Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

All posts tagged Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Book Review: Always, Lana

Published February 16, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Always-Lana

Its the 16th of February. Candy hearts are half off at the Dollar Tree and the hint of consumerist love still drenches the air. Thus Always, Lana may be the perfect late weekend read. Written by Taylor Pero, a bisexual back-up singer who catered to both Lana Turner’s business and boudoir needs for 10 years, this slim tome details the latter day diva glazed romantic and professional antics of one of MGM’s comeliest stars.

Lana PersecutionHistorically, I was first introduced to this book as a soap opera obsessed 14 year old. At the time, Lana was appearing on Falcon Crest and her character’s onscreen combativeness with Jane Wyman’s matriarchal lead fueled my love for show business. Thus, I asked for a bio on Turner for Christmas that year. With unknowing prescience, this was the volume that my parents picked out for me. (Of course, it very well may have been the only option available at the tiny Zayres book department in Jamestown, NY.) While I found myself both intrigued and repelled by Pero’s sexual exploits, its tales of Turner’s adventures on the summer stock circuit and infrequent film projects have remained as wispy, silver smoked memories in my consciousness over the decades since.

Revisiting the memoir this Valentine’s week, Pero’s economic exploitiveness here actually reads with a sense of sympathy and understanding for the star that he devoted himself to. Her eternal tardiness, precise self focus and obsession with her appearance are explained as being a product of a studio system that prized beauty and self deception over emotional and spiritual growth. The author also nicely details Turner’s humor and her ability to deal with the multiple disappointments that life brought down upon her shoulders. Lana Turner Persecution aka Terror of Sheba

Nicely, one disenchantment that is given prime focus here is Persecution (AKA The Terror of Sheba), the one true Gothic Horror (in the Baby Jane tradition) that Turner appeared in. This project is usually given little import in other treatments of her filmography, but with Always, Lana it gets almost a full chapter. The author chronicles everything from the year long inception of the project to the shimmering star’s on set battles to the aborted reactions to this much troubled film upon its official release.

As with similar writings, this is a quick read and may be worth exploring for genre fans for this particular aspect alone.


Horror Hall of Fame:

Turner was a glimmering presence in the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and she always spoke fondly of co-stars Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman for instilling her with a sense of professional confidence). She also gave breakdowns a groovy, psychedelic glow in the 1969 cult classic The Big Cube.


Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

lana dr

 

Miriam Hopkins: Pre-Code Horror’s Eclectic Wonder!

Published June 24, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

miriam hopkins
It seems like only yesterday that Big Gay Horror Fan was fighting off the advances of some scientifically induced, whip smacking monster. Alas, after asking for a slight commitment – I totally scared HIM off!

The elegant, eternally eclectic Miriam Hopkins (1902-1972) must surely have known what that was like.

jekyll-2As prostitute-showgirl Ivy Pearson in the classic 1931 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hopkins radiates with frank sexuality during her first encounter with the kind Dr. Jekyll. But as Mr. Hyde’s personality bursts forth with a vengeful emphasis on Ivy, Hopkins reacts with deep layers of majestic, eternally wounded fright. The scenes where Ivy-Hopkins endures Jekyll’s (a superior, Academy Award winning Fredric March) psychotic attentions still resonate with gut wrenching power over 80 years later.

’18 years later, Hopkins joined the ranks of superior supporters in 1949’s The Heiress, a gothic adaption of Henry James’ Washington Square. As (Academy Award winning) Olivia de Havilland’s seemingly air light aunt, Lavinia Penniman, Hopkins delivers scene stealing antics. Here, she paints a woman filled with frivolity but wise to the ways of the world. At the mercy of her rich brother’s 19th Century kindness (a fact the intuitive Hopkins uses to underscore many of her scenes) Hopkins-Penniman encourages shy de Havilland’s romance with a money seeking playboy played by Montgomery Clift. Sure that a little compromise is always necessary for happiness, Hopkins effectively shows concerned shock when de Havilland’s abandoned heroine reacts with steely resolve at the film’s door barring conclusion.miriam the heiress

doomsday-hopkinsIn famed science fiction anthology show The Outer Limits, Hopkins (in one of her final roles) showed another side of her talents with the 1964 episode “Don’t Open Until Doomsday”. As the demented and coquettish Mary Kry, Hopkins, whom had first gained fame for her committed performances in a series of Pre-Code films, is both childlike and savagely determined. Determined to rescue her fiancé from a space-controlled box, that he was sucked into on the eve of their wedding years before, Hopkins-Kry willing traps a young couple in her chilling world of fantasy and alien abduction.

Be sure to check back in the future, as Big Gay Horror Fan (www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan) frequently exposes the creative energy of the grand femmes of horror.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
miriam hyde