MY TOP TEN PLASTER CAST MOVIES

On Friday 24th June 2011 I found myself, for the first time in my life, with my leg in a plaster cast. As is my usual practice in challenging situations, I turned to the movies for tips on how to cope, and with the help of the good people of Twitter, compiled a list of films featuring plaster casts.

Here is the Top Ten of my favourites:

ooo

WORKING GIRL (1988) 

“I have a head for business and a bod for sin,” says Melanie Griffith in this very 1980s corporate fairytale about a secretary who gets her own back on the female boss who stole her ideas by posing as an executive in her absence. The big hair, power-dressing and shoulder-pads have dated badly, but Sigourney Weaver, who should do comedy more often, is huge fun as the evil bitch boss who breaks her leg on a skiing trip; Joan Cusack steals scenes in a supporting role. Griffith’s recent career has been so low-key it’s easy to forget how appealing she used to be with her not so dumb blonde attitude and disarming streak of Monroe-like vulnerability, though Carly Simon’s Oscar-winning theme song makes me want to kill someone (preferably Carly Simon).

PLASTER CAST TIP: Just because you have a leg in plaster doesn’t mean you should let your standards slip. Weaver is quite possibly the sexiest plaster-cast wearer ever as she dolls herself up in lingerie for a visit from Harrison Ford, unaware that he has unaccountably become smitten with Griffiths in her absence.

ooo

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981)

I’m sorry, but Live and Let Die was the only Roger Moore Bond film that coincided with my adolescence, so I couldn’t be bothered to shell out the ticket money for the others. Even now I’m not entirely sure I’ve seen all the Moore Bonds – they tend to run together in my head in a brume of bad quip and raised eyebrow acting. But I do know I’ve seen For Your Eyes Only, mainly because I was interested in Carole Bouquet, who’d played one of Luis Buñuel’s Conchitas in Cet obscur objet du désir, and also because one of the villains is played by Michael Gothard, and I’ve been a Gothard completist ever since seeing him in 1967 as Milady de Winter’s vengeful son in the BBC’s The Further Adventures of the Musketeers. The plaster cast is basically a throwaway gag in Q’s laboratory; it swings sideways off its wearer’s arm and smashes a dummy’s head, at which Bond quips, “That’ll come in handy.”

PLASTER CAST TIP: Never forget that your plaster-cast can be useful as a weapon. But it’s a shame Bond didn’t use this one in the field.

ooo

42ND STREET (1933) 

“You’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!” Let’s hear it for the archtypal “putting on a show” musical, starring Warner Baxter as the Producer, Ginger Rogers and Una Merkel as wisecracking broads and Ruby Keeler as the chorus girl who steps into the limelight after leading lady Bebe Daniels breaks her ankle, and magnanimously says to Keeler, “You know Peggy, when I started for the theater tonight I wanted to tear your hair out, but then I started thinking… Well after all, I’ve had my chance, and now it’s your turn!” Busby Berkeley stages the musical numbers (including the naughtily suggestive “Shuffle off to Buffalo” and “Young and Healthy”) with his customary flamboyance, but what galvanizes the attention nowadays are the dancers’ figures. No Showgirls-type muscled hardbodies here – it’s chubby thighs a-go-go.

PLASTER CAST TIP: It’s my contention that Bebe Daniels didn’t really want to take part in that stupid show anyway. Never forget your plaster cast will provide you with the perfect excuse to get out of doing stuff you don’t really want to do.

ooo

THE DISORDERLY ORDERLY (1964)

Jerry Lewis plays an accident-prone orderly at a plush private sanitarium. Looney Tunes alumnus Frank Tashlin directed this comedy, and the best parts are cartoon-inspired slapstick; the last ten minutes, a beautifully choreographed medley of runaway stretchers and supermarket mayhem, are particularly brilliant. Elsewhere, Lewis’ exaggerated mugging has fallen so far out of fashion that it often seems grotesque, and it’s hard to watch without wondering if his ingratiating idiocy is merely a cover for the sour misanthropy he later displayed in Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy, while his physical antics seem laboured compared to the graceful stunts of, say, Jackie Chan. But there are good moments, including a peculiarly pertinent board of directors’ meeting that makes comic hay out of naked capitalism.

