Search This Blog

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Carpetbaggers (1964)

Harold Robbins’ sprawling, sleazy best selling roman a clef about Howard Hughes was turned by producer Joseph E. Levine and director Edward Dmytryk into a juicy, trashy potboiler with a purple prose screenplay by John Michael Hayes (REAR WINDOW). Hayes miraculously turned Grace Metalious’ lurid best seller PEYTON PLACE from a sow’s ear to a silk purse. Alas, no such miracle here. But you can’t take your eyes off the screen. George Peppard plays Jonas Cord (the Hughes stand-in) and he’s excellent at playing cruel and unlikable but he has zero charisma. Surely there must have been something compelling about a man like Hughes that attracted people to him besides money. Carroll Baker plays the Jean Harlow equivalent (a role she would play again the following year) and Alan Ladd, in his final film, plays the aging cowpoke Nevada Smith (the novel contained so much background on the character that Steve McQueen made a whole movie of it 2 years later). The large cast includes Robert Cummings, Martha Hyer (in the film’s best performance), Elizabeth Ashley, Lew Ayres, Martin Balsam, Audrey Totter, Leif Erickson, Tom Tully, Arthur Franz, Archie Moore and Ralph Taeger. The eye catching costumes are by Edith Head and the energetic score by Elmer Bernstein.

No comments:

Post a Comment