Happy 54th Birthday, Melanie Griffith! Here are 5 of Her Underrated Roles
Body Double came out 27 years ago, but it's still a little weird to realize that its one-time ingenue Melanie Griffith is 54 years old. The woman who picked up an Oscar nod for playing the defiant Tess McGill in Mike Nichols' Working Girl has a pretty solid filmography otherwise, including a few good flicks you probably missed or -- more likely -- forgot. In honor of her birthday, click ahead for a rundown of five underrated movies where Griffith also did a helluva good job of letting the river run.
Something Wild (1986)
As far as offbeat '80s movies go, Jonathan Demme's Something Wild ranks among the kookiest in all its throes of comedy, violence, and romance. But Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, the two starring romantics, are the movie's most unassailable strengths. As Audrey "Lulu" Henkel, Griffith invigorates Daniels' humdrum existence and the two embark on a series of adventures. Griffith is cunning and cool here, and best of all, she wears the blazers we still miss from Working Girl. This largely forgotten film earned Golden Globe nods for both Griffith and Daniels.
Stormy Monday (1988)
Speaking of largely forgotten: A very underrated thriller with balmy noir elements, Stormy Monday features Griffith as Kate, a waitress and gopher prostitute for a corrupt businessman's (Tommy Lee Jones) dealings. In a movie that lingers on vivid visual and aural elements, Griffith's one-of-a-kind patois is given a proper showcase in what may be her most seductive performance. Sting costars in a mangy mane!
Pacific Heights (1990)
In one of the few movies to star Griffith and her mother Tippi Hedren (others include 1973's The Harrad Experiment and 1981's Roar), the future Mrs. Banderas plays a yuppie wife who unknowingly allows a psychopath (Michael Keaton) to be her tenant. Now, this barely counts as a two-star horror romp, but Griffith is convincing as the determined wife (of Matthew Modine) who suffers major setbacks in trying to investigate a cockroach-farming con artist.
Born Yesterday (1993)
After 60 years, there's no beating the original Born Yesterday, the saucy trifle of a comedy with Judy Holliday giving one of the finest comic performances of all time as the ditzy matriculant Billie Dawn (which famously earned her an Oscar over All About Eve's Bette Davis and Sunset Boulevard's Gloria Swanson). But in this '90s remake, Griffith -- a natural choice to update the role -- gives a spirited, deeply likable performance as the sheltered wife of a blowhard businessman (John Goodman). This scene, in which Griffith teaches a mnemonic device by which to remember the Constitutional amendments, is a real gem. My only gripe: The role originated on film by William Holden is filled by Griffith's then-husband Don Johnson. Not quite a pound-for-pound proxy.
Another Day in Paradise (1998)
Man, Melanie Griffith sure dates a lot of awful people in movies. Another Day in Paradise, in which she gives her most underrated performance, is no exception, as her thief beau (James Woods) befriends a small-time crook named Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men) and his girlfriend (Natasha Gregson Wagner), and ropes them into a drug robbery that could provide enough money for the rest of their lives. Griffith is sweet but suffering, critical but comforting. And this movie is more than worth a watch. (Start the following clip at 3:00 for Griffith's goodness.)