1965. The Secret Storm. A talented young married painter, Hope (Pamela Raymond), tries to assure her young husband, Jerry Ames (Peter White), she will put their marriage first from now on over her art career and interference from people striving to keep them apart.
In search of one scene seen of 1967's The Producers with Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks showing on Turner Classic Movies tonight that I almost died laughing from while watching it, this was all I could find of The Producers, a clip from 2005 with Brooks, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Nathan Lane on YouTube, which succeeded just as much as the 1967 version on TCM to crack me into pathetic little pieces...
A shower of meteorites produces a glow that blinds anyone that looks at it. As it was such a beautiful sight, most people were watching, and as a consequence, 99% of the population go blind. In the original novel, this chaos results in the escape of some Triffids, experimental plants that are capable of moving themselves around and attacking people. In the film version, however, the Triffids are not experimental plants. Instead they are space aliens whose spores have arrived in an earlier meteor shower.” (courtesy IMDB)
Katherine Allenborg, a working girl from the slums, sees the Stylewear Beauty Contest as a ticket to a new life. Although Kathy feels a repugnance toward all men, she decides to use her feminine allure to get what she wants. Upon learning that Sam Lewis, the elderly head of Stylewear magazine, will determine the contest winner, Kathy turns her charms on him. After Sam fixes the contest so that Kathy wins first prize, a trip to Europe, Kathy abruptly dismisses the hapless Sam.
On the flight to London, Kathy meets Tim O'Bannion, a struggling television producer employed by the European-based Dowling's advertising firm. Although Tim is attracted to the comely Kathy, she is on the prowl for wealthy suitors and hence shows no interest in the lowly Tim.
At the Mayfair Hotel, Kathy, who has changed her name to Kathy Allen, finds a more suitable prospect in her neighbor, successful photographer Larry Buckham. Larry asks Kathy to dinner, but she freezes when he tries to kiss her later that night. The next day, while waiting for Larry in the hotel lobby, Kathy encounters Tim, who insists she join him for a drink. At the bar, Kathy, who possesses no viable skills, asks Tim to help her secure a position at Dowling's. Their conversation is interrupted by the hot-tempered Larry, who insists on immediately leaving the bar. Irrationally possessive of Kathy, Larry proclaims his love and asks her to marry him.
As Kathy's hotel bills mount, she enrolls in secretarial school and then accepts Larry's proposal. The night after they become engaged, Larry leaves town for a week-long business trip, but before going, suggests that Kathy use his charge at Marshall's Department Store to buy a wedding dress. When Larry returns to London, he discovers that Kathy has checked out of the hotel, leaving behind thousands of pounds in Marshall's charges. When one of the store's executives informs Larry that Kathy has pawned all the merchandise, Larry attacks the man and is arrested and sentenced to jail for assault.
Using Tim as a reference, Kathy applies for a job with Stephen Collins, the London head of Dowling's. Smitten by Kathy's shapely legs, the already married Collins hires her as a typist. While Kathy is working late one night, Collins, out of town on a business trip, phones his secretary to deliver a file. Kathy decides to deliver the file herself, however, and upon finding Collins exhausted from a day of hard work, gets him drunk. After Collins goes to bed, Kathy sneaks into the bedroom, undresses and climbs in. Soon after, Collins promotes Kathy to be his secretary, and the two embark upon an affair.
One night, Tim invites Kathy to dinner, and at the end of the evening, they return to her apartment. When Tim nuzzles Kathy's neck, she experiences sexual passion for the first time in her life. After Kathy laments that she has never felt that way before, Tim observes that she is "twisted up about love."
Soon after, Collins arrives, prompting Tim's abrupt departure, after which Kathy threatens to break off their affair unless Collins marries her. On a business trip to Paris, Kathy meets Collins' wife Virginia and discovers that she is the daughter of the firm's owner, John Dowling. In the ladies' room, Virginia offers to pay Kathy to end her affair with Collins. Shrewdly calculating, Kathy instead suggests assigning her to a new job in Paris, where Dowling's is headquartered. Soon after Kathy's arrival in Paris, she manipulates the unwitting Dowling into proposing to her. As Kathy is fitted for her wedding dress, Tim, aware that Kathy loves him, bursts into the room and asks who cut out her heart.
Soon after Dowling and Kathy are wed, Kathy receives an anonymous threatening phone call from a man, which is then followed by a menacing letter. One night, Kathy spots a shadowy figure hiding in the bushes, and rattled, removes the pistol from her husband's desk drawer. Terrified, Kathy pauses in the hallway, and when she sees a shadow approach the doorway, she fires, killing her husband.
