3rd April – OUR MAN IN HAVANA
On the screen – for seven days – OUR MAN IN HAVANA – a 1959 British spy comedy film shot in CinemaScope, directed and produced by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness, Burl Ives, Maureen O’Hara, Ralph Richardson, Noël Coward and Ernie Kovacs. The Columbia Pictures film is adapted from the 1958 novel Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. The film takes the action of the novel and gives it a more comedic touch. The movie marks Reed’s third collaboration with Greene.
In pre-revolutionary Cuba, James Wormold (Alec Guinness), a vacuum cleaner salesman, is recruited by Hawthorne (Noël Coward) of the British Secret Intelligence Service to be their Havana operative. Instead of recruiting his own agents, Wormold invents agents from men he knows only by sight and sketches “plans” for a rocket-launching pad based on vacuum parts to increase his value to the service and to procure more money for himself and his expensive daughter Milly (Jo Morrow).
Because his importance grows, he is sent a secretary, Beatrice (Maureen O’Hara), and a radioman from London to be under his command. With their arrival, it becomes much harder for Wormold to maintain his facade. However, all of his invented information begins to come true: his cables home are intercepted and believed to be true by enemy agents who then act against his “cell”. One of his “agents” is killed, and he is targeted for assassination. He admits what he has done to his secretary, and he is recalled to London. At the film’s conclusion, rather than telling the truth to the prime minister and other military intelligence services, Wormold’s commanders (led by Ralph Richardson) agree to fabricate a story claiming his imagined machines had been dismantled. They bestow an OBE on Wormold and offer him a position teaching espionage classes in London.
There was a FULL SUPPORTING PROGRAMME of shorts and a travelogue.
10th April – PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES
On the screen – for SIX days – (Not 14th) – PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES – is a 1960 Metrocolor comedy film in CinemaScope starring Doris Day and David Niven and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The movie was directed by Charles Walters and produced by Joe Pasternak, with Martin Melcher (Day’s husband) as associate producer. The screenplay, partly inspired by the book of the same name by Jean Kerr, a collection of humorous essays, was by Isobel Lennart. The film also features Janis Paige, Spring Byington, Richard Haydn, Patsy Kelly, and Jack Weston. Spring Byington made her final film appearance in this film, but appeared in TV shows later.
In support was OPERATION CUPID a 1960 British comedy film from Rank and directed by Charles Saunders and starring Charles Farrell, Avice Landone and Wallas Eaton. The screenplay concerns a gang of criminals who win a marriage agency during a card game and plan to use it to arrange a lucrative marriage for one of their gang to an extremely wealthy heiress. It was made at Twickenham Studios in west London, as a supporting feature.
14th April – MANTOVANI
Live – one night only – MANTOVANI – was an Anglo-Italian conductor, composer and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature. The book British Hit Singles & Albums states that he was “Britain’s most successful album act before the Beatles…the first act to sell over one million stereo albums and have six albums simultaneously in the US Top 30 in 1959”. This 1960 concert at the Gaumont was his first and only appearance in Southampton.
The cascading strings technique developed by Ronnie Binge became Mantovani’s hallmark in such hits arranged by Binge as “Charmaine”. Binge developed this technique to replicate the echo experienced in venues such as cathedrals and he achieved this goal through arranging skill alone.
Mantovani’s string arrangements have been decribed as the most “rich and mellifluous” of the emerging light music style during the early 1950s. Mantovani was a leader in the use of new studio technologies to “create sound tapestries with innumerable strings”, and that “the sustained hum of Mantovani’s reverberated violins produced a sonic vaporiser foreshadowing the synthesiser harmonics of space music.” His style survived through an ever-changing variety of musical styles prompting Variety to call him “the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century”.
17th April – CONSPIRACY OF HEARTS
On the screen – for TWO weeks – CONSPIRACY OF HEARTS – a Rank Film release, is a 1960 British Second World War film, directed by Ralph Thomas, about nuns in Italy smuggling Jewish children out of an internment camp near their convent to save them from the Holocaust. It stars Lilli Palmer, Sylvia Syms, Yvonne Mitchell and Ronald Lewis, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Film Promoting International Understanding at the 18th Golden Globe Awards in 1961. Betty Box became enthusiastic about the movie and wanted to make it. She took it to the Rank Organisation. Box says Rank did not want them to make the movie but allowed her because of the success of the Doctor in the House series. “They said, ‘It’s religion, it’s nuns, it’s wartime, who wants to know? Tell you what, make us another Doctor and you can do it!” Box and Thomas made Doctor in Love (1960) as a pay off for Rank financing the movie.
