A short note on ANN TREADWELL and SHELBY CARPENTER

POUR ANN & S - PARTY

If they were not so deplorably weak, ineffectual and almost clownish, we would perhaps call them the minor villains of the film. Judith Anderson (Ann) had indeed been a full-size menace in REBECCA, and would also be a memorable opponent in Anthony Mann’s noir western THE FURIES, where Barbara Stanwyck defaces her with scissors. Here she’s decidedly minor league – a rich, bored society woman grabbing at the first boy toy who comes along, and not above stealing him back on the rebound from her “dead” niece (who had, let us not forget, done the same to her weeks before)

Ann is the kind of character Preminger might have known during his first years in New York, when he was moving in such pseudo-brilliant spheres. She’s the first of a cohort of bitter, middle-aged women such as Barbara O’Neil in WHIRLPOOL (where her mirror scene with Tierney is a replica of LAURA’S), ANGEL FACE, Jean Kent in BONJOUR TRISTESSE, and others. As if taking on the director’s mantle, McPherson delights in stripping her of her artificial dignity by forcing her to reveal her arrangements with Shelby in the presence of Waldo. Ann’s humiliation reaches a peak when both men deride her feeble explanations. Continue reading

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