Kathy's story that she thought her husband was a prowler is discounted by the police, and once Virginia and the family attorney testify that Kathy only married Dowling for his money, she is arrested and brought to trial on the charge of murder. On the day that Kathy is found guilty and sentenced to death,
Tim notices Larry in the crowd outside the courthouse and follows him. After Tim declares that he knows Larry has been stalking Kathy, Tim explains that Kathy's antisocial behavior stems from an incident that damaged her in youth. Tim then shows Larry a newspaper clipping detailing the adolescent Kathy's rape by a gang of hoodlums. Touched by Kathy's ordeal, Larry agrees to go the police and admit that he was the prowler. After Kathy's sentence is reduced to a three-month term for manslaughter, Tim visits her in her cell and gives her the clipping. When she asks if it is too late for them, he replies he is not sure and walks away.
Arlene Dahl ... Kathleen 'Kathy' Allen, nee Allenborg Philip Carey ... Tim O'Bannion (as Phil Carey) Herbert Marshall ... Stephen Collins Michael Goodliffe ... Larry Buckham Ralph Truman ... John Dowling Sidney James ... Frank Allenborg David Kossoff ... Sam Lewis Faith Brook ... Virginia Collins Marvin Kane ... Mike Lewis Patrick Allen ... Willie Gil Winfield ... Chuck (as Gilbert Winfield) Larry Cross ... T.V. Announcer Alastair Hunter Jacques B. Brunius ... Inspector Caron (as Jacques Brunius) Anthony Sharp
A working-class gold digger (Arlene Dahl) ruins her life as she uses men to get what she wants.
"Ok. As we live and grow I know we have to grow older. Some of us will certainly look older than even old while others will not. So we prefer the ones who look as if they're sipping from a glass that has some kind of fountain of youth potion or so that is what we expect from a lover without caring how old he is physically as long as he's 21 and above. Did not think I would like this film at all....but well, I became emotionally attached to its moodiness and could not look away. Can't believe I've never heard of this 1967 British jewel of a film unil now. .Oh, I love every minute of older age; although, it is kind of sad and as lonely and alone as hell must be..." -Charles Pearson
The Whisperers Review by By Lee Pfeiffer
In this moody 1967 British film Dame Edith Evans givies a bravura Oscar-nominated performance, playing an elderly woman who believes she can hear conspiratorial voices plotting against her. She reprimands them but they keep returning. They are the titular "Whisperers"- however, this plot angle is only fleetingly explored in Bryan Forbes downbeat but impressive film.
In fact the movie is a character study that illustrated the plight of the elderly in Britain at that time. The Brits may have been on the winning side in WWII, but the social consequences of living in a nation that was financially crippled because of the consequences of that conflict were severe.
The popular image of England in the mid to late 1960s was that of London being the epicenter of the pop culture revolution. British bands dominated international pop charts, British fashions were all the rage and The Beatles and James Bond appeared to be far more than the usual flash-in-the-pan rages (a theory that has been proven true over the ensuing decades). However, outside of London, the British working class were often relegated to spartan lifestyles with pensioners particularly vulnerable to various societal degradations.
The Whisperers personifies this dilemma through the character of Mrs. Ross (Evans), who eeks out a daily battle to survive while trying to retain some vestiges of her dignity. She lives in a dreary public housing flat in Manchester and the city is presented by Forbes as the armpit of England, with smokestacks belching polluted fumes into the skies while impoverished children play aimlessly in the streets amid vacant, partially collapsed buildings.
Mrs. Ross can only exist because of social services but, as Roger Ebert pointed out in his review of the film, even the best-intentioned societies can humiliate those they seek to help. Thus, her request for a simple pair of shoes necessitates a personal visit from a well-meaning social worker (well played by Kenneth Griffiths) to examine her current pair to ensure they do indeed merit being replaced.
Financially, the loss of a single pound can wreak havoc on her life and she can only get it replaced by the local government if she files a formal report with the police. A free cup of soup at a nearby church comes at a price: the reverend makes the recipients feign religious devotion and sing hymns before they can eat. This is a "kitchen sink" drama in which the kitchen sink literally plays a role, with the slow steady dripping of this standard household fixture taking on an ominous air.
