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August 06, 2008

Actress Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Being asked -- or expected -- by filmmakers to take her clothes off quickly became abhorrent to Greta Scacchi, fondly remembered by arthouse-goin' filmbuffs for her classy / luscious / racey turns in such '80s films as "The Coca-Cola Kid." Sadly, two of her best -- "White Mischief" and "A Man in Love" -- aren't available on DVD. This is mean of me, I suppose, but I never thought Greta had a lot to offer the audience beyond her beauty and her physical audacity. But reports from England say that she has become an imposing stage presence. Enjoy a little of what Greta so disliked doing here. (NSFW)

* Sigourney Weaver never felt like the pretty one. People who know Sigourney only through her strong-jawed uber-woman (and often humor-free) film performances usually aren't aware of her gifts as a cut-up and and a comedienne. Too bad the movies so seldom made good use of her comic talents. Glamorous, bigger-than-life, and funny -- now that's a great combo.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I rhapsodized about the super-talented, very sexy B-movie Euro-diva Joanna Pacula here.



posted by Michael at August 6, 2008


I caught some of The Heartbreakers with Weaver, and it's a surprisingly fun movie. Weaver is very good in comedienne role, much better than Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Posted by: blue on August 6, 2008 10:13 PM

Sigourney Weaver was hilarious in Working Girl, to the point of stealing the movie. She almost did the same in Galaxy Quest. A sadly underused mistress of comedy.

As for the sexy, oh boy...when she stripped down to her skivvies in Alien I nearly popped one of the little alien bastards out of my own, ah, abdomen. So to speak. There isn't a nerd who came of age in the seventies who doesn't remember that scene with, uh, oh, ah, um, fondness. Yes, fondness. I need a smoke.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 6, 2008 11:33 PM

Sigourney has had a few great comic moments in movies, no? In "Ghostbusters" too, in that red dress, on that Manhattan balcony, looking evil and lusty. Too bad she never really caught on as a movie comedienne. It hasn't been a great time generally for funny actresses in movies, has it?

Didn't I read somewhere that she wanted to do the panties scene in "Alien" completely nude? And that Ridley Scott nixed the idea? One hears she has been a pretty uninhibited girl, though that rumor may have to do with Sigourney a few lifetimes ago.

No words of appreciation (or whatever) for Greta?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 6, 2008 11:53 PM

I remember Greta's sexiness blew my then teenage mind when I saw "The Coca Cola Kid" shortly after it came out. Otherwise, I largely missed her career, but thought she was serviceable as the "ice queen" in "The Player".

I think she's of Scotch and Italian ancestry, and she reminds me of another glamorous and sexy actress with a similar ethnic combination, Susan Sarandon.

Posted by: dan g. on August 7, 2008 12:38 AM

Well, I have deeds of appreciation, not mere words. Right now, heating up my Mac's Desktop are a series of downloads of pics from the NSFW site you linked to. So my actions speak louder than my words right now. I am still too gobsmacked by her unearthly yet utterly sexual beauty to say much. But I can say that her appearance in The Coca-Cola Kid, esp. the shower scene, with her naked body moving and alive in a way the pics don't get across at all, was almost heartbreaking she was so desirable, so feminine and female and womanly. The pics of her in White Mischief are equally overpowering, although she comes across in those as, well, not exactly castrating, at least not until she's done enchanting her latest victim, but man she looks cruella devilley don't she? In a scrumptious way, of course. I remember Robert Hughes describing a Munch portrait of a woman, dark-haired, beautiful, but very dangerous, by saying "You can almost see the man's feet as he disappears into her mouth". I'd love to be that man for Greta.

Parenthetically, I've always wondered how to pronounce her last name. I know enough Italian to realize that the h after the c's and before the i should harden the c's. So it would be Ska-kee. But that just sounds wrong. Ska-chee just seems so much more plausible. But there's that h! Damn thing! And even Ska-chee doesn't seem quite right.

Michael? Anybody? Doctor Weevil? Clive James? If I'm going to be eaten alive by a woman, I'd at least like to know how to say her name.

And oh, man, was she delish in the revisionist Browning Version of a few years back with Albert Finney as the cuckolded schoolmaster and la Scacchi as his cuckolding wife. I tell you, no matter how many times she would have stepped out on me, I would never have given her up.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 7, 2008 12:51 AM

I thought Weaver was great in Galaxy Quest too, and she had some of the most memorable lines.

Yep, it wasn't just the Alien that came out hiding in that steamy theater, back in the summer of 1979...

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on August 7, 2008 1:05 AM

In the mid seventies, I was an actor in New York and signed on with an agency called J. Michael Bloom (since defunct). About twenty years and another lifetime later, I was going through some boxes of old stuff whilst in the midst of moving and I pulled out a piece of paper that listed the acting talent signed to the Bloom Agency. It was a longish list, including yours truly. Out of curiosity, I perused the list to see if anyone had achieved stardom. Near the end of the list, there she was: Sigourney Weaver.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on August 7, 2008 8:32 AM

Skah-kee, I think I remember being told is the way to pronounce it. Interviewed her once, by phone. Didn't like her: she struck me as cold and full of herself. But maybe she was having an off day. Anyway, that appearance she made in "Coca Cola Kid" was really something, wasn't it? Lush hippie girl with some poetry in her. Pretty fun movie too, like a zany version of a Bill Forsythe comedy. Dusan Makavejev really had some talent, if of a wayward kind.

Sigourney was funny in "Galaxy Quest," wasn't she? Now there's an underappreciated movie. A really funny comedy, well-done in many respects. Why wasn't it a bigger hit than it was? Geeks (and sci-fi fans generally, which seems to include almost everyone these days) everywhere should have adored it. Or don't they enjoy having their favorite genre spoofed and teased?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 7, 2008 9:09 AM

Come to think of it, part of what I liked about the Greta Scacchi phenom was that one of the hottest sex stars of the era was a girl named "Greta." Not what's usually thought of as a hot name.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 7, 2008 9:23 AM

"Cold and full of herself." Ah, so she's a challenge, then? Excellent. Actually, that makes me sad. I found her so appealing in tCCK because of her vulnerability. And didn't her daughter break your heart? Called DMZ instead of her real name, Carol(?). Man, I would have insisted on calling her Carol, which is after all a beautiful name that means "song".

As for the other, I've heard she's a hoot, not full of herself at all. But Sigourney Weaver is a tragedy, sort of. She would have been a major star in old Hollywood, where she would have consumed role after a role as villainness, and not just in comedies. But she could have done screwball as the heroine, too. Oh, and I found her irresistible in an otherwise inexplicably admired film, The Year of Living Dangerously.

GQ does have a big geek following, and still does good biz in rental. The spoof was so obviously affectionate that geeky me didn't mind it at all. But then again, I found the alien woman, the one with the frozen smile, really attractive, even when she was staring, unblinking like some major loon and grinning that big flat frozen grin and talking all rat-a-tat and alieny-like. So maybe my tastes are not a reliable guide to women of any species.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 7, 2008 10:43 AM

Speaking of "The Coca-Cola Kid," has anyone seen Dusan Makavejev's "Sweet Movie"?

Posted by: lordsomber on August 7, 2008 11:12 AM

Patrickh, those are fighting words. Year of Living Dangerously is among my favourite movies. It's a narrative mess, but it's visually lovely and an exciting story.


Posted by: alias clio on August 7, 2008 1:14 PM

Another fan here of Year of Living Dangerously. Great flick by the great Aussie director Peter Weir. I always think of the 80s as the Australian decade, for some reason.

Posted by: JV on August 7, 2008 3:18 PM

JV and Clio:

Oh. Well, I found it bewildering and messy indeed. I had no idea what the Linda Hunt dwarf character was doing in the film, and why there were all those voiceovers. But, maybe I'm wrong. I do know that Mel Gibson and Sigourney had incredible chemistry in that film, despite the height difference. So it wasn't all bad.

Guess I'll have to do a rewatch. Not that rewatching SW will be much of a chore. Still, that damn dwarf!

Posted by: PatrickH on August 7, 2008 6:17 PM

Year of Living Dangerously (spoilers, sort of, ahead):

The dwarf, whose name is Billy Kwan, is the main character; the other two are secondary. He is in love with the Sigourney Weaver charater, "Jilly", but he knows his dwarfism makes him an impossible suitor. So he chooses the handsome but naive Mel Gibson character, the journalist Guy Hamilton, who knows little of Indonesian politics and finds his job difficult as result, to be his proxy-suitor. This is painful for Billy but his only way to keep Jill Close. He throws Jill and Guy together as much as possible.

Meanwhile, he teaches Guy everything he knows about Indonesian life and politics, in the hope that Guy's position as a TV journalist will help him to understand the country Billy loves.

His voiceovers are there to show the viewers the same things that he is teaching Guy, both about Indonesia and about how to love (the place and the woman). He fails, more or less, because Guy is ambitious to rise in his profession, at which point Billy says angrily, "I made you." But then, there is an uprising...

Billy is there to be like a repoussoir device in a landscape painting, drawing the viewer further into the illusion before us to make it more lifelike.


p.s. There's no guarantee that this will help you to like the movie better, but it may help you to make sense of it.

Posted by: alias clio on August 7, 2008 8:23 PM

It does. Thank you as always, Clio for clarifying things. That's your metier, you know, clarity. I'll give YoLD another whirl pronto.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 7, 2008 10:51 PM

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