Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Parrish" the Thought!

For quite some time, today's movie (a beautiful, sudsy confection) was out of circulation with only a much-sought-after VHS release the only way to get one's hands on it. (I have one and idiotically chose not to sell it when they were going for well over $100 on eBay!) Now at last on DVD, the colorful splendor of Connecticut (and Troy Donahue) can be viewed by a wider audience.

Parrish (1961) was based on a 1958 novel concerning a young fellow named Parrish McLean who makes his way in the challenging, sometimes cutthroat, tobacco farming industry. As he grows into a man, he enjoys relationships with three highly-varied girls while also witnessing his mother's growing romance with a fat cat in the industry.

Joshua Logan became interested in filming the story and wanted to cast Clark Gable as the tobacco kingpin alongside his famed Gone with the Wind costar Vivien Leigh as Parrish's mother, but along the way these plans fell apart and Delmer Daves (who'd helmed the sensational hit A Summer Place, 1959) came in to write, produce and direct the picture.

Troy Donahue, whose career had received a boost from Daves' A Summer Place (and would continue to benefit from Daves direction in Rome Adventure, 1962) was cast in the lead. Claudette Colbert, who'd been absent from the big screen for six years, portrayed his mother and Karl Malden (quite a switch from Clark “The King” Gable!) won the role of the tobacco czar.
The film begins with Donahue and Colbert arriving at a ferry boat which is taking them part of the way to their destination of Connecticut where they intend to start life anew. Donahue, who'd been a deckhand on the ferry, bids farewell to its captain (who is played by John McGovern, memorable as the postal worker who gives Tippi Hedren directions to Rod Taylor's home in The Birds, 1963.)
This is the first glimpse audiences got of Ms. Colbert in the film and a rare one of hers to be presented in color. Colbert had done the Technicolor Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) for John Ford, but generally preferred to be filmed in black and white (and always, ALWAYS photographed from her left side except for the most fleeting moments here and there!)

Following an airplane flight, Donahue and Colbert are escorted by tobacco field hand Dub Taylor (whose accent is so authentically low-rent it can be difficult to understand him at times!) to their new home.

Sadly for Donahue, Colbert has neglected to mention to her new employer Dean Jagger that she not only has a teenaged son, but has brought him along to live with her. He tells her in no uncertain terms that the boy cannot live under the same roof as her on his property. As she has been hired to tutor and groom his teenaged daughter who's due home from school, the presence of a boy on the grounds just won't do!
While Colbert unsuccessfully tries to wear Jagger down on the subject, Donahue takes a walk and winds up in a tobacco field where several ladies are planting. First the subject of catcalls, he next stands patiently as veteran field hand Hope Summers explains to him how a tobacco plant is just like a baby and has to be carefully nurtured.

Meanwhile, fifteen year-old (in the storyline) Connie Stevens manages to glimpse beyond her heap of curls to see the tall young man before her and is immediately smitten. Before he even knows what's next, he's been hired on to work the fields (which are owned by Jagger) that very day, dress clothes and all, and is all set to move in with Taylor's sizable family!

Stevens takes him on a tour of the ramshackle house, being sure to point out “the john,” which has no lock, and where her own room is situated before taking him up to the attic where he'll be living (in marked contrast to the beautifully-appointed apartment that Colbert has been given.) Stevens is what Dorothy Zbornak would call “faster than Marcus Allen,” wasting no time in letting Donahue know how much she likes him.

She later takes Donahue to the tobacco barn where she informs him that when it's very hot at night, she comes there to sleep. “Raw.” Next, she gets the kiss of a lifetime from Donahue, but isn't able to take things any further because her date has arrived to take her out and this mystery man is someone she can't say no to. Afterwards, however, she comes home (the top of her dress not fully fastened) to find that Donahue has come down with tobacco poisoning. This requires a sensuous blotting of calamine lotion to ease the burning itch.

If you'll note the way Donahue is lit and photographed here, it's the sort of glorious, soft-focus, star-making cinematography that any young actor or actress would kill for. Parrish's cinematographer was Harry Stradling Jr., who was hired four times to photograph Barbra Streisand on film, which ought to tell you everything you need to know about his skill in that arena! (Stradling won two Oscars, for The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, and My Fair Lady, 1964, and was nominated a dozen other times.)

Meanwhile, Colbert's young charge has arrived home and is clearly going to be a bit of a handful. Diane McBain, a stunningly attractive young lady, is given the same awe-inspiring lighting as Donahue. She makes Colbert aware that she has a mind of her own and has no intention of living under the thumb of either her or her father Jagger.

