Monday, April 3, 2017

I Hope Sarah Paulson Was Paid Well, For Her All Too Brief Appearance, As Geraldine Page, In "Feud!!!!!!!!!!"

                                 When I heard Sarah Paulson was going to play Geraldine Page in Ryan Murphy's "Feud--Bette And Joan," I worried.   How could Paulson impersonate page, the actress, with the only other possible exception being Deborah Kerr, I dubbed "the spinster's Spinster."  Both she and Kerr excelled at playing unmarried women past their prime.

                                    "How does Geraldine Page figure in all this?," David asked me.  It gave me pause.  Page had her own venture into pycho-biddydom, with 1969's "What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice?"  And cast opposite Ruth Gordon, who turns out to be the sane one of the piece, no less!!!!!!!!!  Go figure!

                                      But 'Alice' was seven years past the whole Bette-Joan, 'Baby Jane' thing.  And Geraldine Page was primarily a stage actress.  Then I remembered she was one of the nominees, up against Bette, for her brilliant performance in "Sweet Bird Of Youth," recreating her stage role as the Princess Kosmonopolis, otherwise known as Alexandra del Lago, a faded film star.

                                       The 1963 Oscars, for 1962 films, were outstanding for the talent on hand that year.  It IS a crime Joan was not nominated for 'Baby Jane'--she really SHOULD have been, even in the Supporting Actress category--but that was then.

                                         Since Paulson was making her initial appearance as Geraldine Page, on the show; this should have been her night to shine.  But girls, I am telling you, if you blinked your eyes, or turned away for a second, you missed Paulson's entire performance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          The name of this episode was "And The Winner Is...," which makes sense,  But it really should have been called "Cheap Shots," because outside of Paulson's almost spot on portrayal of Page, and the actress playing Anne Bancroft, none of the others even remotely suggested whom they were impersonating! Anthony Crivello as David Lean????????  Come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John Rubinstein as George Cukor??????????????  Not even close!!!!!!!!!!!!  And those impersonating Gregory Peck, Patty Duke, and Maximillian Schell were all on a par with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia De Havilland!  And did she REALLY accompany Bette to the ceremonies?  By the time this episode was over, I could care less.

                                          One more thing.  How could the writers allow Pauslon's Geraldine Page to come off as so subservient and mousy?????????  Come on; for starters, she was married to Rip Torn!!!!!!!!!!!!   But Geraldine was a consummate actress, known for the theater's greatest roles!!!!!!!!!   Don't tell me she did not have some kind of ego!!!!!!!!!!!   She would not have gotten to where she had, if she lacked one!  Hers was as healthy as Bette and Joan's.  So the writers did Page an injustice.  Sarah gets her look, voice, and Method mannerisms.  But the writers get it all wrong!!!!!!!!!!

                                          Still, the look of Sarandon's Davis upon her loss, is genuinely heartbreaking.  It was a tough year.  Both she and Bancroft gave iconic performances, proven by the fact that, fifty five years later, they are still watched, studied, and appreciated.

                                            I DID love the campy sequence where Crawford accepts Bancroft's Oscar, and then takes it home, placing it beside her "Mildred Pierce" one.  Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!! Because, in reality, I believe the way things worked, was the winner stand in, once backstage, had to relinquish the award to an Academy official, so that it be delivered to the right party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            A lot of liberties have been taken with this episode.  Which begs the question--

                                           The basic thrust of the story is now done.  Why go on?  Why not just end it here, with some kind of wrap up?????????????

                                            Where can the show possibly go, now?????????????????????

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