The film was a financial success, being the 5th most popular film at the British box office in 1960.(Doctor in Love was even more popular.) US rights were bought by Paramount Pictures for the largest amount Rank had received for a picture.
There was a Full Supporting Programme
1st May – ALEXANDER THE GREAT
On the screen – for one day – ALEXANDER THE GREAT – is a CinemaScope and Technicolor 1956 epic historical drama film about the life of Macedoniangeneral and king Alexander the Great written, produced and directed by Robert Rossen. It was released by United Artists and stars Richard Burton as Alexander along with a large ensemble cast. Italian composer Mario Nascimbene contributed the film score.
There was a Full Supporting Programme.
2nd May – RUSS CONWAY
On the stage – for six days – RUSS CONWAY – was a 35 year old pianist, who was spotted playing in a London club in 1955 and was promptly signed to EMI’s Columbia label. Conway spent the next couple of years providing backing for artists on their roster, including Gracie Fields and Joan Regan. He recorded his first solo single “Party Pops” in 1957, a “medley of standard songs” which included “Roll the Carpet Up” and “The Westminster Waltz”. In 1959 alone he achieved a cumulative total of 83 weeks on the UK Singles Chart. This included two self-penned number one instrumentals, “Side Saddle” and “Roulette”, the latter deposing Elvis Presley’s “A Fool Such As I”. He appeared frequently on light entertainment TV shows and radio, performing at the London Palladium and becoming a regular on the Billy Cotton Band Show. He had been the subject of This Is Your Life in 1959, when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews during a recording session at the BBC’s Studio 1 at 201 Piccadilly, London.
In this week’s variety show, Russ played Windows of Paris, Forgotten Dreams, Side Saddle, sang Time after Time and All TheWay and played My Concerto For You and ended with Royal Event. He was supported by The Peter Crawford Trio, Bert Weedon, Eddie Falcon, The Debbie Sisters, Sheila Buxton, The Key Sisters and Henry, and the compere was Terry Scott.
8th May – THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN
On the screen – for seven days – THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN – a 1960 British Lion, criminal comedy film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Jack Hawkins, Nigel Patrick, Roger Livesey, and Richard Attenborough. It is based on the 1958 novel The League of Gentlemen by John Boland and adapted by Bryan Forbes, who also starred in the film.
A manhole opens at night in an empty street and out climbs Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Hyde (Jack Hawkins) in a dinner suit. He gets into a Rolls-Royce and drives home. There, he prepares seven envelopes, each containing an American crime paperback called The Golden Fleece, halves of ten £5-notes and an unsigned invitation from “Co-operative Removals Limited” to lunch at the Cafe Royal. The envelopes are sent to former army officers, each in desperate or humiliating circumstances. When they all turn up looking for the other halves of the £5-notes which are handed out, Hyde asks their opinion of the novel which is about a robbery. They show little enthusiasm but Hyde then reveals each person’s misdemeanours.
Hyde has no criminal record but holds a grudge for being made redundant by the army after a long career. He intends to rob a bank using the team’s skills, with equal shares of £100,000 or more for each man. The gang meet under the guise of an amateur dramatic society rehearsing Journey’s End to discuss the plan before moving into Hyde’s house and living a military regimen of duties and fines for being out of line. Hyde knows that a million pounds in used notes is regularly delivered to a City of London bank and has details of the delivery.
They raid an army training camp in Dorset for arms and supplies. Hyde, Mycroft, Porthill and Race distract soldiers by posing as senior officers on an unscheduled food inspection. The others steal weapons while posing as telephone repairmen, speaking in Irish accents to divert suspicion to the IRA. Hyde has explained the reasoning behind this ruse by stating the one nationality to whom the British will never give the benefit of the doubt is the Irish. The gang rent a warehouse to prepare. Race steals vehicles including cars and a truck which are fitted with false number plates. They are disturbed by a passing policeman who offers to keep an eye on their premises as he patrols. In Hyde’s basement, the gang train with maps and models. On the eve of the operation, Hyde destroys the plans and recalls his former military glory.
