Monday, May 16, 2011

R.I.P.: Three Women – Yvette Vickers, Dana Wynter and Dolores Fuller

Yvette Vickers
Aug 26, 1928 (probably) – Sometime in 2010

Of the three cult actresses we are paying respects to today, the passing of Yvette Vickers is perhaps the most tragic. For although "she she still got cards and letter from all over the world requesting photos," when her body was discovered on April 27, 2011, by the actress Susan Savage, she may well have lain there for up to a year. (As the LA coroner's office spokesman said: "The skin is still intact but the body is like dried skin, leathery.") Yvette Vickers was born Aug 26, 1928 (or maybe 1935 or 36, depending on the source) in Kansas City, MO. Her parents, according to Yvette, were the jazz musicians Charles and (Iola) Maria Vedder, for whom Yvette herself recorded a tributary jazz CD circa 1991 entitled A Tribute to Charles and Maria. (Across the Internet in reports of her death, mention is made of "The Chuck Vedder Trio" having released "primarily rock and roll and jazz instrumentals," but oddly enough no paper, photographic or aural documentation is offered anywhere.)
According to the website Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, by the late 1940s she was attending a Catholic high school in Los Angeles, and by the early 50s she was doing local theatre and making her first uncredited appearances as an extra in films, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Sunset Blvd. (1950), where she is notably to be seen for a few seconds giggling on a telephone at a party. In general, most of Yvette Vickers' film appearances were of the two-three-lines or somewhere in the background variety, for which her name was seldom added to the film credits and even less often to the poster.
Despite occasional stage success, she quickly slid into the nether regions of low and no-budget films where, according to the author Tom Weaver "Her performances would have been fine in much, much bigger pictures... [and] ...she gave her all in rock-bottom B-movies." She never became a household name, but over the decades since then, she gained a certain level of cult popularity as the star of two well-known cult films of her early years, Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958). (A review of the former film, which was released the year that she was the Playboy centerfold for July [in a spread – from which the delicious photo above comes – was photographed by the great Russ Meyers], is found here in A Wasted Life.)
From 1963 to 1970, she made no more films, but the early 70s saw her appearing sporadically on TV. Supposedly, in the 70s, Yvette Vickers went into real estate to earn a regular income and, also, pretty much abandoned her career to care for her parents, who suffered ill health. According to Christian Vedder, a sports broadcaster in Kansas City and relative of Yvette, "[Yvette] had a very glamorous life in her youth and then, later, it took a darker turn. She became a loner and really preferred to be by herself."
A loner that lay dead on the floor of her rundown Benedict Canyon home for possibly up to a year, unmissed by fan and friend and distant relative and faceless institution (i.e., the IRS, the phone company, the bank, the electric co., etc. etc.) alike until the yellowed mail in her mailbox and the cobwebs on her door instigated her neighbor, the actress Susan Savage, to crawl through a broken window and look around. Passing boxes of junk and unopened fan letters, Savage discovered the mummified body upstairs in front of a running electrical heater.

Here is a look at the films Yvette Vickers was known to be involved in.

Sunset Blvd.
1950, dir. Billy Wilder

The film noir classic starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim. Gloria Swanson as the demented and forgotten has-been Norma Desmond living alone in a mansion with her butler (and former director and husband) Max (Erich von Stroheim). Into this cocktail comes Joe Gillis (William Holden), a would-be, broke and desperate film writer... the mixture is explosive. Yvette Vickers' three-second (uncredited) film debut is as a giggling girl on the phone at the party. You won't see her in this trailer, a trailer that doesn't do the film justice, but as the photo here shows, she is there to be seen in the film. If you haven't seen Sunset Blvd. yet, you really should.

The Sound of Fury
(aka Try and Get Me)
1950, dir. Cy Endfield

The above is the kidnapping scene from The Sound of Fury, "one of the most neglected films from the fifties" according to this review here at Noir of the Week. Written by Jo Pagano, based on his novel The Condemned, the book and the film is loosely based on the real-life 1933 kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart of San Jose, California, which resulted in the eventual lynching of the two kidnapping suspects in St James Park. (The composite tourist photo below is of the real thing, showing the dead and pantless kidnappers blowing in the breeze.)
In regard to the film, according to A Panorama of American Film Noir 1941-1953, "The prison assault remains one of the most brutal sequences in postwar American cinema." Yvette Vickers has another uncredited appearance as an extra on the dance floor – which basically means that she is nowhere to be seen in the film.

