twins of evil 2

HAMMER HORROR’S TWINS OF EVIL. (1970) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

twins of evil 2

TWINS OF EVIL. (1971) BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF SHERIDAN LE FANU. DIRECTED BY JOHN HOUGH FOR HAMMER FILM PRODUCTIONS. STARRING PETER CUSHING, MARY COLLINSON, MADELEINE COLLINSON, KATHLEEN BYRON AND DAMIEN THOMAS. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. There are some mad doings a-transpirin’ in Hammer’s fictional town of Karnstein in Central Europe in Ye Olden Times. Religious nut Peter Cushing and his pals are all dressed up in Puritan clobber, complete with big buckle-y hats and boots and whatnot, they’re calling themselves The Brotherhood, and you’ll never guess what they’re doing.

Yep folks, hard as it is to believe, they’re riding round the countryside rounding up all the beautiful busty young women they can find and burning ’em at the stake as witches. They’ve burned so many hotties by the time we come in that, at this rate, they’re gonna end up shagging each other or whatever livestock they can get their mitts on because there won’t be any Sheilas left in Karnstein. It’s sad but true.

Meanwhile Peter Cushing, aka grim and grumpy old Gustav Weil in the film, has other problems beside chasing down vulnerable young women on his horse and hauling ’em kicking and screaming off to the stake. (It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it…!)He has two particular problems, to be precise.

For one thing, his two naughty identical twin nieces, Frieda and Maria, have come from Venice to live with him and his missus and they’re causing him no end of grief with their sexy godless ways. Flaunting their lovely bodies in front of the local villagers and giving men the eye and suchlike. Uncle Gustav is fit to be tied with it all.

And secondly, the wicked Count Karnstein, the wealthy occupant of the nearby Karnstein Castle, is taking great pleasure out of flaunting his disregard for morals and ethics and carnal forebearance (Those would make terrific song lyrics, wouldn’t they? Or have THE SIMPSONS beaten us to it…?) in Gustav’s cheerless face. Uncle Gustav wants nothing more than to rid the town of the fornicating Count, who looks a bit like a cross between Barry Manilow and Frank Langella’s DRACULA.

When it looks like the sexy Count, who also just so happens to be a vampire, has gotten his sharp pointy fangs into Frieda, the naughtier of the twins, it looks like all Uncle Gustav’s worst fears have been realised. Dontcha just hate it when that happens…?

Can Uncle Gustav be a match for the evil Count and rid the town of Karnstein of the plague of vampirism that, well, plagues it? Can Frieda be wrested away from the Count’s clutches? And will either of the twins get nekkid at any point? All these and other questions will be answered in the film, folks…!

The twins are stunningly beautiful. There can be no argument about that. In the October 1970 issue of PLAYBOY, Maltese-born Madeleine and Mary Collinson were the first ever twin Playmates Of The Month. If you’ve seen TWINS OF EVIL, you won’t have any difficulty in envisioning the two hot little minxes stripping off for the camera and striking a pose.

Their breasts in TWINS OF EVIL are utterly sublime. Velvety soft, white and round, spilling out of the tight-waisted, low-cut dresses provided by the good folks in Wardrobe. It’s a wonder any of the crew got any work done at all, seriously. I myself could hardly take my eyes off them, and I’m a straight female who loves guys. Still, there’s something about perfect boobies that appeals to either sex, isn’t there? Certainly, there’s something about these perfect boobies, anyway…!

The twins’ outfits throughout the film are uniformly gorgeous. When we first meet them, they’re all tricked out in a delicious green confection that resembles the dress that Scarlett O’Hara made out of her mother’s curtains in GONE WITH THE WIND, much to the disapproval of dear old Mammy.

You know, the dress she was planning to wear to visit Rhett Butler in prison and she was hoping it’d convince Rhett that she still had dough? He saw right through her, naturally, but it was still a fine and dandy dress…!

On another occasion, the brunette twins are wearing pink dresses with the most darling hats to match. The hats are big with candy-striped ribbons wrapped round their brims and, honest to God, they’re the loveliest hats I’ve ever seen in my life.

Whoever dressed the twins really knew their stuff. They ran out of material, of course, when it came to finishing the dresses so that their boobies had to be left mostly uncovered and hanging out due to a shocking shortage of fabric but, well, I don’t suppose anyone got fired for that little oversight!

