Underrated; the case for Joan Collins
Tuesday 27 June 1995
But Joan Collins is talented. Within a certain range, sure. Yet within that range she is indisputably the mistress of her art. Critics who insist on seeing her as overblown, instead of admiring her understanding of a medium that demands that every emotion be pitched high and wide to some imaginary balcony, still sneer at her delivery of such Dynasty gems as "Do have a Patagonian strawberry - I had them flown in this morning". But who else but Joan could make such a throwaway sound even remotely witty? If the line were any more of a dog it would need a bowl with its name on it, but Collins gives it a knowing inflection and a sweeping hand gesture - she distracts your attention from the content and highlights the absurdity.
Watching her eat on Dynasty was always a treat. Landed with boring exposition, stalks of celery and caviar crackers would be drafted in to punctuate the dreary dialogue: "You mean [bite] Blake's multi-billion oil deal [munch] with the Saudis [swallow] could be stopped by the Senate? [nibble]" It's a lost skill this; once it was called "delicious" and Collins, one of the last actresses to do the Rada training / Hollywood studio system thing, marries the timing and daring required. She combines the best of British with the most blatant of American, which is why she's the perfect actress for Coward, not that anyone noticed when she brought his short stories and sketches to television and his Private Lives to the West End. Her Amanda, both restrained and energetic, was triumphantly transatlantic, as all Coward's top-rank heroines are, with the added ingredient of Collins's own knowingness - the loose cannon that compels her, in the midst of an elaborate fancy dress scene in the spy flick Nutcracker, suddenly, violently, to blow the pink feather on her hat out of her face.
This, of course, is what Crawford lacked: humour. And it's what Collins has in abundance. It's her signature, her message: I Am What I Am. What she is is more than enough, but you know the British - she'll probably have to be dead and gone before anyone has a good word to say about her.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word, TV review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest account of a woman enduring a still too common fate
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils