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

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Pia Zadora and Orson Welles -- in the same movie!
BUTTERFLY (1982). Director: Matt Cimber.

In 1937 at the Arizona-Nevada border Kady Tyler (Pia Zadora) comes to live with the father she never knew, a man named Jess (Stacy Keach), who is the caretaker for an abandoned silver mine. Despite their biological connection, Kady and Jess are drawn to one another, something which bothers Jess but doesn't seem to bother the much too free-spirited Kady. Kady's dying mother, Belle (Lois Nettleton), comes calling, along with the man Belle ran off with, Moke Blue (James Franciscus). Then there's Wash Gillespie (Edward Albert), the son of the owner of the mine, and the father of Kady's baby and her fiance. How far will Jess go to get Kady for himself -- and is she really his daughter? Butterfly certainly holds the attention with its intriguing if bizarre situations, as well as some very good acting. Keach takes top honors, with Nettleton a close second, and Franciscus [Youngblood Hawke] also scores in some emotional scenes inside the mine. Pia Zadora [Hairspray] is not bad at all, although one couldn't necessarily call her a great actress -- her pouty looks and attitude fit the part. Orson Welles, of all people, shows up as a judge at two separate trials involving Kady and Jess, and is very effective and amusing. Edward Albert [Galaxy of Terror] is fine as Kady's boyfriend, and in one brief scene June Lockhart and Ed McMahon [!] play his parents -- McMahon is no actor. Stuart Whitman, however, makes his mark as a preacher. This forgotten movie is based on a novel by James M. Cain.

Verdict: Twisted, but interesting, love story. ***.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill, I don't remember seeing Pia Zadora in a movie, ever? (I honestly don't remember her at all from the original Hairspray) I used to read about her in all the movie magazines and tabloids, where she was regarded as some kind of a joke.

I am fascinated by this Butterfly film, though, an interesting cast and storyline. I want to check it out. The director Matt Cimber's name rings a bell for me--wasn't he Jayne Mansfield's husband for a brief time after she divorced Mickey Hargitay?

Looking forward to this one.

William said...

Yes, Cimber and Mansfield had a two-year marriage -- long by Hollywood standards, LOL!

How could you have missed Pia in Harold Robbins "The Lonely Lady," in which she played an actress who venomously reams into the audience when she wins an Oscar -- and that's just the opening!

Pia's mistake was in marrying a wealthy older man who tried to buy a career for her with his money. She was not untalented, but everyone saw her as a joke, as you say. She also did a surprisingly creditable version of Garland's signature tune "The Man that got Away".

I'm seeing a friend tonight who loves Garland and am going to have some fun with him. I'm going to tell him "'Forget Garland! it's Pia Zadora who was the world's greatest singer!"

I hope I don't get a drink in my face.

angelman66 said...

Ha! Yes, I do need to see The Lonely Lady, I never have....and now I MUST.
Will YouTube her to listen to her music.
And LOL, don't needle us Garland fans, or you may indeed get one in the kisser!
Best as always,

William said...

I better watch myself, LOL!