Marvel Super Special Magazine: For Your Eyes Only on-set report, including an interview with Michael Gothard.

This came out in 1981.

[Contessa Lisl’s] killer in For Your Eyes Only is a cold-eyed assassin called Emile Locque. Played by Michael Gothard, Loque is the film's equivalent of such past villainous henchmen as Red Grant in From Russia With Love and Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are Forever. Gothard is no stranger to cinematic evil – during his career he's played a vampire (in Scream and Scream Again), helped to burn Oliver Reed alive in The Devils and stabbed Simon Ward to death in The Four Musketeers. But he's suffered a lot of on-screen retribution himself.

"I've been killed in so many different ways on both the large and small screens," he said wryly. "I've been hanged, stabbed, strangled, shot, immersed in an acid bath,
crashed on a motorcycle, killed by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine, drowned and – on one memorable occasion – stabbed and drowned simultaneously.

It's quite a challenge to try and make an impact with a character as restrained and quiet as Locque. I had to act in a sort of straitjacket but I certainly did my best to make him into a menacing and evil presence. Audiences usually remember the Bond villains, and their henchmen, so I'm hoping I won't be an exception."

Speculation:
Some of these on-screen deaths are ones we know about:
As John, he was hanged in Michael Kolhlhaas.
As Kodai, he was shot in Stopover.
As Keith, he was immersed in an acid bath in Scream and Scream Again.
As Terry, he crashed on a motorcycle in Up the Junction.
As Hansen, he was killed (or at least maimed, which resulted in his being killed) by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine in The Last Valley.

That leaves four deaths "stabbed, strangled, drowned and stabbed and drowned simultaneously" unaccounted for.

If, as Michael says, these deaths were on film or TV, they must presumably each have occurred in one of five productions:
- the Armchair Theatre play - The Story-teller - in which he played Brian
- the episode of Menace – Nine Bean Rows - in which he played Pip
- the episode of Fraud Squad – Run for your Money - in which he played Jacky Joyce
- the Thirty Minute Theatre play – The Excavation - in which he played Grady
- the TV series - The Further Adventures of the Musketeers - in which he played Mordaunt.

We don't yet know which death belonged to which character.
THE EX-BEATNIK WHO PLAYS KAI

MICHAEL GOTHARD was among the first of the "underground" heroes to emerge into the mainstream of the acting profession.

In Arthur of the Britons (Wednesday) he plays the Saxon, Kai, brought up in the Celtic community. Generally, he is associated with more sinister, misfit roles, for example his part as a killer in Scream and Scream Again, and the psychopathic priest-inquisitor in another film, Ken Russell's The Devils.

Gothard, single and in his early 30's, has a broad, massively square face and a deep, hard voice which seems un-English, though he comes from North London. Contrasting with his appearance are his small, rectangular metal-rimmed glasses, perched low on his nose in the style of the docile shoemaker in Pinocchio cartoons.
Read more... )
"I didn’t like him at all."
Curtis Harrington


Louis M. Heyward

The set of ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’ was clearly an unhappy one. Executive producer, Louis M. Heyward, who - having been impressed with him on ‘Scream and Scream Again’ - had cast Michael Gothard in the role of Albie, said:

“Curtis Harrington was great to work with but Shelley was difficult. There were problems between her and co-star Michael Gothard. She also kept insisting that I get a 'Sir' for supporting role. I got Ralph Richardson but she had meant Laurence Olivier.”


Judy Cornwell's problems with Shelley Winters

Judy Cornwell, who played the maid, Clarine, gives a more detailed account of Shelley Winters’ ‘difficult’ behaviour, both before shooting began, and on set:

"Richard [Eastham, Cornwell’s personal manager] told me that ‘Wuthering Heights’ had now opened in America and I had wonderful, rave reviews for my performance. Unfortunately for me, Shelley Winters too had seen the reviews, and she had overall script approval in her contract for the next film.

