Friday, August 22, 2008

Three on a Match

Here's a trio that must have been interesting backstage:

Blondell, Winwood, Bankhead: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Evil

How, one wonders, could a play starring these three Graces/Furies/Harpies not have been a smash? Well, Crazy October, a 1958 casualty up in New Haven, was definitely not.

Perhaps it was, if this summary is to be believed, because the plot sounds like the setup for a slightly queasy joke: "Tallulah plays Daisy, the proprietess of a roadside inn which she shares with a prostitute (Blondell) and a widow (Winwood), who is trying to get Daisy to cremate her husband."

In this context, why does "cremate her husband" sound like a euphemism for something much dirtier? And why is dear Miss Winwood dressed like Mamie Eisenhower? And to what extent is Miss Blondell actually having to prop her up? And (perhaps most tellingly regarding the fate of the play) why does Tallulah look as if she is going to swivel her head, drop her trick jaw, and devour the other two at one go?

We shall never know.

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