June 13, 1892 - July 21, 1967
Born Philip St. John Basil Rathbone in Johannesburg, South Africa
Two Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor :
Romeo and Juliet (1936) and If I Were King (1938),
losing to Walter Brennan both times!
1948 Tony Award winner as "Dr. Sloper"
in the original Broadway production of "The Heiress"
See Marcia Jesson's Basil Rathbone: Master of Stage and Screen, a GREAT fan site!
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A Lot of Favorite Memories of Basil Rathbone
- As S.S. Van Dine's aristocratic detective "Philo Vance" in the early talkie mystery The Bishop Murder Case (1930), directed by Nick Grinde.
With Leila Hyams, Roland Young, George F. Marion and James Donlan.
- As the young hero's cruel stepfather, "Mr. Murdstone," in MGM's star-studded David Copperfield (1935), directed by George Cukor.
With Freddie Bartholomew, W. C. Fields, Lionel Barrymore, Una O'Connor, Elsa Lanchester, E. E. Clive, Roland Young and Lewis Stone.
- As Anna's rigid husband "Karenin," whose concern for his social standing propels the tragic outcome of Anna Karenina (1935),
based on Leo Tolstoy's classic romance, directed by Clarence Brown.
With Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew, Maureen O'Sullivan, May Robson and Reginald Owen.
- As "Pontius Pilate" in the historical disaster epic Last Days of Pompeii (1935), directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper,
With Preston Foster, Alan Hale, John Wood, Louis Calhern, William V. Mong, Henry Kolker, Edward Van Sloan , Zeffie Tilbury and John Davidson.
Visual effects by many of the same geniuses who worked on King Kong, including Willis O'Brien, Marcel Delgado and Byron L. Crabbe.
- As "Henry Abbott," a poor artist taken in by a rich woman, whom he victimizes with his gang of thieves, in
Kind Lady (1935; UK title: House of Menace), directed by George B. Seitz.
- As the dashing French pirate "Captain Levasseur," duelling the hero to the death on the beach in Warner Bros.' classic swashbuckler
Captain Blood (1935), directed by Michael Curtiz.
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Lionel Atwill, with a hearty cast of freebooters including Ross Alexander,
Guy Kibbee, Henry Stephenson, Robert Barrat, Hobart Cavanaugh, Donald Meek, Jessie Ralph, Forrester Harvey, Frank McGlynn Sr., Holmes Herbert,
J. Carrol Naish, Pedro de Cordoba, Harry Cording, Leonard Mudie, E.E. Clive, Reginald Barlow, Matthew 'Stymie' Beard, Halliwell Hobbes,
Frank Puglia, Tom Steele and Jim Thorpe.
- As the heartless French aristocrat "Marquis St. Evremonde," a veritable poster boy for the guillotine,
in MGM's classic romantic adventure of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities (1935), directed by Jack Conway.
With a Dickens of a cast, including Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver, Reginald Owen, Blanche Yurka,
Henry B. Walthall, Donald Woods, Walter Catlett, Fritz Leiber, H.B. Warner, Mitchell Lewis, Claude Gillingwater,
Billy Bevan, Isabel Jewell, Lucille LaVerne, Tully Marshall, Eily Malyon, E.E. Clive, Lawrence Grant, Robert Warwick, Ralf Harolde,
John Davidson, Tom Ricketts, Barlowe Borland, Richard Alexander, Nigel De Brulier, Forrester Harvey, Walter Kingsford, Cyril McLaglen ,
Torben Meyer, Tempe Pigott, Rolfe Sedan and C. Montague Shaw.
- As a Capulet, "Tybalt," killing a Montague (John Barrymore) in a duel and inflaming a family feud in MGM's stellar Romeo and Juliet (1936),
based on Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor.
With Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, John Barrymore, Edna May Oliver, C. Aubrey Smith, Andy Devine, Henry Kolker,
Robert Warwick, Reginald Denny, Violet Kemble Cooper, Katherine DeMille and Ian Wolfe.
- As "Count Ferdinand Anteoni," a dashing desert sheik, in a feverish romance about a renegade monk's search for his soul,
The Garden of Allah (1936), directed by Richard Boleslawski.
Starring Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer, with C. Aubrey Smith, Joseph Schildkraut, John Carradine,
Alan Marshal, Henry Brandon, exotic dancer Tilly Losch, Pedro de Cordoba, Nigel De Brulier,
Robert Frazer, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Leonid Kinskey and Michael Mark.
