The timelessly gorgeous Ava Gardner may have sold Christina Raines’ character a hellish bit of goods in 1977’s creepy spectacle The Sentinel, but she must have felt some real fear, herself, on the set of 1949’s melodramatic noir East Side, West Side.
In a case of art imitating life, Gardner’s Isabel Lorrison seduces James Mason’s randy Brandon Bourne, the husband of Jessie Bourne, played by eternal movie goddess Barbara Stanwyck. According to Lee Server’s biography of Gardner, Love is Nothing, shortly before filming began, Gardner had an affair with Stanwyck’s actor husband, Robert Taylor. The still furious Stanwyck refused to even be introduced to Gardner, surely giving their characters’ confrontation scene in the film a very special edge.
Even though their affair was long over, the suspicious Stanwyck, whose own terror efforts include The Night Walker (made with Taylor in 1964) and two 70s television films, even had her husband trailed, in the years to come, whenever Gardner seemed to be lurking near.
Meanwhile, Stanwyck and Gardner’s one filmic collaboration was a solid one with inspiring performances from everyone from Gale Sondergaard to future White House doyenne Nancy Davis. Blonde 50s noir babe Beverly Michaels especially resonates here as a powerfully antagonist rival to Gardner’s greedy bombshell.
To keep track of an upcoming book of Gardner’s cinematic contributions, be sure to check out https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ava-Gardner-A-Life-in-Movies.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!