Salome on the silver screen


Salome Where She DancedI wrote yesterday about Salome, an Arizona Outback town that we’ll pass through on our transcontinental bicycle journey this fall, and how it got its curious name.
What I didn’t know then was that the barefoot dance on the hot sand of the Sonoran Desert by Grace Salome Pratt apparently inspired a 1945 B-movie, Salome, Where She Danced, which launched the career of Yvonne de Carlo.
De Carlo went on to star in the 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, as the wife of Moses opposite Charlton Heston. But she’s probably best known as Lily Munster, the vampirish mother in the 1960s TV series The Munsters.
I’ve not seen the film Salome, Where She Danced, but I don’t believe I’ll rush over to Blockbuster to find it. Craig Butler, a reviewer for the online film database allmovie.com, called it “an unintentional laughfest,” “an amazingly bad movie” and a “hopeless mess.” But he did concede that this “glorious misfire” is a “treat for cult movie fans.”
Lily MunsterSandra Brennan, in a plot synopsis of the film for allmovie.com, also picked up on its cult campiness.
“This campy little drama launched the career of B-girl Yvonne De Carlo,” Brennan wrote. “It is set during the Franco-Prussian war and chronicles the exploits of Salome, a beautiful Viennese dancer who falls for an American reporter and for him gets involved in cloak-and-dagger activities involving Bismarck, before returning to Arizona with him.
Ten Commandments“There, she uses her talent and abundant charms to inspire the lawless residents of his hometown to reform. They in turn, name the town after her. She then goes to San Francisco where she seduces and marries a wealthy Russian who builds her an opera house and gives her the happy life she had always craved.”
Dick Wick Hall’s catchy slogan for his town — “Salome: Where she danced” — apparently was just the thing to titillate a producer of B-movies.

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1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America

One response to “Salome on the silver screen

  1. Ben P.

    Nice posting…..quite a diversion from bicycling. Maybe you should start reviewing cult and B-grade films.

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