Before the shooting in Shepperton began, my part was almost deleted from the script. The best scenes were changed to become hers, and any of my scenes that were not essential to the story line were cut.

When I was sent the final draft of the script I was horrified and talked over the situation with Richard … He wanted to know whether I would rather pull out of the film, but I decided not to do so. I liked the producers of the film and this would be my fourth for American International Pictures. The heads of the company sent me Christmas cards. There were not to know that a certain actress would invoke her script approval clause.

I knew that Michael Bryant had worked with Shelley Winters on a film for television, so I phoned him to see what it was like to work with her.

'Tricky,' he replied. 'She makes mistakes when you are giving your best performance, so you have to do it again. This goes on until you drop your performance, then she comes up, and that is the take they use.'

My heart sank.



The first day of filming for ‘The Gingerbread House’ [as ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’ was originally titled] arrived and I met Curtis Harrington, an experienced and charming Hollywood director. We talked through the scene and then Miss Winters arrived. I was introduced to her as the girl who gave the great performance in ‘Wuthering Heights.’

She gazed at me with small beady eyes and said, 'I know. She's a scene stealer.'

Curtis laughed as if she had made a joke; I knew she had not.

When we began preparations for the scene, as Michael [Bryant] had warned me, she fluffed and made mistakes. I kept steady … not panicking, just keeping up my performance and not dropping it for one second.

Suddenly there was a wail from Shelley who said she had a headache and she stormed off the set, so we broke for an early lunch …

After lunch we returned to the scene again and this time she wanted me in a different position from before. Curtis tried to accommodate her. Every position that would work for the camera was unacceptable to her.

I heard a couple of yawns from the crew. They did not like one of their own British actresses being put through the wringer by this Yank.

Curtis began to lose his cool. 'Would you like me to put her under the table?' he said.

I took several deep breaths and stayed calm.

We began the scene again and suddenly she came up with a performance. So did I, and there was a shout of 'Take and Print.' I think she thought I was going to be thrown by the sudden change but I was not. I was tired at the end of the day, but the first scene was in the can, and my next scheduled scene did not involve her.

[Presumably this was her scene with Albie (Michael Gothard) and Mr Harrison (Hugh Griffith) in the kitchen: Judy seems to have had no problems with either of them]

The next time we had to work together she started again. I had had enough by now, so I let her have it with both barrels and told her that I had worked with some pretty big names, people with huge talent, and that none of them had behaved as badly as she had. I said life was too short for such games and could she please stop pissing about.

Instead of wailing and storming off the set, which by now was frigid with silence and tension, she smiled, her face relaxed, and she said, 'My God, you remind me of me when I was young.' … from then on she was nauseatingly nice to me, and I had no more trouble from her."


Curtis Harrington's friendship with Shelley Winters

Harrington seems to have been very tolerant of Winters’ unreasonable behaviour – he must have known what to expect, as he’d already worked with her on ‘What’s the Matter with Helen?’

In fact, in an interview for ‘Terror Trap’ in April 2005, he admitted: “A lot of movie stars particularly can be quite difficult. I mean, Shelley Winters is one of them. So I've learned to handle all that fairly well by being diplomatic and sympathetic and all those things. When I hear of directors who are very brutal with their actors, I think that approach is all wrong. I mean, actors need a lot of TLC to do well."

As we shall later see, this ‘TLC’ was something he denied Michael Gothard; but then, Harrington and Winters were friends.

Another friend of Harrington’s, David Del Valle, says:

“Curtis did [‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’] because Shelley asked for him personally, the perks were of course a trip to the UK and the joy of working with Sir Ralph Richardson whom he adored …

… I got to know Shelley Winters who acted for Curtis on two occasions. Curtis would organize parties around her and we would all find ourselves sitting on the floor around this ornate loveseat in his living room as Miss Winters held court from her throne, she loved to be the center of attention at all times …

Shelley bonded big time with Curtis on the set of ‘What’s the Matter with Helen?’…”

In the ‘Terror Trap’ interview, Harrington answered questions about both ‘What’s the Matter with Helen?’ (in which Winters starred with Debbie Reynolds) and ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’

TT: Did Debbie [Reynolds] and Shelley get along?

