It’s all too Easy … to Fall for Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer, the honey-blonde paragon of Hollywood glamour, celebrates her birthday tomorrow. A star for the ages, I like watching Michelle in all her costumed glory, standing on a pier in the sunset or singing atop a piano. But I love her best when she’s tripping over a child’s toy or tiptoeing through a puddle. The great one is at her most charming when she’s playing the fool.The Fabulous Baker Boys excepted, my favourite Michelle Pfeiffer pictures are the comedies. I love her in Jonathan Demme’s riotous screwball Married to the Mob. I’m also rather fond of the breathless One Fine Day. Both of these films playing to Michelle’s ability to marry slapstick with sophistication.At times, Pfeiffer only has to use a nod of the head or a raised eyebrow to convey her feelings. At others, she cuts loose and becomes a purely physical performer, as good in the moment as the screwball queens of the past.The finest example of Pfeiffer’s physical comedy occurs midway through One Fine Day. While preparing for a presentation, Michelle’s feet get tangled in the strap of her bag, she loses her balance and then proceeds to flatten the model she’s carrying. Her limbs are contorted and her hair is in her face, and yet somehow Michelle still looked more beautiful and graceful than any of her rivals.Back then Pfeiffer was held up as the quintessential leading lady, a perfect specimen, an ideal to aspire to, but Michelle was never afraid to walk into a door, look like a klutz and let us in on the joke. It was her misfortune that Meg Ryan, a little pert, a little prissy, and very blonde, would corner the market in girl-next-doorish-fake-orgasmic roles throughout the 90s.Born in the wrong era? A screwball queen without a crown? If only Michelle could’ve travelled back through time, to the early 1930s to be blessed by the Lubitsch touch. Audiences would have gone wild for her.

Happy Birthday Michelle!




Filed under Retrospective

30 responses to “It’s all too Easy … to Fall for Pfeiffer

  1. Well said. Happy Birthday to Michelle. I wish she would make more films these days.

  2. I love that second picture. So natural, sweet, beautiful and just…Michelle.

  3. Happy Birthday to the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer indeed. She looks as stunning as she did in her prime. I like her charming ways in One Fine Day but I like her even more when she plays the anti-villain like roles. She just has that seductive charm about her. I’ve never asked and this Madame is curious as to why you are so intrigued by her and Meg Ryan in particular..☺

    • I often ask myself why I still carry a torch for Michelle and Meg Ryan, and it’s pure nostalgia. For the carefree teenage years when I was first smitten by this sweet and sultry blonde duo. Stars come and go, but nobody will ever captivate me like they did!

  4. Great post 🙂 Michelle Pfeiffer is going to be 59-years old. Does not seem possible does it? 🙂 I love that second picture as well 🙂 Their is a lot of relevance to it since that film’s director (Jonathan Demme) died this week 😦 Speaking of which, Demme was not only a great director of fiction, but also of non-fiction. He directed concert films (Stop Making Sense, Neil Young: Heart of Gold etc.) and documentaries (The Agronomist, I’m Carolyn Parker, Jimmy Carter Man from Plains etc.). What kept Married to the Mob flowing was the performances not only from Pfeiffer in the lead, but also from Dean Stockwell and Mercedes Ruehl. As far as the strongest adaptation of a Thomas Harris novel goes, my choice goes not to Silence of the Lambs or Manhunter, but 2002’s Red Dragon as shocking as it may sound. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your appreciation of Jonathan Demme. Much appreciated.
      I’ve been reading some of the obituaries this week and it occurred to me, in a way, both Michelle in Married to the Mob and Melanie Griffith in Something Wild were two different ’80s versions of screwball heroines. Demme obviously had a fondness for films featuring unpredictable, independent women going as far back as Crazy Mama (1975), with Cloris Leachman and Ann Sothern as a mother and daughter who go on a crime spree from California to Arkansas.
      I’m glad you liked the picture of Angela de Marco. As often happens, this post turned into a ramble, trying as I was to mention Jonathan Demme, mark Michelle’s birthday and keep the screwball vibe going as we get closer to the blogathon. Thanks as always for your support!

  5. “Baker Boys” is the one where she sings, right? That knocked me out–I love discovering a previously unknown talent in an actor–like dancing or singing.

  6. Baker Boys was the one, with Pfeiffer’s Susie draped over the piano singing Makin’ Whoopee!.

  7. From the first time I saw her, I was in love. Not just with her tremendous beauty but with her charisma and talent.

  8. It’s totally understandable why you love Le Pfeiffer so much Paul… she is sublime. There are plenty of beautiful blonds in Hollywood but few are as ravishing and mysterious like her.

    • Hey Ruth, I know you’re very busy at the moment, so I do appreciate you joining in my celebration of Michelle’s birthday.
      Good luck with the filming!

  9. A very fitting birthday tribute. Michelle is, will always be, and always has been my hero. You rock Michelle!

  10. Paul – thought of you and Married to the Mob when I read about this, review it NOW!!!! its definitely one for you x

    • Thanks for the thought and the link.
      Also 2 Reel Quirky Cats 1 Film‏? I’m intigued.

      • All will be revealed soon – follow to find out more xx But I think its fate you join. As soon as he posted it I thought of you and Michelle and there you were enthusing about this lovely lady’s role in this film xxxx

  11. Favorite Screwball Michelle scene for me is the peanut butter choke in Frankie and Johnny (1991). Always makes me laugh 🙂 I’m afraid I couldn’t find the image/video, but you know this one for sure, Paul.

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