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

Thursday, May 31, 2018


DEBRA PAGET, FOR EXAMPLE (2016). Writer/director: Mark Rappaport.

Debra Paget was one of a legion of Hollywood contract players who did star in several movies but never really became stars. This strange documentary looks at her career, and shows clips from her -- and others' -- movies. This short documentary -- if you can call it a documentary -- has no interviews with people who knew or worked with Paget, including Paget herself, who is still living. Instead her alleged thoughts are voiced by an actress throughout the film. Paget's official birth was in 1933, which would have made her only fifteen in her first movie, with the much-older Richard Conte as her love interest (as he would be again in House of Strangers.) Paget looks older in some films, and in others she clearly is a child doing love scenes with older men. Paget was often cast in exotic roles as island princesses and the like, then got to play "bad girls" in B movies such as Most Dangerous Man Alive. She was a good enough actress, and certainly attractive, but not often given the opportunities that might have netted her awards or a bigger career. 

Journey to the Lost City
Debra Paget, For Example says little about  Paget's personal life aside from her marrying a wealthy Asian (after two previous failed marriages) and retiring from films at 29. Not only does this documentary fail to provide titles for some of the movie clips (aside from a list at the end), it doesn't even mention that Paget was the sister of Lisa Gaye, who was a well-known actress herself. Paget's most famous movie is The Ten Commandments, but she was also in such films as Tales of Terror, Les Miserables, Belles on Their Toes, and Fritz Lang's Journey to the Lost City, in which she danced in a remarkably sexy and revealing costume. Paget's leading men included Louis Jourdan, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Wagner, Cornel Wilde, and Elvis Presley, who wanted to date her, and she also worked with Edward G. Robinson, Jeff Chandler, Vincent Price, Michael Rennie, and many others. The documentary is padded with mini bios of other people Paget worked with, such as Lang.

Verdict: Interesting if uneven and incomplete look at Hollywood starlet. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Have never heard of this...wonder why Paget did not or was not asked to participate?
Boy she was beautiful, I love her in The Ten Commandments and she was one of Elvis's best costars too.

Do you know the documentary God Was the Bigger Elvis? Dolores Costello was Elvis's leading lady in two films, but then she left Hollywood, became a nun and is now the Mother Superior. Now that's a good documentary!!

William said...

Paget is still alive but she may not have been available or just wasn't interested.

Years ago I had an acquaintance who used to go visit with "Sister Delores" (or actually "Mother" Delores now) at the convent where she lived. Apparently she didn't mind talking about her Hollywood days but I'm sure the questions she was asked were discreet, and definitely NOT along the lines of 'Did you enter a convent after you had Elvis' love child?" Just a silly rumor, anyway.