The Sad Tragic Fate Of Veronica Lake | National Enquirer

By DICK SIEGEL, NATIONAL ENQUIRER online editor Jan 22, 2015 @ 5:33AM

Femme fatal film icon VERONICA LAKE fell from Hollywood heights to waiting tables in a sleazy women’s only hotel before succumbing to the ravages of alcoholism and mental illness at only age 50.  

Veronica Lake was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1922 as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman. Her father worked for an oil company as a ship employee and died in a tragic oil tanker explosion.

Her ethereal beauty, natural charm coupled with a talent for acting prompted her mother and tubercular step-father to move to Beverly Hills, California, where they enrolled her in the Bliss Hayden School of Acting in Hollywood.

Although Connie had been previously diagnosed as a classic schizophrenic her parents saw acting as a form of treatment for her condition. She soon found work as a bit player in several unremarkable pictures but “Sorority House” director John Farrow (Mia Farrow’s father) saw how her long flowing hair always covered her right eye, creating an hint of allure and mystery. While still a teenager, Farrow introduced her to Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow who promptly changed her name to Veronica Lake.

Veronica’s breakthrough film was “I Wanted Wings” in 1941, a major box office hit. 

She then became Paramount’s top female star toplining such classics as “Sullivan’s Travels”, “This Gun for Hire”, The Glass Key”, “So Proudly We Hail” and “I Married A Witch”.

 “She was a very gifted girl, but shedidn’t believe she was gifted,” director Rene Clair recalled.

Often paired with diminutive star Alan Ladd, the couple made seven films together. At first it was out of necessity as Ladd was just 5 feet five while Lake was 4 feet  11 inch but the pair had undeniable on-screen chemistry  

For a short time during the early 1940s, Veronica was at the height of Hollywood stardom.

During World War Two, the rage for her peek-a-boo bangs became a hazard when women in the defense industry would get their hair caught in machinery. Lake was staged in a publicity picture in which she reacted painfully to her hair getting “caught” in a drill press illustrating her hazardous ‘do. Finally, Lake famously cut her hair and, sadly, her popularity diminished.

By the early 1950’s Lake’s career had hit the skids.

Still battling schizophrenia, and in a state of paranoia, she began drinking heavily. As her mental state deteriorated further, with two failed marriages, Veronica became manic-depressive as her self-destructive addiction to booze pushed her over the edge.

Soon, with no film career and little alimony after an IRS forced bankruptcy, Lake drifted between cheap hotels in New York City. She was arrested several times for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

In 1963, a reporter found her working as a barmaid/waitress while living at the seedy all-women’s $7-a-night Martha Washington Hotel in Manhattan. In the hotel bar, Lake was working under an alias — Connie De Toth (“House of Wax” director Andre DeToth had been her second hubby).

Lake had never revealed her true name to her co-workers nor customers although her boss Joe Rauji at the Colonnade Bar knew who she was.  “She’s a good girl but she’s had a hard time,” he told a reporter.

Lake later toiled at other bars including Greenwich Village’s famed One Fifth getting a steady paycheck and a never ending stream of booze.

The widely circulated news reports of her plight led to some minor TV and film work  but Lake soon made a financial comeback by penning her memoirs.

 With the profits from her best selling tell-all, Lake co-produced and starred in her last film, “Flesh Feast” (1970), a micro-budget horror movie with a Nazi-myth storyline. It bombed.

After another failed marriage and brief sojourn in England, Lake returned home.

She was already “pretty far along” when she was admitted to the Fletcher Allen Hospital in Vermont, doctors said.

Finally, in the early morning hours of July 7, 1973, Veronica Lake died from hepatitis and acute renal failure — seemingly alone and forgotten at the age of 50.

That is, until the news broke, when suddenly EVERYONE remembered. 

