When you see a title like ‘Badass Women Of Cinema: A Collection Of Interviews’, you have to be piqued a little to at least see who is covered. Chris Watson was a director for Roger Corman back in the 1970s including doing films with the likes of Pam Grier and at the start of making women more aggressive in the movies. The fourteen interviews covers actresses/stuntwomen in the past 30 years. Looking through the list, I recognised a couple of them like Cynthia Rockroth and Patricia Tallman and others from their work like Sophia Crawford on ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’. A common denominator is that some also do stunts and martial arts so do get a little typecast as being dangerous women. If you want to put names behind faces and have them talk about their careers, you’re going to have an interesting read. If you’re into martial arts films, then you’ll definitely want this book.
From Sophia Crawford, you learn some of the dangers of being a stuntwoman. From Diana Lee Insanto, advice on picking the right martial arts school if you’re a woman, not to mention the two types of training you need for self-defence.
One thing that isn’t always apparent is the age of some of these films or their quality until you look them up to check on availability. If you’re planning to use this book to track down their films, don’t rely on using the long river bookshop search and the actresses’ names as they aren’t always top-liners so rely on the film titles. In the oriental films, they do most of their own stunts, and the description of their injuries over the years will make you think. Most have had back injuries.
I didn’t realise that Bridgett Riley aided and stunt-doubled for Malin Ackerman in ‘Watchmen’ (2009).
Don’t think all the women here are martial arts experts. The likes of Betsy Russell, Catherine Mary Stewart and Patricia Tallman certainly aren’t. In comparison they also say that selecting films is often to do with making a living than any choice in quality and are often surprised by some of their films becoming cult classics.
From an analytical point of view, it’s quite revealing how most of these ladies moved from the likes of martial arts to acting or even acting into stuntwork to make ends meet. It also gives insight into the film industry in different countries. Although such films are borderline to our genre interest, I suspect many of you have seen such films if only in passing or even fans of these ladies so will find lots to read and learn here.
(pub: BearManor Media. 222 page illustrated indexed enlarged paperback. Price: $24.95 (US), £19.87 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-59393-774-4)
check out website: www.bearmanormedia.com