Anna Lucasta, 1958, an emotional movie which seems to take a lot of pleasure in making the main character Anna played by beautiful Eartha Kitt, suffer for being a party girl.
Anna is a prostitute who has been thrown out by her seemingly pious, but alcoholic father Joe (Rex Ingram). It is somewhat sketchy as to what happened: did she become a prostitute when thrown out by her father at an early age, or was she messing around with boys to cause her father shame? What moral lapse did she have? Either something drastic, and/or shameful happened, or her hotheaded, fire-and-brimstone-preacher- like, father is a psycho.
Some years have passed and Anna is brought back into the fold when the family wants to marry her off to a rich guy. Here is where it gets pretty comical or should I say hypocritical. The family which Anna has “shamed,” is now trying to “sell” Anna to this rich kid. For Anna, it must have been seen as just another John, only this John offers her lifetime security.
Anna of course does not need the family to “sell “her, she can do a bang-up job on her own and she does. The young man falls for Anna and the wedding is announced. There are far too many scenes of the father having fits of rage over Anna, but when the wedding is announced we are given the honor of seeing the man sweat, eyes bulge, and veins on his neck fill and branch out as if reaching for Anna’s neck. We get it…you’re pissed :/
The film is open to interpretation. There was a time that Joe doted on Anna. What happened? The conflicting nature of their relationship is obvious to the end of the movie. I was perplexed by her father. Why so cruel and ruthless? What the hell did Anna do? The looks he gave Anna were not those of a father tenderly looking at his daughter. It was more a look of contempt, disgust, and repulsion, which ultimately turned into pure rage. Yet Anna begs for acceptance, love, and approval from her father. His rage was way off the top, and many times I wished he would just die so that finally Anna can be free. Listen, preacher-like-father, who drinks, and hates himself, we all have moral lapses and Anna is not exempt. Take the log out of your eye before removing the spec off your daughter’s eye! Whew….sorry had to get that out.
You will enjoy seeing Sammy Davis, Jr. play a sailor who also has eyes for Anna. Only I gotta tell ya, those two together on screen didn’t go. It looked like Anna could pick him up and throw him across the room in the dance scene. I like that the film has an all-black cast, a sterling cast of black actors, which in those days was unheard of and these actors were not playing butlers, maids, or servants.
To some the moral message of the 50′s may seem dated, but all and all it is a good film of a desperate daughter’s search for love and a father who could not see beyond his self-righteousness, and self loathing , so much so he couldn’t love his daughter.