Dragonwyck the Drag

October 24, 2009 at 7:12 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s a movie.  With Vincent Price and Jean Tierney.

It’s choked full of gothic story anvils, but no genuine shivers.

1840’s America.  Farm girl from Grenwich Conn.  is invited to a distant cousin’s manor on the Hudson, Dragonwyck, to be a governess to a bratty tween girl who states her parents don’t love her and she reciprocates the distaste.  There’s a ghost.  We hear the ghost play the harpsicord twice.  Nothing happens as a result of this visitation.

An earnest young doctor makes his presence known and asks if he may visit Jean Tierney the following Tuesday after sneaking her off to an Independence Day festival.  She agrees

The existing lady of the manor is a passive agressive compulsive overeater, asking her husband if he remembered the honey puffs and the bon bons.  No really.

The young governess thinks her female relation a bit odd, but begins to be captivated by the mournfully nasty Vincent Price.

Well, the wrong piece of cake dispatches Mrs. Dragonwyck, and Price moons around and eventually snaps up the governess as wife number two.

(Evidently he still thinks he’s living in a previous century because he thinks he can tell his [newly emancipated by state law] tenant farmers,’ that they owe him tribute.  Even sits on a throne while asking for it.)

The clueless heroine provides the obligatory male offspring, but he dies of a heart defect the moment after his baptism.

I think the most ‘shocking’ thing about Price’s character to 1940’s movie audiences would have been his openly militant atheism, and scorn for all things religious, moreso even than his heroin addiction.

Evidently, when addicts hid themselves away to get high in the 1840’s it was known as ‘brooding in the tower room for three weeks.’

In the original draft, Price becomes pathetic and delusional, heads for his garden ‘throne’ and commits suicide there, but film code wouldn’t permit that, so an accidental shooting gets Price off the screen.

The black robed widow can’t get herself out of there fast enough…even though the earnest young doctor still wants to see her next Tuesday….

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