The Tattered Dress

Ever wondered how films end up neglected? I was almost going to say “lost” but that’s an entirely different category; I mean movies which are viewable, accessible with a bit of effort, but neither commercially available nor presented in optimum condition. By the way, I’m not offering any answers here. I’m very bit as mystified as the next guy, and I’m really only indulging in a bit of idle musing after watching a less than perfect version of The Tattered Dress (1957). You could argue that the cast is largely peopled with actors who have drifted a little too far out of the public consciousness, although I’m not wholly convinced by that one myself. Regardless of that, the film was directed by Jack Arnold, a cult favorite if ever there was one, and yet this work remains (apparently) unrestored and stubbornly unreleased.

Cinema sometimes feels like the theater of the senses, or maybe a more sensual version of the theater. If we lose the immediacy of the live performance, we also gain something in extreme intimacy, and then in an instant we can also achieve the cool distance of an observer in a gallery. And all the while our senses are targeted and stimulated, particularly our vision and hearing. I’ve come to think that film sequences without dialogue – not silent film, just with the dialogue stripped out – come closest to pure cinema, storytelling predominantly through visuals, music and ambient sound. The Tattered Dress opens like this: with a torn frock, a breathtaking blond racing through a desert night in an open top convertible, a tense meeting with her husband, another ride and then a cool and clinical killing. And not a word spoken.

That’s the setup, a late night killing, a crime of passion by a shooter who needs a sharp lawyer to do the defending. That lawyer is James Blane (Jeff Chandler), famed for his ability to defend the indefensible and the bane of district attorneys everywhere. Blane is blunt, cocksure and beholden to one creed only, the need to win, to succeed and feed the legend of his own ego. His courtroom wizardry has seen him scale the peaks of his profession while he’s sacrificed his personal satisfaction to attain it. If his wife maintains an arm’s length relationship and his children are rarely seen, well so be it. He gets his clients off, and he gets this latest one an acquittal too, shredding the reputation of a small town sheriff on the way. However, this is only part of the story, and Blane’s moment of triumph is an imposter, disguising a comedown that will shake his faith in himself to the core. Yet perhaps he’ll learn something about himself in the process.

Jack Arnold is held in high esteem, and rightly so, for the Sci-Fi films he made in the 1950s. Those films, such as It Came from Outer Space and the excitingly cerebral The Incredible Shrinking Man, were landmarks not only for that genre but for genre filmmaking as a whole. Still, it would be a mistake, and a disservice to the man, if one were to classify him on those terms alone. Tucked in among his credits, one can find a brace of what I’m happy to assert are classy and superior examples of tight and economical western cinema – No Name on the Bullet and Red Sundown. Also, around the same time, Arnold was making (along with Jeff Chandler as it happens) Man in the Shadow where he took aim at small town corruption and racism. Here, under the guise of a slick legal thriller, he cast a sideways glance at the American Dream.

I’d like to think the desert setting, which Arnold seemed drawn to on a number of occasions, has some significance. Is it too much of a stretch to view that harsh and bleak backdrop as a kind of blank canvas upon which he felt greater freedom to explore his themes? Because he does dig under the surface of the glossy 50s American success story – the hotshot lawyer stirs urban/rural and western/eastern hostilities right from the beginning, and his idealized family unit (not to mention that of his smooth and wealthy clients) is shown to be anything but ideal. In short, there’s a nasty bit of corrosion creeping in beneath the chrome trim. The broken home and tarnished ideals of the man are the price he has paid in his ruthless pursuit of fame and fortune, elbowing such trifles as truth and justice aside in his dash for a questionable prize. So, at this point, let me make a proposal – that Arnold was every bit as concerned, all through his Sci-Fi, western and thriller work, with a critical examination of the flaws and  barely suppressed crises of the post-war American soul as the more critically acclaimed Douglas Sirk. While this is something I’ve pondered before, I’ll freely admit that this George Zuckerman scripted production hauled it all front and center for me – Zuckerman also wrote a number of screenplays for Sirk, including the perennially underrated The Tarnished Angels.

