Of all the one-screen pairings of actors, one is seemingly overlooked more than others. Though they appeared in nineteen films together, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are overlooked as one of the great classic film pairings. Whether they were both on the side of the angels or agents of opposite sides, both put forth their best efforts in all of their appearances together. Off camera, Cushing and Lee are very close friends and their friendship surely translates to film. Today, as I continue Peter Cushing Month, I take a look at the duo's multiple appearances together.
Cushing and Lee's first two partnerships are interesting in that they share no scenes together, though for the sake of completeness, I will include them in this write up. First there was 1948's Hamlet starring Laurence Oliver which featured Cushing in the comical supporting role of Osric and Lee puts in an early, un-billed appearance as a spear carrier. In 1952, the two appeared together in Moulin Rouge directed by John Houston. The film was early in both actors' filmographies with Cushing putting in an appearance Marcel de la Voisier and Lee plays French impressionist artist Georges Seurat.
But the history of the two's on screen career would change forever when the two became linked to horror films and their friendship grew exponentially on the set of The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula. In 1959, Cushing and Lee appeared in Hammer's The Hound of the Baskervilles, Cushing of course playing Holmes and Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville - the first time in the two's collaborations in which the actor was playing not only the hero, but not a supernatural being. Lee was back to playing the villain later that year when the two starred in Hammer's The Mummy.
|Peter Cushing deals out Christopher Lee's fate|
in 1965's Dr. Terror's House of Horror
In 1970, Cushing and Lee joined forces with Vincent Price in Scream and Scream Again, a horror/sci-fi film in which Price's mad scientist is creating a race of android-like beings. Curiously, Cushing failed to share any scenes with his fellow horror stars. The two stars appeared (again albeit separately) in The House that Dripped Blood, a collection of horror vignettes which also featured such names as Ingrid Pitt and Jon Pertwee.
|Good vs. evil again - Dracula A.D. 1972 |
Cushing returned to the role of Van Helsing once more battling Lee's Dracula in 1973's Dracula and his Vampire Bride, Hammer's final Dracula film. The film would be one of the duo's final collaborations as Cushing's film roles decreased and Lee began to move away from the horror genre. They reunited in 1979's Arabian Adventure and for the final time in 1983's House of the Long Shadows, a personal favourite of this writer. House of the Long Shadows co-starred Vincent Price, John Carradine and Desi Arnez Jr. Though not exactly a quality film, it is an enjoyable romp and it's great to see the kings of the horror genre uniting in one picture.