Great Moments in Cinema: The Purple Guinea Pig in Twice-Told Tales

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I’d like to believe that with Vincent Price films, what you see is intended to be taken literally, without a hint of irony or camp. Thus it is that we are expected to recoil in horror as Doctor Rappaccini, played by Price himself in his Twice-Told Tales (USA, 1963) injects a guinea pig with a poisonous concoction.

Guinea Pig in Trouble

So far so good—lots of smoke and a twitching guinea pig model. Convincingly scary as a concept played with a bit of subtlety. But then, alas, it turns purple.

Guinea Pig in Purple

See, because it was poisoned, it turned . . . oh, nevermind.

With any luck, once you stop laughing you’ll turn to the source material for this portion of Twice-Told Tales, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Not much laughter there, and also no guinea pig.

Great Moments in Cinema: The Giant Head in The Sun Also Rises

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When you’re willing to waste the talents of Ava Gardner, Errol Flynn, and Eddie Albert, you better have something to show for your efforts, and Henry King’s sadly mediocre The Sun Also Rises (USA, 1957) makes up for the film’s non-Hemingway-esque ending with a gem of a shot:

It's a giant drinking head. Huh. Don't see that often.

With all of Hollywood’s focus on CGI effects these days, you just don’t find such fine papier-mâché craftsmanship anymore, and I doubt there are many actors who could pull one off (literally, perhaps). The entire fiesta sequence of the film is, indeed, one long paean to the giant papier-mâché head in all its glory.