Colbert good-naturedly attempts to establish herself as merely a friend, but McBain's having none of it, preferring to dart off on a date with one of her wealthy beaus than to even have dinner with her father on her first night back home.

Over at the tobacco field, trouble is brewing thanks to the presence of wire worms, which are destroying the freshly-planted crop. Most of the workers are reluctant to stay and work overtime through the night, but Donahue is willing, inspired by his employer Jagger's own integrity and work ethic.

Stumbling to his mother's apartment in the dark of night rather than heading to Taylor's shack, which is further away, Donahue is nearly run down by a car careening up the driveway. It is driven by McBain, just now arriving home from a late date.

She gets her first good look at Donahue and, like most other females in the movie, is instantly attracted to him. She suggests that they finish off some of the champagne that she has leftover in her car, but he begs off after such a staggeringly grueling night in the field. Again, both of these performers are given lustrous close-ups during the scene.
Now feeling some stirrings for McBain, Donahue is beginning to become torn and his canoodling partner Stevens can sense it. She confronts him about it at the filed, but he remains evasive. (I love the color of this sky blue jacket against the green of the foliage, the gold of his hair and the orange of his face. Ha!)
Colbert sagely warns her son about getting his heart broken one way or another, though he isn't apt to listen to her too closely regardless of their obvious affection for one another.
Repeated challenges at the field result in a total replanting, which depletes Jagger's supply of starter beds. As Donahue is finishing up one day, he is accosted by a young lady on a bicycle (Sharon Hugueny) who takes an interest in what's going on.
We later find out that she is the daughter of nearby tobacco king Karl Malden, who lives in a splendiferous mansion and owns very nearly all of the surrounding territory. (I'm a sucker for anything grand and stately like this, probably thanks to being raised in a one-bedroom house!)
Malden has three children and rules them with an iron fist. The two sons (one of who is married) and daughter Hugueny are all expected to live by his rules and report to him anything and everything they see regarding the local tobacco industry. Should they fail to do so, they are reprimanded and humiliated by him.
Malden finally drags it out of his kids that Jagger is facing potential ruin over the loss of his crop and promptly buys up the only available starter plants, offering then to “bail out” Jagger – at a price. Jagger informs Malden that he would gladly go belly up than to accept anything at all from him.

Prior to this terse meeting and directly after it, Malden has met and become intrigued by Colbert. Her attractive, ladylike ways and attempts to smooth over all the bad blood between the men pique his interest and he decides it would be nice to see her socially. She, as a practically penniless widow with a wayward son, isn't exactly against the idea of dating a wealthy tycoon either.
Stevens is having an increasingly hard time getting through to Donahue and the two find themselves arguing when she suggests that his mother is dallying with the area's biggest hot shot Malden. Donahue is incensed at her implications, and, confused by his own feelings when it comes to romance, blows up at her.
Trouble is, Stevens is grappling with her own set of issues. She's going to have a baby! Naïve Donahue, who's only been in the area a little while, wonders if it is his though Stevens is five months along. She easily could have duped him into claiming responsibility, but she gamely opts to inform him that he's clear of any burden.

Now things are beginning to heat up a bit between Malden and Colbert. With both he and his children vacationing at the same oceanside resort as McBain, he arranges for a romantic evening on his yacht. However, Colbert deftly informs him that she isn't about to be his resident squeeze. It's got to be marriage or nothing.

McBain has to head back to school, but has made plans for Donahue to sneak onto the train with her for most of the way. She erupts, however, when she discovers that he has agreed to escort the knocked-up Stevens to an annual dance out of the goodness of his heart. When he refuses to back down from his promise, we see a McBain's snarly side as she announces that she hates him more than she has ever hated anyone or anything!

Malden agrees to marry Colbert and they enjoy a colorful ceremony followed by an extended honeymoon. Once back home, it is decided that Donahue will move into the big house in order to get to know his new step-family.

Hugueny is delighted with Colbert, but alcohol-loving son David Knapp, along with elder son Hampton Fancher and his wife Saundra Edwards, make it clear that they aren't exactly in love with this new wrinkle in the family canvas. Fancher, in particular, makes his displeasure known when he won't even shake Colbert's hand.
Fancher lets Donahue know that he has no intention of standing for Donahue's association with a “tramp” like Stevens and cockily asserts his position to him privately. However, Donahue stands up for himself, adding that Fancher had better learn how to treat Colbert with more respect.

Donahue pays a visit to his old pals at the tobacco shack and finds that Stevens' baby has been born and, not coincident-ally, the entire family has new clothing and the rathole of a house they live in has all new furniture, a television and a spanking new refrigerator, stocked to the hilt. It seems that Stevens' baby was fathered by someone with plenty of (hush) money.

Malden holds a reception in order to introduce his new bride to the people of the area (and I do adore these sorts of cinematic soirees, also to be found in movies like Madame X, 1966, and later to inspire prime-time soaps like Dallas and Dynasty.) Among the invitees are Hayden Rorke, known to many for his work on I Dream of Jeanne from 1965-1970 and a frequent player in films directed by director Daves. It's beginning to become clear to Donahue that his newfound stepsister Hugueny is turning into a young lady.

Also present at the party is Poseidon's Underworld's favorite extra Leoda Richards who, in this sequence anyway, is given closer, front and center proximity to the camera than lead actress Colbert!
Now that he's ensconced in Malden's family, Donahue is offered a position with the expansive family business. Malden demonstrates, via a massive relief map in his office, how he owns all but a few parcels of tobacco farmland in the region. He grants Donahue the key position of a checker, who goes around to each field and takes note of anything and everything that is occurring on site.
Malden's office is enormous and contains little besides that big map and an imposing desk. Note the wallpaper done in golden tobacco leaves! He impresses upon Donahue that he will work long and hard, but the reward will be worth it.

After a controversial series of events, first a raging fire at a competitor's field and then a bout with blue mold, Donahue and Malden can no longer see eye-to-eye and Donahue departs to join the U.S. Navy. (This farewell kiss between McBain and Donahue is not present in the finished cut of the movie.)

McBain, devastated that nothing is going her way with Donahue, agrees to marry Malden's son Knapp, resulting in yet another defection from Jagger's household to the dreaded enemy.
While Donahue is away on a submarine, Hugueny is growing up and becoming more and more ladylike with each passing day. Finally, she turns eighteen (an event punctuated by a hilarious scene in which most of the cast gathers in a semicircle and sings “Paige has a birthday, Paige has a birthday!” followed by a hokey countdown from numbers 1 to 18!)

All along, Hugueny corresponds back and forth with Donahue until her father gets wind of it and throws one of his customary fits. Hugueny has now begun, however, to stand up for herself and face him down a bit more than she once did.

In the bowels of his submarine, Donahue receives letters and, in one instance, a boxed cake from Hugueny and whiles away his evenings dreaming of her. Her photos are tacked up in his bunk, yet in a hysterical on-screen moment, he rolls over and lies down only to reveal a hovering 8x10 glossy of Colbert, imposingly situated right next to his face!!

Once sprung from the navy, Donahue comes back home and is reunited with his mother and with now-curvy Hugueny. He also witnesses a domestic meltdown between McBain and her unhappy husband Knapp.

Settling on a career plan, he decides to work the recently dormant land of Jagger rather than deal with Malden. The two work out a deal that has Donahue almost singlehandedly planting and raising a tobacco crop of his own. (In one humiliating shot, shown below, Donahue is shown with his old sailor cap down around his ears as he pilots a tractor up and down the rows and into the barn.)
Before the movie has ended, Donahue has watched one girl become trapped in a personal hell, another girl come to terms with the life she has brought upon herself and another girl rises to his side in order to help him become his own man. It oughtn't to be hard to figure out which is which.
He also sees his mother finally put her foot down about the man she's married to and settles the score with arch-enemy Fancher who, by this time, has managed to disgust even his own father Malden.
One either has the affection for (stomach for!) this sort of glossy, high-strung melodrama or one doesn't. I do! It would be difficult to describe the film as “good,” yet with its photogenic cast, its gorgeous location filming, its lush - if often over the top - Max Steiner score, its beautiful Howard Shoup costumes and all the other studio polish, it is very easy on the eyes. It's also such a rare chance to see late-career Colbert, in color to boot!
On the subject of the music, do notice below how Donahue's tobacco poisoning was “cleared up” for the cover of this soundtrack album!
Parrish was also a box office success, despite having a reputation as a “bad” movie and with lukewarm critical response. One thing that works against it somewhat is its 2 hour and 20 minute length when a good two hours ought to have been plenty for a movie of this type. However, the almost documentary-like attention to tobacco farming (which is surprisingly interesting) is surely responsible for the extended running time.

