Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Favorite Actresses: Claudette Colbert

For many years, I thought the way to hitchhike was with the thumb (or middle finger if you were that desperate!) or the Daisy Duke way.

That is until I saw It Happened One Night on AMC (when it actually was about classics) in 1995.
Why this didn't occur to me before I don't know.

"Why didn't you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped forty cars."
"Well, ooo, I'll remember that when we need forty cars."

They sure knew how to write dialogue back in the day.

Claudette to me had this peculiar quality about her. She wouldn't be my wife, mom, sister, or grandmother, well grandmother may work! Never mind the fact she didn't have kids of her own. But imagine the possibilities!

Ellie: Have you ever been in love, Peter?
Peter Warne: Me?
Ellie: Yes. Haven't you ever thought about it at all? It seems to me you, you could make some girl wonderfully happy.
Peter Warne: Sure I've thought about it. Who hasn't? If I could ever meet the right sort of girl. Aw, where you gonna find her? Somebody that's real. Somebody that's alive. They don't come that way anymore. Have I ever thought about it? I've even been sucker enough to make plans. You know, I saw an island in the Pacific once. I've never been able to forget it. That's where I'd like to take her. She'd have to be the sort of a girl who'd... well, who'd jump in the surf with me and love it as much as I did. You know, nights when you and the moon and the water all become one. You feel you're part of something big and marvelous. That's the only place to live... where the stars are so close over your head you feel you could reach up and stir them around. Certainly, I've been thinking about it. Boy, if I could ever find a girl who was hungry for those things..."

Kind of what I'm looking for in a wife or girlfriend, but hey you gotta start somewhere!

Anyways, one unique trait about Claudette was she insisted on being photographed or filmed from her left side at all times. Given she understood camera angles, lighting and the psychology of it better than most technical people even, who is going to argue with her?

She was wonderful in screwball comedies and dramas. She also had a long career in theatre. Her film career started to fizzle around 1950. Apparently no real worthy roles for a woman who was nearing 50 at the time. Some things never change! Hollywood needs to take a cue from women like Jane Seymour, Jaclyn Smith, and Jessica Lange. I'm almost 32, but I would date or marry any one of these women in a heartbeat if age weren't an issue.

Claudette wasn't a blond bombshell, buxom, or an obvious beauty, but her most beautiful traits besides her eyes was her wit, charm and intellect. She was born in France after all!

Not much more needs to be said. I'll leave it at that.

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