Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Faye-ing Away!

We've amassed a small collection of portraits that feature our favorite actress of the post-1970 era and it's time to show them off. Faye Dunaway was the subject of a tribute here years ago, but it's been a while since I turned the spotlight to her, so here we go with a look at some striking photos of her. This first one, even with a healthy dollop of mascara, seems to show her off at her most natural from the time of her debut on the Hollywood scene.

Her look in the movie that shot her to superstardom, Bonnie and Clyde (1967.)
The retro, '20s-with-a-twist fashions from Bonnie met head-on with the late-'60s mod make-up to create a personal look that was all her own until it took the nation (if not the world!) by storm and gave way to many imitators.
For 1968's A Place for Lovers, she adopted a more classic, sophisticated style (though few viewers likely stayed awake long enough to see everything!)
That same year in The Thomas Crown Affair, she rocked a series of funky late-'60s hats and dresses in what was a big hit.
Experimenting with a long fall @ 1968.
The Arrangement (1969) marked the end of her mod phase as she began to segue into westerns and contemporary dramas.
It was in 1973's The Three Musketeers that Dunaway entered my life and changed it for good. Her bejeweled, scheming Milady de Winter was a mind-boggling presence to my six year-old brain.
The 1974 follow-up (filmed at the same time) The Four Musketeers went even further in generating my awe for the woman and I can still watch every frame of this performance with rapt attention.
She scored big with Chinatown (1974), too, but what really sealed the deal for all eternity with me was being confronted by her goddess-like elegance in The Towering Inferno (1974.) Something clicked the day my seven year-old self saw this movie and I've been obsessed ever since!
Dunaway's own career highpoint came with her Oscar-winning turn as a fire-breathing TV executive in 1976's Network.
Roles were strangely sporadic in the wake of that win from the outre thriller Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) to the tearjerker The Champ (1979), in which her reviews were derogatory (Leonard Maltin said she looked like she wanted to bed down with her son, Ricky Schroeder, pictured with her here!) A somnambulant role in The First Deadly Sin (1980) helped little.
An unbelievably meaty role in Mommie Dearest (1981), portraying allegedly-abusive screen legend Joan Crawford, might have turned the tide in her favor, but instead the unhinged debacle kicked off a phase of high camp which 1983's The Wicked Lady did nothing to halt.
1984's Supergirl, in which she was an evil sorceress, was basically "Mystical Mommie Dearest." As part three of a villainous trifecta, it solidified her image as an over-the-top camp icon and drove her off the big screen for years.
Dunaway, now having resided in England for several years, worked in made-for-TV fare like the negligible Agatha Christie mystery Thirteen at Dinner (1985), which kept her squarely in the glitzy, campy arena as she took on a dual role.
It had to have been rough to wake up one day in 1986 and examine the ravages of time on her once astonishing face. Beverly Hills Madam (1985), again casting her as a dragon lady, but one with a teensy bit of heart, was one of the last times we'd see this face.
After some cosmetic procedures, a tuned-up Dunaway began to focus on a wider array of roles, often in low-budget art films such as Burning Secret (1988.) There had also been a successful stab at serious, dressed-down character acting in 1987's Barfly.
She was, however, still tough to beat when a haughty woman of means and deviousness was called for as in The Handmaid's Tale (1990.) Her new looks helped to keep her viable as a working actress in a town that is unforgiving to those who age.
She continued to nip and tuck, however, and by the time of 1991's Scorchers, she was barely recognizable as her former self!
Nevertheless, once I got used to this new visage, I found myself still drawn to her vivacious, juicy supporting roles such as this one in The Temp (1993.) She looked nothing short of amazing throughout the movie and gave us a nice taste of the glamorous bitch many of us still craved.
A rather rare foray into (intentional) comedy came with Dunston Checks In (1996), an orangutan movie that is often reviled, but which is elegantly appointed and which features a deliciously domineering performance by Dunaway as a glamorous blend of Leona Helmsley and Ivana Trump. Dunaway worked non-stop in a huge array of TV and movie projects through the 2000s, always hoping to gain enough financial backing to craft her dream project (a feature version of her hit play "Master Class"), though that has yet to come to fruition.
I leave you with this rare shot of Miss D. sporting a bikini and looking fabulous!

6 comments:

Michael O'Sullivan said...

