Saturday, July 23, 2016

...*والآن رسالة من المعلن لدينا

A little Bondische derring-do, featuring a rather unusual protagonist.

* More or less "And now, a word from our sponsor.".. for all you non-Arabophiles out there.

The star of this little gem - a cell-phone commercial for Vodafone Egypt, believe it or not - is a beloved fixture of the Cairowood Firmament, veteran character star Ragaa el Gedawy. She's been on the scene since she first achieved notoriety as Miss Cotton 1958, parlaying that unlikely sash into a career in modeling before moving on to continuing success in theatre and film.

In recent decades she's made a specialty of the elegant older lady, a fach that has a wider field of play in Egyptian entertainment than in the West. These days she's kind of an all-purpose combo of Mary Boland, Billie Burke, and Fay Bainter, playing mothers, aunts, and sage eldresses with a penchant for highly assisted coiffures and little asides in French (which she speaks like a native) or English (where she is more idiosyncratically idiomatic). Of late, as here, she's adding something of the Betty White salty old bird to her repertoire, not to mention all-purpose universal pitchwoman (a lady's gotta live, after all). She even, in tandem with fellow survivor Mimi Gamal, did one of those Snickers commercials, which was fun, too.

She's pretty game for an admitted 78 (which could mean years more), and I rather adore her.


  1. You had me at Fay Bainter.

    I was getting a whisper of Joan Plowright as well.

    1. Oh, Bill - when haven't we had you at Fay Bainter?

      She's a little earthier than Lady Olivier 2.0 generally runs, but I can see what you mean. We don't really have a top-notch American character dowager at the moment, do we? Once Dame Maggie goes, will we really have one at all? Miriam Margolyes is too antic, and Dame Judi is somehow too real (or something) to play the type...