(Above) A French release poster for Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)? The movie seems to have developed a bit of a reputation as a camp piece, but for me it still works as an expertly crafted thriller. I saw a screening of the film a few weeks ago alongside An American in Paris as part of a classic movie weekend at the historic Canton Palace Theatre in Canton, Ohio. The theatre has a few more events in the next few months worth checking out, including a Twilight Zone Fest featuring episodes of the anthology series, a Strangers on a Train and Psycho double feature, and a weekend of Universal monster movies from the 1930s and 1940s.
Poster comes from the Heritage Auction website, which has an amazing collection of movie art for sale.
(Above) French-language poster for Fred Zinnemann’s 1953 Best Picture winner From Here to Eternity, an advert immortalizing Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s adulterous oceanside kiss. The film is based on the 1951 debut novel of James Jones, which features some autobiographical elements from Jones’ time stationed in Hawaii on the eve of World War II.
Here’s Zinnemann on concessions made to the Army in order to receive its cooperation in making the film. From the book Fred Zinnemann: Interviews:
Certain things the Army objected to, particularly two things. One, the inside of the stockade. The book contained many scenes showing the rough life inside the stockade. The Army said that if that was shown, there would be no cooperation. The second point was the character of the captain, Deborah Kerr’s husband, who was ineffectual and a bad officer. The Army wanted to see the man get his comeuppance and be courtmartialed and forced to resign. In the book he was promoted to major.
Now the whole point then became: is it worth making that sort of arrangement? I felt that it was. As it turned out, I was sure that it was not necessary to go into gruesome details about the inside of the stockade, because one could see in the escape and the death of Sinatra sufficient proof for what was going on inside and leave room for the audience’s imagination.
I personally would’ve liked to see the captain being promoted, because it was a fine sardonic touch. But it was a sacrifice that had to be made.