Now, a brief word on the performances. Jeff Chandler’s early death robbed the cinema of one of the most promising talents of the era. It has also led to an under-appreciation of his talents and abilities, but a look at any of his best roles quickly highlights his powerful screen presence. Plenty of actors, especially leading men in their prime,  are and were loath to accept what might be perceived as unsympathetic roles. Chandler, however, seemed comfortable enough taking on less than wholesome parts. The lawyer here is not a nice man, he’s a grasping and ruthless type who has lost his way, and yet Chandler embraces this negativity and offers a welcome three-dimensional portrait of ambition colliding with a hunger for personal fulfillment. Facing off against him is Jack Carson, the butt of plenty of jokes as a character player. His bulky joviality is nicely subverted here and his cool undermining of Chandler is very memorable. Jeanne Crain is the estranged wife, still in love with Chandler but proud enough to hold herself back until he rediscovers his humanity. And finally, there’s Gail Russell, that fragile beauty in the middle of a temporary comeback that was destined to be short-lived.

To finish this piece, which has ended up running slightly longer than my other recent postings, let me just reiterate that The Tattered Dress is a classy melodrama/thriller with a fine cast and on-form director. That it remains unreleased on any current home video format is something I struggle to understand. There are many films we can safely say are deserving of a high quality digital release – this is most assuredly one of them. I can only hope someone sets about rectifying this oversight soon.

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “The Tattered Dress

  1. I was also wondering about its availability (or lack thereof) just a little while ago. It’s a great cast and it would be great to have a decent edition to look at. And yes, I agree, Arnold and Sirk make for fascinating Universal bedfellows for the 1950s!

    Like

    • It’s easy enough to view online but it’s hardly the ideal way either. I know it’s easy to end up sounding like a scratched record but this is a movie which needs to be given a decent release.

      Like

  2. I’ve been on a bit of a Jeff Chandler kick lately having recently seen BROKEN ARROW, WAR ARROW, PILLARS OF THE SKY and MAN IN THE SHADOW. He has been very under rated, probably as you say Colin, because he died so young aged 42. I’ll look out for this one on line as it’s one I haven’t seen.

    Like

    • As ever Ian, I’m glad to be able to point someone towards a film that’s new to them. In my opinion, this is a good one too – multi-layered, exciting, slick and with a hint of noir in there. I only wish I could direct you to better versions as what is out there is perfectly watchable but still nowhere near the kind of presentation I’d like to see.

      Like

  3. Lovely write up Colin-and so unusual for a RTHC pick of a movie not commercially available. As discussed before its one of many Universal CinemaScope films
    not available on disc. Some of these films feature legendary stars-to name but two NEVER STEAL ANYTHING SMALL-Cagney,ISTANBUL-Flynn. This is the sort of fare I hope Kino Lorber will hone in on with their newly minted deal with Universal.
    I love the way you touch on social issues in Arnold’s work-I don’t know if too many have done that before. One could say that in Arnold’s classic Sci Fi Grant Williams literally “Shrinks” out of middle American society…anyway enough of that.
    What I’d like to focus on is producer Albert Zugsmith-he featured largely on the recent epic Mamie Van Doren thread over at Toby’s Hannibal 8- a record breaker,I believe. Lots of this was covered over at Toby’s but to be brief Zugsmith started making very low budget films, an example, PORT SINISTER which featured pirates and giant crabs. Then Zugsmith hit his stride with a whole raft of exceptional movies over at Universal. Later there were several often tacky but interesting MGM efforts and finally returning to his B Movie routes and then on to virtual soft porn. I don’t think any producer in Hollywood history had a portfolio that ranged from TOUCH OF EVIL to SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE. It’s been well documented that Douglas Sirk never cared for Hollywood excess and certainly Sirk and his wife were not amused at a Zugsmith party to see naked women cavorting in the pool! I have heard that this was the prime reason that Sirk decided to leave Hollywood-but I cannot trace the quote.
    Finally,it’s nigh impossible to find anyone who does not admire Jeff Chandler-had he not passed at such a young age,one feels that his finest work might have been ahead of him.

    Like

    • John, I think that Arnold’s work is so interesting, and indeed timeless, regardless of genre, due to the way it succeeds on multiple levels, and that it can be enjoyed and appreciated in different ways at different times.

      Lovely anecdote about Zugsmith and Sirk, and it certainly is hard to think of anyone else whose career encompassed such extremes – that’s showbiz, I guess!

      And yeah, how can anyone not like Chandler? A very fine actor with a cool presence and, although I haven’t seen everything he was in, never seemed to turn in a poor performance.

