Sunday, January 30, 2005

Where do you come from?

Do you come from somewhere strange? If you do, please tell me who you are. Theres already been lots of people from far away countries visiting here.


Schlemiel said...

Since you ask, here I am - in the U.S.

Now to William Henry Pratt who was born at Dulwich, England, on November 23, 1887, the son of a diplomat. As a young man, Pratt emigrated to Canada and worked on a farm. He later changed his name to Boris Karloff and joined a touring company of actors, ending up in Hollywood where his big break came when Bela Lugosi turned down the role of Frankenstein’s monster.

To the end of his life, Karloff remembered that terrifying creature as "the best friend I ever had."

I remember Karloff in the role of the monster as one of the scary delights of my childhood. During the Thirties and Forties there was a triumvirate that dominated the horror movies: Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, and the Wolfman. For years, these old movies were recycled in the cheaper theaters until TV came along and they found a lasting home in the late-night schedule. Hammer Productions had a go at them with newer and more gory versions, but the original black-and-white movies had a quality all their own.

Dracula scared the daylights out of me, the Wolfman was too vicious for my youthful sensibilities, but Frankenstein’s monster was something special. Yes, there were scenes when I had to peek at the screen action through the fingers over my eyes, but in the final reel when the monster was brought down, my sympathies were with that misbegotten creature.

That such a monster can be viewed by an innocent child as a creature deserving of sympathy is not simply the result of plot contrivances, but of the nuance brought to the characterization by a skillful actor, even one almost hidden beneath grotesque makeup, whose very movements are constrained by costume and scene.

Among the Hollywood community, Boris Karloff was recognized and well liked as a gentle and friendly man of refined sensibilities. Perhaps the child I once was recognized the actor’s real self in the monster he so effectively portrayed.

Michael said...

Sup Dave mate.

I appear to live only a few metres away from you.

Tommeh said...

I'm here, but a different here to everyone else, sorry