[The Great Villain Blogathon 2016] Dean Jagger in “Escape by Night”

I’m really excited about The Great Villain Blogathon 2016. The first two iterations were loads of fun, with dozens of bloggers sharing their ideas of what, exactly, makes for a standout movie villain. In 2014, I explained why Leave Her to Heaven’s Ellen (Gene Tierney) is the ideal film bad gal: she’s smart, beautiful, stylish, deceitful, and deadly. Last year, I made the case for the equally glorious and wicked duo of Blanche Fury (Valerie Hobson) and Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger) in Blanche Fury. These films are visually stunning, enlivened by impeccable color cinematography. The former is akin to a splendid nature travelogue (spiked, richly, with mayhem), the latter to a series of Gothic paintings come to moody life. The immoral main characters of both are driven by selfishness, jealousy, and single-minded passion. They need what they need and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, everyone else be damned. Or killed.

The Great Villain Blogathon

The Great Villain Blogathon

This year, I’m leading you down a path to a different cinematic world. It’s not beautiful, grand, or sumptuous. Passion is absent, but there’s plenty of greed and power-tripping to step in as the source of rotten plot behavior. Follow me to a black-and-white landscape where night is day, and everyone wants the opposite of what they have…except for the villain, who just wants more of the same and then some. His name is James ‘Capper’ Regan, and you won’t soon forget him.

Dean Jagger as Our Villain

Dean Jagger as Our Villain

ESCAPE BY NIGHT (1937) (SPOILERS! SPOILERS! ALL THE SPOILERS!)

Escape by Night Lobby Card

Escape by Night Lobby Card

Left to right: Dean Jagger, Murray Alper, William Hall, Ward Bond, Steffi Duna

PART I: JUST A SMALL TOWN BOY

Tourists visit The Big City for many reasons. Some go there to shop or check out famous landmarks, others to see shows or dine out in fabulous restaurants that are beyond the scope of their smaller towns. Then there’s miner Nicholas ‘Nick’ Allen (William Hall), who simply wants to feel the sun on his face. Why he couldn’t do that closer to his Pennsylvania home is anyone’s guess, but, fortunately for our plot, he’s right in the line of trouble at the exact moment a damsel in some very real distress needs him. Continue reading

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[The Great Villain Blogathon] Blanche Fury: How the Beautiful People Dress

Blanche Fury certainly knew how to dress. She was always on point, whatever the  circumstance: from poor relation to lady of the manor, sexy adulteress to “grieving” widow, she had it going on. Her lover, Philip Thorn, was right there with her, looking fine. Fine. Here are some of the occasions when Blanche and/or Philip looked better than we ever could:

 

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♦Charlotte is our Fashion correspondent. Her dream closet consists of the collective wardrobes of 796 films.

The Great Villain Blogathon

[The Great Villain Blogathon] Blanche Fury: Illicit Love is a Killing Thing

Effie

**

Where Everything is Beautiful and Everyone Dies:

Granger and Hobson

Granger and Hobson

 The titular Blanche Fury and her lover Philip Thorn are outstandingly beautiful people. Their clothes are elegant and perfectly cut. The vast estate on which they live is richly appointed. It is full of expensive furniture and many servants. They are passionate, and very much in love with each other.

Unfortunately for them…

their lives are playing out in a Gothic genre film set in the Victorian era.

Too bad, beautiful people.

It was nice knowing you.
Continue reading