Monday, August 17, 2009

Women on the Verge

...Of serious and major transformations:

Into a predatory insect, for example.

I had a boss once who'd been Susan Cabot's roommate once when they both trying to Make It There - now there's a Terrible Hollywood Story. Susan's, that is, not my boss's (she ended up in Mexican movies and married a Philadelphia socialite, so some things do work out for the best).

I've never heard of a blonde voodoo priestess in a strapless cocktail gown, but maybe it's just that that makes her Weird. Go ask Lon Chaney - if anyone would know, it's he...

Never having had the nerve to see this one, I had no idea that the twin-concept imposed on Miss Garbo involved playing a lady baseball player and a truck driver in drag. No wonder Melvyn Douglass looks so surprised.

That Kind of Woman is apparently the kind who ditches her picture hat, pearls, and gloves at the first opportunity to kiss a GI.

Given that the kissee is Tab Hunter, he probably went home with the accessories, not the Woman. Although if you're ever going to make an exception for anyone, Sophia Loren is pretty much the choice to go with.

The terrifying story of a woman whose Guilty Secret appears to have consisted of wanting to imitate Margaret Hamilton's makeup. Actually, if all you had to choose between was George Sanders and Louis Hayward, you'd probably be Strange, too. But not, I hope, green - even on La Lamarr, it's not terribly flattering.

As opposed to being a Cobra, which proved enormously successful for Miss Montez. Everyone knows this particular Woman picture...

But even I hadn't known it had a sequel, of sorts...

...not to mention a blatant stealing of the concept (if not, if this poster's any evidence, the fabulousness). I don't really want to imagine what kind of horror Snake Woman can spread with her forked tongue.

I suspect that, for poor Jean Harlow, having to go red was almost as bad as having to go Wasp or Cobra. Ginger just doesn't go with white satin bias-cut gowns the way platinum does, after all. Especially when the most you hope to impress is Chester Morris, who isn't exactly Clark Gable, if you know what I mean. But then again, if you listen to Carole Lombard, even Clark Gable wasn't exactly Clark Gable.

They certainly don't seem to make many pictures about Women turned into cute, fluffy creatures, do they? No Bunny Woman, Panda Woman, or West Highland Terrier Woman; oh, no - it's all snakes and cobras, wasps and - possibly least inviting of all - leeches. Bleech. No wonder Coleen Gray retired. And how did an ex-Mr. Joan Crawford turn up in this?

Acquanetta! The greatest star ever named after an off-prime grooming-product brand. It's nice to know that she rated special billing, although I don't think there was much question in that cast who would be appearing "as The Jungle Woman," really, is there?

From the Jungle to the Front Page; it certainly can't be argued that Hollywood's Woman didn't get around.

Never in a million years did Davis have gams like that. Maybe she borrowed them from Susan Cabot.

Another stint in the urban jungle, this time with not one but two formidable Women, even if only one made it up above the title. And no, children, this was not the inspiration for the Dixie Carter-Delta Burke (et al) television series.

After all these turbid goings-on, invisibility seems like a relief, a sentiment likely not shared by Virginia Bruce. It was never a terribly interesting film career, and it's all downhill from there. Although even she never had to play a Leech.


  1. Your better off for not having seen Two Faced Woman. They thickened Garbo's brows, painted her lips way outside the lip line (was someone trying to turn her into Crawford?), permed her hair, put her in the most unflattering costumes and then directed her to act "American". It is as if the studio was purposely sabotaging her career. She was right to retire and get the hell out while the getting was good. I personally just pretend the movie does not exist.

  2. I'm going to go do the Dance of the Cobra Women right now.

  3. Honey, that I'd pay to see. As opposed to you - or anybody - doing the Dance of the Leech Woman.

    And I expect that all of us now and then have to resort to the Dance of the Designing Woman. Probably in a Two-Faced kind of way...

  4. Hats off to those that made it into more than one of these Woman pictures.

    The mash-ups:

    Evelyn Ankers was apparently a Weird Jungle Woman.

    George Sanders was certainly That Strange Kind of Woman.

    Lon Chaney was The Weird Cobra Woman as only Lon could be.

    and Lois Collier was, rather appropriately, The Jungle Cobra Woman.

    Please also note that Designing Woman was directed by Vincent Minnelli. I think we all know what kind of woman he was.

  5. I just knew you'd catch that, Bill - Evelyn, for a star who was always pretty much strictly second-string, sure got around, no?