Friday, October 23, 2009

Favorite Women in Film, Part 3

Sophie Thompson (left, Mary, Anne's sister) and Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) in Persuasion (1995, BBC-TV, released as a film in U.S. theaters)
This is the only Jane Austen adaptation that fully gets across to me the claustrophobia (social and economic) of the heroine's life, partly because it captures more physical reality than the others (damp clothes, small rooms, crumbs on the table), but also because Sophie Thompson as the sister embodies the best argument for modernity: the freedom to move far away from one's relatives.

Someone asked why I hadn't listed my adoration of Simone Signoret, and it's because I'd already written about her. But I decided to gather some of the most interesting women's roles I've already written about here. (Their names are live-linked to the original post.)

Simone Signoret as the Contessa being sent into political exile for helping Latin American revolutionaries, in Ship of Fools. (Also gets my vote for Sexiest Kiss, with Oskar Werner.)

Scarlett O'Hara--a character so... interesting, people refer to her by her own name, not the actress's: Vivien Leigh, in Gone with the Wind.

Kim Darby (with John Wayne) as the young woman hunting down the man who murdered her father, in True Grit, 1969

Shelley Winters as Belle Rosen, who rescues the Gene Hackman character trapped underwater in Poseidon Adventure (1972, directed by Irwin Allen)

Lauren Bacall, lighting up Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not (1944 directed by Howard Hawks)
Zoe Saldana, who went on to play the new Uhura in 2009, here in 2004 as Officer Torres, a Trekkie, gives the Vulcan salute (to Diego Luna) in the otherwise disappointing The Terminal (2004, directed by Steven Spielberg)
(Here it is on youTube )
And now, to finish Finland! (Maybe...)


Jennifer said...

I did want to stop by here and second loving "Persuasion," one of my favorite Austen adaptions. I tend to like them, but "Persuasion" forgoes the glittery period-piece feeling to focus on the mud and drudgery and drabness of life so very well.

Fresca said...

I like almost all the film adaptations of Jane Austen --"Sense and Sensibility" is my second favorite (though I walked out of the interminable "Being Jane" and didn't even consider "The JA Book Club");
but it seems to me they are becoming more and more about the romance and miss JA's edge--her cutting social commentary and, as Virginia Woolf said, the delight with which she slices off her characters' heads.
This version shows what a brutal economic position women were in, and what an economic arrangement marriage was. And the men in it are more "real" too--they get damp and chilly too!