Carlotta Mercedes McCambridge (March 16, 1916 – March 2, 2004) was an Academy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning American actress. Orson Welles called her “the world’s greatest living radio actress.”
McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, the daughter of parents Marie and John Patrick McCambridge. She graduated from Mundelin College in Chicago. She began her career as a radio actor during the 1940’s while also performing on Broadway.
Her Hollywood break came when she was cast opposite Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men (1949). McCambridge won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role, while the film won Best Picture for that year. McCambridge also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance.
In 1954, the actress co-starred with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden in the offbeat western drama, Johnny Guitar, now regarded as a cult classic. McCambridge and Hayden publicly declared their dislike of Crawford, with McCambridge labeling the film’s star “a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady.”
McCambridge played the supporting role of ‘Luz’ in the George Stevens epic, Giant (1956), which starred Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean in his last role. In 1959, McCambridge appeared opposite Katherine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer.
Of more interest to casual readers of this site, McCambridge provided the dubbed voice of the demonically possessed child Regan in The Exorcist, acted by Linda Blair. McCambridge was promised a screen credit for the film’s initial release, but she discovered at the premiere that her name was absent. Her dispute with director William Friedkin and Warner Bros. over her exclusion ended when, with the help of the Screen Actors Guild, she was properly credited for her vocal work in the film.
In the 1970’s, she toured in a road company production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as Big Mama, opposite John Carradine as Big Daddy. She appeared as a guest artist in college productions such as El Centro College’s 1979 The Mousetrap, in which she received top billing despite her character being murdered less than 15 minutes into the play.
In the mid-1970’s, McCambridge briefly took a position as director of Livingrin, a Pennsylvania rehabilitation center for alcoholics. She was at the same time putting the finishing touches on her soon-to-be released autobiography, The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography (Times Books, 1981).
McCambridge died on March 2, 2004 in La Jolla, California, of natural causes.
DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has brought Barbara Marshall on board to write Exorcism Diaries. The log line is being kept under wraps, but the film is inspired by the book The Real Story Behind The Exorcist by Mark Opsasnick. Exorcism Diaries is being produced by Roy Lee, Sonny Mallhi and Doug Davison. The project was originally acquired by Summit as a pitch by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe. John Sacchi will oversee the project for the studio. Marshall’s breakthrough came when she made the 2012 Black List script Peste, which is being put together at IM Global.
With such a high bar set by the classic 1973 film, it’s difficult to see this being anything more than an Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite or The Last Exorcism at best…
Eileen Dietz (born January 11, 1945, Bayside, New York) is an American actress who is best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital.
As a child, Dietz appeared in commercials with her twin sister Marianne, and beginning at the age of 12 she started studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She made her television debut in 1963 in a small guest role on The Doctors. Shortly thereafter she landed a recurring role on the soap opera Love of Life. She made her film debut starring in the 1966 movie Teenage Gang Debs as Ellie. The following year she portrayed Penny Wohl in the critically acclaimed independent film Holzman’s Diary. The film never got much in the way of theatrical distribution despite having Dietz’s nude scene featured in Life Magazine’s photo spread and in the book of the film. She didn’t recall if she auditioned for the role of Penny but she added, “it was a fun shoot.”
Dietz spent much of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s appearing in theatre productions. In 1972, she portrayed an androgynous runaway in the premiere of Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontological Proof of My Existence. Her portrayal in the play led to an invitation to do a screen test for William Friedkin film The Exorcist. She was cast in two memorable roles in the film: The Demon (better known as The Face of Death), for this role, Dietz actually only appeared on film for 8–10 seconds; and the ‘Possessed Regan’ (the Linda Blair character). In The Exorcist Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan McNeil; Pazuzu a fictional character and the main antagonist in The Exorcist novels and film series created by William Peter Blatty. Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons and of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi.
In 1980, Dietz joined the cast of General Hospital as Sarah Abbott, a role she played for several years. She also appeared as a guest star on Trapper John, M.D. (1982) and in the horror film Freeway Maniac (1989). More recent film credits include Naked in the Cold Sun (1997), Hurricane Festival (1997), Bad Guys (2000), Exorcism (2003), The Mojo Cafe (2004), Neighborhood Watch (2005), Constantine (2005), Karla (2006), Creepshow III (2006), Dog Lover’s Symphony (2006), and Tracing Cowboys (2008).
