HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

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Focus II
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HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Focus II »

I recall seeing a series of one off dramas (thrillers?) on HTV West in the early 1980s. They were made entirely on film. One of them starred Hayley Mills and were made by HTV.

I never knew if this was a particular series like, "Armchair Cinema" was.

Anyone else remember this and what it/they were called?

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Billy Smart
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Billy Smart »

The Hayley Mills film is Deadly Strangers, a co-production between Silhouette Films and HTV West that went on theatrical release in 1975 and eventually broadcast on ITV on 10 October 1981 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadly_Strangers ). This appears to have been HTV's only venture into film production, though.

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Simon Coward
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Simon Coward »

This was Silhouettes, which was given a cinematic release under the title Deadly Strangers. I think it was shown on the ITV network as a film rather than a television production.

I think it was difficult enough for the medium-sized ITV companies to get a network slot for any feature-length dramas, a series would have probably proved impossible.

In around the same time frame HTV did Arch of Triumph with Anthony Hopkins, and both mini-series Jamaica Inn and The Master of Ballantrae.

There were other non-film one-offs around the same period: Escape to the West, Separate Tables, probably more.

Edit: Beaten to it by Billy. I'll leave this here for the rest of the info.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by ian b »

There’s more info about halfway down this thread, on the old site...

http://www.mausoleumclubforum.org.uk/xm ... #pid149764

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doubleM
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by doubleM »

Following 'Deadly Strangers', there was a second 'Silhouettes Films' production (made in association with HTV). That one was called 'Diagnosis: Murder' (1975) - nothing to do with Dick Van Dyke! It starred Christopher Lee and Judy Geeson and also got a theatrical release and was finally shown on ITV like 'Deadly Strangers' in 1981.

Both the above had screenplays by Philip Levene, but as he died in 1973 I guess they were bought out by the production team? Which in both cases comprised director Sidney Hayers and producer Peter Miller - both of whom had previously worked on the filmed series 'Arthur of the Britons' for HTV.

HTV also produced other one-off filmed dramas, but straight to television (as 'Deadly Strangers' was originally intended under its original title, promoted as such in a TV Times article in 1974). Chief amongst these were 'Catholics' (Tx 14/4/74) starring Trevor Howard, directed by Jack Gold - for 'Sunday Night Theatre'; and also 'Divorce His; Divorce Hers' - Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor - directed by Waris Hussain and screened on ITV on 24/25 June 1973.

All the above were 35mm productions bar 'Catholics', which was shot on 16mm.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by fatcat »

My 10 pence worth is Graceless go I with Stanley Baker.

Stanley (like many former 'stars' of the cinema) was gradually making a name for himself in TV. I think he directed a play Who killed Lamb? previously ? and was making steady progress through TV...but as we know his life was cut short.

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Focus II
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Focus II »

Thanks to you all!
I remember, "Who Killed Lamb" which I recall was made by YTV, yet shown in the same slot as "Thriller".

I honestly thought "Deadly Strangers" etc. were made for TV rather than originally intended for the cinema.

As for HTV filmed productions another I recall was "Border Country" made by Cymru Wales.

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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Simon Coward »

I'm sure when I posted before, this thread was looking for filmed dramas c. 1980.

If we're back in the 1970s, then no-one has yet mentioned Baker & Martin's Machinegunner (24/07/1976) which starred Leonard Rossiter.

There was also a run of short films, shown internationally as Classics Dark and Dangerous, which included "The Rocking Horse Winner", "Mrs Amworth" and "The Island", made for HTV by Highgate Associates, who were also behind the adaptation of "Silver Blaze" with Christopher Plummer as Holmes.
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doubleM
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by doubleM »

Focus II wrote: I honestly thought "Deadly Strangers" etc. were made for TV rather than originally intended for the cinema.
It was, while they were making it - under the title 'Silhouettes' as mentioned above. There was a piece in the 'TV Times' that said it was intended for television 'later in the year'. In the 'Inside TV' section of the edition (9-15 Mar 1974) it mentioned ... the intention of HTV in producing a slate of television movies and referred to the budget of ‘Silhouettes’ being £150,000.

A distribution deal with Fox/Rank was achieved once production was complete. (the later 'Diagnosis Murder' was distributed in UK cinemas by CIC).

Simon Ward was under no elusions as to the original intentions of the production when he spoke to the US press, specifically ‘The Daily Journal’, Franklin Indiana (17 May 1975) … “I recently did a TV show with Hayley Mills in England. When that was released as a movie in London it didn’t fool anybody.”

There was also a cinema release in Australia in July 1975 (a review appeared in the Melbourne 'Age' newspaper ... and a small piece in 'Television Today' (The Stage) whilst it was in production, still as 'Silhouettes' featuring a picture of a smiling Mills and Ward - 14 Feb 1974.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Focus II wrote:I remember, "Who Killed Lamb" which I recall was made by YTV, yet shown in the same slot as "Thriller".
This is an extra on the Network release of the film Hell Drivers.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Simon Coward wrote:There was also a run of short films, shown internationally as Classics Dark and Dangerous, which included "The Rocking Horse Winner", "Mrs Amworth" and "The Island", made for HTV by Highgate Associates, who were also behind the adaptation of "Silver Blaze" with Christopher Plummer as Holmes.
Silver Blaze was actually part of CD&D, rather than an "also." ITV only screened the first four of the six episodes, sporadically and out of sequence, all as one-offs rather than officially part of a series.