I’m sure you know that this marvellous vampire film is part of Hammer’s KARNSTEIN TRILOGY. The other two films are THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) starring Ingrid Pitt, and LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (1970) featuring Yutte Stensgaard.

Every time I think I’ve decided on my favourite film of the trilogy, I watch another one and change my mind all over again. I expect it’s the same with everyone who’s ever watched all three films.

The funniest scene in the film, by the way, has got to be when Count Karnstein’s deaf-mute servant Joachim is pantomiming for the Count’s benefit the weapons with which the angry mob have armed themselves:

Count Karnstein: ‘Not crosses…? And stakes…? And axes…?’

If it doesn’t look like much in print, believe me, it’ll be funny when you watch it…!

Sadly, the lovely Madeleine Collinson, who played the wicked twin Frieda, passed away in 2014 after an illness. Her bewitching beauty and feisty spirit will live on forever in TWINS OF EVIL though. No-one who’s ever seen it could forget either twin. I’m convinced of that.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

scars tania

SCARS OF DRACULA. (1970) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

scars taniaSCARS OF DRACULA. (1970) BASED ON THE BOOK BY BRAM STOKER. MUSIC BY JAMES BERNARD. DIRECTED BY ROY WARD BAKER FOR HAMMER STUDIOS. STARRING CHRISTOPHER LEE, DENNIS WATERMAN, JENNY HANLEY, CHRISTOPHER MATTHEWS, PATRICK TROUGHTON, MICHAEL GWYNN, MICHAEL RIPPER, ANOUSKA HEMPEL, WENDY HAMILTON AND BOB TODD. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Ooooooh, I do love a nice bit of Hammer Horror, especially when it’s starring the Master of Hammer Horror himself, Christopher Lee. Some Hammer fans don’t rate this film too highly because it has a homemade mechanical bat flapping madly around the place in it.

Also, they think that Christopher Lee’s performance in it is lacklustre because he’d supposedly lost interest in playing Dracula by then. I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say next…

That’s right, folks. I don’t give two hoots what the detractors say. I bloody love this film! I think that Sir Chris is handsomer and sexier than ever in it, if somewhat paler than usual, and I even love the flappy old bat. He adds a nice touch of kitsch to the proceedings.

This is one of my favourite Lee as Dracula films because Christopher Lee has more lines in it than in any of the other films and he’s onscreen a fair bit more as well. My big beef with DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1965), an otherwise excellent film, is that Dracula doesn’t appear until forty-five minutes into the film and even then he doesn’t speak a word. That’s right, there’s not a peep out of him except for the odd hiss. Any DRACULA movie that has Lee talking as well as smouldering evilly into the camera is fine by me…!

SCARS OF DRACULA might just as well have been called DRACULA’S GUESTS. He has more visitors traipsing through his ruined castle in the Carpathian mountains than if it were a Torquay guest-house and Dracula himself a rude, snobbish hotel-owner with a penchant for silly walks and stopping folks from enjoying themselves. It’s enough to make a vampire scale the friggin’ castle walls…!

They mostly arrive unannounced, these guests, but Dracula is a resourceful man and you can be sure that he finds a use for all of ’em. Men are for killing by impalement on hooks. Women, especially if they’re hot, can be made to fulfil a variety of other purposes. I’m sure you can imagine.

Hammer beauty Jenny Hanley as Sarah is a rather vapid blonde with not much to say for herself, but why should she open her mouth when her delectable boobies can do all the talking for her? These silky-soft, milky-white orbs stand up straight even when she’s on her back looking ravishing. No wonder Count Dracula can’t take his glowing red eyes off of them…

Even the odious Klove, to whom the titular SCARS more rightly belong, has a real thing for Little Miss Pert ‘n’ Perky. So too do Simon, played by Dennis MINDER Waterman, and his randy brother Paul who plays hide-the-salami (or tries to) with no less than three sexy brunettes in one night, the randy sod. It’s Soppy Sarah to whom he gives the antique miniature, though. All the guys love Soppy Sarah…!

I prefer Julie, the gobby barmaid who couldn’t keep a secret if the Queen herself made her the official State Head Of Secret-Keeping. She blithely directs the world and his wife to Dracula’s Castle, ensuring that the traffic to and from this Abode Of The Undead is never at less than full-on rush hour level.

