Archive for May 28, 2009

Queen of Technicolor!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by dcairns

COBRA WOMAN. This is genius. Really kicks in at 3:53.

And Siodmak directed it the same year he made the excellent pulp-paranoid noir PHANTOM LADY. Maria Montez performs her sacrificial dance with utter conviction. That conviction may be misplaced, but it’s important that it’s there.

Much to enjoy here: two Maria Montezes, one good, one evil. See if you can tell which is which.

I also like the cunning way she disguises her intention of grabbing a spear, and the lightning reflexes with which her doppelganger responds to the threat. And the pointing! Almost as good as the pointing in the dance. Maria Montez may not have been the greatest actress, but she was surely the screen’s best pointer. If she’d been around for Philip Kaufman’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS remake, Earth wouldn’t have stood a chance.

COBRA WOMAN obviously belongs on a double bill with Siodmak’s THE DARK MIRROR, for its cunning exploration of the theme of duality. Seriously, the topic comes up again in THE FILE ON THELMA JORDAN. But if you have Olivia DeHavilland or Barbara Stanwyck embodying it, or if you have Maria Montez embodying it, makes a difference to the kind of results you’re going to get.

In case anybody’s not sold yet, COBRA WOMAN also features:

Sabu.

Lon Chaney Jnr.

An arthritic chimpanzee.

A volcano.

Possibly the greatest movie in the world if you’re a gay 8-year-old. Which I’m not, but sometimes a straight 41-year-old is close enough.

The Man from Atlantis

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by dcairns

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John Stuart expresses surprise in Hitchcock’s NUMBER 17, in a suitably subtle fashion. And today, in the Forgotten, over at the Auteurs’ Notebook, you can find Stuart in the Sahara for GW Pabst, making MISTRESS OF ATLANTIS. The Edinburgh-born actor also worked for Hitchcock in BON VOYAGE, where I seem to recall his Scottish accent is strongest when he speaks French, and he finished his career in SUPERMAN, as part of the council condemning Terence Stamp’s Zod to eternity in the Phantom Zone. From Atlantis to Krypton, the Lost Continent to the Lost Planet. Quite a journey.

Leave your comments over at the Auteurs’, but by special dispensation you can leave Maria Montez videos here, where her perfect cinematic appositeness will always be celebrated.

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