      Like

  4. If you may allow me to digress,yet again! While researching my Zugsmith stuff over at Toby’s I note that a couple of Zugsmith’s early B’s were directed by
    Harold Daniels one of those fascinating “sidebars” in Hollywood history. This lead me to a Daniels Noir A DATE WITH DEATH which gets a knockout solo review on IMDb furthermore it was shot by the great Carl Guthrie who also lensed THE TATTERED DRESS.
    I do remember seeing the trailer at a trailer fest at London’s NFT years back and I became to wonder if the film actually existed. Then Walter came up with a most interesting snippet that the leading lady of A DATE WITH DEATH, Liz Renay,lived a life that played out like a real life Noir….relationships with gangsters and eventual incarceration and lots more besides. Despite all of this Liz did reach the age of 80.
    BTW,Colin I guess Daniels is best remembered for the impressive ROADBLOCK.

    Like

    • Digressions are always very welcome, but you know that anyway!
      I meant to say a word about Guthrie but then one the paragraph kind of ran away with itself and he got left out – I’m glad you drew attention to him though.
      As you may know, Roadblock is a film I have to hand – it certainly is a good one and should be better known, which is something I find myself saying a lot. Hopefully, I’ll get round to highlighting it here at some stage.

      Like

  5. Great review of a film that is slightly schizophrenic.

    My take on the movie is a bit different. What I expected after the fabulous opening sequence – which I think is by far the best part of the movie – was Grade A trash. I mean that as a compliment. The first 30 minutes of the film are infused with a steamy hothouse atmosphere. Sadly the lurid events come to a grinding halt and soon the trampy wife and the husband become a subplot. We get a courtroom drama. The title and the film poster promise more than they deliver.
    Elaine Stewart is one of the 50s best tramps. It’s amazing the way she sashays and wiggles her way through the film. She and hubby have a strange relationship. I wish this movie had stayed in the camp stratosphere.

    I’m not quite sure if I buy Chandler 100% as a lawyer, and I like the guy a lot. But I think he was more at home in action roles.

    However, your review has given me something to think about. I’ll have to rewatch it as a courtroom drama.

    Like

    • Yes, point taken. It does alter course and moves in a direction that is not anticipated by the opening. Having sad that, i think the shadow of that opening does hang over the rest of the movie – the tattered dress of the title and what it led to is still the impetus for the main trial which takes place. I’ll grant the reference is more oblique than than the sensational beginning promises, but it’s relevant all the same.
      I’ve not seen a lot of Elaine Stewart apart from Escort West, where she played a very different part. I agree she is remarkable as the fatal woman in this one and I also agree that the dysfunctional couple represent a tantalizing aspect which is only touched upon.

      Like

      • Another Noir that had an amazing opening sequence but failed to deliver what was promised was LOOPHOLE. I was lead to believe that I was going to get a generous helping of “Grade A Trash”
        Despite that LOOPHOLE still delivers with the excellent Barry Sullivan as the fall guy and Charles McGraw as the cop on his case. The delight of LOOPHOLE is watching McGraw totally frustrated by an increasingly liberal America who longs for the good old days of the “rubber hose treatment” To add insult to injury the normally nasty Dan Haggerty is a surprisingly humane police chief. The opening sequence has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, I might add.
        Colin – I’m sure you remember Stewart from NIGHT PASSAGE.

        Like

  6. You wrote: “I’d like to think the desert setting, which Arnold seemed drawn to on a number of occasions, has some significance. Is it too much of a stretch to view that harsh and bleak backdrop as a kind of blank canvas upon which he felt greater freedom to explore his themes?” Yes. And two more things: easy access for location shooting, and the fact that the desert–as Arnold loved to have his characters point out–was once the floor of a mighty ocean, and everything that ever crawled, walked, or swam upon the earth had its beginning there. That’s an approximate quote from TARANTULA, but it could come from any of several Arnold films. Setting his films in the desert made them relevant not just to human life but to all of life and to nature itself.

    Like

    • Very good. Yes, that primal aspect is well worth mentioning. I do like that cyclical notion of returning to a place where everything and everyone can trace their roots back to.

      Like

  7. This is a film of which I have heard much but never yet seen, probably because it has never been made available to us. But I don’t believe it ever turned up on UK TV either. I’m not a big fan of watching films online but I suppose that is the only way I’m to see it.

