I was just watching HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN (1987), when it came to me that I had never noticed how beautiful an actress Cec Verrell really is. A rapid search through the actress's roster of movies on the IMDB quickly told me why: Ms. Verrell must be the most underused actress in the history of B-movies. Now, I must confess I've never seen any of her other films (although I sure intend to, now), and even in FROGTOWN, she isn't given much to do with her role. Despite a totally needless, gratuitous - but oh so welcome nude scene - she keeps such a debonair that clearly elevates her performance above the camp value of the movie itself.
Clad in the most ravishing set of post-apocalyptic military garb that clearly ante-dates Milla Jovovich's in RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION (2007), she quickly out-shines Sandahl Bergman, herself sporting a wonderful wardrobe, both as the nerdy science type and the daring secret agent in safari garb or erotic dancer robes (no nude scene, alas).
And few actresses can look as good in military garb - remember how dreadful Demi Moore looked in G.I. JANE (1997)? - caressing the M-60 heavy machine gun as if was a trained pet, or wearing ammunition-belts as if they were Cleopatra's bejewelled necklaces. But above all, I was smitten by the playfulness with which she imbued her performance. As if she was there just to lend a little light to the movie; better, as if she was in altogether different movie, looking down with warmth on the silly proceedings.
Maybe it's her classic visage, the short hair, the summer blue eyes... Or, probably, that coy little smile, so simple and so alluring, telling us that although she could (should) be in so much better films, with so much more deserving and rewarding roles, she will still give her best in this wacky exercise on sci-fi camp. And to give her best she needs but to smile, like Gioconda before her, to warm our hearts.