29 December 2016

Kim Parker

Beautiful starlet Kim Parker (1933) was born in Austria as Herta Padawer. She played in a dozen European films including Pasaporte al infierno/Hi-Jack (1956) and Undercover Girl (1958). Her main claim to fame is the British Science Fiction film Fiend Without a Face (1958) about invisible atomic monsters which attack a U.S. Armed Forces base and the local residents.

Kim Parker
German postcard by ISV, Sort V/6.

Kim Parker
British postcard in the Greetings series. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation.

Fire Maiden from Outer Space

Kim Parker was born in 1933 in Austria as Herta Padawer. Her nickname was Kim. During WW II, she was interned in a German concentration camp and in 1945 she went as a refugee to England. She attended an art school and then commenced her career as a freelance illustrator, augmenting her earnings by modeling.

The beautiful brunette wanted to become an actress, changed her name to Kim Parker and moved to London. There she did extra work in the adventure film The Seekers (Ken Annakin, 1954), starring Jack Hawkins, and the comedy Up to His Neck (John Paddy Carstairs, 1954).

The following year she found a bigger part in the adventure film Stock Car (Wolf Rilla, 1955), starring Canadian actor Paul Carpenter. The starlet and the leading man fell in love and they married the same year. She next played a fire maiden in the Science Fiction film Fire Maidens from Outer Space (Cy Roth, 1956), which starred Susan Shaw and her husband Paul Carpenter.

With her husband she also appeared in the Spanish/British coproduction Pasaporte al infierno/Hi-Jack (Cecil H. Williamson, 1956) about a forger, who flees to Spain but then finds that his daughter is kidnapped by a ruthless gang. She played one of the three graces (another was Shirley Anne Field) in the musical The Good Companions (J. Lee Thompson, 1957) about a touring variety troupe. She appeared again in a film which starred her husband, Undercover Girl (1958).

Parker had her biggest part in the independently made British production Fiend Without a Face (Arthur Crabtree, 1958). The Science Fiction film tells about mysterious deaths at the hands of a mentally created invisible life form that feeds on atomic power and then steals human brains and spinal columns to use as bodies in order to multiply its numbers. The screenplay by Herbert J. Leder was based upon Amelia Reynolds Long's 1930 short story The Thought Monster, originally published in the March 1930 issue of Weird Tales magazine.

Fiend Without a Face created a public uproar after its British premiere, according to Wikipedia: "The British Board of Film Censors had demanded a number of cuts before its release and finally granted the film an 'X' certificate, but newspaper critics were still aghast at its horrifying special effects. Questions were actually raised in Parliament as to why British censors had allowed Fiend Without a Face to be released, notably: 'What is the British film industry thinking by trying to beat Hollywood at its own game of overdosing on blood and gore'. Criterion released a deluxe DVD edition of the film in 2007.

Kim's career went nowhere. Her next film role was a secretary in the comedy-drama Count Your Blessings (Jean Negulesco, 1959), starring Deborah Kerr and Rossano Brazzi. It was her last film credit. In 1958, she had filed a divorce petition against Carpenter in London, naming bosomy showgirl Sabrina as co-respondent. Later, Kim Parker moved to the USA and married Terry J. Howell. In 1977, her second marriage also ended in a divorce.

Kim Parker - c.1959(II)
Kim Parker - c. 1959. Source: thetag1 (Flickr).

Kim Parker - c.1959
Kim Parker - c. 1959. Source: thetag1 (Flickr).

Trailer Fiend Without a Face (1958). Source: Obscure Trailers (YouTube).

Sources: Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia and IMDb.


Bunched Undies said...

Yet another beautiful talent I would never have known about if not for EFSP! Keep up the good work

Josée said...

Happy new year!

Kirk Feather said...

I just rediscovered, online, "Fiend Without a Face" which I had seen on late-night television shows in the '60s (I was in my teens then). I was riveted by how sexy, beautiful and magnetic Herta Padawer (Kim Parker) is in this weird flick. I had to go back to gaze at the images of her. She had what had to have been the most exquisite neckline of any actress of the time (save Audrey Hepburn perhaps) and in this flick radiates intelligence, savvy and lightning-quick interaction with her colleagues (the growing entanglement with the Marshall Thomson character is totally captivating). There have been very few actresses for whom I ever developed what could be called an obsession, but I must say Herta Padawer is one. She is a starlet that one truly wishes one could have known and gotten close to in real life. It's also heartbreaking that she had been put in a Nazi concentration camp when she was a little girl, only liberated when the Allies arrived, a fact that for me adds tremendous pathos to her mysterious, deep gaze.

Paul van Yperen said...

Thank you very much, Kirk, for sharing this memory about an obsession. Fiend without a face is now on our must-see-list.