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December 22, 2014

Billie Whitelaw: 1932 - 2014

Billie Whitelaw - Gumshoe (1971).jpg

It was a two year burst. I saw Start the Revolution without Me, Leo the Last, Gumshoe, Eagle in a Cage and Frenzy, all theatrically at the time of the original theatrical release, all in chronological order. It's not like I actively went out of my way to see movies that featured Billie Whitelaw, but somehow, for this one actress, it worked out that way.

Even when she wasn't playing an aristocrat, there was something regal about Whitelaw's presence. Not conventionally attractive, her face wasn't soft. Not soft was her gaze which dared the viewer to look at anyone else. She was attractive because she was unobtainable. Look, but don't touch, at least not without expressed permission. Since that period, I have seen a couple of films made before and after. For that one brief period over forty years ago, as far as British cinema was concerned, Billie Whitelaw was the Queen of England.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at December 22, 2014 08:32 AM