TV Cream

Films: W is for...


Harrison Ford gets milking in this often-scheduled Amish thriller, which allows us once again to ponder exactly how Kelly McGillis, here still in the ascendant, managed to lose it so spectacularly by the end of the decade. Likewise that other ’80s Kelly, LeBrock, who was all over the media (not to mention Wogan) after The Woman in Red but has spent her post-Weird Science career in such non-fare as Hard Bounty delivering lines like “There’s only two things I can’t do – one is make love to a woman, the other is piss up a wall.” Edifying. Then there’s Emily ‘Trigger’s daughter’ Lloyd, Tatum O’Neal, all the Coreys, and any number of Brat Packers, although we won’t hear a word said against Ally Sheedy. Barry Newman (Vanishing Point, Petrocelli, er… King Crab) and, naturally, Mickey ‘from Diner to Get Carter 2000’ Rourke, pretty much fit the exponential career dive graph, as did Rita ‘Knack’ Tushingham the day she set foot on the set of Bread. Sally Field faltered at the post-Smokey and the Bandit fence, as did pretty much everyone namechecked in the Fall Guy theme song, apart from Cheryl Tiegs who was never a star in the first place. Saddest of all, two Cream legends, Patrick ‘Babe, Secret of the Lost Legend’ McGoohan and Malcolm ‘Biker Mice from Mars’ McDowell, had their post-’70s screen careers seriously clipped, while William Shatner continues to pack ’em in. Something’s wrong there.



  1. Richard16378

    April 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    As you’ve noticed this seemed the default film to fill a scedule gap in the late 1990s, along with Blue Thunder, Starman & FX II.

  2. Richard16378

    December 23, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Kathleen Turner seem to be in at least 2 films every year in the 1980s, only to vanish about the time Julia Roberts made the jump from telemovies to the big screen….

    About the only work of note Kathleen has done since the Berlin wall came down was a guest spot in The Simpsons.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    January 25, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Was led here via The Woman in Red, and find a pocket-sized rumination on people’s faltering careers. I suspect in case of Pat McGoohan, he was too eccentric (and may have liked a drink), Malcolm McDowell aged quite badly in the 70s, and appeared in some stinkers which would kill off anyone’s career (like Caligula, The Passage etc. all discussed elsewhere on this site), and is again, a bit eccentric (Christopher Walken is in a similar vein, and although highly regarded, has done more than his fair share of tripe). Barry Newman was known from television, and it was always notoriously difficult to make the move to film stardom, but I agree, would like to have seen more of him, as I do like Vanishing Point and Fear is the Key. The Brat pack actors were all pretty rubbish so not surprising they were unable to turn youthful handsomeness into long-term careers (exception Mr. Thomas Mapother IV, who is certainly not a great actor, but managed to find a very well-appointed niche). Sally Field is not I think deserving of a place in this list, as she won an Oscar after Smokey and Bandit, and then another after Smokey and the Bandit II, and has continued to do prestige work, like Lincoln. Some female actors don’t of course enjoy the experience of stardom and the -ahem-compromises it required until fairly recently. And they are subject to ageist attitudes which just don’t apply to male stars. Kelly LeBrock faced two disadvantages – she found fame (bit like Jayne Mansfield before her) as a slightly jokey sex-object in poor taste comedies, and her British accent seems to accentuate her wooden delivery – see also Liz Hurley.

    • THX 1139

      January 25, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      Kelly LeBrock’s mistake seems to have been to marry Steven Seagal (she’s actually American!). Emily Lloyd had a very sad life, suffering terribly from OCD. The rest do OK, I think.

    • Droogie

      January 26, 2021 at 9:47 am

      Malcolm McDowell looks particularly badly aged in Cat People from 1982. He’s only 39 here but his receding hair and gaunt face make him look much older, no doubt due to the industrial size amounts of cocaine he did throughout the 70’s. He starred in another stinker of a film a year later called Get Crazy that was a satire of the rock music scene. McDowell plays a parody of Mick Jagger called Reggie Wanker (!) and has one unforgettable scene where he has a heart to heart chat with his penis. I’m guessing Malcom doesn’t consider this one of his finest hours.

  4. Richardpd

    January 25, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    a pre-fame Vigo Mortensen played one of the Armish men in this.

    Molly Ringwald looked like she was going to shed her Brat Pack image at the turn of the 1990s but managed to burn her bridges. Ghost was originally a vehicle for her.

    I think Kelly McGillis managed to damage her career by coming out as a lesbian when it still held some stigma to do so.

    • THX 1139

      January 26, 2021 at 12:17 am

      Kelly McGillis has a nice little career still going in US indies, she has a few decent horrors under her belt.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    March 17, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    I like the scene where Harrison Ford flattens some tough guy who decides to bully an Amish, only to have Ford shut him up and his loud girlfriend by punching him in the face. Never push your luck when Harrison Ford is around as the low spoken one is a nasty adversary.

  6. THX 1139

    March 17, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    Although it’s a very well made film, John Waters had a point when he wondered why the Amish were the heroes when in fact they’d be better cast as villains. They’re basically American Taliban.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    March 17, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    @ THX 1139, they are a very closed sect and to any who have abandoned the faith or seen life outside the Amish community, it must be very repressive to have to live like it was 200 years ago. However, this is how they choose to live and obviously the majority of Amish are happy to live like it’s 1822.
    Speaking of John Waters, he once said in a documentary about the life of his protege, Divine, that one of the hates in his life was sport and wished someone would set up a Ku Klux Klan against sport. Being a self confessed hater of anything that involves a ball and forced exercise at school, this was the funniest thing he ever said.

  8. Sidney Balmoral James

    March 17, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    I once saw John Waters, in the Radisson Kenilworth in London, the night after the premiere of the Hairspray musical; I was there for some meeting. He was standing in the foyer presumably waiting for a car, but right in the middle of the foyer, surrounded by cheap tourists, businessmen, screaming kids, and our eyes met, and he had that sheepish look that famous people have when they know they’ve been recognised, but also tinged with melancholy, as if to say, how did I let them put me up in this crummy joint?

  9. Richardpd

    March 17, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    I presume John Waters was hoping no-one would recognise him over here, which is a fair assumption as probably he’s only really known to film buffs.

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