Sign in to follow this  
Roy Cronin

Marsha Mason

9 posts in this topic

Marsha's name came up in the Glenda Jackson thread.  I became interested in what others thought her best performance was or, assuming you're a fan, your favorite?

Of her better known or Oscar nominated performances I prefer Cinderella Liberty.  It wasn't a terrific film, but I was impressed by her performance.  While I enjoyed The Goodbye Girl and Only When I Laugh they seem like the same character and while good, neither performance was much of a stretch.  It was like The Goodbye Girl became a successful actress and then a reformed drunk.

I thought she was very good in the little remembered (and I think poorly received) Promises in the Dark.  And most recently I thought she was terrific as Ethel Gumm, Judy's mother in the TV movie Me and My Shadows.

Not a really large filmography yet received the 4 Oscar nominations.  A pretty good hit ratio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen all her movie performances, but of the ones I did I say I have to agree with you on CINDERELLA LIBERTY.  And while not a huge role, her take as PHOEBE CATES' Mom in DROP DEAD FRED('91) was the better of all the cast's roles in an otherwise totally ridiculous movie( and I don't mean that in a good way!).  She also shined in those episodes of the ABC comedy THE MIDDLE in which she would appear  playing the Mother of PATRICIA HEATON'S Frankie, and the wife of the Father (Jerry Van Dyke).

Sepiatone

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently re-read Neil Simon's two excellent volumes of memoirs.  The second volume prominently features Marsha Mason, who was married to Simon from 1973 to 1983.  While Simon alluded to the problems that led to their divorce, it sounds like he always had a great deal of respect for her and remained friendly with her after their parting.

One thing was clear: Simon, who can be assumed to have known something about actors, was obviously very impressed with Mason's talent (as well as her very vibrant personality).  He wrote so enthusiastically about her that I decided to revisit The Goodbye Girl, along with several other Simon-based films not featuring Mason that I watched as I re-read the memoirs.

My history with The Goodbye Girl wasn't very positive.  I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and it's one of the few movies I've ever walked out of, primarily because I found Richard Dreyfuss's character abrasive and Quinn Cumming's young girl annoyingly precocious.  I'm not a particular fan of Mason's, but I originally thought she was OK in the film.  (I think the only other movie I've seen her in is the Simon-penned The Cheap Detective.) 

Despite my initial reaction to The Goodbye Girl, I had seen small parts of the movie on TCM over the years, and I thought I might change my mind about it if I ever saw it again.  Simon's memoirs pushed me to give it another try.

I ended up enjoying The Goodbye Girl the second time around and found Mason's performance very impressive, capturing many facets of her character and relating to the other characters in a way that seemed realistic.  I also found Dreyfuss and Cummings much easier to take during this re-viewing -- I actually enjoyed their performances as well, in sharp contrast to my original reaction all those years ago.

I can see Mason having been Oscar-nominated for her Goodbye Girl role, although I'm glad she didn't win, as I'm a big fan of Diane Keaton's performance in Annie Hall.  Mason was certainly a credible candidate, matching up well against Keaton, Jane Fonda in Julia, and Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, both from The Turning Point.  (It's one of the few times I've seen all of the nominated performances!)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Marsha Mason movies I've seen, in order of preference:

  1. Cinderella Liberty (1973)
  2. The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  3. Audrey Rose (1977)
  4. 2 Days in the Valley (1997)
  5. Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
  6. Nick of Time (1995)
  7. Chapter Two (1979)
  8. Only When I Laugh (1981)
  9. Max Dugan Returns (1983)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marsha Mason had a small part on Love of Life, playing a gal who worked in the newspaper office, IIRC. I thought she was interesting and wished they had given her a bigger role in the story. She obviously moved on to bigger things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve always liked Marsha Mason, and I think her work has held up well.  For me, her best performances were “Cinderella Liberty” (1973) and “Only When I Laugh” (1981).  I think both those performances were superior to those that won Oscars those years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite is The Goodbye Girl. She is also pretty good in Cinderella Liberty and Only When I Laugh. She had a supporting role in Blume in Love in which she displayed a wider range as an actress that wasn't tapped more often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us