Karloff's aching back ...

The monstrous studio that sparked a century of monsters.
Wich2
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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 10:09 pm

May 10th, 2018, 12:04 am #41

(Reminds one of "Chaney's Liver"...)
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will
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May 10th, 2018, 12:11 am #42

By the way, when Karloff was cast in Frankenstein he was already moving up as a character actor. He had a major supporting role in Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code.
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blufeld
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May 10th, 2018, 11:19 am #43

Reminds me of Billy Ray Cyrus' " My Achy, Breaky Back".
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Wich2
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May 10th, 2018, 1:50 pm #44

will wrote: By the way, when Karloff was cast in Frankenstein he was already moving up as a character actor. He had a major supporting role in Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code.
He'd already had one, with Barrymore in THE BELLS in '26.

It's not always a steady incline; often, it's hills and valleys.
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Ted Newsom
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May 17th, 2018, 5:59 am #45

Karloff doesn't bend at the waist.  Watch him. He turns with his entire body without swiveling, as most people do.  He keeps his spine straight.

I don't know when this started for him, possibly after the first spinal operation in the 40s, maybe before. And once I heard it, I could not ignore it when I watched him.  Like Peter Lawford and his withered hand, or Herbert Marshall's wooden leg, he cheats it well enough that a viewer doesn't notice it until it's pointed out, at which point it becomes obvious. That, I promise you, is because of his back.

He's damned acrobatic in FRANKENSTEIN, swiveling, waving his arms, bending, stretching. That one day when they did the lake stuff and ended up back at the studio with him carrying Colin Cllve up and down the soundstage mountains-- one impossibly long 25 hour day.  The burden under the Monster's arm doesn't look like a lightweight dummy to me.  

He's frequently doubled on any gross action in BRIDE, presumably by George deNormand.. Notice how the Monster carefully keeps his face from camera when climbing up the cistern steps... wading into the waterfall pool...getting hoist on a pole by the townsfolk and dropped into a wagon. Karloff related a stunt that went wrong on BRIDE which was probably a reason to insist on a double. For the windmill cistern scene they'd given him a rubber under-suit, like a scuba suit, to keep him insulated. However, once he got into the water, the air inside the suit made his legs rise and he flipped backward into the water, "like an obscene water-lily," he wrote.

He also told the story of "carrying" Ygor in SON, where he knew up front picking Lugosi up was going to be nearly impossible ("Bela was a big man."), His quote from some magazine interview in the 60s, probably FM, was, "I put one hand under his neck, the other under his knees -- and lifted!" He then added, "I hadn't lifted a pound!"

That always confused me. I envisioned Lugosi folding up like a card table or a safety pin.  I wish that was clearer. But the only shot in the film which shows action like this (no lift-- possibly shot and excised, possibly not filmed) is the Monster walking into the crypt with the limp body of Ygor, the Monster's arms straight out under the dead weight of the corpse. And nobody can do that, especially not a 160 pound, 52 year old with back injuries.  I finally figured it out after 40 years by doing a really neat secret trick: it's called "watching the movie."  Lugosi is flown in on wires. Karloff is not carrying him, he's walking along with his arms underneath Bela, who's flying like an unconscious Peter Pan.

BTW:  the topless Karloff in THE LOST PATROL in 1935 is no bulkier than the one in the Jack Pierce make-up photos from 1931. So much for the "well-fed by the time he made BRIDE" myth,   And it's not as if he ballooned up fifty pounds for SON OF FRANKENSTEIN then dropped it all to play Mr. Wong two months after that film wrapped.  He was a thin guy. They padded him a lot in that (and doubled him in a LOT of long shots.)
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blufeld
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May 17th, 2018, 12:37 pm #46

I've read the same thing about Lock Martin as Gort in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.  Lock was a tall man, but he wasn't strong.  Toward the end, and Gort has to carry Patricia Neal, the had wires on her so Lock didn't (probably couldn't) have to carry her to the spaceship. 
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Wich2
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May 17th, 2018, 1:09 pm #47

Ted, I was always confused by that punchline of Karloff's story, too... (Was that from the Magic Castle appearance, reprinted in THE FRANKENSCIENCE MONSTER? 

Until I, also, wondered if Bela was "on lines" in SON.

I wonder if, when telling that story, Boris didn't perhaps make a hand gesture implying Bela's marionette status? And whoever transcribed his remarks left out that move? 

Or perhaps, the recounter dropped a word or two to that effect that Boris had said? (Maybe after the present, "I hadn't lifted a pound," he said something like, "Wires, you see!")
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bigcatrik
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May 17th, 2018, 3:20 pm #48

blufeld wrote:
May 17th, 2018, 12:37 pm
I've read the same thing about Lock Martin as Gort in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.  Lock was a tall man, but he wasn't strong.  Toward the end, and Gort has to carry Patricia Neal, the had wires on her so Lock didn't (probably couldn't) have to carry her to the spaceship. 
Every time I've seen that scene of Gort carrying Patricia Neal the wires have been visible. I've seen it projected from 35mm, on VHS, and DVD. The blu ray review says "The high quality of the transfer even reveals some obvious wires at a most inopportune time" but I've always seen them.
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Day-t ... -ray/1761/

The only place I can't see the wires is this compressed YouTube clip. It's almost as if they've been removed. (Wires were only used in the close-up. The reverse shot of Gort carrying Helen up the ramp is a dummy.)



Fun fact: Betty White had a crush on Michael Rennie so her co-workers arranged for him to surprise her on the afternoon talk show she co-hosted in Los Angeles at the time of The Day The Earth Stood Still's release.
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Wich2
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May 17th, 2018, 3:34 pm #49

...and when he carries "Klaatu" into the ship later, you can tell by the way it looks & moves that it's a feather-weight dummy.
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blufeld
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May 17th, 2018, 7:01 pm #50

Any one read "Farewell To The Master". the short story that was the basis for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL?  Pretty good read.  It's different, but there's some similarities that let you know is the story that TDTESS was based on.  Gnut, anyone?
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Monsterpal
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May 17th, 2018, 7:14 pm #51

Yes, Harry Bates included the concept of a technology that recreated an entire being from a recording of its voice. That's pretty wild.

If memory serves, they built a museum of some sort around Gnut and nothing is known about his nocturnal activities until a reporter hides on the premises and observes what's going on after dark.
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Wich2
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May 17th, 2018, 7:18 pm #52

Indeed.

Different, but fun.

And adapted a little more closely, once -

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Rick
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May 17th, 2018, 11:26 pm #53

Wich2 wrote:Ted, I was always confused by that punchline of Karloff's story, too... 
Likewise. I thought it could be read in a variety of ways....Bela was on wires...Boris couldn't lift him at all, so didn't even try...Bela was lighter than air...Boris gave a quick lift but dropped him... 

I like the notion that Karloff mimed something in explanation, 'cause those words are awfully confusing, especially coming from such a well-spoken gentleman.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Joined: November 25th, 2017, 8:55 am

May 18th, 2018, 12:37 am #54

Ted Newsom wrote: BTW:  the topless Karloff in THE LOST PATROL in 1935 is no bulkier than the one in the Jack Pierce make-up photos from 1931. So much for the "well-fed by the time he made BRIDE" myth
I may have to admit being wrong on this one.   After typing in "Boris Karloff shirtless" into my search engine (which is something I hope my wife never discovers), I came upon this image:



Based on the white in his hair this was likely taken past the mid 1930's, and by gum Karloff's pretty bony.
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Rick
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May 18th, 2018, 12:45 am #55

That hair of Karloff's makes me think of his late '30s Warner Brothers period: INVISIBLE MENACE, DEVIL'S ISLAND, BRITISH INTELLIGENCE...just about exactly the same time as SON OF FRANKENSTEIN.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Monsterpal
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May 18th, 2018, 12:50 am #56

FritzFassbender wrote:
Ted Newsom wrote: BTW:  the topless Karloff in THE LOST PATROL in 1935 is no bulkier than the one in the Jack Pierce make-up photos from 1931. So much for the "well-fed by the time he made BRIDE" myth
I may have to admit being wrong on this one.   After typing in "Boris Karloff shirtless" into my search engine (which is something I hope my wife never discovers), I came upon this image:



Based on the white in his hair this was likely taken past the mid 1930's, and by gum Karloff's pretty bony.
Is Mrs. Karloff one of the ladies pictured here? And who are the other ladies? And who is the Herculean fellow to the left? From his appearance I'd guess he's an actor.
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taraco
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taraco
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May 18th, 2018, 2:07 am #57

If Lugosi's Ygor is on wires as Boris carries him in that SON scene, that would explain a lot.  The shot is so quick and murky that any wires are concealed, even in the HD version.

david
'I've got no strings, to hold me down...'
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Andy
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Andy
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May 18th, 2018, 4:17 am #58

Dear Fritz,

Is that Ernest Thesiger third from the right?

Please advise.

Regards,

Andy.
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Ted Newsom
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May 18th, 2018, 4:25 am #59

taraco wrote: If Lugosi's Ygor is on wires as Boris carries him in that SON scene, that would explain a lot.  The shot is so quick and murky that any wires are concealed, even in the HD version.

david
'I've got no strings, to hold me down...'
"C'mon, everybody! Here we GO-O-O-O-O!!!!"

They're there if you close your eyes, clap hard, and sprinkle fairy dust on the screen.

Seriously, BUT they are so-o-o-o near invisible, it's perfect.
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bigcatrik
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May 18th, 2018, 7:44 am #60

That tennis photo appears in a forum post here from 2010 and discussion of the participants reveals only that the guy on the left is Rolf Armstrong, "the artist who did the oil painting of Boris in his Bride of Frankenstein makeup."

rare-boris-frank-mummy-pierce-stills-new-t54353.html
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