Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cross-dressing classics

The latest string of old movies I have watched have great actors and an actress cross-dressing in the starring role.

I started with Tootsie (1982), followed this with Mrs. Doubtfire (2003). And finally ending with Yentl (1983). (Ok. I see how your eyebrows raised with that last one. I'll never forget the scene in "In & Out" where Kevin Kline vioilently disagrees with his buddy's statement "Barbra was too old for Yentl!").

The movies span quite a number of years. One is a period film musical.

I love the attention to feminine detail in Tootsie and Mrs.Doubtfire. The prosthesis was quite extensive for Robin Williams! However, that was a nuance sorely lacking in Yentl. She still looked like a woman. Her beautiful voice could not be disguised to sound even remotely masculine. (Well it IS a period film. They didn't have prosthetics then?!?.)

All three presented plausible reasons for such an audacious change. Being a serious musical, Yentl's reason was also quite compelling and even philosophical. The reason for a Mrs. Doubtfire transformation is weakest though. The movies repeatedly emphasized the awkward situations that are inherent in such situations. I find Tootsie superior to the other two. Again, it seemed so hard for me to believe that Mandy Pantinkin couldn't see through Barbra's disguise!

Inevitably, their gender needs in the romance department reassert themselves, a lot less in Mrs. Doubtfire. Again, Dustin handled the development of the romance most adeptly. Barbra was quite crude. (But Mandy was just plain gorgeous then. With a butt shot at that! So hard to reconcile this Mandy with Homeland!

Yentl and Tootsie voluntarily out themselves, with Tootsie in such a big way! Mrs Doubtfire is outed due to inebriation, which made for great comedy. I find Mandy's shift from outrage to possibly, affection, was just too brief to br believable.

In the end, all three movies were roles that played up on their strengths as performers. And for Barbra, that meant singing Bergman/Bergman lyrics to Michel Legrand's immensely beautiful music.

I end this with a less popular song but something that moves me everytime. The song "The Way He Makes Me Feel" can easily be about a young man as he starts to feel the stirrings of his homosexual heart towards a best buddy. It is conflicted, tortured yet wonderful and sensuous. I am going to perform this someday. :)

The Way He Makes Me Feel

There's no chill and yet I shiver
There's no flame and yet I burn
I'm not sure what I'm afraid of
And yet I'm trembling

There's no storm yet I hear thunder
And I'm breathless why I wonder
Weak one moment
Then the next I'm fine

I feel as if I'm falling every time I close my eyes
And flowing through my body is a river of surprise
Feelings are awakening
I hardly recognize as mine

What are all these new sensations?
What's the secret they reveal?
I'm not sure I understand
But I like the way I feel

Oh why, why, why, why, oh
Why is it that every time I close my eyes he's there?
The water shining on his skin the sunlight in his hair
And all the while I'm thinking things
That I can't wait to share with him

I'm a bundle of confusion
Yet it has a strange appeal
Did it all begin with him
And the way he makes me feel?

I like the way he makes me feel, he makes me feel
I like the way, I like the way he makes me feel


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:The Embarcadero,San Francisco,United States

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