Maybe dear old Michael Ripper, her employer and undoubted winner of the Least Hospitable Pub Landlord award for that year, should have put his mouthy pint-puller over his knee for a sound thrashing upon her jiggly hind-quarters. If loose lips really do sink ships, then I very much fear that the entire battalion was lost due to Jiggly Julie’s prattling. Try saying that with a few pints on you…!

I love the scene of horror and carnage at the church when the angry mob return from a hard day of burning down poor Dracula’s castle. Michael Gwynn, whose fraudulent toff Lord Melbury once passed through the doors of that Torquay guest-house we mentioned earlier, plays the village priest in the film. His hairstyle is quiffy and somewhat peculiar. We won’t hold it against him, though.

SCARS OF DRACULA is great fun. It has everything I personally require from a Hammer DRACULA movie. It has gorgeous woods and carriages and castle interiors in it. It has a wonderful musical score. It has bouncing boobies galore and even a rather charming pair of bare female buttocks, something we wouldn’t have been allowed to witness in the earlier films because the censors, in their infinite wisdom, would have deemed us unable to cope with the sight…!

Christopher Lee is utterly dreamy as the Count whose sexual magnetism no woman is able to resist. The plot is good fun and a perfectly adequate vehicle by which all the Hammer stalwarts and tropes can do their admirable thang.

If it sounds like I’m defending the film, well, maybe I am. I’m tired of hearing it being run down. I love it to bits, anyway. Hopefully, any of you movie-lovers due to watch it for the first time will love it too. I wish I could have that pleasure back again myself. That would surely be sweet.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

hush hush

HUSH…HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE. (1964) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

hush hushHUSH…HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE.” (1964) PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY ROBERT ALDRICH. FROM THE STORY BY HENRY FARRELL. SCREENPLAY BY HENRY FARRELL AND LUCAS HELLER. STARRING BETTE DAVIS, OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND, JOSEPH COTTEN, AGNES MOOREHEAD, CECIL KELLAWAY, VICTOR BUONO, GEORGE KENNEDY AND MARY ASTOR. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This brilliant horror film in the hag-horror genre is one of Bette Davis’s finest ever movies, in my own humble opinion. Okay, so it doesn’t quite scale the dizzy heights reached by Davis’s earlier film in this genre, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962), but it’s a great little chiller nonetheless and it surely has an all-star cast.

The always divine Ms. Davis plays the titular Charlotte. She’s Charlotte Hollis and she’s had a rough ride of it thus far. When she was a young girl in the ‘Twenties, living in the Deep South with her beloved Daddy in their gorgeous old plantation-style mansion, a terrible tragedy occurred.

Her married lover John Mayhew (Oh Bette, not another married man who’ll bring you nothing but pain and heartache! Did you learn nothing from NOW, VOYAGER or ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO???) was brutally murdered by an unknown assailant. Though Charlotte was never charged with the hideous crime, for forty years or so she’s had to live with the knowledge that everyone in their town thinks she did it. She was branded a murderess, an appellation that stuck like Superglue.

Now Charlotte’s an unhinged old lady, still living in her big old mausoleum of a house with only her devoted maid Velma for company. Charlotte still dresses like the young girl she hasn’t been for forty years and wanders round her house day and night, thinking she sees and hears her dead lover and her deceased Daddy around every corner. She’s like Miss Havisham’s crazier younger sister…!

No-one does this ‘unhinged old lady living in the more favourable past’ thing than Bette Davis. She did it to magnificent effect in the unforgettable WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? and she does it here in this creepy horror offering that was nominated for no less than seven Oscars in 1964. Her long childish braids, girlish dresses and long, floaty nightdresses suit her down to the ground. The garish, unflattering make-up is very Baby Jane Hudson. That’s not a good thing…!

Her ecstatic face when she thinks she’s hearing the song ‘Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ that her lover wrote for her is just perfect. Her voice when she calls out his name in that happy, hopeful tone of voice, ditto. She’s deluded, deranged and even a team of top head-shrinks couldn’t get her to leave the past behind and live in the here and now, the poor old dear.