Reform School Girl
1957, dir. Edward Bernds

This enjoyable slice of prime 1950s exploitation, directed by the man who brought you The Return of the Fly (1959 / trailer) and produced by the great Samuel Z. Arkoff, was remade for TV by Jonathan Kaplan in 1994. The original 1957 version, which was the film debut of the less attractive but far more successful Sally Kellerman, was Yvette's first screen credit (as the trouble-making bitch Roxy). The title (but little more) was taken from a pulp novel by Felice Swados and tells the tale of a good girl Donna (Gloria Castillo) who goes to juvi for not squealing on her asshole boyfriend Vince (Edd Byrnes) when he kills someone with a stolen car. To ensure Donna's eternal silence, Vince gets the rumor spread at the reform school that she is a snitch... will the others succeed in doing her in? The film also features Luana Anders as Josie Brigg.

Short Cut to Hell
1957, dir. James Cagney
James Cagney's only directorial project, based on the Graham Greene novel A Gun for Sale (which had already been filmed in 1942 as an Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake vehicle, the highly patriotic A Gun for Hire (trailer). Yvette Vickers has a small part as Daisy in this remake, a tale about a hitman who gets paid for a double-rubout with stolen money, which the police soon trace back to him. On the run and hot for revenge, he kidnaps the girlfriend of the police detective on his tail and goes after his contractors.

I Mobster
1958, dir. Roger Corman
Based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Hilton Smyth; one of Corman's less remembered films about a gang leader (Steve Cochran) going in front of US Senate subcommittee. His life and times get revealed before the Syndicate finally has "Black Frankie" Udino (Robert Strauss) rub him out. According to Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Yvette Vickers plays "a sexy junkie".

Juvenile Jungle
1958, dir. William Witney
Robert Conrad's film debut, released on a double bill with Young and Wild (1958), which was also directed by William Witney. According to the website The Video Beat: "Scheming juvenile delinquents hatch an elaborate plan to fake the kidnapping of a rich girl to get her father to pay the ransom. Problems arise when one of the juvenile kidnappers falls for the girl and wants to call off the plan..." Yvette Vickers has an uncredited appearance at a party.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
1958, dir. Nathan Juran

Though the titular woman is played by Allison Hayes (as Nancy Fowler Archer), Yvette Vickers is third-billed and does fine as Honey Parker, a conniving gold digger that steals Nancy's no-good husband Harry Archer (William Hudson). Inspired by the previous year's The Amazing Colossal Man (1957 / trailer), in this version Nancy's run in with an alien force results in her growth in size. She sets out to take revenge on those who have wronged her...
A classic of bad cinema, the movie has inspired countless imitations, homages and a 1993 remake. In all truth, though the movie is highly enjoyable in its own special way, the poster is better than the film.

Attack of the Giant Leeches

The full film for your viewing pleasure. In the swamplands of Hicksville, giant leaches are sucking white trash dry and putting a serious dent in the local moonshine business. Great title, passable film. Reviewed here at A Wasted Life. A universally unseen remake appeared in 2008.

Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond

(1959, dir. John Newland)

OK, here is an episode from one of the many television series Yvette Vickers in the late 50s and early 60s. A mostly forgotten Twilight Zone style TV show, One Step Beyond ran from 1959–1961, but unlike the Twilight Zone, the tales of One Step Beyond were supposedly not fictional: the paranormal events shown are reenacted "true" stories that defied logical explanation. Yvette Vickers appeared in this episode of the first season (aired April 28, 1959), entitled "The Aerialist" and directed by the show's host John Newland, tells of a creepy experience had by circus performer. A new One Step BeyondThe Next Step Beyond – was revived for a season in 1978.

Pressure Point
1962, dir. Hubert Cornfield

Yet another forgotten message film produced by Stanley Kramer, starring Sidney Poitier and the Doctor, Bobby Darin as the Patient, and Peter Falk as the Young Psychiatrist. If the film is half as wild as the trailer, it must indeed be something to see. Yvette Vickers makes an uncredited appearance as a drunken woman. Bobby Darin got nominated for best actor for his role as the inmate.

