Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 2. March 23, 1959


If you were told that the film "The Goddess" was about the rise to stardom of a small-town American girl and that having become the star of her generation she is lonely and unhappy, you would rightly say that you had seen it all before.

But "The Goddess", despite its similarity to earlier films, is a much better one. It does not have Kazen's electric direction in "Face in the Crowd", nor the sophistication of "Sunset Boulevard." But it does have a really wonderful actress in Kim Stanley, who plays the star Rita Shawn. It is a vital performance, full of variety and tremendous power. The director (John Cromwell) has luckily given the screen to her, not distracting the audience with clever direction, and she takes hold of the audience and the film almost faultlessly for nearly 104 minutes.

The other "star" of the picture is Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote the script. The film is divided into three main parts, or if you prefer it, acts, as in a play; "Portrait of a girl," "Portrait of a young woman" and "Portrait of a goddess." Each of these acts has a climax, yet there is no main climax in the film.

The first act shows how Emily, later to become the star Rita, is rejected by her flighty fun-loving mother. Emily has no friends, she has a bad reputation among the boys of the town, and she dreams of success. Success meaning a star in Hollywood, where everything you touch must surely turn into gold.

Here is Cheyefsky's main point—the American dream of success, and the glamour and the wealth that goes with It. Chayefsky shows that it is all a fake.

Fame and money are what Rita is after, in compensation for the love that she cannot find with other people.

In the second act Rita, having got rid of one husband, marries another (a famous sports star) and still finds that love and security have passed her by. She throws the word love around as if it were something she could pick off a tree, but it is all too obvious that she and her husband have no idea of its meaning. She has a nervous breakdown, divorces her husband, turns to drugs and for a time religion. She finds no solace, and ends up a hopeless failure as a person.