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boris karloff rarities

    key dates


      Born William Henry Pratt in Dulwich, England on 23rd November


      Moves to Canada


      Begins his career in movies. For over 10 years only secures bit parts. Around this time first billed as Boris Karloff


      Appears in over 80 movies before his breakthrough role in Frankenstein


      As well as horror movies appears in more prestigious major-studio productions such as Scarface


      Waning appeal of horror genre means Karloff moves into undistinguished B films such as West of Shanghai



      Appears in Val Lewton's The Body Snatcher


      Appears in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. 1950s spent almost exclusively in low-budget horrors


      Appears in The Raven & The Terror


      Appears in Peter Bogdanovich's Targets


      Dies of emphysema on 2 February in Midhurst, Sussex, England



    1. Incredible Invasion, The (1971)(USA)
    2. Isle of the Snake People (1971)
    3. Coleccionista de cadáveres, El (1970)

    4. Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
    5. Fear Chamber, The (1968)
    6. House of Evil (1968)
    7. Targets (1968)
    8. Mad Monster Party? (1967) (voice)
    9. Sorcerers, The (1967)
    10. Venetian Affair, The (1967)
    11. Doom of Dracula (1966)
    12. Son of Frankenstein, The (1966)
    13. Daydreamer, The (1966) (voice)
    14. Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, The (1966)
    15. Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
    16. Bikini Beach (1964)
    17. Comedy of Terrors, The (1964)
    18. Tre volti della paura, I (1963)
    19. Terror, The (1963)
    20. Raven, The (1963)
    21. Corridors of Blood (1962)
    22. Paradine Case, The (1962) (TV)
    23. "Thriller" (1960) TV Series
    24. Secret World of Eddie Hodges, The (1960) (TV)

    25. "Veil, The" (1958) TV Series
    26. Frankenstein - 1970 (1958)
    27. Grip of the Strangler (1958)
    28. Juggler of Our Lady, The (1958) (voice)
    29. Destination Nightmare (1958) (TV)
    30. Jack the Ripper (1958) (TV)
    31. Voodoo Island (1957)
    32. Connecticut Yankee, A (1955) (TV)
    33. "Colonel March of Scotland Yard" (1954) TV Series
    34. Sabaka (1954)
    35. Mostro dell'isola, Il (1953)
    36. Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)
    37. Colonel March Investigates (1952)
    38. Black Castle, The (1952)
    39. Strange Door, The (1951)

    40. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
    41. Cisaruv slavík (1948) (voice)
    42. Tap Roots (1948)
    43. Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947)
    44. Unconquered (1947)
    45. Lured (1947)
    46. Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The (1947)
    47. Bedlam (1946)
    48. Isle of the Dead (1945)
    49. Body Snatcher, The (1945)
    50. House of Frankenstein (1944)
    51. Climax, The (1944)
    52. Boogie Man Will Get You, The (1942)
    53. Devil Commands, The (1941)
    54. You'll Find Out (1940)
    55. Ape, The (1940)
    56. Before I Hang (1940)
    57. Doomed to Die (1940)
    58. Man with Nine Lives, The (1940)
    59. Black Friday (1940)
    60. British Intelligence (1940)
    61. Fatal Hour, The (1940)

    62. Tower of London (1939)
    63. Man They Could Not Hang, The (1939)
    64. Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939)
    65. Mystery of Mr. Wong, The (1939)
    66. Son of Frankenstein (1939)
    67. Devil's Island (1939)
    68. Mr. Wong, Detective (1938)
    69. Invisible Menace, The (1938)
    70. West of Shanghai (1937)
    71. Night Key (1937)
    72. Juggernaut (1936)
    73. Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)
    74. Man Who Changed His Mind, The (1936/I)
    75. Walking Dead, The (1936)
    76. Invisible Ray, The (1936)
    77. Black Room, The (1935)
    78. Raven, The (1935)
    79. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
    80. Gift of Gab (1934)
    81. Black Cat, The (1934)
    82. House of Rothschild, The (1934)
    83. Lost Patrol, The (1934)
    84. Ghoul, The (1933)
    85. Mummy, The (1932)
    86. Mask of Fu Manchu, The (1932)
    87. Old Dark House, The (1932)
    88. Night World (1932)
    89. Miracle Man, The (1932)
    90. Scarface (1932)
    91. Alias the Doctor (1932) (scenes deleted)
    92. Business and Pleasure (1932)
    93. Behind the Mask (1932)
    94. Sous les verrous (1931)
    95. Tonight or Never (1931)
    96. Frankenstein (1931)
    97. Guilty Generation, The (1931)
    98. Mad Genius, The (1931) (uncredited)
    99. Yellow Ticket, The (1931)
    100. Five Star Final (1931)
    101. I Like Your Nerve (1931)
    102. Graft (1931)
    103. Public Defender, The (1931)
    104. Smart Money (1931) (uncredited)
    105. Young Donovan's Kid (1931)
    106. Cracked Nuts (1931)
    107. Dirigible (1931) (unconfirmed)
    108. King of the Wild (1931)
    109. Last Parade, The (1931)
    110. Criminal Code, The (1931)
    111. Mothers Cry (1930) (scenes deleted)
    112. Utah Kid, The (1930)
    113. Sea Bat, The (1930)
    114. Bad One, The (1930)

