Quote of the Week

His noir work in 1957, however, was limited to a two-minute morsel in the Russell Rouse prison yarn House of Numbers. Star Jack Palance, himself a scary guy in most roles, looks positively intimidated by Carey in a scene in which they play San Quentin cellmates. Carey sets the mood by spitting a cigarette butt into the commode. He fidgets with a transistor radio in his pocket. With another weirdly concocted brogue (he is playing an inmate named Frenchy), he tells a story about beating another prisoner with his tray in the mess hall for trying to steal his milk. And then he offers with a warped grin, “You been to any other colleges? I have. I spent six years in Sing Sing and four years in Joliet. I’m taking a postgraduate course. This is my second time here.” The film was actually shot in San Quentin State Prison using real prisoners as extras, but no one in it – real or staged – played an inmate with such – er, conviction. House of Numbers is worth viewing just for Carey’s tiny but tasty part.

– Carl Steward, “Timothy Carey: Noir’s Wildest Card,” Noir City Annual #2: The Best of the 2009 Noir City Sentinel (Film Noir Foundation, 2010)

House of Numbers

Pic of the Day: “House of Numbers” revisited

Our pic today is another from House of Numbers (1957), the prison drama with a twist directed by Russell Rouse. Timothy is uncredited as Frenchy, colorful cellmate to Arnie Judlow (Jack Palance). I’m fairly certain that’s supposed to be a hearing aid he’s fiddling with.

House of Numbers

Strangely enough, Tim also sported a hearing aid-like device (or maybe it’s a transistor radio?) in another of his prisoner roles, that of genial Nick in Convicts 4 (1962). A year after this film, he would manhandle Palance’s wife Virginia Baker in the Gunsmoke episode “The Gentleman” (6.7.58).

Pic of the Day: “House of Numbers” revisited

Today we wish a very happy 86th birthday to Joe Turkel! Most folks remember him as one of the three scapegoated prisoners, along with Timothy and Ralph Meeker, from Paths of Glory (1957). However, I bet you didn’t know that he and Tim appeared together (just barely) earlier that year in Russell Rouse‘s House of Numbers. They both had small uncredited roles as, strangely enough, prisoners. Here is the best screen shot I could get with he and Tim in the same shot.

House of Numbers

The previous year, he and Tim had also both worked for Stanley Kubrick for the first time in The Killing. Turkel has always been a memorable presence in whatever film in which he appears. We here at the TCE send him warmest birthday wishes!

Pic of the Day: “House of Numbers” revisited

Our pic of the day revisits another of Timothy’s uncredited but distinctive small roles (he hated the term “bit part”). This one is from Russell Rouse‘s House of Numbers (1957), starring Jack Palance in a dual role as a prisoner and his brother who is helping him escape. Frenchy is the prisoner brother’s cellmate, who chats amiably about prison food and magazines he’s already read.

House of Numbers

Strangely enough, two of Tim’s prisoner characters have this contraption in their ear – here and in Convicts 4 (1962). Not exactly sure if it’s a hearing aid or a transistor radio; I suspect the former. Also not exactly sure why it only turns up in his prisoner roles. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting character trait.

Pic of the Day: “House of Numbers” revisited

Today we take another look at House of Numbers (1957), the prison drama directed by Russell Rouse. Frenchy (another uncredited role) is sizing up his new cellmate, Arnie Judlow (Jack Palance), not knowing that it’s actually Arnie’s brother Bill. It’s all part of a daring escape plan.

For someone who didn’t smoke in real life, Timothy did an awful lot of smoking in the movies, especially early in his career. Well, it was the 50’s – you were pretty much required to smoke back then.

Pic of the Day: “House of Numbers” revisited

Tuesday’s pic is one of my latest eBay acquisitions. It’s an original still from Russell Rouse’s prison drama House of Numbers (1957), starring Jack Palance in a dual role. Tim is uncredited but his usual scene-stealing self as Palance’s cellmate Frenchy.

Another young character actor from Brooklyn by the name of Joseph Turkel also appears as a prisoner, also uncredited. He and Tim would end up in four films together. Can you name them?