My Girl Rosalind

Oh, Rosalind Russell, how I do love thee!

She spent the 1930′s playing fragile upper-class ladies as in China Seas in which Gable is attracted to Roz’s high-born gentility, but in the end what he really wants is to get down-n-dirty with Jean Harlow. Or Night Must Fall, where she plays an upper-crust lady’s repressed niece. Etc etc. Always parts that called for her to be a genteel violet.

But then……oh, but then….

Then came 1939′s THE WOMEN. Can I sing the praises of this movie enough? No, it is not possible. In it Roz plays one of my idols, Mrs. Sylvia Fowler. She had to beg for the role, because no one believed that she could play comedy. How she showed them! Roz took all that previous experience, honed it to a vicious stileto-point, and showed us the flip-side of all those genteel ladies. The bitchiness. The back-stabbing. The catty, nosey, gossip-mongering that is the life’s blood of the country-club set. And she was glorious at it! Who wouldn’t want to be Sylvia, with her fabulous hats, her tri-weekly manicures (Jungle Red, please), and her dirt-gathering expertise? She dug up the dish on that annoying Norma Shearer and spread it around. She even went bitch-to-bitch vs. the Mighty Crawford! Sylvia, you are a goddess! And Roz embodied it with great comic timing and aplomb.

(right: Russell v. Crawford in The Women)

If you’ve never seen The Women, you’re missing out. Why that film doesn’t make more lists of Top Gay Icon films of All-Time, I truly do not know.

Anyway, and Roz followed the women as Cary Grant’s hardnosed His Girl Friday and again, who wouldn’t want to be that?

If she had only just made those two movies, her fame would be assured, but she went on to four Oscar noms and a very sucessful Broadway career in the 1950′s racking up Tony awards and having a huge success with Auntie Mame.

I’ll close this tribute with some words of wisdom from Ms. Russell herself:

“Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic.”

Happy birthday, Roz. Today I’ll bust out the Jungle Red polish just for you…

One Response to “My Girl Rosalind”

  1. babs Says:

    I adore her as well. I would have to agree with the fact that the Women deserves to be on the list of top ten Gay Movies of all-time. Next to Valley of the Dolls, which I just watched. She’s also in Mourning Becomes Electra, I believe, and I don’t love O’Neill enough to merit watching it. I did see Night must fall on TMC one time, as I’d done theater in high school. She rocks my world.

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