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Bernard Vorhaus

Bernard Vorhaus

Bernard Vorhaus, the son of a lawyer, was born in New York City on 25th December 1904. His father had come to America as a poor immigrant at the age of seven, from a village in Austria. According to his son "he had worked his way through college and law school and developed quite an impressive legal practice." He held left-wing views and had been a strong supporter of Woodrow Wilson and his ideas for a League of Nations.

His sister, Amy Vorhaus, who was twelve years older than him, wrote film scripts and so he became interested in movies early in life. He later recalled: "My grandmother, who lived in Westchester County, which is a little way from Manhattan, used to take me to the local nickelodeon, and since it had hard wooden seats she would bring with her an inflatable cushion, a thermos bottle of coffee, and cookies, and we would watch the serials. But I was rather frustrated, because I'd always be left with the heroine tied to the railroad tracks while the train was approaching, or hanging over a cliff with the rope frayed, and then seldom would I get back to Westchester in time to see the sequel."

After leaving Harvard University he attempted to become a writer. His first script, Steppin' Out, was produced in 1925. He also helped to write Money Talks (1926) and No Other Woman (1928). The first film he directed was Money for Speed (1933). This was followed by Crime on the Hill (1933). In his next movie, The Ghost Camera (1933), he employed David Lean as his editor. Vorhaus later claimed that he made several innovations with this film. "There were a few first in The Ghost Camera. It was the first time that anyone had run a section of film before the main titles. It was the first time that, when there was a flashback - that is, when one of the main characters was talking about something that had happened previously - and you flashed back to it, instead of seeing the person in the scene - since the person wouldn't have seen himself."

During the 1930s Vorhaus became involved in politics. While working in London he had joined the Left Book Club and had been especially impressed by the books of John Strachey (The Coming Struggle for Power) and R. Palme Dutt (Fascism and Social Revolution). He also became a supporter of the Popular Front Government during the Spanish Civil War and joined several pressure groups involved in the fight with the governments led by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He also became close to several other left-wing figures in Hollywood including: Donald Ogden Stewart, Ring Lardner Jr., Samuel Ornitz, Gordon Kahn, Ian McLellan Hunter and Guy Endore.

Vorhaus later admitted in Tender Comrades (1997): "For a while I was very active with the Communists in the anti-Fascist work they were doing... When the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, I think the Soviet Union was justified in doing so because it had tried for years to get a united front of the democratic countries against Hitler and hadn't succeeded, because they were hoping that Hitler and the Soviet Union would come to fight each other and either destroy each other or greatly weaken each other... I came very quickly to disagree with 'democratic centralism' which I think is a very undemocratic system. That is what governs the Communist Party and is what governed the Soviet Union. I think it's the sad cause of the terrible despotism and corruption of Stalinism, under which millions of their own people were murdered."

Other films during this period by Vorhaus included Night Club Queen (1933), Dark World (1935), The Last Journey (1935), Dusty Ermine (1936), Cotton Queen (1937), King of the Newsboys (1938), Tenth Avenue Kid (1938), Way Down South (1939), Fisherman Wharf (1939), Angels With Broken Wings (1941), Hurricane Smith (1941), The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine (1942), Bury Me Dead (1947) and Winter Wonderland (1947).

On 20th October, 1947, the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened its hearings concerning communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. The chief investigator for the committee was Robert E. Stripling. The first people it interviewed included Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, Ayn Rand, Jack L. Warner, Robert Taylor, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Montgomery, Walt Disney, Thomas Leo McCarey and George L. Murphy. These people named several possible members of the American Communist Party.

As a result their investigations, the HUAC announced it wished to interview nineteen members of the film industry that they believed might be members of the American Communist Party. This included Herbert Biberman, Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Samuel Ornitz, John Howard Lawson, Larry Parks, Waldo Salt, Bertolt Brecht, Richard Collins, Gordon Kahn, Robert Rossen, Lewis Milestone and Irving Pichel.

The first ten witnesses called to appear before the HUAC, Biberman, Bessie, Cole, Maltz, Scott, Trumbo, Dmytryk, Lardner, Ornitz and Lawson, refused to cooperate at the September hearings and were charged with "contempt of Congress". Known as the Hollywood Ten, they claimed that the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution gave them the right to do this. The courts disagreed and each was sentenced to between six and twelve months in prison. The case went before the Supreme Court in April 1950, but with only Justices Hugo Black and William Douglas dissenting, the sentences were confirmed.

