Jamie Lee Curtis is a superb actress, but her career is too often summed up in Halloween, A fish named Wanda Where True Lies. We therefore wanted to come back to five roles less often cited, but just as interesting and important.
If she was first presented as the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis quickly made his own name, becoming an icon of horror cinema and even an essential figure in popular culture, as much as the Laurie Strode who launched and accompanied his career. Of Halloween, the night of the masks last Halloween Endsthe one who won the crown of Ultimate Screm Queen gained notoriety by playing the mother of Lindsay Lohan for Disney and the wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger for James Cameron.
She also made people laugh by giving the reply to a still anonymous Eddie Murphy, seduced by playing a funny burglar, made them cry by interpreting a romantic thanotractor and gained a little confidence by standing up to a Pierce Brosnan in imitation James Bond. But if these are his greatest feats of arms, Jamies Lee Curtis’ best roles don’t stop at Halloween, A chair for two Where True Liesthe proof with five lesser known or unloved films where she is nevertheless brilliant.
the HORROR FILM THAT IS NOT THE NIGHT OF THE MASKS: fog
I know one who had a big smoke machine budget
The role of Jamie Lee Curtis: As a mysterious mist descends on the town of Antonio Bay, Elizabeth Solley is hitchhiking. This rebellious young woman, of bourgeois origin, tries to escape a daily life that bores her. Suffice to say that in case zombie pirates come out of the sea, she would have done better to stay at home.
Why it’s a nebulous (and not smoky) gem: After the success of the first HalloweenJohn Carpenter decided to dig the vein of horror, until considering in the early 80s stories that could be part of anthologies, as he tried to do with Halloween III. fog is not only part of this dynamic, but proves for the first time to what extent the director has understood the legacy of HP Lovecraft better than anyone, by monopolizing an indeterminate and unrepresentable horror.
Between Norman Bates and Michael Myers, it makes stab wounds
His film is thus a fascinating work on the immanence of human monstrosity, and on the history of an America shaped in blood. At the heart of such a strong concept, Carpenter knew how to surround himself with actors capable of embodying immediately endearing characters. This is the case of Elizabeth, whom Jamie Lee Curtis interprets with this same mixture of fragility and courage which made the salt of Laurie Strode. The filmmaker has fun once again plunging her into highly distressing situations, like when one of the corpses in the morgue gets up behind the heroine’s back.
But above all, the actress carries by her very presence the common thread of the feature film: the question of transmission and the weight of the ancestors. For this, Carpenter decided to cast with Jamie Lee Curtis his mother, the great Janet Leighimmortalized by Psychosis by Alfred Hitchcock. Their on-screen alchemy is as sweet as it is touching, and brings together two generations of cinema in a horror classic.
The comedy that is not A NAMED FISHE WANDA : Fierce Creatures
The role of Jamie Lee Curtis : The vice-president of a zoo in economic recovery after being bought by a detestable multi-millionaire magnate. While she has to deal with the unbearable son of her boss, she gradually takes a liking to the animals and – who would have thought it – for the director of the zoo, yet more laughable than attractive.
Why it’s an irresistible comedy : After the cartonA fish named Wanda (nominated for three Oscars, including one won by Kevin Kline), the team reunited nine years later to fierce creatures, which, however, did not enjoy the same success, and was not really remembered. The screenplay, which does not seek to be subtle, once again spreads a schoolboy, even greasy, British humor (sexual misunderstandings or allusions to bestiality), but above all offers a fierce and very relevant satire under the guise of absurdity.
Thus, the film is full of earthy and burlesque details: the cynicism of the investments, the public interested in the big teeth and big claws (hello Jurassic World), the fake panda that goes against even the prince of a zoo, the hypersexualization of women for commercial purposes and blind and excessive sponsorship (the Lego panel next to the portrait of Saddam Hussein or a tiger with a chasuble Absolute Vodka).
In the midst of the incredible din, Jamie Lee Curtis has fun once again with the image of the femme fatale from which she takes all the clichés to better thwart them. First presented as the archetype of the disdainful and sexy woman in a tight suit, she quickly gains in thickness and becomes more and more mischievous (with perfectly mastered looks, smiles and two-way gestures) to finally become a a free and assertive woman – especially on the sexual level – and by extension another endearing character in the filmography of the actress.
