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Something Wild (1961)


MissGoddess
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OK I just stumbled on this movie in the breakroom (another good one I missed recording, dang!) and my question is this. In the Time Warner cable "description" it says "suicide vicitim is rescued by simple minded mechanic who gives her love". My question is, I've watched Ralph Meeker, the so-called simple mind, for about 10 minutes now and I haven't seen any indications. I mean, why do they describe him that way? Because he's blue-collar and uneducated? I'm at work so I can't watch the rest of it and I'm dying of curiosity. I hope TCM airs it again, I'll have to check the schedule.

 

Has anyone here seen it and is he really that backward or did TimeWarner just goof?

 

And is the 1986 film of the same title a remake of this movie?

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*"suicide vicitim is rescued by simple minded mechanic who gives her love".*

 

Not exactly how I would have put it (see elsewhere for how I described it about a week ago), but I can understand the description...if "love" were within quotation marks, underlined, and italicized.

 

The ending isn't what one might expect (for goodness sake, most of the movie is not what one might expect, especially in 1962) and I will not give it away. After all, the one-sheet for it -- yes, I recently purchased it in my ever increasing obsession -- clearly states:

 

For your fullest enjoyment of the mounting excitement of "Something Wild"...please see it in its entirety from the beginning.

 

Who am I to argue with United Artists' 1962 advertising department? But I will tell you this...

 

"Rosebud" is a sled.

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> {quote:title=nightwalker wrote:}{quote}

> Hi, Miss G:

>

> No, I don't think Meeker is simple-minded. Maybe a little strange, but not really "simple." To reveal more might spoil it for you, which you know I don't want to do.

>

> And no, the 1986 film of the same is not a remake.

 

I'm relieved to know he's not simple-minded, I can handle "strange" I guess. :P I thought he was rather funny in just the five minutes or so I saw of him. I suggested TCM air it again, I hope they do because it looked like something I'd really like.

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> *Where "elsewhere" did you write about it, Chio?*

>

> SSO, about a week ago, as a head's up. (Now we know you ignore me there, too. :) )

 

Ooooooooooooh!! I would NEVER ignore YOU, ChiO me Boy-O! I probably saw the title of the thread and assumed it was the 80s movie so I skipped it... I'll make up for it I promise.

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Goddess, this film has haunted me since I first saw it in the late sixties back in the Bronx. I think most people who saw it for the first time back then can't get it out of their minds.

 

TCM's showing brought it all back to me: Martin "Goebbels" Kosleck (we all fondly remember him from B movies in various Nazi permutations) as the seedy landlord; Jean Stapleton as the

slatternly neighbor who entertains at all hours; Doris Roberts as the snarky co-worker, Mildred Dunnock as the whiny mother, Ralph Meeker as the kind-hearted but desperate rescuer who needs some salvation of his own; and lastly but certainly not least, Carroll Baker, who has an interesting presence that combines old-school Hollywood "baby-doll" (so to speak) sex appeal and glamour, with the more rigorous analytical acting approach of the Method.

New York is also a character, the b&w cinematography and location shooting bringing this seemingly obtuse and symbolic story to some sort of mysterious life. It's not quite as "arty-farty" as you might think, although the minimalist script, symbolism, and strange character motivations certainly point in that direction.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Oooooh! Bronxie you are torturing me! Now I'm really just DYING to see this movie!! I think I'll flood the Suggest-a-Movie site. :P

 

I really like Carroll Baker. She's an odd one. You described her perfectly. She looks like old school Hollywood Glam but underneath is that restlessness and it's not very far underneath, either. I feel she didn't always have the roles she was capable of, but those she got she seemed to give everything she had. She looks terribly young in SOMETHING WILD---was it after Baby Doll?

 

I like Ralph Meeker now but there was a time I couldn't stand him.

 

I didn't recognize that was Jean Stapleton!! You're good.

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Actually I thought Carroll looked rather old in the part -- she was around 30, and her character was supposed to be a college student of around 19 or 20. She did BABY DOLL in '56 I believe, at age 25 or so.

 

I've always liked Ralph Meeker, so it was no problem for me, but I tell you, I've never seen him in a role like this. It kind of defies description.

 

And you have to see the way Baker drinks milk. It's so....can't quite describe it, but it's so....FORMAL. And under the circumstances (she's being held prisoner by him) after she wakes up from an (arty-type) nightmare and screams, she actually says "Excuse me" to her captor. Such manners in this weird situation.

 

This is Jean Stapleton as you've NEVER seen her.

 

I loved Martin Kosleck as the rat-like landlord.

 

You'll appreciate the New York locations.

 

Mildred Dunnock is good.

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Actually I thought Carroll looked rather old in the part -- she was around 30, and her character was supposed to be a college student of around 19 or 20. She did BABY DOLL in '56 I believe, at age 25 or so.

 

Really??? Wow, no I have to say I thought she looked touchingly young. But then, I always thought she had kind of a baby face. Girls at 15 today look 30, trashy 30 I might add, so maybe it's always been that way, lol.

 

Mildred Dunnock looks like she's playing the same exact role she would play to Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8 (one of my favorite "guilty pleasure" movies, along with Lana's By Love Possessed and Portrait in Black). I cannot imagine a mother LESS like my own in my wildest dreams.

 

I first saw Meeker in *Kiss me Deadly* and loathed him. He acted a brute in The Detective, too, so I figuered he was some ex-jock who could only play meat heads and thugs. Then I began to see the humor in his Mike Hammer and more of his work and I really do like him alot now.

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Carroll does have that baby face. In SOMETHING WILD, I think it's probably her mannerisms that make her appear older to me for some reason. She's very deliberate in her actions is the only way I can describe it. There is nothing really spontaneous about her, although in a scene with Meeker she does have a superb screech stroke moment that seemed to be from a memory exercise at the Studio.

 

I haven't seen Dunnock in a lot of movies -- BUTTERFIELD 8 and BABY DOLL are the other two.

I always remember her best from this one. Her screen mothers are drenched in denial. She was very touching playing a variation of Tennessee William's sister Rose in BABY DOLL.

PORTRAIT IN BLACK and BY LOVE POSSESSED are my guilty pleasures as well, B-8 less so but Liz looks GORGEOUS.

 

I've always had a crush on Ralph Not sure why. There's something kinda sweet about him.

I want to hug him always.

 

Even in SOMETHING WILD. And he's got an eye patch!

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Ugh, I can't stand it that I missed recording Something Wiuld. I just know I'm going to love it. He wears an eye patch in it????

 

Have you seen Ralph in the first episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"? I'm sure you have. He's really wonderful as the kind of boyfriend/husband you'd like to have around if you were losing your marbles. Unless of course you happen to be the poor schnook his marble-less wife pointed out ("There he is! That's him.").

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Ooh, now you're intriguing me; I don't remember that first Hitch Presents episode. I'll check it out. Wait a minute, it's sort of coming back to me....but now I just lost it again....

 

I'd love to know your reaction to SOMETHING WILD. I think you'll really dig it.

 

I won't give it away about why Ralph wears the eye-patch.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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That Hitchcock episode is available online, as well as many others. I saw it a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I am out of town (and state) and don't have the site handy. If you want to send me a PM, I will remember to send you the site when I get back on Monday.

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_MissG_ said: *I like Ralph Meeker now but there was a time I couldn't stand him.*

 

Here's my query(ies): Were you unable to stand him because Timothy Carey surpassed him by light years on the screen in Paths of Glory? Or, do you now like him because he was able to still find work even though Timothy Carey surpassed him by light years on the screen in Paths of Glory?

 

It's all about Timothy Carey. :)

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> _MissG_ said: *I like Ralph Meeker now but there was a time I couldn't stand him.*

>

> Here's my query(ies): Were you unable to stand him because Timothy Carey surpassed him by light years on the screen in Paths of Glory? Or, do you now like him because he was able to still find work even though Timothy Carey surpassed him by light years on the screen in Paths of Glory?

>

> It's all about Timothy Carey. :)

 

 

Lol! I will have to watch Paths of Glory again to give you even a qualified answer; qualified because a) I don't remember Meeker at all in PoG and B) I don't remember Timothy Carey in PoG. I'm afraid I only remember Kirk. :D

 

I take it this is one of your favorite films, Mr Chicagowen?

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*Paths of Glory* is my favorite Timothy Carey performance (The Killing being a close second), thereby making it difficult for me to judge it even semi-objectively. It is also my favorite Kirk Douglas performance; I'm not a fan of his, but sometimes his elocution and natural arrogance & nastiness are perfect for a role.

 

There are 3 or 4 Kubrick films (and, if one gives him partial credit for AI: Artificial Intelligence, then make that 4 or 5) that I like better than Paths of Glory. But, yeah, I like it alot.

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Bronxie,

 

Here's a little something I posted elsewhere re Ralph Meeker in a discussion of his performance as "The Ice Man" in BIG HOUSE U.S.A.:

 

Some other Meeker performances of note, in which he is more than, or other than, his usual "icy" self:

 

1) Bernie Jenks in THE NIGHT STALKER, the original 1972 TVM starring Darren McGavin as everybody's favorite reporter, Carl Kolchak. Meeker's character is an FBI agent investigating the series of killings, which we know (and the film's cast will discover) are being perpetrated by an honest-to-goodness real-life vampire. Meeker's regular-joe characterization as one of the few "official-types" who actually seems able to stand Kolchak is solid and, at times, even amusing. Also worth noting is his genuine reluctance at the film's end to assist the others in suppressing Kolchak's story.

 

2) Jim McAndrew, the police lieutenant in the TVM BIRDS OF PREY (1973) with David Janssen. Friends since their WWII days as part of the Flying Tigers, Meeker's character is now a Lt. (I think) on the Salt Lake City police force while Janssen, whose character misses the good old days and feels somewhat disconnected with things as they are in the present day of 1973, is a radio station helicopter traffic announcer. During the course of his work one day, he spots a bank robbery in progress and, seeing the thieves take a young lady hostage and being aware that they will likely escape if he doesn't intervene, decides to follow them in his 'copter. Before long, he becomes much more involved with this scenario than he imagined he would be. The interchanges between Janssen and Meeker during the pursuit, as well as the final encounter between the forces of law & order and the criminals, are indeed memorable and worth a look.

 

3) as tormented war vet Trevor Stevenson in A WOMAN'S DEVOTION (aka BATTLE SHOCK) from 1956, Meeker scores as an artist who may be responsible for a series of young women's deaths in Acapulco. Trouble is, since he suffers from the (alternate) title's affliction, even he isn't sure!

 

4) as stalwart & heroic (!) Capt. David Malcolm in 1955's DESERT SANDS, Meeker bravely leads his men, a present-day unit of the French Foreign Legion, against evil desert hordes.

 

Although not all "leading man type" performances, they do showcase Meeker's ability to do more than snarl and be unpleasant.

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