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Posts Tagged ‘Hammer Films

tall lie

 

The subject was “hazing,” and no studio would touch it…

 

Paul Henreid (“Casablanca”,) wanted a hard-hitting exposé of a problem he felt needed to be addressed…hazing.  He pitched it to the studios, and each time was met with an emphatic “No.”  So he financed, produced, directed, and starred in it.  When he screened the completed picture for the studios, it was the same story…none would touch it.  With his options and money running out, he sold the movie outright to producer/distributor, Robert L. Lippert, known for small-town, family-friendly B movies, the exact opposite of “The Tall Lie.”  Lippert also released it under the more familiar title “For Men Only.”  Although the small towns were shocked by it, business was brisk in college towns.

 

“Tod” (Robert Sherman,) a gentle pledge is forced to swim in freezing water until he almost drowns…and that’s before the main titles even start!  In his screen debut, Russell Johnson, beloved captain of “Gilligan’s Island,” plays “Ky,” the sadistic president of the fraternity.  Vera Miles (“Psycho”,) also in her first film, appears as Tod’s girlfriend.  Tod’s grades plummet because of the unrelenting abuse.  His professor, played by Henreid, takes notice and ponders whether hazing and the forthcoming “Hell Night” might have something to do with it.  Nonetheless, he recommends that Tod’s mother sign a release to let her son take part in the final initiation.  Big mistake.

 

“Hell Night,” the fraternity initiation of all initiations, starts off with the relatively tame ripping of the pledges’ clothes and painting their faces.  Then comes the final initiation…shoot a puppy; this is 1952!  (His friend “Beanie” (James Dobson) wants to be inducted into the fraternity so bad he stoops to drinks blood drawn from a live puppy.) Although Tod refuses, he is subsequently ostracized, hounded to his death as a coward.    This prompts Henreid to push for an investigation and reforms, but is met with resistance and organized destruction of evidence, supported by college administrators and past pledges, bent on saving the good name of the college.

 

Censorship was an issue.  Various state censor boards objected, but the distributors emphasized that it was an “exposé” and “educational,” an argument that generally had positive results.  Then there was the UK where animal cruelty, real or implied, was strictly prohibited.  Exclusive (Hammer) Films, the distributor throughout England, managed to get the picture passed without cuts by adding a lengthy written prologue (included in the DVD) revealing the evils of hazing.

 

Available on DVD from VCI Entertainment:  http://www.vcient.com

 

 

Before Roger Corman there was Robert L. Lippert

Producer/Exhibitor Robert L. Lippert’s low-budget productions are sometimes called Grade “C.”  Personally, I’ve never seen one below “B-,” and in fairness, he did put out some “B+,” “nervous A,” and who can call “The Fly” (1957) anything but an “A”?

Lippert felt there was an unmet demand for “B” product for his circuit of theatres, so in 1945 he and John L. Jones formed a production company, Action Pictures, and distribution company, Screen Guild Productions.   The first and sole release for 1945 was “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse,” in Cinecolor, starring Bob Steele.  Regular releases followed, and in 1949 Screen Guild became “Lippert Pictures,” and in the final count, cranked out over 125 low budget movies, and released many more acquisitions and reissues.  He produced many more films for release by 20th Century-Fox…more about the Fox deal later…

 

The early Lippert productions were unremarkable B movies (okay, there may have been some C’s), with a few notable exceptions.  Things changed in 1949 when he rolled the dice and took a chance on a feisty independent newspaper reporter by the name of Samuel Fuller. Lippert gave Fuller, who had no movie experience, virtual free-reign, and his name above the title, to create a film about Jesse James’ assassin, Bob Ford.   It was released as “I Shot Jesse James” (1949), and became a critical and box office success, and today it is considered a classic, notable, among other things, for its extensive use of close ups.  Soon after, Fuller directed his second film, “The Baron of Arizona” (1950), a true story about a swindler who seized much of Arizona by forging Spanish land grants.  Vincent Price played the “Baron,” and many years later claimed it was one of his very favorite roles.  Truly, the Lippert/Fuller magna opus was the classic Korean War drama, “The Steel Helmet” (1951), which garnered first-run dates at prestigious theatres.  The three Fuller films are out on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Lippert’s cause célèbre was to produce films as cheaply as possible, and still offer at least some entertainment value, particularly for the more unsophisticated movie patrons. No Lippert movies were allowed to go over budget.  Not negotiable…even for Fuller.  Despite the puny budgets, minor classics resulted, including “Little Big Horn” (1951) and “The Tall Texan” (1953), both starring Lloyd Bridges. 

 

Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me a story about filming of the climactic ending of “The Steel Helmet,” where a Korean temple is to be destroyed, and it almost didn’t come to be…  Fuller had shot all but the ending, and production was about to go into overtime. Lippert came on the set and literally pulled the power switch to shut down production.  Fortunately, after he left the set, Fuller turned the power on and filmed the finale. 

 

In 1950, Lippert gave himself a challenge…produce a series of six Jimmy “Shamrock” Ellison-Russell “Lucky” Hayden westerns, all at the same time, using the same casts, sets, crew, and so on.  In one movie an actor may play a bad guy and a bartender in another.  A camera was be set up in the saloon, for example, and the saloon scenes for each movie would be shot sequentially, with actors rushing about changing costumes between each roll of the camera.  It must have been a nightmare for the script girl!  Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me it was his father’s proudest achievement!  VCI released this series as a set under the “Big Iron Collection” banner.   

 

There was also a distinctive film noir series filmed in Great Britain starting in 1953 when Lippert formed a production alliance with his British distributor, Exclusive Films, soon known as Hammer Film Productions.  Under the arrangement, Lippert would provide an American “star,” on the way down, but who still had some name value, plus cash to pay for part of the production.  Exclusive/Hammer and Lippert divided up the distribution territories.  The result was a series of good thrillers, supported by solid English casts, and many directed by Terence Fisher, in his pre-horror film days.  The Lippert-Hammers are all available as part of the “Hammer Noir” collections released by VCI Entertainment.

 

Lippert, like Roger Corman after him, was able to gather together producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and, of course, actors, willing to work on tight schedules for minimal pay.  There were stars who had lost their major studio contracts (Paulette Goddard, George Raft) or who had problems with the House on Un-American Activities (Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb).   Even Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicolson had roles in later Lippert productions.

