May 30, 2011

Today's Tune: "Dr. Phibes" By Angel Witch

Hugh Griffith as the Rabbi in 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes' (1971)

Born on this day in 1912, Welsh film, television and stage actor Hugh Griffith (May 30, 1912 – May 14, 1980) was born. His acting career flourished soon after he served in the army during World War II, which happened just as he was getting started.

Early on, Griffith did very well trodding the boards in both England and the United States. Those stage roles earned him award nominations, while putting him alongside another famous Welsh actor, Richard Burton, and American actor Anthony Perkins.

He also shared the silver screen with many celebrated actors, once he started doing films in the late 1940s. Griffith would work in movies ('Ben-Hur', 'Oliver!', 'Start The Revolution Without Me') released up until the year before his death, at 67 years old. He appeared in a few hit television shows (Quatermass II, Clochemerle, 'Grand Slam') as well.

This 'Today's Tune' was selected based on a pair of horror films Griffith made with master of the macabre, Vincent Price. Price stars as Dr. Anton Phibes, a murderous madman bent on revenge, in both 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes' (1971) and it's sequel, 'Dr. Phibes Rises Again' (1972). In the first film, Hugh Griffith plays the Rabbi that knows all about the Egyptian themed curses all the terrifying deaths seem to be related to. In the follow up movie, Griffith portrays Harry Ambrose, while Price's re-awakened Dr. Phibes continues to kill.

Angel Witch, my favorite cult NWOBHM band, originally released the instrumental track "Dr. Phibes" on the 'Loser' EP (Extended Play Single - B-Side). Since then, it has been included on multiple re-issues of 'Angel Witch' (1980), the band's gothic masterpiece and first full studio album.

Angel Witch - "Dr. Phibes" Original Studio Recording

Angel Witch - "Dr. Phibes" Live in Athens, Greece Nov. 15, 2009

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