Femmes Fatales Jul 10 2024
THAT OLD BLONDE MAGIC
You know the old saying. Once you go witch you'll never want to switch.


Since we mentioned the television show Bewitched recently, here's its star, the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery, bringing some supernatural qualities to a nightgown in this 1963 photo made to promote her comedy flick Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? She was born into show business as the daughter of legendary actor and director Robert Montgomery, who boosted Elizabeth's fortunes by casting her in thirty episodes of Robert Montgomery Presents. Having launched her career in television, she worked mainly in that medium going forward but appeared in a few movies, notably in 1963's Johnny Cool. She accumulated credits on some sixty television shows, sang on three soundtracks, and even lent her voice to cartoon characters on The Flintstones and Batman: The Animated Series.

We've been enjoying Bewitched immensely. As a classic sitcom, it mixes a lot of zany problems into a suburban marriage, and enlivens the proceedings with a bit of low wattage sexiness. We think Darrin Stevens, as played so far by Dick York, is a terrible husband, but part of the fun is watching the twerp try to stop Montgomery from using her magical powers. It was a plot contrivance meant extol the virtues of earning what you obtain, but these days reads more like marital domination, mansplaining, and unsupportiveness. Whereas we'd be, “You wanna do what? Zap us over to Budapest for the weekend? Well, sure, honey, I suppose I could free up time for that.” Since Montgomery didn't make much in the way of pulp style entertainment she may not appear here again, but what an appearance. See another Montgomery here.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2024
KAREN A HEAVY BURDEN
Have you ever had a visitor that refused to leave?


Above and below are two posters for Bewitched, a movie we decided to watch because its title stood out when we saw it. Why? Well, we're still watching the entire run of television's Bewitched. Could this be about the supernatural, we wondered? If that sounds silly, remember, we try not to read synopses of these movies. It's just better, if possible, to go in knowing little or nothing. Obviously, we already know generally about all the more popular films we haven't yet seen, but this one is obscure.

Turns out it's a no-budget melodrama, written and directed by Arch Oboler, about poor Phyllis Thaxter, who suffers from a split personality, or more accurately a histrionic form of cinematic schizophrenia, that sees her taken over by an evil alter ego. This mental invader is named Karen, and she'a a bitch. She forces Joan to commit murder. We thought: Wait—if Joan is imprisoned or executed what does Karen get out of it? Well, Oboler tries to finesse that by suggesting Karen knows Joan will be acquitted because she/they look innocent and an all-male jury will think she's too pretty to kill. Okay.

Joan has never told anyone that she hears an evil voice. She doesn't break the pattern at trial, refusing to take the stand in her own defense. It looks bad, but surprise—that scheming Karen is right. But the moment the jury is about announce an acquittal, Joan realizes that if she's freed her evil side will make her do more bad things, so she stands up and screams: “Stop! I did it! I killed him! I'm guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” And... dissolve.

She ends up on death row. But a mere five hours before she's due to ride old sparky, she finally admits to her lawyer that she has a split personality, and the wheels of deus ex machina lurch into motion. It's as cheesy as it sounds. There's really nothing in the film but a good example of what a b-feature was like during the mid-century era. Sloppy. Slapdash. A baritone voiceover brackets the film, and though it's meant to hammer the movie's point home for viewers, there really is no point. None at all. Bewitched premiered in the U.S. today in 1945.

Do I want to stab my fiancée? Or maybe it's too harsh a method for breaking an engagement.

In the end, I guess it was really more of a rhetorical question.

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Femmes Fatales Dec 8 2021
DULY NOTED
You're the new secretary? Take a memo. Recommendation: bonuses for everyone in the HR department.


We've been making our way through the old television show Bewitched, which has been entertaining and surprisingly funny. As always, such series had numerous guest stars, some of whom would later become famous themselves. Beverly Adams, who you see above, guest starred on the show in 1965, episode 30, as a character named Danger O'Riley, and rarely has an actress made such a splash. It wasn't her first Hollywood credit, but it was one of her most memorable. See what we mean here. Adams went on to appear in such films as The Silencers, Murderer's Row, and The Ambushers, as well as television shows like Police Story and Quincy M.E. She was never a big star, but she was certainly a rare beauty. This photo dates from 1967. 

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Femmes Fatales Mar 27 2017
WITCHY WOMAN
I could do this with magic, but I really enjoy cooking.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a rare Hollywood-born actress, is best known for her role as Samantha on the long running 1960s-1970s television series Bewitched. But she actually goes way back. She was born in 1933 and broke into show business in ’53, later appeared in such films as the gangster thriller Johnny Cool, and on television in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and 77 Sunset Strip. This shot of her is from the Japanese showbiz magazine Roadshow and is from around 1968. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 20
1944—Hitler Survives Third Assassination Attempt
Adolf Hitler escapes death after a bomb explodes at his headquarters in Rastenberg, East Prussia. A senior officer, Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, is blamed for planting the device at a meeting between Hitler and other senior staff members. Hitler sustains minor burns and a concussion but manages to keep an appointment later in the day with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.
July 19
1966—Sinatra Marries Farrow
Superstar singer and actor Frank Sinatra marries 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow, who is 30 years younger than him. The marriage lasts two years.
July 18
1925—Mein Kampf Published
While serving time in prison for his role in a failed coup, Adolf Hitler dictaes and publishes volume 1 of his manifesto Mein Kampf (in English My Struggle or My Battle), the book that outlines his theories of racial purity, his belief in a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, and his plans to lead Germany to militarily acquire more land at the expense of Russia via eastward expansion.
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