Randolph Scott finds the fire of eternal life and ShE Who Must Be Obeyed played by (Helen Gahagan). Director Irving Pichel
Frances Dee, Edith Barrett and Jeni Le Gon in I Walked with a Zombie directed by Jacques Tourneur, 1943
Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? directed by Robert Aldrich.
Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby directed by Roman Polanski, 1968
Wednesday Apr 4
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
BIG GIRLS DON’T SCREAM
Female Characters in Classic Horror Films
Every Wednesday in April, film writer and historian Frank J. Dello Stritto
will host four lectures highlighting films from the 1930s through the 1960s, which prove that women in classic horror films were more than screaming victims. Frank has authored four books on classic horror films, is frequent speaker at film conferences, and contributor to genre magazines.
April 4: SHE (1935): The team that made KING KONG and SON OF KONG in 1933 made one last horror adventure two years later. Adapted (liberally?) from H. Rider Haggard’s classic tale, SHE tells of a geothermal outcrop in the Russian arctic, hosting a lost civilization, ruled by She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (California Congresswoman Helen Gagahan’s only film role). Endowed with eternal life and youth, She waits in her art-deco world for the reincarnation of her lost love.
April 11: I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943): Don’t let that title fool you. RKO handed the producer a title, and got an atmospheric, literate film, known among aficionados as “Jane Eyre in the Tropics.” Nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) is hired as caregiver to a plantation owner’s comatose wife. Her disease is undiagnosed, but Connell soon suspects that her patient may not need medicine but voodoo.
April 18: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE (1962): For actresses over 40, good film roles are hard-to-find. In the 1960s, a lot of those roles were in horror films. It all started with WHATEVER HAPPENED BABY JANE, casting Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as reclusive sisters grasping at past fame, and at each other. The backstage feud between the two stars is part of Hollywood legend, but what’s on the screen has rarely been topped.
April 25: ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968): Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow, and at the time, briefly, Mrs. Frank Sinatra) is pregnant. Do her meddling next door neighbors have dark designs on her unborn child? Is her obstetrician ignoring her pain? Or are the warning signs, as her husband (John Cassavetes) insists, all in her mind? Rosemary stands alone against whatever threatens her child, and made all of us heed the film’s tagline, “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby.”