For several years I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving and other festive occasions with director Andre de Toth, who would occasionally boast that he knew how to correctly pronounce the Danish name of my hometown of Copenhagen: København. The reason for de Toth's arcane knowledge was that he co-produced and directed a movie there, the Euro noir Hidden Fear. To me, however, this was long a "lost film." Until now. Last night I had what I can only term the dubious pleasure of viewing what may in fact be Andre de Toth's worst film. Yes, Hidden Fear is filmed in and around Copenhagen and includes a host of well regarded Danish actors supporting Robert Payne and Hollywood veterans Alexander Knox and Conrad Nagel. But the screenplay is more murky than noir and with the typical underlit sets and bad sound endemic to Danish films of the period it is hard to follow. One performer stands out, though: Anne Neyland. Miss Neyland, playing a model? stage performer? prostitute? it is difficult to determine exactly who she is or indeed what she is doing in Copenhagen, looks ravishing in a fur stole amidst what appears to be a warm Danish summer day. Although earning "introducing" billing despite having show girled it around Hollywood for at least five years, the Mississippi born Texas reared former "Miss Dallas" is today best remembered as the "other girl" in Elvis Presley's signature opus, Jailhouse Rock, filmed shortly after her Danish detour. Neyland, alas, had little good to say about the burgeoning Elvis. "He's a joke," she told the press. "He's just a small town boy, animalistic and honest but small town. I want nothing more to do with him." Well then ...! Meanwhile, as Elvis Presley became a legend, Anne Neyland did Motorcycle Gang (1957) and some television. She was out of show business by 1965.
Happy Halloween everybody!