Sure as my name is MonsterGirl, This is a Boris Karloff’s Thriller ” Rose’s Last Summer”

Yet another underrated Karloff Thriller episode in brief. Yes, I know, I”m long-winded, and if you had to wait for me to do the whole transcription for some of these wonderful shows and films, I’d never write anything. I am trying to be disciplined here. Less photo work, less rambling on, and more to the gist of the story!

But don’t get too comfy with my brevity, The long-winded MonsterGirl lurks around the corner to sweep you up with 2 part series and photo galleries that could fill an entire album. That’s just how I roll, and I truly hope most of you take me as I am…!

Rose’s Last Summer -release date October 11 1960

“They Called Me “Bad Girl” – Rose French

Karloff begins his opening soliloquy…

“Rose French. in the blur of memory…the face grows dim…but do you remember the name….20 years ago…Rose French, the remarkable Rose French. As a servant girl, or as a princess. She was a quicksilver star in celluloid heaven. If a woman could sell her soul to achieve such fame, what wouldn’t she do to get it back? Poor Rose, that was all she wanted, to relive the past. And those who loved her, Frank Clyde for instance could do nothing to stop her, but the comeback trail could lead to strange and sinister places. To a lonely garden. And to a night of terror!

It could even lead to the face of a painted doll…but the comeback trail is a journey without maps…as sure as my name is Boris Karloff…Poor Rose French and her last desperate summer…That’s the name of our story ROSE’S LAST SUMMER. Our principal players are Ms. Mary Astor, Mr. Lin McCarthy, and Miss Helen Quintal …

Let me assure you this is a THRILLER!”

Starring Mary Astor as Rose French/Mrs. Horace Goodfield/Helen Quintal. This teleplay would poetically mirror Astor’s personal journey as a Hollywood movie star whose life took a different direction, one mixed with alcohol and scandal.

Lin McCarthy as Frank Clyde, Jack Livesey as Haley Dalloway, Hardie Albright as Willet Goodfield, Dorothy Green as Ethel Goodfield

In the beginning scenes of Roses Last Summer we see a weary yet unrestrained drunk, an uninhibited woman who looks like she’s got a mad on at the world, stumbling outside a night crawlers bar. She’s having an argument with the bar owner who apparently has thrown her out of his establishment. After spouting a few barbs at the place, she takes off her shoe and throws it through the glass window with neon letters that spell BAR.

She then stumbles in front of a moving truck which strikes her down in the street. A crowd gathers around her unconscious body. Someone picks up a snapshot of her from her handbag and announces, that this is no ordinary lush, this is the once famous but now aged star of the silver screen Rose French. An intense and curious man in the throng of street faces begins looking suspiciously at poor Rose splayed out on the asphalt.

But this is just the beginning of the story.

The treacherous Willet Goodfield is up to no good!

This is the beautiful Rose French!

Aging is not easy for a once beloved and beautiful movie star…

Rose’s trusted friend, Frank Clyde refuses to believe that Rose has died so suddenly and mysteriously.

An aging actress… the always sophisticated Mary Astor plays Rose French who is mysteriously found dead in the Goodfield’s family garden, and they may know more about her death than they will admit. There’s something to do with an inheritance and Mother Goodfield reaching the age of sixty five. Son Willet played by Hardie Albright is an unnerving leech and Rose might have wandered into a dangerous masquerade that isn’t all that innocent or lucrative.

Trusted friend, Frank Clyde doesn’t let up on the notion of Rose French’s tragic death in some stranger’s family garden and proceeds to investigate what’s really going on in the Goodfield house.

He employs the help of Rose’s ex-husband Haley Dalloway (Jack Livesey) to reconstruct Rose’s last movements and scrutinize this secretive family who claims Rose just sat down and died on a bench in their quiet garden.

Mary Astor was wonderful in The Maltese Falcon 1941, But I truly became a fan of hers when I saw her in Robert Aldrich’s  Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) as the bitter but enlightened Jewel Mayhew.

