While definitely played for comic effect, the effervescent Betty Hutton gamely enacted out some prime soap opera villainy against herself in 1942’s Here Come the Waves.
Here, playing twin sisters, Rosemary and Susan, Hutton is given ample opportunity to perform her rubbery, vaudeville loving heart out. In the interest of celluloid intrigue, the two characters she portrays are, naturally, radically different. The (12 minutes) older Rosemary presents as a stern and uncompromising force of practicality. Meanwhile, the (slightly) younger Susan is the loudly scattered, romantically ambitious one. While Susan’s outlandish crush on pop singer Johnny Cabot (Bing Crosby) drives the majority of the plot here, her manic overtures, ultimately, repel him. The initially uninterested Rosemary, though, quickly steals his heart.
Catching onto the duo’s attraction to each other, the devious Susan decides to take matters into her own hands. Dressing up exactly like her look-a-like sibling, Susan arranges for Bing’s shocked Cabot to catch her in another’s embrace – momentarily derailing his relationship with Rosemary.
But by the closing frames, order has been restored with the chastened Susan realizing that Cabot is actually perfect brother-in-law material and that her own yearnings have found their unsurprising outlet with Sonny Tufts’ Windy, Cabot’s rascally friend and her co-conspirator in crimes of the heart.
Sibling rivalry does its thing. My sister’s love of Beauty and the Beat by The Go-Go’s meant that I was unable to truly worship at its punk-pop greatness until nostalgia hit me in my mid-40s. Meanwhile, my brother’s love of Madonna and Olivia Newton-John left their charms eternally foreign to me. Another of his favorite records, the Pointer Sisters’ Contact, also came under my powers of derision. But a recent pick-up from a dollar bin has uncovered its darker, smoky charms to me. The popular Dare Me, for example, seems like the perfect background music to the violent cat and mouse face-offs that exist between such supernatural slasher icons as Freddy and Jason and their (often ingeniously) wily targets, Nancy Thompson and Laurie Strode.
Thankfully, The Pointer Sisters are still spreading their rich magic – one of their songs was even used on Ryan Murphy’s short lived Scream Queens – and showing the world how their blend of pop, rock, soul and (even) country music made them one of the world’s truly under-sung super groups. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/The-Pointer-Sisters-Official-131523497289/ –
…and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!