Donahue was and is an acquired taste to be sure. He had tall, lean, clean looks (with beautiful crystalline blue eyes), yet also had a slightly puffy face around the jaw line and a thick neck, thus rendering him alternately awkward-looking or awesome-looking, depending on the lighting and the angle. In Parrish, he is often photographed with loving care, but once such things went out of fashion in favor of more realism in the cinema, he hit a rough patch.
Having been molded into a young heartthrob by agent Henry Willson, he'd worked his way up from bit roles in the mid-'50s to a costarring role in the 1959 smash hit A Summer Place. Parrish was his big shot at leading man status and he was given plenty of publicity push. As a Warner Brothers contract player, however, he was put to work both on TV and in movies, thus he couldn't enjoy the benefits of solely being a “movie star.” (You'd think that a magazine devoted solely to him could get the cover right, though! His part was always on the other side. They've reversed the negative...)

Following this, he starred in SusanSlade (1961, again opposite Stevens), Rome Adventure (1962, with his short-term wife Suzanne Pleshette) and Palm Springs Weekend (1963.) After the western A Distant Trumpet (with Pleshette and McBain) and My Blood Runs Cold (1965), his career became more and more sporadic as he lost his contract and his type fell out of favor. After a serious bout with alcohol and drugs and various roles in low-rung projects, he died of a heart attack in 2001 at age sixty-five.

French-born (but American-raised) Colbert worked in her first film as a teen in 1927, rising to major star status by the early 1930s in epics like The Sign of the Cross (1932) and Cleopatra (1934.) Also in 1934, testifying to her versatility, were Imitation of Life and It Happened One Night, which copped her an Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to many great and memorable roles, both comedic and dramatic, being nominated for 1935's Private Worlds (Bette Davis won for Dangerous) and again for 1944's Since You Went Away (Ingrid Bergman won for Gaslight.)

Known throughout her career for steadfastly insisting on being photographed from her left side, every once in a while the camera would catch her right side. (Look at this shot with a mirror in it and you can see that maybe she was on to something after all as her right side in the reflection is a little flatter and slightly sunken, though I can't imagine it would have been that fatal in her youth or even in this case. And her aversion to that side was allegedly due to some sort of bump in her nose.)

By about 1955, decent film roles for Colbert were drying up and she began to pop up on anthology television from time to time. Parrish was her first film in six years. She avoided the many motherly roles that had been offered her, but accepted this one because it was clear to her that the character had a romantic and sexually-desirable side to it. It was her last feature film, however, and she headed straight into retirement. In 1987, she shocked everyone by coming back to do the telefilm The Two Mrs. Grenvilles with Ann-Margret and won a Golden Globe for her trouble. (An Emmy went to Piper Laurie in Promise instead of her.) She lived until 1996 when a series of strokes claimed her at age ninety-two.
By this time in his career, Malden had established himself as a renowned character actor with an Oscar on his mantle for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and a nomination for On the Waterfront (1954, with the statuette going to Edmond O'Brien for The Barefoot Contessa that time) among many other strong roles. He would continue with solid supporting work in feature films right up until he entered a second career on TV with The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977), which earned him a new generation of fans. He continued to work here and there as an actor while also presiding over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a five-year stretch before dying of natural causes in 2009 at the age of ninety-seven.

Another Oscar-winning actor in Parrish was Jagger (for 1949's Twelve O'Clock High), who enjoyed a lengthy career as a valuable character actor from the late-1920s to the mid-1980s. A few of his more notable movies include Brigham Young (1940), The Robe (1953), Executive Suite (1954), White Christmas (1954) and Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), though he was busy in film and on TV for a straight forty-five year period. He died of heart disease in 1991 at age eighty-seven.

At the time of Parrish, Stevens was appearing regularly on Hawaiian Eye (1959-1963) and, like fellow Warner Brothers player Donahue, split her time between movies and television. Her next two movies, Susan Slade (1961) and Palm Springs Weekend (1962), also starred Donahue, though she wasn't paired off with him in the latter one. Like Donahue, as the studio system dismantled and she was left to her own devices, she had to struggle (and attempt to change her image) to keep going. She did remain reasonably popular, though, and kept working here and there to the present day, with a highly successful skin care line to help fill in the dry spots. She is currently seventy-six.