Lippert was a master marketer.  When producer George Pal set out to mount a big budget Technicolor production of “Destination Moon” (1950), based on the science-fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein, Lippert saw an opportunity.  He capitalized on Pal’s media campaign by throwing together his own low (of course) budget “moon” picture, “Rocketship X-M” (1950).  It beat Pal’s movie into the theatres, stealing a good deal of the Technicolor epic’s thunder.   I’m told Mr. Pal was not amused.

 

Trouble, and opportunities, lay ahead for Lippert.  To be continued…

Wildfire – Story of a Horse

http://vcientertainment.com/darn-good-westerns-p-558.html

I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet

http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/499-eclipse-series-5-the-first-films-of-samuel-fuller

 

Little Big Horn

http://vcientertainment.com/western-film-noir-double-feature-p-512.html

 

The Tall Texan

http://vcientertainment.com/tall-texan-p-493.html

The Big Iron Collection

http://vcientertainment.com/iron-collection-p-559.html

 

Hammer Noir

http://vcientertainment.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=hammer+noir&x=0&y=0

 

Rocketship X-M

http://www.amazon.com/Rocketship-X-M-Lloyd-Bridges/dp/6305869367/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621007&sr=1-1

 

Destination Moon

http://www.amazon.com/Destination-Moon-John-Archer/dp/6305761078/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621077&sr=1-1

 

Who produced or co-produced almost 250 feature films and is virtually unknown today?

That man is Robert L. Lippert (1909-1976), who did just that in 25 years, from 1945-1969.

Between 1945-1956 he also distributed more than 100 of his own productions (most of which are owned by my company, Kit Parker Holdings, LLC) and another 100 films produced by others.

Compiling this filmography more difficult because some Lippert films made after 1959 were not credited to any of his production companies.  

Titles in bold are Lippert productions or co-productions.  The rest were produced by others and only distributed by Lippert.

Key: R: Reissue, D: Distributor only, TV: Independent production purchased outright by Lippert expressly for use on television.

Distributors: LP: Lippert Pictures, SG: Screen Guild Productions (subsequently known as  Lippert Pictures), RS:  RegalScope (Regal Films), API: Associated Producers, Inc., Fox: 20th Century-Fox, ARC: American Releasing (later known as AIP, American International Pictures), WB: Warner Bros. RS and API are Lippert production companies financed by Fox.

“Hammer”:  Lippert Pictures-Exclusive Films/Hammer Films co-productions  

Italicized titles are owned by Kit Parker Films and available on DVD from VCI Entertainment: www.vcient.com

 

