Pretty Poison Review | Film | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Pretty Poison Review 

Thursday, Apr 5 2012
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The revival of a new 35 mm print of Noel Black's Pretty Poison at Cinefamily should get extra creepy-realness points for the fact that the button-down oxford/proto-hoodie combos and cute, patterned dresses worn by stars Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, respectively, likely will bear a disconcerting resemblance to the clothes worn by a couple sitting near you.

In this 1968 rediscovery, Perkins plays a young man newly released from a juvenile detention facility, who crosses paths with Weld's small-town honor student. Their immediate chemistry combusts into nothing but trouble, young love twisting toward folie à deux madness, and murder. The filmmakers seem aware of the previous year's Bonnie and Clyde — the couple rendezvous in a movie theater showing a period gangster shoot-out — as if Black and screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. are playing with that film's nostalgic idealization of hip, us-against-the-world lovers in Pretty Poison's present tense.

Director Black made his feature debut with the film — he would go on to work mostly in television, though he did also make the Phoebe Cates/Matthew Modine '80s sex comedy, Private School — and here he keeps the mood teasingly opaque, a touch strange. Perkins does a variation on his nervy über-normal routine, but it's Weld who really drives the film along, her quicksilver intelligence catching off-guard people who more immediately respond to her astonishingly beautiful face and figure. Between the two of them, exactly who is pushing whom turns over more than once — in modern parlance, they're enabling one another.

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PRETTY POISON | April 6-12 | Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre | cinefamily.org

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