Beach Party
1963, dir. William Asher

The first of the series of beach party movies starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, which for some inexplicable reason enjoy great popularity in the USA. Yvette Vickers makes an uncredited appearance as a beach girl extra. Robert Cummings appears as an anthropologist studying the mating rituals of US teens, Dorothy Malone is his hot-to-trot secretary. Followed over the years by Muscle Beach Party (1964 / trailer), Bikini Beach (1964 / trailer), Pajama Party (1964 / trailer), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965 / trailer), Ski Party (1965 / trailer), How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965 / trailer), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966 / trailer) and Back to the Beach (1987 / trailer) – not to mention by countless imitations and homages (our favorites being Psycho Beach Party from 2000 [trailer] and Del Tenney's trashy, fun classic The Horror of Party Beach [1964 / trailer]).

1963, dir. Martin Ritt

Yvette Vickers has a small part as Lily Peters in this Oscar-winning flick; here's a small scene with her. The website The Stir (among others) claims: "[...] Most of her scenes cut from the Paul Newman film Hud when Newman's wife Joanne Woodward objected to the smoking onscreen chemistry between Yvette and her husband." Sounds like a nice but unlikely story...

What's the Matter with Helen?
1971, dir. Curtis Harrington

A crappy trailer to a good film (crappy in that it reveals how the movie ends) starring Debbie Reynolds (Adele) and Shelley Winters (Helen) as the mothers of two Leopold and Loeb like murderers who leave their past to go to Hollywood and open a dancing school. Their lesbian-tinged relationship gets strained when Dennis Weaver begins wooing Adele and a mysterious man begins to terrorize them both, thus sending Helen of the deep end. Yvette Vickers appears briefly as Mrs. Barker, a redhead stage mom.

The Dead Don't Die
1975, dir. Curtis Harrington
A forgotten and seemingly unavailable TV movie directed by cult fave Curtis Harrington and written by Robert Bloch. In the 1930s, George Hamilton returns home from abroad in time for the execution of his brother at in the Illinois State Penitentiary for murder. Determined to clear his brother's name, his investigations lead him to Varek, the Zombie Master – who has his zombiefied brother at beck and call. Yvette Vickers has a small part as Miss Adrian. Cold Fusion Videos gives it a thumbs-up; Video Graveyard tends to dislike it.

Vigilante Force
1976, dir. George Armitage

Although not listed on most online sources as being a film in which she participated, she listed it on her CV in Tom Weaver's book Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. Starring Kris Kristofferson and pre-bloat Jan-Michael Vincent as warring brothers and (hot and young) Victoria Principal and (hot, young and curvaceous) Bernadette Peters as the Babes, who knows where Yvette Vickers might possibly be found in this violent piece of 70s hick-town exploitation.

Evil Spirits
1990, director: Gary Graver

Yvette Vickers's return to films is also her last film appearance, a direct-to-VHS horror film ever so loosely based on the true crimes of Dorothea Puente. Here, Yvette plays a snoopy neighbor of boarding house owner Mrs. Purdy (Karen Black) who discovers that Purdy is killing her elderly tenants for their monthly social security checks. The interesting cast includes a lot of familiar names – aside from Yvette Vickers, there is also Martine Beswick, Virginia Mayo, Bert Remsen, Arte Johnson, Robert Quarry, Anthony Eisley, and Michael Berryman. Basement of Ghoulish Decadence says: "Evil Spirits is honestly one of the worst horror movies I've ever seen."

Dana Wynter
8 June 1931 – 5 May 2011

A stunningly beautiful brunette, Dana Wynter was born Dagmar Winter in Berlin, Germany, to British parents and raised mostly in Great Britain. She entered films in 1951, leaving England for the stage and TV screen of NYC before finally moving to Hollywood in 1955. She married the divorce lawyer Gregson Edward Bautzer in 1956, with whom she had a son in 1960; the couple divorced in 1981 and she never remarried. She died on May 5th in Ojai, CA, of congestive heart failure.
Dana Wynter retired from acting in 1993, but unlike Yvette Vickers she never suffered a dearth of acting jobs: from the big screen, she simply moved to the little screen. But for all her film appearances (mostly of the A-film variety, often with name directors, and many in which she was one of the headlining stars on the poster), today Dana Wynter is probably only truly remembered by anyone for one film alone – and that is the film for which we honor her here today: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which, over a half century later, still remains the best version of the story...

