As the series goes on, it becomes more apparent that the feud between Davis and Crawford has been partially manufactured by the press and the male heads of the movie studio as they play the aging actresses against one another.
Wow. Though I’ve never seen the film that the series is based on, I might be tempted to watch it. Lange, Sarandon, and Molina are fantastic in their roles. One of the points that were made was that while men are allowed to age, a woman has a shelf life. Once she is on the figurative shelf, she is automatically replaced by a younger model. The number of older women that are still allowed to be active is often limited and pitted against one another because G-d forbid a woman of a certain age is active and vital as her male counterpart.
Like other Ryan Murphy-headed projects, there is a message built into the story. There is also a subtle level of campiness that allows the audience to laugh while observing that the superficial bullshit that is the backbone of the narrative is still alive and well today.
It is said that until you walk a mile in another’s shoes, you can never truly understand them. To slightly alter that statement, one might be able to say that until a man walks a mile in a woman’s high heels, he can never truly understand her. This brings me to the topic of this Throwback Thursday post.
Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are musicians who unexpectedly become witnesses to the St. Valentines Day Massacre. The only way to hide is to join an all girl band heading to Florida. Reinventing themselves as Josephine and Daphne, they meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), the ukulele player in the band. Things become even more complicated when Joe reinvents himself again as a millionaire to woo Sugar and Jerry finds himself being wooed by an older man who doesn’t know that she is really a he. At the same time, the gangster who is pursuing Joe and Jerry is vacationing at the same hotel with his cronies.
In it’s own time, this movie was considered racy and controversial. Now we know that it is a comedy classic.
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is trying to make it as a working actor in New York. But his difficult reputation precedes him. Resorting to creative measures, Michael transforms himself into Dorothy Michaels, a soap opera actress. His goal is to earn a living and be able to fund his friend’s play. What he doesn’t know that his dual identities will become problematic when he falls for his co-star Julie (Jessica Lange) and has to find ways to hide his new identity from his friends. More than twenty years after Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon put on makeup and high heels, Dustin Hoffman takes the men in drag to a new level. What is surprising to the audience and Michael, is that he becomes an accidental feminist. Michael, as Dorothy, refuses to cowtow to her male bosses and her character’s male colleagues.
This movie is almost 32 years old. It is as fresh and funny as it was when it premiered in December of 1982.