APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972)

April 10: Nightmare USA — Celebrate Stephen Thrower’s book by picking a movie from it. Here’s all of them in a list.

Most folks know Jack Starrett from playing his Gabby Hayes-like character in Blazing Saddles. Or maybe they know him from all the biker movies like The Born Losers and Hells Angels on Wheels. Or maybe some of the other movies he directed, like Run, Angel, Run!Nam’s AngelsSlaughterRace with the DevilCleopatra Jones and Hollywood Man.

That said — I’ve never heard of this movie and it kind of blew my mind.

Virgil (Ken Howard, The White Shadow) is a traveling salesman who thinks, at first, that he’s going to have some easy sex with a girl he meets on the road, Rosalie (Bonnie Bedelia). But she’s too young, he’s too nice of a guy and, well, things feel too strange. They’re only going to get stranger.

Based on The Chicken by Miles Tripp, this was written by SAS soldier and sculptor Anthony Greville-Bell, who also wrote the script for Theater of Blood, another movie produced by his co-writer, John Kohn. Rosalie is a character who can only come out of fiction, a feral wild child who is also hopelessly gorgeous, yet starts the film burying someone and spends most of this movie decimating Virgil, leading him to break his leg and live out Misery years before the book was even written.

She claims that she had a dream that her grandfather had this house, a place where she has made Virgil into a near-invalid and where only one other person encounters them, Fry (Anthony Zerbe), a total scumbag who just wants the gold buried somewhere near the house. And by house, I mean falling apart shack somewhere in the dusty and abandoned American Southwest.

Also known as Someone to Watch Over Me, this movie somehow finds you cheering for Rosalie, as Virgil is the white upper class man who is brought low by sex appeal and, well, the ability for her to at once appear helpless and capable. For a movie with only one extended location and two characters taking up most of the running time, it works and Bedelia is incredible. Is it any wonder why she ended up in Needful Things and Salem’s Lot? Maybe King was karmically paying her back for outright stealing so much of her character in this movie.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.