In all truth, it is alone for The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (and her undeniable hotness) that A Wasted Life feels to need to honor Dana Wynter here, for on the whole she did not do films of the type that interest us. But, while researching her films, a few interesting (and unknown, but for one) projects were discovered.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
1956, dir. Don Siegel

There is a reason why this film on the American Film Institute's list of Top Ten Science Fictions Films: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the first of the four official and numerous unofficial versions of Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers, is a masterpiece. Dana Wynter, absolutely gorgeous (and not a bad actress, either), got aboard primarily because the film's limited budget didn't allow the involvement of a bigger name. Co-starring the great Kevin McCarthy and an oddly plain Carolyn Jones (the original TV Morticia), you can't claim to be a fan of genre films if you haven't seen this film – the plot of which is much too well known to need a recapitulation here. Currently, aside from an unnecessary and distasteful colorized version, the film can be found in both its original cut (the unhappy end) and the studio-forced cut with the intro and epilogue that promises hope of a more positive outcome...

The List of Adrian Messenger
1963, dir. John Huston

Above is the short pre-credit scene to Dana Wynter's last film before moving into television, a gimmicky mystery entitled The List of Adrian Messenger. Based on a novel of the same name by Philip MacDonald, the selling point of the film when it was released was that all the guest stars (Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum) appear in unrecognizable disguise and are only revealed at the end of the movie. As the scene above reveals, while the given star might be unrecognizable in the makeup, they also don't look very real... For a review of the film, go here to Classic Film Freak.
The credit sequence following the opening scene above is below.

If He Hollers, Let Him Go!
1968, dir.: Charles Martin
Her return to feature films, once again co-starring with Kevin McCarthy (who, as everyone knows, was the lead in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Based on the novel by Chester Himes, supposedly little of the book made it into the film, directed by the forgotten hack director Charles Martin. The film also stars Raymond St. Jacques – now that he has been dead for over twenty years, isn't it time that the perennial bachelor and childless man finally be outed and the truth be revealed about him and his different, consecutive live-in "sons" Raymond St. Jacques Jr and the model Sterling St. Jacques – and Barbara McNair, who does a nude scene in the film but, contrary to some reports, was not the first Afro American female to pose for Playboy (that honor goes to the extremely white-looking Jennifer Jackson, the centerfold of the March 1965 issue). (Ramin Setoodeh should see a couple of Raymond St. Jacques movies; maybe then he might finally realize how full of shit he is when claiming gays can't portray convincing breeders.) Roger Ebert, in his very short, three-paragraph review to the film from November 19, 1968, wrote: "If He Hollers, Let Him Go is trash. That it should be playing in a reputable first-run theater is astonishing [...]. The plot is insulting garbage. The story panders in prejudice, deliberately exploiting black-white tensions with a series of scenes in which characters pound, gouge and kick each other bloody. This is an evil film, a dishonest film, an ugly film."
Sounds like a good movie, doesn't it?

1970, dir. George Seaton
This film we have all seen – probably once too often. Airport may not be the template of the airplane disaster movie – that honor probably goes to the John Wayne film The High and the Mighty (1954 / trailer) – but it does set the template of the "star-studded" disaster flick, the flick in which every part right down to the airport toilet attendant is filled by a familiar face. As Cindy Bakersfeld, Dana Wynter gets lost in the shuffle of the known faces of all the special appearances of familiar and once familiar but now forgotten faces of 1970 that flit through the first film of the once popular franchise. Followed by Airport 1975 (1974 / trailer), Airport '77 (1977 / trailer) and The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979 / trailer) – none of which she sank to participate in. The great main theme by Alfred Newman to the film – his last job as a film composer – can be heard in the following YouTube clip.

