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Horror cinema was at it’s spooky peak in the 1930s~ the era gave birth to some of the most iconic figures of the genre as well as highlighted some of the most beautiful & beloved heroines to ever light up the scream, oops I mean screen!!!!
We all love the corrupted, diabolical, fiendish and menacing men of the 30s who dominated the horror screen- the spectres of evil, the anti-heroes who put those heroines in harms way, women in peril, –Boris, & Bela, Chaney and March… From Frankenstein, to Dracula, from The Black Cat (1934), or wicked Wax Museums to that fella who kept changing his mind…Jekyll or was it Hyde? From the Mummy to that guy you could see right through, thank you Mr. Rains!
Last year I featured Scream Queens of 40s Classic Horror! This Halloween 🎃 – I felt like paying homage to the lovely ladies of 30s Classic Horror, who squealed up a storm on those stormy dreadful nights, shadowed by sinister figures, besieged by beasts, and taunted with terror in those fabulous frisson filled fright flicks… but lest not forget that after the screaming stops, those gals show some grand gumption! And… In an era when censorship & conservative framework tried to set the stage for these dark tales, quite often what smoldered underneath the finely veiled surface was a boiling pot of sensuality and provocative suggestion that I find more appealing than most contemporary forays into Modern horror- the lost art of the classical horror genre will always remain Queen… !
Let’s drink a toast to that notion!
The Scream Queens, Sirens & Heroines of 1930s Classic Horror are here for you to run your eyes over! Let’s give ’em a really big hand, just not a hairy one okay? From A-Z
A British beauty with red hair who according to Gregory Mank in his Women in Horror Films, the 1930s, left England for Hollywood and an MGM contract. She is the consummate gutsy heroine, the anti-damsel Irena Borotyn In Tod Browning’s campy Mark of the Vampire (1935) co-starring with Bela Lugosi as Count Mora (His birthday is coming up on October 20th!) Lionel Atwill and the always cheeky Lionel Barrymore… Later in 1958, she would co-star with Boris Karloff in the ever-atmospheric The Haunted Strangler.
Mark of the Vampire is a moody graveyard chiller scripted by Bernard Schubert & Guy Endore (The Raven, Mad Love (1935) & The Devil Doll (1936) and the terrific noir thriller Tomorrow is Another Day (1951) with sexy Steve Cochran & one of my favs Ruth Roman!)
The film is Tod Browning’s retake of his silent Lon Chaney Sr. classic London After Midnight (1927).
The story goes like this: Sir Karell Borotin (Holmes Herbert) is murdered, left drained of his blood, and Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore) believes it’s the work of vampires. Lionel Atwill once again plays well as the inquiring but skeptical police Inspector Neumann.
Once Sir Karell’s daughter Irena ( our heroine Elizabeth Allan) is assailed, left with strange bite marks on her neck, the case becomes active again. Neumann consults Professor Zelin the leading expert on Vampires. This horror whodunit includes frightened locals who believe that Count Mora (Bela in iconic cape and saturnine mannerism) and his creepy daughter Luna (Carroll Borland) who trails after him through crypt and foggy woods, are behind the strange going’s on. But is all what it seems?
Directed by the ever-interesting director Maurice Elvey (Mr. Wu 1919, The Sign of Four, 1923, The Clairvoyant 1935, The Man in the Mirror 1936, The Obsessed 1952) Elizabeth Allan stars as Daisy Bunting the beautiful but mesmerized by the strange yet sensual and seemingly tragic brooding figure- boarder Ivor Novello as Michel Angeloff in The Phantom Fiend! A remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s first film about Jack the Ripper… The Lodger (1927) starring Novello once again.
There is a murderer loose in London who writes the police before he strikes with a sword cane, he signs his name X. It happens that his latest crime occurs on the same night that the Drayton Diamond is stolen. Robert Montgomery as charming as ever, is Nick Revel the jewel thief responsible for the diamond heist, but he’s not a crazed murderer. The co-incidence of the two crimes has put him in a fix as he’s now unable to unload the gem until the police solve the murders.
