From Ain’t It Cool News and interviewer extraordinaire Mr. Beaks comes this relaxed, informative and all-around terrific conversation with Angie Dickinson, who as long-time readers of SLIFR readers know is somewhat revered around these parts. The next time I see Mr. Beaks in person I will have to shake his hand on this excellent piece, which hits all the bright spots in Ms. Dickinson’s career, including her time spent with Samuel Fuller, Howard Hawks and Brian De Palma. But the real meat of the talk between these two comes in the iconic actress’s recollection of working with Rock Hudson, John David Carson and director Roger Vadim on the steamy classic Pretty Maids All In a Row (1971), which made its long-awaited debut on DVD yesterday in a remastered edition from the Warner Archives. (The Archives made the first 400 copies of the DVD sold available with an exclusive autograph from Ms. Dickinson herself, but since the announcement of that special offer came early last week the Warner Archives shop link is no longer trumpeting that special attraction.)
What’s really wonderful about the interview is how Mr. Beaks and Dickinson convey a friendly rapport almost immediately, and how she seems just as interested in conversing with him as he is with her—a rare thing in a celebrity interview. Also, Ms. Dickinson comes off as a real, thoughtful and candid movie buff, which if you’re not already convinced she’s one of the great movie goddesses of all time ought to go a long way toward convincing you. Here’s Angie Dickinson talking about seducing John David Carson for director Roger Vadim:
“I was not on the set when Vadim was doing the girls' love scenes with Rock because I was not in them. You don't hang around the set when you don't work - unless you have a thing going with the director or the star. (Laughs) I wasn't around for those, but for mine he just wanted to make it very sensual, but not... how do I put it? Not madly in love, just plain old sex. (Laughs) With a little touch of gloss to it. The kid comes not to have a nice dinner with her, but to jump in the hay. But as they say, when you're being directed you absorb it; you don't study it. I can't always turn around and tell you what he said, but you digest what the director is telling you; it becomes part of an osmosis thing so that you can do it. But I can't always analyze what he said; sometimes there was no explaining except you either got it or you didn't. But Vadim was a very sensuous man.”
And here she is on the difference between Howard Hawks and Sam Fuller:
“Well, Howard was very cautious and deliberate. He knew that he wanted something special, but if he told you what he wanted, it wouldn't be special. He wanted to make you come up with something special. (Laughs) And that was tough. But he had the patience that you don't believe to say, "Okay, that's not too bad, but let's try it this time with..." whatever. He would sit back and kind of wait for his thinking to filter through to you - whereas Sammy was a great storyteller, and would almost play the part for you while he's showing you what the scene is about. Quite the opposite.”
If it’s possible to start swooning all over again about Angie Dickinson (and it is, it is), this interview will start your legs to wobblin’. Come to think of it, the next time I see Mr. Beaks I will not only congratulate him on a terrific read, but I will also make sure he knows just how emerald-green envious I am of him for getting to speak with this obviously charming and effusive woman. How nice it is to see her getting her share of the spotlight again and using it to illuminate all the talented people with whom she crossed paths in her career. Her many fans, Yours Truly included, thank her and Mr. Beaks for the opportunity to spend more time with her as she reflects on a truly stellar career.