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Joan Crawford's Last Horror Film Effort
on 10 September 2012
Trog", the last film in the illustrous career of film legend Joan Crawford has gone done into cinematic history as one of the biggest and most embarrassing "monster", movies ever to be conceived. Joan Crawford of course nowadays is sadly fair game for any type of attack and "Trog", is a favourite target by her many detractors. Harsh summaries of it run to the fact that Crawford was supposedly drunk all the way through production, that it had one of the lowest budgets of any horror film made in England and that it made Crawford totally unemployable after its release thus becoming the sad final note in a brilliant career. Certainly no masterpiece, "Trog", despite some laughable moments is far from the worst horror film ever made and for Joan Crawford's as always totally committed performance despite the material she has to work with, alone is worth seeing. It marked the second time in two years that movie offers from producer Herman Cohen had brought Joan Crawford to England for filming, (Berserk! in 1968 being the other), and she fitted in excellently with the often gifted British performers, like Michael Gough, Diana Dors and Robert Hardy who supported her in these productions. Despite comments to the contrary Joan Crawford is well and truly in control of her character in this little horror effort and certainly makes "Trog", far more entertaining viewing than it probably deserves to be considering its budget.
"B" movie nonsense perhaps but there are far worse stories that have been turned into horror stories. "Trog", despite being such a small production boasts very worthy credits in direction by skilled Hammer horror veteran Freddie Francis and a writing team that includes Peter Bryan and John Gilling who was also a most capable director of horror with the celebrated "Plague of the Zombies", to his credit. "Trog", certainly has a number of laughable moments in particular the doctor's absurb "orientation" program involving Trog playing with wind up dolls and the long flashback sequence where through the wonders of technology Trog can see back to the dinosaur age. No reason is ever given for why these experiements on Trog are such breakthrough measures and especially funny is when all the world wide "experts" gather and marvel about Trog's progress and uttering of one word "blue". That aside the film is an enjoyable horror effort. Actor Joe Cornelius who played Trog had an original and interesting monster garb and Joan Crawford brings a seriousness and determination to her role as the crusading doctor that belies the films "B" story. Certainly it is not "Mildred Pierce", or even "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", but it is not a total disgrace either. Crawford's last scene in the movie which of course became her last moments on the cinematic screen after a 50 year career sees her walking away sadly from the camera into the distance and I feel that is in some ways a fitting end to a brilliant Hollywood career.
Laughed at by the critics and now a "cult" favourite with those that like camp movies "Trog", is worth a look. No great cinema art it has a basic story that depite some absurd moments is quite interesting and even with it's low budget like alot of "B" efforts still manages to have an outward polish to it that makes it fun to watch. As the last film in Joan Crawford's career it has it's own curiosity value and no collection of her work is complete without this infamous little horror effort. Enjoy!