Hot Picks

- First Impressions Can Kill 2017

- Talk of the Dead 2016

- Faithful 2017

- The Faith Community 2017

- Dis 2017

- The Big Knife 1955

- The Dark Side of the Womb 2017

- Cute Litte Buggers 2016

- Something Scary 2017

- Bunnyman Vengeance 2017

- Don't Torture a Duckling 1972

- The 13th Friday 2017

- Bye Bye Baby 2017

- A Fish Called Wanda 1988

- Crazy Right 2017

- Ode to the Night 2017

- House by the Lake 2017

- The Song of Sway Lake 2017

- The Campbell: Traders, Gangsters and Robots 2016

- The Suspicious Death of a Minor 1975

- Assholes 2017

- Cold Moon 2016

- I Feel 2017

- Children of the Corn 1984

- The Forlorned 2017

- Torture Fetish 2015

- They Still Live 2017

- Knock Knock 2017

- Red Christmas 2016

- Goodnight, Gracie 2017

- Stella Maris 2017

- Erik the Conqueror 1961

- Industrial Animals 2016

- Message in a Bottle 2017

- My Little Miracle 2017

- It Lives in the Attic 2016

- Almost Amazing 2017

- The Slayer 1982

- The Last Revenants 2017

- Revelator 2017

- Hair of the Dog 2017

- Beyond Macabre 2017

- Slimed 2010

- John #3 2017

- The Night Monica Came Back 2017

- A Killer Conversation 2014

- Out of My Skin 2016

- Star Crash 1979

- Strangler of the Swamp 1946

George Zucco - A Biography

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2009

For films starring George Zucco
on (re)Search my Trash
click here!

Quick Links

Abbott & Costello

Alice in Wonderland

Batman

Bigfoot

Black Emanuelle

Bomba the Jungle Boy

Bowery Boys

Bulldog Drummond

Captain America

Charlie Chan

Cinderella

Dick Tracy

Dr. Mabuse

Dr. Orloff

Doctor Who

Dracula

Elizabeth Bathory

Emmanuelle

Fantomas

Flash Gordon

Frankenstein

Frankie & Annette Beach Party movies

Freddy Krueger

Fu Manchu

Fuzzy

Gamera

Godzilla

Hercules

El Hombre Lobo

Incredible Hulk

Jack the Ripper

James Bond

Jekyll and Hyde

Jerry Cotton

Jungle Jim

Justine

Kekko Kamen

King Kong

Laurel and Hardy

Lemmy Caution

Lobo

Lone Wolf and Cub

Maciste

Marx Brothers

Miss Marple

Mr. Moto

Mister Wong

Mothra

Nick Carter

OSS 117

Phantom of the Opera

Quatermass

Robin Hood

Santa Claus

El Santo

Schoolgirl Report

The Shadow

Sherlock Holmes

Spider-Man

Star Trek

Sukeban Deka

Superman

Tarzan

Three Mesquiteers

Three Musketeers

Winnetou

Wizard of Oz

Wolf Man

Wonder Woman

Yojimbo

Zatoichi

Zorro

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find George Zucco
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find George Zucco here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find George Zucco at adultvideouniverse.com

There has rarely been an actor in Hollywood who could combine old world manners and dignity with total ruthlessness, cold-bloodedness and unpredictability quite as perfectly as George Zucco - which of course made him a perfect character actor in the 1930's and 40's and usually had him cast in bad guy roles. And his distinct face, perfect diction and smooth voice - and of course his acting talents - made sure his performances rarely went unnoticed.

Coming from the UK and the stage - like many of Hollywood's finest character actors -, Zucco played in films of pretty much every genre there was, from musicals and comedies to historic dramas and murder mysteries, but (hardly surprisingly) he eventually found his home in horror, where he played everything from evil high priests to vampires, from mad scientists to serial killers, and even though he appeared primarily in B-horrors produced by outfits like Universal, Monogram and PRC [PRC history - click here], he always managed to give his roles a certain dignity and often managed to elevate the low budget clunkers he's been in above their modest origins ...