On 8th March, 1951, the HUAC committee began an "Investigation of Communism in the Entertainment Field". Several of these witnesses named people as being members of the American Communist Party. This included: Larry Parks, Sterling Hayden, Richard Collins, Edward Dmytryk, Budd Schulberg, Frank Tuttle, Leo Townsend, Martin Berkeley, Elia Kazan, Isabel Lennart, Clifford Odets, Roy Huggins, Robert Rossen and Lee Cobb. Dmytryk, Tuttle, Berkeley and Rossen, named Vorhaus as being a communist.

Vorhaus refused to testify against former comrades and was blacklisted. He moved to London and according to his biographer "Rather than battle the ragtag European film industry, like fellow political exiles John Berry, Jules Dassin, Cy Endfield, Joseph Losey, and so many others, he built a new career converting London's Victorian mansions to apartments."

Bernard Vorhaus died on 23rd November 2000.

For a while I was very active with the Communists in the anti-Fascist work they were doing... I think it's the sad cause of the terrible despotism and corruption of Stalinism, under which millions of their own people were murdered.


Bury Me Dead

When the remains of a woman's body are found after a fire consumes a barn on the estate of wealthy Barbara Carlin, it is assumed to be her, especially since she was wearing Barbara's diamond necklace. However, after the funeral, Barbara secretly contacts Michael Dunn, the family lawyer. He advises her to notify the police immediately, but she suspects someone is trying to murder her and wants to investigate first.

A series of flashbacks reveals the possible motives of several suspects. The prime suspect is her irresponsible, philandering husband, Rod, whom she is reluctantly divorcing he might want her wealth. But there is also Rusty, a resentful young woman who had been raised to believe she was Barbara's younger sister. When Barbara's father died, his will revealed that Rusty was just an orphan he had raised, but not legally adopted Barbara inherited everything. Barbara was quite willing to share everything with her, but Rusty accepted only a small allowance. Rusty, it also turns out, is in love with Rod and (mistakenly) believes he loves her. And who is the woman buried under Barbara's name?

Another flashback reveals that Rusty, a minor, had taken up with a dimwitted boxer named George Mandley. When Barbara went to take her home, Rod had become openly attracted to George's shapely "assistant", Helen Lawrence. Barbara began seeing George to retaliate. Rusty bitterly resented Barbara taking George away from her. Eventually, it is realized that the dead woman is Helen. (Rod had let her try on Barbara's necklace and forgotten to get it back.)

More revelations follow. Helen, George's scheming girlfriend, had gotten him to date Barbara while she herself was seeing Rod. She hinted to Rod that he should kill his wife and marry her. That failed, as Rod actually loved Barbara, leaving Helen to plot to extort money out of Barbara through George. Meanwhile, Rusty, still certain that Rod loves her, boasts to him that her schemes had driven him and Barbara apart.

After the power goes out in her mansion that night, Barbara is attacked by an unknown assailant in the dark. The attacker flees before finishing the job. Rod and Jeffers, their butler, show up shortly afterward, followed by Michael. Rod is taken in by the police for questioning, during which he is asked to telephone Michael for information about any insurance policies on Barbara's life. When Michael's secretary mentions that he has not been in the office all day, Rod remembers that he claimed to have received Rod's message about the latest attack. He insists that the police take him back to the mansion as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Michael realizes he has blundered, telling Barbara that Helen was murdered with a hammer, something only the killer would know. When Rusty shows up, he decides to stage Rusty and Barbara as a murder-suicide, but is gunned down by the police just in time.


Bernard Vorhaus

Bernard Vorhaus (December 25, 1904 – November 23, 2000) was an American film director born in New York City.

The Harvard University graduate, in addition to directing thirty-two films, was also the mentor to future film director David Lean, some of whose work as a film editor early in his career was on Vorhaus pictures. He worked steadily as a screenwriter in Hollywood while in his 20s but wanted to direct movies. He eventually decided to move to England and began directing B-movies or quota quickies, most notably The Last Journey (1935). After success in England, Vorhaus moved back to the U.S. and began working at Republic Pictures again directing B-movies.

Vorhaus was blacklisted in 1951 at HUAC hearings. Vorhaus had already moved to Europe at that time and directed a few minor films while there. He finally returned to England and retired from the film business, founding a business specialising in house renovations.

Vorhaus had two children, Gwyn and David, an electronic music pioneer who worked under the name White Noise.


