What of the thought-provoking BLOODSUCKING PHARAOHS IN PITTSBURGH? The finely-wrought STITCHES? Or the recent star-spanning epic SOLAR CRISIS, featuring a reanimated Charlton Heston AND Jack Palance in their first pairing to date?
Kubrick? Fellini? Hitchcock?
Phaw! Mr. S. is the man with the plan.
And that eternal moment when first we see Beverly Garland, Marian Carr and Collen Gray in the title role, towering over puny Santa Monica Blvd, their bodies now twenty-foot-tall RTD buses with headlights glaring through their angora sweaters in place of breast--nay, in a radical juxtaposition of the machine aesthetic against the post-war sylvan cityscape; one shudders with forbidden pleasure at that sequence of diamond-clear inspiration.
Give it up, Pauline.
To this day, as a result, Smithee still walks with a slight limp.
Oh, and as to why he did not appear in PIERROT LE FOU: Smithee answered that question in an interview, saying "Have you ever tried reading a Paris subway map? The goddamn things are in FRENCH!"
Unfortunately, I was overseas when this film premeired at the Harris and since, have heard othing about it in the journals. I believe it's working title was SNATCH!, but I could be wrong.
I beg your generous assistance in this enigma.
The presence of Hatton, and of other now-defunct screen presences like Dick York, Dick Foran, and Terry Moore, suggests a 1950s vintage. But what is Noriega doing in the 1950s? Why is the U.S. president (played by York) named Bush? And what can account for the erotic frankness that surrounds the Pres's Press Secretary's (Terry Moore's) liaison with the Central American strongman, who sweeps her off her feet with daiquaris and mariachi music (Smithee's Panama suggests a cross between Acapulco and Havana, with guayabara - shirted extras) during a tropical vacation and then uses her as a wormhole into the White House before she wises up? The sparks struck by Moore and Hatton, whose speech, alas, was thickened almost into incomprehensibility by the acromegaly that would kill him at a tragically early age (his line-dubs are credited to Jeremy Irons, who "got" Noriega's accent by once again donning the oral prosthesis he wore in HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS), made this 1996 viewer's palms sweat.
Can you imagine how they would have affected movie-goers of the age of Ozzie and Harriet? If I'm not mistaken, there is a 2-second nipple shot half hidden by the shadow of a coconut palm, though Smithee's dextrous camera sleight-of-hand makes it unclear whether the nipple belongs to Moore or Hatton. Not to mention the daring steam-bath mano a mano between Noriega, Bush and a G-Man played by Dick Foran. Predictably, he ends up getting Moore, but not before her womanhood has been sullied by some swarthy (and possibly nubbly-textured) Latino love-pole.
Can anyone clear up these anomalies? Was I WAS NORIEGA's LOVE SLAVE made 40 or 5 years ago? Or might it possibly be the most attenuated film project of all time, begun, perhaps, as a conventional red-scare potboiler, then marooned in some Sargasso of politics, only to be reshot and re-edited many years later, by an older, wiser auteur? Maybe the Noriega character was originally called Arbenz?