Speaking of the nasty, icky present-day (I must admit I’m not entirely crazy about it myself!), Charlotte is forced to invite her Cousin Miriam to the house to help her deal with the fact that the state is set on building a road through her property. Cousin Miriam and Charlotte have a tricky past, as do Charlotte and Drew, the doctor who’s been sweet on Cousin Miriam since that turbulent time back in the ‘Twenties when John was murdered.

Now Cousin Miriam and Doctor Drew are running things in the Hollis house and suddenly, mysteriously, Charlotte’s hallucinations are getting worse and more frequent. What gives…? Is it anything to do with the little vial of drugs that Velma the maid has unaccountably found on poor Charlotte’s nightstand? Mouthy Velma, played by the actress who portrayed CITIZEN KANE‘s momma in the movie of the same name back in 1941, certainly seems to think it is. Either that or poor Charlotte is finally, irrevocably losing her mind…

gLovely old George Kennedy who passed away recently has a small role as a building contractor who nearly gets a face-full of buckshot courtesy of Charlotte. Dear old Ellen Corby who later played Grandma Walton in THE WALTONS and who also had a small role as a landlady in Alfred Hitchcock’s magnificent movie VERTIGO, plays a town gossip, a role to which she seems well suited…! Victor Buono, who played scallywag musician Edwin Flagg in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, portrays Charlotte’s precious Daddy Big Sam Hollis to good effect here also.

The actual special effects are pretty lame. I’m not going to lie to you! They wouldn’t scare a cat. Oh dear me no, they would not! It’s still a good atmospheric chiller, though. Whenever Olivia De Havilland says the name Charlotte in her mellifluous Southern accent, it echoes exactly the way she said Scarlett as Miss Melly in GONE WITH THE WIND a full quarter of a century earlier. And the older Ms. De Havilland gets, the more she resembles her sister Joan Fontaine, the actress whose most famous starring role was in Alfred Hitchcock’s REBECCA the year after GONE WITH THE WIND.

”HUSH…HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE” is a film I’d recommend to any fan of classic horror movies. Bette Davis does some fantastic screaming in it. They could probably hear her all the way back to the ‘Twenties…! Enjoy it, anyway. It’s a nice little souvenir of a long-vanished golden era of horror cinema.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

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THE LAST MAN ON EARTH. (1964) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

last man on earthTHE LAST MAN ON EARTH. (1964) BASED ON THE 1954 NOVEL ‘I AM LEGEND’ BY RICHARD MATHESON. DIRECTED BY UBALDO RAGONA AND SIDNEY SALKOW. STARRING VINCENT PRICE, FRANCA BETTOIA, EMMA DANIELI AND GIACOMO ROSSI-STUART. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a brilliant sci-fi horror film from the era that brought us loads of equally great sci-fi horror films. Yep, it sure was a good era for the old sci-fi horror…! I came across the film on a box-set I bought back in 2013 for only a tenner called 100 GREATEST HORROR CLASSICS. One hundred old horror movies for only ten quid? Hell, yeah…!

Other films on the set include THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, both starring Lon Chaney Sr., George A. Romero’s zombie classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS and Alfred Hitchcock’s first ever movie, THE LODGER, starring Ivor Novello. Yes, I’m pretty sure it’s that Ivor Novello; who else could it be…?

Anyway, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH manages to be both brilliant and extremely grim at the same time. Horror icon Vincent Price plays Dr. Robert Morgan, a man who has survived a terrible wind-borne plague that’s killed nearly everyone on earth, except for those whom it’s turned into bloodthirsty vampiric mutations. These become active at night. During the day, they sleep…

Poor old Robert spends the daylight hours tracking down the mutants and staking them through the heart before chucking ’em in a giant pit of fire. Well, I guess he just wants to be sure they’re really dead, haha. At night, he holes himself up in his gaff while the pathetically weak vampires, including his former work colleague Ben Cortman, tap on his door and beg him feebly to come out so that they can kill him and drink his blood. Naturally, Robert declines this delightful offer. Maybe he likes his blood where it is…!

In any case, his existence as literally the last man on earth is so bleak that the viewer wonders why he just doesn’t end his own life and be done with it. Maybe he’s afraid that he’ll become one of the Walking Un-Dead like the monstrous mutations he grapples with every day and night.

One miraculous day, however, while out doing his ’rounds,’ Dr. Morgan spies a sight that he never expected to see again; a human female! Is she real? Is she infected with the plague that turned the mutants into the bloodsucking demons they’ve become? And, most importantly, how will this seemingly chance encounter impact upon the already stressed-out Dr. Morgan…?

