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Debra Paget, For Example2015

  • 3.6
Debra Paget was a contract player for 20th-Century Fox, whom they groomed and coached for stardom. But she never quite caught on. Maybe the movies weren't interesting enough. Or maybe she didn’t stand out from the rest of the pack. Or the studio didn’t take enough care in shaping her image. She had a ten-year run during the 50s as an above-the-title star. But left it all at the age of 29, never to return to the screen. A reconsideration of her career and the fetishistic aftershock of some of her films. Even the memory and essence of minor stars can affect people’s lives.

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"...her story is uniquely hers, the woman who almost landed Elvis Presley as a husband and awakened generations of pubescent boys to the wonders of the female sex..." - Kevin B. Lee, Keyframe

3 members like this review

Good info.. unknown details I enjoyed!

top reviewer

Member Reviews (19)

top reviewer

honestly pretty pointless. i thought it would give some insight into the studio system but there was nothing even the most casual of fans wouldn't already know. but if you want to see a boring actress in a montage of artlessly directed scenes from extremely racist and misogynistic old movies presented without comment or deconstruction this might be for you.

4 members like this review
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Good info.. unknown details I enjoyed!

3 members like this review
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You may not remember the name, but you will certainly recognize the face if you are an aficionado of the golden age of Hollywood (especially the Biblical epics of the 50s).

Debra Paget began at the tender age of 14 playing the girlfriend of a mobster. After a few teen-age girl parts, she was typecast as the exotic-looking woman. Her remaining roles included: Indian, Hawaiian Princess, Slave Girl and belly dancer. She retired at age 29 and lived a much more private life for the next few decades.

This biopic has some interesting moments and gives some insight into the studio system during the 40s and 50s, but seems to loose focus and wander away from the main character at times. My main contention with the construction of the film is the commentary (not from Debra Paget but by an actress). This detail is not mentioned until the credits roll. Are these comments, quotes from Debra Paget, or thoughts from the director? No information is offered.

A quick Google search reveals that Debra Paget married Ling C. Kung - a Chinese-American oil executive in 1962. This third marriage produced a son, Gregory (Kung Teh-chi) (Kong Deji), but ended in divorce in 1980.

In 1987, the Motion Picture and Television Fund presented Paget with its Golden Boot Award, which is awarded to those actors, writers, directors, and stunt crew who "have contributed so much to the development and preservation of the western tradition in film and television."

Debra Paget became a Christian in later life and hosted a show featuring her faith on TBN in the early 1990's titled: An Interlude with Debra Paget.

1 member likes this review

In this movie Rappaport asks, what about kitsch? Isn't it sometimes as meaningful to us as great art? It's funny he asks this in one of his own lesser movies--by which I don't mean anything bad. Some Rappaport movies connect to a world-historical moment: Rock Hudson's Home Movies, Sergei/Sir Gay. And then he has these other, lesser, but still worthwhile film essays. In fact his entire oeuvre is sort of minor, but again, not in a bad way. Like the parentheses he likes to build in to his movies, films like Debra Piaget or The Double Life of Paul Henreid are beguiling divagations.

TL;DR Mark Rappaport is a national treasure, precisely because he makes these small movies.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

no interest

I Like it..

it's nice to know more about this talented attractive performer, but this film is a bit of a mess: Jumping around in time, switching gears to profile other actors unnecessarily, or stopping to define "kitsch". They show thematic clips without identification. They state that contract players rarely get famous then proceed to list many famous ones; they state that her contract studio 20th Century Fox decided to make all films in widescreen, then almost immediately show non-widescreen clips: Was she loaned to another studio? Did Fox execs change their minds. Is this an earlier film? They switch to asides with an annoying parenthesis over the image. And the monotone narration seems amateurish and, as others have noted, a voice that is speaking for Ms Paget is not identified otherwise.

Good story line. Interesting take on contract players of Hollywood studios. Would have liked more information on Ms. Paget's life after she left the business.

On the insipid side. On the one hand, the film keeps saying that specific details aren't known -- even when there's a lot of significant context that could be explored.

A good documentary around an actress I did not know and who apparently did not participate in the making of this film. A good film about the actress and also about the period in which she was working. I loved all the sublimated sexuality oozing from all those crazy dance scenes in films set in far places where women dress half naked and wear lots if transparent veils. The films gives us an understanding of the challenges faced by beautiful, young, talented actresses who become pigeon holed and held back in their career.

Some interesting data probably gleaned from a Hollywood appreciation course, but otherwise little more than junk by someone who doesn't understand what film is.

Fluffy old footage from the 40's-50's of various movie femme's. Entertaining, altho I wish the would have included Carmen Miranda. 3.5/5.0

Love the dish and camp!

A wilfully perverse retelling of Hollywood studio history and typecasting of contract actresses and actors of the 50s. Rapaport doesn't set out to be insightful in the conventional sense, and is more than happy to go astray with a sudden anecdote, to fly off on a whimsy. Sometimes it IS, frankly, annoying (the whole passage where he compares her, frame to frame, to what Rapaport decides is a sort of Italian twin sister of Paget's is superfluous, to put it politely), at other times grandly entertaining. I enjoyed myself.

Wait, he just made up dialogue for Debra Paget and had someone read it? I'm not ok with that. Wasn't really into this at all. I liked the idea of a documentary exploring the star system but this left me empty handed.

Interesting, short and sweet. I do not care for the sidebars. They are too distracting and

an unneeded element. Less is better in that department. Telling a successful story is more important.

Strange continuity, with the story jumping all over the place. The filmmaker also added sidebars within the Paget story that didnt seem to work where he added them. It was hard to follow. I wold like to watch his other films, but because of this one, won't.

It was terrific to see the remastered beauty of the underappreciated DEBRA PAGET....who was certainly multi-talented in an industry of starlets who were so often no more than screen candy. The effect of the wide screen process on the close-up shots of beautiful actresses was something I had forgotten about over the years. Early Cinemascope lenses were designed for a curved screen which was abandoned for the more practical (cheaper) flat ribbon which caused the films to distort in the middle of the screen giving the young beauties an unflattering extra wide face. James Stewart was actually 42, not 32, in 1950 when he wooed the beautiful 16 year old Paget in BROKEN ARROW.

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I realized that, even after having seen the work a 100 times, after I mixed it. Makes it even more outrageous...

An excellent look behind the scenes of the classic Hollywood studio system. I'm not sure if the first person narration by Caroline Simonds as Debra Paget actually reflect view of Debra Paget. As far as I know Debra Paget is still alive today, so I'm not sure why she wouldn't do her own narration. Either way, that's only a minor nitpick. Overall, this is an excellent watch.

pretty sure Paget's narration is fictional, as typical of Mark Rappaport films