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Lonely Lady, The

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Version
  • TV Version
Release: Nov 28, 2021 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

A rising young actress - Exploited by Hollywood, raped by Ray Liotta with a garden hose

The student Jerilee Randall dreams of becoming a successful writer. After winning an award for one of her works, she meets Walt Thornton, the son of the famous screenwriter Walter Thornton, at a party. Walt invites her to his home together with his friend Joe and his girlfriend Mary. Shortly after their arrival, Joe is annoyed by Jerilee's seemingly arrogant manner and wants to teach her a lesson by raping her with a garden hose. Okay. Short break. At this point, we have to pause for a moment to fully comprehend it. This film is the cinematic debut of Ray Liotta, who plays the role of the grass-smoking Joe who penetrates Jerilee, played by Pia Zadora, with a garden hose. You can't help but stare at the screen in disbelief as this surreal moment passes you by. Wow, just wow.

Back to the film. Since Jerilee's mother sees little hope to fight the lawyers of the rich kids from Beverly Hills, she refrains from pressing charges. Walter Thornton shows up at Jerilee's house to apologize, but they quickly fall in love. The wedding is followed by a harmonious marriage, which gets its first cracks due to Walter's lack of stability. It gets dramatic as Jerilee reworks one of his scripts without consulting Walter, whereupon he gets upset. He also does not miss the glances of other men directed at Jerilee.Anger, jealousy and impotence cause the marriage to fail. After the divorce, Jerilee tries to sell her script. She gets involved with the actor George Ballantine, but he leaves her pregnant. After an abortion, Jerilee meets the club owner Vincent Dacosta, who has good contacts in the film business. Vincent introduces Jerilee to the Italian producer Gino and the actress Carla, but they are also only interested in exploiting Jerilee sexually. After Vincent is caught by Jerilee with other women, she suffers a nervous breakdown. In the clinic, she often gets a visit from her friend, director Guy Jackson, who helps Jerilee through the difficult time. Back on her feet, Jerilee reworks her script and Jackson makes a deal with a producer, but again Jerilee is expected to sleep with the producer's wife. The film is shot eventually and Jerilee wins the Best Screenplay Award. At the awards ceremony, she settles her score with the Hollywood system.

Razzie awards and buried careers instead of stardom - The failure of The Lonely Lady

Not expecting much, I dared to tackle The Lonely Lady and was surprised in many ways. The IMDb rating is surprisingly low, moreover, the film was nominated for 11 golden raspberries and finally won six of them. A record that was broken only years later by Showgirls with 13 nominations. Pia Zadora was nominated as the worst actress of the century, but eventually lost to Madonna and rightly so. But what do the critics know? Let's take a look at the production. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Harold Robbins, who has already written several books about the supposed dream factory Hollywood. The film rights were bought by Universal, but the production didn't get going until Meshulam Riklis, Pia Zadora's husband at the time, joined in. Riklis is a rich businessman who wanted to promote his wife with this film so that she could really take off as an actress. Riklis is said to have contributed several million for the production and another million to get the film into the theaters.

The director was originally supposed to be Matt Cimber, who had already directed Butterfly, also starring Pia Zadora, which was released a year earlier, but he was replaced early on by Peter Sasdy. Sasdy has been involved in several Hammer productions and shot the Lovecraft inspired eco-horror Doomwatch. Let's summarize: A rich businessman pumps a lot of money into a movie to turn his wife, 30 years younger than him, into a successful actress. Despite a solid novel and competent directing, the whole thing went down the drain. The film has put a damper on Pia Zadora's career. In the following years, she only appeared in smaller productions or in supporting roles.

So what led to the failure of the film? Pia Zadora looks good, but can carry the complex figure of Jerilee in only a few scenes. Too often does she look like a blonde doll and not like an injured woman exploited by the system. Furthermore, an involuntary comedy runs through the whole film. A rough cut version is said to have caused so much unwanted laughter among the test audience that Universal cut the involuntary comic scenes from the film. When only 45 minutes remained, the material had to be forcibly reintegrated into the film. Well, where to start with the film. There are scenes like the rape with the garden hose. In itself a bad thing, but when Ray Liotta reaches for the yellow-green watering device, it is hard to keep up the drama of the scene. Another famous moment follows when Walter separates from Jerilee. He insinuates that he cannot satisfy her sexually (well recognized, Walter), grabs the garden hose on the ground and accuses her of preferring it. This moment is pure gold.

