Tuesday, January 19, 2016


This updated and expanded repost of an earlier essay is part of The Remembering Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon hosted by The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.  Visit the site for more posts from participating blogs.

If prostitution didn’t exist, Hollywood most certainly would have had to invent it. How else to surmount the troubling obstacle presented to screenwriters required to develop female characters not defined by the label of wife, mother, or girlfriend? How else to include as much sex, salaciousness, and female objectification as possible while still tent-poling the dual hypocritical obligations of have-your-cake-and-eat-too moralizing necessary to keep one step ahead of the censors, and the proper amount of after the fact, self-righteous finger-wagging to placate audience guilt?

America loves its sex, violence, and debauchery, but never really lets itself enjoy the fun it has rolling around in the gutter unless also afforded the opportunity to give itself a good slap on the wrist after it’s all over. This need to have one’s "sensitive adult material" served up with a healthy dose of religious dogma goes a long way toward explaining why a moralizing piece of Hollywood sleaze like Walk on the Wild Side is such an enduringly entertaining hoot. 
Laurence Harvey as Doug Linkhorn
Jane Fonda as Kitty Twist (nee Tristram)
Capucine as Hallie Gerard
Barbara Stanwyck as Jo Courtney
Ann Baxter as Teresina Vidaverri
 Published in 1956, Algren’s anecdotal, relentlessly downbeat, essentially unfilmable (at least in 1962) Depression-era novel A Walk on the Wild Side bears little resemblance to the sanitized movie adapted from it, save for a few characters' names and the excision of the “A” from the title. The film version, rumored (rather remarkably) to be the result of no less than six writers, among them playwright Clifford Odets (The Country Girl) and screenwriter Ben Hecht (Spellbound), strives to be a tale of lost souls searching for redemption through love on the sordid side of the streets of New Orleans. But the strain of having to balance sexual candor and social uplift shows in nearly every scene and dialog exchange, ultimately proving far too unwieldy a burden for director Edward Dmytryk (Raintree County, Murder My Sweet) who it is rumored, stepped in when original director Blake Edwards was replaced. In the end, the movie promoted with the self-serving warning “This is an ADULT PICTURE - Parents should exercise discretion in permitting the immature to see it,” was no more than another teasing Hollywood soap opera.
The composition of this shot sums up Walk on the Wild Side's major dramatic conflict
The time is the 1930s (you’ll just have to take the film’s word for that). Following the death of his ailing father - an alcoholic, unordained preacher - Arroyo, Texas farm boy Dove Linkhorn (Lithuanian-born Laurence Harvey) travels to Louisiana on a quest to find his long lost love, Hallie (French-born Capucine), an amateur painter and sculptress. En route, he crosses paths with savvy runaway orphan Kitty Twist (Fonda) who teaches him the tricks of riding the rails and thumbing rides. Although Kitty has a few other tricks she’d like to teach him, Dove says no to hobo hanky-panky because his heart remains true to Hallie, whom he calls his religion. 
After a brief stopover at the rundown café of Mexican head-turner Teresina Vidaverri (Baxter) brings out Kitty’s claws, resulting in her stealing form the proprietress out of jealousy, the morally offended dirt farmer sends her on her way and stays on at Teresina’s place as a hired-hand.
The composition of this shot sums of Walk on the Wild Side's OTHER dramatic conflict
Cut to New Orleans’ French Quarter and the popular bordello known as The Doll House. Run by no-nonsense man-hater (aka lesbian) Jo Courtney (Stanwyck) and given assist by her devoted but ineffectual husband, former carny strongman Achilles Schmidt (Karl Swenson), who lost his legs in a train accident, the Doll House is typical of most movie whorehouses in that it doesn't look like very much fun.. The big shocker (to the screenwriters perhaps, but certainly to no one with even a passing familiarity with soap opera plotting) is that Dove’s virginal and virtuous Hallie is the Doll House’s most desirable and sought-after prostitute… Jo categorically taking top honors as Hallie’s most persistent and ardent pursuer.
As Hallie Gerard, statuesque ex-model Capucine embodies the kind of regal, exotic glamour suited to a high-priced escort ("upscale and sophisticated enough to take anywhere!"). But breathtaking beauty aside, the woman comes off as the least-fun hooker you're likely to meet.
Of course, when Dove finally reunites with the wild Texas love with whom he shared his first kiss and more: “Afterwards, in the moonlight...we danced like we was celebrating a miracle. A crazy kind of dance. And then we sang and shouted...like it wasn't real!.” (a laughable reminiscence rendered all the more inconceivable once we set eyes on the high-cheekboned haughtiness of Capucine), the romantically idealistic hayseed is a tad slow in catching on as to how Hallie manages to afford all those expensive Pierre Cardin-designed frocks from 30 years in the future; but when he does, heartbroken disillusionment gives way to the usual macho proprietary protectiveness.
The dislike Capucine and Laurence Harvey had for one another is the stuff of legend
You see, since the film regards Hallie’s lost virtue as something which has been taken from Dove and that he's the principally wounded party in her taking up a life of prostitution, it’s thus up to him to take the necessary steps to secure and safeguard Hallie's soul and body. (As any pro-lifer will tell you, women just aren't capable of handling decisions about what they choose to do with their own bodies for themselves.)

