19 January, 2012

The Incredible Howard Vernon!

Howard Vernon dressed to kill in his signature role as THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF

Watching the late, great Howard Vernon [born Mario Lippert] as a vicious Nazi officer in John Frankenheimer's THE TRAIN (1964). Vernon was a good vicious Nazi and seeing him here reminded me that he started his acting career also playing a Nazi (albeit a more reasonable one) in Jean-Pierre Melville's  Le Silence de la Mer (1949), a film I really should see some day. 
Firing a deadly projectile at one of the numerous enemies of his Lord and Master, Dr. Mabuse, in THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR. MABUSE (1960).

From Hollywood mainstream projects like THE TRAIN to the mad Doctor Orloff (his signature role) in GRITOS EN LA NOCHE to the Nazi-like scientist in Godard's sci-fi arthouse classic ALPHAVILLE to the sinister Uncle in A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD to the henchman of Dr Mabuse in Fritz Lang's THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR. MABUSE (note that Wolfgang Preiss, who played Mabuse in the Lang film and its 1960s Euro sequels is also cast as a Nazi in THE TRAIN) to the creator of an invisible ape in ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN to the Mayor in ZOMBIE LAKE, the valet in SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN or the arrogant medical official in SHE KILLS IN ECSTASY, Vernon played just about every role imaginable and did it with elan and consistent professionalism. 
As the bloodthirsty Dr. Eric Usher in Jess Franco's EL HUNDIMIENTO DE LA CASA USHER (1983).

He certainly had a LOOK and a style which were indelible once sampled. Like Klaus Kinski or Christopher Lee he was one of those actors who had a unique presence which always added a tremendous boost to any film he was in, even if he was playing a minor role.

Howard could also play a good person like the kindly Lord de Winter in LES DEMONS (1972).

Howard playing the word association game with Janine Reynaud in Jess Franco's 1967 NECRONOMICON.

Thanks for the memories, Howard Vernon.

(c) Robert Monell, 2012

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse is an awesome film. An absolute must-see.