Dare you enter the Devilishly Delightful Donald Pleasence Blogathon?
It’s more than an act of kindness that we are tributing this versatile character actor in his career on stage, on the big and wee screen or as a children’s book author or voice-over artist.
Donald Pleasence – Top 40 Highest Rated Movies, Top 10 Charts
So in the second – and last – of our blogathon double bill for 2022, Barry from Cinematic Catharsis, and I are tributing the English actor, Donald Pleasence in The Devilishly Delightful Donald Pleasence Blogathon. And if you are keen to enter the fourth of our Amicus and Hammer productions, tune in next year…
Just think about Donald Pleasence, and you may well concur with this Wikipedia description…
Endowed with a bald head, a penetrating stare, and an intense voice, usually quiet but capable of a piercing scream, he specialised in portraying insane, fanatical, or evil characters…
His often disarming characteristics and attributes were shown at their best in arguably his most well known villain. As this multi-talented character actor who undoubtedly put the character before actor, Donald Pleasence will be remembered as the man who (finally) added the face to one of James Bond’s most nefarious baddies.
This was as Pleasence added his visual presence and undeniable quirkiness to his one-time performance as the charmingly psychopathic Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967). As the first actor who was seen as Blofeld – rather than an unseen figure stroking a cat – he undoubtedly set the gravitas and tone for those who followed him as this character. In those later Bond films, Blofeld was portrayed by Charles Gray, Telly Savalas, Max Von Sydow and more recently Christoph Waltz played this increasingly menacing character in Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021).
In contrast to his most celebrated villain, Pleasence switched to a much nicer character in his performance as one of the most enigmatic psychiatrists in film, Dr Samuel Loomis. This was in the first Halloween (1978) movie in a recurring character where Pleasence continued to star as Loomis in four more of the Halloween movies. His pivotal role was offered first to Peter Cushing, then Christopher Lee before Pleasence was considered and was a character that he made his own in these Horror slasher films despite his “presence” later in the franchise. After the first movie, one can only wonder what direction it could have taken as Pleasence cryptically said HERE;
“John and I had a few meetings about what direction the sequel should take. I made some real insane suggestions. True to what you’d expect, he ignored them all and just picked up Halloween II where the original left off.”
Flashbacking through Pleasence’s career, this started on stage, then this much lauded actor added screen-stealing performances to a plethora of TV and films. This career on the big and wee screen began in 1946 and 1954 respectively and ended in 1995 with a posthumous performance. Pleasence easily and effortlessly convinced us in a wide range of genres.
These included his prolific film career in horror – such as I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975) and The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) and war films such as The Eagle Has Landed (1976). Others included historical dramas such as Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), and British TV series such as Lovejoy (1986) to those with a twist, including his American debut in The Twilight Zone in 1962.
Pleasence was credible in a wide variety of characters, as we easily accepted him in roles as good to bad guys – and those in between – such as a mild-mannered prisoner of war in The Great Escape (1963) to a SS villain in the sequel, The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1982).
In this latter film, journalist Joan Hanauer wrote HERE that Pleasence had “graduated” to an SS villain and “a marvel of soft-spoken, almost finicky evil”. More Pleasence appearances included as a murderer, a prophet, a double agent, a US President, a circus owner and a couple of real-life serial killers and he also played German, Australian and even Scottish characters.
In his just over 50 years career, Pleasence supported everyone from Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Joan Collins, Dirk Bogarde, Bille Whitelaw, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Reeve and Patrick McGoohan. He’s worked with his actress daughter, Angela Pleasence just twice. This was in From Beyond the Grave (1974) as a father and daughter character in this Amicus anthology movie and in the British TV Series, The Barchester Chronicles (1982). Pleasence has also added his distinctive voice to records and this talented actor more surprisingly wrote a children’s book Scouse the Mouse and this was adapted into a record with Ringo Starr, voicing the leading role.
Now finally, a wee more on this blogathon, we will be accepting reviews on any part of his fantastic career. To do this we are only accepting one review about each topic – unless you are writing a list – so when it’s gone it’s gone. You can write about his off-screen life and if you do choose to write a biographical post, we will only accept this if it is written respectful nature to all mentioned. The blogathon will run from the 28th to the 30th of October 2022 and we are not accepting previously published posts and only accepting new material.
Here are the rules…
- You can review ANY of Donald Pleasence’s stage career, films, TV Movies or TV shows. Or if you want to review his voice work or anything else he’s taken part in, that’s ok with us too.
- We are allowing no duplicates for each topic. A maximum of two posts per person is allowed…
- Review choices can be added as a comment on this page or you can contact me on my Contact Me page – please add the name (and URL of your blog if I don’t know you) along with your choice of movie/book or TV choice. Or you can send me a Direct Message on Twitter at @realweegiemidge. You can also contact Barry HERE on his blogathon page…
- We won’t accept posts that are uncomplimentary or disrespectful to his talents and his works.
- Add your Twitter username so we can promote your post and follow us both on Twitter to ease tagging.
- You can also add podcasts about his work, but only if you send me the podcast link on my Contact Me page.
- A full list of blogs, podcasters and review choices will be posted on a separate page and updated regularly HERE. Please consult this list before making your choice.
- Only original, never before published posts will be accepted.
- Send your link to your post link/podcast to Barry or me on the days of the blogathon.
- Note we will be publishing all the links on both blogs on each day of the blogathon. As Barry and I have completely different time zones this may mean you turn up on two days depending on when you add your post.
- All post choices must be confirmed with Barry and I first or they won’t be added to the blogathon. It is not fair to others otherwise.
- I am not accepting guest posts.
These feature films are my and Barry’s review choices…
Realweegiemidget Reviews… Telefon (1977)
Stuck for ideas? Donald Pleasence’s fabulous on-screen filmographies are found here…
Don’t forget to include one of my banners…
And looking forward to seeing your pitches as you enter the world of Donald Pleasence…