- As "Gerald Lovell," the heroine's disturbed and dangerous husband in Love from a Stranger aka A Night of Terror (1937),
from a story by Agatha Christie, directed by Rowland V. Lee.
With Ann Harding, Binnie Hale, Bruce Seton, Jean Cadell, Bryan Powley , Joan Hickson and Donald Calthrop.
- As "Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko," the Bolshevik persecutor of a royal Russian couple now working as household servants in Paris,
in the comedy Tovarich (1937), directed by Anatole Litvak.
Starring Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer, with Anita Louise, Melville Cooper, Victor Kilian, Gregory Gaye, Montagu Love, Renie Riano and Fritz Feld.
- As "Ahmed," evil aide to Kublai Khan in the historical adventure
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938), directed by Archie Mayo (and uncredited John Cromwell and John Ford).
Starring Gary Cooper and Sigrid Gurie, with Ernest Truex, Alan Hale, George Barbier, Binnie Barnes, Lana Turner,
Stanley Fields, Harold Huber, H.B. Warner, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Henry Kolker, Reginald Barlow,
Harry Cording, Richard Alexander, Ward Bond and Richard Farnsworth.
- As the quintessential blackguard "Sir Guy of Gisbourne" in Warner Bros. swashbuckling classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938),
directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley.
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Claude Rains, with a legendary cast including Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Melville Cooper,
Ian Hunter, Una O'Connor, Herbert Mundin, Montagu Love, Robert Warwick, Lester Matthews, Harry Cording, Lionel Belmore, D'Arcy Corrigan, Holmes Herbert,
Leyland Hodgson, Michael Hordern, Olaf Hytten, Marten Lamont, Leonard Mudie, John Sutton — and Trigger as Lady Marian's horse!
- In his Oscar-nominated "Best Supporting Actor" performance as 15th Century French "King Louis XI,"
befriending the dashing vagabond poet François Villon in If I Were King (1938), directed by Frank Lloyd.
Starring Ronald Colman and Frances Dee, with Ellen Drew, Henry Wilcoxon, Heather Thatcher,
Stanley Ridges, Alma Lloyd, Walter Kingsford, Sidney Toler, Ralph Forbes, John Miljan, Montagu Love, Lester Matthews, William Farnum,
Francis McDonald, Lionel Belmore, Henry Brandon, John George, Darryl Hickman and Brandon Hurst.
- As "Major Brand," hard-pressed commander of a Royal Flying Corps squadron in the WWI aviation adventure
The Dawn Patrol (1938), directed by Edmund Goulding.
Starring Errol Flynn and David Niven, with Donald Crisp, Melville Cooper, Barry Fitzgerald, Carl Esmond and James Burke.
- Leading a fabulous cast as the high-strung "Baron Wolf von Frankenstein," carrying on his father's great work at the old homeplace, even if the neighbors don't like it,
in Universal's classic black-comedy / horror Son of Frankenstein (1939), directed by Rowland V. Lee.
Co-starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, with a great supporting cast of familiar faces including Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson,
Donnie Dunagan, Emma Dunn, Edgar Norton, Perry Ivins, Lawrence Grant, Lionel Belmore, Michael Mark, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Lorimer Johnston,
Tom Ricketts, Ward Bond, Ed Cassidy, Harry Cording, Dwight Frye, Eddie Parker and Bud Wolfe.
A magnificent score by Frank Skinner, arranged by Hans J. Salter.
Makeup by Jack P. Pierce.
Special effects by John P. Fulton.
- Starring as "Sherlock Holmes" in a series of fourteen films based on the novels, stories and characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(and reprising the character in cameo appearances in two other films as noted below):
- In 20th Century Fox's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), directed by Sidney Lanfield.
With Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill, John Carradine, Barlowe Borland, Beryl Mercer, Morton Lowry, Ralph Forbes, E.E. Clive,
Eily Malyon, Nigel de Brulier, Mary Gordon (as Mrs. Hudson), Peter Willis, Ivan Simpson, Ian MacLaren, John Burton, Denis Green, Evan Thomas
and Chief as "The Hound."
- In 20th Century Fox's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), directed by Alfred Werker.
