Friday, June 1, 2012

Pretty Poison

I've been commenting quite a bit on how TCM seems to be doing better when it comes to getting movies from Fox since the end of the Fox Movie Channel as it was at the end of last year. Another example of this is Pretty Poison, which TCM will be showing again tomorrow afternoon at 1:15 PM.

Anthony Perkins plays Dennis Pitt. At the beginning of the movie, we see Dennis as he's being let out of prison, talking with his probation officer (John Randolph). Dennis committed an arson that resulted in the death of somebody in the house he burned down, but in reality he's also mentally ill, thinking people are out to get him. He's been released to a small town in Massachusetts, where a job has been found for him at the local mill. Dennis copes by creating an elaborate fantasy to keep people from discovering his true identity, and generally avoiding his parole officer.

One day, in an attempt to escape the parole officer, he meets high school senior Sue Ann (Tuesday Weld). She's got her own problems, above and beyond the typical teen problems, in that her father died, and her mother (Beverly Garland) is dating another man who doesn't particularly seem to care for her, so she has to sneak around, making her a perfect foil for Dennis. Dennis creates a ruse that he's from the CIA and that he's working at the mill because there are people trying to use it to dump chemicals in the river to drug the people. The only thing to do is sabotage the mill. They do this one night, but in the explosion that happens the next morning, one of the workers dies, and the resulting police investigation naturally begins to lead to Dennis.

Dennis of course needs more help from Sue Ann, but at this point he begins to find out that there's more to Sue Ann than he knew when he first met her. It's really hard to go into much more detail at this point without giving away the ending, which is quite the surprise, and makes the movie more disturbing and worth the viewing. It only runs about 90 minutes, but to be fair the beginning part with Perkins before his relationship with Weld takes off is even a bit slow. Perkins, and especially Weld, are excellent.

Pretty Poison has gotten a DVD release.

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