Early this month, a female asked me who I found pretty. Of course, I replied her. I’m not stupid. She insisted on a more public figure. My first two responses were easy: Claudette Colbert in the Walls of Jericho scene of It Happened One Night, and Audrey Hepburn in the opening Princess scene of Roman Holiday. I just bought Roman Holiday at the store, on a $10 special. The clerk wondered if I had been inspired by the Gap window across the street. I was not; I refuse to link to the commercial because it saddens me.
My companion that day made me choose a living woman as well. This was more difficult, because I find elegance extremely attractive. Modern female movie and TV stars are under constant pressure to bare more, look wanton instead of refined. I chose someone I wish I would meet at an alumni event, Natalie Portman. She’s an oddity. This is a shame. One online review put it well, as things look different “in an era where Angelina Jolie would be half naked, tatted up and ready for danger”. There are lots of advantages to my classical beauties.
First, neither have an extreme figure. Claudette was very typical, 5′ 4 1/2″, 32 1/2 B – 25 – 34. Audrey was willowy at 5′ 7″, 34A – 20 – 34. Audrey was considered a woman’s size 6 or 8 in the 1950s, but would be about a 0 today. (Humorously, Jennifer Love Hewitt played Audrey in a biopic, and Ms. Hewitt has very different measurements. The movie had to adapt.) Natalie is 5′ 4″ and a little underweight from most reports, but not dangerously so. (It’s extremely impolite to give a living woman’s weight or size. Search the Internet if you really want to know.) In other words, a woman can be very attractive without being unhealthily thin, or overly busty, or saddled under a knife. Yes, there are natural gifts that make the ladies stunning; I won’t deny that, and not everyone can become fabulously handsome or winsome or whatever adjective one wants to use for “hot”. Say me. That said, it’s not necessary to be pneumatic or sickly. This is the main point.
Let me add something about the movies. Both movies are great, with really honorable parts that I enjoy. Both actresses won an Oscar. If I ever get around to listing my favorite movies, and why, they’ll both make my top 20. That will need to wait. I was just going to point out these women, but the Amazon page had a very insightful comment by Ms. Ivy Lin:
“The bickering-but-respectful relationship between Peter and Ellie is an interesting contrast to a film made 20 years later, Roman Holiday. Roman Holiday is a film with a similar storyline, but the gender politics have changed. Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) has none of the eccentricity of Peter Warne (who’s shown chewing a carrot), but is the romantic knight in shining armor. Audrey Hepburn’s Princess is charming and doe-eyed, not brash and cheeky like Ellie.”
Even over 20 years, from the 30s to the 50s, the roles have gotten less complicated, more standardized, more Disneyfied. It’s gotten worse today. Could the intelligence and wit of Peter and Ellie be attempted? No. We get Wedding Crashers. Could the complications of Joe and the Princess be presented? No. Things would magically clean up without consequences like The Lion King. Movies have gotten stupider and courser. Do I need to refer to the top movie of this weekend?
Movies, to some extent, have always been about fantasy. There were and are very few women like Ellie Andrews. There were and are very few Princesses. These films are not reality. I know that. Instead, they offered an alternative of elegance and responsibility and madcap action. Now, the alternatives are M-Fing Snakes and Human Bait Fishing. I much rather prefer my fantasies and my fantasy women. Much.