With George Zucco (scintillating as the archfiend Professor Moriarty), Ida Lupino, Alan Marshal, Terry Kilburn, Henry Stephenson, E.E. Clive,
Arthur Hohl, May Beatty, Peter Willes, Mary Gordon, Holmes Herbert, George Regas, Mary Forbes, Frank Dawson,
William Austin and Anthony Kemble-Cooper.
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), directed by John Rawlins.
With Evelyn Ankers, Henry Daniell, Thomas Gomez, Reginald Denny, Montagu Love, Olaf Hytten, Leyland Hodgson, Charles Jordan, George Sherwood,
Donald Stuart, Rudolph Anders, Edgar Barrier, Robert Barron, Arthur Blake, Hillary Brooke, Harry Cording, Leslie Denison, Herbert Evans, Mary Gordon,
Alec Harford, Gavin Muir, John Rogers, Arthur Stenning, Harry Stubbs and John Wilde.
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Lionel Atwill (another great Professor Moriarty), Kaaren Verne, Dennis Hoey (Inspector Lestrade), Harry Woods, Holmes Herbert, Mary Gordon, George Burr MacAnnan,
Paul Fix, Harry Cording, Leyland Hodgson, Henry Victor, Harold de Becker, Vicki Campbell, Paul Bryar, Rudolph Anders,
James Craven, George Eldredge, Paul Fix, Leyland Hodgson, Guy Kingsford,
Michael Mark, Henry Victor and Harry Woods.
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Henry Daniell, George Zucco, Marjorie Lord, John Archer, Gavin Muir, Edmund MacDonald, Don Terry, Bradley Page, Holmes Herbert,
Thurston Hall, Gilbert Emery, Gerald Hamer, Clarence Muse, Ian Wolfe, Margaret Seddon and Mary Forbes.
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Dennis Hoey, Arthur Margetson, Hillary Brooke, Halliwell Hobbes, Minna Phillips, Milburn Stone, Gavin Muir, Gerald Hamer, Vernon Downing, Olaf Hytten,
Heather Wilde, Frederic Worlock, Peter Lawford and Harold de Becker.
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1944), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Gale Sondergaard (as Adrea Spedding, the "Spider Woman"),
Dennis Hoey, Vernon Downing, Alec Craig, Arthur Hohl, Stanley Logan, Angelo Rossitto (the pygmy) and Mary Gordon.
- In Universal's The Scarlet Claw, aka Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Claw (1944), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Gerald Hamer, Paul Cavanaugh, Arthur Hohl, Kay Harding, Miles Mander, David Clyde, Ian Wolfe,
Victoria Horne, George Kirby, Frank O'Connor, Harry Allen and Olaf Hytten.
- In Universal's The Pearl of Death (1944), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Evelyn Ankers, Dennis Hoey, Miles Mander, Ian Wolfe, Charles Francis, Holmes Herbert, Richard Nugent, Mary Gordon,
J. Welsh Austin, Connie Leon, Charles Knight, Al Ferguson, Colin Kenny, Audrey Manners, Billy Bevan, Lillian Bronson,
Leslie Denison, John Merkyl, Harry Cording, Eric Wilton, Harold de Becker, Arthur Mulliner, Wilson Benge,
Arthur Stenning, Leyland Hodgson, and Rondo Hatton in his breakthrough role as "The Hoxton Creeper."
- In Universal's Sherlock Holmes and the House of Fear (1945), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Aubrey Mather, Paul Cavanagh, Dennis Hoey, Harry Cording, Holmes Herbert, Sally Shepherd, Gavin Muir, Florette Hillier,
David Clyde, Doris Lloyd, Cyril Delevanti, Wilson Benge, Richard Alexander, Leslie Denison and Alec Craig.
- In Universal's The Woman in Green, aka Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green (1945), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Hillary Brooke, Henry Daniell (yet another great Moriarty), Paul Cavanaugh, Matthew Boulton,
Eve Amber, Frederic Worlock, Tom Bryson, Sally Shepherd, Mary Gordon, Percival Vivian, Olaf Hytten, Harold de Becker, Tommy Hughes and Billy Bevan.
- In Universal's Pursuit to Algiers (1945), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Marjorie Riordan, Rosalind Ivan, Martin Kosleck, John Abbott, Frederick Worlock, Morton Lowry, Leslie Vincent, Gerald Hamer,
Rex Evans, Tom Dillon, Sven Hugo Borg, Wee Willie Davis, Wilson Benge, Gregory Gaye, Dorothy Kellogg and Olaf Hytten.
