Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five Ladies

Also when I was a kid I learned to love the quirkier actresses who I'd see on the screen. These were women who were accomplished at their craft, but who were not classic beauties in the normal sense. Still, I found these ladies overwhelmingly attractive, and I still do. For the most part they were never "stars", and their careers, at best, held flashes of what we normally consider success. They were there for a while and then gone. But I really liked watching them as a young fellow, and I look for their performances wherever I can.

The first time I saw Sandy Dennis was in the movie UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE. I don't know what it was about her, but even at that age (I couldn't have been more than nine or ten) I found her very attractive. She set the stage for my attraction to quirkier women.

A woman of the 1960s and early 70s who I thought was a truly beautiful woman was Susan George. My pals at the time thought that I was crazy. "She has bad teeth!" and "Her eyes are weird!" Or similar comments would ensue if I mentioned how good looking I thought she was. So I began to keep my thoughts to myself. She was a real beauty to my way of thinking.

Joan Greenwood was another actress I first saw when I was really young. But again, whatever it was about her, she pretty much pushed all my buttons and closed all my circuits. I found everything about her completely hot--her voice, the way she moved, the delivery of her lines. Yeah, I think I wanted to bone her before I knew what that meant.

Barbara Harris is an actress that I found completely attractive. Not in the way one finds Claudia Cardinale attractive. But in a more subtle manner. She's always interesting to watch and she sometimes makes my heart melt.

I suppose Karen Black comes the closest to the model of classical beauty of all of my favorite actresses of my youth. I never had to deal with howls of derision from my buddies if I mentioned that I reckoned that she was hot. I've never figured out if she's all that great an actress, though. I was generally too busy thinking about how good looking she was. Plus, she made a lot of really crummy films. But what a babe.

Carole and I are getting ready to head out to Los Angeles for the signing event for the anthology THE BLEEDING EDGE. With so many authors from the book in attendance, it's now a ticket-only event. Pretty much sold out, I reckon.


dogboy443 said...

Karen Black always scared the crap out of me. Give me Jill St. John, Caroline Munro, Leigh Taylor-Young (from Soylent Green), and Grace Kelly.

dogboy443 said...

And have fun in L.A. Wish I was there. Snag me a book on your way out the door, trench-coat style.

HemlockMan said...

Mark: Yeah...those are classic beauties. No doubt and no argument. Curves and gorgeous. What I wanted to do was point out the babes I found attractive who didn't fit into that classically beautiful mold.

And as I write this, I am in LA. The hotel has free WiFi and I brought my laptop computer.

dogboy443 said...

I guess I'm a curves kind of guy.

Stuart said...

Is it a coincidence that two of these actresses, Barbara Harris and Karen Black, star in Hitchcock's Family Plot (his most badly underrated film, his last film, and the film during which you famously yelled out in Brunswick's Lanier Theater, at Ed Lauter's villanous Joe Maloney, "Baloney, Maloney!  You're a goddamned phoney!")?
Hitchcock was stingy with praise for performers, but told Barbara Harris that she invented and added more to her character than any actor he had ever worked with!  Her performance in Family Plot is one of its joys and one of my favorite performances in all of Hitchcock. 
I sat and spoke with Karen Black for about ten minutes at the Cult Movies Convention at the Hollywood Roosevelt in October 2000 (the same place and time I met George Clayton Johnson, in whose company I believe you're basking this very day!), and she couldn't have been one bit nicer. 
Speakng of Johnson, if you do see him today, ask him about that documentary I described to you in which he runs about in the alltogether, with his pecker flopping around in the breeze.

HemlockMan said...

Yep. Black and Harris were both in FAMILY PLOT! I stopped in to the bookstore where the signing is going to be in a few hours and last night their biggest worry were the kinds of wines they needed to have for Ray Bradbury and the type of beer that George Clayton Johnson would want to have at hand.