Quote of the Week

The real conflict, however, comes in the form of a Southern Fried übermensch named Ulysses (the eternally awe-inspiring Timothy Carey), local business owner and oil slick brute who has the screaming hots for Marie. The feeling is less than mutual with Marie prefering “dirt” over Ulysses, but he’s a man with an epic case of bullheadedness. […]

When BAYOU was first released by United Artists, as a B-picture on double-bills with self-produced features like TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR, it did not do that well – despite a young and attractive cast, handsome monochrome photography by Alabama-born brothers Vincent and Ted Saizis, some nicely authentic Southern Louisiana locales and a heart-stopping dance sequence by Timothy Carey, who makes Elvis Presley at his most manic seem like a Carmelite nun. It died a quite box office death. […]

And then approaching the stage like a hep cat Zeus meets Godzilla, is Ulysses, his arms up in the air looking like a resplendent rock and roll vision in a generic zydeco world.

He then quickly grabs Marie by her long hair and starts swinging her around, while Martin stands by a tree smoking. In an amazing move of deftness, Ulysses manages to unbutton his shirt while swinging around the unhappy-looking Marie, even switching arms. She manages to finally get free, leaving him to fully unleash the epic “Cajun dance” that entails a lot of manic hip thrusts, self-caressing and knee-knocking wildness.

The cuts of this sequence differ in both versions, for better and worse. In BAYOU, after Marie gets free, she runs over to check on Emil, then Martin (1:07:17). Carey’s dance is also (sadly) shorter. In POOR WHITE TRASH, the whole scene with Emil is cut out, making it look like Marie immediately checks on Martin after getting free from the Southern Psychotic Reaction Elvis. Also in PWT, they have looped some of the Cajun dance sequence, making it seem longer than it really was. This is not a bad thing, since I could watch an eight-hour cut of Carey frugging away. […]

Having a milquetoast hero doesn’t help, but there is enough artistry and good performances, courtesy of [Lita] Milan and [Douglas] Fowley, and an absolutely volcanic turn by Timothy Carey.

Now let’s all go crack hickory nuts and shimmy!

Heather Drain, “How’s Bayou? A Look at the Original Poor White Trash”; Video Watchdog No. 166 (Jan/Feb 2012)


Video of the Week: “Bayou” fight scene

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.

Also appearing are Lita Milan and Jonathan Haze. Enjoy!

Pic of the Day: “Bayou” revisited

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.'”

Pics of the Day: “Bayou” promos

It’s two-for-the-price-of-one day here at the blog! Today we’re posting some promotional material from Bayou (1957), “presenting Tim Carey”. The first is a still featuring Tim facing down Peter Graves, while Lita Milan glares up at Tim (hope the poor girl didn’t get a crick in her neck). I hadn’t seen this one before; you can’t see Tim’s face too well, but he’s obviously meant to look menacing and all. The second is a Spanish-language version of the film’s poster. The title translates to The Goddess of the Swamp.

Bayou still

Spanish poster for Bayou

As always, don’t forget to click to embiggen!

Pic of the Day: “Bayou” revisited

Our pic for today finds Timothy romancing fellow Brooklynite Lita Milan in Bayou (1957). Ulysses is about to dangle a sparkly fleur-de-lys necklace in front of Marie in an attempt to win her love, but she is having none of it.

Milan was a talented beauty who broke many hearts in Hollywood, including, by all accounts, those belonging to Ralph Meeker, Steve McQueen, Kirk Douglas and Paul Newman. She ended up marrying Rafael “Ramfis” Leonidas Trujillo Martinez Jr., son of the Dominican dictator, in 1960 after a stormy two-year relationship. She bore him two sons and became his widow in 1969, when he died from a post-auto accident bout of pneumonia.

Pic of the Day: “Bayou” revisited

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.

Video of the Week: “Bayou/Poor White Trash”

This week’s video presents the final showdown between Timothy and Peter Graves in Bayou (1957), re-edited and re-released in 1961 as Poor White Trash. Ulysses has come to take Marie (Lita Milan) away, and no sugar-talking dirty punk Yankee city fella from swell country is going to stop him!

This scene really could have benefited from the classic Star Trek fight scene music, I think. The following year, Tim would duke it out on the small screen with Graves’ brother, James Arness, on Gunsmoke.

Pic of the Day: “Bayou” revisited

Today’s pic is another from Bayou (1957), directed by Harold Daniels and filmed on location in the swamps of Louisiana. Ulysses is preparing to do battle with Martin (Peter Graves) for the hand of Marie (Lita Milan), who doesn’t want him but that makes no never-mind to Ulysses. “I can have any girl in the bayou I want, and I want her,” he declares. “And what I want, I take! And no dirty Yankee from swell country is gonna stop me!”

Tim looks like a matinee idol from the 1920s in this shot. My goodness, I think I’m getting the vapors… *fans self* The short bearded fellow behind him is the great Jonathan Haze, one of Roger Corman‘s favorite featured players and the star of The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). “FEED ME, SEYMOUR!”

Pic of the Day: “Bayou”

Today’s pic is a lobby card from Bayou (1957), which was recut by producer M.A.Ripps in 1961 and released to the Southern drive-in circuit as Poor White Trash, where it made a fortune. Tim is Ulysses, a Cajun shopkeeper with some jealousy issues.

Ulysses proved to be Tim’s meatiest role to date. There is something of the primal primate in him. He is big, mean, confused, sullen and belligerent. His thick Cajun accent has a touch of Brooklynese about it. He desires pretty Marie Hebert (fellow Brooklynite Lita Milan), but she finds him repulsive and wants nothing to do with him. He hates Martin Davis (Peter Graves), the “dirty Yonkee from swell country” that Marie prefers to him, with a purple passion. He seems overwhelmed by pent-up emotions that threaten to destroy him. This gives a sympathetic edge to a character that so easily could have been reduced to a garden variety “bad guy” in the hands of a lesser actor.

“And Presenting Tim Carey,” indeed! Here is yet another of Tim’s films that is long overdue for an official DVD release. In the meantime, get yourself an unofficial copy right here (they also have Speedtrap!)