making of a documentary about the actress called Caroline Munro: First Lady of Fantasy (2004) but some of my earliest memories of Caroline are linked to the music she recorded in the ’80s and the videos she appeared in.

Who can forget Caroline’s sexy bedroom dance with Adam Ant in the “Goody Two Shoes” (1982) music video? It’s definitely one of my favorite music video moments from the ’80s! I liked the video so much that I even tried to emulate Caroline’s hairstyle in it when I was a teenager. Caroline Munro also recorded a single with Gary Numan in 1984 titled “Pump Me Up” that didn’t get much play in the US but found a small audience in Europe.

Top: Caroline dances with Adam Ant in the video for “Goody Two Shoes” (1982)
Bottom: Caroline sings “Pump Me Up”  with Gary Numan (1984)

Before Caroline ever appeared in any films or music videos she recorded a two song demo way back in 1967. She was only 17-years-old when she tried to break into the music biz but she eventually focused on modeling and acting.

I first learned about Caroline’s early music career thanks to The World of Hammer Glamour site which mentioned that she had recorded a single called “Tar and Cement” but in the last few years I’ve learned a little bit more about the actress’s first single.

Back in December of 2007 I posted a lengthy look at the musical career of British actor Richard Harris that I titled Richard Harris Sings. In that piece I briefly discussed the Al Martino song “Here In My Heart” that Harris sang during the film This Sporting Life (1963). I had read that Harris recorded a copy of “Here In My Heart” so I spent some time trying to track down the recording and in the process I stumbled across a great site focused on Caroline Munro’s musical career.

At the site there is a lengthy article about Caroline’s early recordings including her first single “Tar and Cement” that features a song called “This Sporting Life” as a b-side. In the article the writer mistakenly credits soundtrack composer Roberto Gerhard for writing the song. Although the b-side of Munro’s first single and the Richard Harris film share the same title, the song that she actually recorded is an old blues standard originally written by Brownie McGhee in the 1930s called “Sporting Life Blues.” Over the years “Sporting Life Blues” has been rearranged, retitled and recorded by a number of different artists including the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group, Ian Whitcomb, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

cmad
Top: Caroline in Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Caroline Munro’s version of “Sporting Life Blues” is simply called “This Sporting Life” and the arrangement can be traced to the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group. A similar arrangement was recorded by Ian Whitcomb in 1965 and Whitecomb’s version of the song became extremely popular in the mid ’60s. I wouldn’t be surprised if 17-year-old Munro was a fan of Whitcomb’s version of the song since it probably inspired her own recording. Munro’s interpretation of “This Sporting Life” can be found on the British CD compilation Dream Babes, Vol. 2: Reflections and the arrangement is credited to the renowned producer and composer Mark Wirtz. It also features some impressive backing musicians including Eric Clapton, Steve Howe, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.

Caroline Munro’s vocals on “This Sporting Life” are not the tracks strongest element but for a first recording by an inexperienced 17-year-old I think she shows a lot of promise. There’s something really sweet, sentimental and genuinely appealing about her interpretation of this bluesy rock song from 1967. For fun I thought I’d share Caroline’s recording of the song here so other Hammer Glamour fans can enjoy it:

Caroline Munro – “This Sporting Life” (1967)
w/ Eric Clapton, Steve Howe (from Yes) and Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker (from Cream)

To find out more about Caroline’s recent activities visit The Official Website of Caroline Munro.

Gimme Gimme Glamour!

hamglamban

I didn’t get the opportunity to write about all the films and actress I wanted to cover during my previously announced Hammer Glamour Week so I’ve decided to extend it through the month of December. I’ll be posting about other topics as well since there’s a a few more things I want to share here before the end of the year including a final “Modern Monday” that will list all my favorite films of the past decade. In the meantime you can expect to see more Hammer and more Glamour here at Cinebeats.

In other news . . .

I recently created a Tumblr account where I can share vintage fashion images, videos and whatever crosses my path. If you visit me at Flickr you’re probably well aware of the fashion images I’ve been collecting there for years so I figured I might as well make use of them. I can’t promise any regular updates but I will post random stuff there whenever the inspiration strikes. Visit: Fashion Flashback @ http://fashionflashback.tumblr.com/

She Who Must Be Obeyed

uandressshe
Ursula Andress in She (1965)

My favorite moment in She (1965) occurs about 90 minutes into the movie when Ursula Andress glides by Peter Cushing playing Professor Holy and Bernard Cribbins as his aspiring man servant Job. Cushing declares “By Jove!” at the sight of Ursula and Cribbins turns to his costar and utters the line, “They just don’t make them like that anymore, sir.” It’s a funny toss away line but it sums up the way I feel about all the women who populated Hammer films throughout the studio’s history. They just don’t make them like that anymore.

In Marcus Hearn’s new Hammer Glamour book he quotes the chairman of Hammer studio James Carreras from an old interview. In the interview Carreras is asked what he looks for when hiring an actress for a role. He answered that she needed “A good face and figure, of course. But it’s more than that; she has to have a special kind of magnetism. I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.”

I think that certain “je ne sais quoi” is what really separates the stable of Hammer actresses from today’s aspiring scream queens. The glamourous women that populated Hammer films seemed to have a kind of natural charisma that’s hard to come by. Many of the women were conventionally beautiful but they often had an original look, a sincerity, charm or acting skills that separated them from the pack. Ursula Andress had power and intensity. She was a stunning beauty but she appeared to be unafraid, independent, confident and a little dangerous in ways that can be both intimidating and incredibly alluring. These qualities made Ursula the perfect candidate to play Ayesha or “She That Must Be Obeyed” in Hammer’s fantasy epic.

