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This movie starts out appearing to be the usual b-movie shlock morality
- and that beginning is where any similarity ends. Claudelle Inglish winds
up having a place right beside movies like Showgirls and Beyond the Valley
of the Dolls, just for sheer shock value.
The basic premise is familiar enough, sweet young thing is seduced and then jilted. However, nobody knows that, since her beau is not a total creep; her shameful secret is still safe from the townspeople who would label her a whore - so here's where the fun starts, since our heroine, literally overnight, decides to transform herself into the town tramp anyway. Why? Uhhh, why not?
Of course it would have made perfect sense for Claudelle to just go ahead and marry the older, unappealing rich man who all but drools on her, but that would be too easy, and it won't happen here. In fact nothing here plays out the way you would expect it to, and that is the brilliance of this film and why it is something you have to see to believe.
This is trash at its very finest, and to tell anything more about what happens after Claudelle creates her own hell would spoil everything.
Claudelle (Diane McBain) is the very pretty teen-aged daughter of poor
sharecroppers. Mom (Constance Ford) is sick of her dreary life and wants
her daughter to marry a rich man, preferably the middle-aged owner of the
plantation (Claude Akins) - this way Claudelle can have all the advantages
and Mom as well. But Claudelle will have none of it- she's in love with
Linn (Chad Everett) and will be true - until he jilts her. So she
over-reacts and decides to become the town slut and go to hell in a
She puts out for every lad in town, gets a reputation, but still refuses
the plantation owner. Finally, when she starts seducing the lads' dads
mom gives herself to the plantation owner, well, Dad (Arthur Kennedy) - he
gets mighty depressed.
This is like watching an accident - you know it's trash but you're fascinated and can't look away. It's treated so earnestly by all concerned.
What is most striking is the beauty of the young performers. McBain does an excellent acting job, slowly changing from a sweet innocent to a hardened and cynical woman. She is also a very beautiful young starlet here. The boys (Chad Everett, Robert Logan and especially Will Hutchins) are all gorgeous and very easy on the eyes.
The Academy nominated it for a Costume Design Oscar (no one told them that there are no costumes - every single piece of contemporary clothing could have been pulled from the racks of the nearest Woolworth's - studio block voting again). However, most deserving of Academy noms were Constance Ford's excellent supporting performance as the frustrated mom and the lush musical score by Howard Jackson.
Fun to watch - but not twice.
DIANE McBAIN has only one claim to movie fame besides her good looks.
It is her deep-down excellent portrayal of Claudelle Inglish in this
strange and sensational movie that is both dime novel trash and classic
The best and most powerful subject for a grab-you movie in my opinion is the power of intense love; that power which can bring joy and true happiness. Take away (or betray) that love and a person can be turned-on-a-dime into an adrenaline-filled force of self destruction. If I told you what happens in the movie you would not believe it; but I saw this near-exact drama play out in my own neighborhood some 15 years after this movie.
Too bad my 10 star rating is virtually pointless. The critics trashed this film when it came out and Warner Bros were clueless of its merits. I have no idea how you could get a copy and see it.
I saw this movie 35 years ago on late night TV and was totally and
utterly spellbound by it -- so much so that this many years later I
still remember it.
The stark quality of the movie, as shown through the dialog and other "devices" underlined the desperate nature of the characters (the fact that Claudelle knew she didn't have what she wanted but didn't know what that was or how to get it) and their suspicious natures in that someone might find what they were searching for.
A marvelous, fascinating character study. All good literature is nothing more than character study and good movies must have well-developed characters to be considered good. "Claudelle Inglish" is both.
I remember this film from the very early '60s. In those years we saw a lot of movies at the so-called "grind houses" on West 42nd Street (on both sides of Times Square); the deal, for us, was terrific: a double feature for "never more than 99 cents!" The first film to break that price barrier was Mercouri's NEVER ON Sunday. After her amazing bitchiness in A SUMMER PLACE, Constance Ford was again remarkable in this motion picture. I feel that this film, like too many others, is nearly forgotten today. But, when graduates, with a B.F.A. in Film, Theatre and Television, can look you in the eye and confess that they've "never heard of Marlene Dietrich", what can one expect?! Another one, a 2004 NYU grad, had never heard of THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Perhaps it's not the students but the schools that are failing!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie version of Erskine Caldwell's over-heated "tobacco road"
potboiler is all about a sharecropper's teenage daughter becoming the
town pump after receiving a "Dear John" letter from her drafted beau
and it's a mind-boggling trip to bad movie heaven where "love" is
literally that other four-letter word. The dead-earnest dialog's a
howler: Claudelle (played by pretty 60s starlet Diane McBain) tempts
her date (a young and handsome Chad Everett) away from their high
school dance and into the woods where she exhorts him to "love me!" but
he jilts her later on and she cracks up, screaming at her mother, "But
I loved him, mama -and I let him love me!" Looking to get even, she now
loves anything in pants, telling one local yokel who sneaks up to her
bedroom window looking for a date that he can have one if he promises
her something: "Tell me I'm pretty -all over." The one man she won't
have, however, is the overbearing oaf (Claude Akins) her bitter,
ambitious mama (Constance Ford channelling Kim Stanley) foists on her.
He's the richest man in the county and nuts about her but when
Claudelle blows him off, her mother dresses up in her daughter's duds
and hides in the shadows, going off with the sex-minded simpleton
herself. Claudelle's reckless abandon eventually turns the town
(consisting of little more than a general store) upside down and it can
only end one way...
Arthur Kennedy (as the wayward wench's long-suffering pa) tried to give the trashy tragedy some much needed class but it's a curious dinosaur, a throwback to an earlier time. The sordid subject matter was definitely "for adults only" but it was handled with a "Production Code" sensibility that was more-or-less obsolete after PSYCHO began breaking all kinds of barriers the year before. Warner Brothers' hesitation waltz around the lassie's lurid ways was not unlike the one Paramount was still doing a few years later in A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME and SYLVIA. The last starred Carroll Baker and was yet another unsuccessful "A" attempt to turn its "B-list" leading lady into a sex symbol star. By the end of the 60s, "Baby Doll" Baker found a niche in Eurotrash and Diane McBain went on to make MARYJANE, a marijuana movie starring Fabian Forte. Thank god. As for CLAUDELLE INGLISH, ya gotta "love" her -catch it if you can!
"Claudelle Inglish" is a well made movie but it's also rather dark and
depressing. This isn't so much a complaint--I'm just trying to let you
know in case you are thinking about watching it.
Diane McBain stars as the title character, an innocent and nice young lady. However, she quickly transforms from this to a 'bad girl' in her small home town after she is jilted by her jerk of a fiancé. Now she uses men and cares little about them--in her odd attempt to punish men in general for her stupid fiancé. Since the film was made in the early 60s, it's really unclear whether Claudelle is sleeping around or if she's just a tease--but it is clear that she uses men to get what she wants. How will this ultimately lead to disaster? See the film.
The acting is very good here--particularly by Arthur Kennedy who plays Claudelle's father. Well worth seeing and very unique...but also a tad unpleasant.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A guilty pleasure, to be sure, "Claudelle Inglish" is thoroughly
enjoyable pulp trash, and I say that with great affection. Actress
Diane McBain mines the same territory as Caroll Baker in "Baby Doll" in
a role one could easily see being played by Sue Lyon, Joey Heatherton,
or Tuesday Weld.
The title character becomes the belle of the ball in the backwoods of rural Georgia after her plans for her future (with fellow actor Chad Everett) get thrown under the school bus. The parents, wonderfully played by Arthur Kennedy and Constance Ford, get the chance to show their stuff once the drama boils up to its inevitable over-the-top crescendo(s).
Momma wants her daughter to end up with the wealthy, smitten landowner (Claude Akins) who's land they occupy as tenant farmers. Papa is content to let Claudelle make her own decisions about love, until it becomes her favorite after-school activity, that is. And when the love-boat drifts wildly off-course, momma Constance decides to take tawdry matters into her own restless hands.
There are some unintentional laughs inherent in a pine-woods potboiler such as this, and one could imagine what a director like Russ Meyer would do with such material a few years later. A film that is definitely worth your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie premiered this evening on Turner Classic Movies and was well worth watching. The film is a very well-acted and intense emotional drama about a high school girl who is navigating the confusing territory of transforming from a girl into a woman and having her first experience with love and betrayal. Claudelle is a beautiful and innocent 17 year old girl about to graduate from high school when she is "wooed" by, and falls in love for the first time with, a handsome and seemingly sincere local boy. She trustingly gives her heart and soul and body to the young man she loves, shortly before he must leave to serve in the army. Her lover "Linn" (Chad Everett) is assigned to a military base far from home, but he promises to marry Claudelle as soon as he is done with his 2 year stretch in the service and he asks her to wait for him. Claudelle is deeply in love and promises to wait for Linn. She eagerly awaits her lover's letters, every day, until she receives one in which he tells her that he has become involved with another young woman and is going to marry his new girl -- not Claudelle. Claudelle is absolutely devastated and heartbroken. Her mother, a woman who is bitter from a life of hard work and unrealized dreams of her own, is unequipped and too narcissistic to help her daughter deal with the pain of betrayal and her first broken heart. Claudelle wants to "get even" with the lover who spurned her, just as she begins to realize the power of her own beauty and sexuality . . . and the hold which she seems to so easily have over just about every man in town -- young and old. But the pain of being betrayed and spurned is so raw that Claudelle fails to realize that she is inflicting far more pain on herself than on any of the men who she she becomes involved with -- least of all her first lover, Linn. Claudelle's father (George Kennedy) is a decent and loving man, but is unable to help his daughter deal with the raw pain of her broken heart and her self-destructive behavior -- until the end of the movie. Unfortunately, but all too typical of the mores of the time in which the story takes place, the plot is resolved by a need to kill off the "slutty wanton woman", because of the havoc she wreaks on the lives of the many weak and delusional men who want her but cannot have her -- and who cannot control their own emotions. Why is it that the promiscuous woman always has to die in these movies? (Think about Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8, Kim Novak and Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage") Why can't the men just learn to deal with their own emotions without resorting to violence? In fairness, one sincere young man loses his life when he fights to defend Claudelle's honor (but mostly his own ego and "manhood"). And, I was really thinking and believing that Claudelle and her loving and protective father could pack up and move to a new town, and get a fresh start. But oh no. The wanton, beautiful and sexual woman always must die! Is it maybe because of all those stories were written by men? Is it because a woman who enjoys and trades on the power of her own beauty and sexuality is just too threatening to the patriarchy and must be punished? What is it? Happily, this motif begins to change with the advent of the sexual revolution in the mid- to late 1960's. I was so happy when I again saw the "The Sanpiper", recently, and observed that Elizabeth Taylor's character didn't have to end up dead -- even though she and Richard Burton thoroughly enjoyed an illicit, extramarital affair. Amen! LOL!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
More soap on a rope....typical soapie-doapie tearjerker of the late 1950s and early 60s....there were a lot of those super sudsers in that era, "A Summer Place", "Parrish", "Susan Slade", "Splendor in the Grass", "Imitation of Life" with Lana, etc. Unusual twist in this film, as Arthur Kennedy who plays Claudelle English's father and Constance Ford who was Sandra Dee's mom in "A Summer Place" are married in Claudelle English. Kennedy was Troy Donahue's dad in "A Summer Place"....guess the Warner Bros producers loved to use those recycled cast members......Claudelle English is the town vamp...a loose and fast young lady, a real lover gal. She has more boyfriends than a baseball stadium has hot dogs, and she loves and leaves em.....she loves them from 19 years old to old men in equal amounts. Sad tale though as Claudelle lives on an impoverished farm worked to the ground by her hapless dad, Arthur Kennedy. Constance Ford, the mother from hell in a "Summer Place" reprises her role in that regard in this film. Ford feels living in poverty is not for her and has an affair with the local landowner. She pushes Claudelle, her daughter to marry a rich man so she wont have to suffer like she did. A mixed bag of emotions follow as one lover after another chases Claudelle and her mom gets more jealous and frustrated at her own lack of an exciting life. She gets mixed up with a hokey landowner played by the boring Claude Akins.....in the end a surprising ending comes.....Claudelle is killed by the father of a jilted young man who is beaten up by another of Claudelle's many boyfriends. This is all the soap you would want and Dianne McBain is very beautiful in this film......surprising she never achieved the fame of another soaper Natalie Wood in this era.....they were both very hot women and actressses in the early 60s. McBain was a knockout in "Parrish" and you would have thought her career would take off...... it didn't....she played in several more mostly forgotten B films, including one Elvis flick. McBain is mostly a forgotten actress today. She like Connie Stevens, another Warner Bros starlet never achieved the fame many thought they would have. This was an era when the soap sudser made a lot of money for Warner Bros. Then very quickly the genre died for some reason. Guess Troy Donahue, Stevens and McBain did not want any more suds roles. Go figure!!!
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