Let’s close out the week with another look at Ulysses, the “ragin’ Cajun” of Harold Daniels‘ Bayou (1957). Here he confers with Emil Hebert (Douglas Fowley) and his sidekick Bos (Jonathan Haze). This screenshot captures one of the more amusing of the myriad facial expressions that flit across Ulysses’ face in the space of about a minute and a half.
Haze appears in the delightful new documentary That Guy Dick Miller (2014), which has just been released on DVD and which I strongly urge you to add to your collection!
Today’s pic takes another look at Ulysses, the hot-tempered Cajun of Harold Daniels‘ Bayou (1957) (re-edited and re-released as Poor White Trash in 1961). Here we see him bullying hapless booze hound Emil Hebert (Douglas Fowley), father of the woman Ulysses covets, by stealing his much-loved watch.
Fowley, a native of the Bronx, was a dependable and always entertaining character actor in films and on television for nearly fifty years. He was hilarious as the put-upon silent film director having extreme difficulty making the transition to sound in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Married seven times, he was the father of legendary rock impresario Kim Fowley.
Another one from the archives! This is Timothy and Peter Graves‘ big fight scene at the end of Bayou (1957), aka Poor White Trash, directed by Harold Daniels. The entire film has been building up to this, and it’s worth the wait.
“Somewhere around there I was kicked out of six films in a row. Then I did BAYOU and they wanted me to play the heavy, so I went down to Louisiana and played a Cajun, Ulysses. ‘What I want I gonna get and no dirty Yonkee from swell country is gonna take it away from me!’ Peter Graves takes away my woman and we have a big fight scene in the cemetery and I fall on an axe.” Carey’s Cajun bully was memorable (other characters refer to him as a shark and a snake), but his standout bit was doing an incredible uninhibited dance to accordion music. He hops in the air, does rubberleg moves, caresses himself and scratches like he has fleas, while a storm brews. The Ulysses dance is so good that it’s edited in several times. BAYOU was made at about the same time as Roger Corman‘s SWAMP WOMAN. Both featured Corman regulars Jonathan Haze and Ed Nelson. BAYOU was directed by Harold Daniels who had co-directed the famous roadshow hit, THE PRINCE OF PEACE with William Beaudine.
Carey was certainly attracting the right kinds of people with such skewed antics. In 1956, Stanley Kubrick gave Carey the role of racist horse-killer Nikki Arane in The Killing and the court-martialled French private Ferol in Paths Of Glory (1957). They remain two of the most powerful, sinister and haunted performances in all of Kubrick’s films.
Yet, it’s once we stray off the path of conventional film-making and into the murky world of the B-movie that Carey’s true genius reveals itself. Alongside junk cinema king Peter Graves, Tim Carey appeared in Harold Daniels‘ Poor White Trash (1961) [ed. note: originally released as Bayou in 1957] as Ulysses, a mean-eyed Cajun loon. The film’s highlights include Carey performing the most disturbing inbred zydeco dance ever committed to celluloid, then attacking Graves with a very big axe. […]
Edit – 30 September 2002
We received this additional info on Carey from his second cousin once removed. Thanks Susan!
“My Dad remembers playing with Tim in Brooklyn as a kid… he said he was a funny guy way before he headed to California… used to go out in the street with a flute and play it while directing traffic. They also used to mess around with a dumbwaiter hoisting each other up and down.”
Today’s pic captures the hot-headed Cajun Ulysses, the most colorful denizen of Harold Daniels‘ swamp melodrama Bayou (1957), as he goes into his infamous dance. This screen cap catches the beginning of that amazing moment when he unbuttons and strips off his shirt while simultaneously twirling a distressed Marie (Lita Milan) around by her hair.
Timothy enjoyed doing the dance during publicity tours for the film. “In New Haven, they put me on the stage to help whip up some interest in Bayou. They hollered when I did the dance,” he told columnist George Murray in 1958. Murray continued, “Carey admits the picture’s producers censored parts of his dance. He says modestly: ‘It out-Elvises Elvis.'”
Watching Timothy having a crazy good time in a little tiny boat is wonderful, but watching the fellows in the background is even more fun. They are clearly enjoying the spectacle of this nutty guy from Hollywood going off the rails.
Previously unbeknownst to us, Romeo Carey, upon his first visit to the [Dead Flowers] exhibition in Philadelphia, revealed the origin of one of Timothy Carey’s signature “dances,” first devised for the camera in Bayou (1957, directed by Harold Daniels, re-released in 1961 as Poor White Trash), and revisited in other noteworthy Carey performances such as Beach Blanket Bingo (1965, William Asher) and The World’s Greatest Sinner. Arriving in New Orleans to shoot Poor White Trash, Carey apparently asked a cab driver for a recommendation as to where he might learn a distinctive Cajun dance. He was promptly driven to Leon Prima‘s 500 Club on Bourbon Street, where he witnessed The Cat Girl [Lilly Christine], considered the most publicized Burlesque performer of her time, and rendered the experience into one of his most characteristically eccentric performances.
– Lia Gangitano, “Afterword and Acknowledgements,” from Dead Flowers (Participant Press/VoxPopuli, 2011)
EDITOR’S NOTE 05/08/13: Account has been deleted. Sorry about that folks!
Our video this week is another version of Ulysses shaking what his mother gave him in Harold Daniels‘ Bayou (1957) (aka Poor WhiteTrash). This has been uploaded several times on YouTube, and this is probably the best-quality version so far. Sure I’ve posted the dance before, but it’s so awesome, it deserves repeated viewings.
Several of Ulysses’ moves ended up in God Hilliard’s dance catalog in The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). Oh my goodness gracious me…
It’s time for yet another look at Bayou (aka Poor White Trash) (1957), directed by Harold Daniels and starring Peter Graves, Lita Milan, “and presenting Tim Carey” (as the movie poster says)! Ulysses and his sidekick Bos (Jonathan Haze) are talking about the impending storm and something crazy Ulysses saw during the last storm, if I’m not mistaken.
Timothy always did well when paired with slighter-statured actors to play off of Mutt-and-Jeff style, and Haze was one of the best. He endeared himself to legions of cult film fans everywhere as the hapless Seymour of Roger Corman‘s The Little Shop of Horrors (1960); he and Corman made many a film together. In his later years he became the head of a company that produced commercials.