Wednesday 19 May 2010

Annie Hayworth vs Suzanne Pleshette

This week my contribution to the Colette Patterns blog was a homage to one of my favourite characters on the silver screen: Annie Hayworth! She is the lovely but melancholic local school teacher in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) who moved to sleepy Bodega Bay to be close to the male protagonist, Mitch Brenner, despite having been jilted by him. The warm, earthy brunette provides a perfect contrast to the icy blonde beauty Melanie Daniels (played by Melanie Griffith's mum, Tippi Hedren), Brenner's new love interest.

A helpful commenter on the Colette Patterns post named lsaspacey perseptively noted:

'Hitchcock set up the same situation in two other of his films. Though these character’s were definitely NOT the same as Annie in looks and sexuality, he did play dark-haired Thelma Ritter (Stella) against Grace Kelly (Lisa) in Rear Window and dirty blond Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge and Dallas’ Miss Ellie!) against Kim Novak (Judy/Madeleine) in Vertigo. The cool blond versus the stand-up, straight-talking earthy girl.'

But, seriously Mitch? Why on earth would you choose Melanie over Annie? LOOK AT HER! She oozes sex and mystery, intelligence and passion. To me, Melanie Daniels oozes spoilt overgrown Daddy's princess, and probably way too accustomed to getting her own way. The only explanation I can come up with is that Hitchcock's intention for the character of Annie Hayworth was something a lot more pedestrian and homey. He just hadn't banked on the actress Suzanne Pleshette's innate sensual qualities that just could not be supressed for the role!

Need proof? Check out these three images are from a pulp fiction novel-turned-pulp film entitled A Rage To Live in which she starred in 1965 to see just what she is capable.

Columnist Hedda Hopper described Suzanne Pleshette as a young actress in 1962 thus:

“Suzanne Pleshette is the sort to make truck drivers whistle and wolves come running, but there’s a lot more than that. There’s intrigue and delicate sophistication, sound balance, and a keen mind along with star talent.”

For her part, Pleshette had an awareness of herself that belied her twenty-five years.

“I think my personality precedes my looks. I’m candid to a fault without being cruel. I have a faculty for saying what I think without editing what I say. I have a great zest for life. I look forward to every day and the people that I meet. I love any situation that affords humor and I’ll respond to it.”

With her obvious intelligence, self-knowledge and stunning looks combined with her distinct husky voice and well documented penchant for smutty jokes, upon closer analysis I feel my adoration for Annie Hayworth has been eclipsed by my admiration for Pleshette herself.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that second to last photo is just gorgeous! I must have a dress like hers RIGHT NOW!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Mind you, if you wore the outfit in the 3rd-to-last picture (v.v.v. low neckline + peter-pan collar), you'd never get a straight man to talk to your face ever again LOL!

[I mis-typed my last post (above) - hence it's deletion.]

Peter Lappin said...

Love Suzanne Pleshette!

Fawn and Flower said...

I love Annie Hayworth's voice. It's so sultry! Classy but odd in that Elizabeth Taylor, kind of weird, why-do-you-sort-of-have-an-accent way, you know? Enunciates everything just so but still comes off super fancy. I have a crow tattooed on my left arm because of that film! :)

Stacy said...

I love Hitchcock movies too. Never could understand the attraction to that cold princess, Melanie. (Grace Kelly in Rear that's another matter!)

Thanks for posting these gorgeous photos of Suzanne! I especially love that peter-pan collar /polka-dot outfit with the cleavage. So wholesome, and yet...not. A complicated woman, just like most of us. :)

lsaspacey said...

Thanks for the shout-out! I'm also a fan of Suzanne's contemporary, Paula Prentiss, especially in Man's Favorite Sport with Rock Hudson. She's another brassy, deep-voiced brunette.

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