Dragon Digital Radio

Jane Fonda

June 10, 2020

Marie Westhaver and Mike Giuliano love to talk about movies, and they are happy to have a podcast audience for their discussions. In this episode, Marie and Mike examine the lengthy career of a Hollywood movie star, Jane Fonda, whose film roles often closely mirror what was going on in recent decades in American cultural history. For Mike, this is a welcome opportunity to overuse one of his favorite ten-dollar words, Zeitgeist, because Fonda's on-screen roles and off-screen activism are bracing reminders of how reel life and real life can blend together. Mike is particularly struck by what he terms the various chapters in Fonda's career. He cites the terrible - and terribly campy! - "Barbarella" (1968), in which her then-husband, director Roger Vadim, exploited what we will politely call her physical beauty. If the outfits in this sci-fi fantasy were any tighter she would have been starved for oxygen. That deliriously sexist presentation of a movie star may deserve jeers, but Fonda's social consciousness quickly evolved and she received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" (1969), and then she won the Academy Award as Best Actress for her blisteringly realistic performance as a prostitute in "Klute" (1971). It's a film that Marie singles out for praise. Of course, Fonda's political awareness included the anti-Vietnam War stance that earned her the pejorative Hanoi Jane nickname that still has the ability to raise the blood pressure of some people whenever they hear her name. Pushing further into that same decade, Mike singles out for praise her Academy Award as Best Actress in "Coming Home" (1978), which concerns how Vietnam affected returning vets. Marie also has enthusiastic comments about "9 to 5" (1980), whose statements about feminism in the workplace rightly cause male bosses to perspire. Yes, the workout videos of the 1980s are also discussed. And Marie and Mike enjoy talking about Jane Fonda's place within an acting family that includes her father, Henry, and brother, Pe