Elizabeth Allan is the lovely Jane Frensham, Sir Christopher Marche’s (Ralph Forbes) fiancé and Police Commissioner Sir Herbert Frensham’s daughter. Sir Christopher is arrested for the X murders, and Nick and Jane band together, fall madly in love, and try to figure out a way to help the police find the real killer!
Heather Angel is a British actress who started out on stage at the Old Vic theatre but left for Hollywood and became known for the Bulldog Drummond series. While not appearing in lead roles, she did land parts in successful films such as Kitty Foyle, Pride and Prejudice (1940), Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943), and Lifeboat (1944). IMDb notes -Angel tested for the part of Melanie in Gone with the Wind (1939), the role was given to Olivia de Havilland.
Heather Angel possessed a sublime beauty and truly deserved to be a leading lady rather than relegated to supporting roles and guilty but pleasurable B movie status.
The L.A Times noted about her death in 1986 at age 77 “Fox and Universal ignored her classic training and used her in such low-budget features as “Charlie Chans Greatest Case and “Springtime for Henry.”
Her performances in Berkeley Square and The Mystery of Edwin Drood were critically acclaimed… More gruesome than the story-lines involving her roles in Edwin Drood, Hound of the Baskervilles or Lifeboat put together is the fact that she witnessed her husband, stage and film directer Robert B. Sinclair’s vicious stabbing murder by an intruder in their California home in 1970.
Heather Angel is Beryl Stapleton in this lost (found negatives and soundtracks were found and donated to the British Film Institute archives) adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes thriller Originally serialized in The Strand magazine between 1901 and 1902.
In this first filmed talkie of Doyle’s more horror-oriented story, it calls for the great detective to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and solve the strange killing that takes place on the moors, feared that there is a supernatural force, a monstrous dog like a fiend that is menacing the Baskerville family ripping the throats from its victims. The remaining heir Sir Henry is now threatened by the curse.
Mystery of Edwin Drood (played by David Manners) is a dark and nightmarish Gothic tale of mad obsession, drug addiction, and heartless murder! Heather Angel plays the beautiful and kindly young student at a Victorian finishing school, Rosa Bud engaged to John Jasper’s nephew Edwin Drood. The opium-chasing, choir master John Jasper (Claude Rains) becomes driven to mad fixation over Rosa, who is quite aware of his intense gaze, she becomes frightened and repulsed by him.
The brooding & malevolent Rains frequents a bizarre opium den run by a menacing crone (Zeffie Tilbury), a creepy & outre moody whisper in the melody of this Gothic horror/suspense tale!
Valerie Hobson plays twin sister Helena Landless, the hapless Neville’s sister. (We’ll get to one of my favorites, the exquisite Valerie Hobson in just a bit…) When Neville and Helena arrive at the school, both Edwin and he vies for Rosa’s affection. When Edwin vanishes, naturally Neville is the one suspected in his mysterious disappearance.
Though I’ll always be distracted by Baclanova’s icy performance as the vicious Cleopatra in Tod Browning’s masterpiece Freaks which blew the doors off social morays and became a cultural profane cult film, Baclanova started out as a singer with the Moscow Art Theater. Appearing in several silent films, she eventually co-starred as Duchess Josiana with Conrad Veidt as the tragic Gwynplaine, in another off-beat artistic masterpiece based on the Victor Hugo story The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Tod Browning produced & directed this eternally disturbing & joyful portrait of behind-the-scenes melodrama and at times the Gothic violence of carnival life… based on the story ‘Spurs’ by Tod Robbins. It’s also been known as Nature’s Mistress and The Monster Show.
It was essential for Browning to attain realism. He hired actual circus freaks to bring to life this quirky Grand Guignol, a beautifully grotesque & macabre tale of greed, betrayal, and loyalty.
Cleopatra (Baclanova) and Hercules (Henry Victor) plan to swindle the owner of the circus Hans, (Harry Earles starring with wife Frieda as Daisy) out of his ‘small’ fortune by poisoning him on their wedding night. The close family of side show performers exact poetic yet monstrous revenge! The film also features many memorable circus folks. Siamese conjoined twins Daisy & Violet Hilton, also saluted in American Horror Story (Sarah Paulson another incredible actress, doing a dual role) Schlitze the pinhead, and more!
