MovieChat Forums > Charley VarrickĀ (1973) Discussion > Why in the world would the secretary sle...

Why in the world would the secretary sleep with Varrick ???


This was the only scene that made absolutely no sense to me...
I know it's the 70ies and then there's the probable adrenalinee rush, but come on...:)
If at least they showed her taking money or something...

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I watched it only last night and was struck by the same question. I would suggest that the boss, Boyle (played by John Vernon) has been forcing her to fvck him and it's a way for her to deal with it -- hence her warning Varrick not to trust him. Boyle is quite an odd character -- watch it again and listen carefully to the way he delivers his dialogue (e.g. with the bank manager whilst watching the cows - "great udders"), and watch the little moments such as when he pushes the girl on the swing; he's very much like Molly, the difference perhaps being that he is conscious of the need to conceal his psychopathic/predatory nature -- hence the need to rely on Molly for the dirty work. Sorry if I'm not helping with your post... I'm still thinking it through. I plan to watch the film again with some friends in the next few days and discuss it to see what they think.

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I just don't see how would sleeping with Varrick have any impact on anything for her (even symbolically).

This is what crossed my mind - Varrick was supposed to be played by Eastwood at one point. I think they might have simply kept that version of the screenplay and didn't care. With Eastwood in the role I could maybe, possible, kinda see the logic there, but the way it turned out. No way...

I don't think she was forced into a relationship by Boyle. It looked like Boyle "did" her and then either dumped her right after or just didn't want to make the relationship public - hence her "bastard" comment.

John Vernon did a hell of a job with his character. He wants to be very calm and calculated yet you can tell Boyle is boiling inside (excuse the pun).
He actually made a fairly simple character very interesting.

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Going with your suggestion, that Boyle dumped her (which maybe he did -- I think there's a framed/signed picture of him next to the bed), then her actions are out of revenge perhaps.

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She's a secretary in the Mafia. Pretty dangerous life. Also, I kinda wonder if she started out as a hooker herself -- one of the more pretty ones who worked her way up in the organization. (Notice how she calls Boyle "Bastard" with some kink when he comes on to her a bit at the office. She's "knowing.")

Put that all together, plus her respect for Varrick's toughness and bravery, plus some likely resentment towards Boyle...she'd do it.

Walter Matthau actually did well in polls as a "romantic star" in the early 70's, by the way. He could play a lover more believably than you'd think.

But here's the really kinky part: that mature but beautfiul actress playing Walter's bed partner, Felicia Farr, was the wife of Walter's pal and frequent co-star Jack Lemmon. And Walt DOES lay a big liplock on her!

There's no business like show business.

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I wrote this in my "review" some years back:

I think most of this movie's fans are male and old enough to remember the early Seventies. Sybil makes sense in that era. Sybil Fort grew up in the Fifties - a repressive time when unmarried women were not supposed to have sex. A woman who openly did so was a "promiscuous whore," a "floozy" or a "tramp."

But now Sybil lives in the Seventies - a time to break all your mother's rules. She is a trailblazer of the new age - a beautiful, unmarried thirty-something woman, independent, with a career and money. She has a life that her mother secretly envies, but outwardly reproves. Sybil has flings openly that her mother would have kept secret, but couldn't risk at all.

So when Varrick threatens her life, takes on her crooked boss, and then propositions her, Sybil is turned on, by both the danger and the complete impropriety of the deed according to the standards of her elders. She doesn't just screw Varrick. She relishes in this act of ultimate defiance of her parents' generation.

Sybil only makes sense in the Seventies. Her older sisters never had her freedom. The women of the next generation don't remember the Fifties, and don't need to prove that they are free.

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Well done!

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I agree about Eastwood, but ...Jan Michael Vincent would have been the perfect guy IMO for Varrick role...

well, the idea of mathau as aging independent is ok, but lose all the "young" stuff...

or change the role to a JMV circa mechanic type of role, and it works

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i was more surprised by the photographer sleeping with joe don baker..after he slaps her!

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I'd say she didn't have much choice. Baker's character doesn't ask, only takes.

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As I wrote elsewhere, the photographer has been bossy and mannish in spite of her sexiness to us. She's a tough cookie and respects money (licks her lips while Charley is counting it out) and roughness.

Plus, she's a bit S&M and recognizes that in Molly. He saw that in her and that's why he slaps her. Plus, to bring her down a notch.

Molly's probably really turned on, having just beaten Harmon to death. Note his lascivious glance at Jewell's ass as she digs into the fridge... she knows she's putting on that show, too.

Now, Molly has a chance to play out his sadism with someone who'll appreciate it!

I just hope Molly didn't kill her afterward. I liked Jewell!
(I know it's a movie, but these characters are so realistic)

I agree with what was said before re: Miss Fort. She has a chip on her shoulder re: Boyle's treatment of her, plus she doesn't often meet straightforward guys like Charley. Plus, his veiled threat to throw her out the window... either she's still under the threat, or she kind of appreciates his inner character and intelligence (tricking her with flowers, etc).

BTW "Sybil" is a witch's name, and she "holds the Fort" for Western Fidelity, the Mafia front corp. I like delving into the possibilities behind character names!

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Hi

Maybe you're on to something with Jewel being into S&M. I think Molly was just letting her know in a direct way with the slap that he was in charge, he was the taker. The smile may be her way of saying..."you can have all you want, big boy." Better for her to go along, than to be brutally beaten and raped.

Also, the scene earlier with Molly in the whorehouse...he may have resented the offer. If the madam hadn't said to him 'he could have anything he wanted.' Molly could have...but for him, if he'd just grabbed any or several of the gals there and dragged them into his room....that's more in keeping of his character...the taker...and we see how that is part of his downfall.

I agree totally with Miss Fort...I don't think Boyle was much of a lover and certainly not a romantic. The flowers were a romantic gesture (why would Boyle ever bother? he was getting what he wanted from her. Also, as they go round the compass, Charley appears to be a better lover...she most likely rarely if ever got the big O from Boyle....so she has her fun with Charley. Plus, Boyle knows Varrick is there with her, yet he never asks about her welfare. Another way of showing her he could care less.

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Wow!

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Now that's some inside joke... :) Thanks.

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People are so far from the 1970s, they forget just how free sex was. Of course, the movie is not reality, but an older man's fantasy that he could join in the sexual revolution, even he couldn't. I mean why would the hot girl doing the passports tell Walter Matthau he's so handsome? Varrick is the hero of the film, so he's supposed to be alluring. Plus Don Siegel wasn't exactly a feminist. His films with Eastwood always had women as sex objects or crazy or 'good girls'.

Life was and less restricted by all sorts of boundaries. Plus the 70s were wide open in the film business, since goody-two-shoes material was for television, which was huge business at that time. Everyone was trying to out-shock each other for the movie audience.

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What I thought odd was that Felicia Farr, who played Sybil Fort, got third billing. Her scenes were shorter and less important to the plot than those of Andrew Robinson, Jacqueline Scott, Sheree North, and Woodrow Parfrey.

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How about this theory: Felicia Farr was Jack Lemmon's wife and Jack was real good friends with Walter Matthau. That's the best I can come up with.

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yeah i agree, was totally ridiculous and unnecessary. the movie didn't need their southwesting the bed. i foung the one with molly and the photographer more amusing and probable since it was their 2nd meeting but the secretary and varrick encounter was dumb. it lessened the movie for me and sadly will make me think of that scene more among all the others.

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