Friday, July 03, 2020

Double Barrel

A Facebook group for survivors of Phoenix childhoods reminded me of the time a man held our local news anchor hostage on live TV when I was a kid. (Spoiler: The guy's a religious crackpot!) Worth a read HERE.

Which, in turn, reminded me that Damian and I recently watched a quasi-documentary about Christine Chubbuck, a little-remembered news anchor in Sarasota, Fla., who shot herself in the head on live television in 1974. There are almost no photos and little footage of her out there, but a contemporaneous piece by the Washington Post's Sally Quinn has all of the details that are known. (The way Christine's mother talks about her dead daughter it's hard to tell if she memorializing or roasting her.) Still, it's a shame more information isn't available, as it's clear there is a compelling story begging to be told. A male colleague she was said to be distraught over was known as "Gorgeous George" yet we never get to see, let alone meet, him. (Would have liked to have judged for myself!) She was apparently still a virgin at 29 yet none of her friends could be located to talk about her personal life, including the friend/colleague George apparently took up with instead of Christine. And her interior-decorator brother clearly died of AIDS, although nary a word is mentioned of it. Read HERE

Ironically, after the subject was ignored for decades, two separate films came out at the same time in 2016. We opted to watch "Kate Plays Christine," which because of the lack of people to interview -- her mother is dead and her other brother refuses to talk, other than to make sure the widow of the TV network where Christine worked never releases the tape of the suicide -- is premised on the idea of an actress trying to research Christine so she can portray her in a film that isn't actually being shot. Its intentions are good. But essentially they just read Sally Quinn's article verbatim and then drive to the locations where Christine lived and work but don't really find anything of interest. 

The other film is a more traditional biopic called "Christine," starring  Rebecca Hall ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") as Chubbock and Michael C. Hall ("Six Feet Under," "Dexter") as Gorgeous George. But given how little is known about the principals, this strikes me as the kind of "inspired by true-life events" fodder I typically shy away from but might be the best option given the circumstances. (At the very least you get to see the XY Hall in his 1970s garb!)

Leave me a comment if you've seen either.

Trailer for "Kate Plays Christine"

1 comment:

Seth said...

Christine is a wonderful and devastating movie. Rebecca Hall is stunning in it and its too bad she fell through the cracks during award season. I saw it on an airplane soon after it came out and I still think of one haunting, deeply sad scene in particular every so often. Highly recommended! PS Sally Quinn’s article you pointed is amazing! It’s really quite a sad, sad story.