Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Shirley Maclaine

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."
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