Monday, January 4, 2010
Over at the fab Arbogast on Film, back in the ancient year of 2008,
a sort-of semi-reoccurring feature/call-for-a-blogathon got started:
One You Might Have Saved.
This refers to a supporting or minor character in a film (usually of the genre variety) who gets killed, that you, as an audience member, have for some reason liked (had empathy for; an attraction for; etc.), and are sad to see go.
For example, in the one and only original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, the novice conductor gunned down by Robert Shaw as retribution for the failed police sniper attack—when I was a kid and saw Pelham for the first time, I was shocked and very saddened. I was used to cinematic slaughter, but that death seemed so wrong.
And it was a moment of, gosh, I wish I could’ve helped that guy get away.
A more well-known (or infamous) “One You Might Have Saved” might be Marge (Martha Swatek) in Jaws 2. She’s the cute tomboy who took charge and wore those sexy aquatic workgloves, and because she’s so cool, she saves one of the Brody brats instead of herself—and gets eaten for her troubles.
But today we’re talking about the sexy and mysterious Martine Beswick in One Million Years B.C. (1966), playing the brown-haired sexy cavegirl of the Rock Tribe, Nupondi.
Sure, everybody goes on about Raquel Welch, and yeah, she’s hot blah, blah, blah.
But Martine is hotter: more feral, more animalistic, more lithe—also there’s cunning in her eyes, a slyness: by hook or by crook, she’s gonna try and get what she wants.
But there’s a sadness to the character of Nupondi, as well: she just wanted to make babies with Tumok, but then he gets kicked out the tribe, and his gross brother chases Nupondi—and when Tumok returns, he brings back that blonde bitch! Meanwhile, dinosaurs are everywhere trying to eat people!
No wonder Nupondi has to be smarter and tougher than everyone else.
And then, because this is a “Lost World” flick and those always end with the volcano exploding,
when the prerequisite-volcano-explosion-conclusion occurs,
does unlucky-at-love Nupondi get cut some slack?
Does she manage to make a getaway, to start a new life somewhere else in Pangaea, create her own tribe perhaps?
Nature is red in tooth and claw, and
after a new mountain range bursts out of the ground,
Nupondi is devoured by the earth, in an almost ignoble way:
falling on her (admittedly cute) butt as the ground shifts and opens; swallowed without a trace.
I wish your bloodline had been the one to continue--maybe the world would be a better place now!
If I had a time machine, and if you were a real historical person instead of a beautiful cavewoman played by an actress I have a crush on in a very well-made B-movie, with some of Ray Harryhausen’s best animation—
I would rescue you.
In retrospect, I’d already seen flicks she’d been in (like Thunderball), but the awesomeness that is Martine Beswick didn’t reveal itself to me until I saw her in Hammer Films 1971 production of Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde.
I remember seeing this flick as a little kid in one of those giant movie palaces in Downtown Brooklyn—now one of the movie theaters of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
And it was then that I got my humongous crush on Martine Beswick.
Oh, Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde is a bad movie, but damn, is Martine hot as the supremely evil Sister Hyde, a bloodthirsty Morticia who looks great in corsets.
Hey! Martine’s on Facebook! Maybe she’ll let me be a pal!