Wednesday, June 12, 2013
YEAR 1932: URSULA GEORGI
While in most instances I endeavor to survey "femmes formidables" from their very beginnings, I'm not likely to ever to write an entry for "Ursula Georgi" in her first appearance in a trashy-sounding 1930 bestseller-novel by one "Tiffany Thayer" (the only male "Tiffany" I've ever heard of).
From what I've read about the novel online, it sounds like a big waste of my time. I did flip through the pages of the online edition just long enough to ascertain that the character's name is the same in the novel as in the 1932 film, and even that seems like too much damn trouble.
I do have a mild affection for the 1932 film, for as I note in this fuller review, because Myrna Loy-- who had played a lot of exotics by that time-- does a better than average job of depicting this sultry sorceress-- or, to be more exact, "hypnotist." Still, Ursula has a decided ability to conquer the souls of both women and men with her mental magic. She uses the art of suggestion to cause twelve other women to meet awful fates, and so dominates the character of the "Swami" (seen above) that she forces him to walk into an oncoming train. How she gained these powers is not revealed in the film, though it seems possible that the Swami taught her the skills of the mind in exchange for her body-- only to find himself mastered by the pupil, rather like Nimue imprisoning Merlin in Arthurian legend. Ursula is also seen to control a younger fellow, a chaffeur, into doing her will, despite his fear of the law.
Two months later in 1932, Loy's last and arguably greatest "exotic villain" would appear when she played Fah Lo Suee in THE MASK OF FU MANCHU.