Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

CLAUDELLE INGLISH

Arthur Kennedy, Diane McBain and Constance Ford
CLAUDELLE INGLISH (1961). Director: Gordon Douglas.

Claudelle (Diane McBain) lives in a rented farmhouse with her father, Clyde (Arthur Kennedy), and her unhappy mother, Jessie (Constance Ford). Jessie is horrified at the thought of her daughter marrying a poor man, Linn (Chad Everett), and living the same kind of deprived life that she has. Claudelle has nothing to worry about on that score, however, as Linn falls in love with somebody else and she is devastated. Determined not to ever marry anyone, Claudelle embarks on a campaign to date very many boys and acquire gifts from all of them in exchange for you-know-what. In this amusingly lurid soaper, Claudelle's sensuality pits fathers against sons, inflames the lust of her father's boss (Claude Akins), and even starts her mother on the pathway to back seat action! Claudelle isnt really "evil," but the production code insures a "sin and suffer approach" to the proceedings. McBain [Parrish] was very appealing in some roles, and perhaps her casting prevents her from being too slatternly, but she doesn't quite throw herself into the difficult part as other actresses might have done; she's simply a bit too lightweight [although one could argue that she underplays]. Arthur Kennedy was always a good actor but sometimes, as in this, he just seems to be going through the motions; Constance Ford is better as his rather desperate wife, and Claude Akins [Tentacles] is just terrific as horny, old Crawford. Claudelle's "suitors" include Will Hutchins, Robert Colbert, Frank Overton, Jan Stine, and an especially charming Robert Logan [77 Sunset Strip]. Claudelle Inglish is trashily entertaining, but it lacks the good dialogue and characterizations that might have lifted it above a soap opera level. Based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, who also wrote "Tobacco Road." Gordon Douglas also directed the excellent creature feature Them.

Verdict: Lots of fun in spite of itself, but it might as well have been even trashier. ***.

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