The robbery is bloodless and precise. Using smoke bombs, sub-machine guns, and radio jamming equipment, the gang raids the bank, near St Paul’s. The money is seized without serious injury and the robbers escape. At Hyde’s house, celebrations are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Hyde’s old friend, Brigadier “Bunny” Warren (Robert Coote), who drunkenly recalls the old days. One by one the members leave carrying suitcases filled with notes. Then the telephone rings; Hyde is told that police and soldiers surround the house. Leading the police is Superintendent Wheatlock (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) from whom Hyde learns the flaw in his plan. A small boy outside the bank had been collecting car registration (licence plate) numbers, a common hobby at the time. The police, discovering the number, found it had been noted by the policeman who visited the warehouse. The policeman had also noted the number of Hyde’s own car. Thus a link was established between the robbery and Hyde.
The film was successful, being the sixth most popular movie at the UK box office in 1960.
The support featured AND WOMEN SHALL WEEP, a 1960 British drama film from Rank, directed by John Lemont and starring Ruth Dunning, Max Butterfield and Richard O’Sullivan. Its plot is about a mother who tries to prevent her younger son being led astray by his delinquent elder brother.
15th May – ONCE MORE WITH FEELING!
On the screen – for seven days – ONCE MORE WITH FEELING! – a 1960 British comedy film starring Yul Brynner and Kay Kendall and directed and produced by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Harry Kurnitz, based on his play. The film was released by Columbia Pictures and has music by Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Wagner, arranged by Muir Mathieson. The cinematography was by Georges Périnal and the costume design by Givenchy. Its the story of egomaniacal and temperamental Victor Fabian who is the London Festival Orchestra’s conductor. His wife Dolly is a harpist who acts on her husband’s behalf, presenting his impossible demands to the symphony’s backers, only to then find him dallying with a considerably younger musician. Dolly decides to leave him, whereupon he destroys her harp.
Victor’s conducting suffers in Dolly’s absence and the orchestra needs her back. His agent, Max Archer, tries to get him a new contract, but young Wilbur, son of the orchestra’s patron saint, insists to Victor’s horror that any agreement must include a performance of his mother’s favorite piece of music, John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Rather than return, Dolly wants a divorce so she can marry Dr. Richard Hilliard, a physicist. An angry Victor blurts out that to be divorced, two people must first be married. It turns out colleagues only assumed Victor and Dolly were husband and wife, and they never actually tied the knot. Victor won’t grant a quick marriage and equally quick divorce unless she agrees to live with him for three more weeks. He wears down her resolve, and Hilliard catches her in a frilly nightgown. A frustrated Dolly tells both she just wants to live alone. She applauds from the audience as Victor, with great reluctance, launches the orchestra into a rousing Stars and Stripes Forever.
The supporting feature was THE CRIMSON KIMONO, a 1959 American film noir directed by Samuel Fuller. The film stars James Shigeta, Glenn Corbett and Victoria Shaw. It featured several ahead-of-its-time ideas about race and society’s perception of race, a thematic and stylistic trademark of Fuller. The film is essentially about two cops, friends and Korean War veterans, Detective Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) and Detective Sgt. Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett), who attempt to solve the murder of a local entertainer. A love triangle soon develops between a key witness, Christine Downes (Victoria Shaw), and the two principal leads.
An additional attraction was a film of PRINCESS MARGARET’S WEDDING, edited from comprehensive footage of the event which took place in Westminter Abbey on 6th May.
22nd May – A DAY OF FURY
On the screen – for ONE day – A DAY OF FURY – is a 1956 American Technicolor Western film from Universal, directed by Harmon Jones starring Dale Robertson, Mara Corday and Jock Mahoney. A gunslinger named Jagade happens upon a stranger in trouble on the trail and saves his life. Jagade immediately regrets it upon learning the man is Alan Burnett, who is now only a U.S. Marshal but on his way to the town of West End to marry Jagade’s former sweetheart that very day.
Making up this double bill is , THE STEEL BAYONET a 1957 British war film directed by Michael Carreras and starring Leo Genn, Kieron Moore and Michael Medwin. Michael Caine also had a small role in the film, early in his career. It is set during the Second World War, in the Tunisian desert when a small British observation force are surrounded in a farm by overwhelming forces of the German Afrika Korps. Filming took place on Salisbury Plain, which doubled for North Africa.
