Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 117 minutes
A truly random collection of movies comprises Leading Ladies Collection Volume 2, five films offering juicy roles to esteemed actresses. The ladies in question are, without a doubt, acting up a storm. The oldest title in the bunch is I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956), a look at the troubled life of alcoholic singer Lillian Roth, given a typically from-the-guts performance by Susan Hayward. Hayward even does her own singing, although her style can best be described as "belting." She and director Daniel Mann seize on the new frankness of the era, providing a no-holds-barred description of addiction as well as some handy psychoanalyzing. Hayward snagged an Oscar nomination for her work; a couple of extra features give a taste of the real Roth at work. A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966) has the feel of a TV Western upgraded with a spiffy big-name cast. Henry Fonda and Joanne Woodward are the rube couple sucked into a high-stakes poker game in Laredo one day, where the wife must take over the cards when hubby falls ill. A delicious cast of character actors (Jason Robards and Charles Bickford among them) and a twisty plot make this an enjoyable, if modest, outing. Up the Down Staircase (1967) is one of the cinema's signature "inspirational teacher" movies, with Sandy Dennis (fresh from an Oscar win for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) as the idealistic instructor at an inner-city school. The movie still has appeal, in the form of Robert Mulligan's realistic direction and Dennis's Method-acting fragility. Rich and Famous (1981) was the final film for a Hollywood legend, director George Cukor, who made many a classic "women's picture" in his time. Thus it's fitting that he guide Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen in performances that appealingly tweak their usual images, and still represent some of their best work. It's a remake of a Bette Davis-Miriam Hopkins picture, Old Acquaintance, about the enduring bond between two frequently-bickering writers. Finally, Shoot the Moon (1982) is a view of divorce that rarely gets below the surface, despite the full-bore performances by Albert Finney and Diane Keaton as the tormented couple. Director Alan Parker brings his slick approach to bear, and Finney and Keaton sneak in whatever subtlety they can around the edges. --Robert Horton
OH! Look what ya did! And ya DID IT ON PURPOSE! You're still trying to make me do what you want, to be what you want! I can't be anything except what I am! Look, look what did you drop that bottle for? What are you trying to do, drive me crazy? Go on, GET THE BOTTLE! GET IT NOW!
Alright! Alright! Alright, it's my fault, huh? I made you become an actress, you didn't want to, alright. I've been a bad mother, you had to support me, alright! Alright! ALRIGHT, EVERYTHING! Just this, and for once in your life you're gonna hear it! Do you know at all why I did it, do you? No you don't! Do you know what kind of a life I had, do you know what it was like to live with your father, put up with his mistakes and afterwards to be left alone with nothing? No money, no career, not young anymore, nothing to fall back on? No you don't! You don't know at all what I tried to save you from, the kind of freedom I never had! I tried to give to you by making you LILLIAN ROTH!
So you admit it! You invented Lillian Roth! Alright, now look at me. I said look at me, don't turn your face away! I'm the looking glass you created to see yourself in! Alright, alright see yourself now in me! Look at this ugly picture! And then GET OUTTA HERE! But keep this picture before your face for as LONG AS YOU LIVE!
It's true! Oh, God help me! I owe you this. Every single word of it is true.