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GUILTY PLEASURES! (I don't care what they say, I love it!)


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MovieProfessor, I'm glad the thread provided you with the opportunity to discuss one of your guilty pleasure favourites. I've yet to see Torch Song, never having been quite ready to see Crawford vamping it in blackface.


But thanks for the background information. One day, when I have the courage, I shall take the plunge.

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MP-What a great post. I'll give *Torch Song* another try. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of this film, in fact the 3 times I've tried to sit thru it, it's been difficult. Yes, the costumes were great, Marjorie Rambeau was great the song Tenderly is beautiful. I didn't care for whoever dubbed Joan's voice and to be honest, I didn't care much for Joan's dancing in this film. I enjoy Joan's films so much,she's a favorite of mine. I'm just not a fan of this one.

I do completely agree with you about Christina and her book about Joan. I've always felt her motives were questionable and I believe the truth was probably stretched quite a bit. I admire Joan Crawford very much. She was truly a great cinema legend.

I'm glad you get so much pleasure from *Torch Song* and I will look at the film differently after reading your wonderful post. (btw- MP- rosehips and Lavenderblue are one and the same)

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> {quote:title=TomJH You Wrote: }{quote}One day, when I have the courage, I shall take the plunge.

:^0 It's rather funny to me . . . That's about what one has to consider, when thinking about wanting to watch "Torch Song!" It does take some courage to take the plunge towards a film that leaves one with a few distored visions and ideas about the possible real life of a legendary movie star. B-)

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MovieProfessor, I don't suppose there's the chance that one day we will be treated to one of your in-depth background information posts on Prehistoric Women, with the delectable Laurette Luez, is there?


No . . . I thought not.


Well, as Jerry Colonna once said, I believe, "Aw yes, but I can dream, can't I?"




No, Laurette's not in this shot from Prehistoric Women. Still, this photo seems to capture some of the magic of that film.


You know, MovieProfessor, and now I'm being a little more serious, someone like Laurette Luez might make a great subject for you, at that. This was a beautiful model who wanted to make it in the film world. Her film career reached a peak in 1950 with a small but decent role in D.O.A., a film noir that could develop a cult following; a small role in Kim, a big budget MGM production in which she shared brief screen time with the legendary Errol Flynn; and, then, a lead role in Prehistoric Women, which has an outragious reputation not designed to enhance a career.


Lana Turner once said, "There were girls who were prettier, more intelligent and just as talented. Why didn't they make it? It's a question of magic. You either have it or you don't."




So take another look at this same picture I posted before. I think a lot of you might agree with me that it's Luez seated on the left that really seizes the attention. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know, but, for me, it's hard to even notice Monroe in this shot with Laurette Luez there.


Yet Monroe, a woman with connections who also developed her ability as an actress, is the one that went on to be a legend, not the stunning brunette beside her. Having small but telling parts in big 1950 films like Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve did a heck of a lot more for the young Marilyn than did Laurette's decision to accept the lead that same year (1950) in Prehistoric Women, a grade Z exploitation flick.


It's a fascinating subject, and I'm hardly the first to bring it up here, I know. For every ten thousand Laurette Luezs in Hollywood there seems to be only one Jayne Mansfield or Mamie Van Doren. The careers of Luez and Monroe briefly intertwined. The two reputedly met in acting class, with Luez claiming to having suggested that Norma Jean Baker change her name to Marilyn Monroe. Here's another shot of the two of them together, along with Clifton Webb:




Just why did their career paths diverge so differently? By the way, I'm not at all certain, since I know so little about her, that Luez's life might not very well have been happier than Monroe's. Luez left show biz in 1965 and died in 1999, outliving Marilyn by a full three and a half decades. She also had a slew of marriages, but the last one lasted for some time. There's a story here, folks. I'd like to know more about it.



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TomJH write: I think Cagney had a "dirty yellow little rat" dialogue reference in Taxi, the closest that he ever came to the "you dirty rat" expression in his films.



That's very true, Tom. OR, as Jimmy himself would tell ya here...






(...oh, and btw, thanks for givin' me the low down on that sultry thing Laurette Luez, and of whom I hadn't been previously acquainted...WOW, what an exotic beauty!)

