Thug Life

I wrote a blog a while back about Cats, Karma, and Christopher Walken, where Mr. Walken muses on the nature of cats:

“I like cats a lot. I’ve always liked cats. They’re great company. When they eat, they always leave a little bit at the bottom of the bowl. A dog will polish the bowl, but a cat always leaves a little bit. It’s like an offering.”

I think that’s true. But what about this video and what this cat is doing to this dog?

How does one balance the monastic behavior and offerings of cats with their shameless hooligan nature? (lol)

When Dying Feels like Living

I was dying. At least that’s what it felt like. We were moving downhill, but that didn’t matter. It took focus to not stagger or drag my feet. The backpack felt like it weighed 3,000 pounds, not 30. I had no moisture left in my mouth but an ocean streamed from every pore on my body.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the time my husband and I (his idea) hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River.

We started at 6 am and had intended to arrive at the bottom well before sunset.

We ogled the soaring cliffs. We peered into the dusty crevasses.

Due to the fact that I thought I’d been drinking enough water but it ended up had not been drinking enough water, I became dehydrated and we barely made it to the campsite before sunset.

Cue: earlier description of my zombie-like behavior.  At that point, I did not even have the strength to ogle anything anymore. I just focused on not stopping. Because we did not have $10,000 to helicopter me out of there.

One might be surprised to know, however, that there are cabins and a restaurant at the bottom of the Grand Canyon called Phantom Ranch. (And amazingly, flush toilets, too).

After we set up camp, we attended a hearty stew dinner that we’d signed up for months ahead with a room full of other guests, the majority of whom had ridden down to the bottom on mules.

In the morning, we headed back up, hiking halfway out, and camped. The next morning after that, we hiked the rest of the way to the top.

Fast forward to several years later.

A couple of years older but none the wiser, we fought to get into some kind of shape again, this time to summit Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 at nearly 15,000 feet.

The first attempt took place in the fall, around September. Thinking we’d skirt the crowds and still avoid winter, our gambling did not pay off, and we got stuck with dangerous snowy conditions at the higher elevations.

Please forgive my horrible edit job on my husband in this photo; he doesn’t want to appear anywhere in my blogs (or online) so I “deleted” his head. But that’s a shot of the narrow thruway bordered only by a thin wire railing that leads to the switchbacks that are higher up.

We had already slipped on the icy snow there, grabbing at the rail, our walking sticks useless, surprised by a sudden loud silence. What was the silence? Our hearts had stopped beating. At that point, due to the near-death experience and a descending hiker informing us of storms ahead, we abandoned ship and headed back down in defeat.

By the way, in this photo where I’m crouching on the snowy trail, what looks like little puddles of water way down below actually are huge, full-sized lakes.

At the camping site that night, the temperatures got to about -14 farenheit with frigid winds blasting through our tent. My husband and I, fully clothed, with our sleeping bags zipped together, clung to each other…and never once that night were we able to get warm.

Who had suggested avoiding the hiking crowds? What kind of nightmare was this? But man, oh, man, was it gorgeous.

Shoot forward eight months later, late spring.

We finally made it to the moon!

Seriously, though, the top of Mt. Whitney does look like the moon, doesn’t it? We had returned during a temperate month, avoided winter altogether, and finally made the summit.

The hike started early in the morning before sunrise and took all afternoon, with us returning to camp a little before sunset. We had small oxygen canisters that we never had to use because our training at Mt. Gorgornio (11,500) and Mr. Baldy (10,068) had helped immensely to acclimate our lungs and our bodies to altitude sickness. We passed many people on the way up gasping for air, unable to continue, some even vomiting. It was advised, once you acquired a headache, not to take Ibuprofen or Aleve and keep going. It was advised to turn around and go back.

It had been no easy feat. I remember one training period at Mr. Gorgonio where we were heading back to the car after camping and summiting the mountain. At some point, I realized I was making a weird sound that I couldn’t control. I was whimpering. Because every step I took felt like knives were slicing through my feet and straight into my bones. Knives made of lava and sprinkled with shards of glass. I could not believe how much my feet hurt. Could not believe it.

But then weirdly, amazingly, once we reached the car and started driving home, within ten to fifteen minutes, they were completely back to normal, as if nothing out of the ordinary had even happened.

Back on Whitney, we stared out across the stark moonscape into the vast horizon, humbled and staggered. We’d felt much the same in the Grand Canyon. The pain and suffering had been immense, but we didn’t regret it. We’ll never be able to experience those places in that way again, and the beauty that wasn’t ours became ours for a moment, having been so hard won, making it somehow more piercing. Elevated. Sublime.

THE WRATH OF CAAN

That’s Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame, screaming out his rage and frustration at his nemesis, Kahn Noonian Singh, played wonderfully by Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

But isn’t it also true that the Wrath of Khan and the wrath of James Caan, the actor, and all or most of Mr. Caan’s characters, stand as equals in the arena of rage and acrimony and violent entitlement?

In Star Trek II, Khan’s thirst for revenge against Captain Kirk, who exiled him to a planet out in the boonies, Ceta Alpha V, that could barely support life (at least in the movie version) knows no boundaries.  And when the chance finally arrives for him to seize vengeance, he does so with a ruthlessness for which Genghis Khan, the ancient warlord from whom he adopted his title, would no doubt squeeze out one or two proud tears.

I suppose it doesn’t matter that the initial crime of attempting to take over The Enterprise (among other things) got him there. Or that he, at least in the TV version, was even given a choice, and chose the planet himself. Those in dire need of court-appointed lifetime anger management courses never remember that part, do they?

Among some of the most famous and some of my favorite lines encapsulating James Caan’s career as an often criminal, sometimes just fiercely individualistic bad boy, but always, always angry, straight-talking tough guy are:

Frank:  My money in 24 hours, or you will wear your ass for a hat.

Cassandra: Tell me the truth. Have you ever… made it with one of us?

Detective Sykes: No… unless I got drunk and somebody didn’t tell me.

Cassandra: Mmm. A virgin! I find that very arousing. You sure you haven’t?

Detective Sykes: Um… there’s lots of things I haven’t done; that’s not real high on my list. No… you know… don’t take it personally. I’m a bigot.

Sonny: What’s the matter with you, huh? What am I going to do? Am I going to make that baby an orphan before he’s born?

The Big Man: Shoot them and burn down the town.

Daphne: You better do as you’re told, Jonathan. That’s all I have to say.

Jonathan: Are you threatening me?

People even invited Mr. Caan to share his now-famous tough guy persona in later years in several comedies. In this one, he’s a priest who used to be a boxer who takes offense to Adam Samberg and is about to kick the crap out of him:

Father McNally: My father…beat me every day with a rake. But you don’t hear me smack-talking him here in the house of the Lord.

And one of my absolutely favorite roles of his…ever. A hilarious holiday movie you should not miss!

Walter: I don’t care where you go. I don’t care that you’re an elf. I don’t care that you’re nuts. I don’t care that you’re my son. Get out of my life. Now!

Hey, even a cheerful, naive elf who comes out of nowhere, claiming he lives with Santa Claus at the North Pole and is also Walter’s (30-something) son, doesn’t escape the gruff attitude of one of Hollywood’s most beloved, brazen and macho individuals to grace the silver screen.

Even with all that, another line from Roller Ball summarizes, for me, the aura of James Caan’s persona. Though he and Khan share powerful wraths, a line of temperance often runs beneath James’ story lines:

Frank: It’s like people had a choice a long time ago between having all them nice things or freedom. Of course, they chose comfort.

Though his characters vibrate with anger, resentment, and charming thuggery, a little bit of this Roller Ball credo always seems to be tucked into every role he brings to life: the (generally) down-to-earth guy who sometimes gets pushed to the limit by circumstances, will always tell you the truth and will fight for the underdog and for what he believes to be true, regardless of his potential doom. CAAANNNN !

I know I’ve left out a bunch of his roles. Feel free to list any of your favorites.

Hold The Dark

Hold the dark, but once you’re lost

home will never find you.

Loosen ties because the clock

will murder all behind you.

The strangest stars are silent still,

the ancient light is bending.

No message yet to warn of

your beginning or your ending.

Rhyme I wrote for one of hubby’s sci-fi screenplays involving deep space travel and time dilation, and you can bet your butt that nothing good comes of anyone in this tale.

Who would want to jump into a ship and travel at the speed of light out into the deep, dark depths of unexplored space? And then by the time you return home, if you do, everyone you know is super old or dead? Well, I thought it was a good story.