Popular reviews

A thoroughly enjoyable early English talkie where bumbling and amusingly verbose Henry Kendall sets off to find the owner of a mysterious camera that lands on his car.

Accompanying him on his adventure is Ida Lupino, in one of her earliest roles. Apparently Lupino was only 15 when The Ghost Camera was released, which makes her courtship with Kendall, over double her age, somewhat troublesome by today's standards to say the very least.

You also get a young John Mills, as her troubled brother, and David Lean also did the editing. The latter would certainly explain some of the fascinating cuts here, especially during the film's remarkable opening scene. The whole story is played for a fair few laughs, as you'd expect with Kendall in the lead, but it's swift and entertaining with some impressive stylistic flair behind it.

An interesting quota quickie which follows a similar plot point to the classic Blow-up, where a photograph may or may not contain evidence of a murder.

Henry Kendall is his usual blundering and bumbling type, although it suits his character here more than most, and a teenage Ida Lupino shines in one of her first roles: just fifteen, she has a lot of poise and charm.

Bernard Vorhaus directs, and this is a solid entry in a career which took him across two continents and into Hollywood. He could clearly work quickly and effectively, and although this is 'rather British', it may well benefit from the American touch.

The Ghost Camera may move slowly, and a lack of musical motif…

6.25/10
Great concept plot which I can't really say much about since that would make your watching this B film rather less interesting. Henry Kendall has the lead and is assisted by Ida Lupino (and how they meet is quite interesting, too. but I can't say anything about that, either.)

John Mills has a significant part herein, too and perhaps has the most emotional role.Victor Stanley is the other supporting player. The camera work (pardon the pun) in this film is interesting and while there are several things better not analyzed (why didn't she/he just do. or that makes little sense) the film is not ordinary and the characters are convincing.

A routine quota quickie murder mystery starring Henry Kendall that is notable now only for early appearances from 15-year-old Ida Lupino (playing Kendall's love interest!) and John Mills. Kendall finds a camera, and after developing the film inside, realises that it contains the possible clues to a murder. He then uses the other photos on the film to track down the killer.


Bernard Vorhaus - History

Bernard Vorhaus brought an outsider's eye, an American pace, and a distinctive feel for the cinema medium to his work in Britain. Toiling as a director in the 'quota quickie' field in the 1930s, he quickly made his mark in the industry resurrected fifty years later, his films struck home with another generation, happy to find signs of life in a corner of British cinema often thought a graveyard. Like Michael Powell , another 'quickie' director, Vorhaus showed that with a lively imagination even the most recalcitrant script could be turned into genuine cinema, rather than dialogue with illustrations tacked on.

He was born in New York City on 25 December 1904 into a prosperous immigrant family. Childhood visits to the Fort Lee studios in New Jersey with his elder sister Amy, a scenario writer, sparked his interest in the medium. By the 1920s he was a writer himself, working in Hollywood for Columbia and Fox among other tasks he ghost-wrote Fox's intensely romantic box-office hit Seventh Heaven (US, 1927). He moved into direction with a silent two-reel drama, Sunlight (US, 1928), lost from sight in the excitement of talking pictures.

With no work looming, Vorhaus came to England for a holiday in 1929. He stayed for eight years. The talkie bedlam gave him a niche at Wembley as production supervisor for British Sound Film Productions . When the company collapsed, Vorhaus re-edited some of its variety shorts into Camera Cocktails , and proceeded to his first feature, On Thin Ice (1933), a society thriller, indifferently received, now a lost film. With Money for Speed (1933), Vorhaus displayed more individuality, building his romantic triangle around the thrills of speedway racing, energetically shot on location. His editor was another industry newcomer, David Lean .

Subsequently, Vorhaus chiefly worked for producer Julius Hagen at Twickenham Studios , the factory for many quota productions, turned out on lowly budgets on two-week shooting schedules. His first task was The Ghost Camera (1933). Much in the story was mundane, though there is some risqué fun in a country guesthouse between hesitant hero Henry Kendall and spirited heroine Ida Lupino . Vorhaus refused to settle for commonplace images, breaking up the courtroom climax with a subjective, lurching camera, intercutting a crescendo of close-ups as the judge lays out the murder evidence. In his next film, Crime on the Hill (1933), Vorhaus spiced up a standard country-house murder yarn with irony, lively characterisations, and in the case of actress Sally Blane intimations of the erotic.

