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Unrequited Love

Should Rocky have gone upstairs into her apartment? Should Rocky have pulled her into his Las Vegas ho-tel room when she came to visit him on the eve of the fight? Should she have given him more than a little smooch when she said good luck? I asked all the above to  Geraldine Hughes who plays “Marie,” the winsome barmaid he befriends and — ?  Well, when you see the picture tell me what they should have done. And why?

According to the delightful and perfectly enacted Marie — Geraldine  Hughes — the  scene finally used was tried out several ways. “Four or five kinds of kisses,” she laughed. “And I laughingly told him, ‘Go for it — Rocky’.” But he didn’t. 

Meanwhile, Geraldine is thrilled with having gotten the role in the film. She was discovered in “Belfast Blues” on stage in Hollywood where her normal Irish brogue was very much in keeping with the play. She’d been brought to L.A. by George Schaefer, “a surrogate father,” she attended UCLA and graduated in the School of Films, Theatre and TV.  Casting director Sheila Jaffe discovered her in “Belfast Blues” and brought her to Sly’s attention. 

“Never in a million years would I have dreamed of it happening,” she admits. And luckily she lost out on a canceled  B’way production of  “Shining City” which fell apart. Had she gone onto it — the discovery and the “Rocky” role would never have happend, she happily reports.  Geraldine  hid the brogue  throughout the test, the shooting — with only one laughing  remark to set workers.

She  said, “I never ceased to be amazed by Sly filming ‘Rocky’. He was constantly writing, rewriting, improvising on the spot. He could be on the phone, doing an interview, between shots — and go right into it. He was totally generous, collaborative.”

Monday night, the film preemed in Philadelphia with the party following at the Museum where “Rocky’s” statue greets arrivals.  “I felt like Cinderella at the Ball,” Geraldine told me.

She arrived with her husband of ten years, screenwriter  Ian Harrington. He’d never met Sly until last night. “I was absolutely terrified, I didn’t let him ever visit the set. ” I asked her if she thought there could be another “Rocky” –“Rocky and Marie”? “No,”  she said — “He definitely said that was the last ‘Rocky’.” But how about the first ‘Marie’?” she laughed.

First,  Hughes returns to the stage in N.Y. in  Brian Friel’s  “Translations.”