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Entries in Faye Dunaway (12)

Thursday
Jun192014

Callas, Streep, and "Master Class"

Tyne Daly played the role on BroadwayYou've undoubtedly heard the news by now that Meryl Streep will be playing opera diva Maria Callas in the film adaptation of the play Master Class, about Callas teaching a voice class at Juilliard. Well, telefilm adaptation I guess... so ink Streep down for the Emmy whenever that arrives since Hollywood is all about over-rewarding the winners. On stage the role has been played by Fanny Ardant, Zoe Caldwell, Faye Dunaway and Tyne Daly. Master Class is, in a way, a distant cousin to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as each involve an imperious older woman teaching students while also basically monologuing about her own glory days.

Terence McNally's play has been around since 1995 and as recently as last Winter Faye Dunaway, who played the role in a Los Angeles production, was still being interviewed about her struggle to get it on film. If Dunaway was that invested in it I'm confused about the rights issues because wouldn't she have already acquired them? 

As much as I love Streep, her dominance continues to haunt me. I'm an actressexual but I am in no way monogamous about it. (I assure you, 1000% percent that if my beloved Pfeiffer returned to the movies and got every part for a 50something woman, I'd complain, too.) And while I despair for the other supremes Streep's age who can't get around her to get their shot at golden roles (both because Hollywood always wants Streep and because Streep is more prolific now than she has been since her late twenties!), this could be truly great. Mike Nichols is Streep's best collaborator and truly gifted at guiding her. Streep has rarely been better than she was in Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, and Angels in America. I'd list only two of her other performances as equal to that realm of pure transcendence.

Maria Callas

That said it'd be more tantalizing, at least from afar, to have a lesser lauded less ubiquitous performer and it'd definitely be fascinating to have a "has been" goddess  in the role. Consider that on Broadway one of the raves for Daly's performance said:

one of the most haunting portraits I’ve seen of life after stardom

Not that Streep doesn't have prodigious gifts of imagination but "life after stardom" is not something the three time Oscar winner has or ever will experience, despite it being a universal journey for 98% of movie actresses. 

Monday
Oct222012

Monologue: "Lousy Lay"

I was married for four years and pretended to be happy and had six years of analysis and pretended to be sane. My husband ran off with his boyfriend and I had an affair with my analyst who told me I was the worst lay he'd ever had. I can't tell you how many men have told me what a lousy lay I am. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar292012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Bonnie & Clyde"

This week's episode of 'Best Shot' features one of my all time favorite films Bonnie & Clyde (1967). Even if you just want to look at one scene and stop you're pulled in, right into the cramped cars and you're along for the whole ride. It never stops until it's so bullet-riddled it can't get back up again. Few films have ever felt as alive as this classic. The most impressive thing about Bonnie & Clyde nearly a half century later is that it still feels electric. Is it the way it fuses 30s and 60s and in so doing transcends anything to do with "dates" of production? Is it how completely adult it is in tone despite the youthful abandon?

Bonnie (Faye Dunaway) meets Clyde (Warren Beatty) in the first scene and by the eight minute mark she's lept in his car for good. Because the movie moves so quickly we're doing the same. My choice for best shot comes right before this crucial decision. The couple have been flirting for roughly eight minutes of real time, and Bonnie is so hot for the beautiful thief that she's practically felating her coke bottle while staring at him. Bonnie expresses doubt that Clyde's a real criminal, essentially daring him to prove it, and he pulls out his gun.

But you wouldn't have the gumption to use it."

Naturally she, uh, strokes it. Such a perfect image for a movie about a love affair that's consummated through crime.

Their horny paired reaction shots to the gun stroking...


This movie is dirty.

Rather shockingly, they do not immediately tear each other's clothes off. It's not for lack of trying on Bonnie's part but Clyde is quicker to whip out his gun than his cock so a substitute it'll have to be.

In the casting alone the movie achieves greatness. It's hard to believe that the infamous loverboy Warren Beatty is an impotent charmer and Bonnie (Faye Dunaway, utterly brilliant) can't believe it either. She's angry and devastated. Bonnie and Clyde's unfulfilling sexual life paired with Faye & Warren's undeniable chemistry eroticizes the entire movie even when "sex" is not the subject.

The early gun stroking shot finds a brilliant counterpoint later in the film when Clyde can't get it up in a love scene and Bonnie roll over, away from him. Clyde isn't even in frame but his "gun" is.


The French call an orgasm "the little death" and this 1967 masterpiece channeling the French New Wave for America makes the same connections. From the minute Bonnie leaps in Clyde's stolen car, desperate to sex him up, she's a goner. In one terrific seemingly incongruous scene, the Barrow gang pick up a married couple and tease and taunt them until the man reveals that he's an undertaker. Bonnie clouds over, instantly demanding their rejection from the car. She knows that death is imminent. For her it's right there in the car.

The Best Shot Gang.
(Wanted in five states)

Antagony and Ecstasy has a smart post on the film's synthesizing of '60s pop culture.
Serious Film has a wonderful post that's more than just Bonnie & Clyde. It's that moment when you know it's coming.
The Film's The Thing looks at the people in the pictures, Depression era style.
Film Actually  Bonnie seeks solace in the oddest places
Pussy Goes Grrrr  "lust blossoming from small town tedium."

Next on "Hit Me..."
04/04 Easter Parade (1948)
04/11 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) 

Monday
Feb272012

The Morning After

We always need a bit of time to recuperate. We'll be wrapping this year's Oscars up tonight through Wednesday. But for now... chilling. It's the morning after.

We've all seen this stone cold classic photo of Faye Dunaway the morning after her Oscar win for Network but Framework was kind enough to share more photos (and other Oscar types) in a slideshow gallery  and I did a little more searching too.

More "Morning After" after you click including Best Scene Steal and 2 Greedy Gretchens.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan242012

Curio: Tinker Tailor Condor Spy

Alexa here. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was one on my favorite movies this year, so I was a bit disappointed this morning at its lack of notice by the Academy for Best Picture. But I wasn't surprised, what with most of the predictions not mentioning it (including Nathaniel's).  Perhaps it was too professorial, too quiet, too stodgy for most. Thankfully Gary Oldman got his nomination for managing to seep George Smiley from every pore, and its le Carré-adapted screenplay got notice.

Thinking about it while listening to the nominations I was reminded of another one of my favorite spy-intrique films with a 70s setting, Three Days of the Condor, similarly ignored by the Academy in its time (save for an editing nomination), despite its timely post-Watergate release. Sydney Pollock's film is certainly the sexier of the two, with Redford and Dunaway in their heyday, but one glance at Max Von Sydow's glasses and you know you're in a similar landscape to Tinker Tailor.  Here is a cheesy Rona Barrett's Hollywood magazine I bought simply for it's coverage of the film, and its entertaining barely-there tidbits about the filming of this classic, 35+ years ago.  Add it to your queue if you haven't seen it.

[Filming of] Condor took place entirely on location in and around New York City...During one exterior scene that called for a winter rain, the co-eds of the nearby Finch College cut classes to gawk at the publicity shy REDFORD and scramble for his discarded paper cups! But ROBERT's presence was felt [also] by the appreciative crew, which got careful instruction from the superstar-ecologist on how to defoliate the plant life used in the scene without harming them.

Co-star MAX VON SYDOW gingerly commuted between Denmark and Manhattan while finishing up [on a] Scandinavian film. FAYE DUNAWAY seemed not only to enjoy doing the film but loved having the chance to love a few weeks in her beloved New York City. She and her husband, PETER WOLF, maintain a Central Park West apartment where married life definitely agrees with them.