Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Kim Novak

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Kim Novak - Stardates: Born February 13, 1933, Chicago, Illinois. Star Sign: Aquarius. Star Qualities: Exquisite face and voluptuous body, air of dreamy vulnerability. Star definition: "She has the quality of Monroe and Dietrich and that is remarkable because she is a studio created star." -- Billy Wilder. Galaxy of Characters: Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin in The Eddy Duchin Story, Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton in Vertigo, Betty Preisser in Middle of the Night, Polly the Pistol in Kiss Me, Stupid.

Meeting at her cheap hotel room, the transformation of Novak's Judy Barton into Madeleine Elster is almost complete. James Stewart's Scottie Ferguson has convinced her to wear similar clothes and even dye her hair platinum blonde; all she has to do is pin it up to complete the illusion. She at first protests, but relents when she sees the pained yearning in his eyes, and steps into the restroom to finish the job. Scottie waits for a seeming eternity, the green light of the hotel's tacky marquee bleeding into the room, symbolizing his selfish, unquenchable thirst for the dead woman he can no longer have. The door finally opens, and out steps, not Judy, but Madeleine, bathed in the emerald glow, a spectre from his past, now standing passionately before him.

Only the master, Alfred Hitchcock, could pull off a scene so audacious, so intrinsically sexual, as this one from his masterpiece, Vertigo.

Vertigo airs tomorrow on TCM at 11:15 PM EST.

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