A tart with a heart
November 8, 2013Posted by on
Watching a television programme recently brought the theme ‘tarts with hearts’ to mind. That male fantasy epitomised by Julia Roberts in the film ‘Pretty Woman’, which was more a pastiche of ‘My Fair Lady‘ than a Shavian ‘Pygmalion‘ and one that I was not going to include in any post with this theme. While I reviewed a number videos to include here, I found myself collating an homage to Shirley Maclaine. So my ‘other tarts’ will have to wait until another time.
In my youth I was a Frank Sinatra aficionado and took every opportunity to go and see his films. While I had seen most of Shirley Maclaine’s films made before she appeared in ‘Some Came Running‘ (synopsis) with Sinatra, this film was the point at which she became memorable film ‘star’ to me. So much so that I had forgotten the parts played by Sinatra, Dean Martin and Martha Hyer. However, Ginny (Shirley Maclaine) was not the girl that you would take home to meet your mother.
Billy Wilder reprised the pairing from The Apartment of Shirley Maclaine and Jack Lemmon for the film Irma La Douce (synopsis). Based on the French musical Irma La Douce, this is the story of a real tart with a real heart and man who loses his. Here’s Maclaine reminiscing about her trip to Paris, researching her part of Irma amongst the prostitutes of Les Halles.
The film Sweet Charity (synopsis) directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse ranks up there with ‘All that Jazz’, especially the following memorable scene with Charity (Shirley Maclaine) singing and dancing to the music of ‘If my friends could see me now‘. Charity, while not Ginny from Some Came Running, like Ginny is desperate to be loved. Charity loses her heart frequently to men who can’t commit yet remains resolutely optimistic and worthy of a better man than Vittorio or Oscar.
The Apartment (review) is a Billy Wilder masterpiece. Fran Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine) is more of a ‘loose woman’ than a ‘tart’, at least in the language of the time. A time when male economic dominance afforded them social privileges over the female. More than a story in which two hearts are united in love, the film is a social commentary. I really liked the film, but then then I enjoy happy endings.