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Harry Andrews was born in Tonbridge, England in 1911 and died in 1989, leaving
behind a long list of feature films and television appearances to his credit.
He was surived in the celluoid world by his son, the actor, Dave Andrews, as
Most often, Andrews was and associated with his roles as the stiffnecked,
strutting British military officer, uttering cliches such as "Carry on,
Pip, pip and right then". His cameo in Play Dirty and his costarring role
in The Hill, a bilm about a British miltary prison located in the Liberian desert,
as prime examples. Ditto for the Battle Of Britain and - though a different war
in a different century - in Valley Forge. Though he was sterotypical of
the pompous officer the Monty Python crew liked so much to satire, he was
always acclaimed for these roles. The Hill, in particular, earned him much
credibility as an actor, as he played the commander of the aforenoted military
prison, where in a state of drunken boredom and fixation with regulations,
was losing control over the grounds to a pack of sadistic, manipulative
guards. In the end, he loses not only total control of the jail, but his own
mind as well, but by this point you hate him so much you do not know whether
to feel sorry for him or applaud.
Yet in spite of recognizability by face, if not name, by film fans in general,
Andrews also worked in a great deal of horror and suspense movies. He might be
considered a "horror actor" just as much as a star in "military
roles" for if the truth be known, he played in more scream cinema than he
ever did in war pictures.
In fact, the last major film of his career was the tv mini-series, Jack the
Ripper, in 1988. Though reduced to playing the role of a coroner,
it was a decent film to round out his career. He died some months after
shooting was complete.
Andrews likewise played one of a group of arrogant drama critics targeted by
the vindictive stage actor, Edward Lionheart, as performed by Vincent Price,
in the cult classic, Theatre of
Blood. Presumed dead by suicide after killing
himself when his performances were panned by the press and he failed to win an
award he anticipated, he is rescued from his attempt to drown himself, by a
group of street people. Turning these winos, bums and crazies into a small
army, the Lionheart character enlists the help of his daughter and sets out
for revenge. The critics die one by one, murdered in accordance with the
killings found in various plays. Andrews gets his too, in an interesting
revision of Shakespeare. If you have not seen the film, find it on video or
DVD and see for yourself.
Likewise, he played a supporting role of the housemaster in The
Nightcomers, a strange prequel to The Turn Of The Screw, in which the ghosts,
Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, are seen in mortal form and are murdered by the
children they later come back from the dead to influence. The film itself is
not a great one, with a hopelessly overacting Marlon Brando in the role of
Quint, spouting the phoniest Irish accent this side of the Lucky Charms cereal
Other horror films in which Andrews took part include The Curse Of King Tut's
Tomb (a factual film about the deaths of those who discovered this dead
pharoah's grave), Tales Of the Unexpected, Child Of the Night and
Burke & Hare. The last item on this list tells the real life horror story of two grave
robbers in England who sold corpses to a doctor for medical experiments. When
they ran out of graves to dig up and fresh corpses, they created their own by
Andrews, of course, played in numerous other roles. He was a sailor in Moby
Dick, Peter in the biblical epic, Barabas, and an Amish father come to New
York to retrieve a wayward daughter in the Night They Raided Minsky's.
American wrestling fans might also note the stunning resemblance Andrews had
to the late wrestler, Fritz Von Erich.