Some moody music by me set to images from the beginning of Robert Aldrich's disturbing, bonkers masterpiece, Kiss Me Deadly (1955). Our sequence ends just as Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) wakes to a female face - that of his secretary, Velma (Maxine Cooper). Of course, KMD concludes with Mike and Velma staggering into the Malibu surf as (perhaps) the world ends. It's one of the greatest endings and most potent (and widely imitated) set of images in all of cinema.
Cooper died on April 4, 2009, but the Oscars broadcast in 2010 did not see fit to include her in its In memoriam reel. While Cooper never became a star, she's crucial to one of the greatest American movies and had small parts in a couple of other films for Aldrich. In my view she should have been included. A closely related argument will be able to be made vis-a-vis Gaby Rodgers whenever she dies. Who cares if she didn't do much beyond KMD? She was the spooky Lily Carver, the gal who opens the box, who has one of the only truly iconic deaths in Hollywood history. That should be enough.
Simply as a matter of Hollywood's self-interest, you'd think that the Oscars would always jump at the chance to squeeze a couple of seconds from the end of KMD into their broadcast. It's arguably the most important representation of LA on film ever. Maybe some Griffith Observatory shots from Rebel Without a Cause or various films' Bradbury Building shots are its equal. Maybe.
One would think too that
- Generally building film literacy
- Possibly firing the imagination of some precocious 8 year old somewhere who'll be the next Lynch or Tarantino
- Reassuringly reminding the non-star majority of the Academy that non-stars who play important roles in great films can be immortal