2009 was a very busy year for Dietz. She had several films coming out, including Stingy Jack, H2: Halloween 2, See How They Run, The Queen of Screams (2009), Butterfly, Second Coming of Mary,Legend of the Mountain Witch, and Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1.
Four years after her bout of demonic possession, Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) seems at peace as she enjoys a privileged but lonely adolescence. Her actress mother, absent on-location, leaves her in the care of her childhood nanny, Sharon (Kitty Winn), who feels inextricably bound to her young charge despite the terror she endured during the girl’s possession. Regan attends frequent counselling sessions with Dr. Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher), an unorthodox psychologist who believes Regan remembers more of her ordeal than she admits. Meanwhile, Father Lamont (Richard Burton), a protégé of Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), the priest who died exorcising Regan, is called to investigate the death of his mentor.
The Church is divided over the teachings of Father Merrin and wants to gather documentation of his views about demonic existence. Father Lamont himself is conflicted, haunted by images of a possessed woman he could not save. As he and Dr. Tuskin become convinced that the demon still exhibits a hold on Regan, the priest heads to Africa in search of Kokuma, who as a boy was possessed by the same demon and exorcised by Father Merrin. Learning the true name and ancient origins of his supernatural foe; a re-invigorated Lamont returns to America to stage a climactic battle for Regan’s soul.
The Exorcist set a high bar when it was released in 1973, a bar that still remains out of reach for most horror films to this day. Pity then all involved in this turgid sequel to the greatest horror film ever made. I saw this on the same bill as The Exorcist and the lasting impression hasn’t really changed that much over the last 30 or so years. Watching it again recently I really gave it a chance, and to be fair there are some decent moments and some great ideas, however as a whole, the film remains a let down.
It would have been an easy decision for Warner Bros.at the time: audiences must surely want to see more of Regan and her Mum after the exorcism, how they handled the fallout, Father Merrin’s backstory, and the investigation into the death of Father Karras. The decision then to get a director who hated the first film to work on the sequel beggars belief.
Despite the fact that most of the vitriol aimed at The Heretic, blames John Boorman for the whole mess, he’s not entirely to blame. Boorman must have initially seemed like a good choice, he’d made the Lee Marvin thriller Point Blank, and the backwoods classic Deliverance. However, it appears that Boorman wanted to make something completely different this time around. What he didn’t want to make was a horror film, as The Heretic is almost completely bereft of scares.
The cast are uniformly awful in the film, Burton delivers one of his worst performances ever, his delivery is stilted and hammy, he’s entirely unconvincing throughout. Even Louise Fletcher, who had won the Oscar previously for her incredible performance in One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, is poor but still much better than Linda Blair and a one-note Kitty Winn. On a positive note, the score by Ennio Morricone is beautiful, albeit out of place in some places.
As I mentioned earlier, the film is full of interesting ideas (the most interesting being the idea of pure goodness as a magnet for evil), however, they’re not followed through and in the end simply discarded in favour of a ridiculous climax. The best, wasted idea is outlined in the scene at the Natural History Museum (in the full 117-minute version) where Father Lamont tells Regan about Teilhard de Chardin and briefly explains the World Mind theory. William Peter Blatty based the character of Father Lankester Merrin on the Jesuit scholar Teilhard de Chardin who espoused a metaphysical concept he called the World Mind, an interpretation of Christian mysticism which sees all minds as joined and gradually evolving into a full awareness of Being as a single consciousness akin to the New Thought idea of Christ Consciousness–the “only begotten” extension of Universal Consciousness, or God. This idea, a synthesis of Christian and Asian religious concepts, is resonant with many unorthodox spiritual teachings. After de Chardin’s death his papers were suppressed by the Vatican and his work was investigated on charges of heresy (his ideas being heretical by the standards of the Catholic Church.)
This could have made for an interesting movie, it didn’t; the central idea that people who have been possessed and survived can then themselves heal others who are similarly afflicted is not explored with enough intelligence to work. It’s not the worst movie ever made, it’s not even the worst Exorcist movie, that would be Renny Harlin’s abysmal Exorcist: The Beginning. Blatty made a much better Exorcist sequel, Exorcist III from his Legion novel, that was also largely ignored, as were both ‘prequels’; it would appear that audiences don’t want more Exorcist movies, they just want The Exorcist, I know I do.
Quality: 1 out of 5 stars
Any Good: 1 out of 5 stars