Saturday, August 04, 2012

Female on the Beach (Joseph Pevney, 1955)

Last month saw the redonkulously belated DVD release of Joan Crawford's greatest film, Female on the Beach (Joseph Pevney, 1955), a title which (correct me if I'm wrong) was never released on VHS and has been floating around in copies taped off AMC (I taped my first of many copies off 1980s cable...WOR perhaps?). As far as I know, you can buy it only as part of TCM's Women in Danger: 1950s Thrillers box set along with three other films I've never seen. But, oh Tina, is it ever worth it!

I've already waxed geeky about Female on the Beach here so I'll just say that the DVD looks absolutely gorgeous! So much detail finally lets itself known. I've seen the film about, oh, 75 times and I've never noticed that Queenie Sorenson (Natalie Schafer aka Gilligan Island's Mrs. Howell) has a doggie in her handbag. Look!
The disc has no subtitles/close captioning which is always a shame (does Joan really say "The great god of the senses sparkling on the beach"?). But it contains some nifty bonus features such as behind-the-scenes photos and wardrobe and makeup stills. The latter point to the possibility of deleted scenes. Notice how this test is for a scene in which Joan's character, Lynn Markham, "meets Gomez."
But she doesn't meet Gomez in this scene or in any other. In fact, Gomez appears only in a photograph on beach stud Drummond "Drummy" Hall's (Jeff Chandler, out of drag) boat. Perhaps there's a meeting scene in Universal's vaults? Go get it, TCM!

And here would be a good place to put out a call for any information on the screenwriter, Robert Hill. Not sure if he or co-writer Richard Alan Simmons was responsible for Female on the Beach's eternal zingers ("How do you like your coffee?" "Alone."). But I find Hill's career fascinating. He had some sort of partnership with producer Albert Zugsmith and went on to script even trashier flicks such as Sex Kittens Go to College, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill, and Confessions of an Opium Eater, the best drug film ever made. But his IMDb entry stops at 1967. What happened to him?

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