Railways seem to bring out the best in some artists and photographers, and the work of American Jack Delano in the mid 20th century as he went about documenting and memorialising both the infrastructure and the people of the railroads is little short of breathtaking. Another name to add to the list of great railway photographers such as O.Winson Link and David Plowden, both of whom are represented in our collections. I must be a bit of a gunzel!
If like me you spent way too much of your misspent youth in the 1960s and 70s glued to the old “idiot-box” (as we affectionately called it), you will lose yourself all too easily in this anecdotal timeline of Australian television history. When did Happy Hammond leave Channel 9 for Channel 7? Who were the three main actors in My Name’s McGooley, What’s Yours? Was there really a plot to kidnap Fredd Bear? Look no further for the answer to these, and other important questions.
I suppose it had to happen in the plethora of publishing surrounding The King, a book focusing on his cinematic oeuvre; if we can call it that? Now I’m not here to judge and I have no doubt that given better vehicles he may well have become a very fine thespian, but might I just mention Harum Scarum, or perhaps even Change of Habit? Let’s move on.
If you have ever seen Edgar G.Ulmer’s 1934 horror film classic The Black Cat, based extremely loosely (aka. not at all) on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, then you will have some idea of the startling cinematic talent of this loose cannon poverty row director, and the power he could bring to a film when given even half a chance. Thankfully saved from obscurity by a new wave of cinephiles keen to peer behind the overwhelming facades of the major Hollywood studios, artists such as Ulmer who were consigned to work on the impoversished backlots of L.A. are finally getting their due.
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi face-off in The Black Cat; it’s not just the phone that ends up dead……