16 carot

Couldn’t really get on with William Castle’s SERPENT OF THE NILE, a William Castle micro-epic with Rhonda Fleming as Cleopatra, filmed in front of a purple curtain or through a few slightly shoddy glass paintings. Note to FX artists: study perspective! If a ship is actually ON the horizon, you’ve got something which is standing practically AT the vanishing point yet failing to vanish: that redefines BIG.

Speaking of BIG, Raymond Burr is always good for a laugh, but the bulk of this didn’t seem ridiculous enough. Castle directs like a heavily medicated mannequin, as usual.

But the floorshow with a gilded Julie Newmar is something —

Fiona: “These scenes are usually rubbish, but she can really move!”

Me: “Castle used up all the colour (or ‘color’) in North America for this. They had to import more violet from Mexico.”

7 Responses to “16 carot”

  1. This inevitably recalls the wonderful “White Virgin of the Nile” production number in Tashlin’s Rockabye Baby — a teriffic Jerry-starred remake of The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. (Jerry turned 85 yesterday.)

  2. Jerry and David Cronenberg share a birthday. They should make March Sixteenth the official Body Horror Day.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    Julie Newmar anticipates Shirley Eaton as being the first “golden girl” in cinema. Surely Rhonda is much better than Liz in CLEOPATRA and Burr as a burly, heterosexual Mark Antony is bizarre, to say the least?

  4. Rhonda’s pretty good, but it’s a shame to lose her fiery locks. Burr is suitably peculiar, and gets a bit of homoerotic subtext going with the hero. But Newmar raises interest levels to heights from which they simply can’t recover after she’s trundled off on her dais.

  5. david wingrove Says:

    On the subject of ‘golden girls’…surely the prototype is Marlene Dietrich in KISMET?

    Personally, I found SERPENT OF THE NILE vastly more entertaining (and a good deal shorter) than the interminable Dick ‘n Liz version. It’s also a lot less ponderous and long-winded than the 1945 CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA.

    OK, so it ain’t the DeMille epic with Claudette Colbert. But them again, what is?!

  6. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Hey I’ve got no problem with the FX on this – they’ve built an incredibly lifelike robot for goodness sake, the like of which non-Hollywood science has failed to produce nearly 60 years later. The robotic dancing is lightyears ahead of the celebrated jerks and swivels of the 1980s. Plus with the economy the way it is I doubt we’ll ever be able to produce and successfully market them in solid gold. Fibreglass, maybe.

    Thanks for the link DC, it led me to enjoy some shambolic dancing and a surprise guest in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV8ergvSSKk

  7. Great Wonga! That’s some freestyle jungle activity they got going on there.

    It’s funny how robots always go for the Peter Weller moves when this is so much nice. Alice Krige as the Borg Queen in Star Trek maybe comes close.

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