The Casting Couch (1995)

Video   |    |  Documentary


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John Sealey


Derek Ford (book), Alan Selwyn

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2 July 2015 | muswellmovies
| Relic of a Golden Age
This "documentary" was produced in the era of the VHS "sell through" title and tells a lot of well worn tales of a Hollywood for which the parade had long passed by. The production is based on a book of the same name by "Selwyn Ford" a pen name for the team of Derek Ford and Alan Selwyn whose work in the exploitation movie world of 1970's UK has some followers. Their volume covers much the same ground as Kenneth Angers "Hollywood Babylon" books. But as the title suggests the focus is on those whose rise to fame was aided by trading sexual favours for parts. Susan George acts as presenter in the links filmed in a Soho preview theatre basically introducing clips culled from Public Domain titles. Some like Hedy Lamarr's nude debut in a film which her husband attempted to suppress, ultimately unsuccessfully, have a well documented provenance. Others like Joan Crawford's rumoured appearance in a stag film remains unsubstantiated by the clip used here where the identity of the young lady involved is masked by the poor quality of the image. Legend has it that Crawfords rival Bette Davis was the only female star not to provide her favours for advancement. However gossip especially the salacious kind about the gods of the silver screen is always saleable. As a long line of publications like Confidential magazine testify. So thanks to the joy of market research the Producers discovered they could make a profit from a minimal investment and this project was born. The subjects of this film were long gone 20 years ago when this was made so they are probably unknown to modern movie fans of today but if you're a nostalgia nut this is worth seeking out. Kenneth Anger has promised a new volume of "Hollywood Babylon" when the subjects have passed away and therefore cannot sue so maybe an update is due.





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