The last of the classic horror movie stars that I grew up watching in movies, Sir Christopher Lee, passed away on June 7th. Along with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, Lee was a true horror/fantasy film genre star. His performances as Frankenstein's monster, Fu Manchu, the Mummy, Saruman, Sherlock (and Mycroft) Holmes, and of course, Dracula, made him well known and liked by movie fans everywhere. And that terrific voice!
Greenwich Library carries about a fraction of Lee's film work (possibly 250 movies altogether!) in our collection, but the ones we do carry are worth checking out. Some suggested titles include the following:
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957): Lee's first major horror role, opposite frequent co star Peter Cushing as an arrogant Baron Frankenstein. Both actors give great performances, with Lee turning in a subtle turn without using dialogue as the monster. Here's my 2010 review. Available as part of a horror double feature DVD set with Lee's Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), which is just okay.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959; available on Hoopla from us): Fun, atmospheric remake with Cushing's Sherlock Holmes trying to protect Sir Henry Baskerville (Lee) from a family curse.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), Scream of Fear (1961), and The Gorgon (1964) all feature strong supporting turns by Lee. Here's my 2009 review of all three.
Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966): Lee's second go around as Bram Stoker's undead Count. Available in this collection from us.
Count Dracula (1970; available on Hoopla): Lee teamed up with Spanish cult film director Jesus Franco and co-stars Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski in what was supposed to be a more faithful adaptation of Stoker's character. Despite poor staging and an obvious low budget, Lee rises above the mess.
Lee (dubbed by another actor!) had played Sherlock Holmes in the German made Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962) but that film is currently unavailable. However, Lee returned to the Holmes universe as the detective's brother, Mycroft, in director Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970; available on Hoopla), an affectionate take on the title character.
Horror Express (1972); Lee in a rare and solid turn as a heroic lead alongside Cushing. The film's not bad either.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Lee's title assassin goes after James Bond 007 (Roger Moore). Some good moments -the two stars are fine-, but the emphasis on comedy over suspense hurts the film.
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