    115. Unholy Night, The (1929) (uncredited)
    116. King of the Kongo, The (1929)
    117. Behind That Curtain (1929)
    118. Phantom of the North, The (1929)
    119. Anne Against the World (1929)
    120. Two Sisters (1929)
    121. Devil's Chaplain, The (1929)
    122. Fatal Warning, The (1929)
    123. Burning the Wind (1929)
    124. Little Wild Girl, The (1928)
    125. Vultures of the Sea (1928)
    126. Vanishing Rider, The (1928)
    127. Sharp Shooters (1928) (uncredited)
    128. Love Mart, The (1927)
    129. Two Arabian Knights (1927)
    130. Soft Cushions (1927)
    131. Phantom Buster, The (1927)
    132. Meddlin' Stranger, The (1927)
    133. Princess from Hoboken, The (1927)
    134. Let It Rain (1927)
    135. Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927)
    136. Valencia (1926) (uncredited)
    137. Old Ironsides (1926)
    138. Flaming Fury (1926)
    139. Nickel-Hopper, The (1926) (uncredited)
    140. Eagle of the Sea, The (1926)
    141. Flames (1926)
    142. Golden Web, The (1926)
    143. Her Honor, the Governor (1926)
    144. Bells, The (1926)
    145. Man in the Saddle, The (1926)
    146. Greater Glory, The (1926)
    147. Parisian Nights (1925)
    148. Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925) (uncredited)
    149. Perils of the Wild (1925)
    150. Lady Robinhood (1925)
    151. Prairie Wife, The (1925)
    152. Forbidden Cargo (1925)
    153. Dynamite Dan (1924)
    154. Riders of the Plains (1924)
    155. Hellion, The (1924)
    156. Prisoner, The (1923)
    157. Gentleman from America, The (1923)
    158. Omar the Tentmaker (1922)
    159. Woman Conquers, The (1922)
    160. Altar Stairs, The (1922)
    161. Infidel, The (1922)
    162. Man from Downing Street, The (1922)
    163. Nan of the North (1922) (uncredited)
    164. Hope Diamond Mystery, The (1921)
    165. Cave Girl, The (1921)
    166. Cheated Hearts (1921)
    167. Without Benefit of Clergy (1921)
    168. Last of the Mohicans, The (1920/I) (uncredited)
    169. Courage of Marge O'Doone, The (1920)
    170. Deadlier Sex, The (1920)
    171. Prince and Betty, The (1919)
    172. His Majesty, the American (1919) (uncredited)
    173. Masked Rider, The (1919)
    174. Lightning Raider, The (1919)
    175. Dumb Girl of Portici, The (1916).... Extra

    176. Veil, The (????) (TV)


    where was he buried?

      Interred at Mount cemetery, Guildford, Surrey, England, in the Garden of Remembrance.



Boris Karloff

    William Henry Pratt
    b. Dulwich, England

    Boris Karloff autographs, photographs and more @ ebay.com (direct link to signed items) - just checked and a bigger selection than I have seen anywhere else

    It is a credit to Peter Bogdanovich's imaginative kindness that amid all the harassments of his first film, Targets (1968), he managed to make it - among other things - an affectionate valediction to Karloff. In Targets, Karloff is barely disguised as Byron Orlok, the mandarin of horror, eighty years old, leaning on a stick and a lovely Asiatic secretary, his skin a blend of Californian tan, jaundice, and the old parchments of Gothic castles. Orlok thinks of himself as an antique; so used to the conventions of the horror genre, he can no longer play a straight role. But he is appalled by the efficient, spiritless slaughter of the young rifleman who hides behind the screen of a drive-in theatre, waits for Orlok/Karloff in The Terror (1962, Roger Corman) to be projected, and then begins to pick off the audience in their cars. The end is grand guignol with apologetic built-in significance, as Orlok in life and Orlok on the screen stride vengefully toward the killer.

    At that moment the rather glib director's conception is lent seriousness by the presence of Karloff: not just in the elderly dignity of his walk, but because he carried with him an honourable record of insisting on human values within one of the cinema's most exploited forms. Karloff had always shown us monsters and mad magicians who had been isolated by the unthinking cruelty of the "wholesome" world.