I think that this film works so well because it taps into those fears we all secretly have. You know, the ones about being one of the sole survivors of some kind of apocalyptic disaster that leaves us on our own battling against zombies and mutants? I’ve always had that fear at the back of my own mind, anyway.

There’s this horrible scenario I think about sometimes where I’m alone in my house in just such a post-apocalyptic situation as we’ve discussed. A mis-shapen shadow suddenly falls across my window. Then I hear a scrabbling at the door. I stay perfectly still but the noise continues. Then there’s the unmistakable sound of someone breaking in… It’s all very ZOMBIE FLESH-EATERS (Lucio Fulci), isn’t it?

Another thing that scares people is the thought of a plague or pandemic that wipes out half the world’s population. We’ve had worrisome thoughts like that about different epidemics over the decades: AIDS, swine flu, avian flu and the Ebola virus, to name a few. I’ve literally just read online, actually, about something called the ‘Zika virus.’

 It’s not outside the bounds of possibility that something like a plague/pandemic could happen. That’s why films like OUTBREAK, QUARANTINE and RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR are so popular. It’s because, one day, it might just happen here…

I think THE LAST MAN ON EARTH must have been the inspiration for that TREEHOUSE OF HORROR episode of THE SIMPSONS in which Homer Simpson becomes ‘the last man on earth’ after a nuclear bomb wipes out most of the rest of the world. He isn’t remotely bothered by being surrounded by rotting corpses. He actually enjoys having the world to himself for a bit, haha. Until he finds himself being chased by freakish skin-eating mutants, that is…!

Vincent Price puts his heart and soul into his performance as the poor beleaguered Dr. Robert. Did I mention that I met his daughter Victoria Price in November 2015, by the way? I try to mention that quite regularly, haha. She was having a meet-and-greet at the Irish Film Institute here in Dublin to promote the cookery book her dear old dad co-wrote with her mum and she was absolutely lovely and down-to-earth.

I chose to buy her biography of her dad, though, rather than the cookery book. It was a real whopper of a coffee-table book and it cost an even more whopping sixty quid…! Quite honestly, I’m not much of a Nigella Lawson, anyway. I prefer to spend as little time in the kitchen as I can get away with.

The flashback scenes in THE LAST MAN ON EARTH are excellent and the scenes with the puppy are just heartbreaking. The fact that the film is in black-and-white highlights the starkness of Dr. Robert’s awful situation. If you want to see how he copes with things, watch the film. It’s superb. And don’t answer the door after dark under any circumstances. It might be the mutants…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

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BRILLIANT LITTLE HORROR E-BOOK FREE TO DOWNLOAD FROM 16TH-20TH MAY!!!

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THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL/DRIVING MISS DAISY: A GENTLE DUO OF ‘NANNA FILMS’ REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

driving miss daisyTHE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL/DRIVING MISS DAISY: A GENTLE DUO OF ‘NANNA FILMS’ REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. (1985) BASED ON THE PLAY BY HORTON FOOTE. DIRECTED BY PETER MASTERSON. STARRING GERALDINE PAGE, JOHN HEARD, CARLIN GLYNN, RICHARD BRADFORD AND REBECCA DE MORNAY.

DRIVING MISS DAISY. (1989) BASED ON THE PLAY BY ALFRED UHRY. DIRECTED BY BRUCE BERESFORD. STARRING JESSICA TANDY, MORGAN FREEMAN, DAN AYKROYD, PATTI LUPONE AND ESTHER ROLLE.

These two ‘Eighties films actually have a lot in common. Apart from each being ‘Eighties movies, that is. They’re both what Homer Simpson of THE SIMPSONS would term ‘Nanna films,’ for one thing. Films for and starring old ladies, in other words.

Remember when Homer’s watching ‘Nanna film’ BUTTERFLIES OF AUTUMN and lowbrow slapstick comedy EDITOR-IN-CHIMP simultaneously at the video store? Here’s the clip from BUTTERFLIES OF AUTUMN that’s so sad it makes Homer bawl his eyes out in sympathy:

Nanna, in weak quavery Southern belle accent on her deathbed: ‘I fear I have become a Butterfly Of Winter…’

Female relative, trying hard not to cry: ‘Hush up, Nanna, that’s fool talk…!’