- In Universal's Terror by Night (1946), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Alan Mowbray, Dennis Hoey, Mary Forbes, Renee Godfrey, Frederick Worlock, Gerald Hamer, Janet Murdoch, Leyland Hodgson, Billy Bevan,
Geoffrey Steele, Boyd Davis, Gilbert Allen, Harry Cording, Colin Kenny, Charles Knight, Tom Pilkington, C. Aubrey Smith, Bobby Wissler
and the great Skelton Knaggs.
- In Universal's Dressed to Kill, aka Sherlock Holmes in Dressed to Kill (1946), directed by Roy William Neill.
With Patricia Morison, Edmund Breon, Frederick Worlock, Carl Harbord, Patricia Cameron, Holmes Herbert, Harry Cording, Leyland Hodgson, Mary Gordon,
Ian Wolfe, Frank Baker, Guy Bellis, Wilson Benge, Marjorie Bennett, Ted Billings, Lillian Bronson, Tom Dillon, Topsy Glyn, Charlie Hall, Olaf Hytten,
Delos Jewkes, Tiny Jones, Guy Kingsford, William H. O'Brien, Wally Scott, Anita Sharp-Bolster and Sally Shepherd.
- In a cameo appearance as Holmes, with Nigel Bruce as Watson, in Universal's riotous star-packed comedy Crazy House (1943), directed by Edward F. Cline.
Starring the comedy team Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson, with
Cass Daley, Martha O'Driscoll, Patric Knowles, Percy Kilbride, Hans Conried, Richard Lane, Thomas Gomez, Billy Gilbert, Edgar Kennedy,
Andrew Tombes, Chester Clute, Franklin Pangborn, Shemp Howard, Marion Hutton, Leo Carrillo, Allan Jones, Johnny Mack Brown,
Alan Curtis, Louise Allbritton, Ramsay Ames, Evelyn Ankers, Edgar Barrier, Count Basie, Turhan Bey, Billy Bletcher,
Lane Chandler, Heinie Conklin, Joseph Crehan, Andy Devine, Bess Flowers, Ben Frommer, Frank Hagney,
John Hamilton, Earle Hodgins, Hank Mann, Charles Middleton, The Modernaires, Jack Norton, Robert Paige,
Eddie Polo, Gene Roth, Gale Sondergaard, Sammy Stein, Emmett Vogan,
Pierre Watkin, Duke York and Lon Chaney Jr.
- Posthumously supplying the voice of Sherlock Holmes' cameo appearance in Disney's animated feature The Great Mouse Detective (1986),
which also features the voice of Vincent Price as the villain, Professor Ratigan!
Rathbone also played Holmes in the hugely-popular, long-running radio series co-starring Nigel Bruce,
and in an episode of the early television dramatic series Suspense in 1953 (see below).
- As "Clive Randolph," one of two brothers carrying on the family tradition of Colonial Service,
running afoul of a rich madman causing trouble for the Empire with his secret radio station,
in The Sun Never Sets (1939), directed by Rowland V. Lee.
With Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Barbara O'Neil, Lionel Atwill (as the villain, Dr. Hugo Zurof), Virginia Field, Theodore von Eltz, Melville Cooper,
John Burton, Arthur Mulliner, C. Aubrey Smith, Douglas Walton, Cecil Kellaway, Sidney Bracey, Walter McGrail, Robert Emmett Keane,
Harry Cording, Lionel Belmore, Lawrence Grant, Holmes Herbert, Brandon Hurst, Olaf Hytten and C. Montague Shaw.
- As "Richard, Duke of Gloucester," later King Richard III, in Tower of London (1939), directed by Rowland V. Lee.
With towering support from a huge cast of familiar characters, including Boris Karloff (as baldheaded Mord the executioner),
Barbara O'Neil , Ian Hunter, Vincent Price (as the Duke of Clarence, drowned in wine), Nan Grey, Ernest Cossart,
John Sutton, Leo G. Carroll, Miles Mander, Lionel Belmore, Rose Hobart, Ralph Forbes, Walter Tetley, Donnie Dunagan, Ernie Adams,
Richard Alexander, Reginald Barlow, Ted Billings, Stanley Blystone, Harry Cording, Nigel De Brulier, John George, Robert Greig,
Frank Hagney, Holmes Herbert, Murdock MacQuarrie, Michael Mark and C. Montague Shaw.
