Thursday, May 9, 2013

ANOTHER KIND OF CAT IN THE HAT


Pick out any review on the 'net about CATMAN OF PARIS and you will most likely read less than enthusiastic comments that include words like "slow", "talky", even "lame". My question is: is it slow like 1931's DRACULA or slow like 2012's WOMAN IN BLACK? Put it against a TRANSFORMERS movie and I can see it. Otherwise, I consider it at least average fare for a mystery/thriller of the time period.

Criticism aside, the movie sports a monster make-up that could be called the feline version of Henry Hull's WEREWOLF OF LONDON. Make-up supervisor Bob Mark (sometimes billed as Bob Marks) created a half-man, half-cat by the subtle art of suggestion. A look at photos of actor Robert J. Wilke (standing in for lead actor Carl Esmond) as the cat creature show that, other than nose, ears and teeth, the effect was achieved more with grease paint and pencil rather than appliances. Mr. Wilke should have counted his blessings that he wasn't subjected to a several-hour stint in the chair with the more meticulous Jack Pierce!

Make-up man Bob Mark and Catman Robert Wilke.
 

 Released in 1946 by Republic pictures, CATMAN OF PARIS was directed by Leslie Selander and also starred Lenore Aubert, who appeared as the seductive Sandra Mornay in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, and the very fetching Adele Mara, who appeared in a few other genre films such as Vogue Pictures' CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN.

Lenore Aubert
Adele Mara

Make-up man Bob Mark was born in New York City on October 19, 1902. He began his career in Hollywood with an uncredited job in LOVE ON THE RUN in 1936. His first credited film was in 1937's THE PAINTED STALLION, where he had already made the position of make-up supervisor. Mr. Mark plied his make-up wares in hundreds of movies and TV shows such as THE VAMPIRE'S GHOST, ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE, MISSILE MONSTERS, GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW, A BUCKET OF BLOOD, THE ADVENTURES OF DR FU MANCHU, and scads of westerns. He died just three months before Jack Pierce, on April 18, 1968.

[MORE ON THE CATMAN OF PARIS IN A LATER POST RIGHT HERE AT MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!]

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