Thursday, March 7, 2013


Caught Kim Novak in an interview with Robert Osborne that premiered tonight on TCM. She was always one of my favorite movie star actors and he is one of my alltime favorite interviewers. Osborne is like the antidote to that guy who used to do those Actor Studio interviews and made it all about him and his pretensions.

Osborne is respectful, but incredibly knowledgeable and knows when to keep quiet and let an interesting person talk as long as they need to. He throws in a clarification when needed, like "the casting director" when a name is mentioned, etc. But he got Novak, a famous recluse, at least from Hollywood, to not just come out and sit for an interview with a live audience, but to open up and reveal a lot.

Some of what she said was contradictory, or confused at times, which I attribute to her age, but most of what she had to say was not just revealing and informative—about the studio system and the the legendary directors she worked with, like Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger et. al. and Harry Cohn the head of Columbia who helped make Novak a star—but totally engaging. Her vulnerability still defines her and coupled with her independent streak makes her as compelling as ever.

I was so taken with the interview I stuck around to watch her in BELL BOOK AND CANDLE again and found her even more beautiful than all the times I've seen it before, partly because I can see so much more clearly out of my repaired right eye, but also because she was. I don't know what a younger person would think of Novak in that interview or even going back to watch her old movies. But since the international critics have now made the other movie she made with Jimmy Stewart, VERTIGO, the greatest movie of all time (I'd opt for others over that, like say CASABLANCA), maybe this will be the beginning of a revival where a younger generation rediscovers an earlier generation's treasure.

And for me, Kim Novak will always be a national treasure.


-K- said...

I'm sorry I missed her last night. She must share your high opinion of Robert Osborne, as do I.

But I'm still confused by the ultra-high regard that "Vertigo" is held in. Th plot is not credible, the possibility of a Kim Novak-Jimmy Stewart relationship seems remote and the process shots are so poorly done.

Lally said...

K, I agree. It's hard to fatom why after all these decades the critics replaced CITIZEN CANE with VERTIGO. Neither is on my top ten list. Or was when I made those lists.