1960 October to December

2nd October – LET’S MAKE LOVE

On the screen – for seven days – LET’S MAKE LOVE – a 1960 American musical comedy film made by 20th Century Fox in DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope. It was directed by George Cukor and produced by Jerry Wald from a screenplay by Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter, and Arthur Miller. It starred Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, and Tony Randall. It would be Monroe’s last musical film performance.

The plot revolves around billionaire Jean-Marc Clément (Montand) who learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue. After going to the theatre, he sees Amanda Dell (Monroe) rehearsing the Cole Porter song “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, and, by accident, the director thinks him an actor suitable to play himself in the revue. Clément takes the part in order to see more of Amanda and plays along with the mistaken identity, going by the name Alexander Dumas. While rehearsing, Clément finds himself growing jealous of Amanda’s attentions to actor Tony Danton (Frankie Vaughan), unaware that she only wants to help Tony achieve stardom. In order to impress Amanda, Clément hires Milton Berle, Gene Kelly, and Bing Crosby (all playing themselves) to teach him how to deliver jokes, dance, and sing, respectively. Clément even goes as far as to indirectly fully fund the revue after one of his employees, who had raised him all his life, tries to put an end to the revue by demanding a full year’s rent for the theater. Throughout this Clément and Amanda fall in love with one another.

Eventually Clément decides to confess the truth to Amanda, who reacts by assuming that he has gotten overwhelmed by method acting and needs to see a therapist. He eventually manages to convince her of his true identity after tricking her and the revue director into coming to his offices. Amanda is initially indignant over the deception but swiftly forgives him after the two make up in the building’s elevator.

Watch the trailer

There was a FULL SUPPORTING PROGRAMME.

9th October – LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH

On the screen – for seven days – LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH, a 1960 American crime drama film from Columbia Pictures, about the son of an executed criminal who aspires to escape his impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood with the help of his mother and a group of concerned neighbors. The film was directed by Philip Leacock, and stars Burl Ives, Shelley Winters, James Darren, Jean Seberg, and Ricardo Montalban. The film was based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Willard Motley, and is a sequel to the 1949 film Knock on Any Door, which was itself based on an earlier Motley novel.

Film rights to the novel were bought by Columbia Pictures. A script was developed under the supervision of Charles Schnee who had an independent deal with Columbia since 1957. Schnee left Columbia in 1959. Jean Seberg, who was under contract to Columbia, appeared in this film after Breathless (1960). Ella Fitzgerald, in her role as “Flora”, performs several songs in the film, including “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”, “Angel Eyes”, and “Reach For Tomorrow”. In connection with the film’s release, Fitzgerald released the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings Songs from “Let No Man Write My Epitaph” containing the songs from the film along with other selections.

See the film in its entirety – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sICM9ljm4Vo

In support was the feature Murder By Contract, a 1958 American film noir crime film directed by Irving Lerner. Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Ben Maddow did uncredited work on the film. Centering on an existentialist hit man assigned to kill a woman, the film is often praised for its spare style and peculiar sense of cool. Though not widely seen at the time of its release, it has exerted an influence on American cinema, most notably on director Martin Scorsese, who famously cited Murder by Contract as “the film that has influenced [him] most.”

16th October –

17th October – THE BLACK AND WHITE MINSTREL SHOW

On the stage – for six days – THE BLACK & WHITE MINSTREL SHOW was a popular British light entertainment show that ran for twenty years on BBC prime-time television. Beginning in 1958, it was a weekly variety show which presented traditional American minstrel and country songs, as well as show tunes and music hall numbers, lavishly costumed. It was also a successful stage show which would run for ten years from 1962 at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London. This was followed by tours of UK seaside resorts, together with Australia and New Zealand.

The Black and White Minstrel Show was created by BBC producer George Inns working with George Mitchell. It began as a one-off special in 1957 called The 1957 Television Minstrels featuring the male Mitchell Minstrels (Mitchell was the musical director) and the female Television Toppers dancers. It developed into a regular 45-minute show on Saturday evening prime time television, featuring a sing-along format with both solo andm instrel pieces (often with extended segueing), some country and western and music derived from other foreign folk cultures. The male minstrels performed in blackface; the female dancers and other supporting artists did not. The show included “comedy interludes” performed by Leslie Crowther, George Chisholm and Stan Stennett. It was initially produced by George Inns with George Mitchell. The minstrels’ main soloists wereb aritone Dai Francis, tenor John Boulter, and bass Tony Mercer. During the nine years that the show was broadcast in black and white, the blackface makeup was actually red, as black did not register as well.

Prior to the creation of the Television Minstrels Show in 1957 the BBC Television Toppers had performed on air since February 1953. Originally the Television Toppers were dancers who performed weekly on a television show every Saturday night alongside different celebrities each week. This theatrical adaptation was produced by Robert Luff and went on to gain considerable international regard and would be seen in over thirty countries. Their first recorded album released earlier in the year had become the first album in UK album sales history to pass 100,000 sales. This appearance at the Southampton Gaumont was one of their first ever theatrical outings for what would become a theatrcial sensation over the next decade.

An excerpt from the show

23rd October –

24th October – THE MERRY WIDOW

On the stage – for six days – THE MERRY WIDOW – became a Favourite operetta in Britain since it first opened at Daly’s Theatre in London on 8 June 1907. The original production ran for an extraordinary 778 performances in London and toured extensively in Great Britain.

In the 1950s it became extremely popular with many of the amateur theatre and opera companies around the British Isles. In 1960, financially strong from its steady success through the 1950s, with shows at various venues in the town including The Royal Pier and Ranks Northam Plaza Southampton Musical Society arrived at the 2,300 seater Gaumont Theatre. Under the direction of long standing members Dorothy Snook and Frederick Duerden, SMS performed for the first time Lehar’s The Merry Widow.

Listen to the Waltz from The Merry Widow

30th October – BELLS ARE RINGING

On the screen – for seven days – Run curtailed due to poor figures after THREE days – BELLS ARE RINGING – a 1960 American MGM romantic comedy-musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Judy Holliday and Dean Martin. Based on the successful 1956 Broadway production of the same name by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne, the film focuses on Ella Peterson, based on the life of Mary Printz, who works in the basement office of Susanswerphone, a telephone answering service.

Judy Holliday and Jean Stapleton reprised their stage roles for the film. Dean Martin took over the male leading role, and the cast also included Eddie Foy Jr., Fred Clark, Frank Gorshin, Hal Linden and Bernie West. Jazz musician Gerry Mulligan, by this time Holliday’s lover, plays her disastrous blind date in a cameo role.B ells Are Ringing was Holliday’s final film; she was already ill when production began. It was also the final musical produced by the MGM ‘Freed Unit’, headed by producer Arthur Freed, which had been responsible for many of the studio’s greatest successes, including Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade, On the Town, An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain and Gigi. It was the thirteenth and final collaboration between producer Freed and director Vincente Minnelli.

Several songs from the Broadway production were dropped or replaced. These include, “Salzburg”, “Hello, Hello There”, “On My Own” (replaced by “Do It Yourself”), “Long Before I Knew You” (replaced by “Better Than a Dream”), “Mu Cha Cha” (filmed but shortened) and “Is it A Crime?” (filmed, but cut before release). A new song for Dean Martin, “My Guiding Star” was also filmed but cut.

The original trailer

2nd November – THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN

On the screen – for FOUR days – THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN – Replacing ‘Bells Are Ringing‘, The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (French: Les Aventures d’Arsène Lupin) is a 1957 French crime film directed by Jacques Becker. It was entered into the 7th Berlin International Film Festival. The film narrates the adventures of Arsène Lupin, the famous character of the gentlemen burglar conceived by Maurice Leblan in 1905. The story is set in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century, where the cunning thief managed to mock the prefect of police, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Baroness Von Kraft, who had been fascinated by his gallantry and his legendary shrewdness.

A scene from the film

The supporting feature was AMBUSH a1950 American Western film directed by Sam Wood and starring Robert Taylor, John Hodiak and Arlene Dahl. The plot is based on the serial story Ambush by Luke Short in The Saturday Evening Post (25 Dec 1948–12 Feb 1949). It is also the first MGM film in the 1950s.

