Spider Woman vs the Founding Fathers: movies watched (#SFWApro)

One of Universal’s most successful Sherlock Holmes films was Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1943) with Gale Sondegaard driving men to suicide with poisonous spiders. THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946) attempted to cash in by casting Sondegaard in what sounds like a sequel but isn’t. The film has Brenda Joyce arriving in a small farm community to car for sweet, blind Sondegaard (spoiler: not blind and not sweet!). Sondegaard and henchman Rondo Hatton (an acromegalic cast as a brute man in multiple films) then drain Joyce’s blood to feed Sondegaard’s poisonous carnivorous plants, which she’s using to kill off the local cattle herds, then buy back the land (which her family once owned) for a song! It’s a plot that could work for anyone from Doc Savage to Scooby Doo, but it doesn’t work here, and wraps up very clumsily. The title is rationalized by Sondegaard feeding her plants spiders as well. All rights to poster image remain with current holder “It won’t be really dying—because you’ll live on in this beautiful plant.”

1776 (1972) adapts the stage musical wherein “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams (William Daniels), Ben Franklin (Howard DaSilva) and Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) struggle to tug the Continental Congress toward independence despite doubt about whether it’s possible or advisable, not to mention the nagging slavery question (Northern Exposure‘s John Cullum plays South Carolina’s Rutledge, one of the main adversaries here). Will Congress wake up to Adams’ vision of the future? Will New York’s delegation ever stop abstaining? Can Jefferson pen the Declaration of Independence when he’s so frustrated thinking about his wife (Blythe Danner)? A lot of fun and while obviously not accurate (“The history books will cover it all up.”), it does convey the sense that the Founders were embarking on something astonishing.  “This is a revolution, dammit — we’re going to have to offend someone!”

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One response to “Spider Woman vs the Founding Fathers: movies watched (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Sherlock Holmes, mutants, a Tick and a clever man: movies and TV (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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