Where does the involuntary comedy continue? Maybe with the cheesy scene in which Jerilee starts a fight with Vincent. The two of them go shopping, are super in love and have a lot of fun together, be it eating ice cream or cooking. A few minutes later, we see Vincent pulling coke through his nose and having fun with naked women in his office. From Paul to Saul. Such moments are often seen in the film. Serious topics such as the class difference between the better-off people from Beverly Hills are addressed, but either not further developed or any drama is lost in exploitative scenes. So Jerilee returns to him after being humiliated by Vincent. Instead of discussing Jerilee's injury further, a sex montage follows in which Jerilee and Vincent fuck each other around the house including Jerilee naked on the pool table and Vincent trying to "score". Then there is Jerilee having a nervous breakdown. Totally confused, she ravages her apartment with dishevelled hair in search of pills and finally goes completely crazy when heads fly out of the typewriter towards her. This is really only a small selection of the weird moments. There are many more, be it Walter's inability to satisfy his wife or George who mutates from a dear actor to a sex pig who leaves her pregnant. And then there is Jerilee's acceptance speech at the award ceremony including the sentence "I'm the only one who's had to fuck her way to the top?"

Unfortunately, it has to be said that the dubious practices of influential Hollywood moguls, who have built a system in which women are sexually exploited, did not spring from the imagination of a hack, if you think of the Weinstein scandal and the resulting #MeToo movement. From this point of view, it was a film that was ahead of its time.

Two versions of The Lonely Lady on the Shout Factory Blu-ray

On June 13, 2017, the film was released on Blu-ray by Shout Factory. In addition to the theatrical version, the bonus material includes a TV version, which offers many new scenes and alternative material in addition to some cuts. In general, it can be said that all nude scenes were removed or replaced by more harmless alternative material. At one point, the cropping was adjusted accordingly to cover Pia Zadora's breasts.

The new plot scenes consist mainly of mostly uninteresting filler material. Interesting is a scene where Jackson appears at the wedding of Jerilee and Walter. A scene in which Jerilee meets her old boyfriend Bernie, who already has a wife and child, is irrelevant. Grandiose is the extended music montage in which Jerilee and Vincent cook together and discover their mutual love. The whole thing is cut together super-kitschy and drips with corniness, so that even the Greasy Strangler can't handle it. Jerilee's nervous breakdown is much longer in the TV version and was probably cut short for the theatrical version for runtime reasons. For the viewer, this means more flying heads on the typewriter.

Unfortunately, many of the really good scenes for the TV version had to give way. You can't see anything of the converted garden hose, moreover, the whole filthy scenes have been significantly softened. In the finale, Jerilee is not allowed to say anything about women who slept their way to the top, but only about women who sold their body and soul. My advice: If you don't know the film yet, you should start with the theatrical version and in case of a second viewing, go for the TV version.

Finally an amusing faux pas with the English subtitles.

The directing legend Cecil B. DeMille became "Cecil be the male".

As a final comment, I would like to mention that The lonely Lady is a really good "so good, it's bad" insider tip. The Shout Factory Blu-ray offers a very good picture quality and even has an interview with star Pia Zadora as a bonus. I can only advise fans of such genre gems to buy it.

Picture comparison:

Theatrical version:

TV version:

Runtimes:

Theatrical version: 91:35 Min.
TV version: 96:08 min.

The theatrical version was compared with the TV version. Both are included on the US Blu-ray of Shout Factory.

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[00:00:19][00:00:18]

Directly after the Universal logo, the TV version shows new opening credits. While the excerpts of a drawing showing a film production are shown, the titles are faded in.



The theatrical version shows the title insertion during the following scenes of the film premiere.

TV: 1:43 min.


[00:02:40][00:04:20]

When Jerilee Randall is called, the TV version shows her being happy and hugging her mother.



TV: 5 sec.


[00:04:07][00:05:52]

There is no crossfade to the next scene in the TV version.



Theatrical Version: 1 sec.


[00:05:31][00:07:14]

After Jerilee says that she got the prize for something she wrote, you can see her standing with Walt for a while and the two of them wanting to get something to eat.






[00:05:40][00:07:29]

The TV version is missing a scene showing Joe consuming marijuana. Martin comes to him and says that he should take it easy.

Martin: "Take it easy on the weed, Joe. His parents really get uptight."
Girl: "Hey Martin. Come meet the cuties."



Theatrical Version: 9 sec.


[00:06:13][00:07:53]

Some dialogue between Jerilee, Bernie and Walt is missing in the TV version.

Jerilee: "Uh, Walt's father is Walter Thornton."
Bernie: "I promised your mother."
Walt: "Would you like to meet him?"



Theatrical Version: 9 sec.


[00:06:27][00:07:58]

A shot starts a little earlier.

Walt holds the hot dog under Jerilee's nose. She now has to decide between Walt, Bernie and the hot dog.



6 sec.


[00:06:47][00:08:23]

The TV version changes the scene where Joe meets Jerilee to avoid the word "penis".

Theatrical Version:

Walt: "Joe. Jerilee Randall. Jerilee, do you know Joe Heron?"
Jerilee: "Were you at the barbecue?"
Joe: "What is that?"
Jerilee: "I won it."
Joe: "Oh, looks like a penis."
Walt: "Joke, joke. He's always joking. Come on, Jerilee, come on. Let's go. Get in the car."



TV:

Walt: "Joe. That's Jerilee Randall. You know Joe Heron?"
Jerilee: "You were sitting by the barbecue."
Joe: "What is that?"
Jerilee: "I won it."
Joe: "pretty impressive statue."
Walt: "It's a joke. It's a joke. Come on. In the car. In the car everybody."



Theatrical Version: 27 sec.
TV: 26 sec.


[00:08:01][00:09:37]

Joe uncovers Mary's breast and starts to lick it. A cut on Jerilee follows.



Theatrical Version: 12 sec.


[00:08:18][00:09:42]

Joe and Mary can be seen earlier.



Theatrical Version: 2 sec.


[00:08:50][00:10:12]

The scene goes a little longer. Mary takes her braces out of her hair.



Theatrical Version: 1 sec.


[00:09:11][00:10:32]

After Joe said that Valley Girls are there to please, the TV version shows Walt looking back.



TV: 4 sec.


[00:09:21][00:10:45]

Walt looks back. Mary is going down on Joe.



Theatrical Version: 16 sec.


[00:09:49][00:10:57]

There is no shot that shows Joe being orally satisfied by Mary.



Theatrical Version: 4 sec.


[00:12:24][00:13:25]

Alternative shot of Joe holding Jerilee.

Theatrical Version:

Joe: "Shut up! I'll teach you to be more friendly, now!"



TV:

Joe: "I'll teach you to be more friendly, now!"



The "Shut up" could already be heard in the previous shot.

Theatrical Version: 1 sec.
TV: 1 sec.


[00:12:26][00:13:28]

In the theatrical version, you see Joe ripping Jerilee's blouse and slapping her in the face.



The TV version shows an alternative shot of Jerilee instead.



Theatrical Version: 5 sec.
TV: 1 sec.


[00:12:42][00:13:40]

The TV version lacks the very tasteful scene in which Jerilee is raped by Joe with a garden hose.

Joe: "Shut up! I'm gonna show you something special. I'm gonna give you something special. Come here!".
Jerilee: "No, no, no, no, no... No!"
Joe: "Yes!"
Jerilee: "No, no, no, no..."
Joe: "Yes!"
Jerilee: "Oh, stop it!"



The TV version only shows Joe briefly instead.

Joe: "Shut up!"



Theatrical Version: 30 sec.
TV: 1 sec.


[00:19:59][00:20:29]

Before Walter and Jerilee can be seen in the park, you can see them getting out of the car and walking to the park.



TV: 12 sec.

[00:20:11][00:20:53]

In another shot, you see them walking through the park, passing a couple of lovers.



TV: 7 sec.


[00:20:42][00:21:30]

Jerilee can be seen a little longer, then Walter earlier.



TV: 3 sec.
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