I find reading other blogs very enjoyable, and above all I like discovering new stuff - unfamiliar books, films, and trivia in particular - from them. I'd never heard of the 1968 film Pretty Poison, until I read an enthusiastic review on one of my favourite sites, John Norris's Pretty Sinister Books. I suggest reading John's review after watching the film, if you can, because his analysis covers the later part of the film as well as the set-up.
That set-up is fascinating. Anthony Perkins plays Dennis Pitt, a youthful arsonist just released from the institution where he has been a patient for some years,since killing an aunt in a fire he started. Dennis becomes entranced by Sue Anne, a stunning girl who turns out to be only 17, and appears to be the picture of innocence. Dennis is a fantasist, and he tells Sue Anne that he is an agent for the CIA. She appears to fall under his spell...
I love stories about fantasists -examples that spring to mind include several of Ruth Rendell's finest novels, and that wonderful novel and film Billy Liar - and this is why I created Guy, the protagonist of The Arsenic Labyrinth. What is especially interesting about Pretty Poison is the dynamic of the relationship between Dennis and Sue Anne. It doesn't develop in the way you might expect.
Sue Anne is played by Tuesday Weld. I've always rather assumed that she was really someone who was famous for being famous (and for being, for a short time, the wife of Dudley Moore) and I didn't realise what a charismatic performer she is. She is terrific in Pretty Poison, and although the film falters slightly towards the end, overall it's quirky and highly entertaining. Unsuccessful on its original release, it's become something of a cult classic, and I'm not surprised.