Thursday, December 18, 2014

A moment of silence for one of the greatest Supporting performances of the 90's...


Italian actress Virna Lisi has passed away after being diagnosed a month ago with an incurable illness.  She was 78.  I am unfamiliar with her legendary status within the Italian cinematic community, or her filmography outside of one particular, career defining role as Catherine de Medicis in the film Queen Margot.  Her performance is uncanny, and despite being clearly Supporting, it was strong enough to net her a Cannes Best Actress win back in 1994.  She's my personal runner-up in 1994 (losing to the equally brilliant Dianne Wiest) and I recommend you seek out this film and this performance if you have not seen it yet.  She devours her scenes and just slays.  I'd personally rank her (and Wiest) in the top five Supporting performances of the 90's, easily.  I feel ashamed to have not discovered the rest of her filmography yet, but I'm new to even this performance (only seeing it about a year ago), but I will make it a goal to Netflix the hell out of her work.

8 comments:

  1. I saw her in "How To Murder Your Wife" with Jack Lemmon and Terry-Thomas. She played a sexy vamp but one could still see more to her than the average gal back then. I would love to see more of her films

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    1. I hear that is a good film to see her for, so I'll be checking that out soon!

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  2. Haven't seen any of her work at all. Thanks for putting her on my radar. I'll certainly seek out Queen Margot.

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    1. Queen Margot is a great film all the way around, so see it, for sure!

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  3. She is awesome in Queen Margot. Unsurprisingly Hollywood wasted her, she's one of the really wonderful actresses they imported, Romy Schneider, Claudia Cardinale and Virna to name a few, and used as stunning mannequins. Catherine Deneuve belongs on the list too but she did slightly better through her involvement with Polanski. But as with the others the studios didn't know how to showcase them properly and they had to return to their native lands to find the type of roles where their talent could be appreciated.

    How to Murder Your Wife is cute and Assault on a Queen is a fun adventure film but most of the remainder of her Hollywood output is junk. Avoid Bluebeard with Richard Burton and Joey Heatherton(!) at all costs!! I saw Virna pop up in American productions that were filming overseas from time to time becoming ever more patrician as the years went by but I haven't seen much of her Italian output though I do know she was venerated and acclaimed there.

    The camera certainly loved her, a simple Google image search reveals masses of amazing photos of her. Gorgeous in her youth and regal in maturity.

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    1. I hear you. It's sad that Hollywood doesn't seem to know what to do with most of their female imports. Thankfully, modern foreign output is mostly accessible here in the states.

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  4. Queen Margot is in my Netflix Instant queue. Looking forward to checking out her performance.

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    1. I had it in my #1 spot for 2 years before they finally sent it to me. It was worth the wait.

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