Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rock Hudson, 1925-1985

Today marks the birth anniversary of Rock Hudson, that masculine icon of 1950s romantic comedies who, it turned out, was gay and one of the first prominent AIDS victims. I have to admit to not being a huge fan of the Hudson movies I've seen, in part because I'm not that enamored of Doris Day. Looking through his filmography, though, there are a couple of his movies I'd be interested in seeing:

I Was a Shoplifter was one of his earliest credits, in which he plays a store detective in a movie about, you guessed it, the shoplifting ring, known in those days as "boosters". (The idea of professional shoplifting rings is also mentioned in Caged, as one of the possible jobs for Eleanor Parker's character to get.) The movie sounds delightfully bad, with Charles McGraw again playing a detective, and a young Anthony Curtis (who would of course later become Tony) playing a thug.

Back to God's Country. This is a talking version of the 1919 Canadian movie of the same title, which is the earliest known surviving Canadian movie, and which has a famous "nude" scene. Technically, the woman isn't nude; she's got a red swimsuit on, but the cameras in those days couldn't pick up the red so well, and with the camera doing mostly medium and long shots, it makes it look like the woman, who is bathing in a stream, is actually naked. It's not revealing at all, but apparently it was a bit scandalous at the time.

Avalanche, one of those 1970s disaster movies about a ski lodge that gets trapped in an avalanche. Unfortunately, the producers couldn't get the A-list stars that they did for other 1970s disaster flicks. Of the three movies, this is the only one available on DVD.

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