CH: Just barely.

TT: Interesting.

CH: It was rather inevitable that they would have a conflict occasionally. Shelley imagined a rivalry with Debbie.

TT: Why is that?

CH: Well, Debbie still had a very youthful figure and by this time Shelley was already dumpy and heavy. It was that sort of thing, a kind of female jealousy.


TT: You'd get Ralph Richardson for your next project, as well as Shelley Winters part deux. Tell us about ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’

CH: Yes, we made that right after ‘What's the Matter with Helen?’ She and I both flew to London together to make it at the Shepperton Studio.

TT: Who approached whom?

CH: It was an AIP production. They had already contracted her to do a film for them. And they decided this was the one they wanted to do with her. Because I had just worked with her and she liked working with me, they hired me to direct it.



TT: How was the second round with Shelley on this one?

CH: Well, she didn't have the rivalry of Debbie Reynolds being on the set this time. Shelley was the solo star, there were no problems at all. She was completely happy through the whole production.

Shelley Winters’ fraught relationship with Debbie Reynolds was already well-known, but Judy Cornwell’s revelations had yet to be published.

If Cornwell’s detailed and specific accounts of Winters’ ‘neurotic’ behaviour, and deliberate fluffing of her lines – in the presence of multiple witnesses – are true, then Harrington’s anodyne disclaimer, “She was completely happy through the whole production,” is clearly a lie.

Harrington looks like a man trying desperately to protect his friend, Shelley Winters, from criticism, at the expense of the truth.

This might explain why Heyward thought there were problems between Winters and Gothard, when no other record of this has been found. Winters’ attitudes to younger women seem to have been common knowledge at the time the film was made; Harrington may have put the blame for the time and film Winters wasted in trying to spoil Cornwell’s takes, on Gothard. If Harrington had tried to blame Judy Cornwell, the truth – that Shelley Winters’ insecurities were responsible – would have been obvious to anyone in the business.

In another example of his loyalty to Winters, when interviewed by Rusty White, Harrington talks about the script changes, but fails to mention that they had been demanded by Winters, due to her jealousy of the younger actress.

RW: Yes. I noticed Jimmy Sangster [Hammer film director] was listed as one of the screen writers. Did you get to know him?

CH: He wrote the original script, but we did a lot of changes. We had no contact with him at all. The final script, a lot of it uncredited, was written by Gavin Lambent.

Harrington comes off even worse in an interview with Harvey F. Chartrand, first being bitchy about his employers:

“American International Pictures had offered me a contract to do a picture. I was scheduled to direct a new version of ‘Wuthering Heights’, [the film for which Judy Cornwell got good reviews, and Shelley Winters called her a “scene stealer”] which they subsequently made with another director. It was a disaster, of course.

In the meantime, AIP had ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo’ in development … I worked extensively on the script. Originally, it was very poor and we improved it a great deal.”

So Harrington spins the cutting of Judy Cornwell’s lines, to pander to Shelley Winters, as ‘improving the script.’


Curtis Harrington's attack on Michael Gothard

In an interview with DVD Drive-in, Harrington again chooses not to mention either his annoyance with Winters, or the fact that Cornwell faced Winters down over her behaviour. Instead, he reserves most of his criticism for Michael Gothard.

“Michael Gothard was one of the most neurotic actors I’ve ever worked with. I didn’t like him at all. He was assigned to me by the producers. I wouldn’t have cast Michael Gothard. He was an extraordinarily egotistical bad actor who kept flubbing his lines. It was like pulling teeth to get a performance out of him. I never understood why Gothard had any career at all. I guess casting directors thought he was an interesting type.”

It seems almost as if he has transferred any possible criticisms of his friend Shelley Winters to Michael Gothard.

