Monday, December 29, 2008
Ms. Savage has shuffled off this mortal coil. She was a B-movie actress for most of her career. She had resurfaced recently to play Guy Maddin's "mother" in "My Winnipeg" (which I haven't yet seen, although Maddin is a unique and fascinating filmmaker).
She'll be remembered most for playing the absolutely vicious Vera in Edgar G. Ulmer's no-budget film noir "Detour". "Femme fatale" doesn't even come close to decribing what Savage does in this movie. Savage's character would eat a femme fatale for breakfast. And then beat another femme fatale to death with the first one's bones.
The scene where she wakes up in the car next to Tom Neal is awe-inspiring in its trashiness. When Savage opens her eyes, it's as if a sleeping crocodile has just been startled out of its tentative slumber and is mere nanoseconds from tearing your head off. It's so over-the-top that you don't know whether to be frightened or to laugh. The movie is basically trash, but it's hugely entertaining trash. Savage's character, such as it is, is one-dimensional and subhuman. And you can't stop watching her.