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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Down a Back Street with Susan Hayward

From Turner Classic Movies' Vault Collection comes the '60s tearjerker, Back Street (1961 version) starring Susan Hayward, John Gavin and Vera Miles. Virginia Grey is Susan's supportive roommate and Natalie Schaeffer's also in this. Reginald Gardner plays Susan's gay boss in NYC, where she becomes a successful fashion designer.

This film was made three years before Where Love Has Gone and is nearly as campy until it becomes completely tragic. It's a glossy, schmaltzy Universal Pictures Ross Hunter-produced movie to indulge in.

I was in a back street relationship once, back in the '70s when I was young and naive. So, I can relate to this film very well. I think many of us can. These extramarital affairs never end happily you know.



The screenplay is based on a novel by Fanny Hurst (Imitation of Life, Humoresque). Much drama is therefore ensured.

Vera Miles enters half-way through the film and almost steals it from Hayward as Gavin's abusive, alcoholic wife. She's best when she's in total bitch mode as she was in Autumn Leaves opposite Joan Crawford.



The sensational finale when Miles finally confronts Hayward at her fashion show is incredible and, possibly, will be indelibly in your memories as it is in mine.

I actually cried again during moments in the latter part of the movie. Especially at the tragic climax. It's still affecting today. The original film version starred Irene Dunne.

Frocks by Jean Louis who received an Oscar nomination for his work in this film. The ending may be corny but it's very affecting. A must-see. Please download, rent or purchase this video.




1 comment:

  1. This was the kind of Film that our Parents (in my generation) used to call "pretty steamy". Besides all the tension and campy melodrama going on-be it overt or underlying-I love how the Men & Women back then used to dress so elegantly. God, how I miss those days....great commentary as always, B.!

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