Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights, Ladies Night: This Post is Rated PG for P'Gell

The Spirit

The SpiritCast yer peepers on any one of those girlie posters advertising Frank Miller's Will Eisner's The Spirit (coming this Christmas to a theater near you...oh what a surprising gift from Santa!) and when you're done oculatin' and screw your eyeballs back in, you'll notice something's missing. Sure, there they all are: Sand Serif, Silken Floss, Plaster of Paris, Rory Gilmore, Deadly Little Miho, Gerard Butler, The Professor, Mary Ann...but is there a poster to commemorate the Spirit's deadliest, smartest, most successful antagonist? And I'm not talkin' about that guy with the striped gloves here. Because no: the greatest foe the Spirit has ever faced ain't in the movie: P'Gell, as beautiful as she is deadly and as deadly as she is...well, you get the picture. Even tho' she's not in it. It's prob'bly just as well...I can't think of a single contemporary actress who could adequately personify the wily, dangerous, breathtaking P'Gell. Despite her appearance in the modern-day Darwyn Cooke version of The Spirit, P'Gell's character is from a time gone, when femme fatales roamed the Earth like herds of fatalely things. No, you have to go back to the divas of yesterday to capture the essence of P'Gell: Marlene Dietrich, or Miriam Hopkins, or maybe Jane Greer:
Marlene Dietrich, Miriam Hopkins, Jane Greer

Or, hey! Let's do something revolutionary...let's not cast a real or imaginary movie. Let's just go straight to the Master, Mister Will Eisner, to show just how deadly the female of the species is:

The Spirit
All panels from The Spirit section, May 25, 1947,
by Will Eisner and members of the Eisner-Iger Studio

"...Really," bemoans P'Gell in the splash panel to this Spirit adventure (see the original pencils and inks here), "what is there about me that simply invites trouble! (sigh)" I dunno, Miss P'Gell, you're purty and all, but you certainly look like the sorta dame Mama Bull told me to keep the heck away from. Aside from the fact that you're smokin''re also holding a cigarette. Well, what is she gonna do to our hero Denny Colt, the eponymous Spirit? Blow smoke in his face until he goes into a coughing fit? Uh uh. P'Gell is both more elegant and more physical than that:
The Spirit

P'Gell must have seen the movie Casablanca...heck, she probably inspired part of quote Rick Blaine, she's a firm believer in the maxim "I'm the only cause I'm interested in." Which means that not only the law-enforcer Spirit but her criminal competitors are sure to fall foul of her forceful redecoration schemes:
The Spirit

P'Gell's not whistlin' Dixie (whatever that means). She must also be an adherent to the Gospel of Emily Post, for she makes sure the Spirit gets second helpings:
The Spirit

You tell 'im, sister.

P'Gell. Strong enough for a man, but hotchy motchy, whatta woman.

Bahlactus: his city screams. It screams "Don't eat me!"


Sea-of-Green said...

The more I learn about this upcoming Spirit movie, the more worried I get. No P'Gell!?!? You gotta be kidding. :-/ *Sigh.*

Dan McDaid said...

Top hole stuff, Bully. And as for casting P'Gell - give Debra Messing the right haircut and I think you might be on to something...

Evan Waters said...

I was thinking Bebe Neuirth, but she might be too old now.

SallyP said...

I'm thinking that Frank Miller wouldn't really know WHAT to do with P'Gell.

You know who else would be good to play her? Maureen O'Hara, with dark hair.

Dean said...

Well, thy've got to keep a few characters back to use in the sequel, I suppose.

Michael Strauss said...

I think Monica Bellucci or Polly Walker could pull off P'Gell with aplomb.

This movie though, I don't know. I have a feeling that it's going to skew closer to Miller's unproduced Batman screenplay than the original comics or Cooke's recent series. The phrase "increasing trepidation" comes to mind.