A Movie A Day #192: Betrayal of the Dove (1993, directed by Strathford Hamilton)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Ellie West (Helen Slater) has a 7 year-old daughter (Heather Lind), a sleazy ex-husband (Alan Thicke), a vampy best friend (Kelly LeBrock), and a pair of inflamed tonsils that need to come out.  When she goes in the hospital for what should be a routine procedure, she nearly dies on the operation table.  Something went wrong with the anaesthesia.  But what, why, and how?  Fortunately, Doctor Jesse Peters (Billy Zane) was there to save Ellie’s life.  Even as Ellie, with the encouragement of her best friend, starts to go out with Jesse, she still suspects that someone is trying to kill both her and her daughter.

While the title may sounds like an early 90s Merchant Ivory production, Betrayal of the Dove is actually just another “erotic” thriller, the type that used to show up exclusively on late night Cinemax.  The only thing that distinguished Betrayal of the Dove was the cast, which mixed B-movie stalwarts like Kelly LeBrock and Billy Zane with actors who usually did not appear in movies like this.  Alan Thicke was surprisingly good as a sleazy, abusive alcoholic and both Stuart Pankin and David L. Lander were cast in serious roles.

Perhaps the most surprising casting was that of veteran television comedian and Mel Brooks regular, Harvey Korman.  In the role of Ellie’s boss, Harvey not only played a serious role here but, at the end of the movie, he also got to save the day.  I’m not sure if Harvey did his own stunt work but if you have ever wanted to see Harvey Korman as an action hero, Betrayal of the Dove is as close as you’re going to get.

Or you could just watch Blazing Saddles again.


Structural Failure: THE BIG STREET (RKO 1942)

cracked rear viewer

When I hear the word “Runyonesque”, I think about racetrack touts, colorful Broadway denizens, dames with hearts of gold, and the like. If you want to make a Runyonesque movie, what better way than to have author Damon Runyon himself produce it, as RKO did for 1942’s THE BIG STREET. All the elements are there, the jargon, the characters, but the film suffers from abrupt shifts in tone from comedy to drama, and a totally unpleasant role for Lucille Ball . The result is an uneven movie with a real downer of an ending.

Based on Runyon’s short story “Little Pinks”, it follows the unrequited love of bus boy Augustus “Little Pinks” Pinkerton for torch singing gold digger Gloria Lyons, dubbed “Her Highness” by Pinks. Henry Fonda plays Pinks as  lovestruck, spineless sad sack, dubbing Lucy Her Highness, even though she’s thoroughly rotten to him. When she’s smacked by her gangster boyfriend Case Ables ( Barton MacLane )…

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Music Video of the Day: Girlschool by Britny Fox (1988, dir. ???)

Of course there’s a video by a band named Britny Fox called Girlschool that came out in 1988. It wouldn’t be the weird world it is if that didn’t happen the same year as the band Girlschool did a cover of Fox On The Run.

I thought this was going to be a short post, but there’s a fair amount of info here.

First, yes, yes they were really there. According to an interview with bassist Billy Childs, they must have used some sort of cloth because he remembers being able to see the girls in the room while they were playing their part. He doesn’t know how it worked. Although at least as recently as 2015, he still wants to know exactly how they pulled that off. I’m assuming it operated the same way as a two-way mirror. That’s as far as I can go, short of digging into physics. It’s something that you see when you’re in a brightly-lit room, and don’t see if you are in a darkly-lit room.

While I can’t explain exactly how it works, I can show you some of the seams.

The clock is flat.

During the transition you can still see the bulletin board and clock.

The band is hiding behind Bach.

This part is kind of amazing to me. The band manager at the time had the foresight to film behind the scenes during the shooting. Here is the general behind-the-scenes stuff.

Now comes two people you might recognize in this video.

The first is the lady with the headphones. That is Kim Anderson who apparently did work on numerous videos, and is still remembered to this day along with other famous women from heavy metal videos. The band manager also edited together footage that included her.

You can see a super-short interview with her below.

The second is the teacher. That is Marianne Muellerleile. You may know her from one of her current 224 acting credits. The one that comes to mind is probably the wrong Sarah Connor from The Terminator (1984). However, she’s one of those actors who if a show had some success, then she was probably in at least one episode of it. My thanks go out to Billy Childs for bringing up where she was from in that aforementioned interview. It wasn’t coming to me.

The last is a quote from I Want My MTV. It’s from Kari Wuhrer talking about a time they shot the show Remote Control in Florida:

Kari Wuhrer: We shot in Florida during the third season, and Britny Fox were on the show as contestants. It was the height of hair metal. I hit on their singer. The next thing I knew, I was getting tattooed and I was on tour with them. He was so dumb, my father called him “the house plant.” As soon as the tour ended, I never heard from him again.

There you go. It’s one of the dumbest metal videos I’ve ever seen. At least Cherry Pie by Warrant was meant to be a parody. Yet, this does have some nice effects work. I just don’t know why it’s in this.