Obviously Kaleidoscope recently released "Mrs Amworth," which had previously been combined with "The Island" and "The Mannikin" as Three Dangerous Ladies on US VHS BITD.
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

doubleM wrote:
Focus II wrote: I honestly thought "Deadly Strangers" etc. were made for TV rather than originally intended for the cinema.
It was, while they were making it - under the title 'Silhouettes' as mentioned above. There was a piece in the 'TV Times' that said it was intended for television 'later in the year'. In the 'Inside TV' section of the edition (9-15 Mar 1974) it mentioned ... the intention of HTV in producing a slate of television movies and referred to the budget of ‘Silhouettes’ being £150,000.

A distribution deal with Fox/Rank was achieved once production was complete. (the later 'Diagnosis Murder' was distributed in UK cinemas by CIC).

Simon Ward was under no elusions as to the original intentions of the production when he spoke to the US press, specifically ‘The Daily Journal’, Franklin Indiana (17 May 1975) … “I recently did a TV show with Hayley Mills in England. When that was released as a movie in London it didn’t fool anybody.”

There was also a cinema release in Australia in July 1975 (a review appeared in the Melbourne 'Age' newspaper ... and a small piece in 'Television Today' (The Stage) whilst it was in production, still as 'Silhouettes' featuring a picture of a smiling Mills and Ward - 14 Feb 1974.
It's notable that the BBFC have two versions certified as AA in December 1974, one cut as Deadly Strangers, and uncut as Silhouettes. The uncut version was 92m 42s, and while the BBFC doesn't record the length of the cut version, it sees it was around 88m.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by rosalyn »

Simon Coward wrote:This was Silhouettes, which was given a cinematic release under the title Deadly Strangers. I think it was shown on the ITV network as a film rather than a television production.

I think it was difficult enough for the medium-sized ITV companies to get a network slot for any feature-length dramas, a series would have probably proved impossible.

In around the same time frame HTV did Arch of Triumph with Anthony Hopkins, and both mini-series Jamaica Inn and The Master of Ballantrae.

There were other non-film one-offs around the same period: Escape to the West, Separate Tables, probably more.

Edit: Beaten to it by Billy. I'll leave this here for the rest of the info.
Yes, I remember it being promoted as a film rather than a TV show when it was first on ITV. I've got an off-air recording of Deadly Strangers from around 1986 when it was shown during TVS's late night Friday strand 'After Midnight...The Terror Begins'. They showed it along with 'Blind Terror', 'Psychomania', and several other regularly repeated movies of that era, some of which I also recorded. I recall an Australian friend around 10-years-ago saying it was a difficult film to get hold of these days, and was unlikely to be released to DVD/Bluray because it was caught up in rights hell. :-)

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doubleM
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by doubleM »

'Deadly Strangers' I believe got a DVD in Spain (with no English soundtrack) and its stablemate 'Diagnosis: Murder' (not the Dick Van Dyke series) had an official VHS release, I think in the US ... so 'rights issues' are hopefully not too much a problem. It's interesting that both were made from Philip Levene scripts, some time after his death in 1973.

They both got their TV debut in 1981 peaktime on ITV - as films - , some 6 years after their UK cinema releases.

Wherever the negatives are stored as to an HD release might be another matter. 'Silhouette Film Productions' presumably were at 'arms length' 'from HTV which now is part of the ITV group. There may be some legal complications there but there have been commercial releases as indicated.

I'd love to see them both 'scrubbed up' to HD, framed for the 16:9 screen at their original cinema ratios and released on blu hopefully with some contextual bonus material.

The recent 'And Soon the Darkness' and 'Fright' 1971 blus from Canal+ alongside the 'Blind Terror/See No Evil' set from Powerhouse/Indicator a couple of years ago set a good benchmark on what could be achieved.
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by rosalyn »

I found my old recording of Deadly Strangers and have just finished re-watching it. It was shown on Television South on Friday 4th April 1986 going into the early hours of Saturday 5th.

I enjoyed it. Very good build up of tension to the ending (which I knew anyway). My husband sat and watched it with me, and he'd never seen it before. I'm not sure if he guessed the ending. I will ask him over breakfast tomorrow.

Rousing theme by Ron Goodwin.

Familiar names in the credits, those you've mentioned already...Philip Levene and Sydney Hayers. Oh, and the ever present HTV producer Patrick Dromgoole.

If more HTV productions had been like this...sigh!

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doubleM
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Re: HTV one off filmed dramas c.1974

Post by doubleM »

rosalyn wrote: If more HTV productions had been like this...sigh!
It's probably worth tracking down it's stablemate Diagnosis Murder, which is Levene/Hayers again, this time with a score by Laurie Johnson. The tone is somewhat different, it's less a 'mood' piece for one thing and the focus is partly on detective work and mystery but I enjoyed it, there is a fair amount of tension in the final act too.

Apart from Brian Clemens' own pair of cinema chillers of the early 70s, I'd say these two films - in may ways - were the closest that British cinema got to the ATV THRILLER anthology - though the settings of both are somewhat more 'down at heel' than the typical country manor house of the series.
.. ah yes, well worn carpets and the pungent smell of over-boiled vegetables!

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