Tag Archives: Jack Nicholson

Lana Turner: Queen of the Noir

8 Sep


I just recently watched the original “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946) and was taken by Lana’s commanding performance as Cora Smith. She said that it was the role she liked best out of a long career in front of the camera. Her chemistry with John Garfield is unmistakable and almost as explosive as the love affair with the camera. She’s one of the best femme fatales ever, in my humble opinion at a time when film noir dominated the cinematic landscape.

Lana Turner

Lana started in films when she was 17 and, contrary to Hollywood legend, was not discovered in a soda fountain. She was, however, the “sweater girl” of every man’s dream and came into her own as an actress (especially in Postman) when her private life threatened to derail her career. Lana had 7 husbands and numerous boyfriends – the most famous of which was Johnny Stompanato. Johnny was a gangster and was in the process of beating the crap out of Lana when Lana’s only daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed Johnny to death in 1958. The resulting firestorm of publicity and trial made the famous “sweater girl” infamous overnight. Cheryl, tried for murder, was acquitted (justified homicide) and wrote a tell-all about her mother in 1988.


Lana would recover her career in “Imitation of Life” (1959) and once again be at the top of her game. But her appetite for men and alcohol would eventually take it’s toll. But none of that diminishes her performance in “Postman”, if anything it enhances it. I recommend watching her eat the scenery in the original noir. It’s her film the second she shows up and you end up being riveted to her every mannerism, her suggestive outfits – her cooler than cool exterior that hides the molten lava just behind her eyes. She is an amazing actress who’s life off-screen was just as dramatic as any of her film roles.


My favorite quote of Lana’s was about happiness: “The thing about happiness is that it doesn’t help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I’m grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I’ve had a privileged, creative, exciting life, and I think that the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me.” What an astoundingly insightful, thoughtful and intelligent woman! She didn’t suffer fools lightly – maybe that’s why she had so many husbands!


I’ll always remember Lana not as the “sweater girl” but as the self-assured, confident yet fatalistic Cora in “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” It’s no wonder the role was her personal favorite out of a long, long film career. In some way, Lana channeled her own personal turmoil into the film noir thriller and made her role all the more magnetic. She went through hell and came out the other side several times. She knew Hollywood was no bed of roses – and grew stronger for the thorns. So many actresses have followed in her footsteps but I think she was an absolute original in a town that is full of copycats – both then and now.

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.