If you want to see cavemen in action, you don't have to tune in to the new poorly-received sitcom based on Neanderthal characters from an insurance commercial. Rather you can just work for Warner Brothers' president of production Jeff Robinov at least according to Hollywood Deadline Daily reporter Nikke Finke. Finke alleges that inside sources at WB have told her that Robinov has put out a decree that the studio will no longer finance films with females as leads. This is apparently due to the fact that most movies with actresses receiving top billing have under-performed. Cinema Retro has long lamented the fact that there are precious few bankable actresses left in the industry. The sin of all this is that studios aren't supporting the development of films with female leads. Instead, they choose to go for the low-hanging fruit of sci-fi, raunchy sex comedies and brain-dead action movies that appeal to the prized demographic of young males. Did it ever occur to these over-paid executives that it might be in everyone's interest to actually sink some money into developing films starring actresses that would have broad appeal? Right now if your last name isn't Streep, Dench of Mirren, an actress can't get a decent role if you're north of age 40. Male-oriented films have always dominated the box office but that didn't stop Warner Brothers and other studios from giving us such "minor stars" as Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Katherine Hepburn. What chance does the next generation have of ever developing their own legends when this type of philosophy permeates the film industry? Even Jodie Foster, one of the few remaining actresses who can pull in a crowd, is down to starring in Death Wish knock-offs like The Brave One. Apparently, the only viable type of female star is one who can out-macho Charles Bronson. Too bad Shelly Winters was 35 years too early with Bloody Mama - she'd win an Oscar for it today.
Warner Brothers publicity shot of Lauren Bacall circa mid-1940s: gone are the days.
You can say what you want about the old studio system: it was run by tyrants and the casting couch was being worn out on a daily basis. But these were also glory days for Hollywood actresses. Based on the current philosophies of the studios, it would appear there is no interest in attempting to reawaken that glorious era. Thank God for DVD and Turner Classic Movies where the true Hollywood goddesses can be enjoyed without the benefit of the "visionaries" running today's studios. (As of this writing, Jeff Rabinov has not publicly given his side of these allegations) For Nikki Finke's article click here - Lee Pfeiffer