23rd May – HARRY SECOMBE
On the stage – for six days – HARRY SECOMBE – This Bernard Delfont production was built around Harry Secombe, a Welsh comedian, actor and singer. He made his first radio broadcast in May 1944 on a variety show aimed at the services. Following the end of fighting in the war but prior to demobilisation Secombe joined a pool of entertainers in Naples and formed a comedy duo with Spike Milligan. Secombe joined the cast of the Windmill Theatre in 1946, using a routine he had developed in Italy about how people shaved. Secombe always claimed that his ability to sing could always be counted on to save him when he bombed. After a regional touring career, his first break came in radio when he was chosen as resident comedian for the Welsh series Welsh Rarebit, followed by appearances on Variety Bandbox and a regular role in Educating Archie.
Secombe met Michael Bentine at the Windmill Theatre, and was introduced to Peter Sellers by his agent Jimmy Grafton. Together with Spike Milligan, the four wrote a comedy radio script, and Those Crazy People was commissioned and first broadcast on 28 May 1951. Produced by Peter Ross, this would soon become The Goon Show and the show remained on the air until 1960. Secombe mainly played Neddie Seagoon, around whom the show’s absurd plots developed. In 1955, whilst appearing on The Goon Show, Secombe was approached by the BBC to step in at short notice to take the lead in the radio comedy Hancock’s Half Hour. The star of the show, Tony Hancock, had decided to take an unannounced break abroad the day before the live airing of the second season. Secombe appeared in the lead for the first three episodes and had a guest role in the fourth after Hancock’s return. All four episodes are lost, but following the discovery of the original scripts the episodes were rerecorded in 2017, with Andrew Secombe performing the role held by his then late father.
With the success of The Goon Show, Secombe developed a dual career as both a comedy actor and a singer. At the beginning of his career as an entertainer his act would end with a joke version of the duet Sweethearts, in which he sang both the baritone and falsetto parts. Trained under Italian maestro Manlio di Veroli, he emerged as a bel canto tenor (characteristically, he insisted that in his case this meant “can belto”) and had a long list of best-selling record albums to his credit. In 1958 he appeared in the film Jet Storm, which starred Dame Sybil Thorndike and Richard Attenborough and in the same year Secombe starred in the title role in Davy, one of Ealing Studios’ last films.
In this show Secombe was ably supported by Harry Worth. The Gaumont Orchestra provided the music for popular singing act The Kingpins, Johnny Laycock and Bee and the supporting company of The Falcons, Mervyn Roy and Carol, Billy Anthony and Eddie Rose & Marion.
29th May – SEVEN THIEVES
On the screen – for seven days – SEVEN THIEVES – is a 1960 American film noir heist crime drama from 20th Century Fox, shot in CinemaScope. It stars Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joan Collins and Eli Wallach.
Directed by Henry Hathaway and produced by Sydney Boehm, it was adapted for the screen by Sydney Boehm, based on the 1959 novel The Lions At The Kill by Max Catto. Technical advisor was Candy Barr, who, as choreographer, taught dance routines to Collins. Seven Thieves received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design Black-and-White (Bill Thomas).
In Monte Carlo, Theo Wilkins (Edward G. Robinson) recruits his young protégé Paul Mason (Rod Steiger), just released from prison, to help him rob the famous casino of four million dollars. The plan is straightforward. On the night of the Governor’s Ball, Theo will create a distraction in the casino by having one of the team collapse requiring urgent medical attention. During that time, Paul and another member of the crew will get the money from the vault. When the ambulance arrives, the money will leave with the sick man. The plan is a good one, but not everyone will survive the robbery, and no one will get rich from it.
The supporting feature was BLOOD AND STEEL, a 1959 American drama film directed by Bernard L. Kowalski and written by Joseph C. Gilette. The film stars John Lupton, James Edwards, Brett Halsey, John Brinkley, Allen Jung and Ziva Rodann. It was also known as Condemened Patrol.
5th June – WHO WAS THAT LADY?
On the screen – for seven days – WHO WAS THAT LADY? – is a 1960 comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, and Janet Leigh. The movie was made by Ansark-Sidney, distributed by Columbia Pictures and produced by Norman Krasna, who also wrote the screenplay based on his successful Broadway play Who Was That Lady I Saw You With? The costume design was by Jean Louis. The title song was written by Sammy Cahn. Dean Martin received a Golden Globe award nomination for his performance in Who Was That Lady?, which also was nominated for Best Comedy. The plot focuses on Ann Wilson (Janet Leigh) who catches her strait-laced husband, Columbia University Assistant Professor of Chemistry David Wilson (Tony Curtis), kissing another woman. From David’s perspective, he was the one being kissed innocently, the woman in question being a grateful transfer student. However, Ann wants a divorce. On the advice of David’s friend, TV writer Michael Haney (Dean Martin), David tries to convince Ann that he is really an FBI agent, the kiss all in the name of national security. Ann falls for it, but is so impressed with what her husband does for a living that she can’t keep quiet about it. Michael is so impressed with Ann’s gullibility and patriotic urging of her husband Dave to do more “secret missions” that Michael sets up a date with two blondes with the promise of spending a weekend together with them. The indiscretions cause a number of complications, including some with the real FBI, the CIA and hostile foreign secret agents.
