Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movie Review #9 SPECIAL OSCAR TRIBUTE: The Women On Film including Betty Davis and Joan Crawford

Now another Oscar ceremony has gone and past. But, what did this Oscar's give in terms of a message? That women are here to dominate, rather then just sparkle and shine in front of the camera. With Kathryn Bigelow winning the biggest awards of the night (Director and Picture), it's clear that women in film aren't just an image to make your production "pretty", they are an important element both in the making and in the final product, a package that is always needed.

Though not all of you can understand how much of a milestone this is to me exactly, I think we all can appreciate seeing strong women taking a stand, and beating the boys that have reigned at something finally. Even in general fashion, men sometimes seem to be the big players of the game in terms of business, but it's really the women that run the show. Lolita is a great example of a culture that's almost completely devoted and expressed through the things that make women so grand. The colors, the curves, the female touch and sparkle that have defined the gender.

But before Kathryn and other heavy hitters, women were still looking for their screen starlet heroines. Though there had been stars of the feminine sort before, there wasn't any girls on screen that matched and out witted the boys. Then, as the 30's bloomed, Hollywood opened it's doors to a crop full of leading ladies, that would soon become legends, and defy the female image in film. Which is what I will be discussing today.

The proper way to begin such a tribute is with the Red and White queen's the Hollywood, who will run it's kingdom even in their deaths, Betty Davis and Joan Crawford. These two are the female definition of Hollywood. Their looks, attitude, and sparks on screen made them the icons they have become.

Betty Davis as more of the royalty of the two. She had the bite, yet the grace that made her roles unforgettable. My favorites would have to be Jezebel and All About Eve. Though the two are completely different, I enjoyed her variety in emotion, and her willingness to go beyond her Hollywood sterotype.

But which for your lolita eyes do I recommend? Jezebel of course! Another period costume drama full of well --- drama, along with Henry Fonda in all his hotness (respectively). But what stands out is Davis's drive within the role. This movie was supposedly created for her when she was turned down to play the equally famous Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, though I think she created a character/performance just as memorable (but hasn't been introduced to enough of an audience until recently)

But what about Crawford? Which performance of hers should you check out? Personally, I gotta recommend Mildred Pierce or Possessed. Not that really either of these are "lolita", but if you are a film buff like me, and want a strong female lead, Crawford in her early to return career days is the way to go. Crawford, love I adore her odd/terrifying backstory, as an actress is very much a required taste, though in these films she shines. Crawford won the Oscar for Mildred Pierce, a role that apparently was almost gonna go to Betty Davis.

As Hollywood would continue to grow in the further decades, more women would take over the screen and dominate in the men's place. I think a great example of this is Hitchcock's films. They all seemed to feature prominent and smart women, none of them were outed as dumb or unreliable, and could carry the picture. Then as the decades went even further, more women would produce box office gold.

Slowly female directors have begun to be noticed, the most important in my mind being Penny Marshall. Though not all her films are amazing, I think she is important for making good strong films for women with women involved. Others like Nancy Meyers are becoming heavy hitters as well.

So overall, what is happening in Hollywood? Women are taking over. Such as the began with Crawford and Davis, now this strength is seeping into the chair behind the camera. Kathryn's win really is a moment for us all to admire, even if we aren't fighting our way to the film industry. Bows or just 35 mmm film, we all want to be strong.

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