Friday, November 23, 2012

HELL OF A PRICE TO PAY, ISN'T IT? "I Dream of Jeannie" made him famous, "Dallas" made him an icon just slightly before my time to be aware of why "Why shot J.R.?" mattered so much to the grownups, but I think Larry Hagman may have saved his best for towards the end, because I'll be damned if I've seen five minutes of better screen work than his Gov. Freddie Picker in Primary Colors. Hagman's Picker so clearly carried the weight of his personal history, of bad decisions he thought he had escaped, and would have escaped, had the lure of politics not roped him in one more time. His lament, in that penultimate scene, just floors me every time:
Fucking cocaine. I was really so successful in everything did ... business, politics. I could handle anything ... except cocaine. But I didn't know that because of cocaine. That's what fucked up my marriage, not anything else. I did go to bed with Renzo once or twice. It was a coke thing. I could do anything, so I did that, too. I'm seeing a really nice woman now. I suppose I have to tell her. Hell of a price to pay, isn't it?
Hagman passed away today at the age of 81, in Dallas.  Two years ago, the Austin Film Society prepared this clip reel, and I think you'll enjoy it.


  1. I'm going to have to dig further, because there seems to be a dearth of Hagman in Fail-Safe clips. It's a damn shame, since I honestly think that's among his best work (and there's a brief clip of it in the Austin link). He plays frightened and resolved very well there and looks great in B&W.

  2. The Pathetic Earthling12:18 PM

    That's a great movie. Henry Fonda as the President is pretty much just Henry Fonda, but Larry Hagman is outstanding.

  3. Plus, Walter Matthau as well-meaning psychopath.

  4. Carrie4:19 PM

    Hagman is also splendid in Paul Mazursky's Harry & Tonto as Art Carney's son, an LA hanger-on pretending he's a success and his father seeing through his charade. Heartbreaking.