It all started with that ballerina spinning on the music box and the longing for the new red shoes...no, it wasn't Moira Shearer's tragedy, but Claudelle Inglish
, which seemed to be paying homage at a few points to the Powell and Pressburger classic. Other than that, I was kind of disappointed in the central character's trip to strumpetdom. Couldn't she have had more fun being bad?Small Spoiler Alert
And wait a minute! Who forgot to tell director Gordon Douglas
and actors Arthur Kennedy, Constance Ford
and Frank Overton
that they were making a trash classic? By the end of the movie, they actually made me feel a bit of a pang for their situation. If only they could have stayed happily two-dimensional and remembered that they were in the same movie occupied by that "extra scoop of ice cream" bad girl Diane McBain? Darn those actors! The adults mentioned above kept breaking out of their stereotypes despite the script's insistence on regarding Ms. McBain as a lethal combination of Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe at the height of their sultriness. (I like McBain, but she was never my idea of hot tamale on screen, but maybe I am missing something?)
Once again the three supporting actors impressed the heck out of me with their ability to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear. I can't say the same for Claude Akins as Mr. Southern MoneyBags, though I think it was unjust of Claudelle to say he was "too old and too fat." Diane McBain deserved better too. Even if her character sold her virtue for a chance to get some red lipstick, a dress*, some silk stockings and some sack time with a bunch of backwoods romeos from Chad Everett to Will Hutchins (how could anyone corrupt him--much less run over him?! He was so cute, like a puppy in human form).
Please excuse me for asking one rude question that might be a bit of a spoiler
. Did this girl ever have an assignation in a regular bedroom somewhere or was that one guy who came scratchin' at her bedroom window the only hookup she ever had under a roof? All the other times seemed to be in a car, a pickup, in the woods or a back room somewhere--unless I missed something (I admit that my attention wavered after Connie Ford came out of the house in the dark wearing one of Claudelle's dresses to go for a ride with one of her suitors).
*That dress that Claudelle whipped up from her "trousseau material" after Chad Everett wrote her that "Dear Jane" letter giving her the heave-ho was supposed to inflame the passions of every male in the county, but I kept thinking it looked like a classic Villager shirtwaist dress that my Mom had back in the '60s, like the ones shown in the vintage pattern below. No offense, but it just didn't seem to be the kind of outfit designed to bring out the beast in every male under 80.