 


 

Early Life, Early Career

 

George Zucco was born George Desylla Zucco in 1886 in Manchester, England, to a Greek merchant and a former lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria. Having always felt drawn to the theatre, Zucco made his debut in 1908 on a Canadian stage, and the following he year toured the American vaudeville circuit, performing a routine called The Suffragette with his later wife Francis. When World War I broke out, George Zucco returned to his native England to serve in the army. Eventually he was seriously wounded on the battlefront, and only massive surgery prevented his right arm from remaining paralyzed for the rest of his life. However, he couldn't use two of his fingers and his thumb thereafter.

 

After the war, Zucco relaunched his theatrical career, and he soon rose to popularity on London stages. Thanks to his popularity paired with genuine talent and a fine diction, it was no surprise that the British film industry would eventually come knocking, especially after the switch from silent movies to talkies was made and actors with stage experience were in high demand.

 


 

From England to Hollywood

 


Zucco's first film role was in 1931's Dreyfus (F.W.Kraemer, Milton Rosmer), one of the many movies about the Dreyfus-affair, this one starring Cedric Hardwicke in the title role, and teh film was actually an English version of Richard Oswald's German film Dreyfus from 1930. Zucco's role in the film was of merely minor importance, but he was apparently good enough to be offered more filmwork in Great Britain, at first mostly in comedies/romances/musicals starring singer/actress/musical star Jessie Matthews, films like the mildly racy musical There Goes the Bride and the comedy The Midshipmaid (both 1932, Albert de Courville), the romance The Man from Toronto (1933, Sinclair Hill) and the musical romance The Good Companions (1933, Victor Saville). Ultimately though, his range of genres broadened, and he played in everything from romances - Autumn Crocus (1934, Basil Dean) - and comedies - The Lady is Willing (1934, Gilbert Miller) starring Leslie Howard, What's in a Name (1934, Ralph Ince) - to crime dramas - The Roof (1932, George A.Cooper)  -, murder mysteries - What Happened Then? (1934, Walter Summers) - and costume dramas - Abdul the Damned (1935, Karl Grune) -, and he even made an appearance in the H.G.Wells-scripted fantasy The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936, Lothar Mendes).

 


However, while this filmography might look pretty good in writing, it should be noted that in all of these films, he only had only small supporting roles, nothing to write home about really. In this light, it should hardly be surprising that Zucco eventually went to New York in 1935 to act on Broadway instead of further pursuing his movie career in Great Britain. On Broadway, he soon found success and fame in the production of Victoria Regina, which featured Zucco as prime minister Disraeli and which also starred Helen Hayes and Vincent Price, a play that had a successful run from November 1935 to June 1936. It is said that his role in the play brought him to the attention of an MGM talentscout - and before the year was over, he had relocated to Hollywood and had acted in his first US-American productions, the murder mysteries Sinner Take All (1936, Errol Taggart) and After the Thin Man (1936, W.S.Van Dyke), second in the popular Thin Man-series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

But even though MGM must have gone to quite some length to get Zucco to Hollywood to play in their movies, they at first knew rather little to do with him, and so he was stuck with minor supporting roles, just like back in the UK.

 



During the next couple of years, while still at MGM, things didn't get much better. Sure, Zucco was mostly cast in high profile movies, but still didn't get anything better than minor supporting parts, often playing authoritative characters of one sort or another - something he admittedly seems to have been cut out for. Among these film were the Clark Gable-Myrna Loy starrer Parnell (1937, John M.Stahl), Saratoga (1937, Jack Conway) with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, the murder mystery London by Night (1937, Wilhelm Thiele), the musical The Firefly (1937, Robert Z.Leonard), Madame X (1937, Sam Wood) with Gladys George in the title role, The Bride Wore Red (1937, Dorothy Arzner) starring Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone, the Nelson Eddy starrer Rosalie (1937, W.S.Van Dyke), Arsčne Lupin Returns (1938, George Fitzmaurice) with Melvyn Douglas and Virginia Bruce, Lord Jeff (1938, Sam Wood) with Mickey Rooney, Fast Company (1938, Edward Buzzell) starring Melvyn Douglas, the comedy Vacation from Love (1938, George Fitzmaurice), the historical dramas Marie Antoinette (1938, W.S.Van Dyke) starring Tyrone Power and Norma Shearer and the F.Scott Fitzgerald co-scripted Three Comrades (1938, Frank Borzage) - and for the last two, Zucco didn't even get an onscreen credit. Even the few films Zucco made away from MGM during that period, like the Paramount production Souls at Sea (1937, Henry Hathaway) starring Gary Cooper, George Raft and Frances Dee, or the 20th Century Fox-film Suez (1938, Allen Dwan), were no improvement - concerning George Zucco's roles -, over his MGM-output

