Survey results

The Best Wife of Henry VIII

Last month you had the chance to pick the best wife of Henry VIII. There was a runaway winner: Anne of Cleaves.

Elsa Lanchester proves the perfect foil for real life hubby in this Tudor romp through Henry's life is about as historically correct as Sid James in Carry On Henry (maybe less?)

No contest - it just has to be Elsa. Her role as Henry's bride is every bit as good as her most famous screen outing (the Monster's mate) in Bride of Frankenstein.

Perfect in the spirit of both film and song "I' m Henery the Eighth I am".

Anne Boleyn got three votes:

I agree-this is one of the best films on the life of Henry VIII. Charles Laughton bears the closest resemblance to the 16th century monarch, and was a natural to play the part. Merle Oberon has a short, almost cameo part as Anne Boleyn, yet she made the best of it and it remains memorable after the film is over. If you can find a copy to buy or rent, this film is a must see!

And there was just one vote for Katherine Howard.

Not everyone confined their comments to The Private Life of Henry VIII.

The "Best Wife of Henry VIII"? Joan Sims in "Carry on Henry (1971)"

Or possibly Deborah Kerr as Catherine Parr in Young Bess (1953)

The best one in The Private Life of Henry VIII? Probably Elsa Lanchester


Best Horror Film

Last month's vote was on the best British horror film. There was a smaller response than usual, but maybe people are away on holiday at this time of year. Anyway here are the results:

Dead of Night - 11 votes

Night of the Demon - 5 votes

Dracula - 2 votes

Curse of Frankenstein - 1 vote

Dark Eyes of London - 1 vote

The Face at the Window - 1 vote

The Quatermass Xperiment - 1 vote

Naturally I confined the suggestions list to films made before 1960, but that didn't stop people coming up with some some excellent films made later: Quatermass and the Pit, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Death Line, Witchfinder General, and Theatre of Blood with Seven Days to Noon the only pre-1960s film added.

With such a clear winner it's only natural that most of your comments concerned Dead of Night:

My choice, of course, is based on the episode with Michael Redgrave as a ventriloquist with the dummy from Hell ! Unforgettable !

A very brittle film which for me captures the tensions of the 40s. Michael Redgrave acts as though he's stuck his finger in a light socket before going on set.

With the comedy of the Golf Story segment and the brilliance of the Ventriloquist's Dummy segment (so much better than Magic (1978) and any other "dummy taking over the ventriloquist" type story) how can it fail?

But you were torn:

Although my vote is for Dead of Night, Night of the Demon is a wonderful film and certainly deserves an "Honourable Mention!"

I chose Dead of Night but it was close between it and The Face At The Window. I love Tod Slaughter chewing the scenery.

As for the runner up:

While Dana Andrews and director Jacques Tourner are American, this film captures the tone of M.R. James's chilling "Casting The Runes", a classic horror tale of "British Understatement".

Did not know this was Brit film. Never seen it in your listings ? An old favourite of mine, scared me to death as a child, still a good horror film with Hitchcock-like suspense and story, (is it safe to come out from behind the sofa ?)

And the rest of your comments:

Will always remember this one (Quatermass Xperiment). Borrowed my fathers trenchcoat and got into see it even though I was under 16. Thought it was great BUT had a few bad dreams that night.

A tie between Quatermass and the Pit and The Day the Earth Caught Fire - with the proviso that both might equally be considered science fiction. They both have intelligent plots finding shivers in a realistic-looking London, where I live, which may be why I respond to them: digging a tube station, watching the river dry up. Death Line and Seven Days to Noon have the same London setting, but a more lurid approach.


Missing Pictures

Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to list which stars you think are missing from the photo archive. Here are the ones you came up with:

Felix Aylmer, Leslie Banks *, Pamela Brown, Anthony Bushell * *, Kathleen Byron, Esma Cannon *, Madeleine Carroll * *, George Cole, Noel Coward, Finlay Currie, Cyril Cusack, Valentine Dyall, David Farrar *, Marius Goring, Michael Gough, Alec Guinness *, Binnie Hale, William Hartnell * *, Jack Hawkins *, Hy Hazell, Robert Helpmann, Wendy Hiller, Thora Hird, Valerie Hobson *, Claude Hulbert, Martita Hunt *, Raymond Huntley *, Kim Hunter, Wilfred Hyde-White, Gordon Jackson, Sidney James * *, Ursula Jeans, Rosamund John * * *, Mervyn Johns, Celia Johnson, Jennifer Jones *, James Robertson Justice *, Deborah Kerr, Esmond Knight, John Laurie *, John Le Mesurier, Christopher Lee *, Vivien Leigh * *, Roger Livesey *, Arthur Lowe, Miles Malleson, James Mason * *, Bernard Miles, Anna Neagle *, Robert Newton * *, David Niven, Laurence Olivier *, Bill Owen, Hay Petrie, Eric Portman *, Dennis Price *, Oliver Reed, Ralph Richardson * * *, Sabrina, Sabu, Moira Shearer, Jean Simmons * *, Ludmilla Tcherina, Terry-Thomas, Sybil Thorndike *, Conrad Veidt * *, Anton Walbrook, Jack Warner * * *

The * are links to existing pictures.

