|Genre: Comedy, Horror|
Directed By: Herbert L. Strock, Richard Shorr, John Parker
In Theaters: 31 Oc. 1980
On Disc/Streaming: 22 Jan. 2013
Runtime: 80 minutes
Studio: Embassy Home Entertainment
Teri Garr as Margaret Lightman
Richard Benjamin as Joshua Lightman
Lana Turner as Vivian Cross
James Winkler as Linus Cross
Kathryn Leigh Scott as Susan Carey
Bill Sorrells as Nick Carey
Kelly Jean Peters as Linda Reynolds
Jordan Charney as Charlie Reynolds
Nathan Roth as Ben Cohn
Barbara Minkus as Saleswoman
Bonnie Gondel as Marcia Groton
Angus Scrimm as Carl Groton
“Witches’ Brew” (also known as “Which Witch Is Which?”) is a 1980 American comedy horror film directed by Herbert L. Strock (additional sequences) and Richard Shorr who co-wrote screenplay with Syd Dutton.
It was based (though without any screen credit) on Fritz Leiber Jr.’s novel “Conjure Wife.”
The story is set around a college campus where rivalries for various chairmanships of faculties take place.
While the script’s touch is notably lighter than in earlier film versions, verging on comedic in places, the story is basically the same.
Several of the wives practice witchcraft in order to advance their husbands’ careers. Joshua Lightman (Richard Benjamin) does not believe that his wife Margaret’s spells and hocus-pocus have been helping her, and makes her cease practising witchcraft.
Immediately things begin to go wrong for Lightman.
He cuts himself shaving; he is accused by a male student of having accosted him (which loses him the chairmanship of the psychology department); and a disgruntled female student tries to kill him by sniping with a rifle from the college rooftop.
Meanwhile, Vivian Cross (Lana Turner) is controlling several of the other wives via a sculpture of an egg (modeled on a demonic witches’ egg they find in a book on witchcraft) in which a being is hatched.
This winged creatures whose eyes shoot green flames chases Joshua’s car and nearly kills him before Vivian destroys it via her magic. Vivian, who is close to death, then hatches a plot to trade bodies with Margaret. Margaret is sent driving off a pier in her car; but Joshua uses magic to save her.
Vivian succeeds in swapping souls with Margaret, but the tables are turned on her; Vivian is destroyed and Margaret is returned to her own body and starts practicing witchcraft again to help Joshua.
Lana Turner plays Vivian Cross.
This was Lana’s last film. The script came to Lana by way of producer Jack Bean, who on a tight budget rounded up a good cast. Lana respected his reputation and liked the idea of playing the head of a witches’ coven. The fact that she was a rich witch gave Lana an excuse to wear her own $40.000 sable coat as well as her own jewelry, which added a million dollars to the look of the finished film.
It was shot in 1978 by first-time writer-director Richard Short, then it turned into a mess in the editing room and additional scenes were filmed a year later by director Herbert Strock. The picture never had a theatrical release due to legal battles between Bean and Short. It finally premiered on television in 1985 and was made available on home video.
Lana thought of it as a oh-it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny film.
Lana Turner did a lot of movies. She really loved being a moviestar.
Here are the most important films in which she starred. Just click the links for more info, photos and videos.
20 April 1937: A Star Is Born
9 Oct. 1937: They Won’t Forget
24 Oct. 1937: The Great Garrick
1 Jan. 1938: The Adventures of Marco Polo
22 July 1938: Love Finds Andy Hardy
12 Aug. 1938: Rich Man, Poor Girl
9 Dec. 1938: Dramatic School
28 April 1939: Calling Dr. Kildare
18 Aug. 1939: These Glamour Girls
29 Sept. 1939: Dancing Co-Ed
19 April 1940: Two Girls on Broadway
19 July 1940: We Who Are Young
25 April 1941: Ziegfeld Girl
12 Aug. 1941: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2 Oct. 1941: Honky Tonk
18 Febr. 1942: Johnny Eager
27 Aug. 1942: Somewhere I’ll Find You
1 April 1943: Slightly Dangerous
19 Aug. 1943: Du Barry Was A Lady
13 Nov. 1943: The Youngest Profession
23 Aug. 1944: Marriage Is a Private Affair
8 March 1945: Keep Your Powder Dry
1 Oct. 1945: Week-End At The Waldorf
2 May 1946: The Postman Always Rings Twice
5 Nov. 1947 : Green Dolphin Street
1 Nov. 1947: Cass Timberlane
29 April 1948: Homecoming
20 Oct. 1948: The Three Musketeers
1 Sept. 1950: A Life Of Her Own
2 March 1951: Mr. Imperium
5 Sept. 1952: The Merry Widow
25 Dec. 1952: The Bad And The Beautiful
25 Aug. 1953: Latin Lovers
1 May 1954: Flame And The Flesh
7 Sept. 1954: Betrayed
13 May 1955: The Prodigal
4 June 1955: Sea Chase
14 Dec. 1955: The Rains Of Ranchipur
12 Jan. 1956: Diane
13 Dec. 1957: Peyton Place
30 Jan. 1958: The Lady Takes A Flyer
2 May 1958: Another Time, Another Place
30 April 1959: Imitation Of Life
23 June 1960: Portrait In Black
19 July 1961: By Love Possessed
2 Nov. 1961: Bachelor In Paradise
25 Dec. 1962: Who’s Got The Action?
24 Febr. 1965: Love Has Many Faces
27 April 1966: Madame X
30 April 1969: The Big Cube
7 Nov. 1974: Persecution
27 Oct. 1976: Bittersweet Love
31 Oct. 1980: Witches Brew
21 May 1982: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Lana’s biography “Lana, the Lady, The Legend, The Truth“, “The Films Of Lana Turner” by Lou Valentino and “Lana Turner, The Memories, The Myths and The Movies” by Cheryl Crane.