Pretty Poison Reviews
Perhaps what I like most about this film is that nothing is what it seems. One could be forgiven for believing the opening act was part of a badly-written comedy, probably because that is exactly what the writer wants you to think. Lorenzo Semple's tight script is slyly subversive both in its deceptively light treatment and in the manner in which it portrays small-town Americana (in much the same way that David Lynch would two decades later in Blue Velvet). He tells us that the white picket fences and pretty cheerleaders should never be taken at face value, because there is something rotten lurking beneath that all-American veneer -- but in true cult fashion, it has fun with that message, instead of taking itself too seriously.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the performances. Perkins (as usual) is terrific. You can see the layers of confidence slowly peeling away as his and Sue-Ann's roles become inexplicably reversed and he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper out of his depth until he is a mass of sweaty, twitching nerves, blindly following orders, all pretence of control abandoned. Weld is also first class. She plays her character the same throughout, even when her true colors are revealed to us, and resists the temptation to display the usual tics and grimaces of movie-land's bunny-boilers. And lest I forget, Beverly Garland, the quintessential B-movie actress of her day, who also turns in the best performance of her career as the mother everyone can hate.
All in all, it's a crime that Pretty Poison is so unknown. Now that it FINALLY got released on DVD, let's hope more people discover it.
3,5/5 (ohne Tuesday Weld hätte er 3/5 bekommen)
The strength of PRETTY POISON is the chemistry that is shared by the film's two leads, Perkins and Tuesday Weld. As the plot goes on and becomes more intricate and twisted, it doesn't become the least bit difficult to follow, and Perkins and Weld help to keep the viewers' attention throughout. Their characters' relationship is a very odd one, and it comes off as quite interesting and is really quite memorable, mainly for how odd it actually is, but also because Perkins and Weld are extraordinary in their roles.
Director Noel Black does a fine job of crafting this film, opting for a minimalist approach over something overblown and overdone. PRETTY POISON is a fairly low-key film, but it works here. It's excellently shot, with Black opting for more ordinary surroundings for his characters in an effort to show just how truly over-the-top they both are, even in spite of the grounded performances of Perkins and Weld, which only accentuates this point.
PRETTY POISON is an excellent film, one of the best I've seen in a while.