Anyone riveted to the television screen to watch Jessica Lange’s mind-blowing performance as Elsa Mars in American Horror Story’s: Freak Show (2014) will not only recognize her superb nod to Marlene Dietrich, but much reverence paid toward Tod Browning’s classic and Baclanova’s cunning coldness.
( BTW as much as I adore Frances McDormand, Lange should have walked away with the Emmy this year! I’ve rarely seen a performance that balances like a tightrope walker, the subtle choreography between gut-wrenching pathos & ruthless sinister vitriol. Her rendition of Bowie’s song Life on Mars…will be a Film Score Freak feature this Halloween season! No, I can’t wait… here’s a peak! it fits the mood of this post…)
here she is as the evil Countess/duchess luring poor Gwynplain into her clutches The Man Who Laughs (1928).
IT’S HERE AGAIN… THAT TINGLING ON THE BACK OF YOUR NECK BECAUSE THERE’S FOUL DEEDS AND MURDEROUS MACHINATIONS AFOOT…HOSTED BY SPEAKEASY… SHADOWS & SATIN… AND SILVER SCREENINGS… THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON OF 2015!
“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.”
― Stephen King, The Shining
“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”
― Werner Herzog
“Monsters cannot be announced. One cannot say: ‘Here are our monsters,’ without immediately turning the monsters into pets.”
― Jacques Derrida
Vincent Price -had said- “I don’t play monsters. I play men besieged by fate and out for revenge…”
Price always could play ONE of the most cultivated, enigmatic, and beguiling villains at any time…
Gene Tierney as Miranda Wells: “Nicholas – you do believe in God?”
Vincent Price as Nicholas Van Ryn: “I believe in myself, and I am answerable to myself! I will not live according to printed mottoes like the directions on a medicine bottle!”
The chemistry between Price and Tierney is authentic and captivating. When Miranda Wells feels humiliated by the gaggle of high-class snobbish debutantes because she’s from the wrong end of the river, not from the Hudson but The Connecticut River bottom, Nicholas tells her she’s better than all of them and asks her to dance. He seems so gentle and human… but he has a dark and villainous side!
DRAGONWYCK 1946 was Vincent Price’s 18th film, after having appeared in The House of the Seven Gables 1940 as Shelby Carpenter opposite Gene Tierney in Laura 1944, Leave Her to Heaven 1945, right after he appeared as the cold-blooded Dr. Richard Cross in Shock 1946.
Produced by Ernst Lubitsch uncredited and overseen by one of my favs– Writer/Director Joseph L Mankiewicz. This Gothic & dark romance is based on the novel by Anya Seton… With cinematography by Arthur C. Miller (The Ox Bow Incident 1943, The Razor’s Edge 1946, Whirlpool 1949, The Prowler 1951), Art Direction by Lyle Wheeler and Russell Spencer, Set Direction by the great Thomas Little. The lighting alone is a mixture of noir chiaroscuro and offers dramatic shadings of the best classical elements of horror. The narrative speaks of familial secrets, and twisted vengefulness, not unlike Lewis Allen’s spooky debut masterpiece The Uninvited 1944.
Added to the moodiness is the eerily haunting score by Alfred Newman with Orchestral arrangements by Edward B Powell. Edited by the keen eyes of Dorothy Spencer (Stagecoach 1939, The House Across the Bay 1940, Lifeboat 1944, The Ghost and Mrs.Muir, The Snake Pit 1948.)
Costumes by Rene Hubert and Makeup by Ben Nye. The film bares shades of Hitchcock/de Maurier’s Rebecca 1940 and Robert Stevenson’s/Charlotte Brontë‘s Jane Eyre 1943. Even a bit of de Maurier’s tautly suspenseful My Cousin Rachel 1952 directed by Henry Koster and starring Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton. The book is a hell of a good read if you enjoy Gothic melodrama.
Gene Tierney and Vincent Price reunite after having appeared in Otto Premingers‘ memorable film noir masterpiece Laura in 1944.