  • 13 FIGHTING MEN (1960) API-Fox
  • 20,000 EYES (1961) API-Fox
  • ABDUCTORS, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, THE (1957) Buzz Productions/Hammer, Fox
  • ACTORS AND SIN (1952) Limited TV distribution rights only, LP-D
  • AIR PATROL (1962) API-Fox
  • AIR STRIKE  (1955) LP
  • ALASKA PASSAGE (1959) API-Fox
  • ALI BABA NIGHTS (R-1953) UK: Chu Chin Chow, 1934, LP-D
  • ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS (1958) RS-Fox
  • APACHE CHIEF (1950) LP
  • APACHE WARRIOR (1957) RS-Fox
  • ARSON, INC. (1950) LP
  • AS YOU WERE (1951) LP
  • BACHELOR IN PARIS (1952) UK: Song of Paris, LP-D
  • BACK DOOR TO HELL (1964) US-Philippines, Fox 
  • BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • BAD BLONDE (1953) UK: Flanagan Boy, Hammer, LP
  • BADLANDS OF MONTANA (1957) RS-Fox
  • BANDIT ISLAND (1953) 3-D Short Subject, LP
  • BANDIT QUEEN, THE (1950) LP
  • BAR 20 JUSTICE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • BARON OF ARIZONA, THE (1950) LP  (DVD: Criterion Collection) * 
  • BATTLE AT BLOODY BEACH, THE (1961) Fox
  • BELLS OF SAN FERNANDO (1947) SG
  • BIG CHASE, THE (1954) LP
  • BIG SHOW, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • BLACK GLOVE, THE (1954) UK: Face the Music, Hammer, LP
  • BLACK PIRATES, THE (1954) US-Mexico, LP
  • BLACK WHIP, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • BLACKOUT (1954) UK: Murder by Proxy, Hammer, LP
  • BLOOD AND STEEL (1959) API-Fox
  • BLOOD ARROW (1958) RS-Fox
  • BORDER RANGERS (1950) LP
  • BORDER VIGILANTES (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • BORDERLAND (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • BOY! WHAT A GIRL! (1947) SG-D
  • BROKEN LAND (1962) API-Fox
  • BUFFALOBILL RIDES AGAIN (1947) SG-D
  • BURNING CROSS, THE (1947) SG-D
  • BUSH PILOT (1947) SG-D
  • CABINET OF CALIGARI (1962) LP-Fox
  • CALL IT MURDER (R-1947) Orig.: Midnight, 1934, SG-D
  • CALL OF THE FOREST(1949) LP-D
  • CAPTAIN KIDD (R-1952) 1945, LP-D
  • CASE OF THE BABY SITTER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • CASSIDY OF BAR 20 (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • CATTLE EMPIRE (1958) Fox
  • CHINA GATE (1957) Fox
  • COLLEGE CAPERS (1953) 3D short subject, LP
  • COLORADO RANGER – TV: Guns of Justice (1950) LP
  • COME BE MY VICTIM, half-hour TV abridgement of Danger Zone (1951), LP
  • CONVICTS AT LARGE (1938) LP-TV
  • COPPER SKY (1957) RS-Fox
  • COWBOY, THE (1954) LP
  • CREEPING UNKNOWN, THE (1965) UK: Quatermass Xperiment, Hammer, UA
  • CROOKED RIVER – TV: The Last Bullet (1950) LP
  • CURIOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. WONDERBIRD, THE (1953) France: Bergère et le ramoneur, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • CURSE OF THE FLY (1965) Fox
  • DALTON GANG, THE (1949) LP
  • DANGER ZONE (1951) LP
  • DAY IN THE COUNTRY, A (1953) 3-D short subject filmed in 1941 as Stereo-Laffs, LP-D
  • DAY MARS INVADED EARTH, THE (1963) API-Fox
  • DEADLY GAME, THE (1954) UK, Third Party Risk, Hammer, LP
  • DEATH VALLEY (1947) SG
  • DEERSLAYER, THE (1958) Fox
  • DEPUTY MARSHAL (1949) LP
  • DESERT HELL (1958) RS-Fox
  • DESIRE IN THE DUST (1960) Fox
  • DESPERADOES ARE IN TOWN, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • DOG OF FLANDERS, A (1959) Fox
  • DRAGON OF DEATH, half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • EARTH DIES SCREAMING, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • ESCAPE FROM RED ROCK (1957) RS-Fox
  • EVERYBODY’S DANCIN’ (1950) LP
  • FAMILY AFFAIR (1956) UK: Life with the Lyons, 1954, LP-D
  • FANGS OF THE WILD aka Follow the Hunter (1954) LP
  • FAST ON THE DRAW – TV: Sudden Death (1950) LP
  • FBI GIRL (1951) LP
  • FELICIA (1964) API-Fox
  • FINGERPRINTS DON’T LIE (1951) LP 
  • FINGERPRINTS, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • FIRE ALARM (1932) Orig.: Flames  LP-TV
  • FIREBRAND, THE (1962) API-Fox
  • FIVE GATES TO HELL (1959) Fox
  • FLAMING FRONTIER  (1958) Canada, Fox
  • FLESH AND LEATHER, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • FLIGHT TO FURY (1964) US-Philippines, Feature Film Corp. of America
  • FLIGHT TO NOWHERE (1947) SG
  • FLY, THE (1958)
  • FORTUNE IN DIAMONDS, A (1951)UK: The Adventurers, LP-D
  • FORTY GUNS (1957) Fox
  • FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1961) API provided guided only, Fox
  • FRECKLES (1960) API-Fox
  • FRONTIER GAMBLER (1956) ARC
  • FRONTIER GUN (1958) RS-Fox
  • FRONTIERSMEN, THE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • G.I. JANE (1951) LP
  • GAMBLER AND THE LADY (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • GANG WAR (1958) RS-Fox
  • GHOST DIVER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GHOST SHIP (1952) UK, 1951, LP-D
  • GIRL FROM CALGARY, THE (1932)  LP-TV
  • GLASS TOMB, THE (1955) UK: The Glass Cage, Hammer, LP
  • GOD IS MY PARTNER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GOD’S COUNTRY (1947) SG
  • GRAND CANYON (1949) LP
  • GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID, THE (1953) LP
  • GREAT WHITE HUNTER, THE (R-1953) Orig.: The Macomber Affair,1947, LP-D
  • GUNFIRE (1950) LP
  • HAND OF DEATH , THE (1962) API-Fox
  • HARBOR LIGHTS (1963) API-Fox
  • HARPOON (1948) SG-D
  • HAT BOX MYSTERY, THE (1947) Featurette, SG
  • HEART OFARIZONA(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • HEAT WAVE (1954) UK, House Across the Lake, Hammer, LP
  • HELL HARBOR(1930)  LP-TV
  • HELL ON DEVIL’S ISLAND (1957) RS-Fox
  • HELLGATE (1952) LP-D
  • HER ENLISTED MAN (R-1935) Orig.: Red Salute,1935, SG-D
  • HERE COME THE JETS (1959) API-Fox
  • HIDDEN GOLD (R-1948) SG-D
  • HIGH POWERED RIFLE, THE (1960) Fox
  • HIGHWAY 13 (1948) SG
  • HI-JACKED (1950) LP
  • HILLS OF OLDWYOMING(R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HOLIDAY RHYTHM (1950) LP
  • HOLLYWOODBARN DANCE (1947) SG-D
  • HOLLYWOODTHRILL-MAKERS (1954) LP-D
  • HOLLYWOOD VARIETIES (1950) LP
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY ENTERS (R-1946) Orig.: Hop-a-long Cassidy, 1935, SG-D
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY RETURNS (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HORROR OF IT ALL, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • HOSTILE COUNTRY – TV: Outlaw Fury (1950) LP
  • HOUSE OF THE DAMNED (1963) API-Fox
  • I SHOT BILLY THE KID (1950) LP
  • I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • I’LL GET YOU (1953) UK: Escape Route, LP
  • IN OLD MEXICO(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • IRON MASK, THE (R-1953) 1929, Silent, with added sound track, LP-D
  • IT HAPPENED IN ATHENS (1962) Fox
  • JEWELS OF JEOPARDY, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City (1951), LP
  • JOHNNY THE GIANT KILLER (1953) France, Jeannot l’intrépide, Dubbed, LP-D
  • JUNGLE GODDESS (1948) SG
  • JUNGLE, THE (1952) LP
  • KENTUCKY JUBILEE (1951) LP
  • KILLER DILL (1947) SG-D
  • KING DINOSAUR (1955) LP
  • KING OF THE TURF (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • KRONOS (1957) RS-Fox
  • LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) Italy-USA, AIP
  • LAST OF THE WILD HORSES, THE  (1948) LP
  • LAST SHOT YOU HEAR (1969) UK, Fox
  • LAW OF THE PAMPAS (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • LAW OF THE SEA (1931)  LP-TV
  • LEAVE IT TO THE MARINES (1951) LP
  • LIMPING MAN, THE (1953) UK, LP-D
  • LITTLE BIG HORN (1951) LP
  • LITTLE SAVAGE (1959) US-Mexico, API-Fox
  • LITTLE SHEPERD OF KINGDOM COME (1961) API-Fox
  • LOAN SHARK (1952) LP
  • LONE TEXAN (1959) RS-Fox
  • LONESOME TRAIL, THE (1955) LP
  • LONG FALL, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Pr 23 (1951), LP
  • LONG ROPE, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • LOST CONTINENT, THE (1951) LP
  • LURE OF THE SWAMP (1957) RS-Fox
  • MAN BAIT (1952) UK: The Last Page, Hammer, LP
  • MAN FROM CAIRO, THE (1953) Italy-UK-USA, Guidance only, LP
  • MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (R-1950) Orig.: Babes in Toyland, 1934, LP-D
  • MARK OF THE LASH (1948) SG-D
  • MARSHAL OF HELDORADO – TV: Blazing Guns (1950) LP
  • MASK OF THE DRAGON (1951) LP
  • MASSACRE (1956) Fox
  • MIRACLE INHARLEM(1948) SG-D
  • MISS ANNIE ROONEY (R-1948) 1942, SG-D
  • MISSING WITNESS, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (1954) LP-D
  • MORO WITCH DOCTOR (1964) Philippines: Amok, API-Fox
  • MOTOR PATROL (1950) LP
