Dirk Bogarde-Not just an actor.

Dirk

I don’t know why but ever since I moved to Ireland I have found myself explaining my name quite a bit. I have been called Derek,Declan,Kirk and other variations.Nowadays I usually say “Dirk like Dirk Bogarde” it mostly takes another few minutes for people to get my last name right. Most people will have heard of the actor

He was a British actor although his Father was of Flemish ancestry.

Although I do mention his name while explaining my name to people. I have to be honest. I am no Dirk Bogarde. I wish I was for he was not only a great actor he was also a formidable human being.

I will not go into his acting career but will focus on some of his activities. During the war, Derek Bogarde served in the British Army, at the start with the Royal Corps of Signals before in 1943 being commissioned at the age of 22 into the Queen’s Royal Regiment  as a second lieutenant.

He served for a while at RAF Medmenham a unit specialized in photographic intelligence.  in the Army reconnaissance section as a visual inspector. Analyzing aerial photographs using special glasses to create 3D effects.

3d

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The unit played a  pivotal role in gathering intelligence  on the V1 and V2 programs.

Bogarde was one of the first Allied officers in April 1945 to reach the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, this experience had the most profound effect on him and about which he found it difficult to speak for many years afterward. In an inteview he described what he saw. He got the dates wrong, the camp was liberated on the 15th of April.

“I think it was on the 13th of April – I’m not quite sure what the date was”  “when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked – you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP, and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the MP] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror – she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [MP] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.

“After the war I always knew that nothing, nothing, could ever be as bad … … but nothing could frighten me any more, I mean, no man could frighten me any more, no Director … … nothing could be as bad as the war, or the things I saw in the war.”

Bergan

Dirk Bogarde truly remarkable man.

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When the Gremlins beat der Führer.

Rhapsody

How do you best deal with a bully? You ridicule him.

The bully in this blog is Adolf Hitler and how painful and embarrassing it must have been for him to be ridiculed by something produced by a Jew.

I would have loved to have seen his face after he saw “Warner Brothers-Merrie Melodies: cartoon “Russian Rhapsody” produced by Leon Schlesinger and directed by Robert Clampett.

To top things of Hitler was voiced by Mel Blanc son  to Russian-Jewish parents Frederick and Eva Blank.

Mel Blanc

Hitler was a great fan of animated movies,one of his favourites was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

To be honest Hitler may not have seen the movie “Russian Rhapsody” himself, but it reasonably safe to assume that Joseph Goebbels as the Minister of Propaganda would have seen it. All movies mocking the Nazi regime were screened by the department.

The plot of the short movie is as follows.

It is late 1941, Nazi German bombers are not able to make it to Moscow; furious by the Luftwaffe’s’ constant failure, Adolf Hitler announces his decision via a radio broadcast at a “New Odor” rally that he will take charge and will personally fly a heavy bomber to attack the Russians.

Broadcats

On the way to Moscow, Soviet gremlins sneak onto the plane in flight and without Hitler’s being aware of what’s going on, begin to dismantle it while singing “We Are Gremlins from the Kremlin”

Gremlins from the Kremlin was initially going to be the title for the movie but, in the early 1940s Walt Disney was developing a feature film based on Roald Dahl’s book “Gremlin Lore”, and had asked the other studios not to produce Gremlin films. Most of the studios honored the request. However Warner Bros. already had two cartoons too far into production – Falling Hare (1943) and this cartoon. As a compromise, Leon Schlesinger re-titled the cartoons to remove any reference to gremlins.

In the movie Hitler eventually discovers the gremlins after he’s been stabbed in his ass buttocks and tries to retaliate.He fails and after being frightened by a mask of Stalin put up by the Gremlins, the Gremlins manage to eject Hitler from the plane.

Stalin

The fact that the movie was released and produced by a group of people with a Jewish background makes it even more special.

Although the cartoon may nowadays look like just that, a cartoon. The significance should not be underestimated. This was a hard hitting propaganda masterpiece, not only did it mock Hitler it also had messages in German in the cartoon.

At the start a newspaper front gives the headline  BLITZ HITS FRITZ!! , but below it there are has several headlines in coherent German. The one at upper right says, “Allies have reached last Axis defense line in Tunisia.” Below that on the left, “Marschall Rommel no superman, said Eisenhower.”

The mock Newspaper is called ” the Hamburg mit Onions”

BLITZ

There are only a few versions of the movie available online , some of them are dubbed and others are a bad quality. The bes version I came across was on Vimeo. But because I am not sure about the security safety of the site I decided not to post the video in this blog.

 

RR

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Oliver Hardy

Hardy.JPG

When you think of a comedy duo the first pair that comes to mind is Laurel $ Hardy, they were and still are ,without a shadow of a doubt the most successful comedy double act of all time.

