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Directed by Harry Keller
USA
1958

 

Never come between a woman and her prey in the wickedly entertaining drama, The Female Animal! Hollywood star Vanessa Windsor (Hedy Lamarr) is saved from a terrible on-set accident by handsome studio extra, Chris Farley (George Nader). In appreciation of his skills and good looks, she sets him up as the “caretaker” of her beach house. When Vanessa’s sultry daughter (Jane Powell) meets Chris, the claws come out as both ladies try to stake out his affections in this campy, glitzy battle for love.

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In this palpitating drama about Hollywood Hedy Lamarr plays a famous, tippling movie queen who pantingly installs a gentlemanly studio extra, George Nader, as "caretaker" of her beach palace. Enter (also in an alcoholic stupor) the lady's equally spoiled daughter, Jane Powell, who also likes what she sees.

After the showdown, Miss Lamarr nobly tries suicide, then smilingly waves the two younger people off into the future. No more convincing in Hollywood, we'd hazard, than in Gopher Gulch.

Until this tired, soap-opera resolution, the film veers toward a really nasty, hard-hitting drama about emotional corrosion in a very special community. Far and away the best thing about Mr. Zugsmith's production (again) is the jaded ugliness and brisk carnality of the chatter. The talk, supplied by scenarist Robert Hill and Mr. Zugsmith, who surely must know, seems so authentic it hurts.

Excerpt from the NYTimes located HERE

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This was Lamarr's last film before she went into retirement, and not a very good finale. Lamarr is a movie star who is saved from a falling light by extra Nader. She gives him a job as caretaker of her beach house, which starts an affair. Trouble starts when Nader falls for Powell, who turns out to be Lamarr's adopted daughter. Lamarr brings in a good performance considering the material, but her costars fall way below par.

Excerpt from the TVGuide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 22nd, 1958

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:22:23 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Bitrate:
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: October 30th, 2015

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Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments:

The Female Animal is an attempt at a provocative brand of cinema that didn't have a long shelf life although it achieves on a few levels although the star appeal was waning - Hedy Lamarr (44), Jane Powell (30), Jan Sterling (38) had their more glamorous years behind them although at least two of them proved their beauty to have a timeless quality. The exploitive title was an unfulfilling 'come on' but it wasn't all bad.

The disc is predictably single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing in bottom capture.) Aside from that it was a bit soft - but consistent. There wasn't much damage or speckles. DoP Russell Metty's utilizes the black and white visuals well - with snippets of contrast brilliance.

The audio is lossy but clear and clean. The score by Hans J. Salter (Man Without a Star, Cover Up, The Wolfman, The Mole People) sounds supportive but is largely unremarkable in the presentation. There are no subtitles and the media is region FREE.

The film is weak beyond the performer appeal. I'll watch Hedy in anything on celluloid, and Jane Powell had some aggressive cuteness. Unfortunately, there isn't enough to recommend - especially an the exorbitant MoD pricing. Pass too all except die-hard fans of the ladies.  

Gary Tooze

 


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Combing from interlaced transfer
 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC



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