Flickchart Daily: Matchup of the Day & New Movies in Theaters (w/Bonus Isabelle Huppert Matchup)
Matchup of the Day
Actress Mercedes McCambridge was born on this date, so here’s a double feature of her playing some scary characters:
Mercedes McCambridge provided the demonic sounds that came out of Linda Blair in The Exorcist. While that’s probably the role most people know her for (even if they don’t know McCambridge by name), she had a long career working in both film and television. I probably watched The Exorcist a dozen times before I gave any thought to whose voice was behind the hellish obscenities and howls from beyond. Here she is discussing how she approached the role:
In Johnny Guitar, McCambridge plays an all too human villain. Fueled by bloodthirsty jealousy and romantic confusion, she spends the entire film trying to put a noose around Joan Crawford‘s neck. In this scene, she shows up at Crawford’s saloon with an all-male posse accusing her of stagecoach robbery and murder:
Johnny Guitar is often interpreted as a feminist film. The female characters in the movie are clearly the most formidable. McCambridge and Crawford hold all the power and make all the decisions. (From what I’ve read, Barbara Stanwyck was originally considered for McCambridge’s part. Stanwyck did end up with a similar role a few years later in Forty Guns, where she too leads her own all-male crew on horseback.) Others have viewed the film as an indictment of McCarthyism, or just a campy oddity. I’ve seen Johnny Guitar a few times and the campy oddity aspect might be the most apparent to modern viewers. Here is director Martin Scorsese discussing the film:
Friday’s New Movie Releases
SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RECOGNITION
French actress Isabelle Huppert turns 59 today. If you do a Google image search of certain female celebrities, the word “hot” will show up next to their name under related searches. Isabelle Huppert is one such female. I’ve been gradually working my way through her filmography, as I tend to do with all hot French actresses. Of what I’ve seen, there’s the charmingly silly (My Best Friend’s Girl), the quietly disturbing (Home) and the seriously messed up (Ma mère). All I know is, I’m in it for the long haul with Isabelle Huppert no matter what the rest of her body of work has in store for me.
(NOTE: Video may not be work safe.)
SPECIAL BONUS MATCHUP
Speaking of Isabelle Huppert, if you’re feeling adventurous you should give this double feature a try:
The Piano Teacher is currently Huppert’s top ranked film. Variety is an independent American film from the 80’s that shares some interesting similarities. Watch them back to back and discuss.
This is an interview with Huppert about The Piano Teacher, if you’d like to hear her perspective: