Emordnilap

EMORDNILAP is PALINDROME backwards, you see.

A palindrome isn’t, as one might assume, a nightmarish gladiatorial arena where unfortunate enemies of the state are thrown to a ravening Sarah Palin to be disemboweled in her slavering jaws. So we can relax. It’s merely a word that reads the same backwards as forwards. But it does, like many words with terribly precise meanings, get mushed around to merely mean “a backwards spelled word”.

Which leads me to director Reginald LeBorg, who helmed the above short subject. Poor Reggie was probably the least talented Viennese director in Hollywood, outclassed as he was by Lang, Wilder, Zinnemann… He may have been the least talented Viennese PERSON in Hollywood. When Duvivier’s compendium film FLESH AND FANTASY got chopped up, a spare episode was selected for expansion into feature form, and LeBorg got the job of shooting the added scenes for what became DESTINY. Given that he had a fraction of Duvivier’s vast budget, and a script that threw in three completely new and irrelevant opening sequences to pad things out, I guess he was seriously disadvantaged from the start, but let’s just say that the seams show…

But my point is, LeBorg was born Reginald Grobel. GROBEL. LEBORG. Think about it.

As for Yvonne DeCarlo, famed as she later would be for her Sondheim work, she didn’t seem to get much chance to sing in the Hollywood movies I’ve encountered her in, most notably CRISS CROSS (though she does essay a memorable mambo with Tony Curtis in that). So it’s nice to see her giving those lungs a work-out here.

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18 Responses to “Emordnilap”

  1. The Reginald LeBorg oeuvre defines “Poverty Row.”

    Jack Smith was a great fan of The Mummy’s Ghost, paying hommage to it in Normal Love.

  2. Yvonne inspired the song, but here’s my favorite version of “I’m Still Here”

  3. Here’s another great rendition.

    The line “I got through all of last year — and I’m here” is practically my motto.

  4. Worse than W. Lee Wilder (I watched one of his films a while back), that’s quite a bar to reach. I think one digs for that bar.

  5. Actually, yeah, W Lee (who is not without interest but largely without skill) might take the prize. But I’d rather watch a W Lee.

  6. david wingrove Says:

    Sondheim may have more cultural kudos, but for me Yvonne de Carlo will ALWAYS be Lily Munster!

  7. The Addams Family are the originals, and they had some talented players, but The Munsters always seemed funnier to me.

  8. Thanks for sharing the video, i’d never seen it. I preferred the Addams Family to the munsters, and it wasn’t until I saw Criss Cross that I fell for DeCarlo. But fall I did.

  9. She had it!

    There’s a great film of her entertaining the troops in WWII. “I’m sorry, but those are all the songs I know, and I can’t think what else I could POSSIBLY do for you!”

  10. Jack Smith was almost as crazy about Yvonne as he was about Maria Montez. His fave? Salome Where She Danced.

  11. David Boxwell Says:

    Lon Chaney, Jr. was a hulking Count ALUCARD (geddit?) in Robert Siodmak’s SON OF DRACULA (43)…

  12. David Boxwell Says:

    Sam Coslow is a neglected figure in the history of American popular music. The tune Peggy sings (surely dubbed) sounds iike a Rumba redux of some of his bigger hits of the 30s.

    Reggie’s last credit is the 1974 SO EVIL MY SISTER, with poor little Daddy’s girl Susan Strasberg and Howard Hughes’ jailbait discovery, Faith Domergue. He also had to move another Hollywood lost one, Barbara Payton, around the poky sets at Hammer circa 1953.

  13. David Boxwell Says:

    Le Borg and Lee WIlder as the bottom of the emigre barrel? Them’s was giants of cinema, I tells ya, compared with Frank STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP (46), Wisbar.

  14. Salome Where She Danced is a GREAT title — haven’t seen the film.

    Ah, now Frank Wisbar is somebody I know NOTHING about. But the IMDb has his birthplace as Tilsit, which was in East Prussia at the time.

    So Evil My sister is also blessed with Sydney Chaplin and Kathleen Freeman, which makes it seem irresistible to me.

  15. Spotted Yvonne D in the Ladd/Lake vehicle THIS GUN FOR HIRE, as an extra in the nightclub scene, no dialogue but it’s definitely her. I believe she’s done up as a a mermaid. Tried to find a shot of her as such on the internet, but alas, no go.

  16. david wingrove Says:

    Never seen SALOME WHERE SHE DANCED, but SLAVE GIRL (another Maria Montez knock-off) is fabulous fun! Unlike darling Maria, Yvonne de Carlo was actually a good actress if she was given half a chance.

  17. That one has a talking camel too, which is THE MARK OF A GOOD FILM.

    I’ll go looking for Yvonne’s mermaid bit when I have a moment.

  18. Well, there’s a talking camel in ROAD TO MOROCCO, and that remains my favorite of the ROADs.

    DeCarlo had some good moments in the ’50s TEN COMMANDMENTS. There’s also CASBAH, which I’m surprised David E has not mentioned … even if I do have distinct memories of DeCarlo, on the old DICK CAVETT show, naming CASBAH as the film she’d gladly erase from her career.

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