We love McBain and have profiled not only she herself, but several of her movies such as Ice Palace (1960), Claudelle Inglish (1961) and The Caretakers (1963.) Parrish offers her at her most ravishingly lovely. Offscreen since 2001, she is currently seventy-three. (Why in the hell isn't there a DVD commentary available for this movie with Stevens and McBain?)
This was Miss Hugueny's debut on film, having essayed a few TV roles beforehand. She would next portray a mental patient in The Caretakers (1963) and then enjoy costarring billing with Peter Fonda in The Young Lovers (1964.) However, apart from some subsequent TV parts, that was the end of the line for her promising career. She had met actor (and later mega-producer) Robert Evans on the set of Parrish and they wed swiftly after (she was seventeen, he was thirty.) The marriage was a disaster, affected her Warner Brothers contract and resulted in a fast separation and later divorce.

A second marriage was slightly more successful, but pregnancy stalled her career once more. In 1976, she married again and was about to reignite her career (on her way to sign contracts as a matter of fact) when she was struck by a speeding police car and seriously injured. Thus sidelined once again, she and her husband resided in Lake Arrowhead, California where they lived together until she died at fifty-two of cancer, which had been misdiagnosed.

Fancher was a half-Mexican young man who'd intensely studied flamenco dancing prior to opting for an acting career at age twenty. After working on several TV westerns, he became yet another Warner Brothers contractee, which meant he worked steadily on many of their hit TV series as well as making film appearances. His work in the cinema was limited for the most part, though, to Rome Adventure (1962), The Other Side of the Mountain (1975) and a little known psychological drama called Survival (1976.) He did co-write Blade Runner (1982) and later directed and wrote The Minus Man (1999), which starred Owen Wilson. He is seventy-six today.

This was the feature film debut of Knapp and he didn't set foot before the cameras again for close to a decade after, though at that time he did enjoy a string of TV and film appearances that stretched into the mid-'80s. There was also some behind the camera work as a producer and writer. He then made a brief resurgence in the mid-'90s before falling victim to renal failure in 2006 at age sixty-seven.

Fancher's wife in Parrish was played by Saundra Edwards, a 1957 Playboy Playmate who parlayed her appearance there into a Warner Brothers contract. (Her role in this film is thankless, brief and very covered up!) Bit roles in movies and a wide variety of TV show appearances from 1958 up to the time of Parrish (and the concurrent A Fever in the Blood, 1961) seemed to signal success, but it was not to be.
She met and became pregnant by a fellow Warners actor Tom Gilson (shown here in The Crowded Sky, 1960, with Patsy Kelly), who she then married. In 1962, after she and her eight month-old child had fled to her sister's home following repeated domestic unrest, Gilson burst through the door and Edwards shot him dead with a gun her brother-in-law had given her to “scare him.” Though the incident was ruled justifiable homicide, her career ground to a sudden halt and she exited show business. She is seventy-six today.
Several notable character actors and actresses appear, though few get a chance to really make much of an impression. Taylor, of course, had a decent part and the aforementioned Summers got one good monologue, but Bibi Osterwald as Taylor's wife got little, Sylvia Miles was quite wasted as a field worker and its criminal to put Madeleine Sherwood in a movie and hand her virtually no lines. Ford Rainey plays a foreman. A variety of other name actors are supposedly present in tiny roles including Frank Campanella, Carroll O'Connor, Vincent Gardenia and Terry Carter (who co-wrote the simplistic and unintentionally goofy songs sung by the planters.)

Winding up, I give you an alternate cover of the movie tie-in paperback novel...
...and its back side, which features photos and an amusingly “steamy” description of the story.
A later reissue of the book distanced itself from Troy and Connie and featured a highly sensual anonymous couple in the midst of a clinch! (I love this sort of artwork nonetheless.)
Look at this (Spanish or Mexican?) poster that has each of the gals (as themselves, not in character) hanging on the phone in wait for Donahue's call! 
Then there was this ad which promised the prize of a Hollywood contract to the winner of a contest and which featured the four young stars of Parrish.
Finally, if you know of my affection for oddball trading cards of movies and stars, then first take a look at this publicity photo from the movie (already strangely awkward thanks to Donahue's loony expression and McBain's sensuous one.)
Then check out this reprint of it for a foreign market trading card! The heavy ink on it gives the actors a cartoony appearance as it appears someone traced over the picture in order to draw the subjects?

7 comments:

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Wow, this movie looks pretty, well, awful I have to say. Or rather, I'm sure it looks great, it just sounds fairly corny and dull.

That being said, I have quite enjoyed the look and melodrama of A Summer Place, Palm Springs Weekend, and Rome Adventure so maybe I would like it. Troy Donahue is cute enough and the photography and costumes and sets of those were all top notch.