However these 2 were not always a duo, they both had long established careers before they teamed up together. On the 127th birthday of Oliver Hardy it is a good opportunity to look back at some of his work as a ‘solo’ act.

Ollie started in dozens of movies prior to his Laurel & Hardy year .His first movie was  a 1914  short movie called “Outwitting Dad”

In 1915-1916 he made films for the Vim Comedy Company in Jacksonville, for the Vim Comedy Company.He was billed as ‘Babe’ Hardy.

baba

In 1917, he moved to L.A. working as a freelancer for several Hollywood studios, and he made more than 40 films for Vitagraph between 1918 and 1923, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon.

Strangely enough he did team up for a movie with Stan Laurel before they became the legendary duo.. The movie was the 1921 short film “The Lucky Dog”

dog

During his time as part of Laurel & Hardy he did make a few movies without his comedic partner.

In 1949 he teamed up with another and even bigger Hollywood legend.No other then Marion Robert Morrison aka John Wayne was the acting partner of Oliver Hardy in the lighthearted Western

john wayne

A biopic about Oliver Hardy and Laurel Hardy is currently showing in cinema’s worldwide. Stan & Ollie a heart-warming story of what would become the pair’s triumphant farewell tour. Both men truly deserve the title Legend because they just don’t come any bigger that them.

Happy Birthday Mr Hardy

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Sources

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Daffy the Commando-Looney Tunes WW2 Propaganda.

Daffy

Mel Brooks once said about Hitler

“I was never crazy about Hitler. If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator, you never win. That’s what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can’t win. You show how crazy they are.”

The one thing all dictators have in common they have no sense of humor and they tend to believe their own hype. Ridiculing them and what they stand for can be a powerful propaganda weapon.

Hollywood understood this and produced a series of propaganda movies ,live action movies as well as cartoons, like in this case the Looney Tunes cartoon “Daffy – The Commando”  featuring Daffy Duck. Especially the Looney Tunes cartoons must have outraged Hitler because they were directed by Fritz Freleng and produced by Leon Schlesinger both men were Jewish.

Daffy and AH

Daffy the Commando was released on November 20th 1943.

Commando Daffy Duck goes behind enemy lines and causes huge problems  for a Nazi German officer,  Von Vultur, and his troops.

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Von Vultur receives  a telegram from the “Gestinko Gestapo”, threatening him with his ‘ka-rear’ if he lets ‘vun’ more ‘kommando’ through (the letter is signed “The Apes Of Wrath” and shows three apes’ heads; which are caricatures of Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini, the last of whom is crossed out – reflecting the failure of Mussolini to keep Italy in the war with the axis power.

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At the end of the movie Daffy hits Hitler on the head with a massive hammer even making his mustache disappear.

The very realistic animated image of Adolf Hitler was rotoscoped. Rotoscoping is an animation technique used by animators  to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action.

The voice of Daffy Duck was done by Mel Blanc another Jew, so technically in the cartoon Hitler gets hammered by a Jew. How much I would give to see Hitler’s face when he saw the cartoon , but Goebbels probably made sure Hitler never saw it.

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Below is the short movie -“Daffy the Commando”.

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Sources

YouTube

IMDb

Looney Tunes Fandom

Wikipedia

 

Cairbre aka Slats- A Real Dubliner

mgm

Born on March 20 1919, Cairbre is probably one of the most famous Dubliners to have ever lived, but yet hardly anyone knows him.

Maybe it’s because he was renamed to Slats?

As so many stars, Cairbre came from humble beginnings. There was no crib or hostel for him when he was born, there may have been a stable. He was born in Dublin Zoo.

When MGM opened their studio they needed a mascot, Not just any mascot but one with a bite and a roar. So they bought Cairbre the Lion from Dublin Zoo and shipped him over to Hollywood, where they changes his name to Slats.

This of course did not please Cairbre one bit, when he was asked to roar he just refused. Being from Dublin he was just not going to do as he was told especially not after they  changed  his  name.

MGM did stick with him though as the first logo from 1924 to 1928 as their now so famous MGM Lion, there have been 6 after him, but the Dubliner Caitbre aka Slats remains the first MGM Lion.

slats

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James Stewart and Walter Matthau in 453rd Bombardment Group.

453

The title is not a tagline for a Hollywood blockbuster, although it should have been. I am sure it would have made a great movie.

James Stewart and Walter Matthau did serve together in the 453rd Bombardment Group during WWII.

WALTER

Prior to becoming a Hollywood icon,Walter Matthau was a radioman-gunner in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the Eighth Air Force in the United Kingdom, crewing a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber. He was assigned to the same 453rd Bombardment Group as James Stewart. When he was  based in England at RAF Old Buckenham, in Norfolk he partook in several  missions across  Europe during the Battle of the Bulge. He ended the war with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served with Jimmy Stewart, who was an operations officer giving mission briefings to the group.

