Sunday, October 16, 2016

Auteur Watch - Est(h)er Anderson

Now here's an interesting career for those of you who are fans of the '70s and late '60s... you know, when people say the Sixties, they actually mean 1966-1969... oops!  Even less than even that, apparently.  Shows you what I know.  Figures.
Okay, so they can't all be Pam Grier.  For that matter, even being Thalmus Rasulala and Persis Khambatta is fraught with challenges and fierce competition... let's see if anyone's paying attention.  And what about Tamara Dobson?  What about f... frickin' Cleopatra Jones?  Does she deserve to gather dust in obscurity?  Someone described her as "statuesque"!  Probably!
But from studying the data in Ester Anderson's acting résumé, it took about ten years for her to build up the courage to take the old proverbial stab at the director's chair.  After working with all the hack directors that she did, she couldn't help but think to herself, well, hell!  I could do that!  Well, it happens in high school, you know.  First you get bitten by the acting bug.  Then you get bitten by the directing bug, because they get to... hang around after the scene's done?  Something like that.  But really, who doesn't want to be in charge?
And so, when you're on a successful show like "Amazon Squad"... I mean, "The Rookies," it's time to make your move and walk in to that dusty DGA office and apply for whatever... a permit, a membership card.  There's probably paperwork to fill out, like if you want to make a copyright official and all.  You'll want that if you ever go to court to collect royalty payments.  Also, you need the right property if you want to be a director and stay a director.  Spielberg learned that the hard way after The Sugarland Express.
Alas, we may never know what went wrong after Short Ends.  It's not even on YouTube or anything!  How ... how unfair is that?  So many unanswered questions.  Was it a hit?  Now that she's got one in the can, did she a-hole her way out of the business, as Chris Rock once said?  Will Mount Zion Productions ever rise again?  Or did they fall into a crevass, and was forced to gnaw their own foot off to survive?  Okay, so the main characters were called Frankie and Johnny.  The plot summary should make you smile a little bit... even if the punchline's a dramatic one, and strangely prescient.
And so, like most of us, this "Promising New Actor of 1973" either a) got tired of showbiz and vowed to leave it forever, or b) showed Terrence Malick how it's done.  You're supposed to take 35 years between projects, not a mere 20!
Okay, sure, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch for her to pick Bob Marley as a documentary subject, but still.  When in Rome or Jamaica, right?  And so we get Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend.  And, of course, when you do a documentary about a legend, you secretly always hope that a little bit of that legend will rub off on you, thereby giving your own career a boost or a nudge.  I don't see any evidence of that yet, but whatever.  Also... no love for Ziggy Marley?  Really?  What is he, chopped liver?
Anyway, a toast to Ester Anderson, and may it not take another 35 years for your next project... oh, I totally forgot!  I wanted to briefly mention The Touchables from 1968 and... I know, I know, you're thinking 1968, a film called The Touchables and no, it's only half a porno.  But for those of you who think 9 to 5 is the greatest, most original film idea ever, well... anyway, there are a lot of obscure names in the cast and crew, I noticed... except one.  Ian La Frenais, for once working without... what's his name... Dick Clement, that's the one.  I guess what I'm trying to get at is, in this Facebook age of ours, where it's probably more like three degrees of separation instead of six, well... for your next project, Est(h)er, don't be too proud!  Make the call to Ian, get something rolling.  Make him executive producer if you have to.

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