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> images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTMf8VyNwEjJgZcfGHqbUt

I guess you really like this woman? Are you related to her or knew her? ?:|



OK . . . Here’s what I can add to the Laurette Luze story, from having been around at the time she was working in town. First off, she was without doubt, one of the most beautiful starlets of the early 1950’s. Some movie insiders now even say, the imagery of Luze had some influence on the early career of Sophia Loren, upon her arriving in Hollywood! I only saw Miss Luze once, in 1956, at the Coconut Grove with her then husband, Robert Creel. She was for all intended purposes, absolutely beautiful, radiant beyond simple description. She did have what might be termed as a magical, sort of larger than life imagery that made her standout among the throng of so many others. Of course, a beautiful girl in those days was pretty much a dime-a-dozen and Luze would have to face the enviable situation of luck, versus the right choices being made for one’s career. Her basic problem as I knew it to be was her personal life, filled with the chaos of trying to stay viable and of interest, while deciding on who could help her seek a solid foothold to fame and whatever fortune lie ahead. You see, she made the usual mistake of not looking ahead or over the advice she was given. Luze lacked the tact needed to realize what were her best options in a situation that is under a constant change or fluctuating opportunities. Her frequent love affairs with top studio officials didn’t get her anywhere, as she drifted from one relationship to the next, between her second and final marriage. In this regard, she and Marilyn had a lot in common!



When you’re an upcoming starlet and you give of yourself in certain ways that are of a moral fiber rather questionable, you can end up having to pay the high price of acquiring a reputation of sorts that in the long term, won’t help you out, to be taken seriously, unless (like Marilyn did) you find someone of important power in the business to back you up. Luze never was able to make this sort of connection, as she fell victim to her thinking she had made the grade by whom she selected in the hope of getting better exposure and a chance at a solid contract that was the dream of every starlet, hoping to make it in Hollywood. Someone once asked me why didn’t Luze turn instead towards a good career in television? Well, by the time she decided on moving towards the direction of TV, it was all too late. By the time she did land a regular role on a primetime series, it wasn’t exactly of high quality and that venture didn‘t last long. Her TV career would be for the rest of her time in the business sporadic, if at all, never really solid. She had initially become trapped by her exotic looks and style that limited what talents she may have been able to utilize. When she did manage to appear in most of the major films, it was as a walk-on or in an unaccredited role. This to me is quite embarrassing, since she was once on the cover of Life Magazine and other major periodicals across the country. I would have to think that she had a better time of it as a major model than attempting to become a movie star.



She’s a good example of someone who simply stays around the business, hoping and praying that something good will pop up, while all along, time and age mounts up against you. Truth is that Luze was just one of those quick flashes that come and go in the movie business of old Hollywood. It’s a typical story of a lovely girl with hopes and a big dream of becoming famous, while not understanding or able to face up to the process of what it takes to reach a goal that for the most part is and will always remain a tremendous gamble. The choices one makes, be they considered big or small, do have a way of going in a direction that can’t be so easily mapped out or figured out to the point of reaching a positive conclusion. The main idea here is to keep alive as many options as possible and then don’t wait too long for what might be looked upon as a better deal or a higher playing field. In the movie business, one has to keep going, moving steadily towards grabbing or catching up to whatever is available that will give you that all important exposure, be it in a low-budget project or if you’re lucky enough to land in a big one. In her case, she simply stopped working periodically, not seeking what could have been something worthwhile. This is why I say stopping along the way can hurt one’s career and one should never let up on what might be out there! Luze was in some ways, spoiled by other pursuits, such as the Hollywood social life and this wasn’t going to get her up and above the fray and chaos that can affect one’s chances. My guess is that Luze had a horrible, lousy agent or whoever represented her didn’t do her much good.



How terrible it must have been for Luze by that time in 1959, when she was at Universal Pictures, having received a “walk-on” role in the movie musical “Flower Drum Song.” Ten years earlier she had been touted as one of the new faces to watch, her face and imagery spread across the country on newsstands and in department stores! Where she ended up was about as low as one could get! What kept her around or perhaps her distant hopes alive were the many friends in town she made over the course of her rather inconsequential career. She at least remained somewhat beautiful up until the time she decided on calling it quits and becoming an everyday housewife. Towards the end of her life, she was all but forgotten and not known about in the small, quaint little, out of the way Florida town where she spent the remaining days of her life. I heard she did keep a few mementoes of her short lived glory time in Hollywood, gladly displaying them to anyone who showed interest. She had various photos of those long ago memories on hand in her living room. Sometimes, when asked she talked mostly about the once close friendship she had with Marilyn that always was the main topic of a first time meeting with someone. It was about the only call to any fame she could explain and talk about. Her time and career in Hollywood simply didn’t matter, at least to those who met her. She ended up a footnote to a time in Hollywood that had her associated to the glamour, but she just didn’t really count or amount to much in the eyes of those who came to hear her stories.



