Sunday, October 28, 2012

CHARACTER ACTORS PART 16: ELSA LANCHESTER

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELSA LANCHESTER - BORN ON THIS DATE IN 1902. 

Long-time readers of this blog may dimly recall a series I did on my favourite character actors.  I began it in February 2007 and I haven't done one since my birthday in 2008.  To see the others, click on the label "character actors" at the bottom of this post.  Well, since it's the Countdown to Halloween AND Elsa Lancester's 110th birthday, I thought I'd revive the feature -- just as Ernest Thesiger and Colin Clive "revived" the stitched-together corpse that became the electro-coiffed BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

Reasons why I love her:
  • THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
  • THE GHOST GOES WEST (1935)
  • TALES OF MANHATTAN (1942)
  • THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1945)
  • THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947)
  • THE BIG CLOCK (1948)
  • THE SECRET GARDEN (1949)
  • MYSTERY STREET (1950)
  • WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957)
  • BELL, BOOK & CANDLE (1958)
  • MARY POPPINS (1964)
  • NIGHT GALLERY:  "GREEN FINGERS" (1972)
  • MURDER BY DEATH (1976)

Elsa Lanchester was the epitome of that turn-of-the-20th-century music hall performer we've seen in many movies; she was in fact a celebrated singer and performer when she trod the boards.  Her slightly-bawdy songs are preserved on two wonderful albums in my possession:  "SONGS FOR A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM" and "SONGS FOR A SHUTTERED PARLOR" which also features song introductions by her husband Charles Laughton.  Elsa, of course, had a nice touch for comedy which can be seen in most of her films.  Elsa was bigger than life and almost always stole every scene she was in.  She is simply one of those personalities we sadly don't really see anymore; that is, she HAD a personality!  Something which is noticably lacking in most of today's "stars".   

2 comments:

Bob Lizarraga said...
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