Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Irving Pichel, 1891-1954

Today marks the birth anniversary of director-actor Irving Pichel, a name you might have seen if you watch enough old movies, even though he never really directed any big movies. I've mentioned a couple of his directorial efforts before:

His very first effort was The Most Dangerous Game, starring Joel McCrea as a man who gets hunted on an island owned by a man who likes to hunt "the most dangerous game", that being humans. Along the way, he also has to try to save Fay Wray.

I haven't seen the 1935 version of She before; probably the 1960s version with Ursula Andress is more famous, and is appearing on TCM tonight at 10:00 PM. The Pichel version starred Helen Gahagan, who would later marry Melvyn Douglas and run for Congress against Richard Nixon.

I've also recommended Hudson's Bay, which Pichel made over at Fox. Paul Muni plays French-Canadian, which is as funny as Laurence Olivier doing it in 49th Parallel.

One of Pichel's films as a director is coming up on TCM soon: They Won't Believe Me will be on at 8:00 AM Friday, as part of the Summer of Darkness noir festival.

Pichel's acting was mostly smaller roles, too. However, you've got a chance to see him coming up on TCM. He's listed as playing "Bruce Renoir" in Old Hickory, one of those Warner Bros. Technicolor US history shorts. This short, on Andrew Jackson, is scheduled to air Friday at 5:42 AM, following Saratoga (4:00 AM Friday, 92 min).

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