If you transpose Shelley Winters in place of Michael Gothard:

“Shelley Winters was one of the most neurotic actors I’ve ever worked with … She was an extraordinarily egotistical bad actress who kept flubbing her lines. It was like pulling teeth to get a performance out of her” – you get something Judy Cornwell would probably agree with.

The question is, why implicate Michael? An uncharitable view might be that he was not around to defend himself. As he had taken his own life, he was apparently fair game for accusations of ‘neurotic’ behaviour.

We don’t know what, if any, problems there were between Michael and Shelley Winters. If she behaved in the same way with him as she did with Judy Cornwell, that might have been enough to make anyone fluff their lines, which was the result Shelley Winters was looking for anyway.

It is also possible that Michael Gothard, who had a strong sense of justice, may have become uncooperative because he felt aggrieved at Judy Cornwell’s treatment, just as the film crew reportedly did.


Just one man's opinion

Harrington’s accusation that Michael was a “bad actor” and “kept flubbing his lines” is out of line with the experiences of others who worked with him.

In correspondence, Mark Lester, who played Christopher Coombs on 'Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?' said: "I worked with Michael in the 1970's and to my knowledge he was a truly professional actor with a unique charm and presence. It was a pleasure to work with him."

Harry Fielder – an old pro in the industry, described Gothard as: “good guy to work with" and added that "Michael was always word perfect.”

Executive Producer Louis M. Heyward said of him: "I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful … He had a lot of class and a lot of style.”

Peter Sasdy, who directed him in two episodes of ‘Arthur of the Britons’, the Hammer film ‘The Sweet Scent of Death’ and an episode of ‘Lytton’s Diary’, wrote:
“As far as Michael Gothard is concerned … I thought of him as a very interesting actor, with strong personality and in the right part he’d always give a good performance.”

Even Patrick Dromgoole, Executive Producer of ‘Arthur of the Britons’, who did not particularly like Gothard, said he was “an artist of high standard” – not the kind you would expect to fluff their lines.

John Glen, who’d worked with him on ‘For Your Eyes Only’ cast him in ‘Columbus’ because he knew he could rely on him to perform, not just his own lines, but those of another cast member, without “flubbing.”

“I was anticipating trouble. When you're a director you have to box a little clever sometimes and I'd cast a very good actor called Michael Gothard as Brando's assistant, the idea being that if Marlon didn't turn up any time I would put Gothard in. And sure enough, on the first day, Marlon was a no-show, so I put Michael in and he took Marlon's lines.'

Glen also described Gothard as a "captivating" actor.

David Wickes, who directed him in "Jack the Ripper" and "Frankenstein", had this to say:

"Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I
have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky
voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

Even Harrington’s friend, David Del Valle, appears to find Harrington’s inability to get along with Gothard puzzling.

“Curtis absolutely hated Michael Gothard whom AIP forced upon him after the actor’s favorable reviews in Gordon Hessler’s ‘Scream And Scream Again.’ Gothard had also scored with a tour de force in Ken Russell’s ‘The Devils’, yet Curtis found him unpleasant and difficult in a modest but key role of the sinister chauffeur.

They squared off over Michael’s long hair which he refused to cut until Curtis threatened to fire him …”


Studio in-fighting?

Whether Louis M. Heyward would have put up with Michael Gothard being fired is open to question, and perhaps that is part of the problem.

Del Valle continues: “I always wondered why Curtis was never offered any of those Poe films American International was making at that time in England. Perhaps the lack of success with the aforementioned films [“What’s the Matter with Helen”, and “Whoever Slew Auntie Roo”] sealed his fate with that company.”

Even Harrington’s friends can’t help but portray him as bitter and disappointed man.

“… the whole experience would have buried a lesser director, yet Curtis continued to work even with out that all important block buster that would admit him to that exalted realm of the Hollywood player.”

It is easy to see how having not had the blockbuster he wanted from AIP, and not being given any more work by them, he might have taken out his frustrations on the actor the Executive Producer, Louis M. Heyward, had chosen to cast, with the added bonus of deflecting criticisms of Shelley Winters.