  • MOZART STORY (1948) Germany-Austria: Wen die Gotter lieben, Dubbed, SG-D
  • MR. ROBINSON CRUSOE (R-1953) LP-D
  • MR. WALKIE TALKIE (1952)
  • MURDER GAME (1965) UK, LP-Fox
  • MURDER, INC. (1960) Fox
  • MY DOG SHEP (1947) SG
  • NAVAJO (1952) LP-D
  • NIGHT TRAIN TO PARIS (1964) UK, Fox
  • NORMAN CONQUEST (1953) UK:MarkPlaza605, LP-D
  • NORTH OF THE BORDER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • NORTH OF THERIO GRANDE (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • NORTHWEST TRAIL (1945) SG
  • OMOO-OMOO THE SHARK GOD (1949) LP-D
  • ON FOUR WHEELS, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • OPERATION HAYLIFT (1950) LP
  • OREGON TRAIL (1959) Fox
  • ORIENTAL CLUE, THE half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • OUTLAW COUNTRY (1949) SG
  • OUTLAW WOMEN (1952) LP-D
  • OUTLAWS IN THE DESERT (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • PAID TO KILL (1954) UK, Five Days, Hammer, LP-D
  • PARTNERS OF THE PLAINS (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • PERILS OF THE JUNGLE (1953) LP -D
  • PHANTOM OF THE JUNGLE (1955) LP-D
  • PIER 23 (1951) LP
  • PIER OF PERIL, half-hour TV abridgement of Pier 23 (1951), LP
  • PIRATE SUBMARINE (1952) France: Casabianca,1951, dubbed, LP-D
  • PIRATES ON HORSEBACK (R-1946) 1941, SG
  • PRAIRIE, THE (1947) SG-D
  • PLUNDER ROAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • POLICE COURT (1932)  LP-TV
  • POLICE NURSE (1963) API-Fox
  • PRIDE OF THE WEST (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • PROJECT MOON BASE (1953) LP-D
  • PURPLE HILLS, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • QUEEN OF SHEBA, THE (1952) Italy: La Regina di Saba, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS (1947) SG
  • QUIET GUN, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RACE FOR LIFE (1954) UK: Mask of Dust, Hammer, LP
  • RACKETEERS (R-1948) Orig.: People’s Enemy, 1935, SG-D
  • RADAR SECRET SERVICE (1950) LP
  • RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1964) Fox 
  • RANGE WAR (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • RED DESERT (1949) LP
  • RENEGADE GIRL (1947) SG
  • RENEGADE TRAIL (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • RETURN OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, THE (1952) (Short Subject)UK, LP-D
  • RETURN OF JESSE JAMES, THE (1950) LP
  • RETURN OF MR. MOTO (1965) UK, Fox
  • RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) API-Fox
  • RETURN OF WILDFIRE, THE (1948) SG
  • RIDE A VIOLENT MILE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLINE (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • RIMFIRE (1948) LP
  • RINGSIDE (1949) LP
  • RIVER BEAT (1954) UK, LP
  • ROAD TO THE BIG HOUSE (1947) SG-D
  • ROARING CITY (1951) LP
  • ROCKABILLY BABY (1957) RS-Fox
  • ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950) LP
  • ROLLING HOME (1947) SG
  • ROOKIE, THE (1959) (oversaw production) Fox
  • RUSTLER’S VALLEY (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • S.O.S. SUBMARINE (1948) Italy: Uomini sui fondo, 1941, Dubbed, SG-D
  • SAD HORSE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • SANTA FE MARSHAL (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • SAVAGE DRUMS (1951) LP
  • SCARED TO DEATH (1947) SG
  • SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR (1952) UK: Lady in the Fog, Hammer, LP
  • SECRET OF THE PURPLE REEF, THE (1960) API-Fox
  • SECRET OF THE WASTELANDS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • SECRET PEOPLE, THE (1952)UK, LP-D
  • SEPIA CINDERELLA (1947) SG-D
  • SEVEN WOMEN FROM HELL (1961) API-Fox
  • SHADOW MAN, THE (1953) UK: Street of Shadows, Hammer, LP
  • SHE DEVIL (1957) RS-Fox
  • SHEP COMES HOME (1948)
  • SHOOT TO KILL (1947) SG-D
  • SHOWDOWN AT BOOT HILL (1958) RS-Fox
  • SHOWDOWN AT SUNUP (1949) Short subject, LP
  • SIEGE, THE (1954)Spain, 1950, Agustina de Aragón, 1950, dubbed, LP-D
  • SIERRA BARON (1958) Fox
  • SILENT CALL, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • SILENT RAIDERS (1954) LP-D
  • SILVER ON THE SAGE (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SILVER STAR (1955) LP
  • SIMBA (1955) LP-D
  • SINS OF JEZEBEL (1953) LP
  • SISTERS IN CRIME, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City  (1951), LP
  • SKY HIGH (1951) LP
  • SKY LINER (1949) LP
  • SLASHER, THE (1953) UK: Cosh Boy, LP-D
  • SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS (1950)UK, LP-D
  • SNIPER’S RIDGE (1961) API-Fox
  • SON OF A BADMAN (1949) LP-D
  • SON OF BILLY THE KID (1948) LP-D
  • SON OF ROBIN HOOD (1958) Fox
  • SPACE MASTER X-7 (1958) RS-Fox
  • SPACEWAYS (1953) UK, Hammer, LP
  • SQUARE DANCE JUBILEE (1949) LP
  • STAGECOACH TO FURY (1956) RS/Fox
  • STAGECOACH WAR (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • STEEL HELMET, THE (1951) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • STICK TO YOUR GUNS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • STOLEN FACE (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • STOP THAT CAB (1951) LP
  • STORM RIDER, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • STREET IS MY BEAT, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), L
  • STRONGHOLD (1952) Mexico-USA co-production, LP-D
  • SUNSET TRAIL (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE-MEN (1952) LP
  • SURF PARTY (1964) API-Fox
  • SWINGIN’ ALONG aka Double Trouble aka Johnny One Note (1961) Fox
  • TALES OF ROBIN HOOD (1951) LP
  • TALL LIE aka For Men Only (1952) LP
  • TALL TEXAN, THE (1953) LP
  • TERROR SHIP (1954)UK: Dangerous Voyage, LP-D
  • TERROR STREET (1953) UK: 36 Hours, Hammer, LP
  • TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY (1960) Fox
  • TEXAS TRAIL (R-1947) 1937, SG-D
  • THAT TENNESSE BEAT (1966) Fox
  • THAT’S MY BOY aka Forbidden Music (R-1948)UK: Land Without Music, 1936, LP-D
  • THERE IS NO ESCAPE (1948) SG-D
  • THEY WERE SO YOUNG (1954) W. Germany-USA, LP
  • THIRD VOICE, THE (1960) Fox
  • THREE DESPERATE MEN (1951) LP
  • THREE MEN FROM TEXAS(R-1946) 1940, SG-D
  • THUNDER IN THE PINES (1948) SG
  • THUNDER ISLAND (1963) API-Fox
  • THUNDER OVER SANGOLAND (1955) LP-D
  • THUNDER PASS (1954) LP
  • THUNDERING JETS (1958) RS-Fox
  • TOUGH ASSIGNMENT (1949) LP
  • TRAIL DUST (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • TRAIL OF THE MOUNTIES (1947) Featurette, SG
  • TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE (1950) LP
  • TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO (1949) LP
  • TROMBA: THE TIGERMAN (1952)Germany: Tromba, 1949, Dubbed, LP-D
  • TWELVE HOURS TO KILL (1960) API-Fox
  • TWILIGHT ON THE TRAIL (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • TWILIGHT WOMEN (1953) UK: Women of Twilight, TV title: Another Chance, LP-D
  • TWO LITTLE BEARS (1961) Fox
  • UNDER FIRE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNDERCOVER AGENT (1953)UK: Counterspy, LP-D
  • UNHOLY FOUR, THE (1954) UK: The Stranger Came Home, Hammer, LP
  • UNKNOWN TERROR, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNKNOWN WORLD (1951) LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE EAGLES (1951)UK:ValleyofEagles, LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE REDWOODS (1960) API-Fox
  • VARIETIES ON PARADE (1951) LP
  • VILLA (1958) Fox
  • WALK A TIGHTROPE (1964) US-UK, API-Paramount
  • WALK TALL (1960) API-Fox
  • WAYNE MURDER CASE, THE (1932) Orig.: A Strange Adventure  LP-TV
  • WE WANT A CHILD! (1954)Denmark: Viv vil ha’ et bam, Dubbed, LP-D
  • WEST OF THE BRAZOS (1950) LP
  • WESTERN PACIFIC AGENT (1950) LP
  • WHERE THE NORTH BEGINS (1947) Featurette, SG
  • WHITE FIRE (1954)UK: Three Steps to the Gallows, 1953, LP-D
  • WHITE GODDESS (1953) LP-D
  • WHITE PHANTOM (1949) Short subject, LP
  • WIDE OPEN TOWN(R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • WILD ON THE BEACH (1965) Fox
  • WILDFIRE (1945) SG
  • WINGS OF DANGER (1952) UK; Dead on Course, Hammer, LP
  • WITCHCRAFT (1964) UK, Fox
  • WOLF DOG (1958) RS-Fox
  • WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DIE, THE (1965) UK, WB
  • WOMANHUNT aka WOMAN HUNT (1962) API-Fox
  • WOMEN OF PITCAIRN ISLAND, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • YELLOW CANARY, THE (1963) Fox
  • YES SIR, MR. BONES! (1951) LP
  • YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1957) RS-Fox
  • YOUNG GUNS OF TEXAS (1962) API-Fox
  • YOUNG JESSE JAMES (1960) API-Fox
  • YOUNG SWINGERS, THE (1963) API-Fox

