Bewitched by Blondes Born too Late

The films of Howard Hawks are more famous than the man himself. His career spanned every genre and style. He made screwball comedies and film noir, gangster films and westerns. And he made them better than anybody else. Over thirty years after Howard’s last hurrah with Man’s Favourite Sport a pair of Hawksian hossanas were heard in 1990’s New York. Michelle Pfeiffer rising, patrician and perfect, from the ashes of Up Close and Personal, was first out of the blocks, however a certain doe-eyed fireball would come roaring at her heels.
As Pfeiffer’s mellifluous Melanie Parker talked circles around George Clooney in One Fine Day, their dynamic wordplay brought to mind His Girl Friday’s Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. No man could stand up to this sonic boom in heels.In Addicted to Love Meg Ryan slipped into Katharine Hepburn’s shoes, playing a worldly-wise photographer who makes a blithering, quivering chump out of Matthew Broderick’s naive astronomer. Maggie comes across as a direct descendant of Susan Vance, Hepburn’s capricious heiress in Bringing up Baby. Meg and Michelle played screwball comedy like they were born to play screwball comedy. I just can’t help but salivate at the thought of them as Hawksian comrades-in-arms, dressed to kill wearing pearls and sheer evening gowns. Meg’s modern mix of vulnerability and fast-talking feistiness would have completely confused Cary Grant. Michelle’s serious beauty and elegance would have driven James Stewart to distraction. Pfeiffer and Ryan could have made even mundane dialogue sound as sharp as a razor blade. Neither would have played second banana. In this scenario the possibilities are boundless…



Filed under Retrospective

19 responses to “Bewitched by Blondes Born too Late

  1. RB

    Well sue me but I LIKED Up Close and Personal!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post 🙂 Once again, please do not delete this blog entry cause I love all of your blog entries 🙂 To be exact with the time period between 1964’s Man Favorite Sport and 1996’s Up Close and Personal, that would make it 32 years later 🙂 Reading about how you compare and contrast Melanie (Pfeiffer) in One Fine Day and Maggie (Ryan) in Addicted to Love makes me want to geek out in terms of talking about the Hawksian female. Although, you can most certainly label Pfeiffer’s Melanie as a Hawksian woman for the 90’s, Ryan’s Maggie looks like a blend between a Howard Hawks and Preston Sturges female. Case in point, Maggie is most certainly like Katherine Hepburn’s Susan Vance in Bringing Up Baby and at the same time, one can’t help but feel that she would also feel right at home as Claudette Colbert’s Gerry Jeffers in The Palm Beach Story. Why do I come to this conclusion? Simply because of how she carries out her plans. In other words, Maggie is what you get when you combine the personas of Susan Vance and Gerry Jeffers into one. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by. I hadn’t intended to post about Addicted to Love and One Fine Day again, but Wednesday was a bad day and this post was attempt to take my mind off things. It worked. Just thinking about Meg, Michelle, Hawksian women and screwball comedy puts a smile on my face. It is remarkable how much your opinions mirror my own. It’s always my hope to reach people on a level where it feels as if we are having “fine conversations about cinema.”
      I love your thoughts on Meg in relation to Katharine Hepburn in Baby and Claudette Colbert in The Palm Beach Story. Of course her films Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail were inspired by classics from Hollywood’s golden age, it’s a shame she never got the chance to do a pure screwball homage in the vein of What’s up Doc? And Thank YOU for continuing to stop by!


  3. Pardon my redundancy, but I may be about to share a link I shared here the other day – but it seems the post I shared it on is gone now? Either way, here we go!

    So far, in honor of La Pfeiffer’s birthday week, I’ve gotten two posts up about her. Here they are – one is a quick one, discussing her recent Tribeca Film Festival appearance for the Scarface anniversary event; the other is a performance review of her extraordinary work in White Oleander.

    My goal is have a third post up about Michelle this week. Hopefully by Friday. If that happens, I’ll let you know, and you’re welcome to use one or two or all three of them for your blogathon! Totally up to you, my pfriend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing Michael, I’ll be sure to read your posts. You’re always one of my first ports of call in the blogosphere, for some reason I’ve got even further behind than usual in catching up on your site, even though I’m on leave from work.
      I will be linking to all your posts for Michelle’s birthday on Sunday. Thanks in advance for joining in!


  4. I can’t wait to see what everyone has written!


  5. I’m close to finishing up a longer post than I’d initially intended to write about our Lady Pfeiffer. The words just kept pouring out of me! It’s basically a salute to her greatness on the occasion of her 60th birthday. I’m hoping to post it tomorrow. Stay tuned!


  6. Since you started talking about Howard Hawks on this site, I just posted a blog entry on my site about another Golden Age director that you talked about back in August, which is none other than The Master of Suspense himself Alfred Hitchcock 🙂 Perfect timing once again isn’t it? 🙂 And I also posted an updated one on action director Walter Hill 🙂 Once again, keep up the great work as always 🙂


  7. P.S. I am so looking forward to the Pfeiffer Blogathon 🙂


  8. If only! Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer would have been fabulous in the 1930s with their blonde hair and gorgeous gowns. When you say Meg Ryan could have dazzled Cary Grant, I completely believe it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Given your love and knowledge of classic films I’m glad you agree with me.
      In the early 90s Michelle Pfeiffer’s ethereal beauty and comedic timing was sometimes compared to that of legendary screwball queen Carole Lombard. In fact in 1992 it was rumoured Michelle might play Lombard in a film, opposite Tom Cruise who would have played Russ Columbo. Obviously, it never came off, but I sometimes wonder how seriously the project was considered, or how close it actually came to happening.

      Liked by 1 person

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