Monday, May 3, 2010

From Ugly Duckling to Lovely Inspiration...Lynn Redgrave

Few actresses re-invented themselves so delightfully as Lynn Redgrave, in a career that took her from the sensational ugly-duckling seeking love and motherhood in the 1966 mega-hit "Georgy Girl", to the grateful and mature interviewee who shared her coming to terms with her lesbianism in 2003's "Kinsey".

Lynn Redgrave was not as prolific a film actor as her sister Vanessa Redgrave.  Instead, she was content to create  few but memorable characters, and affect us in quiet and powerful ways.  Her characters struggled with the challenges of life, and embodied change in ways that surprised and inspired us.  While Vanessa was the glamorous, artistic and controversial sister, Lynn became the dowdy girl next door who blossomed into the good neighbor, everyone's friend and confidante, easy to take for granted.

Her passing, at age 67 of breast cancer, ended a life of personal struggle and reinvention.  As is usually the case with those comfortable and unheralded presences in our lives, who are not always right in front of us, she will be missed like an old friend, who we have not seen in a long time, but who we remember with warmth and fondness. 

Others who knew her personally will have more insightful things to say about Lynn Redgrave's personal life.  Me? I was simply a fan, one who loved seeing her in the movies.  Her role in "Georgy Girl" was a benchmark in my 
development of empathy.  Years later, during the final scene of "Kinsey" in which Redgrave had one brief but memorable scene,  I was so transfixed by the character on screen, and so connected to her amazing monolog, that I was not consciously aware who the actress was until the scene ended.

As a tribute, I would like to share a little bit of these two iconic moments from Lynn Redgrave's career.  The first clip is an unusual pairing of the opening credit sequence with the closing credits from "Georgy Girl". The bouncy, catchy theme song ,which was a big hit in the '60's, plays behind each sequence; the breezy hopefulness at the beginning gives way to a strange, almost cruel irony at the end.   So, a spoiler alert to those who have yet to see the film. This movie fixed the public's image of Redgrave for most of her career, and lent the actress an aura of good will, one of an underdog we loved to root for.

The second clip is the terrific scene at the finale of Kinsey, in which Redgrave delivers a monolog of quiet power, an iconic and classic "coming out" story that thousands of viewers identified with. 

It's a pleasure to me to make these scenes a part of this journal.  I hope you enjoy them, and keep the freshness and relevance of Lynn Redgrave's characters alive.

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