Sources:  Motion Picture Herald, Film Daily Yearbook,U.S. Copyright Office, Maury Dexter, Robert L. Lippert, Jr. and the Kit Parker Films-Lippert Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 

This is a continuation of a discussion between Robert J.E. Simpson and Sam Sherman regarding Hammer Films and “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas”.

Sam Sherman has been actively involved in all aspects of film production and distribution for over 50 years, and is an encyclopedia of film knowledge.   

Robert J.E. Simpson is from Northern Ireland and is working on a PhD which will lead into one or two books about Hammer Films/Exclusive Films.  His PhD twitter feed is at www.twitter.com/exclusivephd, and there is a website which will be updated soon at www.exclusivefilms.co.uk.

Hi Kit,

Thanks for that. Completely fascinating. I’ve never looked at the extant Hammer files on Snowman, so this is very intriguing reading.

I’m well aware that Hammer’s corporate dealings are a minefield. Even worse when you consider how much of the paperwork was discarded (I think we’ve talked about that before). I see a note on my files from Hammer regarding IIP’s stake, but many companies have a stake in Hammer product so that’s not particularly surprising.

Just had a browse through some of my Hammer books here. The authorised history THE HAMMER STORY certainly mentions Buzz as Lippert’s uncredited production company as part of the last in the Hammer/Lippert co-production deals.

I’m not disputing Clarion was a slightly different set-up to Hammer, but it was part of the Hammer group of companies. I’ve got paperwork relating to that.

According to my records here, Intercontinental certainly contracted Tucker, but it was Exclusive that contracted the producer and script, and Hammer Film Productions Ltd the rest of the cast (including Cushing), and the studio facilities. Obviously there’s more, and I see yet more mention of the litigation (as I say, first time I’ve ever looked at that dispute), but Hammer were most certainly involved. And Hammer’s name was heavily featured on contemporary advertising for the film, and the onscreen credits.

