The Many Watsons – Donald Houston

Donald Houston played the part of Dr. Watson in only one film, A Study in Terror (1965). It was, however, quite an outstanding performance. As we all know, Watson, in film, is too often portrayed as a buffoon. Mr. Houston played Watson as an intelligent, action oriented character. While a little too astounded by Holmes, he is quite good. The movie takes Holmes and Watson into Whitechapel to find Jack the Ripper. The rest of the characters are also portrayed well (for the most part). John Neville is one of the best Holmes portrayals before Brett and Judi Dench and Frank Finley are also quite good. Finley portrays Inspector Lestrade. It’s interesting also that Finlay would again play Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes thriller Murder by Decree (1979) in which Holmes vs Jack the Ripper again. One of the best performances is by Robert Morley as Mycroft Holmes, absolutely wonderful.

Donald Daniel Houston was born on 6 November 1923 in Tonypandy, Wales. He died in Portugal, 13 October 1991. He was the eldest of three children born to Alex and Elsie Houston. His father was a professional football player. After school he worked at the Galmorganshire Colliery. While there he went to an audition at the Llwynypia Boys Club and started touring with a theatre company.

It was not until 1949 that Mr. Houston really came into his own with staring rolls in “The Blue Lagoon” and “A Run for Your Money”. For the bulk of his career he was cast as aristocratic or authority figures and a man of action. He stared in such movies as “300 Spartans”, “Where Eagles Dare” and “The Longest Day”. My personal favorite is “Yangtse Incident” (1957). It is the tale of the river gunboat Amethyst that ws attacked by the Chinese Communists in 1949 and it’s escape down the Yangtse. A Welsh river subs for the Yangtse in the filming.

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