Monday, June 29, 2009

Shelley Winters, A Belle with Balls

I'd heard for three-dozen years about Shelley Winters's swimming scene in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), and I finally watched the movie this past weekend. The whole movie is ripe for parody, it's that good!
The scene of fat old Belle Rosen doing her thing to rescue the other passengers, calling up her long buried skills and strengths, can bear the weight of mockery--Winters heaped some on too--because it really is noble and gutsy and graceful. It's got good bones.

Pasta & Playgirls
You know I have a thing for Shelley Winters and other Shatneresque types--people who, as Fellini said of Mastroianni, enjoy their pasta; but I never knew anything about Winters's life. I went looking and wasn't surprised to find out she had a big appetite for all the yummies of life...
Here she is with Marlon Brando, one of her many playmates, during the filming of Streetcar.

And here's a clip of her singing "Lie to Me," in the movie Playgirl (1954):
"Don't make me the belle of the ball, just have a ball with your belle!"

And speaking of William Holden (Picnic, post below), Winters said in one of her autobiographies that she and he had a standing "same time, next year" date.
I couldn't find a picture of them together, but here he is with the wonderful Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday (1950). I like him so much better as the professor who falls for the moll than as the Golden Boy.

Holliday liked her pasta too. Here she is on the subject of glamour photos:
"They told me to wet my lips and open my mouth. I did that and I looked sick instead of sexy. Then one day one of the men said, 'Boy, did I have a great dinner last night.' He mentioned an Italian restaurant. He told me what he'd eaten. Suddenly there was a yearning look on my face. 'Hold it,' he said. 'That's just the look I want!' After that, when they wanted me to look sexy they showed me a menu."


bink said...

That's great quote from Judy Holiday. She was so great... bright and funny... the rare "starlet" who seemed to have her act together. Too bad she died so young!

fresca said...

Yeah--43, I think, from breast cancer. She was something!