Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Choo! Choo! The train is coming into the station. Stay on the platform until it comes to a complete stop. One little boy is anxious to board...until he learns that his mother will not be staying for the ride. Does this scene look familiar? If it does, you've just spotted an Impossibly Difficult screenshot...go ahead and type the title down in the comment box below and you've won yourself a prize! 

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hunted in Holland ( 1961 ) - A Children's Film Foundation Production

For many years, Britain exercised an entertainment tax on its citizens which was charged when anyone indulged in sitting in the dark comfort of a motion picture theater. Proceeds from this tax ( known as the Eady Levy ) went towards British-based film producers for the production of.... more films, of course! 

The Children's Film Foundation was a non-profit film production organization formed in 1951 and was primarily subsided by this levy. It provided youngsters with a steady stream of relatively innocent fare that they could enjoy in the theater or on television on a rainy day ( which occurred quite often ) or when their parents happened to desire them out of the house. 
Over the course of thirty-five years ( 1951-1985 ) the "CFF" released nearly 180 films ranging in subject matter from traditional cops-and-robbers adventures to elaborate sci-fi stories and dramas dealing with runaways. 

When the Eady Levy was abolished in 1985, the CFF ceased producing new films and entertainment for the little tykes was once again left in the hands of independent filmmakers. 
In recent years, gems from the CFF archives ( now curated by the British Film Institute ) have been released on DVD in appropriately themed sets and, since I have a weakness for juvenile entertainment - being of that mind  - I have slowly been indulging in these films. Hence, a new series of reviews will be born - The Children's Film Foundation series - and Hunted in Holland is the subject of the first of these reviews. 

This film follows the adventures of an English lad who gets tangled up with diamond smugglers during his visit to Holland. Like most of the CFF productions, Hunted in Holland runs a mere 60 minutes ( childrens' attention spans are rather short ), and features beautiful locales, a jolly good script, but alas, lame acting that carries on at a snail's pace. All of the films could have used the magical "Disney touch" but since they are British productions, we'll just assume that speed wasn't a trait that they were anxious to foster in their youngsters. 
Sean Scully, who would later appear in Walt Disney's Almost Angels ( 1962 ), stars as Tim, the English boy, who is spending a week-long holiday in Holland with his penpal Piet, portrayed by Jacques Verbrugge. Verbrugge is an engaging young lad, not unlike the Quebecois child-star Gilles Payant. Along with his sister Aanike ( Sandra Spurr ), the two boys head into Holland's countryside via bicycle to meet up with Piet's parents who operate a channel boat...but their journey turns into an adventure when they discover that a diamond smuggler is tailing them to retrieve a bracelet that they inadvertently picked up. 

Hunted in Holland manages to pack in quite a bit of adventure in its short run-time but, due to the amateur acting talent and simple direction ( by Derek Williams ), it lacks that punch that could have made it a children's classic. Nevertheless, there are some great scenes involving the Dutch thugs: the introductory theft of the bracelet by a man in drag, the stuffing of the hot jewels in a hollow cheese wheel, and a chase through a greenhouse....which includes a scene that pays tribute to Louis Lumière's 1895 short silent film L'Arroseur Arrosé.
Currently, Hunted in Holland is not available on DVD in the United States or abroad, but since an existing print is available it is probably only a matter of time before it appears on a BFI issued CFF collection

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

From the Archives: So Evil My Love ( 1948 )

In this still photo from So Evil My Love ( 1948 ), Olivia ( Ann Todd ) is beginning to realize that those seemingly innocent eyes of Mark ( Ray Milland ) may be harboring evil thoughts.

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hayley Mills & The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Windmill

Every fan of the 1968 musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang remembers inventor Caractacus Potts' beautiful workshop, but what many do not know is that the windmill where it was filmed was once owned by Hayley Mills, the star of numerous Walt Disney films of the 1960s. 

In 1967, producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli sent location scouts throughout the English countryside to select a picturesque windmill to become the workshop of the magnificent inventor Professor Potts, portrayed by Dick Van Dyke. In the parish of Ibstone in Buckinghamshire, they discovered Cobstone Mill, a lovely 1816 smock mill that was used to grind cereal until the late 1800s. After a fire damaged the center post, the mill went into disrepair and, by the time the scouts discovered it, it needed extensive renovation. Broccoli footed the bill for a cosmetic restoration....of the exterior only. Paper sails were fitted to mock blades that actually worked, making the sails turn in the wind. Since the scenes featuring the interior of the workshop would be shot on a soundstage, there was no need for repairs to be made on the inside of the mill. 
Three years after Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released in theaters, Hayley Mills and her husband, director Roy Boulting, discovered the mill and purchased it at an auction for £30,000. Over the next four years, they invested nearly £90,000 in restoring the mill, which proved to be quite a challenge. By 1975, they had the mill up for a cost that just about covered their restoration expenses. It looks like Mills was put through the mill for that purchase.

