I always had a soft spot for Margaux Hemingway, especially after sitting through the delectable awfulness that is LIPSTICK. Here is the then-million dollar contract model for Babe perfume trying to succeed as an actress and failing miserably (according to many insiders, but more on that later). I’m sure her entourage had something to do with this, not only encouraging her for the sake of money; but making sure that she turns a deaf ear to any true criticism (or self ill-feelings) toward her onscreen performance. But whatever the cause, LIPSTICK bombed at the box office in 1976 and her career in films soon fizzled after that. In 1996 Margaux died supposedly of a massive epileptic seizure; some say of a suicide. Who knows? What’s sure, however, is that she died all alone in her house in Bel Air. She was in her early 40s and her days of making it in Hollywood long gone. Oh, she did continue to work, mostly in B-grade films like KILLER FISH or INNER SANCTUM but she never reached the A-list sphere so much expected with the release of LIPSTICK.
Legendary Anne Bancroft, who co-stars in the film portraying Margaux’s feisty attorney, has nothing to worry about, acting-wise. Clearly, her talent is miles ahead over Margaux’s. Still, when sharing the screen with others but Bancroft, Margaux does manage to hold her own. You can clearly see some evidence of sparks in her performance, despite the many negative criticisms over it. But clearly it is Mariel, her little sis, who steals her thunder. She delivers some of the sweetest and finely-tuned moments in the film. She single-handedly saves LIPSTICK from becoming a total disaster (should we really thank her for that?). Every nuance of her emotional face shows the making of a great actress, and she did become one for a while, as her older sister stumbled and stumbled into even more forgettable Z flicks.
Until next post—Martin