- As the villainous "Captain Esteban Pasquale," almost a match for the masked avenger in a duel, in
the classic swashbuckler The Mark of Zorro (1940), directed by Rouben Mamoulian.
Starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell, with Gale Sondergaard, Eugene Pallette, J. Edward Bromberg, Montagu Love,
Robert Lowery, Frank Puglia, Pedro de Cordoba, Stanley Andrews, Ralph Byrd, Gino Corrado, Victor Kilian, Charles Stevens and Harry Worth.
- As "Dr. George Sebastian," murdering wealthy women for their money (with a little help from a fiend)
in The Mad Doctor (1941, UK title: A Date with Destiny), directed by Tim Whelan.
With Martin Kosleck as his accomplice, Ellen Drew, John Howard, Barbara Jo Allen, Ralph Morgan,
Hugh Sothern, George Chandler, Billy Benedict, Edward Earle, Harry Hayden, Douglas Kennedy,
Wanda McKay, Sheila Ryan, Norma Varden and Henry Victor.
- As "Hartley," one of the greedy heirs waiting to pick the bones of a wealthy relative in an Old Dark House,
in Universal's second film with this title, the horror-comedy The Black Cat (1941), directed by Albert S. Rogell.
With Bela Lugosi (small comic part), Gale Sondergaard, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford, Gladys Cooper, Anne Gwynne, Cecilia Loftus, Claire Dodd,
John Eldredge and Alan Ladd.
- As "Reggie Oliver," one of the suspicious characters in Universal's espionage thriller International Lady (1941), directed by Tim Whelan.
Starring Ilona Massey, with an intriguing cast including George Zucco, Gene Lockhart, Martin Kosleck,
Leyland Hodgson, Clayton Moore, Frederick Worlock, Jack Mulhall, Ralph Dunn, Trevor Bardette,
William Forrest, Selmer Jackson, Marten Lamont and Otto Reichow.
- As "Cesar Ferrari," alias "Dr. H. Santelle," a mesmerizing character involved with a plague of axe murders,
in the atmospheric film noir Fingers at the Window (1942), directed by Charles Lederer.
Co-starring Lew Ayres and Laraine Day, with Walter Kingsford, Miles Mander, Cliff Clark, James Flavin,
Russell Gleason, William Tannen, Bert Roach, Russell Hicks, Iris Adrian, Hooper Atchley,
Byron Foulger, Eddie Parker, Ray Teal and Milton Parsons.
- As "Professor Aristide," master of a Parisian pickpocket academy in the romantic drama Heartbeat (1946), directed by Sam Wood.
Starring Ginger Rogers and Jean-Pierre Aumont, with Adolphe Menjou, Melville Cooper, Mikhail Rasumny.
Eduardo Ciannelli, Mona Maris, Henry Stephenson, Bess Flowers, Ivan Lebedeff and Torben Meyer.
- As the narrator of the "The Wind in the Willows" featurette segment of Walt Disney's animated production The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949),
which combines Kenneth Grahame's charming children's adventure with Washington Irving's spooky story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Rathbone's segment is directed by Clyde Geronimi, and features the vocal talents of Eric Blore (Toad), Claud Allister (Rat),
Colin Campbell (Mole), Campbell Grant (Angus MacBadger), John Ployardt and J. Pat O'Malley.
- Starring in two episodes of the early television dramatic anthology series Suspense:
- As "Dr. Jekyll" and "Mr. Hyde" in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (March 6, 1951)
- As "Sherlock Holmes" in "The Adventure of the Black Baronet" (May 26, 1953)
- Starring in the "Dead Man's Coat" episode (May 14 1951) of the shuddery early TV series Lights Out, inspired by Arch Oboler's legendary radio show.
- As "Marley's Ghost" in "A Christmas Carol" on the TV dramatic showcase Shower of Stars (December 23, 1954).
Starring Fredric March as Ebenezer Scrooge.
- As narrator and the character "Lucio" in the historical romantic farce Casanova's Big Night (1954), directed by Norman Z. McLeod.
