Watched a bit of the Twilight Zone marathon yesterday on the SciFi network, waiting for my favorite "Number 12 looks just like you"--which never gets shown, or at least, I invariably miss it every time. (On YouTube, I discover a band has named itself that, which is pretty neat!)
Ironically, me and Mr Daisy were also watching DVDs of MAD MEN, also set in the early 60s, which mentioned the beautiful model of the era, Suzy Parker, who plays Number 12. (The original story was by Charles Beaumont, titled "The Beautiful People"--also a song title by Marilyn Manson--and I've always wondered if he read the story.)
The story is about an "unattractive" girl in the year 2000 (!) who refuses to have "the operation"--which will make her look like everyone else. Doesn't she want to look like everyone else? What the hell is wrong with her?
She gets a choice of Number 12 or Number 8, the popular models of the day, and why doesn't she want to be one of them? Look how pretty they are. But Marilyn (interesting first name, considering the time-period) isn't having it. "Being like everybody is the same as being nobody!" she protests. They send her to shrinks and hospitals, since she is obviously insane.
I won't tell you the ending, but this being the Twilight Zone, I'll bet you know it already. The final wind-up by the chain-smoking (even on TV, good God) Rod Serling:
Oh, holy shit! The future is here! How did that happen? (As Michael Stipe once warbled, the insurgency began and you missed it.)
Portrait of a young lady in love--with herself. Improbable? Perhaps. But in an age of plastic surgery, body building and an infinity of cosmetics, let us hesitate to say impossible. These and other strange blessings may be waiting in the future--which after all, is the Twilight Zone.
The completely amazing Colin Wilcox, who plays Marilyn, is just great. Which leads me to her most fabulous role of all time, and what we can learn from it.
At about 10-12 seconds into this very short clip, check out the expression on Colin Wilcox's face, as she embodies Mayella Ewell. Really something else--giving me infinite respect for what actors do. One expression, just one, and she seals it.
When I first saw it, it made my blood run cold, even as a child. I didn't know what I was seeing. But the scene has held me riveted from the first time I saw it, until now, watching it again and again. I realize, it has a message for women, for feminists... and it is possibly the greatest white-trash moment ever delivered on screen. (Wilcox, not surprisingly, was originally from North Carolina.)
Until this moment in To Kill A Mockingbird, the audience has felt pity for possible rape/violence-victim Mayella, daughter of an abusive alcoholic. We know what's going on. But then, Harper Lee surprises us... this won't be a story where the wrong-doer is apprehended in the courtroom, ala Erle Stanley Gardner. Mayella suddenly squints, fully of steely resolve. She is white, goddammit, and that is what she is really saying: Are you going to be white, and stand with me as white, or aren't you? Suddenly, we are frightened of Mayella: "Your ma'am-in, and your Miss Mayellas don't come to nothin, Mr Finch!" She has decided to exercise the only power she has, and that is the power of a young white woman, trash or not. She can say that this black man raped her, and what are you MEN going to do about it?
When people are powerless, this is what happens. They learn to seize what they have, and use it as a bludgeon, as it has been used against them. Remember, this is a rape trial... Mayella knows what power is.
The whole clip is only 46 seconds, but check out that squint, when Mayella makes the decision. And remember, it comes down to that: the moment cannot be undone.
Unfortunately the embedding for this clip is gone, like, as of last night. Yeesh! But you can watch it on YouTube, linked here.
And, sorry about that. As I wrote HERE, this aggravates the hell out of me and I wish I knew why it happens. The embedding for other clips from the movie, is still intact. ((((sigh)))