    Excellent cast and we all share a high opinion of Arnold’s work. I like that social issues around the American Dream in Ike’s era are explored but subtly in a way that would not have been particularly subtle in following decades.

    My interest in this film has been well and truly whetted by your fine review.

    Like

    • I don’t recall a broadcast of the movie either, Jerry, and what’s available right now wouldn’t be my first preference.

      Subtlety is a great quality, especially when it comes to encouraging people to look more closely at any given subject.

      Like

  8. Returning to the “Grade A Trash” (nice one Margot) theme I can highly endorse the Zugsmith production THE BEAT GENERATION. Apart from the cast who can resist a film where Vampira reads poetry to a group of beatniks adorned with a pet rat!
    Walter,who writes so wonderfully about far more worthy movies also finds THE BEAT GENERATION a very guilty pleasure. Funnily enough Walter has more than compensated for my “Blake Lucas Withdrawal Symptoms” with his fine contributions to the various blogs. I thought THE TATTERED DRESS,of all films, would bring Blake back into the mix,but never mind.

    Like

    • Yes, I miss Blake’s contributions too, but I’ve no doubt he’ll be back online when the time is right. I know i need to step back from online activity from time to time so I quite understand.

      Like

    • YT isn’t the ideal way to watch stuff, at least it’s not my ideal. However, I feel it’s a tribute to quality works when we’re able to watch them in less than perfect forms/presentations and still come away feeling satisfied.

      Like

  9. Colin, thanks for a good and fair write-up of a movie that I saw quite frequently as a youngster. THE TATTERED DRESS was shown on the CBS affiliate Channel 3 WREC-TV FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE and later on THE LATE MOVIE during the 1960’s and ’70’s. This is a movie that stuck in my memory, probably because of the beginning. I hadn’t seen the movie in over forty years and then John K. brought the movie up, over at Toby’s https://thehannibal8.wordpress.com/ John K, is a great “Bringer Upper.”

    I watched the movie on YouTube, which isn’t the best way to watch a movie, but you take what you can get I still like the movie and I concur with your write-up, in that it is a, “classy melodrama/thriller with a fine cast and on-form director.” Jack Arnold was riding into Douglas Sirk country with this one. Of course, that is because George Zuckerman wrote the script and Albert Zugsmith was producing.

    All through my recent watching of the movie, I felt a sadness because of both Gail Russell and Jeff Chandler, especially Russell. Russell, so sad eyed and fearful in this movie. She gave a fine performance here, as did Jack Carson. Jeff Chandler dying because of a surgeon’s incompetency. So tragic. This movie deserves a good DVD release.

    Like

    • Thanks for joining in here, Walter, and I’m pleased to see you also have a high regard for the film.
      Yes, there is a sadness in knowing that Carson, Chandler and Russell were not to be long for the world. Surely this one can’t remain unreleased for good!

      Like

  10. Great to see your comment,Walter…A “Bringer Upper” I rather like that…Margot has just called me a “Silly Person” on her blog but I rather she called me a “Stupid Boy” as a homage to Private Pike 🙂 Do our American Friends know Dad’s Army…never mind. I guess it’s just me,but some while back there used to be much more “cross pollination” between the various blogs,that’s kinda changed. Toby used to run these wonderful Blogathons and a whole clique of
    us used to comment..”The Usual Suspects” if you will. Then Toby got lots and lots of commentary work,Colin has had major changes in his life and Blake has vanished off the scene. I used to write stuff on these blogathons and think what I wrote was pretty OK until I read Blake’s contributions which totally smoked my meagre efforts. It’s wonderful to see Toby do so well,no longer the Republic B’s and Westerns guy Kino and others have up-graded him to more high profile fare. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy a true Southern Gentleman if ever there was one. Walter,you have truly been a breath of fresh air to the blogs,I love the way you write with great knowledge about classic films and then change tack and start bringing The Bowery Boys and Jungle Jim into the mix..down to my level really. It’s always to see new people coming into the mix on the blogs-there used to be a guy called Stephen Bowie on Toby’s who related how he got to
    interview Zugsmith regular Charles Haas just before his passing-Stephen said that Charlie was just waiting for someone to knock on his door. Then there was Richard W a regular here and at Toby’s like Blake he is sorely missed. I’ll always put in a word for The Hannibal 8 it’s one of my favorites, and at long last it’s mighty fine to see the recent increased traffic.

