Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Peter Cushing.

Like most of you, i first watched the man in late night Hammer horror movies, and was instantly beguiled by his screen presence. Tense and gaunt, his face seemed sculpted for his roles as Dr. Frankenstein and Van Helsing. And as a kid, I was especially impressed how such a refined and small-framed actor could leap and fight with startling athletic agility.

But what i love him for, is how much nobility he gave to the horror genre.

He took it seriously - made you believe in it. He didn't have contempt for the material, even in some of his more shoddy films, he always performed with sincerity and dignity. And i was always convinced - he never broke the 'spell'.

And his eyes, one minute full of menace, next, tender, warm, and sad. Eyes that could belong to a devil or a saint. And he played both, meticulously.

Pure class.
Happy Birthday, Peter.


Unknown said...

Here, here Shane, well said.
The man was a true gent of cinema and seems to have been forgotten, amongst all the praise for Alec Guinness, for the class he brought to Star Wars.

shane oakley said...

ullo, nick! yeah, peter cushing got stuck with the 'horror tag', which doesn't help, it's something i don't mind, but it's tag that gets actors pushed aside, which was criminally unfair to a very wonderful, very versatile performer. he did a whole range of movies outside HAMMER and AMICUS, with not a ghoul or bloodsucker in sight , but, there's always bin that snobbery with english film critics, they're usually quite unkind to the genre , and also like to pigeonhole actors to make their jobs easier. having said that, cushing himself repeatedly remarked - about his horror movies - that he was just happy to be working among friends, and grateful for such an appreciative audience, large or small - and he did get an OBE!
i'm the ONE who's never seen the STAR WARS movies(seen bits, but never bothered stay for the duration)but i highly rate alec guinness for his work with ealing studios, THE LADY KILLERS especially.

Lee Townsend said...

Got to your Blog via Staz, enjoying your'e work, and I could not agree more about what you said about Peter Cushing! I grew up watching Hammer films, I was vey lucky to meet Christopher Lee but I never managed to ask him what it was like working with the great man!