I bet there aren’t many hospital-set comedies that don’t feature some comic business featuring plaster casts, but The Disorderly Orderly has three variations on the theme:
1) Jerry pushes a wheelchair containing a cigar-puffing man with a comically exaggerated cast on his foot. Blinded by cigar smoke, Jerry accidentally pushes the chair into a wall; hilarity ensues behind the opening credits.
2) Jerry accidentally tapes a nurse to a patient’s plaster cast.
3) Jerry accidentally lets go of a plaster-covered patient while out strolling in the hospital grounds. The man rolls down a grassy incline, the plaster smashes against a tree… and there’s no-one inside.

PLASTER CAST TIP: People in plaster casts are invariably seen as amusing, which is no doubt why they appear in so many comedies. You can always bring a smile to people’s faces with a well-timed pratfall. Though if you’re saddled with a plaster cast yourself, you’re unlikely to see it as a source of humour.

ooo

THE VANISHING (1988) 
(aka SPOORLOOS)

George Sluizer’s Franco-Dutch psychothriller begins with the disappearance of Saskia, a young Dutchwoman at a service station in the south of France and ends with one of the most nightmarish denouements in film history. In the interim, we become almost as obsessed as the missing woman’s boyfriend with finding out what happened to her, though unlike him we’re privy to the kidnapper’s identity – he’s an ordinary-seeming family man played with chilling affability (and slightly dodgy Karswell beard) by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu. But the game here is not whodunnit, but how and why, with missing pieces falling into place to show us how the madman ticks. All he needs now is an audience to appreciate his cleverness.

American serial-killer Ted Bundy would sometimes wear plaster casts, slings or crutches to gain the trust of his young female victims. In The Silence of the Lambs, Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb approaches a victim with his arm in a sling. In The Vanishing, we watch Raymond Lemorne meticulously planning the abduction of a young woman – any young woman – by wearing a fake plaster cast on his arm. In the end, ironically, he doesn’t need it to lure Saskia into his car; her misgivings are put at rest when she spots a photograph of his family.

PLASTER CAST TIP: A plaster cast can easily win you a stranger’s trust. Try not to abuse this trust by killing them.

ooo

ORCA (1977)

Richard Harris plays an Irishman living in Canada who harpoons a pregnant female whale. Its mate seeks vengeance by attacking boats, houses, people, including Bo Derek, whose leg is in plaster following an earlier attack. Bo is chillaxing with a glass of wine in a seafront house on stilts (as you do) when the vengeful killer whale headbutts the stilts, tipping the house and sending Bo sliding down the floor. While she’s clinging on for dear life, waiting for Harris to rescue her, Orca chomps off her leg, plaster cast and all.

PLASTER CAST TIP: While your leg is in plaster, try to avoid situations involving killer whales, houses on stilts and Richard Harris.

ooo

DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) 

One summer I got myself fitted with a slutty gold ankle chain as a special tribute to Barbara Stanwyck’s performance in this classic film noir adapted (by Raymond Chandler, among others) from a James M Cain novel. Babs plays Phyllis Dietrichson, a duplicitous housewife who seduces insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) into helping her bump off her husband, only for things to go horribly wrong as they invariably do in such tales. Me, I flaunted my ankle chain like mad, but have yet to meet my Walter Neff.

The plaster cast first appears, in silhouette, during the opening credits, and plays a pivotal role in the plot; Dietrichson has a broken leg in plaster and walks with crutches, making it easy-peasy for Neff to impersonate him after his death.

PLASTER CAST TIP: People will remember your plaster cast, not you. Unless you also wear an orange fright wig and spangly tutu, in which case they’ll probably remember what you’re wearing as well as the cast. I haven’t put this to the test, but it seems quite logical they’d be more likely to remember your signature injury rather than your face or your sparkling wit.

ooo

SPANKING THE MONKEY (1994)

Before he went on to direct such films as Three Kings and The Fighter and yell obscenities at Lily Tomlin (see YouTube), David O Russell cobbled together Spanking the Monkey on the short ends of other productions’ film stock and did such a splendid job of it that you readily forgive the odd rough edge in his writing-directing debut. The title is a slang term for masturbation, and the film itself is about incest, but don’t let that put you off – this is a classy coming-of-age black comedy that treats its themes in a thoroughly entertaining but responsible way.