Jimmy

When it comes to Hollywood greats, they don’t get any bigger than James Stewart, the list of iconic movies he made is endless. Prior to the war he already made a number of classic movies”Mr Smith goes to Washington” being one of them.

washington

Having learned to fly in 1935, he was drafted into the United States Army in 1940 as a private (after twice failing the medical for being underweight). During the course of World War II he was promoted  to the rank of Colonel in March 1945, first as an instructor at home in the United States, and later on combat missions in Europe.

On March 30, 1944, he was sent to RAF Old Buckenham in a function as group operations officer of the 453rd Bombardment Group, a new B-24 unit that had just lost both its commander and operations officer on missions. Leading as an example, he flew as command pilot in the lead B-24 on several missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe.

B 24

Two heroes, who not only fought for freedom, they also entertained us and still do .

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

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Together we Serve

The special effects in Laurel & Hardy movies.

Brats L & H

Ever since I was a kid I loved watching Laurel & Hardy movies and I believe I have them all in my collection.

The humour in their films has remained fresh till today and they never dated. But it is only since recently I started to appreciate that some of their movies had very advanced special effects for their time, and those effect have also stood the test of time for more then 80 years.

Below are just a few examples.

Brats

In the movie Brat Stan and Ollie play themselves but also their sons and in several scenes the four are seen together.

Brats 2

Babes in Toyland aka March of the Wooden Soldiers

That whole movie is filled with special effects. Recently it has become a bit controversial because some people had called some scenes and especially the march of the wooden soldiers anti-Semitic, I have watched this movie hundreds of times and I could not see it, if at all it is more of a warning of things to come.

march

The Flying Deuces

Nowadays having it seem like an animal is talking is not anyone gets excited about, it is even used in TV ads. However in 1939 having a horse mimicking Ollie and telling Stan “That’s another fine pickle you got me in” was a technical masterpiece.

Flying Deuces

Ending with one of my favourite scenes from ‘Way out West’

 

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The Wilhelm Scream

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What do the movies. Star Wars-The Empire Strikes Back,Toy Story 3,Juno,Where Eagles Dare and Distant Drums(and a few hundred more) have in common?

It’s not the cast or screenplay or even the studio but there are 2 seconds in all these movies which are identical. Those 2 seconds are called “The Wilhelm Scream” which is a sound effect.

The likelihood is great that you’ve heard the Wilhelm Scream at some point when watching a movie or TV show. The sound effect originated in the 1951 Gary Cooper film Distant Drums, and has become a Hollywood sound effects staple for more than 60 years.

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At one point in the film ,Distant Drum , some soldiers are slowly walking through a dark swamp when one of them is fatally attacked by an alligator. At the moment when the alligator  surprises him and drags him underwater, the soldier lets out the first known instance of the iconic scream.

The scream is often used when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion. It  has been used in 382 + movies and countless television shows.

However the name wasn’t used until 1953  In the movie ‘Charge at Feather River’, a character named Private Wilhelm gets shot in the leg with an arrow. He screams as he falls off his horse. Filmmakers used the Wilhelm Scream twice more in that movie as a stock effect to save money.

Private-Wilhelm

The famous scream was made mainstream by the Star Wars franchise. One of Star Wars sound designers named Ben Burtt was busy creating the sound palette for George Lucas’ Star Wars: A New Hope. He came across the Wilhelm scream and realized that a great number of  filmmakers had used it since the 1950s, he decided to pay homage to the sound effect by incorporating it into the  sci-fi classic. The scream can be heard in the  famous scene in which Luke Skywalker shoots a Storm trooper aboard the Death Star and the unfortunate trooper falls off a ledge. In fact the scream is used in all Star Wars movies.

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Research by Burtt suggests that Sheb Wooley, best known for his novelty song “The Purple People Eater” in 1958 and as scout Pete Nolan on the television series Rawhide, is likely to have been the voice actor who originally performed the scream.

Sheb Wooley

On a different not but yet slightly related another used soundbite that has made it into many Movies/TV Shows and even Heavy Metal albums is the line “Dr. Davis, telephone please. Dr. Blair, Dr. Blair. Dr. J. Hamilton, Dr. J. Hamilton”

I heard it on the classic Queensryche album ‘Operation Mindcrime’ and it was bugging me for I knew I heard it before, and then I heard in an episode of the Cosby show and several other shows and movies.

In case you are wondering about the connection of the painting ‘the Scream’ (at the start of the blog)and ‘the Wilhelm Scream’ there is none, other then the actual word scream. I was looking for a picture of a scream and that was the best one.

Ending the blog with a compilation of ‘the Wilhelm Scream’

 

 

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They went on to do bigger things.

