“I have such a nasty imagination.”
Currently, Female on the Beach is not available commercially, and it’s very difficult to find a copy. For Joan Crawford fans like me, that’s a shame. Let’s face it, she’s everyone’s favourite screen bitch, and in Female on the Beach, Joan has her mellow, melting moments when she casts those huge eyes at the camera, and then she also has her tough, “don’t screw with me” moments too.
Lynn Markham (Joan Crawford), the wealthy widow of a Las Vegas gambler returns to her gorgeous beach house. She’s seeking solitude and privacy, but it seems that the previous tenant, Eloise Crandall, another older wealthy widow, had an ‘open door’ policy with the local beach bum, hunk Drummond Hall (Jeff Chandler). Lynn thinks that Mrs. Crandall simply moved out, but she died, under mysterious circumstances, the very night before Lynn returns to take possession of her home.
Beautiful real estate agent, Amy Rawlinson (Jan Sterling) tries to hide the nitty gritty details about the tragic death of Mrs. Crandall from Lynn, but it takes just a few minutes for no-nonsense, self-assured Lynn to icily cut through the lies. Lynn also tries to keep Drummond at a distance, and that’s not so easy. He waltzes in and out of the house at all hours (he has a key), and he thinks it’s ‘neighbourly’ to wake her up with offers of coffee and breakfast. Gigolo Drummond tries too hard to ingratiate himself with Lynn, and she doesn’t buy his lavish complements and cheesy pick-up lines: “There must be some way I can amuse you” and “You’re cold. Let me warm you.” Lynn always has a sharp retort for his clumsy advances, finally telling him, “You must come with the house. Like the plumbing.”
Meanwhile Lt. Galley (Charles Drake) isn’t so sure that the death of Mrs. Crandall was an accident–especially when he discovers that toy boy Drummond and his con artist “aunt and uncle” were slowly bleeding money from Mrs. Crandall….
Joan Crawford was 50 years old when she made this film, and she looks great. And it seems that she wants her audience to know that she looks great too. Scenes are staged to show off her body; she slips out of bed with her nightgown up around her hips. She makes a grand entrance which shows off her slim, trim figure in dark, form-fitting trousers, and in several languorous moments, we get full view of those long, long legs. This isn’t Joan’s best film, but it’s a lot of fun for her many fans. From director Joseph Pevney.