Here-Gene Tierney plays Miranda Wells, and Walter Huston is her devoutly Christian working-class father-Ephram Wells.
This scene foreshadows the dangerous path Miranda is willing to wander through, as she starts to break free of her puritanical upbringing and reach for a life of being a free spirit. Believing that Nicholas represents that freedom. But there is a hint of evil that her father can sense.
Vincent Price once again manifests a passionate yet conflicted antagonist Nicholas Van Ryn with a magnetism you cannot escape, yet you may despise his cruelty and his self-indulgent murderous arrogance.
Glenn Langan is the handsome yet vanilla Dr Jeff Turner, Anne Revere adds a depth of nurture as Abigail Wells-Miranda’s mother who is weary of her daughter’s intentions to marry such a powerful man.
Spring Byington is one of the maids-Magda. Connie Marshall is the young melancholy Katrina Van Ryn, Henry Morgan is Bleeker one of the farmers who challenges Van Ryn and fights back against the antiquated laws.
Vivienne Osborne plays wife Johanna Van Ryn. Jessica Tandy gives a marvelous performance as Miranda’s maid the feisty Peggy O’Malley. Trudy Marshall is Elizabeth Van Borden. Reinhold Schunzel is Count de Grenier, Jane Nigh is Tabitha. Ruth Ford is Cornelia Van Borden, David Ballard is Obadiah. Scott Elliot is Tom Wells and Boyd Irwin is Tompkins.
DRAGONWYCK is a Gothic suspense melodrama in the grand classical style. It even brushes against the edges of the classic horror film not only because of the way it’s filmed but there are certain disturbing elements to the story. The shadows and darkness that are part of the psychological climate work are almost reminiscent of a Val Lewton piece. There’s even a pale reference to that of a ghost story that is concealed or I should say unrevealed, with the first Mrs.Van Ryn’s spirit playing the harpsichord, and the eerie phantom chords that add to the mystery and gloom that hang over the manor house.
With swells of atmospheric tension and darkly embroidered romance, there’s just the right tinges of shadows and danger. A lush and fervent tale that combines tragic Gothic romantic melodrama with the legitimate themes of social class struggle wrapped within dark secrets and suspense.
As always, Price conveys a tragic pathos even as the story’s villain, he is a man who manifests layers upon layers of feeling. Brooding, charming, sensual, intellectual, menacing, passionate, conflicted, self-loathing, and ego-maniacal all at once.
One of my favorite roles will always be his embodiment of Corman/Poe’s Roderick Usher in House of Usher 1960.
The film also offers us the sublime acting skill and divine beauty of- Gene Tierney as the heroine or damsel in peril, a simple farm girl living near Greenwich Connecticut, who dreams of the finer things in life, swept up by the allure of a fairy tale existence only to find out that her dream has become a nightmare.
Once Miranda receives a letter inviting her to come and visit Dragonwyck, she is perhaps at once young and naive when she arrives at the austere place to be a companion to Van Ryn’s despondent daughter Katrine, a lonely sort of isolated child. First triangulated by Van Ryn’s over-indulgent wife Johanna, after her death, the two begin a whirlwind romance that leads Miranda to marry the imposing Nicholas Van Ryn.
Almost in the style of a Universal monster movie, the central focus is the mysterious mansion, surrounded by volatile thunderstorms and restless villagers who want to take action against their oppressors. The film works as a period piece seeming to possess an added heaviness due to the provincial settings and underpinnings of class unrest, which lends itself to the bleak mood.
DRAGONWYCK’S villain or very human boogeyman is the inimitable & urbane Vincent Price who holds sway over the locals as the patroon–lord of the land, as well as master of all he surveys, and of course his new wife. Driven by his obsession to have a son. He is a brooding dark figure whose dissent into drug addicted madness comes to light like a demon who has escaped from a bottle.
Van Ryn is vain and contemptuous, scornful, condescending, and cruel. Eventually driven by his immense pride, love, and desire… to murder his first wife who is in the way of his ultimate legacy.
