Talia Shire is perhaps one of the best actresses from her era given that she underwent such a drastic transformation on the screen that it’s hard to believe she was the same woman from movie to movie. Her role in the Rocky movies as Adrian proves this since in the first film she was a mousy little wallflower that rarely spoke to anyone and had ever been anywhere or done anything that her brother Paulie didn’t okay. The funny thing about that was the fact that Paulie saw her as a burden, a stone around his neck that he endured most times. Obviously Paulie was no prize but he did have a heart buried beneath all the cynicism and alcohol. Adrian however was a role that developed eventually into a much stronger and more stubborn person than she ever was in the first movie, proving that she could eventually dish out as much as she’d been forced to take over the years.
That’s the wonder of Talia Shire though, she seems so vulnerable in some of her movies and then in others she appears so strong, forthright, and fully in charge. As Adrian she never really went so far as to be a forceful character but she did manage to match Rocky when it came to determination and heart. Living with a professional fighter after all she would have seen as much hardship as any human has a right to when it came to Rocky coming home lumped up, in need of assistance, and at times probably needing her for everything. If you can remember from Creed, Apollo’s widow actually admitted to having to help him with literally everything when he couldn’t even work his hands properly. Think about what Adrian might have had to go through with Rocky, who would get hit so hard he could just barely function at times.
But that’s the wonder of the character, she was stronger than anyone believed her to be, and that’s because Talia is that talented.
This might seem like a ridiculous movie, and it kind of was, but if it was remade today it would probably be possible to make into a film that would show the dangers of placing certain materials within the environment. Of course such a statement movie would no doubt be highly criticized, but back in this time period it was something that people got a good laugh at since the danger of such a thing as this happening was pure fantasy and nothing else. Of course imagining a mutated bear that stood fifteen feet tall and could kill someone without much effort is kind of a hard sell. But if done right this movie could come back as a rather interesting piece of work that might be something that’s at least entertaining. Given the advances in technology it could be downright terrifying to be honest.
4. The Landlady
There’s no shy, awkward woman in this film, Talia Shire shows us that she can be obsessive just like anyone else. When the man of her dreams becomes her tenant she becomes so smitten with him that she can’t imagine anyone else having him. That seems to be when the bodies start to pile up and the real madness makes its appearance. If you’ve seen her in any other film then you’d know that she’s usually pretty calm and composed to the point of being either dangerous or just quiet and friendly. But in this one she’s bound and determined to have her way and heaven help anyone that stands in her path.
3. The Godfather Part III
There’s a good reason for adding every one of the Godfather movies to this list, and it’s because Talia Shire underwent a transition between all three movies just as much as she did for the Rocky movies. In this installment she’s become the old woman that is best to not be crossed since she’s become so unlike her former self that one could almost forget she was ever innocent. Out of all of Don Corleone’s children she would have perhaps been the last to be seen as actually wanting to go into the business, but in this movie she’s fully committed to Michael and everything he does. And I mean everything.
2. The Godfather
Connie almost seemed as though she could eventually disappear and no one would notice. She was tucked away as Carlo’s wife and the younger Corleone sister but didn’t play much of a role except the lure to get Sonny to react and drive off to his eventual death. Granted, she was a lot more important than all that, but her character really got beaten down throughout this movie and by the time Carlo was taken out a lot of people were probably glad, at least in secret.
1. The Godfather Part II
Connie took on a whole new look for this film and it was anything but innocent. Unlike the first and third movies however she went through a couple of transitions throughout this movie. In the beginning she was little more than a troubled woman that did what she pleased and used her family status to make that happen. She didn’t take care of her kids, she barely made time for her family, and she acted like a spoiled princess. But when she finally accepted her responsibility to the family she became a different person, and that’s when the final transition seems to begin.
Talia Shire is a great actress, even if she’s only known for a few roles.