Thursday, November 05, 2009

"it's whisky, I can taste it... it's whisky!"

Oliver Reed is one of my favorite actors. Even in my early childhood I remember knowing who this ballsy Englishman was. He first came to my attention after watching a TV afternoon matinee of the Hammer classic Curse of the Werewolf. I was a tremendous Hammer fan, and the regular Hammer cast members were pretty much an automatic on the list of actors-I-think-do-clearly-rule. But there was something else about Reed that drew me to him. He was intensely frightening, but at the same time a gentlemens' gentleman.

In a random youtube search for Shelly Winters (it's fun to random search on youtube!!), I came across this bizarre exchange between Ms. Winters (another of my favorite actors -- thus the random youtube search) and Mr. Reed. It happened on the Late Show, where both were guests of Johnny Carson's. Neither had worked with the other, nor had they met previously. But, the fireworks were almost instantaneous.

How could they NOT rub each other the wrong way? She was a very vocal feminist from way back, and he was a firm and outspoken believer that the woman's place was in the kitchen.

What's most enjoyable about this videotaped tiff between egos is the ferocity that juxtaposes the civility. Winters whole persona is one of crassness -- her roles are littered with woman who speak their minds -- but she is still apologetic for her exuberant interruptions. And Reed is simply the typical English gentleman, who can shush her without ever uncrossing his proper legs. In a pop culture world riddled with celebrity feuds between adults who shoot out insults that would make a 7th Grader roll her eyes, it's great to see a couple egos be genuinely entertaining while bickering.

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