Jeremy Davies is the antithesis of heroic, cool or witty in his breakout role as Ray, a medical student forced home to nowheresville in upstate New York to look after his attractive but neglected mother (Alberta Watson, also excellent) who has broken her leg in a botched suicide attempt. For Ray, it’s hell on earth. He is bored, frustrated, and thwarted in his attempts at sexual relief by the family dog. It’s only a matter of time before enforced intimacy turns into an intriguing combination of a boy, his mother and a plaster-cast.

PLASTER CAST TIP: If you fancy someone, you could try asking them to rub moisturizer into the skin around your plaster cast. Or you could get them to help you take a shower. Though probably best if you’re not related to them by anything other than marriage.

ooo

INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002) 
aka MOU GAAN DOU

This brilliant Hong Kong thriller stars Tony Leung (Chiu Wai, that is, not the other Tony Leung) as a dishevelled cop who has spent a decade in deep cover amongst the Triads and Andy Lau as a dapper Triad who has been infiltrating the police department at the same time. Each is assigned by their respective bosses (Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang) to flush out his counterpart mole, leading to edge-of-seat tension, steely visuals and sparse but effective bursts of violence.

You’ll need to keep your wits about you to work out who’s who, who knows what, and which side they’re on – especially since the two lead characters aren’t always too sure themselves – but your reward will be one of the most gripping thrillers of the noughties. Martin Scorsese won an Oscar for remaking it as The Departed, but sacrificed the original’s tight narrative and knife-edged tension to sloppy storytelling and an out-of-control star performance from Jack Nicholson.

In the tense, pivotal scene in which each mole first becomes aware of the other’s existence, Tony Leung communicates by tapping out Morse code with the plaster cast on his arm, to let the cops know where a Triad drug deal is going down, while Andy Lau is simultaneously feeding information about the planned drugs bust back to the Triads.

PLASTER CAST TIP: Yeah, Morse code. Sometimes, SOS is all you need.

ooo

REAR WINDOW (1954) 

The pleasures of voyeurism have seldom been served up more seductively than in Hitchcock’s film of Cornell Woolrich’s story; it’s the Master of Suspense at his most gloriously entertaining. James Stewart, laid up in his apartment with a broken leg, starts spying on his neighbours through a telephoto lens, with results so fascinating it’s almost a shame when the plot proper kicks in and takes over. Has Raymond Burr murdered his nagging wife, or is our hero letting his imagination run away with him? Thelma Ritter is a riot as Stewart’s wisecracking nurse, while Grace Kelly as his fiancée is such a vision of gorgeousness – kissing her beau in slo-mo or saucily unpacking her negligé with the words, “Preview of coming attractions!” – you’ll be asking yourself why he’s finding it so hard to commit to her. All the answers, of course, are to be found in those windows across the yard, each of them cynically illustrating one of the many different stages in the eternal battle of the sexes.

PLASTER CAST TIP: In a perfect world, we would all have Thelma Ritter to rub us down and Grace Kelly to awaken us from our reveries with a magical kiss. But in the absence of either of these angels, we can console ourselves by spying on the neighbours in the house opposite. Or, if your window is too high and your vantage-point too low, by gazing mesmerised at Magritte-esque cloud formations and the gently swaying branches of the sycamore outside.

ooo

Honourable Mentions: A Clockwork OrangeThe TenantThe Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Frida, A Fish Called Wanda, Splash!, GoldenEye, Assassins, Office Space, Election, Spider, Goodfellas, The Incredibles, Les amants du Pont-Neuf, L’astragale, Verso sera. (Please don’t hesitate to suggest other plaster cast-related titles to add to this list, which I realise is nowhere near exhaustive.)

ooo

ooo

If you’re looking for PHALLIC PLASTER-CASTS (and search engine terms in my stats suggest that some of you are) here’s a post about them.

ooo

ooo

MY TOP TEN GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME
ooo
EIGHT FILMS CONTAINING DREAM SEQUENCES MORE INTERESTING THAN THE ONES IN INCEPTION
ooo
FIVE ROM-COMS THAT DON’T MAKE ME WANT TO THROW UP

ooo

About these ads

29 thoughts on “MY TOP TEN PLASTER CAST MOVIES

  1. Hi Krizan, I love Bucket of Blood! This calls for a Plaster Cast/Sculpture blog – starting with that, After Hours, the documentary about the woman who makes plaster-casts of rock stars's penises and Tony Hancock's Aphrodite at the Watering Hole in The Rebel (possibly the finest film about modern art ever made).