But I'm a little confused, was all this tobacco farming taking place in Connecticut? Have I got that right? No wonder all their crops were failing all the time. And were there any mentions at all of how tobacco might be bad for you? I doubt it.

Narciso Duran said...

Well, finally something I can comment "personally" about. I met Troy Donahue at a party in 1998 or so, in San Francisco. A dear friend who works for the SF opera was friendly with Donahue's fiancee, an attractive and younger Asian woman who was appearing at the opera house. Donahue was quite tall, looked his years, and loved to smile and talk! He was also dishy about his ex-wife Suzanne Pleshette ("She had bigger balls than I did!"). My friend popped on a LaserDisc (hey, it was the late 90s) that included a mini-documentary about old Palm Springs, and Donahue waxed nostalgic about the time, the place and the parties. Also, he told us that at the premiere of "Imitation of Life," he was cornered behind the theater by some black men. He was terrified they were going to rough him up for calling Susan Koner a "ni**er" in the film, but he was delighted, however, when they slapped him on the back and thanked him, informing him that her character deserved the insult for not being proud of her blackness! Frankly, he was very nice, polite and down to earth. He clearly had no pretensions about anything, certainly not about hanging out in a Bohemian musician's pad on the fourth floor of a San Francisco flat surrounded by stacks of opera recordings dating back to the 1910s. My overall impression was that he was a man who was at peace and enjoyed chatting with equally nice people. My memory of the occasion is a fond one.

Poseidon3 said...

Dave, if you were able to enjoy those other flicks you named, I bet you would like this one. I left out some of the various plot details along with way to avoid complete "spoilage"! :-) It's a tad long, but nearly always beautiful to look at and with some entertainingly campy parts.

Narciso, THANK YOU for your recollections of Troy Donahue! I enjoyed reading about your encounter with him and it was truly a relief to hear positive information, too, since so often once a person has fallen off the radar, all we hear is the horrible side of things. He did have a rough go of it career-wise and personally for about 20 years, but it sounds like he wound up in a good place. I saw him in a movie once (Cyclone, 1987) and it was surprising to see him as he looked then, though he went on to another dozen or two roles after that! (I had pictures from it on my old laptop that was burglarized.)

One of my favorite quotes concerning Troy Donahue was this one from Tab Hunter: "They were always accusing him of being gay and me of being straight!"

Poseidon3 said...

Dave, forgot to mention that a) this is "shade" tobacco, which I know nothing about, but which was grown in Connecticut. (I think it was/is for cigars??) and b) there is no mention in the least of tobacco's health harms. The Surgeon General's far-reaching report came out in 1964, three years after this (though sixty years hence, many people are still smoking like crazy!)

joel65913 said...

Terrific overview of this ripe piece of high gloss trash, which could be subtitled: Let's mosey on down to the farm and overact a while.

Claudette Colbert and Dean Jagger are good but a great deal of the acting is strictly dinner theatre quality. Donahue looks human but there's no way to prove it from his line readings. Karl Malden is so over the top at times it's a wonder there was any scenery left after he gets done chewing on it!

It's definitely sumptuous with that wonderfully lush look and glossy sheen signature of the studio era which was drawing to a close when this was produced.

I'm a bit shocked Poseidon that you didn't mention that dead dog of a hairstyle on Connie Stevens's head complete with wagging tail hanging down the back. It's been a while since I've seen it but if I remember correctly it was two tone as well to complete the horror.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

I'm assuming they gave Connie that Ellie May hairdo so we'd know right away she was "low class?" Ditto Diane in her Grace Kelly look.

I'm not surprised that Troy was often assumed to be gay since he always seems so tentative and almost scared in his movies (which I guess is how a lot of gay guys seemed what with all the, you know, physical beatings going on).

This just doesn't seem to have the "travel porn" look of Rome Adventure or Palm Springs Weekend, but I will definitely look for it if it ever shows up on TCM or anything.

Poseidon3 said...

>>The Surgeon General's far-reaching report came out in 1964, three years after this (though sixty years hence, many people are still smoking like crazy!)<<

Or fifty years if you , UNLIKE ME, are versed in simple math! ;-)

Joel, I do hate that hairdo on Connie, too. The closest I came to attacking it was this: "Connie Stevens manages to glimpse beyond her heap of curls to see the tall young man before her." I disliked it here, but I really hated when she turned up in something similar for "Palm Springs Weekend!" I certainly have nothing against "big"hair, but this one always just looked stupid to me (and I think Dave is on to something with the "Ellie May" remark.)