Resorting to his father's bible-thumping ways, Dove proselytizes ... I mean, explains to an understandably exasperated Teresina (who's busy meanwhile dousing her torch) his philosophy and the film's narrative through-line :
 “In the Bible, Hosea fell in love with Gomer. She was a harlot. They got married but she couldn't stay away from men. Hosea got mad and threw her out. Sold her into slavery. But he couldn't get her out of his mind, so he went looking for her. When he found her, he brought her back home. But it was no good. Before long, she was up to her old tricks again. But he loved her anyway and he couldn't give her up. So he took her into the wilderness...away from temptation. Away from other men. And that's what I have to do with Hallie.”
Sorry, but I'm supposed to believe that these two stunning, Continental-looking
creatures spent even one minute in dustbowl Texas?
The remaining bulk of Walk on the Wild Side occupies itself with being a romantic triangle-cum-spiritual tug-of-war between Dove (representing honest values and true love) and Jo (representing well-dressed depravity and perversion) with the magnificent but I’m-not-all-that-convinced-she’s-worth-all-this-trouble Hallie at the center.
Happily, by way of distraction we have the welcome reappearance of Kitty, the former boxcar good-time-girl transformed into garter-snapping sexpot, as the newest employee of The Doll House; chipper Southern belle, Miss Precious (the always terrific Joanna Moore, Tatum O’Neal’s mom), a Doll House resident who sleeps on a confederate flag pillow and punctuates even the shortest sentences with “The Colonel always said…” ; and sexy, short-tempered strong-arm-man, Oliver (Richard Rust of Homicidal) who has an eye for the ladies and suede gloves to keep his hands nice and unbruised when he roughs them up. 
Richard Rust as Oliver Finnerty
Posters for Walk on the Wild Side proclaimed: “A side of life you never expected to see on the screen!” which is not altogether false given you've got a 4-time Oscar-nominee playing one of the screen’s first lesbians (who lives, yet!) and the daring-for-its-time setting of a New Orleans brothel. The rest, alas, is what Hollywood has always done: a) Offer up endless reworkings of the Madonna-whore dichotomy as soap opera and love story, b) attempt to shock and scandalize but only revealing a staunch conservatism and prudery.
Joanna Moore as Miss Precious
I'm not sure if the genre has been afforded a name beyond Southern Gothic, but I am a major fan of the overheated, sex and psychosis dramas of Tennessee Williams, William Inge, and Carson McCullers. When these southern-fried potboilers are crossed with a touch of the soap-opera overstatement associated with Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, and Sidney Sheldon ...well, I'm in 7th Heaven. Walk on the Wild Side has all the luridness of Williams, the pretentiousness of Inge, plus all the unintentional humor of anything bearing the stamp of Susann.
There's dialog that sounds as though it were written by a robot; overearnest performances that are nevertheless as limp as a clothesline; the ever-present topic of sex that is hinted at and alluded to but never spoken of in even remotely direct terms; and clashing accents left and right: Texas drawl, Southern twang, Georgia singsong, French, British,  Spanish (sort of).
Riding the Rails
Jane Fonda recalls her father Henry in The Grapes of Wrath in this shot of Dove and Kitty
catching a ride in a freight car
Fans of the by-now-anticipated unwillingness and inability of '60s films to remain faithful to the era they're depicting will have a field day with Walk on the Wild Side's interpretation of the Depression era South. Outside of a few automobiles and some distant dress extras, the look is 1961, through and through. A long time ago a friend of mine who once designed costumes for film told me that this is not an unintentional or careless phenomenon. It's an industry's appeal to the contemporary aesthetic tastes of their audience.
When a studio is forking over big bucks for a glamour actress, they want the audience to see her as glamorous. The concern is that the baggy fashions and severe makeup styles of the '30s (thin eyebrows, bow lips, thick stockings, figure-concealing frocks, etc) will look odd or comical to '60s audiences. A point well taken, I concede. but it doesn't address the jarring incongruity of seeing women with '60s bouffants and bullet bras stepping out of DeSotos.
