Friday, January 15, 2016

Ivor Novello, 1893-1951

Today marks the birth anniversary of actor Ivor Novello, who was a popular entertainer in Britain in the 1920s in various forms. He was a composer, and retired from the movies in the 1930s to devote his career full time to composing and the stage. But as an actor, he's probably best known for the Alfred Hitchcock version of The Lodger, in which he plays the character who may or may not be Jack the Ripper.

Novello also shows up as a character in the Robert Altman film Gosford Park (disclaimer: I haven't seen this one either); apparently Novello was well enough known at the time that it would have been normal for him to show up at the sort of upper-class estate which features in the movie. Several of his songs also appear in the film, at least according to IMDb.

The song that seems to show up the most, according to IMDb, is a World War I song called "Keep the Home Fires Burning (Till the Boys Come Home)", which you would have heard in The Lost Squadron if you watched the recent TCM showing. It also appears in Cavalcade. I couldn't find a rendition of Novello singing it; there may or may not be one. So we'll have to make do with a vintage version recorded during World War I:

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