Secondly, both films are based on plays and thirdly, the two female leads each won Academy Awards for their outstanding performances. Geraldine Page and Jessica Tandy each portray completely different old ladies in their two separate films, but their characterisations are spot-on and unforgettable. Both films manage to be beautiful, quirky, powerful and almost painfully sad all at the same time.

We mustn’t forget the men either, though. Morgan Freeman acts up a storm as Hoke Colburn in DRIVING MISS DAISY, which starts off in 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s an elderly black chauffeur who’s hired to drive wealthy businessman Boolie Werthan’s retired schoolteacher Momma to and from the grocery store, the beauty parlour and the synagogue when she loses her licence.

You wouldn’t think that an impoverished black chauffeur and a rich white Jewish widow who likes everything done her own particular way would have much in common, would you? Over the years that follow, however, the two lonely people edging ever-closer to meeting their Maker become firm friends and they experience many monumental changes together:

The onset of old age and infirmity, even senility; the death of a valued member of the household; racism against both of them and the march of progress of the black human rights cause as espoused by Martin Luther King; and finally, just the year-in, year-out changing of the seasons and the weather and the dying of each successive year followed immediately by the birth of a new one.

Geraldine Page as Carrie Watts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is dependent on her son too, like Jessica Tandy in DRIVING MISS DAISY. She lives with him, in fact, and his wife Jessie Mae, in post World War Two America. Jessie Mae is a childless, nagging misery of a woman who, while not actually abusive to her ma-in-law, seems to go out of her way to make the old lady feel unwelcome in her own son’s home. The son, henpecked to death by Jessie Mae, is called Ludie, by the way. That’s another thing the two films have in common. Both the sons have daft names…!

Anyway, the one wish of the elderly Mrs. Watts is to see the hometown where she lived with her husband and brought up her son one more time before she dies. The town of Bountiful is miles away, however, and awkwarder ‘n’ hell to get to and anyways, Ludie just doesn’t think it’s a good idea to go dredging up the past like that and all Jessie Mae seems to care about is old Mother Watts’s pension cheque from the Government.

So Carrie Watts, a feisty old dear with charm and sass to spare, takes the law into her own hands and takes the bus to Bountiful all on her lonesome. She’s won’t be entirely on her own, however. Rebecca De Mornay’s sweet pretty young Army wife is happy to keep her company on the long bus ride and Carrie’s lucky enough to get a personal escort from the world’s nicest local Sheriff out to her old house.

At the abandoned old ramshackle house and the beautiful green fields that surround it, Carrie Watts re-unites with her son and his wife and the three of them come to a new understanding of each other.

Both actresses are superb in their leading roles. They show dignity and good humour in their attempts to hold onto their independence and their sense of self as they journey through the unchartered territory that is old age. Carrie Watts is a far cry from the role Geraldine Page played in THE BEGUILED with Clint Eastwood back in the ‘Seventies.

She did an excellent job back then of portraying the sex-starved headmistress of a girls’ boarding school in Civil War America who had to grub about in the dirt to feed her protegées. Equally, I’ll never forget Jessica Tandy’s brilliant performance as the elegant, cheek-boney Lydia Brenner in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best horror films, THE BIRDS.

Just to mention, by the way, that Jessica Tandy was an impressive eighty years old when she made DRIVING MISS DAISY. When she won her Oscar for the role she was, in fact, the oldest actress ever to receive it, which of course is quite special. She doesn’t even look eighty in the film, except when the make-up department deliberately ages her! It’s her fabulous bone structure that’s responsible for her youthful looks, if you ask me. Sadly, this lovely lady died only five short years after making the film, just like Geraldine Page died just two years after making THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. Another thing that these two wonderful actresses have in common, sadly.

Anyway, I watched both of these ‘Nanna films’ recently at my local library as part of the annual BEALTAINE festival. Both films celebrate ageing while also exploring some of the difficulties and challenges that come with it. They show us that there’s rejoicing as well as mourning to be done once the snow starts to settle on the roof, as it were. Isn’t that a lovely gentle way to describe the ageing process? I’m sure that Nannas (and hopefully even Grandpas) everywhere would approve…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

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sandrasandraharris@gmail.com