Dolores Fuller
10 March 1923 (South Bend, Indiana) – 9 May 2011 (Las Vegas, Nevada)

When it comes to actual credited film roles, Dolores Fuller doesn't even have as many as Yvette Vickers, but as sparse as they are, what credits! (Arguably, she also didn't have as much acting talent, either.)
Born Dolores Eble, she and her family were already in California by 1933 when, at the tender age of ten, she was a (naturally uncredited) extra in the motel sequence of It Happened One Night (1934) – an event that made her decide she wanted to go into the movies. She began modeling around the age of 17, but it wasn't until 1952, at the age of 29, the divorced mother of two sons, Donald and Darrel, that she got her next known (and uncredited) part in a film, Outlaw Women. (Which is not to say she wasn't active as a TV actress/model – she was – she just wasn't on the big screen.)

On a casting call for the film Behind Locked Doors (aka The Human Gorilla, 1948 / full film) with her actress friend Mona McKinnon she met no one less than the great Edward D. Wood, Jr. As she mentioned later in an interview, "Ed always said he'd make me a star. I just didn't realize it would take 42 years."

Wood and Fuller soon moved in together and she began acting in his films, eventually appearing in his first masterpiece Glen or Glenda (1953), starring in his mildly diverting thriller Jail Bait (1954) and, lastly, being featured in his entertaining Bride of the Monster (1955). As Fuller remembers, she, not Wood, put the "bread on the table" at the time; this, combined with her losing the promised lead in Bride of the Monster to Loretta King, and Woods transvestism and increasing alcoholism, is probably what finally drove her away.

She moved to NYC to study at the Actors Studio in New York (a classmate of hers was Warren Beatty), but ended up turning to songwriting when her friend Hal Wallis, who was producing an Elvis movie Fuller wanted to be in, put her in touch with Hill & Range, a music publisher that provided Elvis with songs. Teaming up with the composer Ben Weisman, beginning with the song Rock-A-Hula Baby she went on to write not only 11 more songs for him – including Clambake and Spinout – but also did the lyrics for songs sung by Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee and others. (Across the Internet, she is said to have founded Dee Dee Records and helped jumpstart the careers of Johnny Rivers and Tanya Tucker, but we could find no documentary evidence of this on the Net, other than in her interview with Tom Weaver in the book It Came From Hollywood [we could find no online access to her autobiography A Fuller Life]. We could, however, locate about four different former record labels – ranging from northern soul to punk – called Dee Dee Records.)

Dolores Fuller married the film historian Philip Chamberlin in 1988. Although she pretty much intentionally forgot her past career as a B-actress after entering the music business, she changed her opinion as Ed Wood Jr and his films gained popularity; by 2000, she could be found as a pleasant guest at conventions, where she would often show up with the angora sweater Wood had so cherished.
Fuller, in less than rosy health towards the end of her life, spent her final years in Las Vegas, where she died at her home on 9 May 2011 following a stroke.


It Happened One Night
1934, dir. Frank Capra

Pulled in off the street by director Frank Capra, Fuller says she's the little girl seen playing "very briefly" in the background at the motel where Claudette and Clark have their famous motel room separated by a sheet scene. One of the last screwball comedies before the introduction of the Hayes Code, it went on to win all five major Academy Awards.

Outlaw Women
Starring the great and uniquely beautiful Marie Windsor. Dolores Fuller appears somewhere, uncredited, as one of Uncle Barney's girls in this odd western about a woman-run town.

Glen or Glenda
1953, dir. Ed Wood Jr.

Ed Wood's first film and masterpiece. Low-budget film producer George Weiss wanted to do a film on the then-current discussion surrounding Christine Jorgensen's sex re-assignment, and Wood convinced him to let him make it. Instead, Wood made one about a transvestism – an incredibly surreal and truly unique, heart-felt "docudrama" that Dolores Fuller, who plays Barbara in the movie, later claimed she found humiliating; up until it came out, she hadn't even realized he liked wearing women's clothes. Also starring Bela Lugosi, Lyle Talbot, and Edward D. Wood Jr (as "Daniel Davis").
Watch the full film below.

