Shanks - 1974
Starring Marcel Marceau, Cindy Eilbacher
Written by Ranald Graham
Directed by William Castle
Released by Paramount Pictures
William Castle ('The House on Haunted Hill', '13 Ghosts') is best known for his black and white horror efforts in the 1950's-early 1960's. His later works like 'Project X' and 'Let's Kill Uncle' are not as well known, and his last directorial effort is really obscure, 'Shanks'.
Growing up I never heard of this film, either in the horror books or monster magazines I devoured as a youngster. In the late eighties while researching an fanzine article for a friend about William Castle I stumbled upon the name of the film but no information. We couldn't find it on video and no one we knew had a print. Finally I found a piece of information about it in a book on Marcel Marceau, but it only said he made a film by that name and nothing else. Time went by and I forgot all about this little mystery of a film.
This past March 12th, TCM showed a night of mutant monster movies (which I wouldn' have known about if not for a posting in the Universal Monster Army forums) and capped the evening off with two William Castle films, 'Mr. Sardonicus' and the elusive 'Shanks'. I actually had to double check the listing to make sure it was the same film since I didn't' believe it could be the same film. Before that night I did a little research on the movie.
It has never been released on video or DVD, has no Wikipedia entry, and as far as I could find was never shown on TV (I may be wrong on that point, please correct me if I am). I found several reviews from the time (like Roger Ebert's from January of 1975), but decided to forgo reading them so I could watch the movie with an open mind. There were no Youtube trailers either.
The IMDB had move information than anyone, which isn't much. The most unusual fact about the movie I discovered was that Alex North's score for the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score in 1975, which it didn't win. This was screenwriter Ranald Graham's first credit, and he was active in writing and producing in England until about 1990.
Armed with that little information I sat down to watch the film, which we will talk about in Part Two...
Until Next Time,