Marlene Dietrich is far from a horror baby. But this cinematic icon did work with Alfred Hitchcock, the genuine master of suspense, in the fun thriller Stage Fright. As a favor, she also graced Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, which contained elements of odd noir and general spookiness, with one of her most indelible portrayals.
This classy lady also knew how to rock and roll as evidenced by her smooth take on Boomerang Baby, a staple of her live shows for years.
This simple, sexy performance proves that Dietrich was not just one thing…she was everything!!!!
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
This Pride Month we are exploring some of the many projects of the distinguished and eclectic Cesar Romero. Best known for his comic villainy on the ‘60s television version of Batman, Romero opened up about his homosexuality toward the end of his life. His many credits include such horror offerings as Two on a Guillotine, Mortuary Academy and Night Gallery.
The last collaboration between director Josef Von Sternberg and his grand muse Marlene Dietrich, 1935’s The Devil is a Woman is full of visual flourishes that should appeal to fans of such stylistic masters as Dario Argento, Ken Russell and Guillermo Del Toro. From freight trains stranded in avalanche beds to the majestic hair pieces that Dietrich sports in a variety of scenes, this film is a kaleidoscopic delight…even though it was filmed in black and white.
Reportedly Dietrich’s favorite among her many films, this tale recounts the adventures of Concha Perez (Dietrich), an unrepentant schemer who destroys the finances and the emotional health of the honored Captain Costelar (old school terror stalwart Lionel Atwill). Costelar’s misadventures with Perez are detailed via flashback remembrances as he warns the bold Antonio Galvan (Cesar Romero) to avoid her charms. Naturally, Galvan can’t resist this wicked enchantress and soon finds himself upon the receiving end of her brutal capriciousness.
Here Romero, the only gay man (thus far) in the DC universe to play the Joker, brings his typical smooth and roguish charm to the role of Galvan. But despite his magazine slickness, he also resonates with a boldness that makes the slightly criminal nature of his character truly believable as well. (Indeed, this project is doubly interesting to the gay community due to Dietrich’s own love of androgyny and oft chronicled lesbian relationships.)
Interestingly, while Romero, Dietrich and Atwill all went on to many other projects, Sternberg, despite his genuine genius, was not so lucky. His directing credits after Devil were few and he was even fired from Macao, his last high profile project, due to his onset fussiness and an incoherent vision for the vehicle. But…
Thankfully, due to home media and the internet, we will always have Concha and Galvin and Spain.
Until the next time…SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Oh, to be vaguely disaffected and totally European. Oh, to be Hildegard Knef, conqueror of Bacharach and Ella Fitzgerald!
Best known to discerning scare fiends for playing the destructively soulless Alraune in Alraune (1952), for fighting back against man eating seaweed in Hammer’s The Lost Continent (1968) and for giving Linda Blair the chills in 1988 horror cheese-fest Witchery, German born Hildegard Knef (1925-2002) was also a fairly popular chanteuse of the Marlene Dietrich variety. In fact, jazz legend Fitzgerald claimed Knef was “the greatest singer without a voice”. Her legacy is such that music wunderkinds Whirlpool Productions reunited in 2012, devoting an entire CD to remixes of her best known work.
Here, we take it old school, though. But even while Knef is declaring her passion with This Girl’s In Love With You, doesn’t she just seem perfectly bored and above it all? Divine!
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!