film fatales #153: titane (julia ducournau, 2021)
nerja photo dump

lady in a cage (walter grauman, 1964)

Starting with the Blake Lively movie I watched on the plane to Spain, I've watched ten movies on this vacation, and since it's Spooktober, almost all of them have fit into the expansive category of horror/sci-fi/creature feature. Lady in a Cage doesn't quite match up, although I can imagine it turning up on some late-night Saturday creature-feature TV show in the 60s, promoted as something better than the usual fare because it had Olivia de Havilland. There are no creatures, though, and it's certainly not science fiction. I suppose it resembles a horror movie a bit, with its plot about a disabled woman trapped inside her in-house elevator while hooligans rampage menacingly through her stuff. I've seen it related to the Psycho-biddy genre (think Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), but outside of the appearance of de Havilland, there's no connection.

What matters is that Lady in a Cage is a dreary affair. The setup is OK, if a bit silly, with de Havilland's rich woman stuck in her elevator. And there are attempts to include social commentary, of the rich-versus-poor variety. But nothing sticks, and everyone overacts. James Caan gets a film credit for the first time, as the head hooligan, and he's clearly in the thrall of Brando's Stanley Kowalski. Other Hey It's That Guys turn up, like Rafael Campos, Jeff Corey, and Scatman Crothers. Ann Sothern has a decent-sized part, and comes closest to eliciting some sympathy from the audience (close, but not close enough).

Director Walter Grauman did a lot of work for television, but only directed six theatrical features. Lady in a Cage in the first I've seen, and may be the last.


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