Saturday, August 25, 2012
Performance Review: Glenda Jackson in A Touch Of Class
Glenda Jackson received her 3rd Oscar nomination and won her 2nd in Best Actress for her performance as Vicki Alessio in A Touch Of Class.
Glenda Jackson scored a major surprise win back in the 70's for her comedy performance in the Best Picture nominee A Touch Of Class. My guess is that the race was so unpredictable that nobody was the favorite, so Glenda triumphed again. Does anyone know if her Women In Love win was a surprise?
Anyways, A Touch Of Class is rather mediocre. Yes, the screwball jokes are funny and it is entertaining, but the script isn't strong enough to make the plot work and it simply hasn't aged well. But I still would watch it again if I wanted to, and much of that is due to George Segal and Glenda Jackson. She plays Vicki, a divorced woman who works at a fashion designing place (?). She meets Steve Blackburn (Segal) and the two begin to have an affair by deciding to go to Spain for a week. But the trip soon becomes a traveling nightmare and the two bicker constantly.
Glenda Jackson gives a terrific, very enjoyable performance in this film. The character of Vicki is razor sharp intelligent and has many one-liners, and Jackson brings everything she can to the part. Vicki is a very fun character to watch and maybe the only really good thing in this movie. There's also something strange about her that draws me to it: There is a certain allure to Vicki and perhaps to Glenda Jackson herself that says you just can't your eyes off her.
She also is able to show that there is a very vulnerable young woman underneath her smart exterior. In such scenes such as the first time they're making love or towards the end where she confronts him about the affair, we get the sense that Vicki is really an insecure young girl. Her chemistry with George Segal is also great. You'd never think these two actors are a likely pair, but somehow, the dysfunctional nature of their relationship makes everything work.
I did have a few problems though. Sometimes her mannerisms bother me. I know she's a great actress, but there are times when it felt too mannered. And also, the film doesn't do a very good job of developing her character and takes the easy way out by not really resolving the relationship. But I still think its a wonderful performance that is indeed Oscar-worthy and I'm really glad I decided to make her the start of my Performances Project.