In the end, perhaps Michael Gothard’s good name was just collateral damage in the behind-the-scenes wrangles between the major players.

It seems very unjust that the opinion of Curtis Harrington – who didn’t even like Michael Gothard – is the one that has so often been allowed to stand unchallenged, as the last word on Michael’s life and work.


References:

“Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s”, by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas. (1991)

Interview with Louis M. Heyward by Gary A. Smith, in “Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976.” (2006)

“For My Eyes Only: My Life with James Bond” by John Glen (2001)

“Hollywood Hellraisers: The Wild Lives and Fast Times of Brando, Hopper, Beatty, and Nicholson”, by Robert Sellers (2010).

Judy Cornwell’s autobiography, "Adventures of a Jelly Baby: A Memoir” (November 2005).

Rusty White’s Film World Obituaries

Vinnie Rattolle’s Cult Oddities


David Del Valle: Dreaming Dreams no Mortal Ever Dared to Dreamed Before

DVD Drive-In

Terror Trap

Correspondence with Peter Sasdy and Patrick Dromgoole.

Thanks to Tzaratango for finding many of these references.
Read more... )
Benjamin Halligan in "Michael Reeves."

"In Scream and Scream Again, a psychotic clone, Keith (played by the reliably psychotic Michael Gothard), rampages through London nightclubs, part way to A Clockwork Orange or The Final Programme, the Amen Corner grooving through When We Make Love on a tiny corner stage like cut-price Stones.

Keith drives the girls he picks up on to Hampstead Heath in his MG, where he rapes and murders them. He is a Frankenstein creature, fascinated by his ability to squeeze the life from the human form yet, in his garb, this tendency is lent the ethos of no-holds-barred hippie hedonism.

He possessed the same blankness in the face of violence as Richard Burton’s lone Kray in Villain; a Hitchcockian visual metaphor—murder as sex, violence as sexual frenzy.

The Heath shots are day-for-night—a jarring darkness at noon—and are oppressive and unreal; the light of his world repulses, as it might to a depressive…. In its pervasive hopelessness and nihilism, its corrupt state apparatus and constant brutality, the high-speed car chase and the rejection of any sense of freedom, it is a film haunted by Mike. [Reeves]

Ageing German expressionist master Fritz Lang saw something in it too, perhaps an introduction to the new Zeitgeist, and outlandishly heaped praise upon it; perhaps Lang felt a frisson of the Weimar Republic days in the death of the 1960s and the film connected the two in its distant echoes of Lang’s own 1930s work—pulp Fascism, secret states and scientific progress for a new, madder God."

"Michael Reeves" by Benjamin Halligan. Manchester University Press, 2003.

~~

David Pirie in “A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic.”

"The film’s script therefore had no official hero or heroine but it did boast a modern vampire sex killer, and what seems to be the first full-on dark ending in the history of UK horror. The sequence in which the police track down the humanoid vampire (superbly played by Michael Gothard) has a wonderful pace and style, making it scarcely surprising that Fritz Lang—one of the masters of the thriller—should have been so impressed that he singled Scream and Scream Again out for special praise in one of his last interviews. But then the film revolutionized the story structure of the whole English horror genre, having a complexity we had never seen before."

A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic, by David Pirie. I. B. Tauris; new edition 2008.

~~

Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller in “The Christopher Lee Filmography.”

"The real stars of this film are Alfred Marks and Michael Gothard. … As the brutal vampire-killer, Michael Gothard projects an out-of-control, psychopathic quality that is cold and ugly and not easily forgotten.

Remarkably, he performed all of his dangerous stunts himself. He fell ten feet from a beam, rolled part way down a rocky quarry, and allowed himself to be pulled up the side of this same steep quarry by a steel cable to give the effect that he was running up it with his super strength. Gothard’s dedication gives this film much of its punch because, according to both Heyward and Hessler, 'this was the only way the stunts could have been included because of the low budget.'"