R

Below is Sam’s response.

Re: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS (herein AS)

Hi Kit,

Please forward this information as required. 

As a party to this project I have all of the legal paperwork and documents supporting the background of this film..

                                                                                                                                         


James Carreras

Clarion Films Ltd. was mainly owned by James Carreras and had a different corporate incorporation and legal setup than Hammer Film Productions Ltd.

AS was a co-production of Buzz Productions Inc. (the main producers) (as owned by
Robert Lippert, William Pizor and Irwin Pizor) and Clarion Films Ltd. 20th Century Fox was the sole distributor of the film world-wide, excluding UK and Japan. Note- the film was partially financed on the British end by the Eady plan.

Irwin Pizor acquired the Lippert interests and inherited his father (William Pizor’s ) interests.   My company, Independent-International Pictures Corp., acquired all of the Buzz interests from  my business partner Irwin Pizor. AS is not a Hammer Production and is setup differently than any Hammer film in such regards.

Hammer claimed to have acquired the Clarion interests to this film and in settlement of certain disagreements amongst Hammer, Fox and Buzz, Fox agreed to discontinue world distribution of this film (excluding UK and Japan.) In further settlement of such, my company acquired all world rights to this film, which it currently owns, with the exception of UK, Japan and US/Canada.

The film was unsuccessful when first released and considered a failure. When we took over the Buzz interests the film was heavily in the red. Since acquiring the Buzz interests we were helpful in promoting the film as a quality product and such production is now no longer in the red.

In my opinion AS is a fine production and one of the better such films Carreras and his companies were involved with.

James Carreras was a longtime friend and business associate of William Pizor and Irwin Pizor who were very important in the international film business and brought him in touch with Robert Lippert through distributing Lippert films in the UK and setting up a number of British coproduction’s between Carreras and Lippert.


-Sam Sherman

A Hammer Film or not? 

Film historian Sam Sherman nails it….

(A series of emails between film historians Sam Sherman and Rick Mitchell as prompted by my blog) 

RICK MITCHELL: …but all Regal [“B” movies produced by Robert L. Lippert and released by 20th Century-Fox] films I’ve seen after that were credited in being in RegalScope, including British made THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, which was actually shot in what’s now called Super 35; [a film collector] e-mailed me that his 35mm print credits Megascope, the term Hammer used for the films it shot in Super 35 and Columbia used on spherical films it released in Europe with anamorphic prints.  

SAM SHERMAN: There is so much information and especially mis-information on this title due to several reasons – The claims   that this is a Hammer film or a Regal film are completely Wrong.  The film was originally made as a US British co-production between (US) Buzz Productions Inc. (Bob Lippert, Bill PIzor, Irwin Pizor) [**]  and (UK) Clarion Films Ltd. (Jimmy Carreras) (a separate company and not legally part of Hammer) with Fox  handling all world-wide distribution outside of the Clarion territories of UK and Japan, as the film was a UK quota financed film there, as released by Warners.  The process listed was somewhere “Hammerscope” elsewhere “RegalScope”,   but was most likely regular Cinemascope.

In the Fox territories the film was cut by several minutes and re-titled ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS. Videos here are from the British master and show the Warners logo and UK credits.  The US Theatrical release was the top of a double bill with GHOST DIVER, which I think is a Regal film…, as second feature.  US TV was originally handled by Seven Arts (which had a Fox TV film group package) and later became part of Warners.  I have a Seven Arts 16MM TV print with different (US) credits which had a prominent credit for Buzz Productions, rarely seen elsewhere.  My company (IIP) [Independent International Pictures] is the owner of the Buzz Productions interests.  This is probably the best film that the Clarion and Hammer production team ever made. It is finally getting a reputation, is shown yearly at a special film festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and fans finally have gotten to appreciate it.  When I took over the rights to this film and started working with Fox they thought nothing of the film until I told them it was great! They didn’t believe in it as they had mis-handled it originally and it made no money.  Once, due to my efforts, they reviewed all of these issues and they started marketing it to Cable TV in the US (including HBO) where they did a great deal of business. This film was in the Red from 1957 to the 1990s until I took it over and now, it is solidly in the black.

RICK: Kit Parker forwarded to me your comments about the rights history of this film, which sound very complicated because it was an international co-production.   ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN was shot by the technique known today as Super 35: full aperture spherical photography composed for 2.35, which would be extracted and squeezed to a dupe negative for release printing. This was originally done as Superscope but didn’t work as well on color films as with black-and-white and we are now discovering that a number of black-and-white films from the late Fifties released with anamorphic prints and advertised as being in CinemaScope or similar “Scopes” were actually shot that way. Megascope was Hammer’s term for films shot this way and Columbia used it on some films shot and released spherically in the US but with anamorphic prints in Europe, including THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD [1958]! 

SAM: I won’t believe this super-35 story on ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN until I see a piece of film in my hand like that.  I remember seeing some Superscope films in theatres (Tushinsky process) originally… especially INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [1956]. It was inferior looking and very grainy from blowing up that negative. ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN always looks very good leading me to believe it was shot with an anamorphic lens and not blown up from part of a negative.  I worked on two films shot in Techniscope (a similar idea using half the negative) and squeezed into an anamorphic version – and it usually looked grainy and horrible.  If SNOWMAN was shot the same way, it should look equally bad which it does not.

Unfortunately, we have not had access to MGM’s files to get their side of this, only Panavision’s. Obviously, they couldn’t publicly announce it as it would have been in violation of their licensing agreement with Fox. One giveaway is there is a credit on these films saying “Process lenses by Panavision”, which was used when Panavision optical printer lenses were used for conversions. Through 1960, films shot with Panavision lenses, though credited as being in CinemaScope, carried a sub credit “Photographic lenses by Panavision. Unfortunately, this credit appears near the end of the main title sequence on the card with the copyright notice, etc., so you have to watch the film’s main title sequence to catch it. One other thing I noted was that the films’ original negatives were cut into A&B rolls so they wouldn’t have to go to another dupe stage for dissolves and fades, just title sequences and opticals. We’re fairly certain all their black-and-white “CinemaScope” pictures released in 1957 and 58 were done this way, but still need to research the 1959-60 releases because MGM had begun using Panavision lenses on its color films about that time. Marty has confirmed that THE GAZEBO, released at the end of 1959, was shot anamorphic.

