Cory writes about his beloved “Aunt Beverly”

Beverly Bentley (1930 - 2018)

Beverly Bentley is the star of Scent of Mystery (1960), produced by Mike Todd Jnr., directed by Jack Cardiff and the only feature film to have been presented in Smell-O-Vision!

Beverly Bentley as Sally Kennedy, Scent of Mystery 1960

Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1930, Beverly had a distinguished career in television, film, and in the theatre, beginning during the Golden Age of television in the 1950s. 

The Price is Right

In Canada she starred on CBS opposite William Shatner and appeared on Broadway in Romanoff and JulietThe Heroine and The Lovers.

Beverly and William Shatner

She featured in Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park and his film trilogy: Wild 90, Beyond the Law, and Maidstone, as well as having a role in the 80s cult horror film, C.H.U.D. 

C.H.U.D (1984)

Beverly also had a long association with theatre in Provincetown and throughout Cape Cod. She was one of the founders of the ACT IV theatre company in the 60s and performed Love Letters to great acclaim throughout the Cape with Guy Strauss, the founder of Payomet.

According to her friend Suzanna Bowling, “Beverly Bentley was also an activist who marched in every rally there was and called Washington on a regular basis. She was fierce and one of a kind.” (September 14, 2018)

Here, her nephew Cory shares a story about his beloved “Aunt Beverly”.

Cory and Beverly, 2016

“Growing up, I was obsessed with the golden age of Hollywood, my TV was constantly tuned to TCM, and I probably went through about 6 VHS tapes a week recording various old movies from the channel. Beverly Bentley was just… Aunt Beverly.

Aunt Beverly seated next to Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard Of Oz) CBS, 1955

The fact she is an actress never registered with me until I became an adult, and even then I didn’t realize the extent of her professional career. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became. I purged my grandmother’s albums of all things “Aunt Beverly” and tried to locate all of her films and Television appearances. Including Scent of Mystery.

The climax of a bedroom battle in which face powder, and cologne were smashed and the odors experienced by the audience. Denholm Elliot and Beverly wait for Peter Arne, playing Fleming the lawyer, to wake up after being knocked out with a bottle of bath salts.
In this scene the audience smelled rubble and cement as it pours out of the chute and almost buries Beverly Bentley, as she is chased through the dark streets of a Spanish village.

Scent Of Mystery was a big, frustrating mystery. I couldn’t for the life of me find a copy so I came to accept that I would only know the movie through the few promotional photographs I had, and the stories Aunt Beverly told.

Beverly at a bullfight in Spain with Sandra Shahan, Elizabeth Taylor’s stand in and Beverly’s lifelong friend, 1959
Partying with Earnest Hemmingway and others in Spain, 1959
Director Jack Cardiff and Beverly Bentley on set, Scent of Mystery, 1959
... and after hours

When Aunt Beverly called to tell me Scent of Mystery had been found and was being restored, my jaw dropped and I screamed for joy!

Beverly, Spain 1959

It soon became available on Blu-ray, but I wanted to wait to watch it with her. I heard the Provincetown Theatre in Massachusetts was holding a fundraising event honoring Beverly Bentley and were planning to show Holiday In Spain (Scent Of Mystery without the smells.)

Provincetown Theatre

I didn’t tell Aunt Beverly I was coming, I wanted to surprise her. So many people came out to celebrate Beverly. I was on such a high from finally seeing the film, and to be able to witness Aunt Beverly receive the recognition I feel she has long deserved.

Beverly Bentley interviewed by Leonard Maltin, TCM Classic Film Festival 2016

Scent Of Mystery has been extremely under-appreciated so it was thrilling that TCM Classic Film Festival highlighted the film with a special scented event in 2016 and that Beverly could be there to enjoy the experience.”

Beverly’s audience, a full house at the Cinerama Dome, 2016

– Cory Garrett Rose, September 2019

Beverley Bentley passed away on September 13th 2018.

A MEMORY by Michael Mailer (Beverly’s son). 

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