Lovely tribute to Faye, one of my enduring favourite (a la Loren, Vitti, Christie, Remick, Hayward, MM, Dietrich, Garbo, Davis, both Hepburns, Ava, Liz, Kerr, Simmons, Romy, Aimee, Moreau .... stop me please). Faye and Julie Christie were really the faces of the 60s/70s. I love Faye's goddessy period - late 60s, perfectly caught in THOMAS CROWN and PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD, then she went brunette in the 70s - but her Milady in the MUSKETEEER films was a blonde villainess to die for and for me CHNATOWN is as much her film as Jack's.
It would be nice to see her get one last good role - like Christie did in AWAY FROM HER. Faye is still here and should be a force to be reckoned with (despite that tape of her ranting on the phone...).
She was actually very nice on a UK chat show some years ago (the fabulous hands covered in lace gloves) promoting some minor movie that never appeared here - she gamely playing along with the host, who before asking her about it, just had to know what it was like working with Jack, Warren, Robert, Paul, Steve etc.

Michael O'Sullivan said...

It was bizarre too seeing her in a nothing role like Mrs Van Hopper in a REBECCA remake - which Florence Bates made so memorable in Hitch's original. The remake which Faye was in was so inept nothing was made of her big moment when she discovers her companion is going to marry Max ....

iain said...

Unfortunately, she is, despite her lovely screen presence and daunting resume, a remarkably unpleasant woman to deal with off-screen; not however in the Mommie Dearest class, but difficult enough. My own experience of her - sorry to say it - *arrogance* was actually laughable. There are numerous stories of her disagreeability from those of my friends in the Industry who have had to work with her.
Gayle Hunnicutt... now *there* was a sparklingly lovely woman who had the sense to quit the business.

Gingerguy said...

I recently heard a rumor she was working on a book about "Mommie" and would love to know the answers to so many questions about her performance in that. Love her or hate her, she is a fascinating Actor. I can easily put aside any negative feelings, just recently watched "Laura Mars" (which melted my fashion crazy 13 yr old mind), and "Chinatown". The way she looks in "Thomas Crown" is amazing. There is a scene at the beach and her hair, sweater, and lipstick are all the same shade of gold. She is gorgeous, polarizing, frustrating, and fabulous. And thanks to this posting Poseidon there are a couple of campy ones I hadn't heard of. Yay!

rico said...

I admire the hell out of Faye and she has three key classic movies from the '60s and '70s on her resume: Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown, and Network. That's a rare feat. Lots of popular favorites and more than a few camp favorites, too. And I don't care how long movie fans argue about Mommie Dearest, Faye gave it her all. Can you imagine if it had been done as an early '80s TV movie with say, Linda Gray as Joan Crawford? Frankly, I think Faye and JC were two of a kind, in every sense!

I think it's a shame that Faye doesn't work much anymore, but frankly, I think she's brought it on herself, what with her difficult reputation and too much plastic surgery. With just a little less of each, Faye could be enjoying a resurgence like Jane Fonda...

Poseidon3 said...

Michael, so glad to see that you have some love for Ms. Dunaway. "Puzzle," which is one of if not THE favorite film of her own that she ever did, is one of the few I've never seen! Someday... I couldn't agree more with you that it would be great for her to get a great latter-day part. It seemed, after high profile movies like "Don Juan de Marco" and "The Chamber" that perhaps it might be in the wings, but not so far... (and, of course, she is trying to make it happen with Master Class to no avail.) I recently saw her scenes in that "Rebecca" redux (some brave and wonderful soul has gone and taken ALL of her scenes from a wide variety of projects and cobbled them into little 8 and 10 minute or so movies on youtube!) I couldn't believe it when they didn't have the scene in which Max and Mrs. Hopper sort of square off over the girl!

Iain, while I do indeed hear what you're saying, I think that many a man of a certain stature has probably acted any way he damn well pleased and it's taken in stride more than with a woman (and there are few women who've had the career of Faye.) I definitely don't think she is due the right to have arrogance (not to mention rudeness.) Confidence I could understand. Still... as pretty and nice as Gayle Hunnicutt is, there is no comparison whatsoever to what she brings/brought to the table and what Dunaway could. It actually takes a pretty steely persona (or some great protection) to cut it for the long haul in this business. I doubt Faye has much protection, so to speak, these days and has to stand up for herself herself.

Gingerguy, I'll have to revisit the "Thomas Crown" moment you speak of. Vague memories. I would LOVE for her to come to terms with "Mommie Dearest!" She did explore it some in her auto-bio, but you can tell she's still not okay with it.

Rico, for obvious reasons, I avoided and truly recent pictures of her. Just a haircut would make me happy at this point! I don't like all that Mamie Van Doren-ish hair on her at this age... I agree with you completely on all counts. Of course, Jane took one HELL of a long time off while Faye was still riding the wave and trying to keep a career going. What's the old saying? "How can we miss you when you won't go away??" LOL Curiosity value has helped Jane, too!