Christopher Lee Filmography: all theatrical releases, 1948-2003, by Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller, McFarland & Co., 2004.

~~

From: “Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s."

Interview with executive producer, Louis M. Heyward.

"I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful. Here is a kid who really threw himself into the picture wholeheartedly. Do you remember the scene where he appears to be walking up the cliff? That's a stunt that, as an actor, I would not have agreed to; I'd say, 'Hey, get a double or get a dummy. I ain't either one.' But the kid agreed to do it, without a double--he was that driven. He had a lot of class and a lot of style. Gordon [Hessler, Alfred Hitchcock's protege] came up with the idea of using an overhead cable to give that illusion of his walking up the cliff."

(Weaver, Tom, Brunas Michael and Brunas, John. Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. page 176)

Note: Perhaps this is what Michael’s friend from the 1980s, Sean McCormick, meant, when he said that: “He [Michael] took great delight in telling stories of movie-making hell, from “Scream and Scream Again …”

~~

Kim Newman in “Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s.”

The Living Dead of Scream and Scream Again are an underground organization of supermen, cobbled together Frankenstein-fashion from the choicest body-snatched parts available and conspiring to take over the world. Their numbers include: Keith (Michael Gothard), a malfunctioning cool cat who vampires teenagers he picks up in a disco and, as John R. Duvoli wrote, "looks like Mick Jagger after a bad trip."

Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s, by Kim Newman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2001.

~~

Charlie Albertson in “Movies You Should See.”

Michael Gothard has the moves like Jagger and the looks too and is oddly sympathetic as the “Vampire” killer, making his escape from handcuffs in a truly memorable way.

Movies You Should See, by Charlie Albertson, 2012.

~~

Online reviews:

Fernando F. Croce on Notebook Digital Magazine.


It should come as no surprise to learn that Fritz Lang in his twilight years declared his admiration for Scream and Scream Again, as Gordon Hessler’s 1970 British shocker plays like a veritable anthology of themes and images from the Teutonic master’s oeuvre.

[And in the comments, from a David Ehrenstein:] “Scream and Scream Again” is indeed wonderful, particularly for the running vivisection gag and the great performance by Michael Gothard — Britian’s answer to Pierre Clementi. It’s his finest hour next to “The Devils.”

Full review

~~

George R. Reis on DVD Drive-in.

"Michael Gothard is also well cast (looking somewhat like the Mick Jagger of Altamont ) as the humanoid "vampire killer" Keith, stalking and mutilating women in fashionable mod England."

Full review

~~

Breakfast in the Ruins.

And as to the killer – well he’s quite a piece of work too. In scenes eerily reminiscent of a number of later British horrors, Michael Gothard stalks around a seedy faux-psychedelic nightclub (a brief shot of the doorway reveals that it's named ‘The Busted Pot’) as pop-psyche combo Amen Corner perform in the background (their overblown Shel Talmy-produced theme song for the movie is a hoot). Reeling in naïve girls (Judy Huxtable amongst them) with his Byronic charm, he zooms them off to isolated spots in his Jag, where blood-curdling unpleasantness ensues.

All this leads up to what’s generally regarded as the film’s highlight – a protracted action set-piece that sees the super-powered and apparently unstoppable Gothard fleeing from the combined forces of the British constabulary, screeching down the motorway, scattering coppers like ninepins, charging on foot through a convenient home counties forest like “..some bionic Mick Jagger”, as Jonathan Rigby puts it in his book ‘English Gothic’, and even finding a gruesome new method of escape when he’s finally handcuffed to a car bumper after a dramatic showdown in a chalk quarry.

Impressively staged and edited, this is all pretty frantic, high octane stuff,

Full review

~~

Heathblair on IMDB.

