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"Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me": A History of Acting, Swearing 

Wednesday, Mar 12 2014
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Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me Chiemi Karasawa's documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is a portrait of old-time showbiz in the form of its 89-year-old title subject, still rocking the necktie-and-hat look, and seeming mostly annoyed by the aging process. (While Stritch admits that she can get away with murder at her age, one gets the impression that every third word out of her mouth has always been "fuck.") Never a household name outside of the theater world, Shoot Me covers Stritch's career from her early days (including appearing with Bela Lugosi in a 1947 stage production of Dracula) to working on 30 Rock (as Jack's controlling mother) and rehearsing a solo Sondheim retrospective. A buried lede: She declined the opportunity to lose her virginity to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, she reveals to her nonplussed dinner companion John Turturro that her first orgasm occurred on stage during Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, because of course it did. It's occasionally astonishing how much physical access she allows the cameras — or, at least, how much she allowed to remain in the final cut of the film — including her looking impossibly frail in a hospital bed. But we should be so lucky as to be as energetic as Elaine Stritch at even half her current age, and Shoot Me suggests she may outlast us all.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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