Recently after an accidental couch potato binge on The Golden Girls -- you all know what that's like, right? -- I realized that the boyfriend had never seen the classic 70s sitcom Soap, which is from the same creative team, so we've been watching. The main character is rich dotty matriarch Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond of Whos The Boss fame). She brings up movies and movie stars constantly. The fantasy of movies is a natural fit, since she doesn't have the firmest grasp of reality. She's basically a template for Rose on Golden Girls. Helmond, like White after her, has a very firm grasp of comic timing.
In this scene she wants to look through a family photo album because she believes they've all been cursed.
Jessica Tate: I think that in those pictures we'll find the answer. Mary did you see The Omen? Well, I mean nobody believed Lee Remick when she said that her son was the devil and he was trying to kill her and you know what happened? He killed her. And then, I mean, of course everyone said 'well, she was right' but it did her a lot of good, she was dead by then.Ha. It's much funnier with Helmond's loopy train of thought speed delivery.
The 39 Steps a few months back which had a lot of inspired slapstick. Recently this mood was reignited watching Mel Brooks Silent Movie (1976) on BluRay (from this terrific box set that). Lets just say I hurt from laughing... especially during Bernadette Peters repeat vavavoom number. Her hip swivels just knock audiences right over. Literally.
The success of any comedy is so dependent on your mood, isn't it?
Anyway, back to Emmy-winning Helmond. Here's another actressy bit when Jessica is accused of the murder of her young lover. Her husband promises her they'll get the best lawyer. "But what about that movie?!" she pleads confusing him, and she's off in her own world again. Instead of worrying about the trial she's worried about who will play her in the movie version she's certain they'll make.
Jessica: Promise me that you'll try to maintain some control. Because I just have a feeling -- I just have this awful feeling that they're thinking of having Shelley Winters play me! See I was thinking of someone like Catherine Deneuve --she's attractive enough. Or it could make a wonderful musical. Barbra Streisand could play me.
Shelley Winters, for those of you who are only familiar, was briefly a starlet and then an Oscar bait actress but as early as the 60s she had moved into her late period blowsy mouthy dame mode. She wasn't exactly an emblem of "class" in the movies.
If you were ever on trial for murder, would you worry about who would play you in the movie?