Infancy is her disguise, her appeal is more secret and more adult...she wore trousers with the mature suggestiveness of a Dietrich: her neat and well-developed rump twisted in the tap-dance; her eyes had a sidelong searching coquetry...Watch the way she measures a man with agile studio eyes, with dimpled depravity. Adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood skin-deep.Full piece here. It was written more than seven decades ago, to describe the carefully cultivated, "sexualised" screen persona of a specific child star, but I think it’s just as relevant to all the little boys and girls who appear on TV reality shows like Boogie Woogie today, enthusiastically simulating the dance movements of adult Bollywood heroes and heroines, while their parents watch fondly in the audience. In the age of 15 minutes of fame, you don't have to be a Hollywood superstar to grow up too fast.
Friday, April 25, 2008
A childhood skin-deep
Completely missed this – apparently little Shirley Temple turned 80 a couple of days ago! Via the Bright Lights blog, here’s an excerpt from Graham Greene’s controversial review of the Temple-starrer Wee Willie Winkie from 1937: