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.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Game of Thrones, season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures