After three years in television guest star roles, Peter Mark Richman made his feature film debut in the Civil War-set family drama FRIENDLY PERSUASION. As the film opens, the Birdwells, a prosperous Pennsylvania Quaker family, try to remain detached from the Civil War that is raging to the south. As the family, led by father “Jess” (Gary Cooper) and mother “Eliza” (Dorothy McGuire), prepares to go to Sunday meeting, daughter “Mattie” (Phyllis Love) primps and fantasizes about her sweetheart, “Gard Jordan” (Mark Richman), while older brother “Josh” (Anthony Perkins) plays war with younger brother “Little Jess” (Richard Eyer), but warns that their preacher (mother Eliza) does not like war talk.
Peter Mark Richman in FRIENDLY PERSUASION
Peter Mark Richman was being billed as “Mark Richman” at this point in his career. William Wyler directed the 1956 film, which was scripted, in part, by blacklisted writer Michael Wilson. The picture was Wyler’s first color film.
In April 1956, six months before the film’s release, composer Dimitri Tiomkin conducted a benefit performance, with a thirty-piece orchestra, in the grand ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the first public performance of his score for the film. The film's title song (also titled "Thee I Love"), with music by Tiomkin and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, was one of the biggest hits of singer Pat Boone's career. Tiomkin’s score was released on LP by RKO/Unique. It was re-issued on LP by Venise in 1960 and by Varese Sarabande in 1982. Move Sound Records provided the first CD in 1993, followed by Varese in 1997.
FRIENDLY PERSUASION finished as the #12 film of 1956, with a $14.4 million gross.
In addition to being the debut film for Clifton James, 1957's THE STRANGE ONE was also the first film for star Ben Gazzara and supporting players Pat Hingle, George Peppard and Julie Wilson. Mark Richman, with a single feature film under his belt was the most experienced of the principal players, although Ben Gazzara, Arthur Storch, Pat Hingle and Paul E. Richards all reprised their Broadway roles for the film.
Ben Gazzara (center) and Peter Mark Richman (right) in THE STRANGE ONE
In this drama of students at a military academy, when faced with an ethical dilemma about the dehumanization associated with the tradition of hazing, they take matters in their own hands. Mark Richman played "Cadet Colonel Corger," one of the attendees at Southern Military College. Jack Garfein made his film directorial debut with this picture. He had also directed the Broadway play. Kenyon Hopkins' score was released on a Coral Records LP, but has not been re-issued on CD.
“Vera” (Mara Corday) runs a nightclub that's really a front for her secret operation: an all-female crime ring that's been pulling off heist after heist. These GIRLS ON THE LOOSE conduct a major job with the help of “Agnes” (Abby Dalton), a new recruit and insider with access to a bank's payroll. But then the nervous Agnes threatens to squeal, so Vera has her rubbed out. And when Vera's good-girl sister, “Helen” (Barbara Bostock), starts dating suspicious policeman “Lt. Bill Hanley” (Mark Richman), Vera gets really cutthroat.
Mara Corday and Peter Mark Richman in GIRLS ON THE LOOSE
Paul Henreid directed this 1958 crime drama. The Universal film was team-scored by the uncredited Irving Gertz, Henry Vars, and Stanley Wilson.
Carlo Ponti produced his first American film with THE BLACK ORCHID, which starred his wife, Sophia Loren. After mobsters murder her husband, “Rose Bianco” (Loren) works long hours making artificial flowers, to support herself and her son. Some suspect that Rose's demand for a lavish lifestyle pushed her husband to a life of crime, and they blame her for his death. Widower “Frank Valente” (Anthony Quinn) is attracted to Rose, and must convince her that real love exists. He must also deal with his own daughter, “Mary” (Ina Balin, in her film debut), who has her own reasons for opposing his marriage to Rose. Peter Mark Richman plays Mary’s fiancé, “Noble.”
Peter Mark Richman and Ina Balin in THE BLACK ORCHID
Martin Ritt directed the 1959 drama, one of his first films after coming off the Hollywood Blacklist. Alessandro Cicognini’s score was released on a Dot Records LP. Disques CinéMusique gave it a gray market CD re-issue in 2012.
After dozens of guest star roles in series and on television anthology shows, Peter Mark Richman had his first recurring role in a series when he starred in “Cain’s Hundred”. Richman played “Nicholas Cain,” a former underworld lawyer who goes to work for the Federal Government, determined to bring one hundred top criminals to justice. This early iteration of the current series “The Black List” had a roster of notable guest stars, including Martin Balsam, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Duvall, DeForest Kelley, Jack Lord, Leonard Nimoy, Telly Savalas, and Robert Vaughn.
Peter Mark Richman and Susan Oliver in “Cain’s Hundred”
NBC debuted the hour-long series on Tuesday, 19 September 1961, at 10 PM. The show was opposite “Alcoa Premiere” on ABC and “The Garry Moore Show” on CBS, which was the #12 show on television that season. “Cain’s Hundred” couldn’t compete and was cancelled after a single season.
Jerry Goldsmith wrote the series theme and the scores for the first four episodes of the series before turning it over to other composers, including Morton Stevens and Jeff Alexander. In 2009, Film Score Monthly released a CD with all of Goldsmith’s music and one of Stevens’ episode scores.
In DARK INTRUDER, criminologist “Brett Kingsford” (Leslie Nielsen), who poses as a wealthy playboy to disguise his identity as a detective, is called upon by police to solve a series of related murders in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. When Kingsford visits his friend “Robert Vandenburg” (Peter Mark Richman), who is engaged to marry “Evelyn Lang” (Judi Meredith), Robert appears ill-at-ease at the mention of the killings.
Producer Jack Laird and Alfred Hitchcock’s Shamley Productions prepared a television pilot for Universal Pictures entitled “The Black Cloak,” which was expected to be an hour-long horror series, written for the screen by Barré Lyndon. The show would be a spin-off of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Harvey Hart directed the film. During production, the title was changed to “The Uninvited.”
Following the scoring of the television pilot in February 1965, the title changed again to DARK INTRUDER. After all three major television networks turned down the show as a series, Universal decided to release the project theatrically. The production was made for $250,000 and released as a fifty-nine-minute feature.
In New York City, the picture played on a double-bill with William Castle’s 1965 release, I SAW WHAT YOU DID. Lalo Schifrin provided the unreleased score.
Peter Mark Richman was “Adam Chance,” the AGENT FOR H.A.R.M., who tries to stop “Malko” (Martin Kosleck), a scientist who has devised a bacterium that devours the body from within.
Peter Mark Richman and Aliza Gur in AGENT FOR H.A.R.M.
H.A.R.M. stands for Human Actiological Relations Machine. Gerd Oswald directed this 1966 film. Gene Kauer provided the unreleased score. Universal paid $159,000 for the independently-produced picture, which earned approximately $1.5 million, not including television and foreign royalties.
John Saxon starred in 1968's FOR SINGLES ONLY, in which “Anne Carr” (Mary Ann Mobley) and “Helen Todd” (Lana Wood) move into the Sans Souci apartment house complex in California, which is restricted to unmarried people under 30 years of age. “Mr. Parker” (Milton Berle), the social director, introduces them to their fellow residents, and soon both girls are being pursued by the men. Helen, an intellectual, is attracted to “Gerald Pryor” (Mark Richman), a married man who has sneaked into the complex; while Anne is fending off many aggressive young men.
Lana Wood and Peter Mark Richman in FOR SINGLES ONLY
This comedy-drama was directed by Arthur Dreifuss, and has an unreleased score by Fred Karger.
THE HOUSE ON GREENAPPLE ROAD was a Quinn Martin production that aired on ABC on 11 January 1970 and led to the “Dan August” television series in the Fall of that year. The crime drama involves a dogged plainclothes cop (Christopher George), a meek salesman (Tim O’Connor) accused of murdering his promiscuous wife (Janet leigh), and a corpse that cannot be found. Peter Mark Richman had a small role as “Sal Gilman” in the film. Robert Day directed the picture, which had an unreleased score by Duane Tatro.
Clint Walker starred in the ABC Movie of the Week YUMA, an Aaron Spelling Production in which Walker played a tough marshal who is sent to clean up a lawless western town. With this film, Peter Mark Richman began being billed under his full name. He co-starred as Army “Major Lucas.”
Peter Mark Richman in YUMA
Ted Post (HANG 'EM HIGH) directed the film, which aired on 2 March 1971. George Duning provided the unreleased score.
Peter Mark Richman had his second recurring role in a television series with “Longstreet”. The series starred James Franciscus as insurance investigator “Mike Longstreet.” In the made-for-television film that served as the pilot, broadcast on ABC on 23 February 1971, a bomb (hidden in a champagne bottle) kills Longstreet’s wife, Ingrid, and leaves him blind. Undaunted, he pursues and captures the killers. He then decides to continue his career as an insurance investigator despite his blindness, which was the focus of the subsequent series that began in the Fall of 1971.
In the series, Peter Mark Richman played “Duke Paige,” Longstreet’s co-worker at the insurance company, a role played by Bradford Dillman in the original film. Marlyn Mason was “Nikki Bell,” Longstreet's Braille teacher and assistant. Longstreet's seeing eye dog was a white German Shepherd called Pax. The series was set in New Orleans, but was actually filmed in Los Angeles. Joseph Sargent directed the original film, which was scored by Robert Drasin.
Peter Mark Richman, James Franciscus, Marlyn Mason, and Pax in “Longstreet”
ABC debuted the series on Thursday, 16 September 1971 at 9 PM. Opposite the show was the CBS Thursday Night Movie, and NBC’s “Ironside,” in the middle of its 8-year run. That season, “Ironside” was the 15th-highest-rated show on television, and as a competing crime show, “Longstreet” couldn’t get any traction. The show was cancelled after a single season of 23 episodes.
Billy Goldenberg provided the theme for the series.