Not every assignment could be saved by Vorhaus's nimble handling. Alongside the pliable West End actors hired for the films - Lewis Casson , John Mills , Henry Kendall , among others - there was John Garrick , an actor-singer of unbending mien, who counteracts Vorhaus's creative efforts in Street Song (1935) and The Broken Melody (1934). Sometimes scripts arrived with their own limitations another lost film, Ten Minute Alibi (1935), suffered especially, in Vorhaus's view, from its stage play straitjacket. The writers of The Broken Melody - in which a composer (the oleaginous Garrick) imprisoned on Devil's Island after a crime of passion, escapes and writes an opera about it all - perhaps needed a straitjacket of their own.

In one film particularly, The Last Journey (1935), material and method, style and substance, fused together with exhilarating results. This film had to move fast: it was set on a runaway train hurtling towards destruction at the hands of a driver facing retirement, tormented by jealousy. As in Money for Speed , Vorhaus wanted real thrills and spills, not studio mock-ups the location shooting and fast cutting generated a level of excitement far beyond the British norm. The basic plot was banal, but Vorhaus's presentation kept the train and its passengers jostling happily. The crazed driver, the bigamist and his new acquisition, two fleeing crooks, the detective in disguise, the doughty stoker on the footplate, the handy brain specialist: Vorhaus stamped them all with humanising quirks and avoided cardboard caricatures. For a low-budget supporting feature, The Last Journey made a considerable impact. Dark World (1935), a more lurid thriller, made for Fox-British , also received strong reviews unfortunately this is another lost film.

By this time Hagen's ambitions were rising. A lavish remake of Griffith's Broken Blossoms was mounted at Twickenham in 1935, directed by Hans (later John) Brahm Vorhaus served as technical supervisor. His next venture as director, Dusty Ermine (1936), was another beneficiary of Hagen's largesse: a theatre thriller about counterfeiters, it was opened out to embrace extensive location work in the Swiss Alps. Vorhaus gave the play a vigorous shake, adding an eccentric role for newcomer Margaret Rutherford , and filled the screen with striking images whenever the characters took to their skis.

Hagen's financial difficulties deepened in 1936. Vorhaus's last British film, Cotton Queen , an uncongenial North Country comedy, was made for the American producer Joe Rock . Out of work, and out of pocket, Vorhaus accepted an offer from Herbert J. Yates , president of Republic Pictures , and returned to America. He joined Hollywood's assembly line, tackling motley medium-budget projects, and sharpening his left-wing sympathies on the Spanish Civil War. Resuming feature film-making after the Second World War, he ventured into independent production, and found some success with So Young So Bad (1950), an earnest drama about delinquent girls, before HUAC and the anti-Communist witch-hunts drove him into exile.

He returned to England in 1951, but unlike fellow exiles Joseph Losey and Cy Endfield chose to retreat from the industry. He developed a flat conversion business in London, Domar Properties, and lived long enough to relive his past achievements when his career as one of the brightest, least British of British directors was rediscovered in the 1980s. He died in Tooting, south London on 23 November 2000.

Bibliography
Angelini, Sergio, 'The Archive Presents. A Tribute to Bernard Vorhaus', National Film Theatre Programme, March 2001, pp. 46-7
Brown, Geoff, 'Vorhaus: A Director Rediscovered' in Sight and Sound, Winter 1986/7, pp. 40-43
Brown, Geoff, 'Money for Speed: The British Films of Bernard Vorhaus' in Jeffrey Richards (ed.), The Unknown 1930s: An alternative history of the British Cinema, 1929-1939 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998)
Eyles, Allen, and Meeker, David, Missing Believed Lost. The Great British Film Search (London: BFI Publishing, 1992)
Vorhaus, Bernard, Saved from Oblivion. An Autobiography (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2000)


Three Faces West. 1940. Directed by Bernard Vorhaus

Three Faces West. 1940. USA. Directed by Bernard Vorhaus. With John Wayne, Sigrid Gurie, Charles Coburn. DCP. 81 min.

A contemporary Western with strong political themes—no doubt contributed by director Bernard Vorhaus and co-screenwriter Samuel Ornitz, both future targets of the anti-communist blacklist. A Viennese doctor (Charles Coburn) and his daugther (Sigrid Gurie), fleeing the Nazi annexation of Austria, find refuge in a North Dakota farming community, itself under threat as relentless dust storms blow away the topsoil. They throw in their lot with the visionary young head of the farmers’ association—Republic’s newly minted star, John Wayne—as he urges a mass migration to better land in Oregon. Impressively photographed by future film noir legend John Alton, in his first Hollywood credit.

