moirafinnie wrote:Hi Brian,
That's a great story about She Wolf of London. (I did have the feeling that despite the quality of the cast, that the movie was kind of rushed).
Did Don Porter have much to say about appearing in such film noirs as 711 Ocean Drive (1950), The Racket (1951) or The Turning Point (1952)? Did you have a chance to speak to him about some of the actors he shared the screen with, from Abbott and Costello to Martin and Lewis, not to mention Charlton Heston, Marjorie Main, and William Holden? How did he like working with directors such as William Dieterle, John Cromwell, and Alexander Hall?
Thanks in advance for anything you can share about his impressions.
You were so right about "She-Wolf" being rushed and I've just posted a reply at the end of the thread about the shooting conditions and schedules at Universal for the B's. (He said they almost never had more than 12 days.)
My interview with the actor was about Universal in the forties so, unfortunately, we didn't address the films, actors and directors you mention. But we did touch on his career in general and he volunteered an observation that I think he was uniquely qualified to make. Porter was one of the few actors to make a good living in films in the forties and then switch to an extremely successful TV career that continued right through the late eighties.
When he first started, he said, Universal was using a technique on its B-movies borrowed from its serial department. (The Universal serial department had actually "borrowed" the technique from Mascot which then became Republic.) By carefully working out the story board beforehand, it was possible to shoot every scene in a movie that called for a certain set, at one time. In other words, if there were five scenes throughout a movie that took place on a castle set, you could shoot them all in a day or two, saving an enormous amount of time and money on lighting changes.
Porter said early TV used the B-movie technique because they were sometimes shooting two shows a week! And by the mid-seventies when he appeared in Mame
with Lucille Ball, even major studios were using this cost-cutting method. He lived long enough to see all of the other changes in the business too, but seemed to be very happy with the acting life.