But writing screenplays, I’ve found (through hubby), is a little bit like deep space hardcore sci-fi where, by the time you’ve written two or three or five of them, you look up and eons have gone by, most everyone you know has disappeared, and you can never go home again.

Ah, well.


And To All a Good Night!

I think these birds say it all: teamwork is key! And having a little fun can’t hurt.

So happy holidays of all kinds, everyone, and a happy, hopeful 2022. And to all a good night!

(I would just like to know how the yellow ones know the left basket is theirs and the green ones know the right basket is where they can score) LOL !

PS: Had to remove video, which stopped playing with a claim of “this video is private.” So this still will have to suffice of our intrepid parrots in action.

Guest Writer Pamela Lowe: We Belong to Us

Fellow blogger/writer, teacher, and humorist Glen of Scenic Writer’s Shack (https://scenicwritersshack.com) started this. He was the first to post about his first love:  https://goosefleshsite.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/first-love-endless-love/

Inspired by his passionate and exciting tale, I re-posted it here and am now once in a while inviting whomever cares to dredge up those long-ago thoughts and emotions to share them on my humble blog.

Among those so far have been movie & actor reviewer/interviewer extraordinaire Michael S.  (https://moonknight65.wordpress.com/about/)/https://wordpress.com/post/staceyebryan.wordpress.com/2918 and by happenstance, an unexpected journey in the comments from restorative philosopher Burning Heart of Kone, Krusos, Kronos: https://konekrusoskronos.wordpress.com/https://staceyebryan.wordpress.com/2021/02/27/first-loveendless-love/

Today my thanks go to Noir Queen and music aficionado par excellence Pam Lowe for lifting a corner of the curtain and allowing us a peek into a mini-montage of her past. You can find all things mysterious and thrilling and intensely informative at her site: https://allthingsthriller.com.

(Though I’ve inserted photos and drawings at various points in Pam’s story, all are a result of my perceptions only and have nothing to do with the images Pam might have chosen for herself).

head swirl colors

It depends on what you mean by “first love.” Presuming you mean romantic first love, it’s still a rather broad category…concept…feeling, whatever.

Still, I’d say my first love was my dad. Same as a lot of little girls.

My dad was handsome. He smelled good. English Leather. Yeah, it’s old school…shoot, it’s practically Old Spice. (He used that too. The deodorant.) It was a long time ago. English Leather was actually respectable then.

hand

He was a flashy dresser. Flashy, but tasteful.

Complementarily contradictory. A dichotomy, you might say. That sums him up pretty good, I think. He would like that…

My next romantic interest was Lyle Wagoner on the Carol Burnett Show. I liked the “pretty” men. Of course I was five years old…

My first boyfriend was named Lee. We were in fifth grade. Again–a pretty boy. He sang Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love beautifully on Talent Friday’s. (He sang Elton John’s Island Girl, too. In fact he’s the reason we couldn’t sing to records from home anymore. It was a private Christian school and Island Girl was taboo.)

The first hard crush I had was on a guy named Jon. He was my neighbor from across the street and he was gorgeous in a dark, brooding kind of way. Kind of like Matt Dillion, but more careful with his attire.

One evening my mother forced me to practice my French horn in the garage. I had those big pink sponge rollers in my hair and long cotton gown on. There were ruffles on it, I think…the gown.

french horn

rollers 2

I kept playing the same three scales over and over again because that’s all I knew. That’s why I had to practice in the garage.

Anyway, there I was blasting away when I look over at the little glass panes in the garage door and there was Jon, staring at me. I was mortified.

standing in door

He took a shower at my house one time when the city tuned off his utilities. I was honored.

His girlfriend was just as gorgeous as he was…

Mitch was my first serious boyfriend. We were juniors in high school when we met. He turned me on to pot. The first time I smoked it, I was terrified. We were in a church parking lot less than a mile from my house.

Joint in the hand

I told him to take me home. I laid down on the couch to sleep it off, not sure if I’d wake up or not.

Really. I’m serious. So much for drug-scare-tactics.

But even though it was serious with Mitch doesn’t mean that I loved him. I didn’t. I cared for him. He was my friend. For me, that’s a lot…

True love didn’t strike me until I met my husband. For all intents and purposes, he was/is my first love. I’m not going to write very much about him because it’s private. We belong to us.

But I’ll share this…I like to talk to my husband. I enjoy his company…I was very young when we met. Nineteen. I’m fifty-six now. He’s sixty-three.