The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2

The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2

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The Next Big (Well, Wide) Thing

In the early 1950s movies were in a position much like network television today. A new technology had come along — guess what? — draining away much of the audience for whom movies had been a two- or three-times-a-week habit. Hollywood scrambled to come up with something that the small-screen, black-and-white television set squatting in so many American living rooms couldn’t provide: a bigger, more sensory movie experience. A couple of initial experiments — with 3-D and the widescreen process Cinerama — produced impressive results, but proved to be too cumbersome for the basic purpose of telling stories.

And then, on Sept. 16, 1953, “The Robe” had its premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York. Trumpeted as “The First Motion Picture in CinemaScope — The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses!” — “The Robe” offered audiences an image twice as wide and significantly taller than what they had become accustomed to.

Licensed from the French inventor Henri Chrétien, CinemaScope offered an experience that was immersive without being unwieldy. Where Cinerama and 3-D both required the carefully synchronized projection of multiple strips of film, CinemaScope used an anamorphic lens to squeeze a wide image onto standard 35-millimeter film stock. The results were stunning, the technology (relatively) simple to use, and both the public and the industry were hooked.

Within a few months widescreen films (some in true CinemaScope or other anamorphic processes, others created simply by masking off the top and bottom of a standard image) had become the Hollywood norm, and remain so today.

Based on a 1942 novel by the popular inspirational writer Lloyd C. Douglas (“Magnificent Obsession”), “The Robe” is the story of Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton, in his first important American film), the Roman army officer charged with carrying out the crucifixion. Driven mad by guilt, he goes in search of the Greek slave Demetrius (Victor Mature) who salvaged the robe of Jesus. In the process he becomes a devoted Christian himself, much to the apoplectic outrage of his employer, the emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson).

For decades it’s been difficult to envision what so dazzled the public of 1953. Because of damage to the original caused by overprinting, “The Robe” has circulated in home video in a particularly dim and dingy form. But now, after a major restoration effort lead by Schawn Belston of 20th Century Fox’s film archive “The Robe” has been returned to something suggestive of its original glory, with bright, storybook colors, a razor-sharp image and the original four-track stereo soundtrack, all shown off to tremendous advantage in a new Blu-ray edition.

Yet “The Robe” remains a transitional film. The director, Henry Koster, was not able to seize the full aesthetic implications of the new format, which allowed directors to stage scenes in greater depth and encouraged the use of longer takes rather than traditional cross-cutting (possibilities soon realized by the filmmaker George Cukor, with the 1954 “A Star Is Born”). Because of limitations built into the first-generation lenses, close-ups were problematic and camera movements hard to execute. Much of “The Robe” feels disappointingly distant and flat.

Still, there is something thrilling when Koster makes small but significant discoveries, as when he juxtaposes Burton, a small figure on the far left of a set, with the seemingly much larger figure of Mature, standing closer to the camera in the right foreground. The contrast is visually dynamic and emotionally resonant.

Just in case the CinemaScope thing didn’t work out, Fox simultaneously filmed “The Robe” in a standard ratio version that has seldom been shown since. The Blu-ray gives viewers the option of comparing the CinemaScope and standard versions scene by scene, thanks to a picture-in-picture feature. The many differences between the tight framing and swift cutting of the standard version and the longer takes and strung-out compositions of the widescreen variant offer an entire lesson in film history and aesthetics: a new way opens as a traditional path closes. (Fox, Blu-ray $34.98, standard definition $19.98, not rated)

CLASSIC FILM NOIR, VOL. 3

“Classic Film Noir, Vol. 3,” from VCI Entertainment, an independent distributor in Oklahoma, offers significantly upgraded editions of two intriguing films that have long circulated only in dismal public domain versions. I had despaired of ever again seeing a decent copy of Bernard Vorhaus’s “Amazing Mr. X” (1948), also known as “The Spiritualist” or Anthony Mann’s “Reign of Terror” (1949), a k a “The Black Book.” But here they are, and while not pristine, they’ve been brought back to highly watchable form through a combination of chemical and digital restoration techniques.

Both titles were originally released by the long-gone British-American outfit Eagle-Lion Films, and both were photographed by the brilliant and eccentric John Alton, one of the seminal stylists of film noir. “It’s not what you light,” Alton once observed. “It’s what you don’t light.” These two films are powerful studies in darkness and shadow, punctured by bright beams of light — Alton’s trademark — projected from unseen sources somewhere in the background of the deep focus frames.

