In Uncategorized on August 23, 2019 at 3:42 am

I am happy to see TCM really doing its job today, paying tribute to little-known MGM ingenue Leila Hyams. A blooming, blonde All-American natural beauty, she is most remembered today for Tod Brwning’s sui generis FREAKS, in which her dewy loveliness and verve held its own against the most serious competition cast-wise any actor has ever known. The Big House, still one of the greatest prison epics, with the arrestingly handsome Chester Morris (a Deco profile if e’er there was), is one of her more prominent films being shown, as well as a raft of John Gilbert tales which prove once again that he could, the poor bedevilled devil that he was. Way Out West, the gayest Western ever made with one of the gayest leading men, William Haines, then the most popular movie star in 1930 is in the line-up, as well as one of Jean Harlow’s best and raunchiest, the Anita Loos-penned Redheaded Woman which helped bring on the Hays Code, so unapologetically sinful and amoral – and irresistible – was its heroine. Hyams has the thankless part of the decorative and decorous wife of Harlow’s boss (Morris again), whom the brazen wench is setting her sights for, but she’s well photographed by Harols Rosso and beautfully gowned by Adrian. Charles Laughton plays HG Wells’ infamous Dr. Moreau in the truly creepy 1933 Paramount adaptation of his novel, much of its creepiness stemming from Laughton himself, beyond deranged and at his most histrionically unbridled. (The horror lies in his hamminess.)

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