Saturday, November 12, 2022

Only now does it occur to me... HARPER (1966)

Only now does it occur to me... that I'd like to take (yet another) moment to celebrate Shelley Winters, whose latter-day career was often defined by playing "women unaware they are in a sham romance with the protagonist" (LOLITA, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER) and yet she rose above this by making exuberant and affirming and actualizing choices on screen. 

 Here, in HARPER––William Goldman's attempt at a mid-60s BIG SLEEP–– Winters plays a "wilted starlet" whom Paul Newman's private eye Lew Harper seduces (while pretending to be a superfan with a Texas accent). In relation to the other characters she is meant to be kooky and astrology-crazed. The film does its best to present her as comically undesirable, going as far as to show Paul Newman suffering fatigue while attempting to be nice to her. Shelley's revenge, however, has to be this dance montage where she tries out everything she learned from Debbie Reynolds (don't get me started on Shelley's legendary appearance in the Reynolds workout VHS called "DO IT DEBBIE'S WAY" where she does her best to sabotage the whole affair) and does a frantic Frug which culminates in her spilling her drink on Paul Newman.Well, just watch it:


No comments: