Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Me and Peggie Castle

Dead women are dangerous. Those of us who write about them know this in our bones: falling in love with a dead woman is an invitation to madness.

I'm not sure when I fell in love with Peggie Castle. I first saw her films years ago, and it wasn't love at first sight. I mean, I always thought she was beautiful. And sexy. And fascinating. But my actual obsession with her started without me realizing.

One night I started doing research on her for an essay in the new issue of NOIR CITY. The next time I looked up, days had passed.

If you've never heard of Peggie Castle, don't feel bad. Most people haven't. Most film geeks haven't. Hell, most FILM NOIR geeks haven't. She was never famous. She was just another pretty and talented young woman who came to Hollywood with a lot of dreams that didn't come true. She had a brief career which she pursued with single-minded vigor but for some reason it just didn't...click. The ranks of noir goddesses are full of women with similar stories. There's no good reason that people like Martha Vickers and Helen Walker and Peggie Castle didn't become stars.They had everything stardom required except that last little bit of luck.

Of course, to be obsessed with one of these women is really to be entranced by the sheer ineffable nature of movies themselves. That's really, ultimately, what classic movie geekdom is all about, staring at silvery fragments of the past, looking for some kind of connection to ourselves, searching for that connection before we ourselves slip into the blackness.



Humboles said...

I saw Peggy Castle in 99 River Street, then in a few westerns, and thought she was just beautiful. If you saw her, went 'Wow!', then learned she died in tragic circumstances in her mid-40s from alcohol-related cirrhosis, you probably felt (as I did) some retrospective sadness, a regret that the life of such a lovely girl should have been ruined. You might have imagined that if you'd been there and seen how things were, you'd have dedicated yourself to rescuing her from that hell-hole. But I've from trying to support other drinkers that, once an alcoholic passes a certain point, it's all over unless they have a massive change of heart. And a few do—but the majority never recover.

retromaster2000s said...
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retromaster2000s said...

I made this group for Peggie I agree I have to be her biggest younger fan. Her one scene when her pay gets killed in Cow Country '53 makes me cry a lot on that you guys are welcome to join the link for the FB Group Page I created underneath. She was not just sexy head to feet and toes and amazing nice woman loved to paint I am an art guy so. She was also a kick ass actress. I know a lot about her history fans are welcome to join that use Facebook been a big fan since about 2000 I believe and it just grew and grew. https://www.facebook.com/groups/3007355975952999