Anybody who thinks Hollywoodites are normal persons like the folks next door should meet Timothy Carey, the strangest, wildest actor of them all.
Carey played the role of the creepy killer in last year’s “The Killing,” one of the best whodunits of many a season. In person he is creepier and makes Marlon Brando and Jack Palance look proper as Sunday school teachers.
A Mobile, Ala., theater man [M.A. Ripps] who saw the picture got so excited over Tim that he produced his first movie, “Bayou,” in order to star the 24-year old [more like 27] Carey. Tim gets special billing in his next picture, “Paths of Glory,” starring Kirk Douglas.
But before this success were years of troubles, apparently because of his inhibited [sic – this must be a typo, surely they meant “uninhibited”] behavior.
– Aline Mosby, “Carey Is Strangest, Wildest Actor”; newspaper column, March 7, 1957
So, I highly suggest we all fire up our DVRs and catch this rare gem! Many thanks to our friend Richard Harland Smith for the tip o’the hat to the blog at the end of his great article linked to above! PS: The 1961 version (still called Bayou, though) is still available from j4hi.com.
STECKLER: So I went to Long Beach to shoot this movie [The World’s Greatest Sinner] with 200 extras smashing up the Coliseum; it was wild, and we did some crazy things. (If you ever get to see the movie, you’ll see.) But it was not a great movie by any means. Timothy Carey had some great ideas but he lacked technique; he didn’t know how to put them together. But it was good experience, because I met other people and worked in the business from that point on.
He got the money from Mike Ripps, who had made Poor White Trash. Very successful film! Mike took a movie that nobody wanted, added 3 minutes of a girl running through a swamp semi-nude, and called it Poor White Trash. Three weeks later he released it and the theaters were packed! It just goes to show that if you have an idea, you can still pull it off.
BOYD: What was the movie originally called?
STECKLER: The Bayou [sic]. The leading actor was Peter Graves from Mission Impossible; Carey was in it, too. After Ripps renamed it Poor White Trash, for years it was like the Deep Throat of horror movies [ed. note: It’s not a horror movie, though…]! So Tim got the money to make his one and only movie – never could put another one together after that.
Our pic for today is from Bayou (1957), directed by Harold Daniels, re-released with added sensationalist footage to the Southern drive-in audience as Poor White Trash by producer M.A. Ripps in 1961. I absolutely could not resist posting this shot of Tim. It is, to me, the very definition of swagger.
Call this one “the Ulysses strut.” Until this film enjoys a long-overdue official DVD release, cop yourself a copy here.
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!)