Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Speaking of Cyd Charisse...

Cyd Charisse, as everyone who regularly goes anywhere on the Internet already knows, died today at the age of 86. I have nothing insightful to say about her career. All things considered, I have nothing insightful to say about anything. But I did happen to catch her in East Side, West Side, a Mervyn LeRoy melodrama, a few months ago when it came out on DVD, and I have an observation to share with you bunch of homosexuals.

First, the set-up. The movie is a pretty typical Barbara Stanwyck vehicle: Stanwyck's husband, played by James Mason, is cheating on her with Ava Gardner. That doesn't make Stanwyck happy. Then Van Heflin comes to town, and that does make her happy. (You've got to hand it to Heflin: All he ever really did was wear a suit and act like a smart-ass, but in every other movie released in the 1940s attractive women were dying to fuck him.) Problem is, he's dating Charisse, which leads to some brief tension between her character and Stanwyck's.

Big deal, I know: Stanwyck had tension with everyone in her movies. Her characters were nothing if not tense. What's different about her big scene with Charisse in East Side, West Side is that she doesn't seem to be impatiently waiting to snap her next line; she seems to be considering, with some appreciation, the hotness of her younger costar. There was, for the record, a lot of hotness to consider.

Isn't that a heartwarming remembrance? Yeah, well, I don't have a lot to say about her -- but I think Barbara Stanwyck would've hit it. I feel very classy right now.

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