Mrs. Ross is abused and deceived at every turn and her increasingly fragile mental state makes her particularly vulnerable. A new friend lures her to her home where she is drugged and robbed. Her own son (Ronald Fraser) is a middle-aged, failed con-man who visits mum only when he can stash some stolen loot in her closet. Her estranged, no-good husband (outstandingly played by Eric Portman) is browbeaten into returning home to care for her, but sees only the opportunity to exploit the situation for his own gain. Throughout it all, Mrs. Ross perseveres like an impoverished Mrs. Miniver. She dresses in her finest and relates fanciful stories about her elegant past that sympathetic social workers pretend to believe. Forbes envisioned his film (one of the last major B&W productions) as a vehicle for opening a national debate about the plight of the elderly in England. Things ultimately changed for the better, but it's doubtful that Forbes' acclaimed art house film ever reached a wide enough audience to claim any credit for the improvements. What remains is a sobering and depressing story- hard to watch for anyone with even a hint of human compassion. However, the performance by Edith Evans and a superb supporting cast, coupled with John Barry's haunting score, make at least one viewing mandatory for anyone who relishes cinema of this period.
Synopsis: Since her mother’s incarceration in a mental institution, Boarding School Student Janet (Jennie Linden) suffers from debilitating nightmares. The dreams intensify to the point where school carer Mary (Brenda Burke) decides to place Janet back in the custody of her legal guardian Henry Baxter (David Knight). But, after returning home, Janet’s nightmares get worse and coincide with the arrival of a ghostly apparition.
As well as being inspired by Hitchcock's "Psycho", "Nightmare" also evokes H.G Clouzot’s "Les Diaboliques", with its conspiring characters’ madness/ paranoia, school setting, family fracas’ and foreboding tone, while retaining the supernatural air of subtly sinister chillers like "The Haunting" and "The Innocents".
Whatever else it may turn out to be, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is certainly one of the most fascinating and unusual cinema items of the year, and one that will capture a huge amount of publicity and comment.
Robert Aldrich's production for Warner Bros. is a lurid melodrama of hate, revenge and murder, a high-class horror film, in the Hitchcock vein, with virtuoso performances from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, and moments both searing and poignant. Aldrich directed as well as produced the Seven Arts presentation for Warners. Kenneth Hyman was executive producer. As it stands, Baby Jane does not always sustain its own powerful pace.
Such a story, essentially a short story or mystery yarn rather than a narrative with the development and change of a novel, has to be told in almost breathless fashion, one incident piled upon another, flashing trickery that binds without unnecessary explanation. Baby Jane could be improved by cutting subplotting and exposition of minor characters, unimportant in the total framework and not diverting in themselves. Stripped of unessentials, the focus would sharpen, the spell would be heightened, and the grim, relentless story — broken as it is already with bizarre humor — would be more totally successful.
Lukas Heller's screenplay is based on a book by Henry Farrell and is concerned with two aged actresses immured in their Hollywood home. One, Bette Davis, was a child star. Her sister, Joan Crawford, was a failure as a child but a great success as an adult movie star. Miss Davis' adult failure and her mad belief that her sister deliberately eclipsed her provides the basis for the corrosive relationship that ties them. Miss Crawford's career was terminated when she became hopelessly crippled in an "accident" engineered by her embittered and jealous sister. Or so the premise runs, until the surprise conclusion.
Miss Davis plays with all the baroque technique at her command, which is unmatched by any other actress. Got up to resemble a flour-faced, slash-lipped refugee from the silent days, sporting blonde corkscrew curls, she is visually frightful. She goes about her chores with the somnolence of the insanely purposeful. The part has no shadings, except an occasional horrible coyness, but Miss Davis sustains it by sheer will. Miss Crawford, playing the less gaudy role, has an equally difficult conception. She is ostensibly sane, and she is being starved to death by her sister in particularly gruesome fashion. Miss Crawford plays her scenes of cajolery, panic and despair with supple skill. Between the two actresses, it is a confrontation of tremendous personality, and a standoff for honors.
Maidie Norman does a nice job as maid to the sisters, and a note of rationality in the house of horrors. Victor Buono contributes a further of rococo as Miss Davis' musical accompanist. Others helpful include Marjorie Bennett, Anna Lee, Barbara Merrill, Dave Willock, Ann Barton and moppets Julie Allred and Gina Gillespie.
Ernest Haller's black-and-white photography is almost unsparing in its hard, clear look at the enormous brutalities of such a life as the Misses Davis and Crawford live. His last shot of Miss Davis is particularly memorable. Music by DeVol is touching in every mood, and most notable in giving a pathos to Miss Davis' character that is not otherwise indicated. William Glasgow's settings are keyed to mood and the background. Michael Luciano's editing is vigorous in assisting the tempo. Norma Koch's costumes are a memorable asset. Sound by Jack Solomon is proficient. — James Powers, originally published on Oct. 26, 1962