Since the 1960s, Cobstone Mill has been seen in television episodes of The New Avengers, Midsomer Murders, Jonathan Creek, and Little Britain. Today, it still stands proudly overlooking the village of Turville and is admired by the occasional Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fan who happens to be passing by. 

This entry is a part of our series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

British Pathé: Matchbox Toy Cars ( 1965 )

Seeing a manufacturing process in action is always interesting, but this particular 1965 British Pathé film clip is extra fun to watch because it covers the process - from start to finish - of a toy Matchbox car being made....and what a detailed process it is!
In 1953, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's coronation, Lesney Products issued a tiny replica model of the coach used by the queen during the procession. It was such a big-seller that Lesney began a line called "Matchbox Cars" which featured detailed scale-models of all of the popular British automobiles, and later, American models, too. They were known as the Matchbox series because each model was packaged in a little yellow box which resembled a matchbox.

This 1 minute 59 second British Pathé film clip from their "How They Are Made" series shows how these little motorcars are designed, carved out of wood, molded, and then put into production. It's amazing what effort went into these toys and today's manufacturing process of Hot Wheels and other models is just as fascinating. 

Ready to watch Matchbox Toy Cars? Simply click on the link below.

British Pathé - Matchbox Toy Cars ( 1965 ) 

Other similar British Pathé clips: 

Model Cars ( 1962 )  - 2:32 min

Dinky Cars ( 1967 ) - 1:10 min

Outtakes from Matchbox Cars ( 1965 ) - 9:09 min

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Vater Braucht Eine Frau ( 1952 ) aka Father Needs a Wife

Who wants to get a new housekeeper when you can have a new mother? 

Widower Hans Neumeister and his four children have just lost their most recent housekeeper who, like the other women before her, stormed out in aggravation over the children's playful antics. So Papa Neumeister is once again on the hunt for a housekeeper...but his children have other plans. They would rather have a permanent live-in housekeeper - a new mother! 

On behalf of their father, they place an ad in the marriage column of a local newspaper and within a day receive over 30 written responses from a variety of women, many of whom included a photograph of themselves. One photo, in particular, catches their eye, that of Susanne Meissner who happens to be standing in front of a chateau next to a Mercedes 300. The children do not realize that Susanne is not a well-to-do society woman, but simply a fashion model. However, once their father has a chance to meet her, her lack of high-society status becomes very unimportant. 

Vater Braucht Eine Frau is a charming film that combines all the elements of great family entertainment: humor, romance, and parallel plots that both children and adults could enjoy. The dialogue is timeless, the cinematography ideal, and the music ( by Franz Grothe ) is lovely....but what really makes the film work is the spot-on casting. Each of the principal actors is wonderful in their parts. 
This was the first film to feature the pairing of Ruth Leuwerik with Dieter Borsche and it established them as one of the most popular onscreen duos of the 1950s. They would go on to make five films together. 

Dieter Borsche brought warmth and a surprising comedic flair to the role of Hans. This unusual casting, at the time, echoed Walt Disney's unorthodox casting of Western hero Brian Keith as Hayley Mill's father in the family comedy The Parent Trap ( 1961 ). Who would have guessed that these men were so good at comedy? In one scene, Hans returns home to his apartment after a date with Susanne and, being on cloud nine, releases his joy by swinging on his children's indoor swing. Without a word, Dieter manages to express the elation of a widower who didn't believe he could ever fall in love again. 

Ruth Leuwerik is lovely as Susanne. Although she made one film before Vater Braucht Eine Frau, it was this comedy that launched her to stardom. Her role as Maria von Trapp in Die Trapp Familie and Die Trapp Familie in Amerika later established her as "The First Lady of German Cinema". Ruth had a way of projecting so much emotion with the slightest of gestures and she brings a hint of a maternal nature to Susanne which helps draw her to the children. 
Angelika Meissner leads the children's cast as Hans' eldest daughter Ulla. Like Ruth, Angelika had very expressive eyes and often conveyed more than what the script may have called for. She was excellent in parts like this. She later went on to play Dick in Die Mädels vom Immenhof ( 1955 ) one of the most popular family films of all-time ( in Germany ). Portraying the younger Neumeister boys are curly-haired brothers Urs and Migg Hess and little runny-nose Oliver Grimm. 

Also in the cast is Günther Lüders, a well-beloved German comedian, and Bruni Löbel as "Cuckoo".

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

A little car, a big park, and a man carrying colorful balloons ( boy, how I'd like one of those! ). You know you've seen this scene before...and do you see those two tiny figures in the backseat of the car? You know both of them, too. Now just write the title of the film below and you'll win a prize! Unfortunately, the prize isn't a jumbo-sized balloon. 


Congratulations to the Tactful Typist for correctly identifying this screenshot as being from Gidget Goes to Rome ( 1963 )! In this particular scene, Paulo ( Cesare Danova ) and Gidget ( Cindy Carol ) are just about to step out from this little Fiat to greet Aunt Albertina ( Jessie Royce Landis ). 
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