R.I.P MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN – ICONIC STAR OF THE EQUALLY ICONIC 1999 FILM – THE GREEN MILE

R.I.P MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN … A BRILLIANT ACTOR 

WE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL HAVE LONG FEATURED THE GREEN MILE AS PART OF OUR  FAVOURITE PRISON AND PENAL SYSTEM BASED FILMS , WHICH ALSO INCLUDE McVICAR, SCUM , SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, ALCATRAZ AND HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (WHICH WAS FILMED HERE AT THE JAIL )

THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF VARIOUS SIGNED ITEMS RELATING TO ALL OF THE ABOVE HERE ON DISPLAY IN AMONGST OUR TRUE CRIME COLLECTIONS HERE

Michael Clarke Duncan, right

Michael Clarke Duncan, right, as John Coffey, with Tom Hanks, centre, in The Green Mile. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Warner Bros

Every character actor who has ever been typecast dreams of a role that will transcend the cliches of his image. For Michael Clarke Duncan, who has died aged 54 of complications from a heart attack suffered in July, that breakout role also drew on the hidden truth of his own personality, and the results were spectacular.

Duncan was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor in The Green Mile (1999), the film of the Stephen King story in which he plays John Coffey, a gentle giant with extraordinary powers, on death row for raping and killing two young girls. The film’s climax, when Coffey, innocent of the crimes but having punished the real killer and an evil guard, goes to the electric chair telling Tom Hanks not to put a hood over his head because he is scared of the dark, left few dry eyes in any audience.

Born in Chicago, Duncan, 6ft 5in and usually weighing about 20 stone, was himself a gentle giant. His father left when he was six, and his mother Jean’s reluctance to allow him to play American football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor instead.

He played basketball at Kankakee (Illinois) Community College, but when his mother became ill, he dropped out of his communications studies atAlcorn State University, a historically black university in Mississippi. After returning home, he supported his mother and sister, Judy, by digging ditches for a gas company and working as a bouncer at night.

He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, again working as a bouncer before getting into the “private security” trade. He had acted as a bodyguard for such entertainment figures as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J before breaking into films in 1995 with a bit part in the Ice Cube vehicle Friday. His early film roles, including Warren Beatty’s Bulworth (1998), saw him typecast as bouncers and bodyguards, often billed as Michael “Big Mike” Duncan. He gave up his day job as a real bodyguard for good in 1997, when the rapper The Notorious BIG was murdered on the first day Duncan was assigned to him.

Duncan’s break came following a part in Armageddon (1998) alongside Bruce Willis, who recommended him to director Frank Darabont for The Green Mile. He went on to work with Willis in three more films: two comedies – Alan Rudolph’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions (1999) and The Whole Nine Yards (2000) – and the noirish blockbuster Sin City (2005).

Although he never found another role with the impact of John Coffey, Duncan remained in demand with substantial parts in blockbusters such as Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) and perhaps his best later work as The Kingpin, in Daredevil (2003). To play the comic-book villain he went from weighing less than 20 stone to more than 23.

His career blossomed, as his look made him easily cast for supporting roles in films and frequent guest parts in television series, and his resonant baritone voice made him a popular choice for animation voice-overs, in films such as Cats & Dogs (2001), George of the Jungle 2 (2003), Dinotopia (2005) and Kung Fu Panda (2008). He starred in the comedy The Slammin’ Salmon (2009), as a boxer turned restaurant-owner who stages a competition between his waiters to pay off a debt to Japanese gangsters, and was the villain, Erlik, in the straight-to-video Cross (2011), a supernatural action film that also featured Vinnie Jones as a Viking named Gunnar transplanted to the present.

In 2010 Duncan undertook something of a reprise of his Coffey role in Redemption Road, as a man with a secret who brings home an alcoholic for his father’s funeral. His last television role was a recurring part in the crime series Finder.

In 2009 Duncan converted to vegetarianism. The following year, he met his fiancee, the Rev Omarosa Manigault, in the aisles of a Whole Foods supermarket in Los Angeles. Manigault, a considerable presence in “reality” television, made her name as a controversial participant in the American version of The Apprentice with Donald Trump, and feuded with Piers Morgan in The Celebrity Apprentice.

In May this year, Duncan made a film for the animal-rights group Peta, talking about his conversion to a vegan lifestyle, and how he had thrown away $5,000 worth of meat when he did. Two months later, he suffered a massive heart attack.

He is survived by his mother, sister and fiancee.

• Michael Clarke Duncan, actor, born 10 December 1957; died 3 September 201

CULT HORROR FILM ” HOUSE OF WHIPCORD ” FILMED ON LOCATION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL BACK IN 1974

HOUSE OF WHIPCORD 

FORMER HOUSE OF CORRECTION –  LITTLEDEAN JAIL USED FOR THE FILMING OF A TONGUE IN CHEEK , SOFT PORN LIKE  HAMMER HORROR FILM BACK IN 1974 (WHEN IT WAS STILL OWNED BY GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL)

 

 

House Of Whipcord is a bit of a surprise. You’ d think by the video packaging (and the name of the film) that you were in for some kind of kinky sub-Confessions movie featuring a bunch of nutters who get their kicks from dishing out spankings to naked young girls.

Welll… that is what you get (ahem). But it’s not the be-all and end-all.

House of Whipcord is auteur Pete Walker’s most famous film – and it’s not hard to see why. It’s not just a low budget tit-and-bum fest, it’s an intelligent, thoughtful movie, with just a few flashes of nudity, hardly any blood, and a distinct lack of floggings (there are just two – one takes place behind a door, and the other off camera).

It’s also a film which is hard to be funny about (what do you mean, that hasn’t stopped me so far? Cheeky bastards).

Of course, it has its minus points – most of the time the picture’s so dark you can’t see what the bloody hell’s going on – and some of the acting leaves something to be desired. When Ray “Mr Benn” Brookes is searching for his missing girlfriend, the people he asks for help look like they’ve been dragged off the street to act in the film. But other than that it’s a little gem – with more than a few things to say about capital punishment and society in general.

A truck driver (Mr Kind!) is stopped on a lonely, storm-swept road by a young, hardly-dressed girl (Penny Irving – usually seen adjusting her suspender belt in the background of sitcoms like Are You Being Served?) who’s in a bad way. After tutting about the state of the country etc, he tells her he’s going to take her to safety. Cue flashback.

The girl is Anne-Marie, a French model who spends her time wandering naked around the flat she shares with the equally undressed Anne Michelle (sister of Vicky, of Allo Allo fame). Anne-Marie has recently got ’em out for the press, too, but gets upset when a picture of her ladybumps appears on the wall at a party she’s attending.

Luckily, a handsome (in a 1974 kind of way) stranger called Mark E Desade (get it?) is on hand to whisk her away from all this – and despite sussing out that he’s a bit of an oddball, the lovely Anne-Marie agrees to go with him to meet his parents. Oh dear.

A slight hiccup in their relationship becomes apparent when it turns out that Mark’s parents live in an old prison, which they run as an extreme “correctional facility” for young girls.

On arrival Anne-Marie is stripped and shoved in a cell – then told that she’s got three chances – the first mistake she makes results in solitary confinement, the next gets her a flogging – and the third will be the last mistake she ever makes.

Of course, our feisty young heroine won’t stand for this and immediately starts making plans to escape… but although it’s relatively easy to hoodwink the guards, gimlet-eyed chief warder Mrs Walker is an entirely different kettle of (frozen) fish, and as for Mark’s mother, the spectacularly psychotic Mrs Wakehurst, there’s no way she’s letting anyone out of the place without a fight.

Director Pete Walker stages this parable with skill and panache – and even Anne Michelle isn’t too bad. Keep an eye out too for Victoria Wood’s best mate Celia Imrie somewhere in the background – and if you see her, award yourself a biscuit, cos no-one else has ever spotted her. Top marks go to 70s horror icon Sheila Keith, who plays Walker with relish. Add a scenery-chomping turn from Barbara Markham as Mrs Wakehurst, and a bit of pathos from her husband (Patrick Barr) as a blind judge who she is tricking into signing “death warrants” for the girls in her care, and the whole adds up to far more than you’d expect from what is, basically, a seedy bit of 70s exploitation.

Director: Pete Walker Writer(s): David McGillivray, Pete Walker (story)

Cast: Barbara Markham – Mrs. Wakehurst, Patrick Barr – Justice Bailey, Ray Brooks – Tony, Ann Michelle – Julia, Sheila Keith – Walker, Dorothy Gordon – Bates, Robert Tayman – Mark E. Desade, Ivor Salter – Jack, Karen David – Karen, Celia Quicke – Denise, Ron Smerczak – Ted, Tony Sympson – Henry, Judy Robinson – Claire, Jane Hayward – Estelle, Celia Imrie – Barbara, Barry Martin – Al, Rose Hill – Henry’s Wife, Dave Butler, Penny Irving – Ann-Marie Di Verney, David McGillivray – Caven, Denis Tinsley – Police Sergeant, Pete Walker – Cyclist