DRAGONWYCK is an interesting film that belies any one genre. And as I’ve pointed out, beyond the dark melodramatic suspense elements, it’s every bit a horror film. And it is also the directorial debut of Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
Set during the Nineteenth Century when parts of New York were still founded as feudal Estates. It’s a fascinating portrayal of the history of the 19th century Upstate New York Dutch colonies and their struggles between the rich and poor against the reigning yet dying tradition of aristocratic rule over the small family farms which were overseen by ‘Patroons’ A Patroon is the owner of the large land grants along the Hudson River. They are descendants of the original Dutch patroons… “and they’re terribly rich and elegant.“ -Miranda
Yet as in the case of Nicholas, they can be brutal and self-opportunistic landlords who collected the rent from these hard-working, exploited, and poor farmers.
This is what first impresses Miranda about Nicholas, his power and station in life. Tibby her sister tells her that she’s not anxious to leave home.
Miranda says “That’s not fair, you know that I love you and Pa, all of you and my home it’s just that I try to be like everyone else… and want what I’m supposed to want. But then I start thinking about people I’ve never known and places I’ve never been. Maybe if the letter hadn’t come I’d…. Oh, I don’t know I must be loony.”
Nicholas Van Ryn is a brooding and powerful aristocratic patroon who runs all matters with an iron hand. In the Nineteenth Century, the upstate New York counties were still dealing with a system run by these Patroons. There began a social uprising of the surrounding farmers who wanted more power over their land and a rule that would abolish the aristocracy that was a tribute to a dying past practice. Soon there would be an end to these ruling Estates.
As seen in Van Ryn’s maniacal demonstration of his being seated in an elaborate throne he remains poised while collecting the farmer’s rent. Henry Morgan plays the tough and prideful farmer Klaus who has brought nothing with him. “Not rent– nor tribute.”
When Nicholas’ first wife cannot bare him a son as heir to carry on the Van Ryn name, the wealthy and wicked Nicholas Van Ryn secretly plans to poison her with the help of an Oleander plant. Setting his sights on the younger, more beautiful cousin Miranda.
He then invites Miranda (Gene Tierney just naturally exudes a uniquely dreamy-eyed splendor) to come and visit Dragonwyck. She is an innocent girl fascinated by the urbane Nicholas but by the film’s climax, she becomes entrapped in the foreboding and bleak atmosphere of Dragonwyck, a place of secrets, sadness, and insanity.
Miranda is so taken with the idea of dancing the waltz and how fine a gentleman cousin Nicholas seems. Her father always read passages from the bible, she hungers for adventure. Miranda craves the freedom to experience a better life.
Vincent Price is incredibly handsome as Nicholas. Mysterious, his deep blue eyes crystallize through the stark black and white film. He has a strong jawline, and possesses vitality… at first, he is so charming. Nicholas-“The Breeze must feel wonderful indeed on a face as beautiful as yours I imagine.”
The first meal at Dragonwyck is a grotesque scene in which his wife Johanna (Vivienne Osborne) shows herself to be a lugubrious sow, a glutton, and a spoiled child who now bores and disgusts her husband. He tells Miranda, “To my wife, promptness at meals is the greatest human virtue.”
Nicholas is already starting to reveal his cutting tongue by commenting on how his wife overeats and is not refined. A hint of his cruel nature.
At dinner, Johanna begins to nag him about bringing home the pastries from New York, the Napoleons, she appears to be a glutton, and though very pretty, a most unattractive portrayal of her character is given for the narrative’s purpose of Nicholas justifiably ridding himself of her so that he might pursue Miranda. In contrast to Johanna’s piggishness, Miranda is given a clear bowl of broth for her supper. the scene is set up so we feel a bit of sympathy toward Nicholas.
As Johanna shoves another bonbon into her mouth…
Cinematographer Arthur C. Miller frames the shot as Johanna is placed in between Nicholas and Miranda. His wife Johanna appears like a fairy tale character–the over-exaggerated plump wife who gorges herself on sweets while Nicholas and Miranda talk of love and loss. Miranda is wildly curious. He is withdrawn and pensive.