Jaunita Moore as Mama
Where to start? To say that I enjoy all the performances in Walk on the Wild Side is not at all saying that many of them are any good. If anyone emerges from the chaos with their dignity intact, it's Barbara Stanwyck. An actress virtually incapable of giving a false performance Stanwyck is not really called upon to deliver more than a professional, standard-issue, tough-broad performance; but she's nevertheless the most believably passionate person in the film for me. She wants Hallie and I don't doubt it for a minute.
In this her first film since 1957's Forty Guns, the very private Stanwyck was yet another classic-era star forced to embrace the burgeoning era of movie permissiveness and take on a role she at one time might have considered unsavory. Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons disapproved of Stanwyck taking on such a role, to which Stanwyck is said to have responded "What do you want them to do, get a real madam and a real lesbian?"  On the bright side, at least she was playing a lesbian madam in a major motion picture, by 1964 Stanwyck would be following in Joan Crawford's B-movie footsteps and starring in a William Castle schlock thriller, The Night Walker.
The Glamorous Life, She Don't Need a Man's Touch
Barbara Stanwyck was outed as lesbian in two substandard books: The Sewing Circle by Axel Madsen, and the pull-no-punches Hollywood Lesbians by Boze Hadleigh. If they're to be believed, Walk on the Wild Side was a film set with more closets than a Feydeau farce: a closeted leading man (Harvey); a closeted lesbian, possibly bisexual leading woman (Capucine), and a closeted lesbian co-star (Stanwyck).
The strikingly beautiful Capucine may not be much of an actress, but she's not helped much by a script which calls for her to behave like a non-stop pill from the minute she's introduced. Male screenwriters unfamiliar with how women actually think are often guilty of writing about "beauty" as though it were an actual character trait rather than a physical attribute. In the case of Hallie Gerard, so little of the character's much-talked-about passion, restlessness, or joy is conveyed that we're left to imagine she's fought over by Dove and Jo simply because she's so outrageously pretty. If the Hallie we now see is supposed to represent a broken woman whose life-force has been drained out of her by her having "fallen down the well," all the backstory we're left to imagine requires an actress substantially more skilled than what we're given. You get about as much emotionally out of Capucine as a walking/ talking entity as from one of her model photo shoots from the '50s.
Star Cheekbone Wars
Capucine 1962 and Faye Dunaway The Towering Inferno 1974 rock
twin towers of hair and Grecian goddess gowns 
For me, Jane Fonda gives the film's liveliest performance. Liberated from the lacquered, overly-mature look adopted for The Chapman Report and Period of Adjustment (both 1962), Fonda is sexier and looser here. Perhaps a little too loose in her early scenes. There's something about "earthy" that brings forth the inner ham in actors. Fonda in her early scenes can't seem to keep her finishing school refinement from creeping into her overly-mannered interpretation of Kitty Twist, railway ragamuffin. Parts of her performance have the feel of an over-coached acting school scene. But, unlike so me of her co stars, she's never a dull presence and really comes into her own in the sequences in the Doll House. She looks amazing as well. The cameraman obviously thought so too, for Fonda's shapely backside has arguably as many closeups as her face.
Nine years later, Jane Fonda would win an Oscar for playing another prostitute in Klute (1971)
Laurence Harvey has always been a favorite of mine (owing at least in part to my tendency to develop matinee crushes on birdlike, Tony Perkins types), but he really seems out of his element here. The thoroughly engaging (and sexy) energy he brought to I Am a Camera (1955), or 1959's Expresso Bongo is nowhere to be seen in his tediously virtuous Dove Linkhorn.
Ann Baxter's Mexican accent "Wha Hoppen?" is so bad it's close to being offensive 

