|BAYOU (POOR WHITE TRASH) (director: Harold Daniels; screenwriter: story by Edward I. Fessler/Edward I. Fessler; cinematographers: Ted & Vincent Saizis; editor: Maurice Wright; music: Gerald Fried; cast: Peter Graves (Martin Davis), Lita Milan (Marie Hebert), Douglas Fowley (Emil Herbert/Jim Tallant), Tim Carey (Ulysses), Jonathan Haze (Bos), Edwin Nelson (Etienne), Eugene Sonfeld (Jean Titho), (); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: M. A. Ripps; United Artists; 1957)|
by Dennis Schwartz
black and white low-budget folksy melodrama, shot on
location in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.
It was unexceptionally directed by
actor-turned-director Harold Daniels ("Roadblock"/"House
of the Black Death"/"Sword of
Venus"). Writer Edward I.
Fessler bases the screenplay on his story.
It proves to be a weak coming-of-age story, that
infers you better fight to get what you want.
ambitious easterner, the 28-year-old bachelor
architect, Martin Davis (Peter Graves), submits a
design for the new civic center in New Orleans and the
local construction boss, Jim Tallant (Douglas
Fowley), invites him to visit to see if he
will win the contract competition from the city
commissioner. While Martin is at a local carnival in
Cajun country, he helps the sexy 17-year-old Cajun
crabber Marie Hebert (Lita Milan)
get back the money stolen from her by a woman thief.
takes care of her elderly impoverished widowed
alcoholic dad, Emil Hebert (Douglas
Fowley, in a double role), and lives
with him in abject poverty in a rundown shack on the
local storekeeper is the vile Ulysses (Tim
Carey), who lusts after Marie. After she rebuffs his
crude sexual advances, he sees her with the Yankee and
who befriends nice guy Martin, urges him to sell his
abilities to the commissioner in order to get the
political handout contract. He warns Martin if he
doesn't fight to get the contract, he won't get it. To
get his juices flowing, Tallant enters the former
Cornell rower in the local pirogue race
(primitive canoes). But Ulysses beats him when he cuts
Martin off before the finish line.
stays in the area to court Marie. When a hurricane
hits, her father perishes in it. At his funeral both
Martin and Ulysses want to marry the under-aged Marie.
Forced into fighting with the repulsive bully,
Ulysses, Martin wins both the fight and the girl.
slight story, more timid than bold, preaches for us to
stand up for our rights, but does so in a superficial
and unconvincing way.
REVIEWED ON 7/12/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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