6th November –

7th November – LONDON FESTIVAL BALLET

On the stage – for six days – LONDON‘s FESTIVAL BALLET – was founded in 1950 with the financial backing of the Polish impresario Julian Braunsweg. The name was inspired by the then imminent Festival of Britain, however the Company would later be renamed to English National Ballet. Dolin was the Company’s first Artistic Director and established the Company as a touring group both nationally in the UK and Internationally, touring abroad for the first time in 1951. Dolin also introduced a number of educational programs in the early years, designed to make ballet accessible to new audiences. Dolin would remain as Artistic Director until 1962.

Listen to a 1959 morning rehearsal

This was the company‘s third visit to the Gaumont and the week‘s programme comprised Coppelia, Les Sylphides and Scheherazade.

13th November – THE FUGITIVE KIND

On the screen – for seven days – THE FUGITIVE KIND – is a 1960 American drama film from United Artists, starring Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, and Joanne Woodward, directed by Sidney Lumet. The screenplay by Meade Roberts and Tennessee Williams was based on the latter’s 1957 play Orpheus Descending, itself a revision of his 1940 work Battle of Angels, which closed after its Boston tryout.

Despite being set in the Deep South, the United Artists release was filmed in Milton, New York. At the 1960 San Sebastián International Film Festival, it won the Silver Seashell for Sidney Lumet and the Zulueta Prize for Best Actress for Joanne Woodward.

It tells the story of Valentine “Snakeskin” Xavier a guitar-playing drifter who earns his nickname from his jacket. He flees New Orleans to a small town in order to avoid imprisonment. On his 30th birthday he decides to change his drifting “party boy” life. He finds work in a small-town mercantile store operated by an embittered older woman known as Lady Torrance, whose vicious husband Jabe lies ill in their apartment above the store. An undercurrent of violence, past and present, dominates the town. Both the frequently drunk libertine Carol Cutrere and simple housewife Vee Talbott set their sights on the newcomer, but Snakeskin is attracted to Lady, who has grand plans to open a beautifully decorated “ladies confectionery” wing to the run down store. Sheriff Talbott, a friend of Jabe as well as Vee’s husband, threatens to kill Snakeskin if he remains in town, but he chooses to stay when he discovers Lady is pregnant. It sparks Jabe’s final acts of resentment, leading to tragic consequences.

Marlon Brando in a scene from the film

There was a Full Supporting Programme.

20th November – FOXHOLE IN CAIRO

On the screen – for seven days – FOXHOLE IN CAIRO – is a 1960 British war film made by British Lion and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and based on a novel by Leonard Mosley itself based upon the real-life Operation Salaam in theSecond World War when Field Marshal Erwin Rommel placed two spies in Cairo, at the headquarters of the British Eighth Army. They are able to monitor every move of the British. It falls to British intelligence to hunt down the spies before they do too much damage to the war effort. It starred James Robertson Justice, Adrian Hoven, Fenella Fielding and Henry Oscar. Future star Michael Caine makes a brief appearance as a German soldier, in one of his earliest screen roles.

Watch an abridged version of the film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXelLLICDFU

The supporting feature A Mexican Affair was originally titled Beyond All Limits (Spanish: Flor de mayo) is a 1959 Mexican drama film directed by Roberto Gavaldón. It was entered into the 9th Berlin International Film Festival.

27th November –

28th November – JOHN HANSON and Company

On the stage – for six days – JOHN HANSON and Company – John Hanson a Canadian-born British tenor and actor who excelled in the 1950s with the classic operetta style musicals. In 1960 he took a full company and orchestra on an extensive tour of the UK with a programme of two full scale musicals. In Southampton both The Vagabond King (Mon to Weds) and The Student Prince (Thurs to Sat) played for three days.

Prior to the tour commencing the two shows had been recorded and released as an album which sold very well, peaking at Number 9 in the UK Albums Chart.

Listen to John Hanson’s rendition of The Drinking Song

4th December – ADAM FAITH

5th December – THE MILLIONAIRESS

18th December – CARTHAGE IN FLAMES

26th December – BILLY COTTON’S CHRISTMAS SHOW

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