Friday, 26 November 2010

Nobody ordered oblivion

There are two Robert Hartford-Davis films that I'm unlikely to be watching and emoting about any time soon, as both are missing, presumed lost and, perhaps surprisingly, on the BFI's '75 Most Wanted List' alongside such legends as Hitchcock's 'The Mountain Eagle' and long-gone Michael Powell quota quickies. 

'Crosstrap' (1962) was Hartford-Davis' film debut, and is, apparently, an hour long b-movie about a couple who inadvertently stumble across a criminal gang's hideout. Supposedly pretty graphic for its time (good old Bob) it was last seen in 1967 as a supporting feature to 'Night Of The Big Heat' but has subsequently disappeared from the face of the earth.

'Nobody Ordered Love' (1971) was Hartford-Davis' last British film and hasn't been seen since its very limited release. Time Out's review is short and fairly uncompromising: "dreadful 'exposé' of the movie scene, involving a hustling opportunist (Tony Selby!) who wheels and lays his way through a completely phony version of the British film industry. The film in production that all the fuss is about, a challenging anti-war epic that supposedly ends up as a big success ('The Somme', pictured), looks every bit as abysmal as the rest".

Stung by reviews like this and pissed off at the lack of support from the studio executives, Hartford-Davis apparently snatched up all the negatives, stormed out of the lot and flounced off to Hollywood. After his sudden death in 1977, his wife had a clear out and the film cans went into Californian landfill.

Long term readers may wonder quite what my fascination with Robert Hartford-Davis is: I mean, I take every opportunity to slag him off, yet I persist in watching his work. The fact is, he fascinates me because of how close he sometimes gets to making a really good film but never, ever really gets there. I occasionally feel like the little boy who is horrible to a girl not because he hates her, but he secretly really fancies her. It's a shame these two examples of his work aren't available for me to use to help resolve my conflict...

2 comments:

Film Cans said...

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japanese forms said...

Oh! 'Nobody Ordered Love' I always wondered what the title of this film was.
This was the first film I ever saw with people having (simulated) sex. It was the opening feature to Russ Meyer's 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' at my local cinema.

Maybe a 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' party with a transexual murdering everyone at the end would be fun.