March Madness & Movie Mayhem, Day 27 (or, How Ed Wood Isn’t the World’s Worst Director)

 

via Ed Wood: Not Actually The Worst Director in History | Den of Geek

How did Ed Wood get the title of “World’s Worst Director?”  (Then again, we’d also have to ask how William “One Shot” Beaudine was at least the runner-up, even though he was once a highly regarded director.) Of course, we can put most of the blame on the doorstep of the Medveds, who deemed Ed “the worst” with their Golden Turkey tome. I can only imagine that they hadn’t seen very many movies from the period they were in, because NONE of the Dolomite movies made the cut, but Trouble Man did?! Why not just throw Super Fly and Shaft in there too, since we’re complaining about blaxploitation films with kick-ass soundtracks…

Anyhoo, where was I going with this? Oh, that Ed Wood wasn’t the world’s worst director–far from it. I can name at least THREE worse directors off the top of my head: Bill Rebane/Herschell Gordon Lewis (Monster-A-Go-Go/Terror at Half Day); Larry Buchanan (Zontar: The Thing From Venus); Coleman Francis (all three of his films); Doris Wishman (Double Agent 73, Let Me Die a Woman); Ted V. Mikels (The Girl in Gold Boots, The Doll Squad)…the list is literally endless!

I think the problem lies with Ed Wood’s films being better than “so bad they’re good.” There’s something about Wood’s films, even the cringetastic Orgy of the Dead and The Revenge of Dr. X that makes them watchable. You’re not yelling at the screen at the stupidity of the writing. (The CLUNKINESS, maybe, but not the stupidity!)

Anyhoo, take a look around the site and enjoy the Den of Geek!

 

 

March Madness & Movie Mayhem (Day 22!)…Nazisploitation!

Nazisploitation

via Nazi exploitation – Wikipedia

You knew it was coming–there was no way I could talk about Flesh Feast, Hitler, and anti-aging maggots without bringing up #Nazisploitation!

I’d love to think that Flesh Feast (1967, released in 1970) was the first film to explore Nazisploitation, but that would make me forget this…

They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1962)

They Saved Hitler's Brain

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

The Nazty Nuisance

Nazty Nuisance

And of course, You Nazty Spy!

You Nazty Spy 1

Of course, it goes without saying…Stooges did it first! But seriously, Nazisploitation was going on even before the world knew of most of the atrocities Hitler (and the allies, but we’re focusing on Hitler/Nazisploitation now) were committing. The “Throw him in a concentrative camp!” joke Moe makes is odd–people were using black humor as the war was going on to stay sane? Granted, that joke was better than the Stooges’ other war efforts, in particular 1944’s No Dough, Boys and  The Yoke’s On Me. (That one is particularly ugggggggggggg….)

So, IS there a “true” beginning of Nazisploitation, or is it a case of many people having the same idea at roughly the same time? I’m thinking a little of both, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a Poverty Poverty Poverty Row studio out there that somehow managed to beat Columbia to the punch and released a short in 1938!

March Movie Madness & Mayhem, Day 13 (Enquiring Minds Want to Know, So…)

via The Sad Tragic Fate Of Veronica Lake | National Enquirer

As you all know (all 10 of you), Flesh Feast will be the eventual first film of my b-movie blogging career…only about 2 years after I mentioned it the first time. Anywho, who better than that scandal sheet extraordinaire, the National Enquirer, to fill in the blanks about who Miss Lake was. (But for a better version, read her autobiography, Veronica. She’s surprisingly candid, especially for the early 1970s!)

March Madness & Movie Mayhem (Day 12!)

Double Agent 73

via Doris Wishman • Great Director profile • Senses of Cinema

I guess this is Day 12–did I post anything for yesterday (or Saturday? Better check that out…)

Anyhoo, here’s a look at the main reason why I’m even DOING this type of thing, one Doris Wishman. Her movies aren’t just movies…they’re experiences. Take a good look at Deadly Weapons or Double Agent 73, her double feature starring actress Chesty Morgan. They have to be seen to be believed, and you WILL NOT get the soundtracks out of your head. Seriously, I can run through the soundtracks of both films in my head, beat for beat!

