Carradine Strikes Out

Consider this a sequel, of sorts, to that long-ago post, Ten Bad Dates With Roddy McDowell. This time, it’s John Carradine who doesn’t seem set to enjoy much luck.

Give up now, John!

The movie is FEMALE JUNGLE, a profoundly silly title for a not quite so silly movie, essentially a retread of BLACK ANGEL. Here it’s homicide cop Lawrence Tierney who fears he may have committed murder during an alcoholic blackout, which is pretty much the most serious faux pas a homicide cop can make. Apart from the always-intense Tierney (a guy who really did go nuts with a drink inside him) and Carradine (who looks GOOD in those specs, damnit — they add another, previously missing dimension to his head), there’s “And Introducing” Jayne Mansfield, who actually acts in a convincing human manner here, rather than deploying the light-comedy fembot style she made so much her own later.

Seen in the clip with Carradine is former beauty queen Kathleen Crowley, who’s quite moving and vulnerable in a Patricia Medina kind of way — her argument scenes with her husband, (screenwriter star Burt Kaiser) are so circular and illogical and poorly-written as to be actually a pretty convincing evocation of the average domestic tiff between people who have just plain gotten into the habit of fighting.

Nice atmos of late-night grime.

Images from

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]

15 Responses to “Carradine Strikes Out”

  1. David Boxwell Says:

    If I could have any name in the world it would be: Bruno Ve Sota. Star of gamy cult classic DEMENTIA and also the auteur of BRAIN EATERS (58).

    FJ also has the distinction of being the last film shot by troubled genius Elwood “Woody” Bredell, so it looks like a far more complex film than it is. Bredell went on to live another 35 years…

    Mansfield’s star persona was essentially created by Frank Tashlin, which also had the effect of limiting her, and destroying her. Here and in Wendkos’s THE BURGLAR (57), she is beautifully non-cartoonish.

  2. Jayne Mansfield is also great in THE CHALLENGE, a British gangster film where she plays a glamorous Soho crime queen. She was a hugely talented performer (more so than Marilyn Monroe) who fell victim to Hollywood and its chronic lack of imagination.

  3. Wow. The man who shot Phantom Lady.

    Mansfield may be a case of a star living the part so fully she dictated the way she’d always be seen — even in interviews she seems to be playing the same articifical role.

  4. True. She was always palying “Jayne Mansfield” in later years. Early on in films lik eTH eBurglar she showed range.

    BTW, I saw her live on stage in Axelrod’s Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter — the wonderful Tashlin film took only the title and went its own weird way. She was charming.

  5. David B, do you know any more about Bredell? I know about Siodmak sending him to look at Rembrandts, but never heard anything about his troubles later.

  6. David Boxwell Says:

    I just read “somewhere” that he was an alcoholic. For what that’s worth. But he worked very little after 1949, and not at all after 1955.

  7. Christopher Says:

    LOL…that clip…WHAT?? :o))

  8. Thanks for the news on Bredell.

    Sometimes I just see a scene or a moment and want to snip it out so that it stands as a tiny movie in itself. As soon as she said “Whaat?” I knew I wanted it.

  9. A friend of mine, Gordon Reid, interviewed John Carradine in the mid seventies and found him charming and forthcoming. That is until asked about the 1965 bomb House of Black Death. Mr. Carradine thought about the question and said that never appeared in the film. Gord repeated the title and Mr. Carradine became a slight more irritated, claiming that he had never heard of the film. Gord started to tell Mr. Carradine about the details of the film when the actor screamed “I WAS NEVER IN THAT FILM!”. end of interview.

  10. It may have been a case of footage that was shot for one movie being spliced into another without the actor’s knowledge or consent. Jess Franco is notorious for that, as are the Salkind brothers (eg. the SUPERMAN and MUSKETEER films). So if an actor insists they never appeared in a certain film, they may well be telling the truth as far as they know it.

  11. The Salkinds’ approach is slightly different, shooting one long film and dividing it into two, provoking mass contract renegotiations. Franco just autocannibalizes, or his producers do. Christopher Lee was disturbed to find himself in a porno movie he never signed up for.

    I can well imagine such a thing happening to Carradine, who did many irrelevant walk-ons which could easily be picked up and dropped into a fresh storyline.

  12. Jason Hyde Says:

    House of the Black Death was co-directed by Jerry Warren, notorious for tossing together footage from different films, shooting unbelievably dull linking footage and calling it a new movie. So it’s very likely that Carradine had no idea that he was in something called House of the Black Death. Still, I find it amusing that he would be so incredibly touchy about that particular film. After all, he was in Vampire Hookers, Frankenstein Island, and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.

  13. And do we really believe that Christopher Lee had no idea he was in a porn flick? After all, he made 5 or 6 films with Jess Franco, mostly with a high erotic content. How good a liar was Franco? And how naive can an actor possibly be? Personally, I just don’t buy it.

  14. Lee may have been surprised to be in a HARDCORE porn flick. There was (and is) a pretty strong perceived delineation between the two.

    Jerry Warren had some kind of reverse midas touch, from what I’ve seen. Even though Face of the Screaming Werewolf is a very fine title indeed, the film he cobbled together behind it is almost impossible to sit through.

  15. Are any of the Lee/Franco films hardcore? If so, which ones?! I’d be wildly curious to see them.

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