 


.

Becoming a Villain

 

The first film that gave us a glimpse of things to come was actually the 20th Century Fox-production Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938, H.Bruce Humberstone). Incidently, this is the first movie to star Sidney Toler as the Oriental sleuth after the death of Warner Oland, and Victor Sen Yung as his son after Keye Luke's (temporary) departure from the series. George Zucco can be seen as one of the suspects, a doctor who nurtures a live human brain.

 



While Zucco's role in Charlie Chan in Honolulu was weird in a macabre sort of way, he is the central villain in Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1939, James P.Hogan), sixth in Paramount's Bulldog Drummond-series (and fifth to star John Howard in the lead). In this one, Zucco plays an enemy agent who gets his hands on a deathray, even kills his associates in cold blood, and kidnaps Drummond's fiancée (Heather Angel) with such gusto and perfection that it is almost impossible to picture him doing anything else (which he in fact has done during pretty much all of his movie career up to now).

 

George Zucco returned as a villain later that year in Captain Fury (1939, Hal Roach), in which he plays an unscrupulous plantation owner down under who exploits the convicts he has working on his premises for his own gains.

 


After another role as featured actor in The Magnificent Fraud (1939, Robert Florey), Zucco would star in the role that really made him a name as a major screen villain, that of Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939, Alfred L.Werker) starring Basil Rathbone [Basil Rathbone bio - click here] and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson, the sequel to 20th Century Fox's hit The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939, Sidney Lanfield) from earlier that year. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes might be far from perfect and might pale in comparison to The Hound of the Baskervilles, but Zucco is a good villain who gives Rathbone, himself a very capable actor, a run for his money.

 


Another featured role in Here I am a Stranger (1939, Roy del Ruth) was followed by the movie that put George Zucco in touch with the horror genre for the first time, albeit via comedy: The Cat and the Canary (1939, Elliott Nugent) with Bob Hope in the lead.


Now admittedly, this film is first and foremost a vehicle for then up-and-coming comic Bob Hope, and Zucco is neither given the opportunity to play a villain, nor is he allowed to survive the first few minutes of the film, but he fills his short screentime with such gravitas and underlying menace that he makes an impression nevertheless.

 

While The Cat and the Canary was a horror comedy, RKO's Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939, William Dieterle) starring Charles Laughton in the title role and Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda can be described as almost-horror - yet Zucco's role is only small in this one and he's not given much room to unfold. It's after another feature performance in a musical, New Moon (1940, Robert Z.Leonard), that he was finally properly introduced into the genre he would soon make his own ...

 


 

George Zucco, Horror Man

 


With The Cat and the Canary being more comedy than shocker, George Zucco's first full-blooded horror film would be Universal's The Mummy's Hand (1940, Christy Cabanne), the first sequel to Karl Freund's The Mummy from 1932. In it, Zucco plays the hight priest who has the task of awakening the titular mummy, played for the first and only time by Tom Tyler [Tom Tyler bio - click here]. Besides being Zucco's horror debut, The Mummy's Hand wasn't much of a film though, it pales in comparison to the original The Mummy, it's based on a stupid script, is sloppily directed, and never even tries to rise above the realm of run-of-the-mill B-pictures - a fate the film shares with most of Universal's horror films from the 1940's, acutally.