How does this relate to Six Degrees of Stoogeration? Come on–there’s got to be a link somewhere! Anyhoo redux, take a look around the site, it’s got plenty of great info, not just about Ms. Wishman, but much, much more!

 

Acidemic – Film: THE BIG CUBE (1969) – Lana Turner and the Unscrupulous Doser

Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception for a better yesterday.

Source: Acidemic – Film: THE BIG CUBE (1969) – Lana Turner and the Unscrupulous Doser

Yet another great review site that is the reason why my epic review of Flesh Feast hasn’t been seen here. I’m still doing buttloads of research into getting it just right! Don’t worry, it’ll be here by 31 December…I didn’t say what year! Go read Acidemic!

Oh, Yeah…About That Whole “All New Six Degrees of Stoogeration Thing…”

…yes, Flesh Feast WILL be the first review, and there will be plenty of information (probably TOO MUCH information) about Floridasploitation, hagsploitation, Nazisploitation, and every other “sploitation” known to man or beast. There’s also stuff about Doris Wishman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Brad Grinter, and every other person that made a second Hollywood in sunny Florida!

DREAMS ARE WHAT LE CINEMA IS FOR…: MOMMIE DEAREST 1981

Source: DREAMS ARE WHAT LE CINEMA IS FOR…: MOMMIE DEAREST 1981

I know, I know…yet another day without the Flesh Feast review. But I have a good excuse! I’ve been bingeing on this new blog I found, and I think I’ve found another (yes, ANOTHER!) influence on how/where/what I want Six Degrees of Stoogeration to be. Ironically, the subject is Joan Crawford, who the Stooges (then known as Ted Healy and His Stooges) shared the screen with in Dancing Lady (1933). The subject is the camp classic Mommie Dearest (1981), which I vaguely remember being in the theatres. At least I remember all the jokes comedians made.

Years later, I saw the film on TV and I didn’t get what the deal was. I knew OF Joan Crawford, and what I knew, didn’t seem that much different than what was on the screen. Faye Dunaway’s performance didn’t seem to warrant the brickbats the Razzie folks were raining upon her. I mean, look at the damn woman in any film past 1950. You can’t NOT imagine that that’s a drag queen. Go ahead, I dare you! I’ve seen Dancing Lady multiple times, and I cannot reconcile the Joan Crawford I see there with the Joan Crawford of 1967’s Berserk! It’s not just age–in fact, age doesn’t even enter into it. Bette Davis aged in Stooge Years ™, yet didn’t quite seem to be the garish whirlwind of WTF?! that Crawford was. Everything seemed so EXAGGERATED. The eyebrows. The hair, oh sweet Jesus THE HAIR! If Elizabeth Taylor could keep her hair dark most of her life, why in the world did Joan, er, Miss Crawford, scald our eyeballs with such monstrosities as that “Old Lady Red” deal she had in Trog (1970)? WHO THOUGHT THAT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?!

Now, what was I talking about? Oh, Mommie Dearest and the fact that it seems more true than not…at least with Miss Crawford’s larger than life personality. Maybe it’s just me, but there was a lot in the film that rang true. Joan did seem like she would say “Don’t f*** with me fellas!”

Let me get back to the subject of this blog–it’s more than your snarky run down of Z movies…it’s that, but it’s more–it’s a personal insight on what makes movies tick for him, it’s essays that “spoil” the movie (which I love), and the comments! Oh, the comments! Such comments I’ve not seen since the olden days of the internet/sitting around with my piano teacher! Knowledgeable folks who’ve often rubbed shoulders with the subject/stars of the film, it’s hard not to get lost in reading the comments and fall down the YouTube/Google hole of finding out more.

I’ve rambled long enough (when I could’ve been writing about Veronica Lake and FloridaNazispoitation!)

Ken Anderson’s http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com! You won’t regret it!