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Girls in the Night
1953, dir. Jack Arnold
One of the great Jack Arnold's more obscure films, Fuller is an uncredited extra during the sorority clubhouse party scene. Francois Truffaut gave it a good review in Cahiers du Cinéma in February 1954, among other things stating: "Each scene, whether it is the first (the very lively election of Miss 43rd Avenue in a neighborhood movie theater), the last (a very carefully controlled chase), or yet a prodigious dance scene in a sleazy club, makes us think that it was the one that the author treated the most lovingly; the directing of the actors (all newcomers) is perfect."
Was it all just
Gallic irony? Or perhaps it is a film worth being rediscovered?
Plot: A young couple of the slums decide to rob a supposedly rich fake beggar, but another young couple have the same idea first and accidentally kill the old man. The first couple become the prime suspects in the murder...

The Blue Gardenia
1953, dir. Fritz Lang
Fuller in an uncredited part as a Barschlampe in a B&W film noir by Fritz Lang! The Blue Gardenia is the first of his three "newspaper noirs", the other two being While the City Sleeps (1956) and idiotically-ended Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956 / trailer). Peter Bogdanovich calls The Blue Gardenia "a particularly venomous picture of American life."
Plot: A heart-broken woman wakes up after a night of drinking to forget only to find that she might be a murderer.

Here's Nat King Cole singing the title song of (and in) the film

Count the Hours
1953, dir. Don Siegel

Fuller is not credited and (not) seen somewhere in the background of the film as a reporter. Noir of the Week says of the film: "Resolutely a B-movie and with plot holes you could drive a truck through, Count the Hours is a white-knuckle ride that nevertheless offers many incidental pleasures."

Mesa of Lost Women
1953, dir. Ron Ormond &Herbert Tevos
This film was originally started by Herbert Tevos as Lost Women of Zarpa, but the project was abandoned. Ron Ormond bought it up and finished it a few years later to create the infamous cult film Mesa of Lost Women, considered by some to be one of the worst films ever made. Fuller, seen here to the left as she appears in the film, is the blonde "Watcher in the Woods." The soundtrack was recycled for Edward Wood Jr's Jail Bait, where it is just as out of place as here. A fun and Situationist watch, with Jackie Coogan and Lyle Talbot.

Full film:

The Body Beautiful
1953, dir. Max Nosseck
Starring the legendary Robert Clarke, Fuller, listed in the credits as "Sherry Caine," plays the character of Jane. The plot seems to involve a secretary jealous of her boss's attention to a model and who sends him a photo of herself in underwear (face hidden) that he then enters in a contest. It wins, so he must find the girl...
Director Max Nosseck was a Yiddish filmmaker who had to leave Germany due to the rise of National Socialism. He has a position in film history as having made, with the low budget Yiddish crime drama Singing in the Dark (1956), the first US American feature that uses the holocaust as plot element. He also did exploitation films like this one, which is probably not one of his better films. (He followed
The Body Beautiful up with a nudie-cutie entitled Garden of Eden (1954), supposedly the first one ever shot in color.) Going by the screenshot found online and shown here – of Miss Body Beautiful, as the film was entitled in England – not every body in the film is a beautiful one. According to imdb, the soundtrack includes a song by Fuller entitled I Never Felt This Way Before.

The Moonlighter
1953, dir. Roy Rowland
Of the four movies Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray made together, this justly obscure 3-D western by the director who helmed the great The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T (1953 / trailer) is undoubtedly the worst. Dolores Fuller is once again uncredited as Miss Buckwalter; Fred MacMurray is a cattle rustler and Barbara Stanwick his ex-girlfriend. Snore.

1954, dir. Joseph Pevney
An unconvincing film noir starring a thin and curvaceous Shelley Winters, with an uncredited Dolores somewhere as a girl. In NYC, the hardened Fran Davus (Shelley) causes the downfall of her naïve, fellow Nebraskan-born model roommate Phyllis (Colleen Miller) but comes around in the end to save her. Here Shelley sings a song in the film, Lie to Me. Of Playgirl, in her second biographical volume Shelley II, Ms. Winters said: "I eventually did that film ... to settle the contract. Nobody remembers it, and I have never even seen it."

