Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Female of the Species

Well, we've looked at various Daughters, Girls, and Women, so it seems almost inevitable to go down this little memory-lane, perhaps the most sordid of them all...

For a long time, but never more than during the sublimely trashy era between the nudie-cuties and the rise of videotape, "female" was movie-shorthand for, in many and varied ways, "slut."

You'd think that the male leads in a picture with this title would be more or less irrelevant; still, John Holmes, whatever else one might think about him, was certainly not easy to ignore...

One wonders what competing film was guilty of shyly exploring the bizarre, twilight world of abnormal sexual behavior.

A West Side Story star, the son of a silent-film legend, and what clearly look like the production values of Russ Meyers come together for...well, from the look of it, not all that much. Frankly, it gives every sign of being a yawner that might as well be titled Faster, Cowgirl! Kill! Kill!

I'm not going to make any jokes drawn from the headlines, I'm not going to make any jokes drawn from the headlines...

But I will say this: beware of any film that says it's in color - when its one-sheet poster isn't.

Who knew that Gun Crazy had an alternate title? For that matter, who knew that Gun Crazy originally came from a Saturday Evening Post story? I'd love to see the Norman Rockwell illustration for that one.

Remember that warning about color movies up above? It goes double for Brigitte Bardot movies that use "Spoken in English" as a tagline.

I don't know about Kathleen Crowley, but I'd cross the street to avoid anything that made Jayne Mansfield scream like a siren in the night. On the other hand, if Lawrence Tierney were doing the screaming...

Here we have the ne plus ultra of sleazy fifties "Female" pictures, albeit one that tried, hard, to play it classy.

This is the one where Our Joan strides around snarling out lines like "I have a nasty imagination, and I'd like to be left alone with it." She makes certain you believe it. On the other hand, it also has a character called Queenie played by Natalie Schafer and Jeff Chandler in (men's) swimwear, so it's not a total waste.

This one is trying to be the ne plus ultra of contemporary "Female" pictures, but all I think it really does is provide a subject for future surprise: Tilda Swinton and Paulina Porizkova once made a movie together?

There may be seven basic female responses; only six, however, get an illustration. All, apparently, involve, in varying degrees, bad hair, but only one requires being a Kaye Ballard impersonator.

In the end, though, despite the best efforts of Joan, Natalie, Tilda, and Paulina - this is the ne plus ultra "Female" picture, now and forever. And remember: just 'cause we pretty, everybody's jealous.


  1. the tag line line from FEMALE ON THE BEACH...."she was too hungry for love..." should've been used for FEMALE TROUBLE(with an addendum)......"so the minute she found it, she ate it all!"

  2. "Pretty, pretty?"

    "I'll take a double egg salad on white toast"

    "Gimme that jump rope"

    Oh don't get me started.

    And Female on the Beach has my favorite Joan scene where she strides into the surf in not pants and a turtleneck.

  3. "Dawn Davenport is eating a meatball sandwich!"

  4. dawn davenport IS a meatball sandwich!