Nicholas plays the harpsichord. Miranda listens contentedly and then asks who the woman in the painting is. He tells her it’s his grandmother Aziel –“That’s a strange name… she looks like a frightened child.”
Miranda asks him to tell her more about his grandmother. Was it love at first sight?
Nicholas-“No Van Ryn does anything at first sight” Miranda-“Oh but she must have been happy to live here” Miranda smiles, her face a glow. Nicholas adds, “As it turned out it didn’t matter, soon after her son was born she died. She brought this harpsichord with her from her home. She played it always.”
Johanna “If you listen to the servants they’ll have you believe she still does!“ she laughs. But Nicholas quickly turns around to look at her, a dark shadow creeps along his brow. His eyes raised.
Nicholas-“Fortunately we don’t listen to either the servants or their superstitions.”
Magda (Spring Byington) tells Miranda about Nicholas’ grandmother from New Orleans, the woman in the portrait. That his grandfather never loved her, he never wanted her at all. he wanted their son. he kept her from him… He forbid her to sing and play. He broke her heart. And drove her….” Magda stops short…. “She prayed for disaster to come to the Van Ryns and she swore that when it came she’d always be here to sing and play… She killed herself in this room.”
Magda asks-“Miss Wells why have you come here? Do you think Katrine is in need of a companion? Miranda answers her, “Well that would be for her father and her mother to decide.”
Magda says, “Don’t you think she’s in need of a father and a mother… that was a silly question wasn’t it?”
The meddling maid pierces Miranda’s innocence with her honesty like venom–causing a bit of shock on Miranda’s face that usually seems as tranquil as a quiet lake of sparkling water.
“You like it here?” Miranda answers–“Of course, I do” Magda comments- “Course you do, you like being waited on, I could see tonight it was the first time. You like peaches out of season. You like the feel of silk sheets against your young body. Then one day, with all your heart you’ll wish you’d never come to Dragonwyck…”
The handsome young Dr. Turner (Glenn Langan) comes to take care of Johanna who has taken sick to her bed.
He and Miranda sit and talk by the fire. He tries to imply that living at Dragonwyck has changed her, he tells her that the last time he met her he felt like they had so much in common. “Frankly right now I doubt you have any idea about the slightest thing to talk to me about.”
Johanna’s illness gets worse, of course, we know Nicholas has poisoned her. Lying in bed she tells him that sometimes she thinks he hates her, but asks if they can go away together once she’s better. He says yes because he knows she’ll never get better. In fact, she will never leave that bed alive.
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
― Sigmund Freud
“Ladies and gentlemen- welcome to violence; the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains sex.” — Narrator from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965).
THE DARK PAGES NEWSLETTER a condensed article was featured in The Dark Pages: You can click on the link for all back issues or to sign up for upcoming issues to this wonderful newsletter for all your noir needs!
Constance Towers as Kelly from The Naked Kiss (1964): “I saw a broken down piece of machinery. Nothing but the buck, the bed and the bottle for the rest of my life. That’s what I saw.”
Griff (Anthony Eisley) The Naked Kiss (1964): “Your body is your only passport!”
Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux in Repulsion (1965): “I must get this crack mended.”
Monty Clift Dr. Cukrowicz Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) : “Nature is not made in the image of man’s compassion.”
Patricia Morán as Rita Ugalde: The Exterminating Angel 1962:“I believe the common people, the lower class people, are less sensitive to pain. Haven’t you ever seen a wounded bull? Not a trace of pain.”
Ann Baxter as Teresina Vidaverri Walk on the Wild Side 1962—“When People are Kind to each other why do they have to find a dirty word for it.”
The Naked Venus 1959–“I repeat she is a gold digger! Europe’s full of them, they’re tramps… they’ll do anything to get a man. They even pose in the NUDE!!!!”
Darren McGavin as Louie–The Man With the Golden Arm (1955): “The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn.”
Baby Boy Franky Buono-Blast of Silence (1961) “The targets names is Troiano, you know the type, second string syndicate boss with too much ambition and a mustache to hide the facts he’s got lips like a woman… the kind of face you hate!”
Lorna (1964)- “Thy form is fair to look upon, but thy heart is filled with carcasses and dead man’s bones.”
Peter Fonda as Stephen Evshevsky in Lilith (1964): “How wonderful I feel when I’m happy. Do you think that insanity could be so simple a thing as unhappiness?”
Glen or Glenda (1953)– “Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater and a skirt, or even a lounging outfit and he’s the happiest individual in the world.”
Johnny Cash as Johnny Cabot in Five Minutes to Live (1961):“I like a messy bed.”
Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) Island of Lost Souls: “Do you know what it means to feel like God?”
The Curious Dr. Humpp (1969): “Sex dominates the world! And now, I dominate sex!”
The Snake Pit (1948): Jacqueline deWit as Celia Sommerville “And we’re so crowded already. I just don’t know where it’s all gonna end!” Olivia de Havilland as Virginia Stuart Cunningham “I’ll tell you where it’s gonna end, Miss Somerville… When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.”
Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness (1971)– “Aren’t those crimes horrifying. And yet -so fascinating!”
Julien Gulomar as Bishop Daisy to the Barber (Michel Serrault) King of Hearts (1966)–“I was so young. I already knew that to love the world you have to get away from it.”
The Killing of Sister George (1968) -Suzanna York as Alice ‘CHILDIE’: “Not all women are raving bloody lesbians, you know” Beryl Reid as George: “That is a misfortune I am perfectly well aware of!”
The Lickerish Quartet (1970)–“You can’t get blood out of an illusion.”
THE SWEET SOUND OF DEATH (1965)– Dominique-“I’m attracted” Pablo-” To Bullfights?” Dominique-” No, I meant to death. I’ve always thought it… The state of perfection for all men.”
Peter O’Toole as Sir Charles Ferguson Brotherly Love (1970): “Remember the nice things. Reared in exile by a card-cheating, scandal ruined daddy. A mummy who gave us gin for milk. Ours was such a beautifully disgusting childhood.”
Maximillian Schell as Stanislaus Pilgrin in Return From The Ashes 1965: “If there is no God, no devil, no heaven, no hell, and no immortality, then anything is permissible.”
Euripides 425 B.C.–“Whom God wishes to destroy… he first makes mad.”
WHAT DOES PSYCHOTRONIC MEAN?
psychotronic |ˌsīkəˈtränik| adjective denoting or relating to a genre of movies, typically with a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme, that were made on a low budget or poorly received by critics. [the 1980s: coined in this sense by Michael Weldon, who edited a weekly New York guide to the best and worst films on local television.] Source: Wikipedia
In the scope of these transitioning often radical films, where once, men and women aspired for the moon and the stars and the whole ball of wax. in the newer scheme of things they aspired for you know… “kicks” Yes that word comes up in every film from the 50s and 60s… I’d like to have a buck for every time a character opines that collective craving… from juvenile delinquent to smarmy jet setter!
FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…
THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO… BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT– ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!
I just got myself this collection of goodies from Something Weird!
Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Noir took a journey through an even darker lens… Out of the shadows of 40s Noir cinema, European New Wave, fringe directors, and Hollywood auteurs brought more violent, sexual, transgressive, and socially transformative narratives into the cold light of day with a creeping sense of verité. While Film Noir pushed the boundaries of taboo subject matter and familiar Hollywood archetypes it wasn’t until later that we are able to visualize the advancement of transgressive topics.
Here’s looking back at ya!-Your ever lovin’ monstergirl
Psychological thriller directed by W.S. Van Dyke (The Thin Man series) with a screenplay by Christopher Isherwood and Robert Thoeren, based on the novel by James Hilton (Goodbye Mr Chips, Random Harvest)
Starring Robert Montgomery (who was marvelous as Danny the psychopath in Night Must Fall 1937) Here he plays Phillip Monrell a mentally disturbed man who is obsessed and paranoid about his friend Ward Andrews (George Sanders) being after his beautiful wife, the always lovely Ingrid Bergman as Stella. Phillip’s jealous obsession drives him into a murderous detachment from reality. Lucille Watson plays Philips mother, and Oskar Homolka plays Dr. Rameau.
Happy Trailers MonsterGirl