Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bette is Madame Sin

Here's a delicious doozy for a dull winter afternoon. Bette Davis as MADAME SIN, a 1972 release, originally meant as a pilot for a tv series, but released in cinemas here in Europe. Another unintentional comic Trash Classic! 

Bette Davis is Madame Sin, a sinister-looking, totally evil, half-Chinese woman who indulges in endless machinations. Ensconced in a Scottish castle that is packed with an array of spy gadgetry, she runs afoul with counter spy, American CIA agent Anthony Lawrence (Robert Wagner), who is out to counter her plots for control of a Polaris submarine.
The budget ran to a helicopter and renting a castle in Scotland - Robert Wagner, a friend of Bette's, co-stars and co-produces, some British stalwarts are lined up: Denholm Elliot, Gordon Jackson, Dudley Sutton, Roy Kinnear ... what, no Harry Andrews? but it all looks rather cheap and second rate capturing that seedy London of the early 70s. 

Bette though has a whale of a time chomping out her lines in that Eurasian get up - is she channelling Ona Munson as Madam Gin Sling in THE SHANGHAI GESTURE or maybe Gale Sondergaard in her own THE LETTER, or even Death (in that black cape) in THE SEVENTH SEAL? She needed to do something to liven it up, Wagner looks good here in his early 40s, and there is an unexpected ending. Director David Greene did some interesting 60s films but is on auto-pilot here. Perhaps for Bette addicts only?
This was the year she appeared before us at the London BFI  (right) and brought the house down - as I have reported before - Bette, NFT labels, so it must have been after she filmed this. 

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