UHU and Applesauce

Tom Weaver’s Science Fiction and Film Fantasy Flashbacks is an entertaining collection of interviews with actors and other personnel from cult SF and horror movies. Debra Paget, now rich, married and living in Texas, has some fun stories.

Debra, do you recall?

Asked about her skimpy dance costume in Lang’s THE INDIAN TOMB, she says it was stuck on with “a marvelous glue called UHU.” This amused me because I grew up with UHU and never appreciated its marvelousness fully until now. “In fact, we used to call it ‘the UHU movie’ because earrings were glued on, everything was glued on!”

So, we have to remember this — from now on, THE INDIAN TOMB is to be called THE UHU MOVIE.

I am in little doubt as to which illustration in this post is more enjoyable to look at.

Paget also talks about appearing in an episode of Roger Corman’s TALES OF TERROR. More substance abuse here — Vincent Price’s graphic decomposition was achieved with caramel applesauce, poured over his face. Rathbone, blinded by sweet goop, had to hang onto the camera itself to guide him forward. “I am not one to break up and waste time on a set, but David Frankham and I laughed so hard and Roger got so upset with us!”

Debra doesn’t say whether TALES OF TERROR should be nicknamed THE CARAMEL APPLESAUCE MOVIE, but I figure yeah, maybe.

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8 Responses to “UHU and Applesauce”

  1. I hit puberty watching The Indian Tomb. It was the American cut, theatrical. I was bored out of my skull until the cobra dance, but after that I decided to sit through it again. I think it was on a double bill with The Boy and the Pirates, and I might have had to sit through that twice, too. For the Uhu Paget, it was worth it.

  2. Debra reckons Lang wanted her costume even smaller. What we got is the compromise between his salaciousness and her modesty.

  3. “The Tiger of Eschnapur / The Hindu Tomb” is my favorite Lang film.

  4. david wingrove Says:

    My God! It’s mine too! I was always afraid to say that because I know it’s not one of his canonical masterworks. But now that you have said it, I feel invigorated and emboldened.

    One question though…does this say more about us than it does about Fritz Lang?

  5. Let’s call hat scene “the woohoo! scene”.

  6. Even though some see it as an outlier, The Indian Tomb duology does seem to encapsulate all of lang’s key tropes, techniques and quirks, including his depiction of reptiles with stereoscopic vision: the dragon in Siegfried is reincarnated as the snake dance pet here, eyes front and centre ogling the show.

    I have no idea why it was so important to Lang to have dragons and reptiles with these friendly eyes, but it clearly mattered to him.

    And nowadays, his last German films have definitely risen in respectability.

  7. bensondonald Says:

    I commend to your attention “Cobra Woman” (1944). Maria Montez’s snake dance is more fully clothed, but she shows real enthusiasm for picking human sacrifices while jitterbugging.

    Universal starred her in a series of lurid Technicolor “spectacles”, more costly than the usual Universal programmers but still visibly struggling to look like money.

  8. Even the chimp in that one is motheaten. Cobra Woman had by far the best director of all these films but somehow emerges as the most ridiculous. Siodmak resorted to a kind of method-acting approach in directing Montez, treating her like a queen or a slave alternately, according to which of her twin roles she was playing at the time. And she’s more ridiculous in this film than any other.

    Alternate cinema history: Cocteau initially planned to make Orphee with Montez and her husband Jean-Pierre Aumont as Death and Orpheus. She was very upset when Cocteau opted to make it cheaper with his chums instead.

    “Never mind,” said Aumont, “You will play other roles more suited to your beauty.”

    “But darling,” said Montez, “Death should be beautiful.”

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