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February 26, 2006

The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part One

It's Oscar season, and it's time for the First Annual Annika's Journal Film Festival. This year, we will be taking a look at the career of Goldie Hawn, specifically Goldie Hawn's cute years,* from the late sixties to 1980.


Why Goldie Hawn? Because she's awesome. How many of you realize that Goldie Hawn won an Academy Award for her very first picture? That's a fact. Also, people always tell me I remind them of a young Goldie, which was probably more true when I was 20, but is still a nice compliment.

When you think that Goldie stumbled into acting (she started out wanting to be a dancer), her comic genius is even more impressive. I rank her talent as a comedienne on the same level as Marilyn's. In fact, I think Goldie took the next step in the evolution of the female comedienne. She played the ditzy character as well as Marylin, but embodied a new beauty ideal that was born in the sixties: the waif look.

But where Marylin played the dumb blonde so straight that people still think she was dumb in real life, Goldie always played it with a subtle wink. You get that same wink today from comediennes like Heather Graham and Cameron Diaz. They're too hip to be dumb. Thank Goldie for that.

Cactus Flower, 1969

cactusposter.jpgI just got done seeing this one again. I love this movie. The opening credits promise a lot: directed by Gene Saks (The Odd Couple, Barefoot In The Park), starring Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman, screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment), music by Quincy Jones, and Sarah Vaughan singing the theme song. Wow.

The plot reminds me of a Three's Company episode. It's a bedroom farce, and like all great bedroom farce, begins with a lie. Walter Matthau plays a dentist enjoying the bachelor life. In order to "keep things honest" he lies to his girlfriend, played by Goldie. He tells her he is married so he won't have to commit. But then, in a moment of weakness Matthau promises Goldie he'll divorce his wife and marry her. Hijinx ensue when big-hearted Goldie insists on meeting his wife to make sure she won't be hurt by the divorce. Now Matthau needs a pretend wife, and he picks his dental assistant, played by Ingrid Bergman in the title role. Bergman is a frumpy old maid who, like a cactus, occasionally produces a pretty blossom.

Goldie Hawn's performance is a revelation, as they say. This is the one that got her the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar. When she's onscreen, I'm afraid to look at anything else in case I miss one of her facial expressions or funny vocal inflections. There's a scene in which she teaches Ingrid Bergman's character to dance, which is hilarious and embarrassing at the same time.


Walter Matthau is an unlikely romantic lead, but if you remember The Odd Couple and even Charley Varrick, he always seems able to pull the chicks. And there is a sweet onscreen chemistry between him and Goldie. You just have to suspend your disbelief a little bit.


I love Goldie's outfits too. The burgundy velvet suit is very mod. She also wore a nice rust suede miniskirt and boots combo with a yellow turtleneck. And my favorite is pictured above: blue mock turtle, extra love beads, batik inspired capris, and mary janes. Extremely cute.

My rating (using the netflix 5-star system) is five stars. A very witty, sweet and enjoyable romantic comedy with that innocent sixties hipness that you can't find in Hollywood anymore.

* When I say her "cute years" I don't mean to imply that Goldie ever stopped being hot. Did you see her on Larry King recently? I hope I look that good at 60. She looks 40.

Posted by annika, Feb. 26, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Let's Go To Hollywood


I love Goldie. She's honest, she's tough, and not a lot of people realize she's said to have a high IQ. I believe it. It takes a smart person to do comedy well. She's also been a success as both a director and a producer - no small feats.

Re believing Goldie would be attracted to Matthau in "Cactus Flower": I think that was more believable when the movie came out, and women had less economic opportunity, and a man's economic success was maybe a bigger part of his attractiveness than it is today.

Posted by: gcotharn on Feb. 26, 2006

She's always been one of my all-time faves. Thanks for this post.

Posted by: red on Feb. 26, 2006

Chuh, Ingrid Bergman was the sexy biatch in this movie. It is truly a classic.

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 26, 2006

Fuck seeing her on Larry King; I saw her on M St walking her dogs, a year or two ago, and she looked fabulous!

Posted by: Victor on Feb. 27, 2006

Didn't she marry THE one-eyed Snake?

Posted by: reagan80 on Feb. 27, 2006

Cactus Flower is a little too sixties for me. I liked her best in Foul Play, and Shampoo. However, and this is something few people understand. I never had any sexual attraction to her whatsoever. Not even a little bit. She was similar to Doris Day in that respect.
Not all pretty women have sex appeal, and not all unatractive women lack it. It just depends on the kinds of things you like. It is like when I argue about who was sexier with my Dad, he thinks Marilyn Monroe was the sexiest woman to ever live. I think that she wasn't even the sexiest woman of the 1950's. That would have been either Natalie Wood, or Elizabeth Taylor to me.

Posted by: Kyle N on Feb. 27, 2006

haha, you mean Kurt Russell? No they never have gotten married.

As for Kurt Russell movies, it's hard to top Escape From NY, but I recently saw Miracle, which was damn good. And he was excellent in it.

Kyle, count me in that group of people who doesn't understand. But I would agree that Elizabeth Taylor was probably the hottest babe of the fifties (Butterfield 8... wow), with the possible exception of Ava.

Posted by: annika on Feb. 27, 2006

Indeed. Besides the John Carpenter flicks, Stargate was another one of his better films.

I also love Russell because he bucks the typical Leftist Hollywood trend. He's a Libertarian.

Here's what Wikipedia said:

[Russell is a prominent member of the United States Libertarian Party. He claims that he was often an outcast in Hollywood because of his Libertarian beliefs, and so moved to live in an area outside Aspen, Colorado, where he started to try his hand at writing (he co-wrote Escape from L.A.). In February 2003, Russell and Hawn moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, so that their son could play hockey.]

Posted by: reagan80 on Feb. 27, 2006