The file on Laurette Luze isn’t such a sad one or disappointing to the extent of having been considered a failure. Point is that she never reached high enough or long enough to then be looked upon as a major failure. Hers was one that just didn’t workout towards the long term of remaining sufficiently developed towards the goal needed in acquiring that all important foothold that would allow a decent sense of flexibility to say I made it. Well, Luze never really made it. She was just like so many before and those who still are coming after her, on the edge of the fringes to what might transpire on becoming a movie star. Maybe, just maybe fate did her a good turn, because she could have ended up like Marilyn? Who can say?



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Somebody besides me loves Robinson Crusoe on Mars and Logan’s Run? Bless you!



This is a very well-done version of the Defoe classic. Actor/writer Paul Mantee is believable as the stranded astronaut with only an adorable monkey named Mona as a companion. The actor who plays “Friday”-I think his name was Victor Lundin-looked more Native American than Martian but the scenes between the two were moving as they learn about each other and Crusoe helps him free his people from tyrants who have enslaved them. I never miss this when it’s on.



I was thirty when Logan’s Run came out so of course I had to see it especially since I remembered Wild in the Streets when we were supposed to be “put out of business”. The big surprise was the story. We were studying the life of St. Paul and his letters in Bible study and his life and Logan’s were so parallel that I couldn’t believe that it was a secular movie. I think it won an Oscar for some of its production values. 



Critics didn’t like Armageddon but I did. The relationship between the father and daughter was charming and having the pictures of the KIA astronauts at the wedding chocked you up. Bruce Willis always makes his super heroes care about others rather than the cardboard emotionless ones of Governor “Anald”. I have more but too many to mention. Glad there are so many in that boat-unless its name begins with T. 


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Thanks very much for your insights into Laurette Luez, Movie Professsor. And from someone who actually saw the lady at the Coconut Grove one time!


I guess my fascination with Luez began when I first saw her as part of a package of cheesecake shots of Hollywood starlets on a series of cards many many years ago. Well, her card was the only one that I kept because I thought she was such a stunning exotic beauty. It wasn't until later that I saw her in a film (probably Prehistoric Women) and discovered her name.


A lady with a busy life on the Hollywood social scene but not, as you say, gaining herself a good reputation in the process. Appearing in so many dreadful films would have only have further hurt her ability to be taken seriously. Even her exotic "foreign" looks were always going to type her as far as the kind of roles she got was concerned. (Apparently she played Tondelayo, the old Hedy Lamarr role, in a stage version of White Cargo at one point).


Thanks again, MovieProfessor, for your intelligent analysis. She may be unheard of by most people today but those images of her can tell take the breath away.





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One of my favourite types of film that I suppose you could call a "guilty pleasure" is the "young woman having adventures in the big city" type of story. This is a fairly popular theme, as there are movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s on the subject.

I don't know why, because I know their number is legion, but for some reason the only one I can think of right now is *Three Wise Girls*.

This kind of movie can't lay claim to high quality in any sense of the word - no profound ideas to ponder when the thing's over - but they're a lot of fun, at least to me.


I love the idea of a girl ( or should I say "gal") setting up her life in some big town ( probably New York), maybe sharing a brownstone flat with a few girlfriends, talking snappy dialogue to keep the men at bay, sharing and swapping fancy clothes with her room mates while she gets ready for a big date, maybe slapping some guy's too busy hands away while she slings hamburgers in the diner she's working in ( just temporary till she becomes a star, of course), going to nightclubs, going to parties and getting drunk, etc. etc.


Sometimes these movies are pretty good ( a lot of them are pre-codes), but even when they're not that great, I enjoy them. Theyr'e fun. I think it's because I'd like to have lived like that - at least for a while - at least, I think so. Anyway, a lot of the enjoyment for me is a vicarious thing.

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Wow, what a shame. I imagine this is the same story played out for thousands of women who thought sleeping with a sleazy studio head was the only way to get to the top. I guess Marilyn just chose better than Luez when it came to sleaze.


In that photo, Luez *is* the standout, although she is shouting s-e-x. Was she talented? When did talent matter back then, and when did sleeping around? She reminds me of Ava Gardner, who had no talent but again, chose well in the sleaze department.