Starring Bob Hope, Joan Fontaine and Audrey Dalton,
with a fabulous supporting cast of familiar horror-genre faces including John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr.,
Raymond Burr, John Hoyt, Hugh Marlowe, Frieda Inescort, Primo Carnera, Paul Cavanagh, Henry Brandon, Douglas Fowley,
Nestor Paiva, Skelton Knaggs — and Vincent Price as Casanova!
- As "Dr. Victor Berenson" in "The Stones Began to Move" episode of the TV series Science Fiction Theater (August 12, 1955).
- As "Andre Trochard," the black-hearted cousin of a family that three good-hearted Devil's Island escapees are trying to help,
in the sophisticated comedy We're No Angels (1956), based on a French play and directed by Michael Curtiz.
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov as the jailbirds, with Joan Bennett, Leo G. Carroll, Gloria Talbott, John Smith and Torben Meyer.
- As rotten "Sir Ravenhurst" in Danny Kaye's beknighted musical-comedy adventure The Court Jester (1956),
directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama.
One of Kaye's better films, with some memorable patter ("The chalice from the palace...") and a bit of swordplay for Basil.
A good cast too:
John Carradine, Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, Cecil Parker, Mildred Natwick, Robert Middleton, Michael Pate, Herbert Rudley,
Alan Napier and Billy Curtis.
- As "Sir Joel Cadman," a mad brain surgeon who keeps his less successful patients in the basement
in The Black Sleep (1956), US reissue title Dr. Cadman's Secret (1962), directed by Reginald Le Borg.
A truly great cast of horror stalwarts including
Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Tor Johnson, Akim Tamiroff, Herbert Rudley, Patricia Blair, Phyllis Stanley, Sally Yarnell, George Sawaya and John Sheffield.
- As "Ebenezer Scrooge" in "The Stingiest Man in Town," a musical adaptation of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol",
on TV's The Alcoa Hour (December 23, 1956).
- As the Chief Inquisitor in a television adaptation of the play "The Lark" (about the trial of Joan of Arc) on the television dramatic showcase
Hallmark Hall of Fame (February 10, 1957).
Boris Karloff won critical acclaim as Bishop Cauchon in the original Broadway production of this play.
- As Boston banker "Norman Cass, Sr.," part of an old-time Irish politician's powerful opposition in The Last Hurrah (1958), produced and directed by John Ford.
Starring Spencer Tracy, with a typical excellent Ford cast including Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster, Pat O'Brien, Donald Crisp,
James Gleason, Edward Brophy, John Carradine, Willis Bouchey, Basil Ruysdael, Ricardo Cortez, Wallace Ford, Frank McHugh,
Carleton Young, Frank Albertson, Anna Lee, Ken Curtis, Jane Darwell, O.Z. Whitehead, Edmund Cobb, Richard Deacon,
James Flavin, William Forrest, Harry Lauter, Edmund Lowe, Tom Neal and Charles Trowbridge.
- As the evil wizard "Lodac," doing his damnedest to thwart the hero in the entertaining fantasy-adventure
The Magic Sword, aka The Seven Curses of Lodac
and St. George and the Dragon (1962),
directed by Bert I. Gordon.
Starring Gary Lockwood (Sir George), Anne Helm (Princess Helene), and Estelle Winwood (Sybil, a dotty sorceress),
with Liam Sullivan, Leroy Johnson, Merritt Stone, Jacques Gallo, Nick Bon Tempi and Paul Bon Tempi (as the Siamese twin),
Jack Kosslyn, Angelo Rossitto and Vampira (Maila Nurmi) as the Hag!
- As "Carmichael," a mesmerist who keeps a corpse alive for his own gain,
in "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" segment of AIP's three-story horror Tales of Terror (1963),
based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, and directed by Roger Corman.
Rathbone's segment also stars Vincent Price as the living corpse and Debra Paget as his wife, with David Frankham.
"Morella" stars Price, Leona Gage, Maggie Pierce and Edmund Cobb.
"The Black Cat": stars Price, Peter Lorre and Joyce Jameson.
- As "John F. Black," a candidate for a casket who just won't stay dead,
in AIP's black-comedy horror spoof A Comedy of Terrors, aka The Graveside Story (1964), written by Richard Matheson and directed by Jacques Tourneur.
Starring Vincent Price and Peter Lorre as two undertakers with a very aggressive approach to drumming up business,
with fine support from Boris Karloff, Joyce Jameson, Joe E. Brown, Beverly Hills, and the score by Les Baxter.