She was Hammer’s big-budget adaptation of H. Rider Haggard classic novel of the same name. It tells the strange tale of three British travelers, Professor Holy (Peter Cushing), Job (Bernard Cribbins) and Leo (John Richardson) who come in contact with an immortal Queen called Ayesha (Ursula Andress) or “She That Must Be Obeyed.” Ayesha ruthlessly rules over her subjects and she believes Leo is the reincarnation of her long dead lover Kallikrates that she killed in a jealous rage centuries ago. After luring the three men to her kingdom with the help of her servant Billali (Christopher Lee), Ayesha tries to convince Leo to become immortal and rule by her side. Things get complicated when a rebellious uprising threatens to destroy everything that Ayesha holds dear.

H. Rider Haggard’s 1886 novel was filmed twice before in 1925 as a silent movie and in 1935. The 1935 film adaptation of She was nominated for an Oscar and apparently inspired many other adventure films with it’s striking set designs. Hammer’s 1965 film version of She was not nominated for any Oscars but it was one of the studios most expensive productions and it was also the first Hammer film built around a female star. The movie is rather faithful to H. Rider Haggard’s original story but it seems to lack the esoteric undertones that I personally found so interesting in the book as well as the emotional punch and character development. Hammer’s film also suffers from the dull performance of it’s male lead John Richardson who is never able to make the character of Leo convincing. Director Robert Day does a good job with the material and makes some smart directing and editing choices but the film seems a bit erratic at times. The exciting moments and inspired direction in one scene can become diminished by the static look of the next. The film also doesn’t shy away from ethnic stereotypes that can be found in the original novel but the “noble savages” in She do an admirable job with their limited roles. The movie does boast some impressive special effects and sets for the time that really help make She one of Hammer’s best looking and most enjoyable adventure movies.
she2

Peter Cushing is very good as Professor Holy and he brings his usual gravitas and class to the film. I also think Christopher Lee is effective as the devious Billali and Bernard Cribbins is great in his small but very funny role as Job. Rosenda Monteros also appears in the movie but she’s rather forgettable as the “other woman” trying to win Leo’s affection. The star of She is Ursula Andress but her seductive, cold and unearthly performance in the film occasionally seems at odds with her character. She doesn’t have a lot of chemistry with her male love interest in the movie (the bland John Richardson) and the script lacks passion. Ursula was reluctant to play Ayesha and has often complained about her role in the movie over the years. Her dissatisfaction seems to come across on screen but I think Andress should be credited for helping to keep the movie interesting. She subtly embodies the character of Ayesha in a way that a lessor actress could never manage. Her performance also benefits from the talented cinematographer Harry Waxman who photographed the actress beautifully throughout the film. Ursula seems to glow and shimmer on screen thanks to Waxman’s camera work.

Ursula Andress’ first real break out role was in the hugely popular James Bond feature Dr. No (1962). Her infamous bikini scene as Honey Ryder in Dr. No made the 25-year-old actress a household name. When Hammer decided to adapt H. Rider Haggard’s novel for the screen they needed an actress who could generate ticket sales and bring an otherworldly beauty and glamour to their film. Ursula fit the bill perfectly. The statuesque beauty was born to German and Swiss parents and raised in Europe. Her international appeal has made her a lot of fans all over the world but her thick accent seemed to get in the way of her career. Directors and studio executives often thought her speaking voice was just too exotic to appeal to an English speaking audience so Ursula’s voice was dubbed in Dr. No as well as She. I think Hammer made a wise decision to cast Ursula Andress in She but their choice to dub the actress is questionable and may be part of the film’s problem. Her natural voice could have brought a little more flair to the character of Ayesha and we wouldn’t have to second guess her performance in the film. While I was recently watching She again I kept getting distracted by the occasionally awkward dub job.

After Ursula Andress made She the actress appeared in many terrific movies including What’s New Pussycat (1965), La decima vittima aka The 10th Victim (1965), Les tribulations d’un chinois en Chine aka Up to His Ears (1965), The Blue Max (1966), Casino Royale (1967), Soleil Rouge aka Red Sun (1971) and The Fifth Musketeer (1979). Outside of the amazing La decima vittima, these movies usually only provided Ursula with secondary roles and they weren’t very demanding films but they were all a lot of fun to watch. She also appeared in some very bad movies throughout her career and I think this probably tarnished Ursula’s appeal over time. After appearing in Clash of the Titans (1981) as the goddess Aphrodite Ursula seemed to take fewer and fewer roles.

In 2000 Ursula Andress was diagnosed with osteoporosis and in recent years her condition has gotten much worse but the 73-year-old actress hasn’t let the disease slow her down. She recently became an international ambassador for woman’s health and is currently working with the Timeless Women campaign in an effort to help educate women about osteoporosis. Mattel has also recently turned Ursula’s iconic character Honey Ryder into a Barbie for a series of classic Bond Girl dolls that are scheduled to be released early next year. At age 73 Ursula continues to gain new fans of all ages. Her timeless appeal obviously still resonates with the public. She seems destined to remain an ageless and glamourous beauty in our imaginations much like her character in Hammer’s She.

She is only available for sale at the Warner Brother Archives Shop. While I appreciate Warner’s efforts to make their film archives available to the public, it’s unfortunate that online rental companies like Netflix, Greencine and Blockbuster aren’t stocking these films. If you want to see She you’re going to have to buy it.
She (1965)
She (1965)

If you’d like to see more images from the film you can find them in my Flickr She Gallery.