[**]  The name “Buzz” probably came from Robert L. Lippert, who had just produced “The Fly” (1958).

Sam Sherman, writer, producer, distributor, and film historian:

http://www.badmovieplanet.com/unknownmovies/reviews/independentinternational.html

Rick Mitchell, film editor and film historian.

http://www.in70mm.com/news/2007/rick_mitchell/index.htm

Wide Screen 101:

http://www.cinematographers.nl/FORMATS3.html

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/

email:  kit@kitparkerfilms.

Saved from embarrassment!

Ronnie James, one of the great unsung movie and television researchers, pointed out that I neglected to include the most important Lippert movie of all, THE FLY (1958).  I had intended to highlight it, but instead hit the delete key, the most dangerous key of all!  He also mentioned QUATERMASS 2: ENEMY FROM SPACE (1957) and FROZEN ALIVE (1964)…I’ve asked him to double-check.  Ronnie felt that the Filmography would be more useful and telling, if it was in chronological order.  It started out that way, but I found too much conflicting information among my various research publications.

Film editor and film historian Rick Mitchell has great credentials when it comes to wide screen cinematography. He asked several excellent questions that I’m sure others have wondered about as well.

RICK MITCHELL: I believe there are some errors in the Lippert piece. I don’t believe Sam Fuller’s CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS were made for Lippert but under a separate deal Fuller’s Globe Productions made with Fox, like Edward L. Alperson’s. THE FLY is not considered a Lippert production but an official Fox one.

THE FLY is definitely a Lippert production. Director Kurt Neumann came to Bob Lippert with the story, and Lippert felt it would be a big hit so, according to Dexter, authorized a $700 – $750K budget…astronomical for a Lippert production, but small by Fox standards. Most of the money went into special effects and, of course, it was filmed (in Canada) in color.  Lippert showed it to Fox president, Spyros Skouras, and he decided to make it a Fox “A” release.

KIT: Sam Fuller was the producer of both CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS, released in 1957. 

 These were Lippert RegalScope productions that so impressed the Fox brass that they were released as Fox/CinemaScope pictures. Head of production was Bill Magianetti, and his assistant was Maury Dexter.  I spoke to Dexter and he confirmed this and also went into detail about the filming. Maury also told me some great Fuller stories connected with those two pictures which I’ll reveal in a future blog!

RICK: Are you sure THE FLY was filmed in Canada? I’d seen THE GIFT OF LOVE a few weeks before I first saw THE FLY and was shocked to see the same interiors of the house in both films. Fox did recycle standing sets: the schoolroom build for PEYTON PLACE appears in THE YOUNG LIONS and THE LONG HOT SUMMER with no changes, for example.

KIT:  Rick was mostly right…only some scenes were filmed in Montreal, the rest at Fox studios.

In one of my blogs I wrote that Lippert couldn’t put his name on any of his Fox productions because he totally alienated the unions by insisting on releasing his earlier productions to television and refusing to pay residuals.

RICK: Lippert takes executive producer credit on THE YELLOW CANARY (1963).

KIT: Yes, by 1963 the union problems were behind him.

RICK: The first Regal film credited on the film as being in CinemaScope; I haven’t seen any ads or trailers, so I don’t know what’s on them.

KIT:  I do know they used CinemaScope lenses on all of the Regal’s, but Fox didn’t want to use that name on low budget, black and white second features. One thing that continues to stump me is some of the Regal prints have the Fox logo, and other prints of the same picture say Regal Films! Maury Dexter didn’t know, either, so it is a probably a question that will never be answered.

 

RICK:  See attached frame blowup from a friend’s 16mm print of STAGECOACH TO FURY; I now have one of my own. It has the Regal Films logo at the head. I have not seen any of the other RegalScope films released in 1956 and don’t know how they were credited but all Regal films I’ve seen after that were credited in being in RegalScope, including British made THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, which was actually shot in what’s now called Super 35; [a film collector] e-mailed me that his 35mm print credits Megascope, the term Hammer used for the films it shot in Super 35 and Columbia used on spherical films it released in Europe with anamorphic prints.

RICK: Incidentally, re your Lippert Pictures filmography, THE BIG CHASE was expanded from what was to be 3-D short, I believe BANDIT ISLAND.

 

KIT:  True; producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. made both the 3D short and incorporated the footage (in 2D) into his feature film, THE BIG CHASE (1954).  The 3D short itself is not known to survive.

RICK:  I believe the color films Lippert did before the formation of Associated Producers were released as official Fox films because they were in color.

KIT: The only two color films that came out of Regal Films were THE FLY (1958) and THE DEERSLAYER (1957), which were released as Fox pictures, but produced by Lippert. When the Fox-Regal deal expired, a new one was set up under the name Associated Producers. Many of those were in color.

RICK: Were CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! (both1958) and THE OREGON TRAIL (1959) not part of the Lippert deal? They are credited as being produced by Richard Einfield, the son of a former Fox exhibition executive. I’d gotten the impression that all the obvious color B’s Fox released during the Skouras years went through the Lippert Unit. [condensed for clarity]

KIT: CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! And THE OREGON TRAIL are Lippert (API) productions.  I know IMDb isn’t the be-all-end-all of credits, but it doesn’t list CATTLE EMPIRE or VILLA! as Einfield films. Maury thinks Einfield “may” have produced CATTLE EMPIRE, and he did produce OREGON TRAIL.

Both Dexter, and VILLA! star, Margia Dean, confirm that Spyros Skouras’ son, Plato Skouras, produced VILLA!  Dexter says that Plato wanted to be a movie producer so his father assigned him to “produce” some Lippert’s, a way to get him off his back and still allow his son to call himself a producer, although his involvement usually wasn’t much more than as a figurehead.  Dexter adds it was a similar situation with Richard Einfield, whose father was indeed an exhibitor, and therefore a customer of Fox.  He added that Einfield did not have much to do with the actual producing, but did more so than Plato Skouras given Einfield had a background in film editing and directing.

