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Tower of London (1939 film)

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Director  Rowland V. Lee
Duration  
Language  English
6.8/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, History
Country  United States
Tower of London (1939 film) movie poster
Release date  November 17, 1939 (1939-11-17)
Writer  Robert N. Lee (original screen play)
Film series  Universal horror Film Series
Music director  Frank Skinner, Hans J. Salter, Ralph Freed
Cast  Basil Rathbone (Richard - Duke of Gloucester), Boris Karloff (Mord), Barbara O'Neil (Queen Elyzabeth), Ian Hunter (King Edward IV), Vincent Price (Duke of Clarence), Nan Grey (Lady Alice Barton)
Similar movies  I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, W Delta Z, The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, Bloody Moon, Mad Max: Fury Road, Brooklyn's Finest
Tagline  See: VAST ARMIES CLASH BEFORE YOUR EYES! See: AX-COLD MASTERS OF TREACHERY! See: DARK SECRETS BEHIND GRIM TOWERS! See: CRUELTY, COLD AS A HEADSMAN'S AX! See: BLOOD BOILING, LUSTY EXCITEMENT!

Tower of London is a 1939 black-and-white historical film and quasi-horror film released by Universal Pictures and directed by Rowland V. Lee. It stars Basil Rathbone as the future King Richard III of England, and Boris Karloff as his fictitious club-footed executioner Mord. Vincent Price, in only his third film, appears as George, Duke of Clarence. Actor John Rodion, who appears in a small role, is actually Rodion Rathbone, Basil's son.

Contents

Tower of London (1939 film) movie scenes

The film is based on the traditional depiction of Richard rising to become King of England in 1483 by eliminating everyone ahead of him. Each time Richard accomplishes a murder, he removes one figurine from a dollhouse resembling a throneroom. Once he has completed his task, he now needs to defeat the exiled Henry Tudor to retain the throne.

Tower of London (1939 film) movie scenes

The exterior castle sets constructed for this film became a staple of the Universal backlot and could be seen time and time again in subsequent films (most prominently in the 1952's The Black Castle).

Tower of London (1939 film) movie scenes

A 1962 film, with Vincent Price now in the lead role, borrowed the title. The newer film—not a remake—was made on an extremely low budget, with a small cast (and used stock footage from the 1939 version for the battle sequences), and placed far more of an emphasis on horror. Price later told Rathbone's biographer Michael Druxman that he felt Rathbone's performance as Richard was probably more historically genuine than either Laurence Olivier's or his own.

Tower of London (1939 film) Tower of London 1939

Plot

Tower of London (1939 film) Tower of London 1939

The plot was not derived from Shakespeare's Richard III, but rather was written by Robert N. Lee (director Rowland V. Lee's brother) after reading a great deal of British history. George, Duke of Clarence (one of Richard's brothers) is depicted as something less than the tragically noble figure found in Shakespeare. Ian Hunter portrays Edward IV, who is not depicted here as the feeble, dying King found in Laurence Olivier's 1955 film version of Shakespeare's play.

Cast

Tower of London (1939 film) Basil Rathbone Master of Stage and Screen Tower of London
  • Basil Rathbone - Richard, Duke of Gloucester
  • Boris Karloff - Mord
  • Barbara O'Neil - Queen Elyzabeth
  • Ian Hunter - King Edward IV
  • Vincent Price - Duke of Clarence
  • Nan Grey - Lady Alice Barton
  • Ernest Cossart - Tom Clink
  • John Sutton - John Wyatt
  • Leo G. Carroll - Lord Hastings
  • Miles Mander - King Henry VI
  • Lionel Belmore - Beacon
  • Rose Hobart - Anne Neville
  • Ronald Sinclair - Boy King Edward
  • John Herbert-Bond - Young Prince Richard
  • Ralph Forbes - Henry Tudor
  • Frances Robinson - Duchess Isobel
  • G.P. Huntley - Wales
  • Rodion Rathbone - Lord DeVere
  • Walter Tetley - Chimney Sweep
  • Donnie Dunagan - Baby Prince
  • Production

    Tower of London (1939 film) Tower of London 1939 The Doctors Model Mansion

    The film was budgeted at $500,000 but went $80,000 over budget.

    Tower of London (1939 film) TOWER OF LONDON Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse Maronie

    Vincent Price admitted that when his character got drunk with wine in the film, it was actually Coca-Cola. Basil Rathbone was forced, due to scheduling conflicts, to simultaneously work on the film Rio during the first week of production. Rathbone's assignment on this film also effectively prevented him from being cast on the far more prestigious The Hunchback of Notre Dame at RKO.

    Home Video Release

    Tower of London (1939 film) Tower of London USA 1939 HORRORPEDIA

    This film, along with Night Key, The Climax, The Strange Door and The Black Castle, was released on DVD in 2006 by Universal Studios as part of The Boris Karloff Collection.


    Tower of London (1939 film) Tower of London 1939

    References

    Tower of London (1939 film) Wikipedia
    Tower of London (1939 film) IMDb Tower of London (1939 film) themoviedb.org


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