Classic Hollywood #128 – Jack Palance & Barbara Lang 1957

Jack Palance & Barbara Lang Have A Cup Of Coffee

Java Break
Looks like serious business as Jack Palance pours coffee for Barbara Lang between scenes for a new movie, “House of Numbers,” on the Hollywood set. Some of the studio old-timers think Barbara suggests the late Jean Harlow. Photo credit: Wide World Photos 2/18/1957

At first glance in this still, Barbara suggests Marilyn Monroe more than Jean Harlow, but you can see a resemblance to Harlow.

House of Numbers is based upon a book by the great Jack Finney (The Body Snatchers; Assault on A Queen and the New York based classic Time and Again.)

The plot of House of Numbers is a prison yarn that has Palance playing twin brothers. One brother is a murderous psychopath housed in San Quentin. His twin, the gentle protective brother, conspires to break evil Palance out of the penitentiary by breaking in. It is a unique twist on the prison-break genre of film. If you catch the film on TCM which shows it occasionally  you can decide for yourself how entertaining it is.

Palance had a five decade plus career in Hollywood playing mostly tough guys and winning an Oscar in 1992 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in City Slickers. Lang only made two films along with a handful of guest spots on television programs. Lang was going to star with Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (1957), but the role instead went to Judy Tyler. In 1959 Lang was hospitalized after taking an overdose of barbiturates. Lang’s Hollywood career was over by 1961.

Palance passed away at age 87 November 10 , 2006. Lang died (reportedly) of pneumonia on July 22, 1982 at the age of 54.

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