The support was SERENGETI SHALL NOT DIE (German: Serengeti darf nicht sterben) a 1959 German documentary film written and directed by Bernhard Grzimek. His son, the cinematographer Michael Grzimek, died on-location during the filming of the documentary when a plane he piloted collided with a vulture. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1960.
12th June – CONE OF SILENCE
On the screen – for seven days – CONE OF SILENCE – is a 1960 British drama film from Bryanston and released by Universal International. It was directed by Charles Frend and starred Michael Craig, Peter Cushing, George Sanders, and Bernard Lee. The film is about the investigation into a series of crashes involving the fictional ‘Atlas Aviation Phoenix’ jetliner. Cone of Silence is loosely based on the 1952 crash in Rome and subsequent investigations into the structural integrity of the de Havilland Comet airliner. Budgetary constraints led to the production using miniatures to depict airfields and aircraft, although principal photography took place at Filton Airport in North Bristol with the cooperation of the Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd. (BSEL). The majority of the film was shot on the sound stages at Shepperton Studios.
Watch the full film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5ATtPTqxXk
Making up the programme was MAKE ME AN OFFER a reissue of a1954 astmancolor British comedy film directed by Cyril Frankel and starring Peter Finch as an antique dealer. It is based on the novel of the same title by Wolf Mankowitz.
19th June – THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND
On the screen – for seven days – THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND – is an MGM 1960 British crime film directed by John Guillermin. It was written by Howard Clewes and Richard Maibaum and based upon a novel by John Brophy.The film is set in London at the turn of the 20th century, in 1901. While Ireland struggles for independence, Charles Norgate (Aldo Ray), an Irish American, arrives in London after being recruited by Irish revolutionaries to undertake a robbery of the Bank of England. Iris Muldoon, the widow of a martyr in the Irish independence movement, had previously travelled to New York to hire Norgate on behalf of the movement. The Irish revolutionaries, led by O’Shea (Hugh Griffith), plan to rob a million pounds’ worth of gold bullion from the bank vaults as a political offensive. At first, the other revolutionaries are wary of Norgate but he gains their confidence by acknowledging his Irish lineage. Informed that the bank is considered impregnable, Norgate seeks a weakness in the Bank Picquet provided by the Brigade of Guards, which keeps watch on the gold.
After a visit to a local public house frequented by Her Majesty’s guardsmen, Norgate befriends Lt. Monte Fitch (Peter O’Toole) of the Guard. After expressing an interest in architecture, Fitch directs him to a museum that holds the original designs of the bank’s architect. The following evening, Norgate breaks into the museum and traces the plans. Walsh (Kieron Moore), one of the revolutionaries that dislikes Norgate, is convinced that there is no weakness to be found in the bank’s security. Walsh is enamored by Muldoon and attempts to persuade her to leave the movement and settle with him but she refuses. In addition, although Muldoon had an affair with Norgate in New York, she no longer wishes to be involved with him either.
After being invited to the bank, Norgate gets Lt. Fitch to show him the location of the bank vaults and he counts the paces of the guardsmen to obtain a scale for the plans he traced earlier. When he learns that the guards are plagued by rats and that the floor has been reinforced, he goes to the Sewage Commission Records Department and discovers that a long-forgotten underground sewer runs directly under the bank vaults. Norgate finds an old knowledgeable tosher and after posing as an archaeologist trying to locate ancient Roman temple ruins, persuades the tosher to show him where the sewer had been sealed. The revolutionaries dig through an old entrance to the sewer and pickaxe their way into the wall leading directly under the vaults. They choose to carry out their heist on the first weekend in August, a long weekend wherein Monday is a bank holiday and most employees would be on vacation.
