Blond, beautiful, and often nutty as a fruitcake, Carole Lombard in her all too brief career was utterly distinctive and hard to pin down. She’s a glamorpuss who can play a small-town librarian (just barely) or a manicurist; a diva who can hammer away at a typewriter as a romance novelist; a tomboy who shimmers in low-cut Irene gowns. It’s partly because of these seeming contradictions that she found her home in screwball comedies, particularly those that simply gave up and surrendered to her head-spinning momentum, her rapid-fire swerves into the histrionic absurd.
We movie lovers often play the what-if game. Take any favorite film and wonder what if X had played the lead instead of Y. Such an occasion arose in the Q and A following a screening of His Girl Friday in Sag Harbor a couple of years ago. I mentioned that Hawks had initially wanted Jean Arthur for the Hildy part, whereupon members of the audience raised their own ideas about hypothetical Hildys, one being Carole Lombard. Oh, no, I quickly said. It had to be Rosalind Russell. No one else has the combination of smarts, ambition, swagger, and nerdiness, along with looks that are extremely attractive without being drop-dead dazzling.
Blood and Guts in High School
John Fawcett’s 2001 cult classic Ginger Snaps—a highlight of the Criterion Channel’s High School Horror collection—uses the werewolf trope to explore the psychosexual anxieties of female adolescence.
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