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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Sixties Exploitation in Focus Part 1 Featuring Lady in a Cage

In today's world (today being 1964), nobody gives a damn, and we're all going to hell in a hand basket. One of the first images we see is that of a young black girl running her roller skate over a dead drunk's leg. Then there's that dog lying out in traffic. It's set on the 4th of July, so you may consider it a film for your holiday celebration next year.

Olivia's handsome, young gay son decides to leave his smothering mother that day. Then a series of unlikely coincidences create a power failure that traps Olivia (an oxymoronic wealthy poetess) in her elevator, 12 feet off the ground floor.

Ms De H gives a tour de force performance as she goes from calm to upset to terrified to hysterical. Her alarm bell, it seems, only brings in street trash. First, Jeff Corey and Ann Southern (who nearly steals the film), then violent punks including a very hot-looking James Caan in his screen debut, throwing Method acting all over the place as if trying to be the new Brando. He makes eating an apple sexier than any other man on Earth possibly could!

But Olivia gives a performance that would be Oscar worthy if she wasn't in such tripe. If only they had cell phones back in the day. By the way, why didn't she need to use the rest room during all that caged time! I'd definitely have soiled myself, especially considering what was going on in that house.

Joan Crawford was originally to star in this but thankfully it went to Olivia who, as much as I adore Joan, can deliver a more naturalistic performance in this sort of venture. Can you imagine Caan belching in Crawford's face? SLAP!

By the time Caan gets into the "cage" with De Havilland, its sets off a dramatic climax like few others. Caan's character gets to work out some Oedipal issues shall we say. On Olivia's breasts: "You must have kept [her son] sucking for years."

Quite a climax! Don't miss this perhaps underrated classic. Not for the squeamish.

1 comment:

  1. Great commentary, Charles......and this is still such a great Film!