Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Silly Cinema: The Girl Most Likely To... (1973)

It is a gift when enough time passes to allow one a new perspective on a traumatic event - or even an entire era.  That's kind of how it is with the 1970's.  Instead of making like most vintage enthusiasts and painting the decade as a burning tire fire of fuel shortages, political corruption, excessive body hair, bootie bumping, and - dare I utter the word - polyester, I choose to paint the 70's in finer brushstrokes.  Over forty years since the inception of that much-maligned decade, I think it is time to view those years as a triumph of a color, a triumph of cornball, and a triumph of revisionist history (think all those 1930's/40's silhouettes, think American Graffiti, think "Happy Days").  What better way to revise the past than to get a face-full of plastic surgery and create a future-full of vengeance?!!

Enter "The Girl most Likely To..."
a 70's, revenge-film spectacular
(Source)

Years ago, under the influence of an unhealthy dose of cough medicine, I watched a rerun of The Girl Most Likely to... (1973) in the wee hours of a sickbed morning.  Waking up the next day, I couldn't remember the name of the black comedy or many of the details; I did remember that I liked what I saw and that the star was a young Stockard Channing.  Some minor investigation (asking around and checking some of my movie-review books - this was pre-internet) resulted in not a single lead.  Cut to many years later when, on a search for something totally unrelated, I stumbled upon the DVD for The Girl Most Likely to...  Needless to say, I whipped out the old credit card and, quick as lightning, I was home enjoying this prime example of wacky tacky cinema all over again.

I had actually thought of the movie fondly and often
as the idea of "a beautiful person who had been
kidnapped by an ugly body" meting out merciless justice
to her tormentors provided a vicarious thrill.

I mean, how could you not love a movie with a tag line like, "They treated
her like a dog.  Now she's a fox.  And she's going to make them pay."

The story of The Girl Most Likely to..., an original made-for-TV movie, is about as straightforward as it gets.  Channing plays Miriam Knight, a lovelorn girl, heavy of body and brow, who must endure the stereotypical indignities and alienation associated with sub-standard beauty in America.

"'Miriam, don't worry.  Your turn will come.'"

Surviving not only the mistreatment of family, friends, and schoolmates, Miriam barely survives a catastrophic accident that results in full-body-and-facial reconstructive surgery.  Astoundingly, the surgery leaves her completely unrecognizable yet, thanks to skillful plastic surgeons, stunningly beautiful (or at least that is expectation of our suspended disbelief).  Her new appearance allows Miriam to exact her wildly-creative revenge on those richly deserving of their comeuppance.  If for nothing else, The Girl Most Likely to... is mandatory viewing for the hilarious scenes of retribution, played always to the slapstick-iest hilt.

It was time to start paying everyone back..."with interest."
It's pretty neat trick, managing to have hair and makeup done underneath the bandages!

Believe it or not, this tale of "an unloved, ugly duckling transformed by plastic surgery into a luscious, lovely lady," was written by that woman all-too-familiar with the surgeon's scalpel herself, Joan Rivers. 

Sometimes looking good is its own revenge, right Joan?
Am I right, Joan?  Joan?  Joan....
(Source, Source)

I'll be the first to admit that the 70's are by far not my favorite years for fashion and culture but I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a soft spot for "The Brady Bunch," The Carpenters, Freaky Friday, and one Miss Miriam Knight, dog-turned-fox.  And, just for the record, I'm no snob when it comes to polyester either.

If you're thinking of creating a "new you" for the new year, might I suggest The Girl Most Likely to... (viewable in its entirety here) as a cautionary tale rather than a how-to guide.  Happy New Year! 


Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

6 comments:

  1. I MUST watch that! :D Looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Yes! Please watch and let me know what you think.

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  2. Thanks for the link! I just watched it while I was working. Made the day go by a little faster. :) gotta love Stockard Channing!

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    1. Anything to make your day go by faster, pal! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. OK, I watched this. It had its moments for sure, but let's be honest: she's not THAT much better looking after the surgery. It's hard to watch today without wondering what kind of health coverage she has!

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    1. Hahahaha!!! That is so funny because I was just expressing the same sentiment to my sister. "The Girl Most Likely to..." is definitely not classic cinema and Stockard is certainly not what I would consider to be a classic beauty. Handsome, yes. Stunning, no. It is only by comparison that she really looks better - but nothing a good diet and a good pair of tweezers couldn't have accomplished!

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