"I brought more men to their knees, or actually ruined them, than any other actress in Holywood history." ~Joan
"Female on the Beach" 1955
Cast: Joan Crawford ~Jeff Chandler~Jan Sterling~Cecil Kellaway~Natalie Schafer~Charles Drake~Judith Evelyn~Stuart Randall~Marjorie
Director: Joseph Pevney
Producer: Albert Zugsmith
Costumes by Shelia O'Brien
Box Office Figures for "Female on the Beach":
Top Grossing Film Position: Did not rank.
Gross Rentals: less than $1,000,000.
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Thank you for your review on this film.
Stars: Three stars
Review: As I long suspected, "Female on the Beach" is delicious, overwrought, trashy fun of the best kind --
the kind with the later-mid-career Joan Crawford in strappy heels tangling with a beach stud. Crawford stars as Lynn Markham,
a wealthy gambler's widow who leases a beach house in Balboa, California sight unseen so that she can be "alone."
Oh, if it were only that simple, Joan! Unbeknownst to Markham, the prior tenant -- also a rich widow -- was either pushed
or fell to her death from the balcony, and the broken railing remains as warning. Enter boy-toy and beach bum Drummond (Jeff
Chandler) with bulging biceps and chiseled face -- in fact, he enters Markham's kitchen in the morning with his own key. Markham
sizes him up as a gigolo pretty rapidly and tries to give him the heave-ho (at least she gets back the key), but damn, if
the insolent bum won't move his boat from her harbor. What's a lone woman to do? This one climbs over the side of his boat
one night in Barbie doll dress and heels and let's him put his greasy paw on her and kiss her. "I've left a mark,"
he says, referring to the smudge of grease on her arm. "A man like you would," she says (or something to that effect.)
And this after she's been warned by a local detective that "a woman alone on the beach is a target." (If they can't
bind our feet, we get the warning to curtail our movements!)
Oh, this is a watchable, entertaining hoot and a half. There's the snaky music and Chandler in his striped tops and tight
bathing trunks and Crawford in a whole array of cocktail-dress ensembles that she sports while merely sashaying around her
home alone. In spite of her protests, it doesn't take long for the muscled beach stud to weaken her better instincts and make
her love him, especially when he tears her dress one night in a frenzy. In spite of warnings from the cop and the suspicious
blonde bombshell (Jan Sterling) who was her real estate agent and who also loves the bum and in spite of finding a diary behind
a brick in the fireplace that pretty much spells out the trouble between the prior tenant and said stud muffin and in spite
of telling Drummond herself that he is "about as friendly as a suction pump" and comparing him unfavorably to two
species of animal, Markham marries the guy. Then she worries whether he is going to kill her.
For years it's been the older man with the young bimbo and you've got to hand it to Joan for turning the tables. Naturally
a woman alone is perceived as a threat to society, thereby, she must be threatened, but before she's getting sloshed and staggering
across the beach in stilettos, Crawford isn't afraid to call a beach bum a beach bum. In her 50's at the time and moving
into that more severe look that she would adopt, she was still basically very attractive, but that exaggerated makeup and
those hairstyles weren't doing her any favors! This hairdo here is one of my pet peeves for her -- what's with the heart-shaped
part? And why does she adjust her night shorts on camera after rising from the bed in this one? Dare anyone ask? Don't ask.
Just enjoy this totally delicious sand- stud-and-soap camp gem.
Above: I am amazon woman! No one can match me! GRRR!