Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Greetings from The Maze

Hello. My name is Katherine Emery.

Perhaps you remember me as Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn in Val Lewton's chilling ISLE OF THE DEAD, as Mrs. Willis in John Brahm's THE LOCKET, or as the appropriately termed "Grim Nurse" in Lewis Milestone's ARCH OF TRIUMPH. But those who have seen William Cameron Menzies' 3-D classic THE MAZE will certainly remember me as the film's matronly narrator, Edith Murray.

I don't actually open the picture as everyone seems to remember, but apparently something about the way I walked in three-dimensions from a distance into closeup -- all the while looking straight ahead, straight into your eyes -- registered in the minds of young children as even more frightening than the Frog-thing whom Mr. Menzies unveiled in the final reel! I understand that the new Thai horror film GHOST OF MAE NAK may even pay a kind of homage to my scene in THE MAZE. I personally doubt it, but Mr. Lucas tells me that it has an opening "in my tradition," whatever that means.

Who can say why children found me frightening? I tried my best to appear friendly and approachable. Perhaps I reminded them of a stern teacher or someone who once pulled their teeth. If you happen to be one of those children I sent scurrying under their theater seat, back in the day, all I can say is... BOO!

Anyway, I have been summoned from the Beyond by your blogger for the simple reason that I happened to be born one hundred years ago today. He has a thing about centenaries that I can't pretend to understand, but I thank him and the rest of you for remembering me.

One hundred years ago... I suppose that was the beginning. It happened in Birmingham, Alabama, and it started the fantastic chain of events that led to my experience in THE MAZE. My niece Kitty and I were with a group of friends in a delightful little café in Cannes, on the French Riviera. It was an engagement party...

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