“Mr. X” is a gothic thriller starring the Austrian actor Turhan Bey, who brings all his exotic charm (Turkish father, Czech mother) to the role of a fraudulent psychic consultant attempting to draw a wealthy young widow (Lynn Bari) into his clutches. The plotline allows plenty of opportunities for Alton to strut his stuff: a nocturnal walk along a lonely, wind-swept beach the halls of a cliff-top mansion, echoing with ghostly music a memorable séance on a sunny California afternoon, during which ectoplasmic forms emerge thanks to some ingenious work with an optical printer.

Left to his own devices, as he appears to have been in “Mr. X,” Alton could come up with excessively elaborate effects that distract from the drama. (At one point here his camera peers up at an actress from the drain of a bathroom sink.) But he never fails to please the eye, even as he steps outside the story.

“Reign of Terror,” a tale of derring-do during the French Revolution, unites Alton with two other formidable visual stylists, the director Anthony Mann (soon to move on to his famous series of James Stewart westerns) and the production designer William Cameron Menzies. (Menzies, the designer of “Gone with the Wind,” is credited here only as a producer, but his hand is unmistakable in the low ceilings and bold geometry of the sets.) The collaboration yields an almost unbroken procession of complex, compelling images, which somehow remain largely in the service of the tongue-in-cheek screenplay credited to Aeneas MacKenzie and Philip Yordan.

Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl are the ostensible leads, former lovers reunited in an attempt to steal a secret notebook containing a list of candidates for the guillotine from Maximilian Robespierre, played with sniffy self-righteousness by Richard Basehart. (“Don’t call me Max!”) But the show is quickly stolen by the sly supporting actor Arnold Moss, who brings his cultivated baritone and epicene manner to the role of Fouché, the head of Robespierre’s secret police. Standing at the top of a shadowy Menzies staircase, illuminated from behind by the ray of an Alton arc light, he looks down at the lovers and offers some dryly pragmatic, Anthony Mann advice: “There’s a revolution going on. Don’t stay out late!” (VCI Entertainment, $19.99, not rated)


Films directed by Bernard Vorhaus

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The Amazing Mr. X So Young, So Bad Three Faces West Bury Me Dead Way Down South Resisting Enemy Interrogation The Ghost Camera Lady from Louisiana The Last Journey King of the Newsboys The Broken Melody Pardon My French Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter Angels with Broken Wings Crime on the Hill Dusty Ermine The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine Meet Dr. Christian Fisherman's Wharf The Courageous Dr. Christian Cotton Queen Ice-Capades Revue /> /> Street Song Money for Speed Winter Wonderland Finishing School Tenth Avenue Kid Hurricane Smith Mr. District Attorney in the Carter Case /> /> Ten Minute Alibi /> /> Learn and Live Dark World /> /> Blind Justice

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Bernard Vorhaus - History

Cast: Hugh Williams (Gerald Winter), Godfrey Tearle (Sir Wilfred Rhodes), Judy Gunn (Diana Gregory), Julien Mitchell (Bob Holt), Nelson Keys (the Frenchman), Michael Hogan (Charlie)

On the eve of retirement, a train driver believing that his younger wife is having an affair with his stoker decides to crash the train on the last run.

The last journey of the title is that of a train driver (played in barnstorming style by Julien Mitchell ) who must retire due to his age and who comes to believe, incorrectly, that his wife is having an affair with his stoker. Like director Bernard Vorhaus 's earlier 'quota quickie', The Ghost Camera (1933), the film was derived from a story by J. Jefferson Farjeon , a formulaic thriller writer popular at the time but now largely forgotten.

Despite its fundamentally pedestrian plot, The Last Journey (1935) is enlivened considerably by superior handling from Vorhaus , and is usually singled out as one of the best of his quota quickies. Happily ensconced between the train and disaster genres, perhaps more than any of his other quota films it successfully displays his pyrotechnic editing style and his love of location shooting.

This is particularly evident in the opening sequences of the film. Although it betrays its low budget origins with a certain awkwardness in its execution, it brilliantly sets up the different strands of the story, with the camera swooping all over a London map to show where all the prospective passengers are before they eventually board the ill-fated train. To fully appreciate the virtues of Vorhaus 's attention to detail and dedication to filming outside the studio, one need only compare it with Hitchcock 's 1932 film of Farjeon 's Number Seventeen , in which the extended train climax is achieved entirely through the very obvious use of model trains.

