Thursday, February 3, 2011
MARIA SCHNIEDER R.I.P.
I just found out Maria Schneider, the French film actress, passed at only 58. Her impact in the first movie I saw her in, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, was unforgettable, holding her own against two iconic film presences, Marlon Brando and fellow French actor, Jean-Pierre Leaud (who first made his mark on a lot of our movie-going lives almost two decades before LAST TANGO in THE 400 BLOWS, and went on to play Truffaut's alter-ego a few more times).
After LAST TANGO Schneider went on to play opposite lots of famous leading men, Jack Nicholson being just one (the rest were mostly European), but she never achieved the kind of iconic status I think she deserved (she was only nineteen went she dominated the screen in LAST TANGO). That may have been because TANGO was initially rated "X"—which in part led to the changing of the ratings system when the notoriety it received had soft and hardcore porn filmmakers rating their films "X" to get people into their theaters—but became NC-17 under the new system, and as a result a lot of people didn't see it or saw it in the censored version Blockbuster rented out for years without telling their customers the film had been cut in ways that destroyed a lot of the emotional and artistic impact (thanks to the fundamentalist head of Blockbuster) etc.
Somehow her going feels like the end of an era. Guess it is.