Comfortable and Furious

Come to My Woman’s Breasts and Take My Milk for Gall: Part 3

Lisa Blount in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Having not long completed a turn as a zombified bitch in 1981’s atmospheric horror flick Dead & Buried, Blount snagged herself a Golden Globe for another death-causing turn in this tremendous romantic drama. And how does she go about killing this time around?

By ripping a man’s heart out.

Richard Gere, Debra Winger and Louis Gossett Jr. are the ones usually remembered for the double Oscar-winning Officer, but next time you watch, keep an eye out for Blount’s top-notch support. She plays Lynette, the best friend of the more moral Paula (Winger). They’re a pair of Washington factory workers convinced life will go nowhere unless they snag an aspiring navy pilot.

This is made clear early on by the hardass drill instructor Gossett Jr. who tells his latest batch of stressed recruits: “Let me tell you something about the local girls. Ever since there’s been a naval base here, there’s been what you call the Puget Sound debs. That’s poor girls coming across the sound on the ferry every weekend with just one thing in mind. And that’s to marry themselves a naval aviator.” 

Cut to Paula and Lynette in their crappy car driving along some horrible highway, Lynette holding a ciggie between her red-tipped fingers as the radio belts out Pat Benatar’s Treat Me Right. “A Puget deb will tell you, ‘Don’t you worry, baby, about no contraceptives, I got that all taken care of.’ Don’t you believe a word of it, sweet pea, because a Puget deb will do and say anything to trap you. I know this sounds silly, especially in this so-called modern age, but you scuzzy college pukes had better watch out because they’re out there and you, sweet peas, are the answer to their dreams.”

The sexy Lynette (and her ‘bodacious set of ta-tas’) fixes her sights on Sid (David Keith), a decent, none too bright bloke whose father is already an officer. During their initial dance, it’s revealed both lost brothers in Nam. She puts out the first night on a car back seat, telling him: “Don’t worry, I’ll respect you in the morning.” Lynette is a fun-loving girl, an adult with her eyes open about the way things are.

Or so it seems.

As the relationship develops, the key scene arrives when we listen to her conversation with Paula about how far she’d go to ‘get’ her officer candidate. When Paula replies she would never allow herself to fall pregnant and trap a man, Lynette’s bitterness spills out. “Nine weeks just ain’t long enough to get a guy to fall in love with you,” she complains. “The way these hot-shot assholes just use us till they’ve had enough and then ditch us like we’s trash… Don’t you ever feel used, Paula? Don’t you ever feel like: If this is all I get for my troubles, then the sonuvabitch ought to be paying for it?”

Lynette has officially become dangerous. Yes, there’s some truth in what she says, but her intentions are undeniably unfair. She’s someone who refuses to accept that life often cannot be molded into how you want it to go and is instead prepared to channel her disappointment into a much more sinister course of action. Lynette is immature and petulant. Worse, she’s a bitch. 

But then we learn Sid is no angel and all along has a girl back home that he plans to marry once he graduates. Lynette is still a deceitful, manipulative cow and must take responsibility for the ultimately tragic outcome of her decisions, but she’s also a nuanced and weirdly sympathetic one.Officer is brilliantly written, both cynical and heartfelt, and one of the great examinations of that minefield known as male-female relationships. Despite the Golden Globe, Blount’s career never really took off and a mere three years later she was starring in one of Ruggero Deodato’s dreadful jungle madness flicks. Yeah well, life often can’t be molded into the way you want it to go.


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One response to “Come to My Woman’s Breasts and Take My Milk for Gall: Part 3”

  1. John Welsh Avatar
    John Welsh

    Excellent critique.

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