Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Turn Unstoned


After all the moving and painting, I was looking at the bookcases in what is now the kitchen nook/library, and came across No Turn Unstoned: The Worst Ever Theatrical Reviews.

As the title says, this is a book of essays collected by an actress who has appeared on stage, screen, and television, Diana Rigg. When I was a teenager, Rigg played the inimitable Emma Peel, of the original Avengers, a British show that made it to the States, and like fifteen million other teenage boys, I was in serious lust with Mrs. Peel. She was the first of the Competent Women of whom I became aware in the visual media -- a smart-kick-ass-take-names-smiling-all-the-while kind of babe. Along with her partner, John Steed, who was to Brits what Hawk from the Spenser novels and later TV show was to Americans, they romped through the silliest spy adventures you can imagine.

They don't hold up well, those old episodes, but Rigg still does, despite her advanced years.

Um. Anyway, while I'm not a fan of critics, a thing I've mentioned a time or eighty here, I do appreciate somebody who is a good writer, and some critics are. One of my favorites was Dorothy Parker's take on Katherine Hepburn, whose performance, she offered, demonstrated the range of emotions from A to B ... (Parker was a true wit and I also like her take on money: "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.")

Perhaps the shortest -- and one of the nastiest reviews I ever saw for a book was for Stephen King's massive novel, It.

Two letters, inside parentheses placed in front of the title:

(Sh)

The book had its problems, but it wasn't that bad. Still brevity is sometimes the soul of wit, and you have to give the writer points for that one ...

6 comments:

Dan Gambiera said...

S. J. Perlmann's review of a performance of Hamlet:

"Funny without being vulgar."

The New Yorker on Hound of the Baskervilles

"Cave Canum"

Dojo Rat said...

Yummm.
Emma Peel.

Oh yes, I remember also...

Ken Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Johnson said...

Emma Peel (sighs)...

Best combination of leather & lace ever. For me, I can't think of another female screen/TV character who comes close to her.

Steve Perry said...

I did a post about this, couple years back:

http://themanwhonevermissed.blogspot.com/2007/07/tough-girls.html

Ken Johnson said...

ref the 2007 tough girl post. Yes, those are all good choices.

And what about Pam Grier & Michelle Yeoh?