Tag Archives: Harrison Ford

Kelly McGillis: Quintessential Natural Beauty

14 Oct

Kelly was my first major film crush. Seeing her on the big screen in Peter Weir’s classic Witness with Harrison Ford, I was immediately enchanted. There’s something about the intimacy created when you see a beautiful woman on a 40-foot high screen.

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For me at least, Kelly was the answer to a young boy’s conception of qualities the perfect woman embodied. Qualities like wholesomeness, integrity, intelligence and a smile that lights up an entire room. Kelly has all of these qualities, both as an actress and a person. She’s persevered through so much pain in her life, that for me her inner beauty transcends time.

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Witness was a beautiful film with a timeless love story. A spin on the city boy meets country girl with a great thrill-ride built in. John Book (Harrison Ford) shows incredible restraint when he comes up against the raw sexuality of Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis) in her natural environs – a natural beauty with a tranquility and grace that has been rarely portrayed as poignantly as in this 1985 film.

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The story is deceptively simple with an ending that is foreshadowed but no less heartbreaking when it arrives. This is one of my favorite films because it captures the chemistry of two on-screen lovers in scenes that are as straightforward as they are magical. Ford turns in an amazingly understated yet powerful performance. McGillis, however, is the heart and soul of the movie and her ability to convey innocence simultaneously with strength and sexual yearning is sublime. Can you tell I’m biased?

By comparison, Top Gun with Kelly and Tom Cruise is a dated and contrived affair. A vehicle for two stars who have limited on-screen chemistry. There are many reasons, not the least of which Kelly towers over Cruise both in stature and acting ability. She literally had to crouch through most of the movie, so as not to appear taller than her leading man. Tom doesn’t help things either, with a super-macho performance that leaves no room for subtlety. Yet as mismatched as they are, there’s still enough steamy scenes that are enjoyable to watch. And Kelly’s long blonde tresses and come hither stare never disappoint.

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Kelly McGillis will always be one of my favorite leading ladies. My early cinematic crush has grown into a long-lived admiration for an actress who has endured a lot and still come out on top, in life if not on-screen. That said, I hope to see more of her in the movie theater and on TV in the years to come. Until then, we’ll always have Witness.

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Michelle Pfeiffer: Sexiest Catwoman Ever?

8 Jul

Michelle Pfeiffer is one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, hands down. The soulful eyes, luscious downturn lips and megawatt smile are enough to make this weaponized beauty a worthy adversary against every other knockout who’s ever graced the silver screen. Michelle’s held her own against some pretty hard-hitters, too. From Scarface (1983) with Al “say hello to my little friend” Pacino, to The Witches of Eastwick (1987) with Jack Nicholson playing, ahem, a horny devil – Michelle has survived some pretty scary characters. That is, until it came time for her to cross over to the dark side and play the dangerously seductive Catwoman to Michael Keaton’s Batman in Batman Returns (1992).

Michelle is my favorite Catwoman because she is easily the sexiest, slinkiest A-List actress to don the feline form-fitting suit and not look slightly ridiculous. As a matter of fact, she actually looks sexy and dangerous at the same time – two of my favorite qualities in a girlfriend. Miss Pfeiffer has the purrrfect figure (sorry, groan) for the portrayal and comes off as a cross between a dominatrix with a leather fetish and a sympathetic victim of circumstance. Plus, the heat she managed to generate on-screen with Keaton was the major highpoint in the legendary first-Batman franchise. I mean, look at the photo (above) and tell me that she’s not exuding a “come hither, go wither” glare.

Of course, Michelle is an amazing actress whether in or out of the catsuit. One of my very favorite movies is What Lies Beneath (2000) where Michelle is haunted by ghosts and ultimately stalked by her husband, a menacing Harrison Ford. This movie scared the bejeezus out of me while also reminding me of why I’ve had a crush on Michelle my entire adult life. She is really a wonderfully-talented thespian who just happens to be an absolute, drop-dead gorgeous blonde. But it would have to be Dangerous Liaisons (1987) that sealed my affections for Ms. Pfeiffer. Her deeply affecting portrayal of a woman in love who is mortally-wounded by the object of her desire, embodied by John Malkovich, is one of her greatest achievements. Even in her death scene, Michelle is so, so beautiful. Those lips, those eyes once again classify her as a goddess of the silver screen.

So, is Michelle the best and sexiest Catwoman ever? In a little less than a couple weeks we’ll find out what Ms. Anne Hathaway has to say about it. But I have a sneaking feeling that Michelle will always hold a special place in the pantheon of feline femme fatales. And she will always be Hollywood royalty for daring to be so beautiful, vulnerable and formidable all at the same time – whether she’s in spandex, leather, gossamer or nothing at all.

Karen Allen: Feisty Freckle-Faced Love

28 May

Karen Allen is adorable. She’s been adorable for as long as I can remember. She’s also the feisty, freckle-faced love interest to some of my biggest matinee heroes growing up. Principally, Indiana Jones and Starman. In both seminal films she glows from within, whether it be giving Indy the business for abandoning her, or falling for Starman’s alien innocence. But wherein RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) was assuredly Harrison Ford’s star vehicle through and through, the camera’s focus in STARMAN (1984) is unequivocally on the stunningly-beautiful and amazing performance of the luminous Karen Allen as grief-stricken Jenny Hayden.

The one thing that stands out about Karen portraying a woman who has lost the love of her life is her humanity. The ability to be vulnerable and yet still open to helping those around you (even, in this case, an alien being) is an amazing and conscious choice on the part of the actress. Karen is a naturally vivacious personality, yet in this role she is understated, trying to contend with loss while comprehending the fantastic events in the film. I love every inch of Karen in this film: she never disappoints and delivers an Oscar-worthy performance opposite her leading man, Jeff Bridges. Both Karen and Jeff, both accomplished singers, performed a duet in the movie. The movie was Karen’s cinematic high-point after RAIDERS and she had the world on a string. Ironic how she chose to concentrate on smaller, more personal projects thereafter. Or, maybe the choice to be her own person and only do what she feels passionate about is what makes Karen Allen so beautiful and attractive in the first place.

Karen has acted since becoming famous in the early 80’s (yes, that’s her in the 1978 smash ANIMAL HOUSE). She’s immediately recognizable for her freckle-faced natural beauty and spunky, fun-loving nature. And to those who grew up watching in awe her glowing presence on screen, we know how lucky we are to have been born at the right time to gaze upon her rising star. She’ll forever be remember for Marion Ravenwood from Indiana Jones. But to me, she’ll always be Jenny Hayden – the real star from Starman (no offense intended, Mr. Bridges).