I think that says a lot.

holding hands black and white

Afternoon On A Train

train

I wrote a small memoir about my dad a couple of years ago, showed it to him, then posted here. Then I decided recently to spruce it up and send it out. Why not? I was happy to have it accepted by The International Human Rights Arts Festival where it was finally published this past week.

Here’s the link…if you have time….ever. It’s longer than the average blog, and I know I only have a certain amount of minutes a day to go through people’s material. But I’m glad I did it, someone liked it, and now it’s out there.

https://www.ihraf.org/ihraf-publishes

The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film: Part 2

my-fair-lady

“A Hymn to Him” from My Fair Lady:

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!

Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!

They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating,

vacillating, calculating, agitating,

maddening and infuriating hags!

Pickering, why can’t a woman be more like a man?

I love how far the ladies have come in movies, regarding roles and representation, which have improved, although my lists spotlight Caucasian actors simply because they have the numbers on their side and therefore more examples to draw from. And, amazingly, white washing is still a common occurrence, for the roles of both men and women.

But Professor Higgins called it, and now, to a large extent, he’s got it: women are now much more like men.  Which hits exactly dead center on cinema’s latest trend and a serious pet peeve of mine.

As someone who obviously has never read the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus—Irritating? Calculating? Infuriating? I’m sorry, Professor, but have you met Mitch McConnell??—I still think Higgins would succumb to cardiac arrest the first time he witnessed Scarlett Johansson flinging her thighs around a man’s neck and then corkscrewing him violently to the ground.

black widow

I have no problem with physical strength in anybody, women included. The more power to them! I’ve always been fairly muscular and never had a problem with it. And I can see that Hollywood’s doing what they do best: mining a largely ignored resource (the female ego) and continuing their clichéd exploitation until interest in the resource diminishes due to their over-saturated and hackneyed representations of it.

Cue: Daisy Ridley in Star Wars,  Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft, Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road, Halle Berry in the third John Wick.

halle

Although a good run and gun can be exciting as hell, this is still my question: since when did “strength” translate to “violence” for women? Especially unbelievable violence involving immense power sans physical bearing and/or apparent training?

For someone who’s been trudging through desert sand and sifting through junk for most of her life, Daisy Ridley’s Rey might have strong legs and a supple back, but when did the sword-fighting lessons happen, exactly? How does she, with those tiny arms, block a male counterpart’s downward thrust with apparent ease and notable skill? Is it really just “the Force” within her?

Rey-and-Kylo-Death-Star-

I also don’t believe it when Angelina Jolie does anything physical in any movie. And that goes for Scarlett, too, the poster child for the thigh-neck-corkscrew move. Have either of them done one pushup or one deadlift their entire lives? And yes, their bodies are fine, great, in and of themselves, without bent over rows or lateral raises. Fodder for much jealousy. But if you’re gonna be in action movies…

women-lifting-weights

One might argue that many men take on action roles without being in great shape or even age-appropriate sometimes.

Cue Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bruce Willis in the fifth Die Hard, Wesley Snipes in the third Blade, Harrison Ford in the last Indiana Jones movie, The Do Over with Adam Sandler (albeit, a comedy).

sean2adam

But do women really need to follow in their footsteps? I’m not sure Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman needed to shave their heads in order to distance themselves symbolically from (at least one perception) of femininity in order to appear…stronger. But at least they both had brains, in Mad Max and V for Vendetta, respectively. And maybe Natalie’s shaved head was canon from the comic books.

mad-max-2000natalie

I realize Gina Carano is an anomaly, being an ex-MMA fighter, and conversely, while she’s believable whenever she engages in fisticuffs, she also could do with an acting class or two.

But convincing examples of this new era of “fighting” women can be seen, in my opinion, in Hanna (trained from youth and also DNA-enhanced), Terminator II (Sarah is now thin and cut and mean, but there’s been an evolution) Edge of Tomorrow (Emily Blunt, a tough solider, but also enhanced by her armor and, for a while, precognition), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (physically slight Michelle Yeoh undergoes extensive training most of her life), La Femme Nikita (trained later in life, but during her missions she does nothing over-the-top), and, of course Kill Bill.

emilynikita

It is a conundrum, though, because if I’m being honest, Scarlett’s Marvel character has had life-long training too, as much as Michelle Yeoh. So does she really need to be cut while Michelle floats on the wind, so tiny and insubstantial-looking? Maybe it’s cultural bias: the strength of Michelle’s character is supported by centuries of belief systems. But then wouldn’t that train of thought also include Star Wars Rey? Maybe. But she still “feels” like a Mary Sue to me.