Lt. Finch begins to have suspicions about Norgate, whose professional intentions for being in London seem suspect. Later, further suspicious are aroused when Lt. Finch discovers that Norgate had suddenly checked out of his hotel room. While digging, one of the revolutionaries hits and punctures a gas pipe causing mantle lanterns to dim in the underground bank corridors. The absence of rats in the bank’s underground levels as well as the sound of faint pickaxing compels Lt. Fitch to order that the vault doors be opened to see if the bank was being compromised. However, there are three bank agents each with a separate key to the vault and one of the keyholders has gone away on holiday. He sends two guards to find and fetch the missing keyholder, who is unhappy about being disturbed and rushed to the bank.
Meanwhile, O’Shea announces that the Irish Home Rule Bill has been reintroduced in Parliament and that the bank heist must be halted to prevent jeopardising the bill’s passage. O’Shea announces that the movement would dissociate itself from the thieves, prompting Muldoon to convince Walsh to accompany her and inform Norgate of the change in plans. However, discovering that Norgate has indeed broken through the floor of the bank vault, Walsh says nothing and begins to take gold bars down through the tunnel they dug. After managing to steal away a million pounds’ worth of gold, they encounter Muldoon, who has sent away their escape tugboat. Despite her pleas, Norgate and Walsh load the gold onto a horse-drawn cart and Walsh leads it away on the streets. When Norgate realises that the tosher has not come out of the sewers, he goes back to search for him. The tosher, meanwhile, has revived after being overcome by the escaping gas, and arrives in the vault in search of Norgate, who is not the gentleman he thought he was. Norgate finally catches up with the tosher in the vault. At that moment, Lt. Finch and a section of guards open the vault doors. On the street, the cart has been greedily overloaded by Walsh and the weight of the gold breaks through in front of a passing bobby on duty. In the last scene of the film, Norgate and Walsh are led to a police wagon in handcuffs as Iris Muldoon tearfully looks into Norgate’s eyes. She walks off, and the tosher wanders away carrying a fragment of a statue which he believes is a relic.
Peter O’Toole’s role in the film led him to be cast as the lead in Lawrence of Arabia, released two years later.
Making up the programme was a re-issue of MGM‘s THE SHEEPMAN a 1958 American western film directed by George Marshall and starring Glenn Ford, Shirley MacLaine, and Leslie Nielsen.
26th June – CLIFF RICHARD
On the stage – for one night only – CLIFF RICHARD – By the time of this second headlining visit to the Gaumont, Cliff Richard had chalked up his third number one hit, Please Don‘t Tease following on from Living Doll and Travellin‘ Light. Since his last visit his backing group had changed their names from The Drifters to The Shadows. His popularity at this time ensured that the 2 evening performances were completely sold out.
27th June – THE MOUNTAIN ROAD
On the screen – for six days -THE MOUNTAIN ROAD – a 1960 war film from Columbia, starring James Stewart and directed by Daniel Mann. Set in China and based on the 1958 novel of the same name by journalist-historian Theodore H. White, the film follows the attempts of a U.S. Army major to destroy bridges and roads potentially useful to the Japanese during World War II. White’s time covering China for Time magazine during the war led to an interview with former OSS Major Frank Gleason Jr., who served as head of a demolition crew that inspired the story and film. Gleason was later hired as an (uncredited) technical consultant for the film. The film is a rather sombre treatment of World War II and includes themes that were taboo for Hollywood during the war years, such as tensions between allies and racism among American troops. The protagonist is a frustrated and morally conflicted U.S. officer unsure about the value of his mission. For these reasons, The Mountain Road is often labeled anti-war. But it was made with the cooperation of the Pentagon, and it is much more respectful of the military as an institution than are the well-known anti-war films of the 1960s and 1970s. As a World War II combat veteran, Stewart had vowed never to make a war film, concerned they were hardly ever realistic. The Mountain Road was the only war movie set during World War II in which he starred as a combatant. Stewart, however, had been featured in a wartime short, Winning Your Wings (1942) and in a civilian role in Malaya (1949). Harry Morgan, another cast member in The Mountain Road, later said he believed that Stewart made an “exception for this film because it was definitely anti-war.”
Watch the full film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEX6PIrGg7c&list=PLOgXx5fCS8sR8NWGUGmDpSAptcUGpSdb-
The support was A DEATH OF PRINCES an episode of the US television series The Naked City. A crooked detective (Eli Wallach) blackmails a cashier, a prizefighter (George Maharis) and a playboy into helping him steal the proceeds from a celebrity boxing match.