Synopsis - Barbara Blythe
The girl you've always known
The girl you've always known
It’s the funeral for Barbara Blythe. Fans from all over have come to Forest Lawn to pay their respects. The narrator Barbara tells us her life was set from the start, entirely out of her control.
Barbara Blythe was born Barbara Weiner in October 1930 in Farmingtown, Nebraska. She lives with her parents and older brother Buford in a bigger than normal house and suffers little during the Depression and Dust Bowl years. During the day she plays with her best friend Ronny Spurlow, who lives with a million siblings in a shack on a couple of acres of dust. And every night, she is visited by a pulsating red light that drifts down and watches her from outside her window. At the end of the visit, it bathes her in light as bright as the sun for a few seconds and then drifts away.
One day Ronny takes her to his house to try to sell her one of his puppies before the father makes good on his threat to use them for target practice. She falls in love with one and names it Fluffy. A year later the dog becomes a full-sized Rottweiler, the love of her life. He goes everywhere with her, and becomes the hero of Farmingtown, when he saves Ronny from drowning in the swimming pond. But tragedy visits Barbara one night when she, Fluffy, Ronny and her dad are confronted by Mr. Spurlow wielding a knife. When the dog attacks Spurlow to save the kids, the old man stabs and kills him. It’s the saddest day of her life.
Fifteen years later, Barbara is the prettiest, most-talented, most-popular girl in town with the star quarterback for a boyfriend. At the school dance, she wows the crowd with a spectacular dance number. On a night walk through the park with friends Viv and Flo, she encounters Ronny on a romantic bridge. He’s now a heartthrob with wavy black hair, who has chosen a life apart from the crowds. They kiss and make up for lost time.
On their walk home, Barbara and Flo talk about their future. Barbara is undecided.
After leaving Flo, Barbara takes a path in the woods. During the walk, she is confronted by the red light. She tries to outrun it, but it cuts her off and we finally see that it’s the running light on a flying saucer. She’s trapped. Lights appear on the ground all around her and she looks up. It’s a massive mother ship as wide as the wooded area. The ship abducts her in a flash of bright light. In the ship aliens, with pendulous earlobes try to communicate with her. After making several attempts, one of them says “Oy vey” and she reacts favorably. She blacks out.
Next morning, she awakens on the path, filled with high energy, and a clear vision of her future – at least her immediate future. She runs home, packs and heads for the train station, followed by the perplexed family, who try desperately to make her see reason. But her mind is made up. Next stop, Hollywood.
She finds a dump to live in and hits the pavement running. She lands a low-paying job at Paramount, which leads to her getting discovered by Louie Goldbar the studio head. On their first meeting, she discovers that Goldbar has pendulous earlobes and says, “Oy vey.” Coincidence? She doesn’t have time to question it. She’s signed and off to the races making 10, 15 pictures a year. They’re mostly small parts, but her star is on the rise. And as her fame blossoms, her romantic life shifts into high gear with three or four famous or infamous marriages, starting with Serge Rockman.
Her agent Murray convinces Goldbar, without much difficulty, to give her the starring role in The Truth Be Known. And the rest is history. The Oscars start to flow in, and she reaches the peak of her career. Years later, as she is receiving her third Oscar, Hollywood and Barbara are already in transition. Hollywood moves away from the studio system, and Barbara gets older. The pictures she makes now are entertaining, but classless and dull.
At a party, Murray introduces her to execs at the other studios and starts to make promises. But the new head of the studio Alvin Kevlar has different plans. Kevlar’s lacky, who has pendulous earlobes, contacts her, and tells her Kevlar wants to meet. The next day, we see that Kevlar wants to exercise an option in her contract, which allows Kevlar to keep her from working.
Everything falls apart. In addition to losing her livelihood, her fifth husband leaves and she discovers her accountant has mismanaged her money. She’s broke and out of work, moves to a dump in Studio City. Murray promises to do all he can to get her working again but for now all seems hopeless. On a walk to get groceries at the corner store, she is once again visited by the aliens.
The next thing we know, she is driving madly down Mulholland drive to the studio. She finds Kevlar having his way with a bimbo in the big office. He releases the woman and launches into a heated conversation with Barbara, ending with her grabbing his tie and clamping it down in the track reader of a Moviola. She storms out and he’s stuck. While flailing around, he hits a switch that feeds the tie into the machine and strangles him.
Barbara is arrested and thrown in jail with a million-dollar bail. After almost a week, a mysterious person comes up with the money to bail her out. It’s Ronny. Outside the jail, a huge crowd of fans await her, and she gives hopeful interviews to the media. Ronny got her the best lawyers, who promise to get the charges dismissed. And Murray has a whole PR campaign all worked out.
It appears Ronny parlayed the family wasteland into a banking business that’s worth a ton of cheese. He offers to pay her expenses and asks her to spend the rest of her life with him. As their romance takes off, the PR push kicks into high gear. Everyone loves Barbara, but the evidence is overwhelming. She’s found guilty and hauled off to prison.
Two years later, she is given parole and Ronny is there to meet her. Together, they live a quiet and content life until they die. We end the way we started at the funeral for Barbara. It’s night. A flying saucer drifts down, and hovers over her grave. The bright light flashes on and the saucer flies up and away.