Per Dictionary.com: Mary Sue is a term used to describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.

Even though Uma is fairly tall and willowy with nary a muscle in sight, she WAS trained by a master who could balance on the tip of a sword, so….yeah. There’s that.

ChapterPaiMei

When Zoe Zaldana’s standing on top of a storage container in The Losers, aiming a rocket launcher at the enemy, Chris Evans says, “That’s so hot.” But why is it hot? And…is it really hot? What happened to strong female roles where the women had brains and balls, but their balls were made out of their brains?

Isn’t that a lot hotter than shooting off a shoulder-fired missile, no matter how cool Zoe looks?

zoe

Cue: Pat and Mike, Okja, Legally Blonde, Thelma & Louise, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Dead Calm, Working Girl, Arrival, In the Time of Butterflies, 9-5, Silence of the Lambs, Hidden Figures (although overly Hollywoodized) Real Women Have Curves, Silkwood, Norma Rae, Star Trek (Michelle Nichols), Zero Dark Thirty.

Remember the ladies that figured out all the bad things that were going on in their companies, that started unions, that revolutionized their offices to include flexible hours and daycare?

okjamichelle

PAT AND MIKE

Speaking of brains, on a side note, Jayne Mansfield’s IQ was 149-163, she spoke five languages, played the violin and piano, and had once been destined for Carnegie Hall. When she passed away in 1967, Roger Ebert wrote that she couldn’t act and had always been in Marilyn Monroe’s shadow.

Can you say that in German, please, Mr. Ebert?

jayne

Why Jayne felt the need to dumb herself down and didn’t continue on to Carnegie Hall and an entirely different life would take more research, but stories like these are always disheartening, including the fact that Hattie McDaniel often came under attack, labeled an “Uncle Tom,” a person who was “willing to advance personally by perpetuating racial stereotypes or being an agreeable agent of offensive racial restrictions.”

She reportedly responded, “Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making $7 a week being one.”

Even so, she was unable to attend the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta because it was held at a whites-only theater. At the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, she sat at a segregated table at the side of the room. So Hattie, and others like her, were getting it from both sides, sadly.

hattie

Despite all this, we’ve come far, and notwithstanding any distances still to be traveled, one might be surprised to realize how some of our favorite actors from various movies, some now classics, provided enduring roles for interesting, maddening, emotionally powerful, vacillating, courageous, calculating, intelligent, and dearly beloved female characters.

Star Wars

The Joy Luck Club

The Piano

Alien

Fargo

The Sound of Music

Jackie Brown

Miracle on 34th Street

The Matrix

Monster’s Ball

The Wizard of Oz

yellow-brick-road-oz-ss-1920

 

 

The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film

bad movies

Fellow blogger and resident poet Lisa of Tao Talk (https://tao-talk.com/2021/07/19/dverse-prosery-ama/) left a comment for me a while ago that she’d like to see a blog on how females have been portrayed in the movies and how that’s changed with time. It’s a little too long, though, so I split it into two parts.

My first thought was, “Ugggghhh. It’s not gonna be pretty,” ‘cause it feels like between T&A, insipidness, and now all the over-the-top (and usually unbelievable) run and gunning, there’s not gonna be an overabundance of soft fuzzy feelings.

berry

And even though that may be true, to an extent, because movies are entertainment and they can’t all be classy or works of art, I found that things aren’t completely across the board terrible. For one thing, digging back in time to the beginnings of movie-making, I was surprised to discover fascinating variety and openness during the Silent Era that I had no idea existed.

When you think about silent movies, do you picture women in frumpy dresses throwing their hands up because dinner burned or crying over a sick child or nagging their husbands? If you didn’t, you rock, because that’s exactly what I pictured, and while I’m not completely wrong, I’m also far from completely right.

mother-image

Although Mary Pickford was famous for playing “the ingénue,” a wholesome young woman who depended on men to rescue her from…anything and everything, silent movies were also full of “the heroine,” bold women untethered from convention and using strength and intelligence to navigate around danger.