THE detective film that is not KNIVES DRAWN: BLUE STEEL
The role of Jamie Lee Curtis : Megan Turner, a novice and idealistic New York police officer kills on her first day of service a man in the act of armed robbery who threatened her. A trader present on the scene then recovers the weapon of the criminal which he steals and falls into a murderous madness, while beginning to maintain a sentimental relationship with Megan, whose name he engraves on the bullets which are used to kill his victims.
Why this is an important role in his career : After chaining more or less cult slashers and comedies and relatively anonymous dramas, the film bluesteel directed by Kathryn Bigelow marked a turning point in the career of Jamie Lee Curtis. It indeed allowed him to approach another genre, the detective thriller, which was then largely represented by men. If the film is not exempt from sensuality and eroticism (we are talking about a film by Kathryn Bigelow after all), the advantageous physique of the actress raised to the rank of sex symbol has been left behind in favor of a more androgynous figure, but just as powerful if not more.
Obviously, the actress can count on her solid game and her assured physicality to embody the protagonist and her different facets: fragile and courageous, naive and relentless. The film can also be paralleled ofHalloween, the night of the masks. Like Laurie Strode, Megan Turner is targeted by a serial killer with whom she has become obsessed.
The film recounts the birth of a psychopath and presents a new, more urban hunt, a new form of monstrosity with a more social echo (a man in a suit who seeks control and domination), as well as another representation of final girl and the boogeyman (who also wears a mask, but metaphorically). The major difference is that this time the two play on equal terms and no one gets up at the end.
Moreover, we also speak of BlueSteel in our file devoted to the brilliant Kathryn Bigelow.
The WTF romance that is NOT TRUE LIES: perfect
The role of Jamie Lee Curtis : To offer us, in the space of a film, a compendium of the mixture of naivety, stylistic errors and unbridled sexuality which presided over the first part of the 80s, before the AIDS epidemic came to engulf the software enjoyer of the consumer society.
Why it’s leotard fever: There are failed films and bad films. Let’s not forget the turnips either. Rarer are those who can claim the title of positronic nanars. Perfect is one of those, as this critical, public and economic cataclysm ticks boxes in terms of joyful chaos. First of all, the depth with which the story pretends to have something to say about the phenomenon it depicts when it only uses it to allow the male viewer to get an eyeful is ridiculous beyond measure. But it is the presence of John Travolta, who got there no one knows how, his perfectly confusing playing, between clumsy pastiche of himself and a spirit of seriousness pushed to the absurd, which completes the project.
The gym in pink
We won’t dare to write that Jamie Lee Curtis’s performance saves the furniture, the latter being charred from the outset, but the actress here shows an energy and a lack of derision as sympathetic as participating. to corporate insanity. Energetic, frontal, even vindictiveshe succeeds here and there in thwarting the frankly crappy male gaze that lingers on her body, to underline the ridiculousness of the company, and the taste for crude caricature of the time.
THE B-SERIES THAT ARE NOT HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION – VIRUS
The role of Jamie Lee Curtis: Its role is simple, it consists in emulating the character of Ripley in Alien. Everything is there. The hostile environment (an abandoned ship in the middle of the ocean), the crew of old sea (or space) wolves, the heroine with the air of proletarian Valkyrie, and above all, a polymorphic extraterrestrial threat that does nothing but kill people by mutating badly. Fortunately, Jamie is keeping watch.
Why it’s a great B-series craspec: In the year of grace 1999, horror cinema and its operating counterpart are doing very badly. The 90s marked a total drying up of inspiration, coupled with public disaffection. The laughing cynicism of the 80s has been therewhile the spectators preferred to sing the praises of a Screaminstead of relic, authentic monster movie. As saying that Virushis story Alien and his abominable beasties escaped from The Thing, Virus is anything but a trendy movie.
In the B series, everyone hears you scream
This one assumes with a first gratifying degree its DNA of a wicked, gory and thrilling monster film. Among the immediate pleasures it provides, it is obviously its distribution that allows this pretty Christmas tale to remain in the memories. There is a gallery of second knives with replicas that smell good of the sweat of forgotten gonads, a Donald Sutherland who hobbles around like a piglet, yet another Baldwin brother on the descent of rillettes and above all, Jamie Lee Curtis, capable as usual of making any B series score in Valkyrie singing.