Quite a big list, but I'll try to find as many as possible.

We All adore-a Thora

For the last couple of months you've had the chance to pick which period of Thora Hird's long, long career was your favourite.

And the winner is her period as a British film stalwart with 12 votes.  As one respondent put it: "She was a great actress, she could play any part".

The wonderful "Maytime in Mayfair" with the lovely Dame Anna!

A shining scene stealer in all her early film roles, an adaptable member of the cast of many a film.

Especially for her role in Went the Day Well when she & Elizabeth Allan make a game out of shooting the Nazis.

See her brief appearance in The Magnet - a scene with the Liverpool Overhead Railway and an 11-year-old James Fox.

There were 10 votes for her later period when she collected BAFTAs the way other people collect china.

A true original...she managed to convince us of her characters, whilst always somehow still being Thora Hird.

Though ever here there were nay-sayers:

Dare I say that her acting ability was highly overrated? To be fair, though, she did pretty well for her age.

There were 8 votes for her sitcom work and one a piece for her period as a screen mum and her work in adverts though as one voter pointed out "she can't be an advert queen because everyone thinks it was Stannah Stairlifts she advertised even though it was Churchill".

Favourite Formby

Last month you had the chance to vote on your top three George Formby films. so here are the results and it was a much closer result than last month's Will Hay vote.

1. Come on George

2. Let George Do It

2. Turned Out Nice Again

5. No Limit

6. Spare a Copper

7. Trouble Brewing

7. It's in the Air

8. Off the Dole

9. Boots, Boots

9. Feather Your Nest

9. I See Ice

9. George on Civvy Street

13. Bell-bottom George

13. Much Too Shy

Formby doesn't inspire as much affection as Will Hay either, maybe because his films are hardly ever on TV (or maybe it's the other way round).

I'm sorry, but this is like asking me if I want to be slapped in the face with a halibut or have six pounds (that's three kilos, children) of sand emptied down my trousers. Formby's winsome efforts made me quite ill as a child and I haven't made much of an effort to reacquaint myself with them.

Funny when you were a kid.
Here's the pick of the top bad 3 of the AWFUL !

But he still has his fans:

I haven't seen a George Formby film since I left England in 1970, when I was eleven years old. I thought he was great and wanted to be him when I grew up. I'm 43 now, and still want to be him.

He was my mum's favourite - she used to go and see all his films - this is her first contribution to the internet.

Maybe the fairest judgement is this one:

Let's face it - analysed closely George's films were formulaic, predictable and not particularly well acted. But that's not the point! They are cheery, comforting, good natured and musical - give me a George Formby film over such heartless and artless product as "Police Academy" any day.

Hey Hay!

Last month you had the chance to vote on your top three Will Hay films. I've collated the votes giving 3 point to the first choice, 2 for the second and 3 for the third. So here are the results:

1. Oh, Mr Porter!

2. Ask a Policeman

3. My Learned Friend

4. The Ghost of St Michaels

5. Convict 99

6. The Goose Steps Out

7. Good Morning, Boys

8. Boys Will Be Boys

8. Where's That Fire

10. Windbag the Sailor

10. The Black Sheep of Whitehall

10. Old Bones of the River

13. Those Where the Days

Unsurprisingly, it was a clear win for Oh, Mr Porter! It scored almost three times more than its nearest rival.

No matter which ones you voted for, it was clear how much affection you hold for the man and his films.

The three that I have watched time and time again, two with the 'trio' in two of their uniform capers, and one in the schoolmaster role.

I have a feeling that Oh Mr Porter will be most people's top choice, but I just love My Learned Friend. It's one of those films I never tire of rewatching, and I'm probably one of the few who don't miss Moore and Marriott.

Unfortunately I haven't seen all his films, so these are my favourites of the ones I have seen. My father was a huge fan and got my interest piqued after describing scenes in Oh, Mr. Porter, so I became a fan before ever seeing any of his films.

Hey Hey USA is the only Will Hay film that I have not liked.

Will Hay is not the same without Moore Marriot and Graham Moffat but together I have not seen a better team on film. In Where's That Fire the fireman's pole scene is on of the funniest ever seen on film

Will Hay was our finest film comedian during the 1930's and yes....I do include George Formby (whose films also hold a special place in my heart) in the reckoning.

Classic British films. Show them to anyone else and try to explain not a hope in hell.

These are my best three films ever, I saw them first time around at the flicks.

If my wife and I are feeling a bit down what do we do. We put one of Will's films on and before many seconds have passed we are back to our normal selves. The best pick me up ever. 'You never gave the 'boy' a chance' his sister said - he was about 60 then so they sent him to Buggleskelly. 'Wasting your time' not when your watching these three - keep up the good work. Just thinking about them and you laugh. Fantastic.

What a problem to chose the best

These are the three best films ever made !

Please get Will Hay's films back on TV.


This month's survey is replaced by a competition. Results of last year's survey's here.