Initially you might think the title “Female on the Beach” (1955) refers to its star, Joan Crawford. But the real “seductress” in the film is beefy Jeff Chandler. Sauntering through much of the film in tight swimming trunks, displaying massive thighs and pecs, he is just a gigolo, employed by a scheming middle-aged couple to seduce and scam wealthy women. The latest target? Joan Crawford, of course. However, Joan is too cynical, hard, and unemotional (read: “too masculine”) to fall for the obvious machinations of the luscious bathing beauty. Or is she?
The scheming middle-aged couple is played by Cecil Kellaway and Natalie Schaffer – Mrs. Howell! – and they are hilariously calculating in their exploitation of Jeff’s sex appeal to achieve their monetary ends.
While the gaze of so many films is that of the male ogling the female, “Female on the Beach” reverses all that. Look who’s clothed and who is unclothed. Thus this film offers the welcome “gay lens” of a camera-eye always on Jeff Chandler. And it’s hard to find a more worthy object than Jeff.
Ruggedly handsome and a solid actor, Jeff Chandler was equally at home whether in westerns, war pictures, adventures, costume epics, or melodrama. Born Ira Grossel in Brooklyn, NY, in 1918, Jeff's life and career were all too short - he died at the age of 42 from blood poisoning following surgery.