joi, 16 februarie 2023

RIP Raquel Welch

Also this day has come...(15 Feb. 2023) one of the most beautiful women that walked the planet into the screen is gone. A real Goddess! Unbelievable, Raquel Welch was 82 now...She as born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago on September 5th 1940, her father Bolivian, her mother Irish-American. Her first job was on TV as a weatherwoman! She had four husbands and two daughters. 
During the "pandemic" in 2020 I caught up with some of her films, the excellent Hannie Caulder (1971), a revenge western that has a touch s feminism in in. Then saw again the whodunnit The Last of Sheila (1973, a model for the new Glass Onion mystery). About her his co-star James Mason said infamously, that she was "the most selfish, ill-mannered, inconsiderate actress that I have ever had the displeasure of working with."..)  Why he said that, beats me. It's the only bad thing I heard about her really.
Then saw the spaghetti interracial western 100 Rifles (1969), where she made love with/to Jim Brown. Also I saw a lot of documentary stuff and interviews on youtube. I was still mesmerized by mrs. Welch.
And I still am. She is immortal, you know? 
But the first time I saw her on the big screen as a child was not as Luana in One Million Years B.C. (1966), that ran in Romania under her name title-Luana and that I caught up at Cinema Popular in the early Eighties. No, it was as Constance de Bonacieux in Richard Lester's Three Musketeers (part one & two 1973/74). She won a Golden Globe for that part. The film played around 1976/77 in Cluj, where I was in primary school. 

And she was in the posters of Romanian Cinema magazine, the Cinemas postcard and a lot of photos in the mag. The film I mostly wanted to see with her those days was Fantastic Voyage (1966), her breakthrough role, which I finally saw on TV only in the early 90's and I taped it on VHS...til the DVD...
Also in Romanian theaters was L'animal, the Claude Zidi comedy from 1977 with her and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Which was kinda her last important part. In 1982 she was fired from the set of Cannery Row (that was meant to be her comeback and her first nudity role!) and successfully sued the studio earning a reported 15 million $!!! She went on TV movies, Fitness and yoga programs, and playing herself (in Seinfeld in 1997).  Wrote her biography, "Beyond the Cleavage" in 2000. She was on Broadway, the lead on Victor/Victoria. She even danced with a fluffy spider in The Muppets Show!
Running the Cinemateca Patria in Brasov (2014-2020) I always showed her films on her anniversary (5 September ), Fantastic Voyage, Bedazzled and 100 Rifles. One of my favorites was Fathom (1967). Great cameo in The Magic Christian (1969) as "The Princess of the whip", and the title role in Myra Breckinridge (1970, based on a novel by Gore Vidal), where she plays a transsexual and she clashed with legendary Mae West on the set. Her bit in the far-out Bluebeard (1972) as a sexy nympho nun is also a cool one.

Well, here she is to be remembered singing the aptly titled "I am a Woman", with Cher in 1975, in a very tongue-in-cheek appearance. We'll miss you all, Raquel...

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