Is there an axiom that says the cooler the opening credits sequence, the more likely one is apt to be let down with the film? Outside of the brilliant and stylish art-deco title sequence for Mame which got me all hyped-up only to then lead me down a path of soft-focus croaking; Saul Bass' snazzy, jazz-tinged title sequence for Walk on the Wild Side (assisted immeasurably by the Oscar-nominated Elmer Bernstein, Mack David theme music) sets one up for a film that never materializes.
Edward Dmytryk would go on to direct Richard Burton and Joey Heatherton in Bluebeard.
For those who've seen the film, the question that immediately comes to mind is, who took that photo on the left?

Walk on the Wild Side is, like the 1976 US/USSR collaboration that resulted in the dreadful musical mistake that was The Bluebird, a film whose backstory is infinitely more interesting than the motion picture released. Conflict-of-interest deals were behind much of Walk on the Wild Side's grab-bag casting (Laurence Harvey was being pushed by the wife of the head of Columbia Studios, while Capucine was being promoted by producer Charles K. Feldman). The film was plagued by constant rewrites, deleted scenes (the internet is full of rumors regarding a curiously missing-in-action hairbrush spanking scene between Stanwyck and Capucine ... be still my heart), costly delays, and a cast that was often openly antagonistic to one another as well as to the director.
Character actress actress Kathryn Card, best remembered as Mrs. Magillicuddy,
Lucille Ball's ditsy mother on TV's I Love Lucy 
The end result is a film that is a disappointment as both drama and love story, but a bonanza of unintentional humor and delicious badness. And you'd be hard pressed to find a more enjoyably watchable film. Easy on the eyes and no strain on the brain, your biggest concern will be stomach cramps from laughing aloud at the dialog.Woefully tame and coy by today's standards, Walk on the Wild Side maintains its historical notoriety as one of the earliest major motion pictures to feature a lesbian character. As the years have passed, the film has revealed itself as a movie with a pretty high behind-the-scenes LGBT pedigree as well. In addition to Laurence Harvey, Capucine, and Barbara Stanwyck all having been  been mentioned in various celebrity memoirs as being gay or bisexual, Jane Fonda has written in her own autobiography about participating in bisexual three-ways with her husband Roger Vadim.
One would think a little bit of all that sexual democracy might have wound up on the screen, but no. At best, Walk on the Wild Side remains an entertaining but tame timepiece and cultural curio for those interested in seeing what kind of film Hollywood thought it was ready to tackle during the early days of the abandonment of the Motion Picture Production Code.
Barbara Stanwyck would make only two other films after Walk on the Wild Side:
Roustabout  with Elvis Presley, of all people, and The Night Walker, both 1964

Copyright © Ken Anderson


  1. Oh god I love this awful movie and Jimmy Smith's version of the opening song. Why are there no drag queens named Kitty Twist, I'm really curious?! Thanks for the great write up, Ken!

    1. I'm with you tanyadiva, Kitty Twist is an excellent drag name. I know this film isn't all that well known in some circles, but surely, someone must have seized upon it by now!
      And thank you for crediting Jimmy Smith for the have Brooke Benton's vocal rendition on my ipod, but I have to get ahold of the instrumental, The into alone!
      Thanks so much!

  2. Ken, I adore your thoughtful, gracious and tasteful observations about the art of the cinema. And then there's Walk on the Wild Side. Love it when you let loose! Why is it that all of us who truly love movies and celebrate them as an art form also secretly delight in the turkeys? First off, I love/hate movies that are set in a past era yet the actors are dressed, coiffed and made up in contemporary fashion. I've spent way too much time enjoying a 60s WWII movie wondering how false eyelashes and winged eyeliner made it behind enemy lines.