Hollywood_Sign_(Zuschnitt)

Over the decades there have been so many iconic movies and TV shows which spawned many big actors and actresses.But it didn’t always happen over night, sometimes these stars started off in big shows or movies with minor obscure rolls, or even in music videos.

Below are just a few examples.

Before Dirty Dancing.

Dirty

The biggest star to come out of the movie Dirty Dancing is without a doubt Patrick Swayze,although I didn’t like the movie I have to admit it became one id the most iconic movies of the 80s.

However before Patrick Swayze made it big, he appeared in an episode of MASH. Where he played a character who catches Leukemia at a young age.

mash

Before Magnum P.I.

Magnum_PI_Still

When you think Magnum P.I. you just couldn’t imagine else playing that role then Tom Selleck. Tom went on to do other iconic movies such as ‘Three men and a baby’ and stars currently in the hugely popular ‘Blue Bloods’

But before all this he had an obscure role in the medical thriller ‘Coma’ as an injured football player.

coma

Before Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Bbay

Million Dollar Baby is still one of the finest movies ever made. It gave Hilary Swank the chance to shine and show how good an actress she is.Deservedly she won the Oscar for her role. But before she was boxing, she was being harassed by vampires in the movie “Buffy the Vampire slayer”

Buffy

Before Blade

Blade

Staying with vampire slayers, although Wesley Snipes has played in many big budget action movies, his most iconic role is that of ‘Blade’ half vampire,half human vampire slayer.

But it was Michael Jackson who chose Wesley for hos other talents, his dancing skills in the music video for ‘Bad’Bad

Before Speed

Speed

Sandra Bullock has done so many great movies in a variety of genres from comedy to science fiction but her breakthrough movie is without a doubt “Speed”

However before she drove buses at a speed of over 50 M/PH she was a bit of a Bionic woman in “Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989 TV Movie)”

bionic

 

Before Man on the Moon

Moon

I good picked a number of movies when it comes to Jim Carrey, -the Grinch,Mask,Dumb and Dumber- the list goes on. But I picked ‘Man on the Moon’ because I think that was his best performance to date, and he should have got the Oscar for that.

He did have a part though in another iconic movie “The Dead pool” the last of the Dirty Harry movies, where he played a rock star, basically based on Axl Rose.

Dirty Harru

They all went on to do greater things.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Your job in Germany and Our Job in Japan.

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Cat in the hat;How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and It’s a Wonderful Life are not stories you would associate with WWII or propaganda, and yet they have a distinct ,albeit indirect link to WWII propaganda movies.

The name Theodor Seuss Geisel will mean little to many people,although there is a hint in his name which gives away the name he is known by to most. He is better known as Dr. Seuss.

Seuss

In 1943, he joined the Army as a Captain and was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Where he got to work with Frank Capra, the director of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Initially they worked together on a series of black-and-white American instructional,  cartoons, of a character created by Capra called ‘Private Snafu’,that were produced between 1943 and 1945

Private_SNAFU

The cartoons were humorous very much like the Looney toons. The short movies were directed by famous  directors like Chuck Jones and Fritz Freleng.

In one episode of the series ‘Three Brothers’ released on December 4, 1944 a certain Bugs Bunny made an appearance.

Frank Capra and Dr Seuss worked on 2 hard hitting propaganda films ,shortly after WWII in 1945.

Your Job in Germany

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The film would probably be called racist and non political correct nowadays but in the context of the time it was accepted and also understandable.This training film was made for U.S. Army occupation forces in Germany following World War II.

It  tells how Germany has always been evil and when given a the chance again they would start another war with another leader like Hitler.

In the films the troops are urged not to become friends with the Germans, for the Nazi mentality is still prevalent in the German psyche, and probably always will be.

intro

Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers,  secured the rights to ‘Your Job in Germany’ and turned it into a short documentary entitled Hitler Lives?, directed by Don Siegel. It was released commercially on December 29, 1945 and won the 1946 Academy Award  for Documentary Short Subject.

Our Job in Japan

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Our Job in Japan was a United States military training film made in 1945. Equally to ‘Your Job in Germany’ this movie would now be perceived as racist and totally not political correct.But similarly in the context of the aftermath of WWII and the brutality the Japanese army had displayed during the war it was understandable and probably warranted to portray the Japanese people in the way they did.

The film was aimed at American troops heading to Japan to occupy the country in 1945  It presented the problem of turning the militarist state into a peaceful democracy.

It starts off showing Japan surrendering  , followed by the depiction of bad things that they did during the war, and also how the Japanese always followed a backward quasi religious philosophy. The  narrator explains that although the war is over the Japanese brains still need to adapt to a more modern society based on common sense and not by worshiping the old ways.

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Our Job in Japan was also used as a  basis for a longer, commercially released film, with the title ‘Design for Death’  in 1947 directed by Richard Fleischer. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Sources

National Archives

IMDB