6.3/10
234
21 user 5 critic

The Female Animal (1958)

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

Director:

Harry Keller

Writers:

Robert Hill (screenplay), Albert Zugsmith (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hedy Lamarr ... Vanessa Windsor
Jane Powell ... Penny Windsor
Jan Sterling ... Lily Frayne
George Nader ... Chris Farley
Jerry Paris ... Hank Galvez (not Lopez)
Gregg Palmer ... Piggy
Mabel Albertson ... Irma Jones
James Gleason ... Tom Maloney
Richard H. Cutting ... Dr. John Ramsay
Ann Doran ... Nurse
Yvonne Peattie Yvonne Peattie ... Hairdresser
Max Showalter ... Charlie Grant (as Casey Adams)
Douglas Evans Douglas Evans ... Al The Director
Aram Katcher 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!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 1958 (Albania) See more »

Also Known As:

Hideaway House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Nader replaced John Gavin in the male lead. See more »

Quotes

Vanessa Windsor: Oh, Chris. Chris, there is no use trying to escape it. There'll never be any other woman in your life but me. I'll see to that. Just you and me - and - Penny, of course. You and me and Penny.
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User Reviews

 
A couple of blocks from "Sunset Boulevard"
3 November 2003 | by dinky-4See 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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