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Patrick Swayze 1952-2009

 

For obvious reasons, most of the TV and other appreciations of the late Patrick Swayze have been heavy on clips of his role as the title spook in Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990). Never mind I cried like a baby when I first saw it (don't ask). But I think Swayze is miscast: with his impish, faun-like features and the coiled, sensuous menace and grace of his powerful body, he seemed the kind of shade who would be more at home somewhere other than the celestial destination implied at the end of the film.

More to the point are Swayze's performances in his 1987 blockbuster, Emile Ardolino's  "Dirty Dancing" (if only they didn't cut the dance numbers up so much and let him take over the screen like an Astaire or Kelly) and in Kathryn Bigelow's "Point Break" (1991). In both films he plays the threatening, charismatic and tainted seducer who initiates a blushing virgin (Jennifer Grey in "Dancing;" Keanu Reeves in "Break") into the world of good and evil. Similarly, one of the chief pleasures in Rowdy Herrington's "Road House" (1989) are the scenes in which Swayze gets to unleash his latent, balletic violence without restraint or apology.


And let's not forget he made one fine looking woman as one of a trio of drag queens in Beeban Kidran's  "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything" (1995).   

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