    Like

    • John, I think many people do visit the various sites of old but don’t always leave comments, for one reason or another. Our lives go through changes all the time and we have to adapt to different circumstances, and that can involve juggling other stuff that makes demands on our time. I don’t believe I comment or post as much as i did, but that’s not to be taken as lack of interest as I do read a lot even though I may not get into discussions in the same depth, or with the same regularity. Although sometimes I do!

      Like

      • There’s something very therapeutic, addictive about the blogs. I do read quite a few of them but mainly only comment here and at the two Toby’s.
        Yes,the demands of life do play a part and the seven months of hell in trying to sell my flat will make me glad to see the back of 2018-however it’s only RTHC,The H 8 and Fifties Westerns that helped me keep my sanity during a stressful time.
        I do miss Toby’s wonderful blogathons but on the other hand it’s so fine to see him getting rave reviews for his commentaries from the likes of Gary at DVD Beaver and Glenn at Cinesavant.

        Like

        • I completely agree. Toby built up a fabulous site over the years with 50 Westerns and I’ve been thrilled to see how he’s moved seamlessly into the business of recording top quality commentary tracks.
          Blogathons can be a lot of fun and there are still plenty operating but they are a lot of work to organize and it’s a big, and sometimes difficult, commitment for all concerned.

          Like

  11. Just like Dirty Harry and his 5 or 6 shots,in all the excitement I plumb forgot to mention some important news-Kino Lorber have just announced the very impressive Noir NAKED ALIBI on Blu Ray in 2.0 widescreen. There is an Italian bootleg going the rounds and the p.q. is OK but the Kino’s the one for me-making it’s Worldwide Blu Ray release.
    A crackerjack early entry in the Vigilante Cop genre. Like many of us,I guess, I rarely venture into cinemas these days but there are several films with eightysomething stars that I am very keen to see. Firstly Michael Caine’s KING OF THIEVES based on the Hatton Garden Heist,secondly THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN Robert Redford’s swan song (allegedly) getting rave reviews and standing ovations at film festivals and finally Clint’s THE MULE a long awaited foray in front of the camera (at last) with a knockout supporting cast. I must admit these three golden oldies have much more appeal to me than most current day stars.
    I mention all this because Walter has given us some incredible info regarding Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD which did have a role for Burt Reynolds until his recent passing. Walter’s information has placed this on my “must see” list-certainly a revival of the Hollywood on Hollywood genre.
    For further details follow Walter’s link to The Hannibal 8 I’ve enjoyed most of Tarantino’s films to varying degrees until his most recent THE HATEFUL EIGHT which I loathed. I do however have very high expectations for ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

    Like

  12. John k, thank you for your kind comments concerning my scribblings. My scribbles don’t deserve to be in the same house, or much less in the same room as the wonderful writings of Blake Lucas. Blake is probably busy writing such good works as https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/douglas-sirk-at-universal-international-part-1-the-studio Also, I’m so envious of the outstanding write-ups of such talents as Colin, Toby, and new discovery Margot.

    I think life gets in the way many times when it comes to writing for the blogs. I was a reader for years and didn’t take time to comment, because during those hectic times, I didn’t hardly realize if I was coming or going, so to speak. I have always enjoyed these wonderful fan sites, because it is a pleasure to get away from the awfulness of today’s political tirades by so many people. There are plenty of political forums for that, if that is what you like. Fan sites, such as Colin’s, are oasis’ out there for many of us. I can see where putting a blog out there is very hard work. I applaud those, like Colin, who provide us with an outlet. Thank you.

    Like

    • Thanks very much for those kind words, Walter. Because I did work very hard on that Sirk piece. Hope you and others who read part 1 did go on to part 2
      (linked in part 1) because that is the heart of it and where it’s mean to go to.

      If you did you’ll have noted that in comparing melodramas of other directors at the studio, I specifically noted THE TATTERED DRESS, among other mentions of Jack Arnold, who I have always thought so well of–and in truth, I’ve written on this movie as early as the first Silver/Ward Film Noir book from the 70s, but I have trouble looking at that book, including my own entries, for reasons of my own so can’t say what’s there exactly. I do remember that the desert setting was something I discussed in relation to Arnold’s Sci-Fi films.

      Not to digress too much, Colin’s piece here appeared just as I was getting ready to leave town for most of this week. I had time to read it and enjoy it and that’s all. Catching up with things now that I’m home, I would like to comment more and will try to do it if it does not get away, but you’re right, I have to give priority to my own work, and for pragmatic reasons as well as for the time I have. And I always appreciate that Colin understands that.

