Walk on the Wild Side – Edward Dmytryk (1962)

Walk on the Wild Side is a 1962 American drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Laurence Harvey, Capucine, Jane Fonda, Anne Baxter, and Barbara Stanwyck. It was adapted from the 1956 novel A Walk on the Wild Side by American author Nelson Algren. The film was scripted by John Fante. It was not well received at the time; Bosley Crowther of The New York Times described it as a ‘lurid, tawdry, and sleazy melodrama’. While it passed its censors, it was an adult film noir with quite explicit overtones and subject matter. It walks its audience through the lives and relationships between adults (mostly women) engaged in the ‘business’ of commercial prostitution at a stylish New Orleans brothel. The ‘boss’ is Madam (Stanwyck), who combines toughness with a motherly tenderness toward her ‘girls.’ During the Great Depression, Dove Linkhorn and Kitty Tristram meet on the road in Texas as each travels separately to New Orleans. They decide to travel together, hitchhiking and hopping freight trains. Dove is hoping to find his lost love Hallie Gerard, and is not interested when Kitty comes on to him sexually. After Kitty steals from the New Orleans-area café where she and Dove stop for a meal, he leaves her and makes things right with the owner, Teresina Vidaverri. She gives Dove a job at the café and a place to stay while he searches for Hallie. He finds her working at the Doll House, an upscale French Quarter bordello, where Jo Courtney is the madam. Later it is revealed that, after Jo’s husband lost his legs in an accident, she lost interest in him. A lesbian relationship is suggested between Jo and Hallie, who is supported by the owner in pursuing her interest in sculpting on the side. But Hallie still works for Jo as a prostitute like the other women. … Tensions among the actors and director caused problems on the set. After Harvey told Capucine she couldn’t act, she sulked for a week. His opinion was seconded by actress Joan Perry, widow of studio head Harry Cohn, but the film’s producer Charles Feldman continued to promote Capucine. … The opening and closing sequences, directed by Saul Bass in collaboration with Elaine Makatura Bass, have become a famous element of the film.In the beginning, a black tom cat, shown at shoulder height, prowls an urban landscape and picks a fight with a white cat, as credits are shown. At the end of the film, the same black tom cat is featured walking over the headline of a newspaper, which has a front-page story reporting that the people who ran the bordello were arrested and sentenced to many years in prison. …”
YouTube: Jane Fonda \ Walk On The Wild Side, Barbara Stanwyck slaps Capucine, Laurence Harvey & Jane Fonda

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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