    I also enjoy wildly miscast actors. Anne Baxter as a Mexican diner owner? What would Addison DeWitt think??
    Laurence Harvey and Capucine as Lone Star staters? Why not?!?

    This movie is going right to my bucket list. We should all beg TCM to carve out a week of programming just for potboilers gone wrong like this. I'm sure even Robert Osborne would enjoy it.

    As I said at the beginning, Ken, I love you for many wonderful reasons. But with this post, you had me at "hobo hanky panky."

    1. Hi Roberta!
      i have to confess, I think I have the most fun writing about the turkeys. I try not to make EVERY movie on my blog a so-bad-it's-good favorite, but as you note, there's a certain delight one finds in a film with egg on its face.
      I'm glad to hear you enjoy so many of the same things i do. I love "Doctor Zhivago" and especially Julie Christie, but her mod 60s bangs are forever a distraction.
      I'm also crazy about your idea of TCM doing a week of potboilers gone wrong. maybe we could petition a Thanksgiving day turkey marathon or something.
      Thanks for giving me a good laugh with you comments (the Addison DeWitt reference), and of course for your very flattering words.

  3. One of my favorite film books in the 1970s was Leslie Halliwell's THE FILMGOER'S COMPANION, an alphabetic compendium with plenty of opinion from Halliwell. His entry on Stanwyck (written before she had her brief late-career blooming in THE THORNBIRDS) decries the fact that she was given so few big-screen acting opportunities in the 1960s. "She could give the youngsters a run for their money," Halliwell asserted, "if only someone would let her." It really was shameful how A star of Stanwyck's caliber was just cast aside by the studios once she became "a woman of a certain age."

    1. Hi Deb
      I've got that volume you mentioned, and I couldn't agree more. Barbara Stanwyck is one of the few really great classic screen actresses. She's versatile as all get out, and she's so believably real in every role I've seen her in.
      The lack of imagination shown by filmmakers during the hunt for all things youthful int he '60s was such a waste. To Stanwyck's credit, I'm glad she turned to television rather than allowing her reputation to be sullied in a lot of horror-hag opuses like so many of her peers.

  4. Oh, YUMMM. I had a feeling you would be doing this one for the Stanwyck blogathon. What a juicy role for Stanwyck!! This is a very fun movie, though far from perfect. Not a Capucine fan, and I agree with Roberta that Anne Baxter is totally, laughingly miscast... But I do dig Laurence Harvey, he is such a camp sort of a leading man....loved him most opposite Liz Taylor in Butterfield 8 and in Night Watch.
    But this is Missy Stanwyck's film, all the way. Nobody could have played this embittered lesbian better, with more gusto (and with vulnerability underneath of course!) Love it, and need to see this one again, as usual!! My Le Cinema Dreams must-watch list is getting longer and longer.

    1. Hi Chris
      I'm so in agreement that no one could have played the madam of the Doll House with as much strength and vulnerability as Stanwyck.
      She always had this uncanny ability to transcend her material. And such an intense screen presence she possessed!
      It must not have been much sport to act Capucine off the screen, but you really can't watch anyone but her when she's on.
      I too like Laurence Harvey a great deal, but of all his films, I think this movie challenges that affection the most.What saves him are all those dreamy close ups they give him.
      And of course, Jane Fonda is always a delight. Likewise, hearing from you, Chris, thanks so much!

  5. Ken!
    I'm getting deja vu with you, I think we've chatted up "Walk on the Wild Side" before, but I love your write-up of this crazy, over-cooked melodrama. You nailed it.

    Regarding the lack of period accuracy in Hollywood costume design prior to the 1970s was the norm, I think. The silents and '30s costume flicks always looked deco to me, like Claudette Colbert's "Cleopatra." I remember once reading an unhappy Edith Head quote about Hal Wallis always on her about leaving any period detail OUT of her costumes for his films. By the time the '60s rolled around, all Hollywood studios cared about was getting people into the theaters.