- As "Prof. Hartman, Lunar 7," observing strange doings on the Planet Venus from his outpost in space.
in the sci-fi adventure Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), written and directed by Curtis Harrington; executive producer, Roger Corman.
A low-budget quicky cobbled together using generous pieces of a decent Soviet sci-fi film made in 1962 by director Pavel Klushantsev, Planeta Burg,
and new footage with English-speaking actors including Rathbone, Faith Domergue, Marc Shannon, Christopher Brand, John Bix, Lewis Keane,
Robert Chantal and Kurt Boden.
- As "Dr. Farraday," keeping tabs on the storyline from afar in AIP's Queen of Blood,
aka The Green Woman, Planet of Blood, Planet of Terror, and Planet of Vampires (1966),
written and directed by Curtis Harrington; executive producer, Roger Corman.
Another low-budget sci-fi feature, again built around good-looking scenes swiped from the Soviet film Planeta Burg.
This one is about a weird-looking female alien who turns out to be a vampire killing off the crew of a spaceship.
Rathbone's supporting cast in the new footage is excellent too:
John Saxon, Judi Meredith, Dennis Hopper, Florence Marly (as the Alien Queen) and Forrest J Ackerman!
- As "Reginald Ripper," a greedy lawyer trying to grab his dead client's estate, while "The Corpse" has other plans,
in AIP's final "beach party" musical-comedy teen-fling, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), directed by Don Weis.
With Boris Karloff as The Corpse, Susan Hart as The Ghost, Tommy Kirk, Deborah Walley, Aron Kincaid, Quinn O'Hara,
Jesse White, Harvey Lembeck (as the immortal Eric Von Zipper), Nancy Sinatra, Claudia Martin, Francis X. Bushman,
Benny Rubin, Bobbi Shaw, George Barrows (as Monstro the gorilla) and Patsy Kelly.
- As "Gregor," one of the ring of enemy spies involved with Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967), directed by Jean Yarbrough.
The other spies are played by John Carradine (Dr. Himmil), Lon Chaney Jr. (Maximillian) and Linda Ho (Madame Wong).
The Hillbillies include Ferlin Husky, Joi Lansing, Don Bowman, Molly Bee, Merle Haggard and Sonny James.
Richard Webb is good-guy Agent Jim Meadows of MOTHER (Master Organization To Halt Enemy Resistance).
George Barrows goes ape as Anatole the gorilla.
- As "Canuto Perez," a ghost who can't rest until he is loved by a woman,
in the Mexican horror-sci-fi-comedy Autopsy of a Ghost (1968; original Mexican title: Autopsia de un fantasma,
directed by Ismael Rodríguez.
Co-starring John Carradine as Satan and Cameron Mitchell as Professor Moleculo Pulido, with Amadee Chabot, Carlos Piñar, Famie Kaufman and Javier López.
- As the author of a fascinating autobiography, "In and Out of Character, " rare in the first edition published by Doubleday in 1962,
but currently available as a paperback reprint from
- As the distinguished voice narrating audio dramatizations and reading classics of literature
— Dickens, Doyle, Hawthorne, Kipling, Poe, Shakespeare, Stevenson, Tennyson, Wilde, fairy tales, legends, poetry and more —
on many "spoken word" recordings from Columbia, Caedmon, Capitol, Decca, Murray Hill and other companies.
- Touring the states with his one-man show, "An Evening with Basil Rathbone" in the mid-1960's.
Your humble Webmonster was privileged to meet Basil Rathbone when he brought this show to my college campus as part of our Fine Arts program in 1965.
The presentation featured poems, Shakespeare and other dramatic recitations, and personal reminiscences —
"I could have taken Errol Flynn any time I wanted to," he told us, commenting on his stage-trained expertise as a duelist.
I was even able to interview him for the campus newspaper, though I fumbled the job somewhat in my enthusiasm for his work in horror movies and
the Sherlock Holmes films.
The elderly actor was exhausted from travel, but was civil enough to indulge a long interview from a local television reporter, followed by a few quick
questions from this excited fan.
When I blurted out a clumsy question about his B-films, he patiently responded "One can't always do masterpieces unless one chooses
to live in a garrett."
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Last revised August 22, 2005 by George "E-gor" Chastain.
Maintained by George "E-gor" Chastain