Saturday, June 07, 2008

"Us Dogs Aren't Really So Much Of The Dogs That We Think We Are"

I watched Marty (Best Picture Oscar for 1955) a few days ago. I don't consider it a classic, but I can see why it was so well-liked, even though the script does scream these are Small people, with a capital "S."

But what got to me was Betsy Blair, who plays the "dog" that Marty meets. Okay, she's not a raving beauty, but you wouldn't call her ugly. In fact, if you took her away from the inflated standards of a Hollywood movie (compare her to a babe like Karen Steele, who plays just another housewife in the film), you'd call her cute.

How did women respond back then, seeing an attractive gal like Betsy Blair being called a "dog"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women back then? There hasn't been an "ugly" woman in any film I can think of who hasn't actually been a beautiful actress with (1) glasses, (2) a prostetic nose, (3) 15 extra pounds gained only for the role and worked off with personal trainers 10 minutes after filming,(4) a fat suit, (5) messed-up hair, or (6) some combination of the above. E.g., Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries; Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones Diary; Nicole Kidman in The Hours, etc. Meanwhile, extremely average-looking men abound in movies.
Often, wearing a fake nose is a great way to get nominated for an Oscar. Nothing could be such a stretch as a Hollywood actress playing ugly.

9:31 PM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

But in those films, we know the actresses are (normally) good-looking, whereas we're honestly supposed to accept Betsy Blair isn't.

By the way, I think a better example for Anne Hathaway is The Devil Wears Prada, where despite all the mockery she gets from everyone at the fashion magazine, it's obvious she's beautiful. I haven't read the novel, but I assume the protagonist was drawn as not better looking than everyone else, but that's not how they play it in the movies.

10:33 AM, June 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a weird thing -- the later use of beautiful actresses to "play" ugly may actually be a function of how uncomfortable it is for any woman to be labeled as plain. The producers don't want to do that so they go this other route with women everyone know really are beautiful.

I am convinced, however, that much of the acceptance of average looking guys stems not from the "genetics" arguments that men go for looks and women go for other qualities such as ability to earn a living. I actually think it's because men (probably average or ugly ones) have been writing the stories for so long in which the nerdly guy "gets the girl" (who by the way is always gorgeous) that we have all come to accept that scenario and sympathize with the nerd. Average women -- get your pens out!

11:12 AM, June 16, 2008  

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