December 05, 2006

Popular Media

When hubby and I moved back to California after a two-year stint in Toronto, Canada one of the things we were really looking forward to (other than the obvious this time of year -- brrrrrrrr!) was re-establishing our Netflix subscriptions. We are just that lazy and really like getting DVDs in the mail and no late fees. Best of all, the U.S. Postal service even delivers on Saturday unlike in Canada.

One of my favorite (favourite for you Canadians who spell funny) comedians is Steve Martin. He also writes books and plays (Picasso at the Lapin Agile). He directed and produced his novel Shop Girl which debuted the movie at the Toronto Film Festival last year.

We recently watched one of Steve's earlier films (you can tell because he has so much hair): Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982). It's a really neat film noir tribute with glimpses of silver screen legends spliced into it, such as Joan Crawford, Burt Lancaster, Lana Turner and Humphrey Bogart. Steve plays gum-shoe private eye Rigby Reardon and the leading lady is Rachel Ward as Juliet Forrest, the Purple Woman in distress.

I was surprised to find a poignant piece of dialogue between them.

JULIET: You're a very smart man.

RIGBY: So was Abraham Lincoln and look what happened to him. Smart can getcha killed.

JULIET:
I hope not...[LOOKS AT RIGBY WITH BEDROOM EYES] Sometimes I feel I would like to... [SHE LOOKS AWAY EMBARASSED TO FINISH HER SENTENCE.]

RIGBY: [THINKS AUDIBLY, BUT DOES NOT ACTUALLY SAY]
Would like to what? Kiss me? Yeah, that would be nice. It would give me chance to tell her I was starting to feel something for her too. Something warm and squishy. But how could I explain that a man in my business can't take on a wife and have a bunch of kids...

JULIET: [AS IF ABLE TO HEAR HIS THOUGHTS SHE CUTS HIM OFF MID-THOUGHT.]
We wouldn't have to have kids.

RIGBY: [CHOKES ON THE CIGARETTE SHE JUST LIT FOR HIM.]
What?! [AWKWARD PAUSE, AS HE EYES HER SUSPISCIOUSLY.] Look this is getting us no where...[HE MOVES QUICKLY TO SHOW HER THE DOOR.] You better go now. Marlowe is coming over here to talk.

JULIET:
If you need me just call...

[EXIT JULIET.]

Have you seen any Purple WomenTM in the movies lately? Please tell us where!

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5 comments:

LauraS said...

Women who don't want kids are suspect. Hollywood screenwriters exploit that. Remember Murphy Brown?
Hard-assed career woman redeems herself by having a kid out of wedlock.
If you want to make an unsympathetic character instantly sympathetic, use the standard Hollywood trick and show them petting a dog or rocking a baby.

H.A.Page said...

I love Steve Martin. I also love the old Chevy Chase movies. I think Steve Martin has an intellectual quality that makes it on a higher level.

AlphaGirl said...

I'm not much of a movie-goer at all; when I do go, it's usually to see a documentary. To see Purple Women in action, check out some of the Old-School TV shows: Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart(with Suzanne Pleshette), "That Girl" (with Marlo Thomas), etc. All of these shows were my favorite re-runs when I was a kid, and it showed me that women don't have to be dandling a baby on their lap to be credible. All of these characters were well-adjusted, happy, and balanced.

Unfortunately, today's media doesn't have a lot of "Purple" characters. If they do appear in today's media, it's usually as a secondary character within in subplot, and they are shown in a less then favorable light.
Producers, writers, and directors all create works that cater to the masses; with Baby Rabies all the rage, it's no wonder we don't see more Purple characters.

Give me Old School re-runs over today's drek any day!

Robin said...

That's interesting...I never heard of that movie.

Elise said...

Worthwhile to note that Steve Martin is CF, by the way...