Happy Birthday, Martha Coolidge

It’s the birthday of director Martha Coolidge. I have always loved her work – cherished it, really – and finally got to pay tribute to her in my Film Comment column. And it’s funny how things work out. Mitchell and I saw Rambling Rose together, when it first came out. I vividly remember our discussion afterwards. And we talked about one moment Robert Duvall has, one absolutely astonishing moment – which I consider to be the best work he’s ever done (and considering his career, that’s saying something). Cut to – DECADES later: Martha Coolidge is at Ebertfest, for the screening of Rambling Rose, Mitchell is there with me as my guest, and I got to ask her at the QA ABOUT that very scene Mitchell and I had discussed so many years before! AND the answer she gave was … so perfect I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. Mitchell was sitting there next to me! It’s like our younger teenage selves could never have guessed that so many years later we would be able to ask the director personally about how she handled that amazing scene and how Duvall did what he did. Anyway, it’s a great QA overall, and a really special moment in my memory.

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2 Responses to Happy Birthday, Martha Coolidge

  1. Bill Wolfe says:

    Real Genius is one of my favorite comedies. Few people have channeled the spirit of the Marx Brothers as well as Val Kilmer did here. And Michelle Meyrink is something all her own. Coolidge is kin to Leo McCarey in her ability to get something special from actors, something that other directors either fail to see or can’t unlock.

    • sheila says:

      I love Real Genius so much! I love your observation about Coolidge and actors – plus the connection with Leo McCarey which I think is spot on!! Michelle Meyrink was hashtag-goals as the kids say. An icon for my generation – of girls and I’m sure boys, too!

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