“It’s right if it feels good.”
Mine caretaker Jess Tyler (Stacy Keach) is tried by Judge Rauch (Orson Welles) for “improper relations” with his illegitimate grown daughter, Kady (Pia Zadora).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Courtroom Drama
- Incest and Incestuous Undertones
- Mining Towns
- Stacy Keach Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this infamous backwoods melodrama, starring one-time child actress Pia Zadora — best known for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) — is “trashy” and “some scenes are impossibly bad and embarrassing,” but it’s “not quite as terrible as its reputation.” Indeed, Pia Zadora is a natural at portraying a scheming, manipulative young sexpot, and the story (based on James M. Cain’s novel) contains a surprising number of interesting plot twists. The notorious “bathtub scene” (in which Zadora successfully seduces Keach) may shock some — but given that these are two consenting adults who’ve never met before (and given later plot developments), it’s not really all that titillating.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- “Baby-faced” Pia Zadora, all grown up
- Orson Welles in a surprising bit role as the local judge
No, but it’s worth a look simply for the notoriety surrounding Zadora’s simultaneous reception of the Golden Globe award for “Best New Star of the Year” and the “Worst Actress Razzie.” I suspect you’ll agree that neither was truly warranted.