25 October 2009

Just cue the Bernard Hermann music...Pretty Poison, 1968

I had been wanting to see this for a while, so when TCM aired it a few nights ago I was doing (figurative) cartwheels! It stars my honey Tony Perkins and Tuesday Weld as a quite unusual couple who commit acts of crime in small-town America. Dennis Pitt (Perkins) is a convicted arsonist on parole who meets Sue Ann Stepanek (Weld) and proceeds to tell her he is a CIA agent. Lo and behold, he is not really a CIA agent after all, but Sue Ann loves the adventure and believes him. In the beginning, you start to feel bad for the girl. She gets mixed up with some crazy loon who thinks he's a big shot, and gets tangled in his web of "CIA" nutiness. BUT THEN, just when you think she's an innocent high school majorette, she accidentally kills one of the watchmen at the plant where Dennis works, and then covers it up rather successfully. You can see traces of worry in those small moments after she bops off the watchmen in Tony Perkins' great performance. Dennis is a sociopath, no doubt, but he gives his character moments where he's almost normal. One of the freakier parts (and the most famous, IMO, judging from the pictures on google images) is where Sue Ann decides to pop off her mother, who will just get in the way of her and Dennis' relationship. While she's shooting her mother, she's SMILING. And when she finishes, she lays back on her bed and giggles. It was very eerie and unsettling, but it further proves that Tuesday Weld knew what she was doing while playing this character. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. Even though Tony Perkins plays a psycho. (heh, get it?)


NoirGirl said...

Great review, Sarah! I recorded this one along with Lord Love a Duck but haven't had time to watch either yet. You make it sound fascinating! I wonder why Tony Perkins always got picked on to be the psycho? Could it have been his resemblance to Robert Walker? They have very similar qualities.

Kate Gabrielle said...

lol your reviews are so much fun! Now I wish I had taped it when it was on!!

Psycho... haha! :)

Mercurie said...

I've always loved Pretty Poison because it is such a different role for Tuesday Weld. She had been playing ingénues for quite some time when Pretty Poison was made, but Sue Ann is no ingenue. As you point out, she accidentally kill a watchman and successfully covers it up! It is a very entertaining film.

Sarah said...

Casey - I recorded both of them too! I can't wait to watch Lord Love a Duck. I think Tony got the creepy roles because he was so good at it. No one could play Norman Bates like he did!

lol thanks Kate! :D

Mercurie - Ingenue she was not in this movie! :D

Millie said...

Gosh, this sounds really good! I wish I had TCM!