Did Luez have another source of income? I hope she did, and didn't live out her life like other actors who die broke and unknown.

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I have to add a couple to the pile here:


*Rock-a-Bye Baby* (1958)


Some really don't care for Jerry Lewis, but I really liked this one- a reason why.

The screenplay is Frank Tashlin and Preston Sturges, both of whom whose work I do admire, and of course, the original story is based on Preston Sturges' *Miracle of Morgan's Creek*


The other is *Funny Bones* (1995), again with Jerry Lewis, but this time he is a supporting player, and it is all about the subtext of Lewis' character, George Fawkes. I found it to be a brilliant comedy.

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Hello, rosehips. What a pleasant name. Evocative of roses and tea.


Well, I only saw *The Best of Everything* once. It sort of falls into that category ( young women making their way in the big city). And it would certainly be a guilty pleasure, since I don't consider it to be very good.

However, it's a bit too serious to be fun...doesn't somebody die near the end? I like the lighter versions of this theme, where nothing too sad happens. A little b*tching between the girls is ok, maybe someone getting dumped by their "man" or sugar daddy, but that's as negative as I want it to get.


Also, 1959 is just a little on the late side for the era I like this kind of film. It has a bit of that harsh early 60s look that I don't care for.


I thought of another one that's more in line with what I was talking about: *Stage Door*. Although, come to think of it, that has a pretty sad incident in it too.

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Misswonderly, it's a thread about guilty pleasures, and Laurette Luez happens to be one of mine. She's also a little remembered actress to whom very few ever refer. I hope I don't seem obsessive in having pursued the subject matter a bit here but just how many other threads will ever mention the lady?


Since you brought her name up, here's another picture:




With Luther Adler in D.O.A.


There, only one picture that time. I'm slowly weaning my way off her.


Please feel free to discuss any more of her own guilty pleasures that you care to divulge.

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Thanks for the compliment, missW- I'm lavenderblue, had to post with another moniker since the site has been acting up. I have to go back and forth between the 2, since neither seems to work for more than a few posts.


*Stage Door* has that suicide, and it's interesting you should mention that film since in *The Best Of Everything* poor Suzy Parker falls off a firescape and in *Stage Door* although a suicide, Kay jumps out of a window! But I do understand what you mean. I'll try to think of some others that might fit into what your guilty pleasure films could be. :)

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Out of all of Ed Wood's movies, even though *Plan 9 From Outer Space* is his "mess-terpiece"...I have a particular liking for his first movie, *Glen Or Glenda* . It's still hysterically funny to me...it's outrageously ridiculous, and I've actually viewed it more times than *Plan 9* . To me it's tremendously entertaining.

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Big Fan of Joan here, but I have to say that I find The Best of Everything kind of meh.


The real story with Everything that interests me is this: it was *the first time that CRAWFORD condescended to take a supporting role.* Husband four: Mr. Pepsi Al Steel, had died and her finances were in shambles: she had to do it. She's (I think) last in the billing, and not featured prominently in ads for the film circa 1959. Also, her *BIG, EMOTIONIAL DRUNK SCENE* (a small part of which can be seen in the trailer) was *CUT* and has, to date, never been found.


Fast forward some forty years, when the film is released on video (and later on DVD) who do you think is FRONT AND CENTER on the box? Who do you think is the one mentioned first in reviews, in write-ups and synopsis? Can anyone name all three of the protagonists off the top of their heads this second? Although it is notable that one of them, Diane Baker, later had a supporting role in a CRAWFORD picture made five years later.

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Interesting that you mention Joan Crawford in this film. Although her character is important to the storyline, she's not the character the first comes to my mind when I think of the film. I certainly can name the 3 off the top of my head, and the important male actors to the story. Hope Lange, Suzy Parker and Diane Baker. Stephen Boyd and Louis Jordan were also central to the story. I'm a sucker for films that showcase NYC in the 50's, that's a big part of the appeal of the film for me.

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UniversalHorror, what has always sort of affected me about Glen or Glenda, no matter how inept the presentation may be, is the sincerity of Edward D. Wood trying to get us to understand those who derive (their guilty pleasure!) from tranvestism.

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Thanks for the poem about Laurette Luez, misswonderly. I always found the lady to be poetry in motion myself.


There was a lady named Laurette,

Many who saw her found hard to forget.

So come on, TCM, be a pal,

And give us a tribute to this gal!



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