Angie Dickinson

Earlier this month, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I sat and watched Rio Bravo on TV. Not sure whether this was the fifth or sixth viewing, but I could happily watch it again tomorrow. Leisurely, affectionate and with just enough menace to make it interesting, before the shootout when the bad guys get what they deserve. The good guys are John Wayne, Dean Martin, Walter Brennan and Ricky Nelson – a varied, amiable bunch I’m happy to spend time with. But the one I can’t take my eyes off is Angie Dickinson, as Feathers, tthe good-time gal. That high collar, gorgeous hair and mischievous look. Who else in 1959 has that kind of challenging independence, that feels so alive today?

But today I’m reading a review of Burt Bacharach’s biography. He may have written the soundtrack to a million romances, but he was a bastard to his wives. Angie was number two, and  at one point he apparently gave her a list of 26 things in their marriage that needed to change. She bought pet mice for their daughter Nikkii, who’d kill them by throwing them against the wall. Bacharach left them, but later had Nikki committed to a Minnesota clinic for ten years. And that’s the real life story behind the glamour of Feathers on screen.