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As the narrator invites us to explore the horrors of an insane mind, a young woman wakes from a nightmare in a cheap hotel room. We follow her through the skid-row night and encounters with an abusive husband; a wino; a pimp and the rich man he panders for; a flashback to her traumatic childhood; violence; pursuit through dark streets; dementia. Filmed in film-noir style throughout; only the narrator speaks. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film was denied an exhibition seal by the New York censor board in 1953 but was finally passed with cuts and released in New York in late 1955. See more »
I have so much to show you. So much that you are afraid to see. Come, let me take you by the arm and show you the bed of evil you sprang from. Let me take you back, to when you were a little girl. Let me show you... your father.
[Flashback scene of The Gamine's father]
Let me show you... your mother.
[Flashback scene of The Gamine's mother]
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Thanks be to TMC for reviving this curiosity for a popular audience. I can't imagine what the movie's producers foresaw in the way of audience potential. I gather the film was shot in 1953, certainly not a promising period for an experimental feature of any kind. I also gather the atrocious narrative was added later to maybe give the package commercial appeal. But not even a 50's drive-in farthest from town would book a weirdo like this. Perhaps college area theatres would have booked it as a midnight feature, playing up the sex angle. Anyway, to me, its origins appear puzzling, indeed.
All in all, the end result is about as schizoid as the lead female character, combining striking visuals and special effects with amateurish acting and brain-dead narration. Someone in production certainly had an artistic eye for visual compositioncheck out the long shot of the gamin entering and exiting the spacious hotel lobby. They're beautifully composed. Actually, the visuals suggest that perhaps Welles saw the production before filming Touch of Evil (1957), especially Dementia's skid-row area that resembles Evil's Venice beach locations.
Certainly the movie has its cheesy elements. But to call the movie itself cheesy is to miss the artistic undercurrent that kept me hooked.
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