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Comments on old movies from an old and passionate guy

"Uncle Silas" - British Gothic Horror Thriller
released on October 8, 1947

The Actors: Jean Simmons (Caroline Ruthyn), Katina Paxiou (Madame de la Rougierre), Derrick De Marney (Uncle Silas Ruthyn), Derek Bond (Lord Ricahrd Ilbury), Sophie Stewart (Lady Monica Waring), Esmond Knight (Doctor Bryerly), Reginald Tate (Austin Ruthyn), Manning Whiley (Dudley Ruthyn), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Rusk), John Laurie (Giles), Frederick Burtwell (Branston), George Curzon (Arthur Sleigh, solicitor to Uncle Silas), O.B. Clarence (Vicar Clay), Frederick Ranalow (Rigg), Patricia Glyn (Mary Quince, Caroline's maid), Guy Rolfe (Sepulchre Hawkes the gamekeeper), Robin Netscher (Tom Hawkes), John Salew (Grimstone), Patricia Dainton (unknown)

The Heiress and the Killer

Uncle SilasAustin Ruthyn, played by Reginald Tate, is one of the wealthiest men in England who possesses a beautiful sixteen year old daughter and a bad heart. He also has a brother Silas, who seems to be a bit of a rogue adventurer without any money except the monthly allowance he gets from Austin . . . and there was once a strange death that Silas was a part of that might have been murder, or might have been suicide. As our story opens Austin has just returned from visiting his brother Silas, and informs his young daughter Caroline, played by Jean Simmons, that his brother Silas is finally back to good health, after spending several years in solitude after the scandal of the strange death in his house. In fact, Austin is so impressed by his brother's good health that he revises his last will and testament to make Caroline's Uncle Silas the guardian of his daughter until she is of age if anything should happen to him because of his bad heart. Austin also hires a Governess for Caroline that was recommended to him by his brother Silas . . . and this evil woman will be the death of Austin . . . literally. Governess Madame de la Rougierre is all sweet and loving in the presence of Austin, but with Caroline she is a nasty deceitful witch working a deceitful scheme with Silas. Finally, one night Austin learns of the treachery of Madame de la Rougierre and his brother Silas, and after angrily sending her away he retreats to his library to amend his will and remove Silas as the guardian of his heiress daughter Caroline . . . but he has a fatal heart attack before his pen can write the words . . . and young heiress Caroline is put in the house of Uncle Silas until she is of age, or gets married . . . and it is pointed out by Uncle Silas' solicitor that if the young heiress should perish before she comes of age all of her wealth will pass to Uncle Silas . . . . And thus we have the plot for a devilishly wicked scheme that we can see coming, but like heiress Caroline, cannot stop. The story begins with the horror of the Governess, then moves quite pleasantly during her first days with Uncle Silas until we almost believe that we were wrong to think that Uncle Silas would plot any evil towards the young heiress . . . until the night of the Christmas Party at cousin Monica's . . . Suddenly the chances that heiress Caroline will reach her 18th birthday seem very slim indeed as horror, fright and screams in the night become Caroline's companions . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

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Jimbo Berkey
 
 

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Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . Mary Pickford

Some of my Favorites:

William Powell and Carole LombardProbably my all time favorite movie, My Man Godfrey in 1936 not only gives us an comedic peek at the wealthiest and poorest during the Great Depression, but also was the vehicle for Carole Lombard to create the movie icon of the 'dumb blonde screwball comedy' that is a popular theme even today.

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary CooperMeet John Doe - 1941: The Frank Capra classic set in the Great Depression era that pits the common man against the political masters. You can't be a fan of old movies until you watch Frank Capra's old movies. This one premiered seventy years ago, and it still stirs our emotions and thoughts now. It is as timely as if it were produced today.

John Wayne and Gail Russell in Angel and the Bad ManAngel and the Bad Man - 1947: One of the great teachers of the Secret Law of Attraction is Dr. Joe Vitale . . . but before he was even born actor John Wayne paid for and produced this Cowboy Western that featured The Law of Attraction.

James Cagney in The Time of Your LifeThe Time of Your Life - 1948: James Cagney financed this strangely different feel-good movie, and he plays the part of Joe, a barfly that tries to live his life by making everyone around him better. I watch this one often, and try to become more like Joe every day.

Joe E. Brown in Painted FacesPainted Faces - 1929: Comedy legend Joe E. Brown is a circus clown in a surprisingly serious role as a juror in a Christmas week murder trial who tells the other jurors a story that will change their verdicts in a pre-code drama that could not have been made a few years later.

Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in CharadeCharade - 1963: It doesn't get much better than Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in a tale of death, deception, spies and lost wealth as a woman tries to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in this cold-war spy thriller love story.

Thanks largely to Ted Turner and his purchase of the movies from MGM, United Artists and pre-1950 movies from Warner Brothers, those motion pictures are not in danger if disappearing, and should live forever on the Turner Classic Movie cable television channel. Unfortunately many of the movies from smaller motion picture companies have already disappeared and become almost impossible to find and enjoy. Many of these movies are in the public domain, and without an 'owner' to preserve them are becoming more and more rare. This web site is a labor of love by one passionate old movie buff with the goal of sharing public domain movies with the world so that they can live on with new generations of fans. If you find an error or factual mistake, please use the contact page to let me know so that I can correct it for everyone else. This web site celebrates the efforts of every actor - not just the stars - because like a grand stew, each actor adds a unique flavor to the film, and without any of them the movie would not be the same. If you are one of these actors, or a friend or family member of an actor, please send me any anecdotes and stories that you know about any of them, and I will gladly add them to the site to enrich our knowledge about that actor or the movie they played in.