Friday, 15 November 2013





The film introduces us to the hooker(?)/dancer(?) with-the-heart-of-gold, Baxter, who is pure goodness; she wants to become normal. She, Hudson, and his 20 years(!) younger brother move to some wholesome little town. The first soapy plot-device doesn't wait long to rear its dumb head: the feisty little Tom-Sawyer-like Wood suddenly becomes an orphan when her father dies in a mine. Tah-dah! It's Baxter time! She shows her perfect goodness by spontaneously "adopting" Wood. How very noble. And soapy. Enter Darth Vader..., I mean, Adams. Adams wants Hudson, so as any rich person she comes up with a scheme to take away the kids (Wood and Hudson's 40 years younger brother) away from Baxter, and to adopt them herself, thereby securing her the male she craves for. Ain't that a plot-device... In this, Darth Vader is aided by his loyal female storm troopers who have gathered in the court-room to make sure the judge does the "right" thing. In the meantime, Baxter - who is pure goodness, I can't stress this often enough - is so naive and trustworthy that she never adds up 2 and 2: namely, that the woman that's been chasing Hudson could have arranged the judicial kidnapping of the kids. Baxter's reaction to losing the kids is to leave Hudson without even telling him why or where she went! What a martyr! During the next two years, Wood writes to Baxter, but we never find out how the hell Wood manages to keep it a secret from Hudson, even if Baxter asked her to. We also never find out how Hudson doesn't notice in two years that Adams is being an awful step-parent to the kids. Then we have a pathetic scene where Hudson talks to his sick father-in-law while the latter is uttering his last words. How soapy. How silly. Soon after, Wood runs away from home, for she knows that she must please the God of Soap who demands bad plot-devices. Wood is in love with a married man, which is a replica of Baxter's adolescent experience. Is this the Luke/Darth Vader cut-off-hand parallel-destinies shtick or what? Baxter brings her back to Wholesome City, where Darth Vader confronts her and rather foolishly (why??) tells her that it was she who arranged the kidnapping of Leia and Hudson's 80 years younger brother. Baxter, displaying goodness which would shame even the noblest Jedi knight, doesn't tell Hudson what she found out about the kidnapping. (Oh, by the way, Hudson has unwittingly joined the Dark Side: he has been married two years to She-Darth Vader.) Anyway, soon there is a major soapy plot-device in the form of a fire which kills the Evil One. Before-hand, the Evil One does her part in pleasing the Emperor of All Soap, who demanded that she throw things at Hudson in a rage just as Hudson was leaving the room. (The rich-bitch-throwing-things-at-her-husband/lover routine is a detail which no self-respecting trash-novel or TV soap can do without.) In short: the evil Empire has disappeared in a cloud of smoke and fire, and the forces of Good are finally free to re-unite and smile happily as the director shoots the last scene and prepares for a two-year vacation to restore his severely battered brain-cells.

I should mention that Baxter didn't use any stunt-doubles for her kissing scenes. Every time she kisses Hudson she bends her neck backward at a perfect 90-degree angle, and I swear it is her head and neck and not a double's. Maybe Baxter found out about Hudson's little secret and was afraid he might want to bite hear head off, rather than kiss it. However, her evading maneuvers weren't quite on the level of the evading maneuvers of a, say, Millennium Falcon. Hudson always got her mouth in the end, but not before Baxter bent her neck at that just-mentioned impressive angle. The cast is good (the cute Baxter, the Wood, and the Hudson) but they are wasted in what was the first prequel to "Star Wars". Living-room Star Wars, if you like…

En ésta pelicular en la que se dan con generosidad todos los ingredientes necesarios para emocionar y mantener vivo el interés hacia unas vicisitudes perfectamente convencionales, pero también de defectos seguros. Con lo dicho basta con indicar que el fondo constituye el clásico novelón "made in U.S.A." con la facilidad con que ocurren los más peregrinos sucesos, está en consonancia con la arbitraria psicología de los personajes. Otra debe decirse de la forma que, como ocurre en gran parte de los norteamericanos, ha sido cuidada con esmero, hasta el punto de que acierta encubrir lo arbitrario de la historia con los recursos hábiles de un excelente oficio cinematográfico. Una cámara ágil y expertamente manejada, resalta valores, sugiere emociones, y describe con atrayente estilo. aparte de pequeños efectos formales como el de la música de fondo simulteada con el diálogo, y en evidente exceso de lentitud en ciertas escenas, el lenguaje cinematográfico empleado, es de evidente eficacia, a la que contribuye en gran manera el color. Rock Hudson desempeña su "rol" con sobria expresividad; Anne Baxter se muestra una vez más, la excelente actriz de siempre, y Julie Adams queda algo apagada en un papel tan ingrato como convencional!. Los demás participantes, intervienen con la corrección acostumbrada. J.Pedret Muntañola..