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Your Nominations for the Gender Bender Hall of Fame? [Video]

Photo of Carrie Rickey By Carrie Rickey | Thompson on Hollywood March 7, 2013 at 2:02PM

“What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine,” observed Susan Sontag, who was both a little butch and a lot beautiful.
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Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love"
Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love"

“What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine,” observed Susan Sontag, who was both a little butch and a lot beautiful.

I remembered this quote today in part because I noticed that "Victor/Victoria," starring Julie Andrews as the unemployed performer who finds a work as a male drag queen, was on TCM tonight. And in part because the image it conjured was watching "Taking Woodstock," when in walked Vilma, a musclebound blonde in a candy-pink dress, who resembled Mamie Van Doren with stubble. S/he spoke in a familiar voice, like honey mixed with molten asphalt. Holy cow! Liev Schreiber in drag?!? (In his first screen performance, "Mixed Nuts," he was also a cross-dresser.) In "Taking Woodstock," I particularly liked the contrast of pink frock and Deep Purple voice.

I’d nominate him for cinema’s genderbender Hall of Fame. Already enshrined? Andrews’ Victor/Victoria, Greta Garbo’s Queen Christina, Katharine Hepburn’s Sylvia Scarlett, Doris Day’s Calamity Jane, Gwyneth Paltrow’s turn in "Shakespeare in Love" and  Hilary Swank’s Brandon Teena in "Boys Don’t Cry."

Read the rest of this article here.

This article is related to: Features, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.