Movie Article

The Goldie Rush: Three Stages of Movie Stardom

Goldie Hawn's career -- We rate the actress' films

Goldie Hawn's career

Goldie Hawn got her break on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, playing a sort of late-'60s Tweety Bird with body paint. Behind the brainless persona, though, was a hardheaded actress who wanted more than anything else to be a movie star. That's just what she became, too, in a career whose trajectory can be traced on video.

The Free Spirit
Cactus Flower (1969)
This May-December-December triangle showed that Hawn's flower-bimbo shtick could support a movie — with help from Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman. She won an Oscar, but the movie creaks today. B-

There's a Girl In My Soup (1970)
Aging London swinger Peter Sellers meets his match in sour American Hawn. As leeringly dated as The Dating Game. D

Butterflies Are Free (1972)
In the best of her hippie-chick roles, Hawn this time gives herself to blind Edward Albert despite his overbearing mother (Eileen Heckart). B

The Actress
$ (Dollars) (1972)
Hooker Goldie and security expert Warren Beatty heist a Hamburg, Germany, bank in a complex, stylish, funny caper flick. B+

The Sugarland Express (1974)
A scalding road movie, directed by some kid named Spielberg, with Hawn as a fierce Texas mom who takes a cop hostage to get her baby back from the state. Far and away her best performance. A+

The Girl From Petrovka (1974)
American journalist in Russia Hal Holbrook falls for a blond Red. The leads' chemistry is as wobbly as Goldie's accent, but for a nice cry, you could do worse. C+

Shampoo (1975)
As Warren Beatty's latest lover (she thinks), Hawn goes from in-the-dark sweetness to hell-hath-no-fury outrage. Pretty impressive considering the competition is Julie Christie and Lee Grant. B+

The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976)
Goldie's a hooker (again) and George Segal's a lighthearted con man in the 1880s West: What's wrong with this picture? What's right with it? Stupid, loud, vulgar. D-

Foul Play (1978)
Genial Hitchcock imitation shows its '70s stretch marks (Barry Manilow sings the theme), but it's nice to see Hawn and Chevy Chase back when they still seemed hungry. B

Lovers and Liars (1979)
A typical stinky Italian comedy — right down to the bad dubbing and Giancarlo Giannini — except that it costars Goldie Hawn. Bizarre, to say the least. D

The Superstar
Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Neil Simon's throwback to '30s farce is good synthetic fun — and Goldie's transformation to full-fledged movie queen is complete. B+

Private Benjamin (1980)
Executive producer Hawn gave star Hawn a tailor-made role as a JAP in the Army, and the golden Goldie formula was struck. It still looks smarter and funnier than anything she has done since. B+

Best Friends (1982)
Pleasant, noncaloric comedy about a screenwriting couple who marry. Goldie and Burt Reynolds are so lightweight here they practically disappear when costars like Jessica Tandy show up. C+

Swing Shift (1984)
The cut that was released wasn't the one director Jonathan Demme wanted, but this heartfelt World War II drama is still a fine and underrated piece of work. A reminder of acting talents untapped. A-

Protocol (1984)
or: Goldie Goes to Washington. The script's that original too. As a cocktail waitress who causes State Department snafus, Hawn backslides into her dumb-ditz routine. 'Tain't funny. C-

Wildcats (1986)
or: Goldie Coaches Inner-City Football. Her character has brains this time, which is a relief, but you've seen it all before, and with a laugh track. C+

Overboard (1987)
Surprisingly charming, with a wild performance by the star as a rich twit. Perhaps because she's playing opposite real-life honey Kurt Russell, the emotions seem real. B

Bird On a Wire (1990)
The Goldie formula ossified: a big-budget action comedy so familiar you don't have to see it to have seen it. Even Mel Gibson looks desperate. D+

Originally posted Oct 11, 1991 Published in issue #87 Oct 11, 1991 Order article reprints