Monday, October 04, 2004

Something to think about in the shower

I woke up to the news that Janet Leigh had died. For movie nuts like me, it's a bummer. She appeared in dozens of movies, from 1947 until recently, and she'll of course be remembered by most for the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), but she also starred in at least two other great films, Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958) and John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962). A very good case can be made for Anthony Mann's terrific James Stewart western The Naked Spur belonging to the realm of the greats, too. Leigh was famously married to fellow star Tony Curtis in the 1950s, with whom she had two daughters, including actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
Leigh fit a certain type, one Hitchcock always employed brilliantly: the classy, smart, beautiful blonde (blondes may have been icy in Hitchcock's films, but they were never dumb bimbos). It was this aura that made her demise in Psycho all the more shocking. Not only had Hitch killed off a major movie star only a third of the way into the movie, but it remains completely jarring to see the composed, gorgeous Leigh so viciously murdered. (Seeing her in a bra and slip with John Gavin in the film's opening shots was equally galling to 1960 movie audiences.) She later claimed she was never able to take a shower after Psycho, which seems improbable, but perfect.
So Janet Leigh is gone, and now we've got Hillary Duff movies. Wonderful.

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