    This movie's cast reminds me of a bumper car ride, with clashing styles and eras, instead of the ensemble it should be. But that's part of the fun here, right? Producer Feldman was one of the most successful proponent of movie "packaging" at the time. And this package feels like a ham and cheese combo!

    My mother and I watched this movie about a year ago and we laughed all the way through it! In his American roles, Harvey always seemed to be rehearsing for "The Manchurian Candidate." Steve McQueen in his early years might have made a great Dove. Elizabeth Taylor already played a classy, unhappy hooker opposite Harvey in "Butterfield 8." ET coulda played the role in her sleep and still come across livelier than Capucine! Perhaps Lee Remick or Natalie Wood? Anybody but the statue-like ex-model. Amazing that Feldman was trying to put over Capucine, already 34, as a new movie star. A producer and his "protege!" And of course, Anne Baxter as the Mexican hot mama. Lots of chuckles from my Mom's living room! My mother was actually a bit shocked that Stanwyck played a lesbian. But Barbara's days of sporting black leather riding gear on "The Big Valley" helped prepare her! And Jane Fonda is fun, though her early performances always seem energetically bad in a fun way to me. Ever notice that Jane Fonda and Laura Linney have that same earnest, finishing school voice?

    So much fun reading and thinking about "Walk on the Wild Side," I might have to watch it again!


    1. Hi Rick
      I haven't looked back at the earlier post, but I too believe we have co-commented on this enjoyably uneven film.
      I think most people are fine with a certain ck of period accuracy in motion pictures. The deco look of so many many older period films is a good example of when inaccuracy makes way for a stylized view of the past, which I often enjoy (like in Bonnie and Clyde).
      I think it really only becomes a problem for me when (as I find in this) I'm in the middle of a film and have absolutely no sense of what era it's taking place in. I recently watched "Where Love Has Gone" and was surprised to know it was supposed to take place in the 40s. The look was so OFF!

      I never wondered who might have been better cast in this film, but I like your ideas of McQueen and perhaps Lee Remick. Pretty inspired choices! But in the end you're right with your bumper car analogy, it's what makes this film fun. Had they cast it successfully I might actually have to pay attention to the unremarkable plot.
      Stanwyck of course perfect as is the somewhat overripe Jane Fonda. Thank you for re-living this post with me. Although I think all of your observations are very fresh!

  6. Ken-
    I have been laughing all day about your Capucine and Pierre Cardin comment. I have seen this film a few times and I always thought it took place in the sixties. I had no idea that it was supposed to take place in an earlier era.

    Capucine really was beautiful. With that face she should have been a star in the 30's. Very Garbo-esque.
    Not much of an actress, but lovely.

    Alot of those films in the sixties that were set in another time period are hilarious depicting period correctness. Think Nancy Kovack in Jason in the Argonauts or Raquel in Bandolero. Hmmm sweety all that desert air must have the same effect of a can of Aqua net hair spray and the feed store has a great selection of false lashes. The prehistoric era had the same effect for her too.

    Apparently, Dove & Hallie spent some time in "Paris" Texas to acquire the patina of Euro chic and rid themselves of ranch & rodeo rube-ness.

    Barbara Stanwyck aka Ruby Stevens is always fabulous.
    So many good movie performances. I named my dog Ruby (a small fiesty terrier) in homage to Missy S. I am hard pressed to name anyone who essayed so many diff type of roles.

    I love your take on all of this. I have re-read this review quite a few times and enjoyed it more each time. You could write a book on some of the ideas you touched on here.
    Best to you & thanks--michael

    1. Hi Michael
      I hope you know how much I genuinely appreciate your kind remarks, and how flattered I am that you find some of my observations amusing.
      I'm also impressed that ANYONE would ever evoke Nancy Kovack's name! I mostly remember from an episode of "Bewitched" but in the all the small parts I've seen her in over the years, her very 60s look remained unchanged, no matter the character. And Ms. Welch's ginormous ratted hair in "Bandolero" (along with her liquid eyeliner and pale lipstick) are the only things that got me through that western.
      By the by, I'm ashamed I hadn't thought of Paris, Texas, apropos Capucine...I must be slipping. But she really is a striking, mysterious-looking woman. I like her in the comedies I've sen her in...drama, not so much.

