The Man from Atlantis

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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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9 Responses to “The Man from Atlantis”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    Ah, the sublime Maria Montez! I may be in a minority of one here, but I don’t even think she was so bad an actress. Indeed, given a decent director (e.g. Max Ophuls in THE EXILE) she could actually give quite a graceful and elegant performance.

    That’s something that still eludes the ghastly modern likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry or Kim Basinger – all of whom have won Oscars for their terrifying displays of histrionic incompetence!

    It’s a tragedy that the ravishing Maria died so young. Imagine her as a feisty 92-year-old doing a DVD commentary on COBRA WOMAN! But her lovely daughter Tina Aumont carried on the family tradition admirably. See her in Philippe Garrel’s LES HAUTES SOLITUDES and you’ll know what ‘star magnetism’ means.

  2. In The Exile she plays a French aristocrat exactly like a Dominican beauty queen turned movie star — which is a perfectly reasonable interpretation. It’s odd that the other best director to work with her, Siodmak, got her campiest performance. Although I don’t really approve of making fun of her accent: “Breeng me the coparah chewells!” — to me this smacks of class prejudice, a Hispanic accent being judged as sillier than, say, a French one. I mean, in Siren of Atlantic, Aumont does say, “I feel like a sheep sailing away,” and nobody makes fun of him.

  3. Wht made Maria Montez so fascinating was the utter seriosuness and conviction with which she approached even the most moth-eaten of roles. Be it White Savage, Arabian Nights or the sublime Cobra Woman she acted as if she were doing Racine.

    The Exile is an exception to this rule. It is indeed wonderful and she’s quite teriffic in it on a perfectly standard acting level. It’s a comic role and Ophuls obviously knew how to treat her to bring out her intentional comic side.

  4. Tina Aumont — also known as Tina Marquand (because Christian Marquand was her boyfriend when she was starting out) can be seen to great effect in Modesty Blaise, Partner, Le Lit de la vierge and Vincente Minnelli’s last picture A Matter of Time.

    She also pops up in the documentary Nico/Icon as she was a pal of the goddess — being a fellow heroin addict.

    She had her mother’s eyes.

  5. You know of course that Cocteau was going to make Orphee with Aumont and Montez, but couldn’t get the budget, so he made it for half the price with his friends instead? Montez was very disappointed, and Aumont told her she shouldn’t play Death anyhow, she would have many more roles, charming and beautiful like her.

    “But darling,” she said, “Death should be charming and beautiful!”

  6. Christopher Says:

    Cocteau and Montez!..now theres a pairing I would have like to have seen..

  7. It is a staggering idea. Alternatively, they could have hired him to direct Siren of Atlantis… instead of six directors, just hire one good one. But David Wingrove points out that Cocteau might have had trouble getting a visa for America at that time…

  8. david wingrove Says:

    After all, poor old Cocteau was a known homosexual and opium addict – who had recently been accused of being a Nazi collaborator during the war.

    Not that I would take the last charge seriously. By the time the German tanks rolled into Paris in 1940, Cocteau was probably too stoned to know which uniform was which.

    Plus, his boyfriend Jean Marais allegedly worked for the Resistance.

  9. david wingrove Says:

    Tina Aumont’s most alluring appearance is in the wonderful Giuseppe Patroni Griffi film THE DIVINE NYMPH. It’s only a cameo role – she swans in during the final orgy, dolled up as a high-class courtesan. She’s clad in mauve from head to foot, and looks like some rare poisonous orchid.

    Whether she had a larger role that was cut, or had to be curtailed due to her ongoing drug problems, I really don’t know. All I can say is…she looks utterly exquisite!

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