Dexter has given me more details on THE FLY.  He says Lippert read the “The Fly” short story in a 1957 Playboy Magazine, at the suggestion of director Kurt Neumann.  He immediately dispatched someone to Paris to buy the movie rights from its author, George Langelaan.  Langelaan was paid $2,500, a little over $19,000 in 2010 dollars.

I’m thankful for Rick’s questions and comments, and hope he will contribute more.

GREAT NEWS!  Maury Dexter wrote an unpublished autobiography which I found to be a page-turner.  He has asked me to make it available at no charge.  I’ll get to work on the project as soon as I can figure out how to upload the book from a floppy disc!

Recommendations:

Google Rick Mitchell, or start with this site: 

http://www.in70mm.com/workshop/departments/mitchell/index.htm

The Big Chase DVD:

http://vcientertainment.com/forgotten-noir-collectors-p-556.html

  

 

Samuel Fuller’s “I Shot Jesse James” (1949)

 

Before Roger Corman there was Robert L. Lippert.

Producer/Exhibitor Robert L. Lippert’s low-budget productions are sometimes called Grade “C.”  Personally, I’ve never seen one below “B-,” and in fairness, he did put out some “B+,” “nervous A,” and who can call “The Fly” (1957) anything but an “A”?

Lippert felt there was an unmet demand for “B” product for his circuit of theatres, so in 1945 he and John L. Jones formed a production company, Action Pictures, and distribution company, Screen Guild Productions.   The first and sole release for 1945 was “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse,” in Cinecolor, starring Bob Steele.  Regular releases followed, and in 1949 Screen Guild , became “Lippert Pictures,” and in the final count, cranked out over 125 low budget movies, and released many more acquisitions and reissues.  He produced many more films for release by 20th Century-Fox…more about the Fox deal later…

The early Lippert productions were unremarkable B movies (okay, there may have been some C’s), with a few notable exceptions.  Things changed in 1949 when he rolled the dice and took a chance on a feisty independent newspaper reporter by the name of Samuel Fuller. Lippert gave Fuller, who had no movie experience, virtual free-reign, and his name above the title, to create a film about Jesse James’ assassin, Bob Ford.   It was released as “I Shot Jesse James” (1949), and became a critical and box office success, and today it is considered a classic, notable, among other things, for its extensive use of close ups.  Soon after, Fuller directed his second film, “The Baron of Arizona” (1950), a true story about a swindler who seized much of Arizona by forging Spanish land grants.  Vincent Price played the “Baron,” and many years later claimed it was one of his very favorite roles.  Truly, the Lippert/Fuller magna opus was the classic Korean War drama, “The Steel Helmet” (1951), which garnered first-run dates at prestigious theatres.  The three Fuller films are out on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Lippert’s cause célèbre was to produce films as cheaply as possible, and still offer at least some entertainment value, particularly for the more unsophisticated movie patrons. No Lippert movies were allowed to go over budget.  Not egotiable…even for Fuller.

Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me a story about filming of the climactic ending of “The Steel Helmet,” where a Korean temple is to be destroyed, and it almost didn’t come to be…  Fuller had shot all but the ending, and production was about to go into overtime. Lippert came on the set and literally pulled the power switch to shut down production.  Fortunately, after he left the set, Fuller turned the power on and filmed the finale.

In 1950, Lippert gave himself a challenge…produce a series of six Jimmy “Shamrock” Ellison-Russell “Lucky” Hayden westerns, all at the same time, using the same casts, sets, crew, and so on.  In one movie an actor may play a bad guy and a bartender in another.   A camera was be set up in the saloon, for example, and the saloon scenes for each movie would be shot sequentially, with actors rushing about changing costumes between each roll of the camera.  It must have been a nightmare for the script girl!  Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me it was his father’s proudest achievement!  VCI released this series as a set under the “Big Iron Collection” banner.

Despite the puny budgets, minor classics resulted, including “Little Big Horn” (1951) and “The Tall Texan” (1953), both starring Lloyd Bridges.  There was also a distinctive film noir series filmed in Great Britain starting in 1953 when Lippert formed a production alliance with his British distributor, Exclusive Films, soon known as Hammer Film Productions.  Under the arrangement, Lippert would provide an American “star,” on the way down, but who still had some name value, plus cash to pay for part of the production.  Exclusive/Hammer and Lippert divided up the distribution territories.  The result was a series of good thrillers, supported by solid English casts, and many directed by Terence Fisher, in his
pre-horror film days.  The Lippert-Hammers are all available as part of the “Hammer Noir” collections released by VCI Entertainment.

Lippert, like Roger Corman after him, was able to gather together producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and, of course, actors, willing to work on tight schedules for minimal pay.  There were stars who had lost their major studio contracts (Paulette Goddard, George Raft) or who had problems with the House on Un-American Activities (Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb).   Even Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicolson had roles in later Lippert productions.

Lippert was a master marketer.  When producer George Pal set out to mount a big budget Technicolor production of “Destination Moon” (1950), based on the science-fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein, Lippert saw an opportunity.  He capitalized on Pal’s media campaign by throwing together his own low (of course) budget “moon” (he changed it to “mars” to avoid a lawsuit)  picture,“Rocketship X-M” (1950).  It beat Pal’s movie into the theatres, stealing a good deal of the Technicolor epic’s thunder.   I’m told Mr. Pal was not amused.

Trouble, and opportunities, lay ahead for Lippert.

To be continued…

Robert L. Lippert https://kitparkerfilms.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/robert-l-lippert/

Wildfire – Story of a Horse http://vcientertainment.com/darn-good-westerns-p-558.html

I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/499-eclipse-series-5-the-first-films-of-samuel-fuller

Little Big Horn http://vcientertainment.com/western-film-noir-double-feature-p-512.html

The Tall Texan http://vcientertainment.com/tall-texan-p-493.html

The Big Iron Collection http://vcientertainment.com/iron-collection-p-559.html

Hammer Noir http://vcientertainment.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=hammer+noir&x=0&y=0

Rocketship X-M http://www.amazon.com/Rocketship-X-M-Lloyd-Bridges/dp/6305869367/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621007&sr=1-1

Destination Moon http://www.amazon.com/Destination-Moon-John-Archer/dp/6305761078/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621077&sr=1-1


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