      As for Stanwyck, I am fully in accordance in not being able to think of another actress who so beautifully handles such a wide variety of roles. She really could do anything. When i was young I only knew her from "big Valley", but thanks to TCM I got to see a great many of her films and I became convinced that she was one of Hollywood's best and most versatile actresses.
      How terrific you named your terrier after her (and Ruby is a much warmer name),I love dogs with names like that. Whenever you call her, people around must smile.
      Thanks, Michael. Your comments were a cheery way to end my day!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Gregory
      Yes, I think this is one of those movies that doesn't immediately present itself as having much to offer. At casual glance I think it can look rather flat and uninspired. But surrendering to its silliness helps, as does that inexplicable something Barbara Stanwyck possesses, and you've got a film that perhaps is not destined to be many people's favorite, but is good for a hooty laugh.
      Thanks for letting us all in on your personal discovery of this film and reminding me of that 60s rumor about Capucine (I'd forgotten that!). The films you mentioned at the beginning of your comment brought back the days when so many films on TV seemed so far beyond my understanding in my youth. They all seemed so serious and stark.
      Thanks for the kind words, too. It's been a big boon to the comments section to have you weigh in on the films you remember from your youth as well. Appreciate it!

  8. Just discovered your blog, Ken, and feel as if I've come across buried treasure!

    As to "Walk," I tried to sit through it about fifteen years ago and just couldn't make it. I managed to get through Laurence H. and Jane F as hobos, but when Anne Baxter came on as the Mexican cantina gal, I had to stop.

    With your review, though, and the many thoughtful comments that followed it, I think I may now be properly prepared to undertake it again.

    Many thanks and I look forward to reading more of your reviews of our "cinema dreams."

    1. Hello Allen
      Thank you! What a very kind comment! I had to laugh at Anne Baxter signaling the point where your patience ran out with this film. Trust me, I understand!
      As enjoyable as the scenes with Barbara Stanwyck are, I would never encourage folks to subject themselves to Harvey and Capucine as Texans. Sometimes life is just too short.
      But I'm pleased as all getout that you enjoyed the post and that perhaps you'll visit the site again.
      Great last name, by the way, always makes me think of Judy Garland! Take care!

  9. The film's "safe" approach to the material just reminds me of the "Simpsons" bit with an "Up with People"-esque group singing Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-QT74bzHFQ

    1. Ha! That's hilarious! Sanitized for your protection.

  10. I watched this yesterday. The moment Laurence Harvey opens his mouth, belief goes right out the window. It's not like his natural accent is peeking through, but even to a Canadian like me, his accent is anything but authentic. "Missy" Stanwyck, Fonda, and Moore are actually quite good, and Richard Rust is downright terrifying. Poor Capucine, you can tell she's trying hard (it wouldn't even be so bad if her character was actually French), but a lot of her lines are just awkward to hear. Anne Baxter's enjoyable for me too (that accent though). A lot's been said about the treatment of Hallie in terms of character, but also, literally all there is to Dove is the need to "save" Hallie, making him look absolutely stupid that he never realizes the Doll House is a bordello until much later. And I am CONVINCED Stany played Jo as a lesbian (even though keeping Hallie cooped upstairs despite being the most popular girl makes little sense business-wise). At the end, while Dove has already been badly hurt and dazed, the fact that Jo is most visibly upset at Hallie being shot does not reflect well on his character. It also doesn't help that through the whole movie Dove and Hallie have the chemistry of drying paint :P

    1. Hi Chick
      Yes, the women do seem to carry this film. I like that you found so much to appreciate about the film even when other aspects (Harvey's accent) left you wanting.
      I also love what you noticed about Jo's reaction at the ending compared to Dove's! It's so true...she's FAR more visibly upset.
      It was fun reading your take on the film. I haven't seen it in a while, but you sparked a few memories. Thank you for stopping by after your recent viewing and sharing your thoughts with us! (I laughed aloud at "Missy" Stanwyck!)