  2. defintive the best: Paperback Romance / Lucky Break

    but check out also

    28 Days
    48 Hrs.
    Al lupo, al lupo
    All I Want
    Banquière, La
    Berlinquer ti voglio bene
    Bernhadiner und Katz
    Big Easy, The
    Boy Friend, The
    Brewster McCloud
    Bring It On
    Brotocalo
    Brylcream Boulevard
    California Suite
    Cape Fear
    Charlie's Angels
    Crash
    Critical Condition
    Cry Terror
    Delta Force 3
    Desperate Lives
    Dinner at Eight
    Divka na kosteti
    Doctor at Large
    Don't Say a Word
    Double Your Pleasure
    Fatal Attraction
    Fortress
    Freundinnen und andere Monster
    Get to the Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story
    Getting Physical
    Gift of Love, The
    Gli ordini sono ordini
    Guess Who's Sleepin in My Bed
    Hanging Up!
    Heart of Midnight
    Hero
    Highest Pressure – Altissima pressione
    I Dreamed of Africa
    I nouvi mostri
    Il sorpassi
    Illicit Intimacy
    Just the Way You Are
    Kindergarten Cop
    King pf Comedy
    Komm, süßer Tod
    L'Astregal
    Little Mo
    Little White Lies
    Looking for Mr. Goodbar
    Lost and Found
    Love Letters
    Luna di miele in tre
    Made in America
    Malibu Express
    Man Trouble
    Matt Helm
    Meatballs
    Mindgames
    Miracle of Kathy Miller, The
    Monster
    Mr. Bean
    Murder, She Wrote
    Nessuno mi può guidicare
    Omen, The
    On Moonlight Bay
    Onassis – The Richest Man in the World
    Pacific Paradise
    Parents Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon
    Perfect Timing
    Personal Best
    Possession
    Pride of Jesse Hallam
    Princess and the Warrior, The
    Profil bas
    Promises in the Dark
    Rainmaker, The
    Real Genius
    Rosalie Goes Shopping
    S.O.B.
    Scream for Help
    Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, The
    Skipper Surprised His Wife, The
    Slaves of New York
    Smallville
    Sposeò Simon LeBon
    Springtime in Italy
    Stirb für mich
    Stuntwoman
    Substitute, The
    Superchick Superchick USA 1973
    Tant quil y aura des femmes
    Tenant, The
    Terminal Velocity
    Texas Justice
    Three Fugitives
    Too Far to Go
    Tribute
    Trois Couleurs: Bleu
    Vero sera – Towards Evening
    Winter Sleepers
    Witches of Eastwick
    With a Song in My Heart
    Wonder Years, The
    Zero Boys, The

  3. Gosh, thank you HarmonHarm for that extraordinarily long list of plaster cast movies. I perhaps didn't make it clear that I was only really picking my favourites, but the blog is certainly enhanced by your meticulous input, and for that I am grateful. In future years, this will be the number one go-to page for plaster cast movie enthusiasts. And I don't mean that ironically; I wish I had found a list like this before writing the blog.

  4. Love your blog; just got my full leg plaster cast on yesterday and have been searching the web. Get a load of that contraption on Famke Janssen's leg in Don't Say a Word. Paster tip: never forget a cast can very sexy if dispayed properly; keep your pedicure up.

  5. Thanks Great legs, and the best of luck with your plaster-cast. I trust you've already discovered that thermos flask, tupperware containers and backpacks become your best friends when you're obliged to hop around on crutches. I also found a skateboarder's kneepad useful for going up and down stairs (I live in a duplex, with my bed in the attic) though if you're in a full-leg cast that might not be relevant. Last but not least, never forget – crutches may be a pain (literally) but they do wonders for firming up your triceps. No more chicken-wings!

  6. Good advice. Do you dress to show your cast or conceal it? I can't figure out how to look good in this thing? (If you post on my blog with your email I won't publish it, but will email you so as not to clutter up your blog with girl talk.) Problem of the day: what to wear on the other foot. I will not be reduced to going ojut in flip flops.

