There are some films that acquire a "cult" following as soon as they come out, while other films like this one take years to catch on. The only reason POOR PRETTY EDDIE has taken so long to find its audience is simply because it was never that easy to see in the first place. I discovered this film way back in 1997 while rummaging through some old VHS tapes in a junk shop on Sunset Boulevard. The cast was enough to merit a purchase on the spot. I mean, Shelley Winters acting alongside the amazing Slim Pickens (I love the fact he named his son "Easy"), as well as, character actor Dub Taylor and Ted Cassidy (known far and wide as Lurch on THE ADDAMS FAMILY) playing a love sick handyman. Lesile Uggams is supposed to be the star and considering what she is put through in this film, I guess she is, however, it is the legendary Shelley Winters who rules the roost in this flick and don't you forget it. The moment we see her entrance as the blousy, overweight Bertha, she simply owns the screen as long as she is on it.
|Michael Christian as "Eddie".|
|Leslie Uggams as "Liz Wetherly", singing the national anthem.|
|Shelley Winters as "Bertha", doing what she does best.|
I knew the film’s editor Frank Mazzola long before he came to my photo exhibit in 2005 for Donald Cammell's PERFORMANCE which he worked on, as well as, being a close friend of Donald's right up until his death. When I mention this film to Frank he just laughed, as he remembers it as being low budget, shot in Athens, Georgia at a real life motel known as Charles Williams Pinecrest Lodge, which finally closed in 2004.
|Leslie Uggams takes it off for a bunch of rednecks.|
If you love grindhouse exploitation and trash then please take my word for it, this one is for you. I have not felt this strongly about a film since the days of say BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS or MYRA BRECKINRIDGE. This is without a doubt the best performance of Shelley Winters since CLEOPATRA JONES AND THE CASINO OF GOLD or WILD IN THE STREETS. Afterall, when was the last time you heard her mouth lines like?...."I don’t care if she farts Chanel Number Five----she ain’t stayin here."