      Colin, you have definitely seen Elaine Stewart in a small but memorable role in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, where she figures crucially as the part of it around Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner climaxes. Also, maybe in the same director’s BRIGADOON–again, a small but key role and she’s just great. But I’d encourage any person who has ever enjoyed this lovely actress to see TAKE THE HIGH GROUND (1953; Richard Brooks) where she has a more substantial role, the lead female with Richard Widmark and Karl Malden and she carries that beautifully–and that’s an excellent movie too, with some striking color cinematography by John Alton.

      Like

      • Blake, my friend, can I just say I’m so pleased you were able to chime in here. I’m always so happy to hear from you on these matters, and I’m pretty sure a lot of the other regulars feels exactly the same.
        Ms Stewart: Yes, since my initial comment on her films, I have thought about it and I do recall her part on The Bad and the Beautiful. It’s been so long since I last saw Brigadoon that it would be dishonest of me to make any comment on that, so I won’t.
        I have never seen Take the High Ground but I’m certainly going to try to rectify that now you’ve recommended it.

        Like

        • More Elaine Stewart, because I was motivated after writing to look her up.

          It must be a long time since I last saw it because I don’t know how I could have forgotten the superb THE RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND, directed by Budd Boetticher no less and on a level with at least some of the Ranowns (OK, the very best ones are hard to match). Really, for me this has always been the best gangster movie in that late 50s/early 60s revival of the genre, and there were other good ones in it.

          Colin, have you actually not seen this? If not, you’ll want to and I’d suggest it would make an excellent subject for one of your pieces, one that I’d be very interested to read.

          Like

          • This is one of those times when I have to hang my head and at the same time hold up my hand and admit that, no, I haven’t gotten round to watching The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond yet. What makes it worse is the fact I have a copy of the film – it’s not to hand just now but I will make a point of actually sitting down and watching it at the earliest opportunity.

            BTW, I meant to add in the last comment here that both of Blake’s excellent pieces on U-I, and Sirk in particular, can be accessed here:
            Part 1
            Part 2

            Like

  13. I second those thoughts, Walter! I come on these blogs for a blast of sanity and old-world civility (as well as for enjoying and learning so much).

    Like

    • Jerry, the increasingly toxic nature of online interaction in recent years is one of the reasons I try to discourage too much political discussion – as Walter said, there are plenty of other paces where that can be found. Of course if a movie raises a political issue, or if point of some kind is being made, then it would be remiss not to mention, acknowledge and/or comment on that. In general though, and where possible, I prefer to keep the focus on other matters.

      Like

  14. Blake, you are so very much welcome. Yes, I read Part 2 and I recommend it for everyone to read.

    I first saw TAKE THE HIGH GROUND(1953) on the CBS LATE MOVIE in the early 1970’s. It is a really good movie set during the Korean War with Richard Widmark and Karl Malden shinning in their roles. Elaine Stewart is also good here as the troubled war widow who attracts Widmark and Malden’s attention. The cast of young upcoming actors are of interest. Of course, there are scenes that in reality would not be tolerated in a real basic training camp situation, but were there for dramatics. Director Richard Brooks was in the Marines.

    I have a question that concerns who actually wrote the movie. Did Millard Kaufman or blacklisted Dalton Trumbo write the story and screenplay? Kaufman was nominated for an Academy Award.

    Like

  15. Another beautifully written review, Colin: your thoughts are a delight to read. Your mention of the tragic Gail Russell reminds me of her stunning presence in “Angel and the Badman” and, later, when in the grip of her fatal alcoholism, her excellent performance in “Seven Men From Now”. I think she was good enough to have been a big star had her demons not overwhelmed her.

    Like

  16. Speaking of the wonderful Gail Russell. I have never forgotten her performance in the haunting WAKE OF THE RED WITCH(1948). She and John Wayne had remarkable screen chemistry. The ending where Ralls(John Wayne) and Angelique(Gail Russell) have the look of a ghostly happiness at last for all eternity.

    Like

    • Walter, I’m fond of Wake of the Red Witch myself and wrote about it here a few years ago. The plotting, in my opinion, is rather heavy going in places but there’s a lot to enjoy and appreciate in that film.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.