    Karloff died two years later in the rural setting of a Sussex hospital. He had opted for England in 1955, visiting America only to work. That choice was to be expected: in Hollywood, Karloff had retained British citizenship, read Wisden, and never yielded his lugubrious articulation. He was the son of a diplomat in the Indian Civil Service - and there were always stories that he had Indian blood. At Uppingham and Merchant Taylor's he found his great passion: cricket. But something in the scheme of English duty must have rankled, for in 1909 he went to Canada and, after a variety of jobs, he took to acting with travelling companies. The roots of melodrama lay there, and, inevitably, by 1919 he wandered into the movies: a tall man, with striking, gaunt features and a natual slowness that could suggest menace.

    For twelve years he worked in small parts, specializing in Oriental bogeymen, but hardly doing well enough to make up for missing English summers of Jack Hobbs and Maurice Tate. Between pictures, he often had to work as a labourer - one reason perhaps why he remained physically striking into his old age.

    His pictures in this period included: The Last of the Mohicans (1920, Maurice Tourneur); Cheated Hearts (21, Hobart Henley); The Infidel (22, James Young); The Altar Stairs (22, Lambert Hillyer); Omar the Tentmaker (22, Young); The Prisoner (23, Jack Conway); Dynamite Dan (24, Bruce Mitchell); Lady Robinhood (25, Ralph Ince); The Golden Web (26, Walter Lang); with Lionel Barrymore in The Bells (26, Young); Old Ironsides (26, James Craze); Tarzan and the Golden Lion (27, J.P. McGowan); The Meddlin' Stranger (27, Richard Thorpe); Two Arabian Knights (27, Lewis Milestone); The Love Mart (28, George Fitzmaurice); Phantom of the North (29, Harry Webb); The Unholy Night (29, Barrymore); Behind That Curtain (29, Irving Cummings); and The Sea Bat (30, Wesley Ruggles).

    In 1931, Hawks cast Karloff as the prisoner who works as the governor's butler in The Criminal Code. Karloff had already played the part on the stage, but the film established him. Hawks recognized the way violence in Karloff was related to gravity. His butler is aloof, disapproving, a man hurt by vulgarity, a noble savage scornful of civilization. But his moment comes when he is able to kill the stool pigeon in the prison. The butler's white coat then becomes the uniform of a vengeful angel, and the superb slow advance on the cowering victim is the first sign of the sleepy rhythm that Karloff was to bring to horror.

    In the same year, he had good parts in Five Star Final (31, Mervyn Le Roy), The Mad Genius (31, Michael Curtiz), and The Yellow Ticket (31, Raoul Walsh). But he became a household name when James Whale took over the Frankenstein project and preferred Karloff to Lugosi for the monster. That part was a crucial innovation: his make-up and intepretation have remained essential to the monster ever since; above all, Karloff presented a feeling creature, a vulnerable colossus, capable of destruction but touched by beauty. As such, Karloff's monster is an important forerunner of the madman hero, and the scene in which he and the little girl float flowers on a pond, before he kills her, has become more moving and suggestive with the years.

    It is not easy to chart purpose in a career in horror: the genre is subject to fashion, the reckless cheapness of many productions, and the wild variation of directors. Karloff's work rises and falls in response to all these. He made trite, rushed movies that must have offended him. He had the obligatory encounters with Abbott and Costello and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (66). But most of the great horror directors appreciated him and the successive revivals of the genre renewed his enthusiasm. Say first that he made a few straight films - Scarface (32, Hawks); The Lost Patrol (34, John Ford); The House of Rothschild (34, Alfred Werker); The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (47, Cecil B. De Mille) - and then remember his best films: The Mummy (32, Karl Freund); The Mask of Fu Manchu (32, Charles Vidor and Charles Brabin); The Old Dark Horse (32, Whale); The Miracle Man (32, McLeod); The Ghoul (33, T. Hayes Hunter); The Black Cat (34, Edgar G. Ulmer); The Bride of Frankenstein (35, Whale); The Raven (35, Lew Landers); The Invisible Ray (36, Hillyer); The Walking Dead (36, Curtiz); The Man They Could Not Hang (39, Nick Grinde); Son of Frankenstein (39, Rowland V. Lee); The Tower of London (39, Lee); Before I Hang (40, Grinde); The Devil Commands (41, Edward Dmytryk); The House of Frankenstein (45, Erle C. Kenton); The Body Snatcher (45, Robert Wise); Isle of the Dead (45, Mark Robson); Bedlam (46, Robson); Tap Roots (48, George Marshall); Raven (62, Gorman); The Terror (62, Gorman); Black Sabbath (63, Mario Bava); Comedy of Terrors (64, Jacques Tourneur); and Die Monster, Die (65, Daniel Haller).

    Karloff was married five times and had a daughter, Sara, born 1938.

boris karloff rarities


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