Earlier today, I saw Tootsie (1982). Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an actor whose difficult reputation precedes him. Unable to get a job, he becomes Dorothy Michaels and gets a job on a soap opera. Garr plays Sandy, one of Michael’s actor friends whose neurosis is exacerbated by her inability to find work and Michael’s inconsistency during this period.
I’m not an actor, but I can imagine that many actors, especially those whose work history is sketchy, can relate to Sandy’s neurosis. She is the flip side to Jessica Lange’s Julie, Michael/Dorothy’s co-star and love interest. Ms. Garr could have gone completely out there, playing a stereotype. But there is a reality to her character. Sandy’s neurosis (which considering her choice of career is understandable) is firmly rooted in her lack of lack of self-esteem, which when done properly, can be incredibly funny. The character of Sandy is funny, as is the actress who plays her, Teri Garr.
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.