Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pictures at an Exhibition

You ought to be in pictures - but perhaps not these pictures...

Not, one would have thought, the most promising material for a hit film - when it comes to screenplays, James Joyce is no Jane Austen.

While I'm afraid you couldn't pay me for a portrait of either Palance or Steiger, as hitmen or pretty much anything else.

Here's the mother of all "Portrait" movies, one of the odder of David O. Selznick's valiant attempts to make Jennifer Jones a popular star. One wonders what Ethel thought of it all...

Henry James. Perhaps the author of the last 100 years to give James Joyce a run for his money as challenging scriptwriter, and yet they keep at it. One wonders what Shelley Winters thought...

Yes, I know it's not a movie poster, but you can't go down this road and not think of the Ford administration's favorite teenage alcoholic streetwalker. Anybody else remember the scandalous sequel, Alexander: the Other Side of Dawn?

And it's all downhill from here. Surely the purpose, at some level, of all adult films, is to be so intense as to leave you exhausted. I'm not sure this one would do it for me.

Last and probably not least, not a terrible cast for what looks like a pretty tawdry flick - in addition to Warren and Herrmann, you had Vic "Mel" Tayback and, most deliciously, Sheree North. I really, really hope that she played a hard-boiled burlesque veteran with a heart of gold who puts Warren back on her feet when all seemed lost.

But then, I think that any picture could be improved by adding Sheree North as a game old stripper, don't you? Just think what a jolt she could have given Portrait of a Lady!


  1. Just think what a jolt she could have given Portrait of a Lady!

    Especially if she did a specialty number, a la "Shake, Rattle & Roll" from How to Be Very, Very Popular.

  2. Well, God knows that picture needed something...

  3. Muscato, I hate to have to correct you but, while scandalous, Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn was the sequel to Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. Both these colon-ated TV flicks starred Eve "Jan Brady" Plumb and 80's TV almost-hunk, Leigh McCloskey. Dawn had another runaway in Suzanne "Tracy Partridge" Crough. Alexander also featured the talents of Juliet "Nanny" Mills and was the last film of Jean "Lina Lamont" Hagen.

    Sarah T. was one of Linda Blair's efforts after The Exorcist and the true TV scandal of the 70's, Blair's starring turn in Born Innocent with it's scene of a reform school rape (with a broomstick if memory serves).

  4. OMG! You're totally right! What a complete brain flameout. I think that all those fabulous 70s Name: Something Something Something movies-of-the-week just sort of glommed together in my feeble brain into a sticky ball of exploitation. Mea maxima culpa!

    And yes, it was a broomstick.

    And had anybody asked, I would almost have sworn that Alexander was played by Shaun Cassidy. Shows what I know...

    Thanks, Bill, for keeping us honest - not to mention so deeply and consistently amused.