- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

‘Proto-feminist’

“During her first assault on Hollywood, [Joan] Collins slept with so many men that she was known as the British Open. In later years, she would grandly claim that she was a proto-feminist exploring her sexuality and using her power to bewitch as leverage to get ahead in a man’s world. …

“For many of us, Collins did not really appear on the entertainment radar until she swaggered into ‘Dynasty’ in 1981. …

“During the late 1950s and early 1960s, when she was living in Los Angeles and trying to make it in films, she was at her sexual peak, thirsting for young men like a vampire thirsts for blood. …

“[Her] lovers included Charlie Chaplin Jr., Dennis Hopper, Robert Quarry, Robert Wagner … [Nicholas] Hilton … Harry Belafonte, Warren Beatty and even Taki Theodoracopulos.”

Jan Moir, writing on “Joan Collins: low cunning and high drama,” Sept. 20 in the London Telegraph

‘Brokeback’ values

“[T]he majority in Hollywood … green-lighted a troika of Matthew Shepherd movies after he was senselessly killed because it affirmed their gut feeling that a gay young man living in backward America is destined for death at the hands of hateful ultraconservatives. A street in West Hollywood still stands in his name despite ABC News reporting the story false: He was killed by crazed meth addicts for drugs and money — not because he was gay. Isn’t that tragic enough?

“Yet Shepherd is still the icon of gay victims’ rights, and the mistaken story of his ‘fate’ soon thereafter befell Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ The Oscar statuette stands as the exclamation point. Victimhood wears like a cashmere sweater in Hollywood, and the mistaken story line of red-state Americans as murderous homophobes is now a timeless artistic truth.

“Yet no L.A.-based gay rights group or concerned gay actor readies a film illustrating exactly how Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his 70-million-strong country ‘gay free.’ In the studio system these days, only white, conservative Christian Americans get that treatment. Maybe Tony Kushner doesn’t want the headache of a fatwa.”

Andrew Breitbart, writing on “A Brokeback mountain of lies,” Wednesday in Los Angeles Times “Dustup” at www.latimes.com

Smiling villain

“ ’The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ is a beautifully shot film, with gorgeous Midwestern vistas and constantly inventive visual metaphors. … [Director] Andrew Dominik … discovered something about the perpetually boyish [Brad] Pitt that nobody else has bothered to look for: He’s the perfect illustration for Hamlet’s caveat that ‘one may smile and be a villain.’

“With the advent of [computer-generated imagery] and ever-widening boundaries for disturbing content, filmmakers have come up with some fascinating portrayals of villainy, from Peter Jackson’s vision of Sauron in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to Alfonso Cuaron’s dementors in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.’

“None of them, though, are quite as scary as Jesse, because none of them are nearly as attractive, or as pitiable.”

Sam Thielman, writing on “Striking villain,” in the Oct. 6 issue of World Magazine

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