Monday, 14 May 2012

heeeere's martin!!

Last Thursday I watched the Bela Lugosi Dracula. Apart from the fact that the characters could have dealt with the problem more easily than they did in terms of securing their mental hospital, and the degree to which every post-Lugosi Dracula is doing a Lugosi impression, the most memorable thing about it was the performance by Charles K Gerrard in the comic relief role of Martin, a hospital attendant. It might be the worst of any kind that I have ever seen, and I have watched John Torode trying to play the part of an expert chef.

It wasn't a titchy part. How did he get it? We looked him up. I am not going to list his eighty or so movies - usually 5 a year during the tens and twenties - but he hit a cliff as the movies went talkie and if you've ever watched Dracula this won't feel like a coincidence. So, there it is. A real life, small scale, Lina Lamont.

I thought for a second that I was wrong when I looked him up on Wikipedia and found he was in plays on Broadway, but they were very few and far between and it's not as if he might not have had a lot of friends who wished him well. During WWII he was in Catherine Was Great, which was successful enough but it did have a cast of 70* and Plan M**, which had a cast of not many but more than the six performances it ran for. CKG played a Rear Admiral.

(My favourite titles of CKG movies? They include The Port of Missing Girls*** and The Lone Wolf's Daughter.****)

* Mae West played Catherine.
** Written by Hollywood's James Edward Grant. A member of the German High Command is a perfect double for the head of the War Office in London and takes over from him.
*** Presume it was the same plot as the 1938 remake: 'A woman framed for a murder she didn't commit stows away on a freighter headed for an island in the South Seas known as a hideout for people on the run from the law.'
**** With sound. There were lots of Lone Wolf movies. Eric Blore***** played Jamison, the Lone Wolf's butler, in eleven of the movies, starting with The Lone Wolf Strikes and ending with The Lone Wolf in London.
***** Eric Blore was the real name of George Orwell.

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