27 April 2006 | grahamclarke
Unexpected routes of the movie business
Careers in the movies on occasion take unexpected routes It is highly unlikely that anyone watching "The Arousers" would have guessed that it's director and writer Curtis Hanson would one day join the ranks of Hollywood's A list. The direction shows little flair, (to be kind), while the screenplay virtually non existent.
Tab Hunter, the golden boy of Warner Brothers of the fifties, plunged towards obscurity after leaving the studios who had found a new hopeful in the form of Troy Donahue. They had no belief in his acting ability and solely utilized his legendary looks as bait for the burgeoning and lucrative teen audiences of the time. This, despite the fact that with each movie he seemed to be developing as an actor with definite potential. I recently watched an unremarkable early movie of his "Lafayette Escradille" featuring in a very minor role with hardly any lines at all, a nondescript young actor by the name of Clint Eastwood - unexpected routes indeed.
Despite the thin material and weak supporting players (other than one Nadyne Turney), Hunter turns in a remarkably astute performance. In the light of his coming out as a gay man, there is an added poignancy in his playing a character who is impervious to the charms of the numerous sexy females who throw themselves on him. While the reasons for his psychopathic behavior do not stem from latent homosexuality but rather some extremely half baked mention of his mother, perhaps Hanson utilized something of Hunter's sexuality in casting him in this role.
There really is no reason to search this one out unless you have some interest in the varied careers of Hanson or Hunter. Others may steer clear.