Olivia De Havilland

All posts tagged Olivia De Havilland

Shark Bait Retro Village: The Screaming Woman

Published April 29, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan


The leather lesbian nuns who raised me buried many a thing in that veiny backyard, behind our dungeon, as I grew up. But, I tell you every single one of those priests (and unrepentant Republican house speakers) truly deserved it!

The poor lady that Olivia de Havilland’s regal yet extremely frazzled Laura Wynant discovers submerged in the dirt in 1972’s The Screaming Woman definitely isn’t worthy of her fate, though. Left for dead by her cheating husband, this beleaguered lass has just hours to live and only the discredited Wynant can save her.SW1

As luck would (or wouldn’t) have it, the fragile Wynant has just recovered from a nervous breakdown and no one, including her loving son and a couple of kindly, longtime friends, believe her when she claims that she’s heard a woman moaning in the soil. A frantic race through the neighborhood uncovers only more derision and, in one of the telefilm’s tensest scenes, the arthritic Wynant even finds herself in the home of the very agitated wanna-be killer. Of course, Wynant’s venomous daughter-in-law Caroline, played with smooth iciness by Laraine Stephens, is pleased as punch about her mother-in-law’s apparent delusions as asylum doors slam and dollar signs dance, merrily, in her head.

SW2But Wynant, played with moxie and bravado by de Havilland, is nobody’s fool as Caroline and the killer, played with patriarchal sleaziness by genre stalwart Ed Nelson (Night of the Blood Beast, The Brain Eaters, A Bucket of Blood), soon discover. De Havilland’s anguished shriek (spoiler alert!) upon eventually rescuing the woman helped provide ‘70s television viewers with a potent shock and emphasizes the fact that this Oscar winning pro was an actress, through and through, no matter the circumstances or the part. In fact, The Screaming Woman’s prime pleasure is in watching de Havilland, passionately, submitting herself to the various indignities and insults that Wynant endures throughout this brisk exercise.

Interestingly, this effective Ray Bradbury tale was remade in 1986 with a 10 year old Drew Barrymore replacing de Havilland as the doubted party.

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


Olivia De Havilland: Diva Wails, Latter Day Goth!

Published February 5, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

olivia lady
Big Gay Horror Fan and his beloved sister-muse Apocalyptic Kitten usually get along. But when they disagree, it’s like legendary rival siblings Olivia De Havilland and Joan Fontaine gone atomic!

Yes, despite her sweet reputation earned from famous roles in Gone with the Wind (1939) and The Heiress (1949), De Havilland is supposedly something of a wild cat. This nature flares forth, to various degrees, in some of her latter day film projects.

Hush_Hush_Sweet_Charlotte_PosterHush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). In this semi-classic of Gothic Hag Horror, De Havilland is confused Bette Davis’ concerned cousin. Yet, her clipped control when her true intentions are revealed is chilling – resulting in one of De Havilland’s most significant, eternally nightmarish performances. Film buffs, of course, are aware that De Havilland took over this role from an ‘ailing’ Joan Crawford. Director Robert Aldrich was hoping to achieve the success of his previous collaboration with Davis and Crawford, 1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? This was something that he was able to do without Dame Joan’s participation, though. This film ultimately went on to be hyped as the first horror production to receive 7 Academy Award nominations.

Lady in a Cage (1964). As a well-to-do writer trapped in a home elevator during a power outage, De Havilland gloriously revels in a bit of over acting here. Whether steamily composing poetry in her head or reverting back to her ‘cave man’ instincts, De Havilland’s grand dame is always rich with emotion. Of course, as Lady in a Cage is part social commentary, part youth revolt film and part suspenseful woman’s picture, De Havilland’s over indulgences don’t read as too out-of-the-ordinary here. The film’s director, Walter Grauman, also includes some amazing images. The shot of a young black girl carelessly running her roller skates up and the down the leg of a passed out drunk is both odd and forever poetic. A blonde, often shirtless James Caan appears here, in an early role, as well. As one of the rebellious thieves who threaten her character’s life, he ultimately feels the blinding wraith of De Havilland gone wild!olivialady

The Swarm (1978). As a Southern belle school superintendent, Lady Olivia is part of a quirky love triangle here. Demurely romanced by cowboy superstar Ben Johnson (Terror Train) and television dad Fred MacMurray (whose moral murkiness in Double Indemnity had long been overshadowed by his stint on My Three Sons), De Havilland is full of cute coyness.

oliviadehavillandswarmHer melodramatic wail after witnessing the school yard aftermath of an attack of deadly bees is so hysterically round, though, that it is this Irwin Allen opus’ penultimate image. You have to hand it to Allen, though. This wildly ridiculed epic spares no age group – including our sticky sweet romantic trio – from its wrathful sting!

One can experience De Havilland’s cry heard ‘round the world at the link, below:

Be sure to check back often for further explorations of the mighty mistresses of terror.

Meanwhile, Big Gay Horror Fan is always kneeling before the goddesses of dark majesty at http://www.facebook.com/#!/BigGayHorrorFan, as well!

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