 

The next film Universal used Zucco in was Dark Streets of Cairo (1940, László Kardos) wasn't exactly a horror film, rather a mystery/adventure in exotic settings (but filmed on the Universal-backlot quite probably), with Zucco turning in another performance as evil Egyptian (a role description he would return to time and again for the remainder of his career, curiously).

 

Over at Paramount, Zucco for the first time tried himself in a role that would soon become his stock-in-trade, that of the mad scientist. The movie in question is The Monster and the Girl (1941, Stuart Heisler), one of the countless films from that era in which a mad doctor transplants a human brain into a gorilla - to expectedly horrific results. As in many films of this sort, the scientist rather than the monster is the pivotal and most interesting role, and Zucco comes across almost admirably well.

 


In The Mad Monster (1942, Sam Newfield), Zucco returns as mad scientist, and this time he's a man with a vengeance, turning his assistant Glenn Strange into some sort of werewolf to avenge himself on his colleagues who have ridiculed him. Of course, the film is cheap and silly, but enjoyably so.

 

By the way, this was the first film George Zucco made for small-time production company PRC [PRC history - click here], and out of sheer ignorance and arrogance, most fellow critics and film historians regard Zucco's PRC-horror-efforts as lesser films compared to the shockers he made for Universal - which is of course nonsense and is based solely on the comparative importance or insignificance of the two company names in the course of film history as a whole: While Zucco's PRC-films were usually based on solid and stringent if trashy scripts, his Universal-movies featured storylines that bordered the ridiculous and were highly inconsequential and illogical as far as storytelling goes. And while it's true that PRC-films (in general) were produced on a shoestring because the company couldn't afford any more, the so-called production values at Universal were often little more than an awful hodge-podge of sets standing around in the studio's backlot, like in the Mummy-films, in which George Zucco keeps his Egyptian mummy in an obviously Latin American pyramid. And even in terms of directorial effort, the PRC-films are hardly inferior to those produced by Universal, and while PRC's house director Sam Newfield wasn't exactly an auteur of any sort, he every now and again did show genuine inspiration that the Universal-shockers lacked.

That's not to say, I might add, that I dislike Universal's classic horror movies, in fact I love them, but as far as the studio's output from the 1940's is concerned, I love them rather for their shortcomings than their qualities (which are rare).

 


That all said, George Zucco's next horror film was neither for Universal nor for PRC but for 20th Century Fox, Dr. Renault's Secret (1942, Harry Lachman), and in a way, plotwise the film is the reversal of his earlier The Monster and the Girl, as here he tries to turn an ape into a man (J.Carrol Naish). Ray Crash Corrigan, the 1940's most prolific ape actor can be seen as a gorilla in this one by the way [Crash Corrigan bio - click here].

 

Universal's The Mummy's Tomb (1942, Harold Young) saw Zucco back in his role as the mummy raising high priest, with the mummy being played by Lon Chaney jr [Lon Chaney jr bio - click here] this time around - but apart from that, the film has nothing new to offer.

 



Of much more interest is PRC's Dead Men Walk (Sam Newfield) from 1943, which is in many ways an unnoficial remake of Universal's Dracula (even with Dwight Frye in the same role [Dwight Frye bio - click here]), in which Zucco, playing twins, can be seen as both the vampire (never referred to as Dracula in the film or anywhere else) and a Van Helsing-like character. And within the tiny budget, director Newfield actually manages to create a suitably spooky atmosphere, and he's also helped by one of the better casts in a PRC-movie - I mean it can hardly get any better than Zucco and Frye, now can it?

 


Next, it was back to Universal for Zucco to star as a baddie in the slightly ridiculous propaganda effort Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943, Roy William Neill) that transplants the turn-of-the-century British investigator as played by Basil Rathbone [Basil Rathbone bio - click here] to the USA during World War II. Interestingly, Zucco plays not the role of Moriarty he played so well in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in this one but that of a German agent. The Sherlock Holmes-series as a whole had by 1943 long moved from 20th Century Fox to Universal by the way, and in only the previous film of the series, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943, Roy William Neill), fellow movie villain Lionel Atwill [Lionel Atwill bio - click here] could be seen as Moriarty. Interestingly, Zucco and Atwill, who were already both featured in Three Comrades, would appear in a couple of movies not too long after this one.

 



The Black Raven (1943, Sam Newfield) was probably the most disappointing film George Zucco made at PRC, a badly scripted and shoddily directed old dark house-style murder mystery starring Zucco as the villain, with B-Western star Bob Livingston in a non.ciowboy-role playing the hero while Glenn Strange and Charles Middleton can be seen as dim-witted handymen. Of all of Zucco's PRC-films, this is probably the one that deserves its bad reputation the most.

 

The rather obscure The Mad Ghoul (1943, James P.Hogan) on the other hand might be one of the better horror films Zucco made for Universal - but that has more to do with the rather lame movies the studio usually put him in than with anything else. The film itself sees Zucco as another mad scientist, this time one experimenting with a Mayan nerve gas (!) that can create zombies, while Universal-regular Evelyn Ankers is the woman he's hopelessly in love with.

 

Voodoo Man (1944, William Beaudine) was Zucco's first film for Monogram - and Monogram is a studio that really deserves its bad reputation for its horror movie output (not its general output though), for which Voodoo Man, despite a top-notch genre cast (Zucco, Bela Lugosi [Bela Lugosi bio - click here], John Carradine [John Carradine bio - click here]), is a good example: Bela Lugosi as grieving widower/mad scientist and George Zucco as Voodoo priest fight their way through a muddled script about a missing girl, a dead woman who still goes for walks in a trance-like state, misunderstood voodoo rituals and ill-fitting genre mainstays. And while a bad movie like that might bring joy to bad movie lovers like myself, it is undenieably just that, a bad movie.

 


The same can of course also be said about The Mummy's Ghost (1944, Reginald Le Borg), yet another film in which Zucco as high priest raises a mummy (Lon Chaney again [Lon Chaney jr bio - click here]) - though he soon hands over control to John Carradine - that fails to bring any new aspects to its subject matter.

 

Just like Voodoo Man before it, Monogram's Return of the Ape Man (1944, Phil Rosen) features George Zucco alongside Bela Lugosi and John Carradine, and even the results are pretty much the same - and equally disappointing. This time, mad scientist Lugosi and assistant Carradine bring an apeman (Zucco) back from the arctic and revive him - to foreseeable results. Thing is that Zucco isn't even in the movie all that much as he fell ill just after shooting began, and since Monogram wasn't a studio that would or could afford an idle film crew waiting for its film's star to recover, Frank Moran was quickly hired to replace Zucco in the ape suit. Of course, this didn't make Monogram remove Zucco's name from the film's credits or its poster, after all, he did appear in the film for a few seconds - and his name certainly held bigger marquee value than Frank Moran's, who during his 30 year-long film career never made it past bit player.

 


The best thing about House of Frankenstein (1944, Erle C.Kenton) is probably its cast: Boris Karloff [Boris Karloff bio - click here], John Carradine (as Dracula), Lon Chaney jr (as Wolf Man) Glenn Strange (as Frankenstein's monster), Lionel Atwill [Lionel Atwill bio - click here], J.Carrol Naish and George Zucco. The story that brings all of these horror veterans together on the other hand couldn't be more muddled and sillier. There's Zucco as a sideshow entrepreneur who travels the country with Dracula's skeleton (which eventually becomes the bloodsucker in the flesh of course), Boris Karloff playing a mad scientist wanting to reanimate Frankenstein's monster, and Lon Chaney jr running around wild-eyed looking for a cure for his lycanthropic condition. If you fail to see much rhyme or reason in my brief synopsis of the film, rest assured, there is not much more rhyme and reason in the film itself.

 


Much more interesting is the PRC-production Fog Island (1945, Terry O.Morse), which pits horror villains Zucco and Lionel Atwill against each other, and while the film might suffer slightly from a rather stagey directorial effort and an obvious lack of budget, it is saved by a great script and of course Zucco and Atwill.