  7. I don't mind girl talk on the blog. I would show off your cast at all times – anything for sympathy and/or emotional blackmail. And until both my feet are completely operative again I am wearing nothing but clumpy flat shoes – at first it was Blundstones, but now I am finding 6-hole Dr Martens easier to get on and off my wounded foot. I am more interested in getting my foot well again than looking feminine. Even indoors, I would not not advise barefoot or anything sandally – don't forget your well foot is doing enough work for two at the moment and needs all the (literal) support it can get; after 10 days of hopping around barefoot, mine started hurting almost as much as the broken one, and felt much more comfortable in a solid shoe – this was very strange for me to get used to as normally I hate wearing shoes at home.

    Of course, if you're lolling on the sofa, receiving visitors, you can wear what you like on the unplastered foot – six-inch stilettos and so forth. I just wouldn't advise wearing those on crutches…

  8. Ok here is the Mise-en-scène: tall brunette lying in a hospital bed in her loft apartment with an enormous plaster cast from her toes to her groin and her leg held high in a sling like Signourey Weaver. BF returns next Tuesday from business trip to Asia. She doesn't want the cast to be turn off and she wants some old fashion loving, not the brother loving kind. What movie does she cue up and what other than her white cast should she be wearing when he comes in.

  9. Great idea. Whe he arrives I will have my leg up in the sling to maximize the damsel in distress look, a lace bathrobe, a peep toe Jimmy Choo stiletto on the other foot, my cast and nothing else.

  10. It worked. Jimmy Stuart's and my enormous white casts evoked a wonderful flow of sympathy for this poor damsel in distress. The wiggling scarlet toes peeping out of the cast deseve some mention for their supporting role as does the costume designer at La Perla. With seven more weeks trussed up I plan to show him more of your cast movies. Any more suggestions would be welcome. Lets do a sexy gal in a full leg this time.

    How is your leg/foot? What sort of cast did they put you in?

  11. Great! So glad it worked out. But hard thinking of movies featuring sexy gals in casts; I assume you've considered Working Girl. Alberta Watson in Spanking the Monkey is very alluring, but the sex in that is incestuous so it might send out the wrong message. Have you inveestigated the films on HarmonHarm's list above? Otherwise I'd just aim for a good movie, plus La Perla.

  12. Watched the Devil Wares Prada last nigh. Ann Hathaway is soo pretty and looks so good even in her cast that she makes a full leg cast seem like the newest fashion accesory. BF said both of you look good in plaster.

  13. the end of “it's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world” is full of people in plaster casts and traction.

    and catch-22 starts with yossarian in hospital looking at a man entirely encased in a plaster cast, having his piss bottle and water bottle changed byn nurses, who are distracted by gossip so just end up absent midedly sapping them.

  14. Great legs – I don't remember a cast in The Devil Wears Prada. When does that happen?

    and thanks Paul, don't think I've seen Mad, Mad World since I was very small, but I should have remembered Catch-22. Both great additions to what looks as though it's turning into The Definitive Plaster-Cast Movie List.

  15. Hi Fetching, get well soon! Use it as an excuse to sit around and watch movies.
    Great Legs, hope you're on the road to recovery – my foot is pretty much back to normal now. I'm back at my tapdancing class, but am taking it easy for the time being and not doing hops.
    Prolix – Blundstone for ever! My favourite footwear.

  16. Hi, What about: Broken embraces “Los abrazos rotos” of Pedro Almodovar? Penelope Cruz is spotted with a beautifull leg cast. And almost forget: Movie: “You again” or in Spanish: “Otra vez Tu”, a cute actress with shoulder body cast + long arm cast…

  17. I had a full leg cast with crutches for 8 months, then complications caused the removal of my leg at mid-thigh, so I have seen it from both sides. My cast definitely was a guy magnet, and to a lesser degree so is a missing leg.
    Erica

  18. Blimey, Erica, that sounds devastating. I am filled with admiration for your positive attitude. I hope you don’t find this suggestion flippant, but have you seen Tristana (1970) by Luis Buñuel? A long time since I last watched it, but Catherine Deneuve’s character has a leg amputated in that; you might find it interesting. I would love to hear what you think of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZnZ3zZupEU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s