Elvira

From the moment she appears on the screen, she captures Tony Montana’s heart and doesn’t let go. A blonde bombshell from Baltimore, Elvira Hancock is the token prize to whoever can claim her as his. That is, whoever can afford her.

Elvira
Elvira

For those who have been following Women Who Wow Wednesday, Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer) seems an unlikely candidate to include in the series. After all, she’s spoiled, a narcissist, a drug addict—everything about her would make a family man cringe not wanting to have anything to do with her.

But there are moments—moments when in the throes of confusion—when she can utter just one line and it would relate years of wisdom within a single thought.

First, let’s get to the backstory. Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a political refuge from Cuba, lands on United States soil seeking asylum. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fidel Castro, the little island’s leader, had opened the floodgates releasing the dregs of his jails to an unsuspecting American people. Tony, a possible former assassin, is one of them.

In a refugee camp, Tony earns his Green Card by murdering a former Castro associate in a brutal act of vengeance. Released to the streets of Miami, he rises from dishwasher to a full-fledged drug dealer importing cocaine from Columbia. His world changes once he meets Elvira.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Elvira Hancock
Michelle Pfeiffer as Elvira Hancock

You see, Elvira is Frank Lopez’s wife. Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) is a drug kingpin. Frank Lopez is Tony’s boss.

It doesn’t stop Tony from chasing after the knockout waif. Despite her illegal cravings, her self-absorbed attitude and her constant need for attention, Elvira is a fighter and that is what Tony recognizes. The men she associates with can have her snuffed out without so much as a second thought. Yet she gets away with talking back without much resistance.

When Elvira wants something, she goes for it. She doesn’t beat around the bush:

Elvira: So do you want to dance, Frank, or do you want to sit there and have a heart attack?
Frank: Me, dance? Hey, I think I wanna have a heart attack.

When Tony steps out of line, disrespecting her, she has this to say:

Tony: Now you’re talking to me, Baby.
Elvira: Don’t call me “Baby”. I’m not your “Baby”.

At the height of her drug abuse, she manages to utter one of the most prolific lines in the entire movie:

Elvira: Nothing exceeds like excess. You should know that, Tony.

It gets better. When things begin to sour between her and Tony, her quick wit provides some much-needed levity in their marriage:

Tony: I work hard for this. I want you to know that.
Elvira: It’s too bad. Somebody should’ve given it to you. You would’ve been a nicer person.

Finally, while everything falls apart, Elvira sticks to her guns:

Tony: Look at that: a junkie… I got a junkie for a wife… Her womb is so polluted… I can’t even have a little baby with her!
[Elvira throws wine in Tony’s face]
Elvira: How dare you talk to me like that! What makes you so much better than me? What do you do? Kill people? Deal your drugs? Real contribution to human history, Tony. What makes you think you can be a father? You don’t even know how to be a good husband.

Now, Tony could easily put a bullet in her head, but he doesn’t. Regardless of her shortcomings, she not only makes sense, she also proves that standing up to a force much more powerful than herself proves her ability to dictate her self-worth. And that’s something to wow about.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Have you seen Scarface? What did you think of Elvira?

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16 thoughts on “Elvira

  1. it’s sad – scarface is such a good movie and yet i still have to see the last 15 minutes of it. it was on t.v. late, late one night sometime last summer. i got to watching it from the beginning (since i saw it when i was young but i really don’t remember much of it). it’s been one i’ve been meaning to watch. it’s a great movie! the actors were spectacular! though i barely was able to stomach that shower scene where he watches his buddy get the saw. ugh.

  2. Pfabulous choice Jack, anyone who hasn’t managed to see Scarface after all these years really should get on it. It’s a must-see for Michelle Pfeiffer’s work alone. She is spot on as a bitter trophy wife, and her performance is so sharp you’ll shake your head wondering why it took another five years for her to receive an Academy Award nomination.
    Apart from her Elvira’s entrance,when descends in an elevator in that fabulous dress dress, I really enjoy the scene where Pacino is trying to seduce her and she’s just not interested; finally he gets into her car, puts on her hat and does a funny face. You can see a smile finally dawning on Michelle’s lips, it’s wonderful!

    • I remember that scene when she first appears. Classic.

      One of my favorites is when Tony is waiting to pick her up with his car and she sort of protests for not wanting to get in the leopard-skin interior. Hilarious.

      • Oh I agree, and while I’m here I really should apologise for my typing on my previous comment.
        It’s funny how you only notice your mistakes AFTER you click the post comment button.

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