Remember the Perils of Pauline? I never saw one episode, but I remember that title because the idea of it survived, and has been repeated, up into modern times.

Perilsofpauline

The silent era also featured the Flapper or It girl, a modern career woman with short hair and clingy dresses and who was no stranger to socializing. A lot.

I was surprised that she was also sexually open—they were allowed to depict that somehow?! Apparently, yes. And probably because always, in the end, her modern sexuality would end in tragedy if she did not eventually find a husband.

it girl

More surprising, even, was that, according to refinery29.com, …between 1912 and 1919, Universal Studios’ roster of 11 women directors made a total of 170 films. Women and men worked alongside one another, forging a new industry in real time.

A woman named Frances Marion was, during this period, the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood, having been ushered into the job by another woman, Lois Weber, the first woman to own her own movie studio. Weber and Marion were instrumental in forwarding women’s early film careers through the 1920s.

directors png

In such a relatively egalitarian atmosphere, women seemed destined to become equal partners with men,” wrote Lizzie Francke in the book Script Girls: Women Screenwriters in Hollywood.

But (sic)… by 1933, moviemaking was a big business…salaries were higher. The guys wanted the jobs.

Even earlier, in 1931, it already seemed like audiences were witnessing a sea change–at least in consistency– concerning female perception/roles when James Cagney shoved a grapefruit into Mae Clark’s face in The Public Enemy because she was complaining too much.

cagney

30 years later, Hitchcock continued in this vein with a conga line of clichéd female characters. From TheList.com … Hitch’s female characters are loosely divided into “the vamp, the tramp, the snitch, the witch, the slink, the double-crosser and, best of all, the demon mommy” each of whom gets punished in the end.

Remember Stanley Kubrick? I didn’t realize this until I was older, but almost all of Kubrick’s movies were either underwhelming/unflattering for women or did not include them at all.

Although all of his movies were based on novels or stories, I think he could have “poetically licensed” better roles for women than the hooker and gung-ho psycho killer in Full Metal Jacket, the empty-headed girls running around in A Clockwork Orange, and the only female in Dr. Strangelove—a bikini-clad woman lounging around on a bed.

bikini

And what about passive, soft-spoken, sniveling Wendy in The Shining? Stephen King said his written character Wendy was NOTHING like Kubrick’s final interpretation. What is up with that?

wendy

As a side note, many have now, in retrospect, down-graded Mr. Kubrick’s blanket “genius” status to “parasitic genius” due to the fact that his personal vision depended on already-created material.

Conversely, Tarantino operated very differently, portraying women in often strange but dynamic (though usually violent) roles.

At least now there’s more Kathryn Bigelows, Chloé Zhaos and Ava DuVernays on the scene, to name a few, female directors with their own sense of destiny and in a position to encourage, if not that egalitarian mindset of the Silent Era and early golden age of Hollywood, at least something closer to it.

chloe-zhao-1

Whatever the complaint may be concerning roles for women, it does seem like there’s always (usually) a counter-example to balance things out.

We had Rhett (maritally) raping Scarlett in Gone with the Wind (never mind that she was stretching luxuriously the next morning in bed)/courageous Bette Davis in Dark Victory.

rhett

Bette-Dark-Victory

Mary doomed to be nobody without George in It’s a Wonderful Life/flawed but successful single mother-business owner Mildred Pierce.

its_a_wonderful_life_mary_librarianMildred Pierce

Jane Russell’s breasts starring in The Outlaw/Bette Davis’s one-day-to-be classic Now Voyager line, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

The_Outlaw_poster

now voyager

Last Tango in Paris, complete with surprise rape scene actress Maria Schneider was not warned about/Vanessa Redgrave’s character dealing with secret assassination plots in Mary Queen of Scots.

Last Tango in Paris

queen

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman/Imitation of Life: an early, extremely courageous foray into the still-taboo topic of race in America.

attackofthe50footwoman1958.16187

imitation-of-life

Elizabeth Berkley’s four-minute escalating mini-tsunami orgasm during that amazingly embarrassing pool scene in Showgirls/Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh spinning and unraveling mysteries in Dolores Claiborne.

showgirls

dolores

So it’s not all bad for the ladies.

But I do have a warning for Professor Higgins of My Fair Lady, in regards to the lyrics of “A Hymn to Him” and maybe for all those who define female “strength” as an ability to fight like a man … to be continued in part 2.end lady