Mary Astor as Mrs. Jewel Mayhew in Robert Aldrich’s Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte 1964.

In Rose’s Last Summer, Astor does a superb job of evoking sympathy for a bygone era and the stolen years that are taken from, an aging movie queen. The yearning for a comeback and while cauterized by time and liquor, still exudes a certain dignity through the fumes of booze, desolation, and a wise remark or two.

After Rose is sprung from jail for disorderly conduct and smashing the bar window, Frank goes to visit her at her rooming house, where he finds Annie the old gal landlord who’s more motherly than landlady.

She’s drinking again, holding up a bottle as a tribute to something new and big in her life. Her voice was so deep-throated and sanguine. “There’s nothin’ the matter”, she’s just happy, She’s got a job. Annie and Frank seem so surprised.

“Well what’s so startling about that I’ve made a fortune in my time, I’ve supported three husbands, no…only two Haley Dalloway supported me…the only trouble was he wanted to change me too..”

As Rose reflects more solemnly than melancholy, Annie gets excited, “You’re going back to Hollywood!” she says with a gleam in her eyes. Rose chuckles and shrugs, “Huh, not a chance!… Hollywood couldn’t meet my price darling.” Rose pats her hair self-assuredly, provocatively.

Frank asks what sort of a job. She tells them some kind of housekeeper. He asks if it’s on the level. She tells him “It couldn’t be leveler.”

Rose is in rare form, in a gay mood, and has come into some cash…Rose tells Frank she’ll keep in touch, and “buy him a steak day one of these days.”

she pours everyone a drink and toasts, ” Here’s to independence!” Frank says he’s got a better toast still…” To Rose French!” he raises his glass to her.

The scene bleeds into the next frame:

“I just can’t believe it”

The story plays out as a vaguely grotesque crime drama, with a poignant blast of tension and angst, thanks to Ms. Astor’s presence. Is Rose truly dead, or is there something fishy going on with the Goodfields and their story? Has Rose’s secretive journey led her to a strange and sinister place? Is Rose caught up in a dangerous scheme of greed and murder?


It’s been Thrilling, MonsterGirl

8 thoughts on “Sure as my name is MonsterGirl, This is a Boris Karloff’s Thriller ” Rose’s Last Summer”

  1. Jo, I couldn’t resist your little sneak preview of ROSE’S LAST SUMMER! Sure, I know this post was from a while back, but hey, it’s new to me! :-) Maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist, or maybe I just can’t help seeing the beauty and the good in people, even in a film or TV show, but to me, Mary Astor is still beautiful to me even if others thought she was the worse for wear. Thanks so much for bringing this THRILLER episode in time for our upcoming Mary Astor Blogathon, my friend! I’m eager to get to Part 2!

    1. I’m with you Dor, I think Mary Astor was more beautiful and soulful with age. But I’m also from the school that women get better with age. I thought she was wonderful as Rose French, If you can, try and see the episode. It’s not as riveting as some of Karloff’s other installments. but I have such a fondness for Mary that I couldn’t help bite my nails until I knew if she would make it through the episode alive. As usual we’re on the same page my friend….pal joey

  2. Joey, you’re a gal after my own heart! I’m looking forward to seeing the entire episode of “Rose’s Last Summer” in its entirety when our Blogathon gets underway. In the meantime, dear friend, I hope you’re feeling better and having a Happy Easter! (BTW, one of my favorite “Easter Movies” is DEAD RECKONING. Sure, it’s a film noir, and a loopy one at that, but for me that’s part of its charm, and it takes place on Easter weekend! :-)

    1. Happy Easter my friend. I’m with you, it doesn’t have to be all about bunnies. I love Dead Reckoning… I’m not sure what’s going on the screen here at happiness house, but I bet it’ll be something worth curling up on the couch for…. Best to you and yours… see ya real soon

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