The casting is astute. The late Michael Gothard makes a good, eerie cyborg psychopath as he prowls groovy London discotheques in search of party-girls whom just assume he's a good-looking guy with a fast car and an Austin Powers shirt. Of course, the reality is more gruesome, and he is soon savagely murdering them and sucking their blood - although exactly why he has vampiric tendencies is, typically, never explained. With his turns in that other super-trash magnum opus, Lifeforce, and Ken Russell's brilliant The Devils, I'm surprised Gothard doesn't have more of a cult following.

Review on IMDB

~~

Beardy Freak.

"Thankfully Alfred Marks (as a no-nonsense, straight-talking Police detective) gives a truly gorgeous performance and has some great dialogue to throw out. His random rant about the state of the Police station sandwiches is everyday situation comedy gold decades before Tarantino.

He's backed up by the ever welcome (if ultimately tragic ...) Michael Gothard ("The Devils") as the bizarre, superhuman, vampire style, serial killer.

But there's something just not right in seeing Gothard boogying on the dance-floor in a 70's disco!

Full review

~~

Uncredited reviewer:

"But it is in "Scream and Scream Again" that film buffs were struck by Gothard. In this fantastic modern tale, very reminiscent of Fritz Lang, Gothard plays a weird character, a vampire with fabulous power, created by Vincent Price. During the course of a long chase across the English countryside, beautifully filmed by director Gordon Hessler, he cuts off his hand and dies in a vat of acid."

Quote taken from Michael Gothard Tribute Site

Thanks to Tzaratango for finding most of these reviews.

NB. The car driven by Keith is neither an MG nor Jag, but an Austin-Healey.
Warning: image-heavy post; spoilers



A sinister figure appears in a nightclub, and mingles with the bright young things on the dance-floor, like any bloke enjoying a night out.



He lurks.
Read more... )
Scream and Scream Again 1

Keith (Michael Gothard) with his second victim, Sylvia (Judy Huxtable.)
Read more... )
“Scream and Scream Again” was Michael’s first foray into the horror genre, as the vampire, Keith

Vincent Price is reported to have said: “Michael Gothard … received the best notices for “Scream and Scream Again” as the dynamic and desperate vampire.”

Both the Director, Gordon Hessler, and the Executive Producer, Louis M. Heyward, were very favourably impressed with him.

Incidentally, Nigel Lambert (who played Ken Sparten) appeared in two of the same episodes of “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers” as Michael, “Peril” and “Escape.”

From: “The Christopher Lee Filmography.”

The real stars of this film are Alfred Marks and Michael Gothard. … As the brutal vampire-killer, Michael Gothard projects an out-of-control, psychopathic quality that is cold and ugly and not easily forgotten.

Remarkably, he performed all of his dangerous stunts himself. He fell ten feet from a beam, rolled part way down a rocky quarry, and allowed himself to be pulled up the side of this same steep quarry by a steel cable to give the effect that he was running up it with his super strength. Gothard’s dedication gives this film much of its punch because, according to both Heyward and Hessler, "this was the only way the stunts could have been included because of the low budget."

(Johnson, Tom, and Mark A. Miller. Christopher Lee Filmography: all theatrical releases, 1948-2003, The. McFarland & Co., 2004. p. 199-200.)

~~

Interview with executive producer, Louis M. Heyward.

"I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful. Here is a kid who really threw himself into the picture wholeheartedly. Do you remember the scene where he appears to be walking up the cliff? That's a stunt that, as an actor, I would not have agreed to; I'd say, 'Hey, get a double or get a dummy. I ain't either one.' But the kid agreed to do it, without a double--he was that driven. He had a lot of class and a lot of style. Gordon [Hessler, Alfred Hitchcock's protege] came up with the idea of using an overhead cable to give that illusion of his walking up the cliff."

(Weaver, Tom, Brunas Michael and Brunas, John. Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. page 176)

This is all the more remarkable when you consider Don Levy's assertion, "Mike Gothard ... can't stand heights." But Levy made him stand on the edge of the roof of an 18-storey block, with no safety devices and in a howling gale. At least on "Scream and Scream Again" he was attached to a cable!
Read more... )

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