Even in its day The Last Journey was noted on both sides of the Atlantic for its ambition. The Monthly Film Bulletin called it "sensational and exciting", while in the US the Hollywood Reporter hailed it as a " Grand Hotel on wheels. which will result in the fans sitting on the edge of their seats for most of the film".


Bernard Vorhaus

Bernard Vorhaus wurde geboren als Sohn des aus Krakau stammenden Anwalts Louis Jacob (Leib Leopold) Vorhaus (1868–1957) und dessen Frau Johanna, geborene Cohn (1869–1942). Seine Schwester Amelia „Amy“ Rose Vorhaus, verheiratete Oppenheimer (1893–1952), schrieb Drehbücher für ein paar Kurzfilme, wodurch Bernard Vorhaus' Interesse am Filmgeschäft entstand.

Er absolvierte zunächst ein Studium an der Harvard University und begann dank seiner Beziehungen zu Harry Cohn danach ebenfalls mit dem Drehbuchschreiben, [1] erstmals für Frank R. Strayers Steppin' Out (1925). 1928 produzierte er zusammen mit Jessie Burns den ersten Kurzfilm mit dem Titel Sunlight. Es folgten in Europa einige Drehbucharbeiten sowie Produktionsbeteiligungen, bevor er sich in London niederließ. 1933 führte er bei The Ghost Camera erstmals Regie. Im gleichen Jahr produzierte er On Thin Ice und Money for Speed, wofür er die Geschichten schrieb und Regie führte. In England wurde er politisch inspiriert und zeigte sich beeindruckt von John Stracheys Buch The Coming Struggle for Power und von Rajani Palme Dutts Auseinandersetzung mit dem Faschismus in Fascism and Social Revolution. 1932 heiratete er die walisische Filmemacherin und Aktivistin Esther „Hetty“ Davis Olwen (1909–1997). [1] Aus der Ehe ging die Juristin und Autorin Gwyneth Vorhaus und der White-Noise-Mitgründer und Filmmusikkomponist David Vorhaus hervor. [1]

Bernard Vorhaus wurde in London Mitglied des 1936 gegründeten Left Book Club, unterstützte die Frente Popular im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg und engagierte sich in Gruppierungen, die sich politisch gegen Adolf Hitler und Benito Mussolini richteten. Ab Mitte der 1930er Jahre führte er vorwiegend in Hollywood bei sogenannten B-Movies Regie und hatte dort mit politisch-linksgerichteten und kommunistischen Künstlern Kontakt. Im Dienstgrad eines Majors war er während des Zweiten Weltkriegs für die Filmeinheit der US Army Air Force tätig. Der 1944 entstandene Film Resisting Enemy Interrogation wurde 1945 mit dem Oscar in der Kategorie „Bester Dokumentarfilm“ prämiert. Da sich Vorhaus später weigerte, im Rahmen der Ermittlungen des Komitees für unamerikanische Umtriebe (House Un-American Activities Committee – HUAC) gegen Freunde in der Branche auszusagen, die verdächtigt wurden, der American Communist Party anzugehören, wurde er 1951 auf die Schwarze Liste der HUAC gesetzt. [1]

Bereits 1950 drehte Vorhaus in Deutschland zusammen mit Edgar G. Ulmer So jung und so verdorben. Pardon My French war im Jahr 1951 sein letzter in den Vereinigten Staaten produzierter Film – er wurde in Frankreich gedreht. Die HUAC-Entscheidung veranlasste ihn dann zum Entschluss, wieder nach London zu ziehen, da er zu dieser Zeit in den USA, Frankreich und Italien zur unerwünschten Person erklärt worden war. [1] 1953 führte er letztmals in Italien unter dem Pseudonym Piero Mussetta noch bei Mädchen ohne Moral Regie. Nachdem er in England Architekturkurse besucht hatte, gründete er ein Immobiliensanierungsunternehmen. Während des Vietnamkriegs nahm er die britische Staatsangehörigkeit an. Er war aktives Mitglied der Labour Party.

1992 wurde über Bernard Vorhaus in der TV-Dokureihe The Late Show berichtet und ein weiteres Mal 1997 in der Dokureihe Hollywood Commandos. Er verstarb im November 2000 im Alter von 95 Jahren.