Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pin It


Cinema '65: The Model and La Condesa

A pretty groovy race, this, with reigning champion Julie Andrews facing off against new discovery Julie Christie -- plus Oscar winner Simone Signoret in a semi-supporting role, Cannes-honored Samantha Eggar, and newcomer Elizabeth Hartman!

Eighty percent of this lineup was up for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, at the Golden Globes. Eggar won there, also; the only Drama nominee not to make it in here was Maggie Smith for Othello, though she wound up in Supporting, if you recall. I still think it's interesting that Christie's Globe nom was for Darling and not Doctor Zhivago. Oh, of course, Darling was her star-making role, but the Globes were quite big on Zhivago. It's worth noting, too, that the Globes have often given two slots to one actress, and she was honored for both performances by the National Board of Review.

Julie Andrews, of course, won the Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical -- a cakewalk, really, since the competition consisted of Barbara Harris fussing about in A Thousand Clowns, Natalie Wood almost-but-not-quite-convincingly playing a fifteen-year-old in Inside Daisy Clover, and Jane Fonda ably taking on the lead in Cat Ballou -- but let us recall, it's a pre-respectability Jane Fonda. Rita Tushingham was nominated for The Knack...and How to Get It, but I did not see it and so cannot comment.

Andrews, Tushingham, and Smith (nominated for Young Cassidy) lost to Christie when they went up against her for Best British Actress at the BAFTAs -- yes, it would another three years before the Brits allowed their countrymen to compete with foreigners in single categories. The Foreign Actress lineup was something else -- Fonda for Cat Ballou, Signoret for Ship of Fools, Lila Kedrova for Zorba the Greek (she won the Supporting Actress Oscar the previous year), and the winner (!)....Patricia Neal in In Harm's Way! A worthy honoree.

In the end, Christie proved unstoppable -- in addition to all her other plaudits, she went home with the Academy Award.

But did she deserve it? Let's talk about it:

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
Was she, perhaps, the greatest movie-musical actress? Hell, I don't know -- but I do know this is a perfect performance. Andrews gets knocked a lot for how wholesome Maria is, but Andrews certainly doesn't oversell that aspect. Instead, she stresses her feistiness, with a physicality that sees her bounding along Salzburg streets and standing her ground against a male authority figure. Oh, and that voice!

Julie Christie in Darling
Naturally charming, believably shallow. Christie gives her a sweetness and genuine zest, a sincere affection for the men around her when they are around her. You can see why attracts so many to her orbit. But she also conveys the quiet uncertainty about herself, making Diana specific enough to understand, but adaptable to her surroundings. One of the truest portrayals of devoted-til-bored.

Samantha Eggar in The Collector
A study in survival, with Eggar navigating how Miranda maintains her sanity, the various ways in which Miranda maintains her sanity and marks time, but also her growing dependence on her kidnapper, not just because he holds the keys, but because she needs the company. Also love her sudden pride when he offers to buy one of her drawings -- I mean, it sours quickly, but Eggar's sudden posture switch is delicious.

Elizabeth Hartman in A Patch of Blue
She doesn't hit a false note, and even before her big breakdown, hints at the seething anger and disappointment that she's bottled up through subtle modulations in her speech and actions. Hartman reveals how Selina fights to be good, making her more than a blind innocent.

Simone Signoret in Ship of Fools
Were Ship of Fools made today, Signoret would undoubtedly have been put in supporting, this being an ensemble film. But either way, I am once again stunned by Signoret's ability to deliver lines as though she were making them up on the spot. Natural and sensual, and her chemistry with Oskar Werner is dazzling to watch.


Julie Christie won her first and only Oscar...but I contend that it should have been a second win for...


Tomorrow -- wrapping things up with Best Picture of the Year! I'm talking DarlingDoctor Zhivago, Ship of Fools, The Sound of Music, and A Thousand Clowns.

You May Also Enjoy:

Like us on Facebook

No comments: