Saturday, March 12, 2011

Screen Gem Saturdays: You Love To Hate Her

Eleanor Parker gives one of the most underrated performances as Baroness Elsa Schraeder, the villainess from Vienna. Is she evil? Well, not really. She’s just a woman who wants to continue living an extravagant lifestyle without any children to get in the way. Parker is perfectly cast in this role, giving the audience just enough bitchery to make them root for Maria.

The Baroness has some of the film’s funniest lines, delivered in Parker’s perfectly understated way. Being the only character not involved in the saccharine singing and dancing, some of the more cynical audience members can’t help but relish this particular bit:

The Baroness: "Why didn't you tell me?"
Max: 'What?'
The Baroness: 'To bring along my harmonica.'

To her character’s credit, she does step away at the last minute when she realizes that The Captain loves Maria, not her. Had this been a true torrid melodrama, she would have fought tooth and nail to keep her wealthy meal ticket!

Parker had previously been nominated for three Academy Awards: “Caged,” “Detective Story,” and “Interrupted Melody.” She has long since been retired and now resides in Palm Springs.

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1 comment:

G said...

She did a TV show in the late 60's called "Bracken's World". It didn't last long but I still remember how great she looked, they dressed her like a star even though her role was secretary to a studio executive. I love Eleanor.