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The Female Animal (1958)

 |  Drama  |  10 May 1958 (Sweden)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 86 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 2 critic

An aging film star and her alcoholic daughter compete for a handsome extra.

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(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Vanessa Windsor
...
Penny Windsor
...
Lily Frayne
...
...
Hank Galvez (not Lopez)
Gregg Palmer ...
Mabel Albertson ...
Irma Jones
...
Tom Maloney
Richard H. Cutting ...
Dr. John Ramsay
...
Nurse
Yvonne Peattie ...
Hairdresser
...
Charlie Grant (as Casey Adams)
Douglas Evans ...
Al The Director
Aram Katcher ...
Mischa Boroff
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Storyline

Jaded movie star Vanessa Windsor, saved from a studio accident by handsome extra Chris Farley, pursues him, and soon he's the 'caretaker' of her beach house. Vanessa's sexy, alcoholic adult daughter Penny accidentally meets Chris, who rescues her from an 'octopus' boyfriend. Before you know it, Chris is involved with both mother and daughter, and his only way out is to take a job in a Mexican picture about man-eating orchids... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It is said that when a woman fights for a man, she is like an ANIMAL!

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 May 1958 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Anikanopoiites gynaikes  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This marks the final film appearance of actress Hedy Lamarr. See more »

Quotes

Lily Frayne: [Lily Frayne and her date, Pepe, are at the restaurant bar; Pepe looks troubled as he examines a bracelet on his wrist] I don't know why you're objecting to that slave bracelet. I buy one for all my friends. I used to wear two or three of them myself around my ankle in the old days. Everybody wears them.
Pepe, Lily's Gigolo: Mon cher, please, I'm bored hearing about "The Stone Age."
Lily Frayne: [shakes her diamond-covered hand at Pepe] That's where these rocks came from, lover, and don't forget it.
[turns to Bartender]
Lily Frayne: Darling, ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
A couple of blocks from "Sunset Boulevard"
3 November 2003 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

What Douglas Sirk, and a better chosen cast, could have done with this material!

Hedy Lamarr plays "Vanessa Windsor," an aging movie queen who falls hard for a handsome extra named "Chris" played by George Nader. Chris feels himself genuinely drawn to Vanessa but fears becoming nothing more than a "kept" man. Vanessa's adopted daughter Penny, played by Jane Powell, enters the scene. Penny suffers the usual problems experienced as the child of a famous, rarely-present person and has drifted into alcoholism and promiscuous behavior. She also falls for Chris and he feels himself attracted to her though he tries to keep Vanessa from learning this fact. The movie soon becomes a question of (1) what will Vanessa do when she finds out the truth, and (2) which woman will Chris wind up with?

Miscasting weakens this movie which isn't quite flamboyant enough to be "camp." Hedy Lamarr fits easily into her role but Jane Powell seems about 10 years too old to be the adopted daughter. Similarly George Nader's part might have been better filled by an actor 10 years his junior. Like Robert Mitchum, Nader usually declined to shave off his chest hair but he obviously made an exception here for his various shirtless scenes. Perhaps he felt this would make him look younger in a "beachboy" sort of way.

Jan Sterling receives third billing and wanders into and out of the plot but her character isn't well integrated into the story. (She's the counterpart to Ruth Roman in "Love Has Many Faces.") Like the other performers, her "smart, sophisticated" lines generally fall flat. The plot also suffers a bit from a flashback device which kicks in shortly after the start of the movie but which is presented in such an off-hand way that some viewers may not realize that a flashback is now in progress.

As for the ending, it appears to have been decided upon by a committee anxious to please as many people as possible. As a result, it'll probably please no one and its ambiguity is more annoying than stimulating.

George Nader's quiet, dignified performance -- and he isn't given much to work with -- almost holds the movie together. It's good to see him with his shirt off but one can't help feeling a bit sorry that he's sometimes relegated to just being a slab of "beefcake." Those viewers familiar with Nader's private life will appreciate the fact that his character is given the sexually-ambiguous name of "Chris."


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