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World Famous, in Poland

I’ve had a soft spot for the late Anne Bancroft ever since I happened to see An Audience with Mel Brooks on cable in 1983. He was pushing his new film, To Be or Not To Be, which as it happens may have been the last of his movies to be really good, but anyway he did an hour of stand-up, taking questions from the audience full of famous actors. And plants. In fact, the whole audience may have been planted. The questions were obviously plants. At one point, a woman wearing dark glasses and a scarf asks “Is it true you are married to the most beautiful woman in the world?” “Certainly not,” says Mr. Brooks, “I’m married to Anne Bancroft.” The woman was, of course, Ms. Bancroft, who then came forward and did a bit of shtick of some kind with her husband, I forget what. Anyway, I thought it was great, particularly for a woman of a certain age, once glamorous, to participate in that sort of joke about herself. Of course, I was pretty young at the time. On the other hand, I still think it’s a good bit.

Anyway, despite my affection for her, I’ve never really been knocked out by her films, with the sole exception of 84 Charing Cross Road, a real three-hankie job. Yes, yes, the Graduate. I wasn’t knocked out. Yes, yes, the Miracle Worker. I wasn’t knocked out. I kinda liked her in Torch Song Trilogy, although by 1988 I considered myself hip enough to disdain the movie version. I was vaguely interested in seeing her play an updated Miss Haversham, although as I pointed out at the time, you knew she could do it, and you knew Robert DeNiro could do Magwitch, and it would be far more interesting to see them switch parts.

Well, there it is. I can’t help thinking that she was about to do one more brilliant role, that there was one more fantastic part left for her, and she never got around to it. Still, I suppose there’s hardly any good actor you can’t say that about, and those that you know didn’t have one more role left in them, well, that’s even more depressing, isn’t it?

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,

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