Jail Bait
1954, dir. Ed Wood Jr.
"This afternoon we had a long telephone conversation earlier in the day."
Doctor Gregor (Herbert Rawlinson)

Dolores Fuller in her biggest part as Marylin Gregor in Ed Wood's most conventional film, a crime drama named after the gun ("It's jail bait"), not any underage fem fatale. Steve Reeves' first film, and he gets shirtless – the photo left, of Reeves without shorts, does not come from the film (it is probably a beefcake shot by the great Bruce of Los Angeles). Herbert Rawlinson, who plays Dr. Gregor – "Plastic surgery, at times, seems to me to be very, very complicated" – was a former leading man of the Silent Age who enjoyed a lengthy career as a character actor once sound came around; he died the day after the film was put into the can.
A Wasted Life's review of the film can be found here; the full film can be watched below.
Full film:

The Raid
1953, dir. Hugo Fregonese
Another role in which she receives no credit and is not seen somewhere in the background. The movie is said to be good, if forgotten. It stars Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft and Richard Boone, and features Lee Marvin, Peter Graves and Paul Cavanagh. The film is based on a true historic incident, the St. Albans Raid, in which a group of Confederate soldiers raided a town in Vermont. You can watch the full film here in China at

This Is My Love
1954, dir. Stuart Heisler
Another uncredited appearance somewhere in this forgotten film from a forgotten director. Vida (Linda Darnell), a would-be writer, has an imagination that saves her from the unforgiving realities of life; her sister Evelyn (Faith Domergue), married to the bitter, crippled Murray (Dan Duryea), is stuck in her miserable life without a safety net. When Vida introduces her new beau Glenn (Rick Jason) to Evelyn, Evelyn decides she wants to have the handsome plaything herself. Lies, heartbreak and murder follow...

Bride of the Monster
1955, dir. Ed Wood Jr.

"One is always considered MAD, if one discovers something that others cannot grasp!"
Dr. Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi)

Need this film really be introduced? One of Ed Wood's best. Look at the poison spit between Margie (Dorothy Fuller) and Janet (Loretta King) – are they acting? Allegedly the only Wood film that enjoyed a financially successful first release.

Full film:

The Opposite Sex
1956, dir. David Miller

Yet another uncredited role for being somewhere in the background in this, the first remake of the classic Frank Capra film The Women (1939 / trailer) – this time around as a musical, and with men onscreen. Take a gander at the trailer: Any wonder no one has ever heard of it?

The Ironbound Vampire
1997, dir. Karl Petry

Thirty-nine years after her last appearance as an unseen extra in the background of a film, her position as a cult name is now firmly established alongside Ed Wood's posthumous fame – true mainstream recognition is cemented with Tim Burton's classic bio-flick Ed Wood (1994 / trailer). Dolores Fuller, as a cult figure, returns to the world of film with this direct-to-VHS home movie vampire flick made by the Newark clairvoyant Karl Petry. The Ironbound Vampire also features fellow Ed Wood alumnus Conrad Brooks. Neither Fuller nor Brooks are in this trailer of what looks to be a pretty crappy film – which, according to the blog Taliesin meets the Vampires, is exactly what the film is.

Dimension in Fear
1998, dir. Ted V. Mikels
Leave it to cult filmmaker Ted V. Mikels to cast yet another cult figure in another one of his numerous later and lesser-known direct-to-VHS films. Aside from Fuller, who appears briefly as a TV station owner, Mikels features another aged cult figure from the past, former stripper Liz Renay (the highpoint of her film career is undoubtedly John Waters' masterpiece Desperate Living [1977 / trailer]). According to the website Something Awful, "For a Ted V. Mikels movie, Dimension in Fear isn't all that terrible. For any other movie, it's a piece of shit."

The Corpse Grinders 2
2000, dir. Ted V. Mikels
The direct-to-video sequel to Mikels' infamous exploiter The Corpse Grinders (1971 / trailer), though it is less a sequel than a remake with aliens (i.e., people with fake-looking furry cat ears or people with fake-looking furry dog ears). Both Dolores Fuller and Liz Ramey appear again in this turkey, the last film appearance that Dolores would ever make – perhaps she realized that making films with Mikels was not exactly a step up from making films with Wood. The reviewer at The Video Graveyard says: "Corpse Grinders II [...] is an often painful 103 minutes I'll never get back."

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