The movie How To Be A Latin Lover has brought some attention back to Raquel Welch, one of its stars.
I was hitting puberty (or, more accurately, puberty was hitting me) when Welch was the reigning sex goddess, so I ended up seeing a lot of her movies. Most of them, particularly her starring vehicles, are pretty bad.
Movies like Bedazzled (81%) and The Last of Sheila (92%) got better ratings, but Welch was just a minor player or ensemble member in those films. When she was a movie’s star or co-star, the movie was usually weak.
And that’s odd, because Welch is by all accounts an intelligent woman and can be an entertaining performer. You’d think she could have done better.
Maybe her sex-symbol image discouraged top directors from taking her seriously. She told People magazine that movie people considered her just “a cash register with glands.”
But other sex stars have gone on to earn Hollywood’s respect, including Oscar winners Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, and Kim Basinger.
Maybe her own behavior got in the way. People’s story said, “At least one Hollywood executive called her ‘a ruthless bitch.’ ”
But Hollywood executives have slung that insult about ambitious, hard-driving actresses from Bette Davis to Reese Witherspoon. As actress Marlo Thomas has said, “A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is put you on hold.”
In any event, it’s strange to me that someone with Welch’s fame, shrewdness, and box-office power rarely has starred atop a movie as well-regarded as other movies starring sex symbols, like Some Like It Hot (Marilyn Monroe), Vertigo (Kim Novak), or Casino (Sharon Stone).
Maybe she just had bad taste in scripts.