Severity itself! So, so pretty once, so, so strange now. 2 Oscars. Some of the best movies of Hollywood's most creative period. And yet she is nothing but Mommie Dearest in most minds. But Supergirl is even worse!
You've got to hand it to Faye. Most aging stars just go for Botox and facelifts. Faye went full throttle and had herself mummified. She looks like she's been buried in a dune for a several months.
That said, she is awesome, and her performance in Mommy Dearest is legendary for a reason. And she's scored some of the best roles ever: Bonnie, Katherine in Network (her name was Katherine, right?)
I loved her interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio. Lipton was posing those hokey questions at the end of it asked Faye which word she most hated. She fixed him with look of dew-eyed tenderness (with a hint of brassy resistance) and purred, "hatred!" So, there you go, folks. Faye Dunaway hates hatred. Go, Faye!
During that interview, was she asked about her performance in Mommie Dearest or asked ANYTHING about that film at all? I heard that reporters have for years been forbidden to mention it or discuss it, because it was such a sore subject with her (at the time turning her into real-life "box office poison" and supposedly ruining her standing as a legitimate actress for most of the 1980s). True or rumor? Perhaps by now so much time has elapsed that she can look back on it and laugh and appreciate the cult/camp classic Mommie Dearest has become. What queen doesn't live for the scene when she's tearing apart the rose garden in a couture gown and screams, "Tina, bring me the axe!"
Also, I always think of her in Chinatown and especially The Thomas Crown Affair, one of my favorite movies. For me Faye pretty much makes Chinatown ... she was so devastatingly glamourous and mysterious. Otherwise I can never figure out what the hell that movie is about. But her scenes with Jack Nicolson are great.
In the Thomas Crown Affair she plays an ultra-chic mod 60s insurance investigator working with the Feds to catch super sexy Steve McQueen, who plays a multi-millionaire that masterminds elaborate bank heists for the thrill of it. Her A-line dresses, upsweeps and catty lines are to die for.
I have never seen The Eyes of Laura Mars, but FIT students are always citing that film as a huge influence on their fashion sensibility.
Ditto, LL, I second that emotion. Chinatown would be nothing without Faye. She plays the "mysterious woman" so well. Her performance in Chinatown reminds me of Kim Novak's performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. I dunno, both Chinatown and Vertigo were filmed in SanFrancisco, so maybe the ambience of SF has something to do with it.. hmmmm, i dunno..
I completely forgot about Network, another great movie. I love the scene where Faye frantically rides William Holden's dick all the while babbling about her career until she has a sharp climax, leaving him laying there wondering, "huh?"
Interesting trivia I just learned about Faye. Evidently when she was cast in The Thomas Crown Affair she was virtually unknown to the public. She had already done Bonnie and Clyde but that film had not been released yet. However, there was an industry buzz about her and so the director of The Thomas Crown Affair asked the Bonnie and Clyde people to see footage of Faye's performance. He was so smitten by her that he hired her for the Thomas Crown Affair without a live audition.
The famous chess scene in Thomas Crown took 3 whole days to shoot. The steamy kiss afterward took one additional full day. I'd love to spend a day making out with Steve McQueen.
Faye COMPLETELY TURNS IT OUT in The Thomas Crown Affair, btw. Her outfits, wigs and eye makeup are treasure box vintage late 60s.
I am a HUGE Faye fan. Of all her eras. Although I purposely missed Supergirl, she's been in some other stinkers too. How about The First Deadly Sin, where she plays Frank Sinatra's cancer-stricken wife, dying in a hospital, and has about 2 lines in the entire film? And remember The Disappearance Of Aimee, where she plays the scandalous evangelist, constantly throwing her arms up in the air. She makes those same ridiculous gestures in her Eva Peron film, which was made at the same time. It was during the filming of Aimee that she would supposedly go out every night in L.A. with Joni Mitchell (!) and Ronee Blakely (remember her?) in the studio limo with mountains of coke and bottles of champagne and raise hell. If she ever made it to work in time in the morning, it was to drive her co-star Bette Davis crazy. Ah, but Bonnie And Clyde sure started something. And Laura Mars is the film I have patterned my life after. Also major is Three Days Of The Condor...
Wow, Joni & Faye & Ronee is a lot of cheekbones for one limo. That's the order I picture them seated in, btw: Joni on the left, an animated Faye in the middle and then Ronee. Actually you don't need Ronee Blakely to make that story incredible, but I don't know much about her except for "Nashville."
Bette Davis told a tamer version of that story to David Letterman, then he said something like "Well, you'll never guess who we've got here for you tonight--come out, Faye Dunaway!!" Just a joke, tho'.
She is truly a wonderful actress but much disliked by her co-stars such as Jack Nicholson. During the production of the Dissapearance of Aimee, co-star Bette Davis became so exhasperated with Dunaway's lateness & line-flubbing she threw a Coke (NOT Pepsi..mind you!) bottle at Faye! I wish they's caught that moment on film.
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