Becky Sharp

Miriam Hopkins as Becky

It’s remarkable that in film and TV adaptations of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, it’s always called just that. Thackeray lifted the title for his satire from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, where a fair at a town called Vanity was an allegory for all the delights of the realm of the physical. It’s hardly a punchy title, or one with any modern currency and yet it carries on being used. At least six movies and eight TV shows, not to mention various magazines, have used or are using its name. Apart from this 1935 adaptation, no one seems to have though to use the name of its principal character, Becky Sharp, instead. Not … Read more


George Sanders and Lucille Ball

The 1947 noirish thriller Lured stars Lucille Ball and is directed by Douglas Sirk, neither of them names you’d associate with this sort of thing. Ball was a comic actor, Sirk is now chiefly remembered for big, overheated and florid dramas like All That Heaven Allows, but both show their breadth of talent in this relatively low-budget production shiny with quality. It looks at first like a serial killer thriller, and a particularly modern one – seven women dead, each of whose murders has been accompanied by a poem sent to the police, a Seven-style taunt. The police, meanwhile, though led by crusty oldster Inspector Harley Temple (Charles Coburn) are bringing all the … Read more