Jane Fonda Tells Me About Walk On The Wild Side, With Stanwyck As Lesbian Madam

Categories: Film

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This week's column is a sublime interview with the great Jane Fonda, and I would have hated myself if I'd wrapped it up without asking her about two of my movie club's all-time faves.

There's the bizarre racial melodrama Hurry Sundown and the darkly sexy Walk on the Wild Side, set in a New Orleans brothel.


"I think Hurry Sundown is just plain bad," admitted Jane.

"But Walk on the Wild Side is interesting. To work with Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Baxter, and Laurence Harvey, it was an interesting experience.

"My first movie was Tall Story and I thought I'd never do another movie in Hollywood. I hated the experience. Then I got offered Kitty Twist [her prostitute-turned-hero character in Wild Side] and she was so different and so not the girl-next-door cheerleader, that I decided to do that and that's what got me back in."

By the way, Stanwyck plays Jo, the bordello madam who has a legless husband and who's in love with a sculptor/whore played by the icy Capucine.

A new book called Barbara Stanwyck, The Miracle Woman by Dan Callahan says columnist Louella Parsons was outraged that Stanwyck would play such a role.

Replied the actress, "What do you want them to do, get a real madam and a real lesbian?"

Alas, the author adds, "Capucine is such a weak and bored scene partner that Stanwyck has to work in a kind of void."

Not that Stanwyck's role is that amazing, he adds:

"Jo Courtney is a shallow conception, a woman who needs to be 'explained' by some Penguin Freud, a lesbian who doesn't even get to be a real lesbian...

"Instead, we're made to understand that she's frigid."

The film, Callahan writes, "is only enlivened by a baby-faced Jane Fonda, shaking her chassis as a runaway-turned-hooker" and by the great credits sequence involving a cat and a theme song.

And let's not forget Anne Baxter as a Mexican lady with a taco stand slash religious temple.

Anyway, thank you, Jane, for our walk on the stimulating side.

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9 comments
bitchtrollfromhell
bitchtrollfromhell

"I shall never raise a glass to Miss Faye Dunaway!"  Bette Davis

latenitebump
latenitebump

it wasn't about the government; it was concerning the american soldiers doing the actual combat.

Timmee
Timmee

Yeah, and Vietnamese sweatshops under the same government that Fonda "betrayed" us to now supply Americans with many of the sneakers, among other products, that we're addicted to. Is upper management of Nike a bunch of traitors? Dumb ass.

Musto
Musto

I wish I'd asked her what it was like to work with Faye Dunaway (in Hurry Sundown), but my time ran out. Next time for sure.

normadesmond
normadesmond

haven't seen hurry sundown in 10,000 years, but i recall liking it. of course, i loved any movie with sharecroppers in it.

Jonster
Jonster

Wait.  Stanwyck wasn't a "real lesbian?"  Your whole description of Walk on the Wild Side is fabulous!  "And let's not forget Anne Baxter as a Mexican lady with a taco stand slash religious temple." This line alone just put in in my queue of "must sees." Viva Jane Fonda!!!!!!!!!!!!

Opal
Opal

Thank you, Musto, for not bringing up the tired Hanoi Jane thing which she's been groveling and apologized for for 40 years. Why make her grovel one more time?

Hanoi Jane The Traitor
Hanoi Jane The Traitor

please ask Hanoi about her love of Viet Cong torturing American POWS. and ask her about her pinapple face husband, Tom Hyden, cheating on her cause she was such a bad lay. And then there's her daughter arrested for buying heroin.

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