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Howard Vernon

Howard Vernon


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Swiss actor Howard Vernon began his career in postwar France in 1946 with small parts in war dramas, frequently as German officers. His first major part came in 1949 as Werner von Ebrennac in Jean-Pierre Melville's first feature film, "Le Silence de la Mer." Playing a sympathetic German officer billeted in the French countryside, the film is a tale of resistance adapted from a novella by Vercors. It was Vernon's most serious film, and followed it with smaller parts in numerous B-films, including the adventure "The Girl in the Bikini," starring Brigitte Bardot in one of her first roles. Working consistently in the '50s, Vernon began making films in Spain and exploring the horror genre. His first foray into horror was "The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse," directed by the legendary German expressionist Fritz Lang. Though his part was small, Vernon began to make more horror films, mostly B-grade. Working in Spain on the film "Zorro the Avenger," Vernon met his most significant collaborator, director Jesus Franco. They began to make films together in 1962, Vernon memorably starring as the eerie Dr. Orloff in "The Awful Dr. Orloff" and as Admiral Kapp in the campy "Succubus" in 1968. While their films were B-grade at best, the material steadily declined into the '70s with projects such as "Dracula contra Frankenstein." Outside of horror, Vernon worked with luminary directors such as Jean-Luc Godard in a small part in the sci-fi noir "Alphaville" and with Woody Allen on his comedy "Love and Death."

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