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Hal E Chester obituary

Shrewd film producer behind School for Scoundrels and Night of the Demon

Hal E Chester, who has died aged 91, was a juvenile actor, then a producer of low-budget movies in Hollywood, before he moved in 1955 to Britain, where he set up his own production company to take advantage of the lower costs of filming. Over the next 15 years he turned out a wide range of pictures, which often featured American stars such as Mickey Rooney, Dana Andrews, Yul Brynner and Paul Newman. For a period he specialised in British comedies. The first and best of these was School for Scoundrels (1960), loosely based on the popular Gamesmanship books of Stephen Potter. The impressive cast included Alastair Sim, Terry-Thomas and Dennis Price, with Ian Carmichael as the intrepid hero trying to impress Janette Scott.

Small, dynamic and fast-talking, Chester was perhaps a typical example of the shrewd and ambitious Hollywood producer. He
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Actor Martin Benson Dies

Martin Benson was a dour-faced character actor who appeared in numerous film and television productions from the late 1940s. His notable genre roles include Dorkin, the circus ringmaster who aspires to hit the bigtime exploiting Gorgo, the giant prehistoric reptile, in the 1961 film of the same name. He was featured as American gangster Solo in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, who had a “pressing engagement” when he refused to take part in Goldfinger’s plot to rob Fort Knox. He was shot to death by henchman Oddjob, and crushed into a metal cube in a junkyard metal compactor along with his luxury car and gold bullion. He also appeared, under heavy prosthetics, as Jeltz, the poetry-spouting alien Vogon Captain, in the 1981 British television production of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Benson was born in London on August 10, 1918. He served in the military during World War II before embarking on
See full article at Famous Monsters of Filmland »

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