 

Sudan (1945, John Rawlins) was the sixth and final movie in a series of films starring Jon Hall [Jon Hall bio - click here] and Maria Montez produced by Universal. Though not actually a horror film in any sense, this film (and the whole Hall-Montez series) nevertheless shares quite a few aspects with the 1940's half of Universal's horror cycle, like its obvious studio sets (even in outdoor scenes), its total disregard of historical accuracy, its not all that polished screenplay, and its artistic insignificance. The film itself is an entertaining if pointless romantic adventure set in ancient Egypt that has Hall and Montez fall in love against all odds, and Zucco handling the villainous part of the plot.

 


Paramount's Midnight Manhunt (1945, William C.Thomas) is strictly speaking no more a horror film than Sudan, but it contains a busload of macabre elements that one can't help but feeling reminded of Frank Capra's Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and even if Capra's film is superior in most aspects no doubt, Midnight Manhunt, a film about several characters trying to either find or hide a corpse (or even both) is a quite enjoyable little comedy in its own right, beautifully carried not only by Zucco, who plays it straight as the villain, but also by Anne Savage as the female lead and Bowery Boy Leo Gorcey without his gang for a change. Only leading man William Gargan is a bit of a disappointment, but that's not enough to sink the film.

 



Putting my emphasis on Zucco's horror films during the war years doesn't mean he hasn't appeared in a host of other films as well, even a few A-movies, but rarely if ever was he used as effectively in any other genre as in horror, and the bigger the movies he was in, the smaller his roles got.

Some of the non-horror movies Zucco was in between 1940 and '45 were the World War II-themed romantic comedy Arise My Love (1940, Mitchell Leisen) starring Claudette Colbert and Ray Milland, the popular fantasy comedy Topper Returns (1941, Roy Del Ruth) starring Joan Blondell, George Cukor's A Woman's Face (1941) with Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas and Conrad Veidt, the spy thriller International Lady (1941, Tim Whelan) also featuring Basil Rathbone, the murder mystery Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring (1941, James P.Hogan) with Ralph Bellamy in the title role, the Bob Hope-starrer My Favorite Blonde (1942, idney Lanfield), the pirate movie The Black Swan (1942, Henry King) starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara, the Ritz Brothers-comedy Never a Dull Moment (1943, Edward C.Lilley), Fred Zinnemann's The Seventh Cross (1944) starring Spencer Tracy, the Crime Doctor-movie Shadows in the Night (1944, Eugene Forde) with Warner Baxter in the lead, the crime comedy Having a Wonderful Crime (1945, A.Edward Sutherland) with Pat O'Brien, and the musical Week-End at the Waldorf (1945, Robert Z.Leonard) starring Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Van Johnson and Walter Pidgeon.

 


 

Post-War Decline

 

With the end of the war and the returning servicemen, audiences as a whole and thus audience tastes shifted, and suddenly horror was no longer in favour of the movie-going public - which is of course why for example Universal, once the Hollywood horror factory, made hardly any horror movies during the latter part of the 1940's.

The decline of the horror genre during the later part of the 1940's seems to be perfectly mirrored in what for other reasons became the tail end of George Zucco's career: While from 1940 to '45 he made well over a dozen shockers, he only made 3 horror movies from '46 to '50, and one of them was a horror comedy even.

 

The films in question are:



  • The PRC-production The Flying Serpent (1946, Sam Newfield), a remake of one of the studio's best and most popular horror films, The Devil Bat (1940, Jean Yarbrough [Jean Yarbrough bio - click here]), with Zucco playing the part of the mad scientist Bela Lugosi [Bela Lugosi bio - click here] played in the original. On a pure quality level, The Flying Serpent surely is inferior to The Devil Bat, but taken on its own, it is a film that very much anticipates the monster movies of the 1950's in both look and feel, much more than the earlier film that's more in the gothic tradition.
  • Speaking of Bela Lugosi, he was the actual star of George Zucco's next shocker, Scared to Death (1947, Christy Cabanne), and the film is nowadays mainly known for being Lugosi's (not Zucco's) only colour feature. Apart from that it is a tired murder mystery that not even Zucco, Lugosi and midget actor Angelo Rossitto can save from utter pointlessness.

  • And speaking of pointless: Zucco's next horror film after that was the genre comedy Who Killed Doc Robbin (1948, Bernard Carr), an attempt by Hal Roach to establish an Our Gang-like team of kids christened Curley and his Gang in a series of comedies - an attempt that pretty much failed just like this film, a sad, presumably comical whodunnit in which Zucco plays the (dead) mad scientist of the title.

The film in which George Zucco played a role most closely related to his horror roles (especially those in the Mummy-series) was probably Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948, Robert Florey), the last Tarzan-film starring Johnny Weissmuller [Johnny Weissmuller bio - click here] and almost certainly the campiest of his films as lord of the jungle. George Zucco can be seen as an evil high priest, residing in an obviously Mexican pyramide posing as an African one - again, just like in the Mummy-series ... and Tarzan and the Mermaids wasn't even produced by Universal but by RKO.

 




The rest of Zucco's films are from a wide variety of genres, in none of which Zucco really found a footing just like he did in horror, though costume dramas soon became a little bit of a speciality of his because of his distinct features and his old-world-mannerisms and speech, costume dramas like The Imperfect Lady (1947, Lewis Allen) starring Ray Milland and featuring Cedric Hardwicke and Anthony Quinn, the period murder mystery Moss Rose (1947, Gregory Ratoff) with Peggy Cummins, Victor Mature and Vincent Price, the Tyrone Power starrer Captain from Castile (1947, Henry King), the pirate musical The Pirate (1948, Vincente Minelli) starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Victor Fleming's Joan of Arc (1948) starring Ingrid Bergman, and Vincente Minelli's Madame Bovary (1949) with Jennifer Jones in the title role and James Mason.

 


However, besides his appearances in costume dramas, he also proved he could appear in everything else thrown at him from crime dramas - Douglas Sirk's Lured (1947) starring George Sanders, Lucille Ball and Boris Karloff [Boris Karloff bio - click here], Secret Service Investigator (1948, R.G.Springsteen), Harbor of Mising Men (1950, R.G.Springsteen), Flame of Stamboul (1951, Ray Nazarro) - to musicals - The Barkleys of Broadway (1949, Charles Walters) starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Let's Dance (1950, Norman Z.McLeod) featuring Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire - and everything in between - the post war romance/drama Desire Me (1947, Jack Conway, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Victor Saville) starring Greer Garson and Robert Mitchum, the Bob Hope starrer Where There's Life (1947, Sidney Lanfield), the family drama The Secret Garden (1949, Fred M.Wilcox) featuring Elsa Lanchester in a supporting role, Douglas Sirk's The First Legion (1951) starring Charles Boyer -, and he even appeared in a TV show (then a relatively new medium), the episode Drums in the Night (1951, Frank Wisbar) of the series Fireside Theatre.

 


George Zucco's last film performance was in another costume drama, Henry King's David and Bathsheba (1951) with Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward in the title roles, yet his appearance (as another Egyptian) is only brief and he doesn't even appear in the film's onscreen credits.

He suffered a stroke not long after filming David and Bathsheba, and never really fully recovered after that. Reportedly, he was offered a role in the 1957-film Voodoo Woman (Edward L.Cahn) but declined. Around that time, he was moved to a nursing home, too, as his failing health required constant medical attention.

 

George Zucco died in 1960 at the age of 74, leaving behind a wife, Stella Francis, whom he was married to since 1930 and who gave up her acting career for him, and a daughter, Frances Zucco, an award winning equestrian and minor actress, who died no two years after him from throat cancer. 

And he left behind a great legacy of movies, some of them good, some bad, many hilarious (for the wrong reasons more often than not), but Zucco's performances are special in almost all of them ...

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.




Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

Jetzt kaufen bei
Lulu.com