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Tony Grist

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Shirley Maclaine [Jan. 3rd, 2007|12:10 pm]
Tony Grist
There are things one generation knows that the next generation doesn't. For instance, Mike and I were watching Being There and halfway through he turned to me and said, "She's good, is she somebody famous?"

He was only referring to Shirley Maclaine.

But, why should he know her? She's been an elderly character actress for all his adult life. He doesn't normally watch movies that are more than ten years old and if they're in black and white- forget it!

So he won't have seen the Apartment or The Trouble with Harry or- I don't know- when I come to think of it, there aren't all that many movies in which Maclaine was given the opportunity to shine. 

She's one of Hollywood's best actors, but Hollywood hasn't quite known what to do with her. She's too far removed from the stereotypes/archetypes of female stardom for it to be easy to cast her.  She'd be a shoo-in for "heroine's best friend", only it's hard to think of any conventionally pretty, sexy leading lady of the past fifty years she wouldn't have effortlessly eclipsed.

Male stars with Maclaine's off-beat , quirky , larger-than-life quality have no difficulty getting good roles and having movies crafted round them. Think Jack Nicholson; Nicholson is the male Shirley and look what a god he is! Meanwhile Maclaine gets to play grannies in chick-flics. To adapt a line from Being There, "It sure is a man's world in America."

[User Picture]From: beentothemoon
2007-01-03 02:55 pm (UTC)
Let's not forgot Sweet Charity. Hey Big Spender!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-01-03 03:34 pm (UTC)
I've never seen that. Clearly I must!
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2007-01-03 04:23 pm (UTC)
oh, yes. Shirley was one hell of a dancer in her first youth.

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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2007-01-03 06:53 pm (UTC)
She and Nicholson actually made a movie together - a very bleak family thing that won several awards. Remember, she's no kid any more - she's my age, more or less and she has had a very long successful career. Most young actresses fade and die or crash and burn by the end of their 30's.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-01-04 12:00 am (UTC)
Yes, She's still working. But Nicholson gets starring roles- he's still a big Hollywood player. There are different rules for men and women in Hollywood.
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From: paroxysma
2007-01-04 05:20 pm (UTC)
How ironic that you posted this!
I just watched The Trouble with Harry the other week for the first time.
I'm a huge Hitchcock fan, and yet I hadn't seen that one. Loved it, regardless.
She was great in The Apartment with Jack Lemmon.
I agree with you. She's like Lucille Ball in that no one knows what to do with her.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-01-04 06:12 pm (UTC)
The Trouble with Harry is a forgotten gem. And Maclaine is marvellous in it.

I believe she was still only in her teens when she was plucked from obscurity to play that role.
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