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My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 5:58:33 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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From: the waters of Casablanca
# 10. Charles Vanel as Jo (Wages of Fear / Le salaire de la peur)

Some of you might remember that Clouzot's Wages of Fear had an article written about it in Empire around 7 years ago, it was the first time I'd heard of Clouzot, and his reputation as a French Hitchcock and so I went out and bought said movie. I didn't quite get what I was expecting, it had been sold to me as the 1950's version of Die Hard, a real white knuckle ride. And its not, to describe the film as such is to do a horrendous misjustice to the director and to set up the viewer for disappointment. Instead Wages of Fear has this beautifully slow build up for an hour or so in the dusty heat of a far out South American small town, before the job of transporting nitroglycerine over bumpy roads is introduced. Not only does this lengthy introduction make for a better film, but it enables us to invest in the four main characters, and for me it is Vanel who is the standout.

Jo is introduced to us as a big fish in a small town. He's comparatively rich, a man who is looked up to and can hold court, he's lived in the big world and in his white suit he stands out in the impoverished town, quickly becoming the go to man, a man who can snap his fingers and have the woman come running to him. A man who can look into a gun and not flinch. Then comes the ride and the glass is shattered, when put on this spot, almost out of control of his destiny, Jo falls to pieces. The scene in the oil-filled swamp close to film perfection, the whole performance a master-class of acting.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 6:30:05 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 9. Maria Falconetti as Jeanne d'Arc / Joan of Arc (Le passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

There are numerous examples that prove the myth that all silent films are over-acted, but none does it more simply or effectively than Falconetti as Joan of Arc. Beatific, resolute, scared, resigned, assured. Her face clearly depicts a whole range of emotions sometimes more than one at once. Whether the lack of dialogue enhances the performance could be argued. Whether director Dreyer making her kneel on stone floors for hours is also arguable, but in either case its a stand out performance of cinema.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 6:38:04 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 8. Takashi Shimura as Kanji Watanabe (Ikiru)

I've had the great honour of vising Japan several times and doing business there. The idea of the salaryman is routed deeply in modern Japanese culture. A worker who keeps his head down and follows instructions without question, who's needs is less than the collective and who seeks to blend into the furniture.

Takashi Shimura portrays this and more as the public servant who only starts living when he discovers his life is nearing an end. Its a quiet shuffling nuanced performance, that is made all the more powerful for the few breakout scenes that show another side of this man.


Enough of the foreign language films, up in the next lot a cowboy, a media mogul and 3 more performances.

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 30/1/2010 7:02:38 PM >

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 6:58:24 PM   
swordsandsandals


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

# 8. Takashi Shimura as Kanji Watanabe (Ikiru)

I've had the great honour of vising Japan several times and doing business there. The idea of the salaryman is routed deeply in modern Japanese culture. A worker who keeps his head down and follows instructions without question, who's needs is less than the collective and who seeks to blend into the furniture.

Takashi Shimura portrays this and more as the public servant who only starts living when he discovers his life is nearing an end. Its a quiet shuffling nuanced performance, that is made all the more powerful for the few breakout scenes that show another side of this man.


Enough of the foreign language films, up tomorrow a cowboy, a media mogul and a 3 more performances.


Yes, absolutely. Would probably have this as number one.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 7:13:15 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 7. Peter Sellers as Group Captain Mandrake, President Muffley and Dr Strangelove (Dr Strangelove)

I think comedic performances are often overlooked, but can be as hard to pull off as the more obvious Oscar-bait dramatic roles. So Sellers needs noticing for not just one, but three stand-out characters in Kubrick's black comedy, and adds his own improvisation liberally.

His Mandrake is obviously well-practised from his own days in the forces, impersonating officers. The President is a superb piece of juxtaposition against the military strength around him and Strangelove is deranged brilliance.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 7:37:55 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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8 and 7 are both brilliant and I want to see the other two.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 30/1/2010 7:41:41 PM   
elab49


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Some very good performances there - Shimura's would be in my own personal top 10 too.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 31/1/2010 1:47:09 AM   
siegfried


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Charles Vanel and Takashi Shimura would certainly make my list of top performances of all time. Have you seen (m)any other Clouzot films? He definitely ranks in my list of the top directors. If you haven't already caught up with them, I'd recommend Le Corbeau, Les Diaboliques and Quai Des Orfevres.
I have yet to see The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, and it's so long since I last watched Dr Strangelove that I'd need to see it again before commenting.
Looking forward to the rest of your choices.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:04:52 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 6. William Holden as Pike Bishop (The Wild Bunch)

I was going to have Holden as J.J. Sefton in Stalag 17, the out for himself POW who is considered by his fellow inmates to be a stool-pigeon. Its a great performance, but in the end I've gone for his role heading a stellar cast in Pekinpah's end of the road western.

Holden manages to put a bit of everything over here and is completely believable as the leader who feels the hands of time and fate pressing down on his shoulders. Overall he's an interesting actor to me. One who achieved greatness (the aforementioned films, River Kwai, Sunset Blvd.) but he never managed that next step to being a great actor.

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 2/2/2010 11:09:25 AM >

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:08:28 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 5. Alastair Sim as Inspector Poole (An Inspector Calls)

Some might call Sim a poor man's Alec Guinness, which is surely a great way to wind up elab. Many more, would select his outing as Scrooge above this, but I've a big place in my heart for this story and I love police inspectors on film, so it has to be this entry for me.

The final scene of his in the rocking chair is one of my favourites of all time.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:17:44 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 4. Cary Grant as Richard O'Thornhill (North by Northwest)

Hitchcock puts a lot of faith in his 3rd outing with star Grant, if he screws this one up, there is no movie. As a protypical Bond figure, Grant has to do much more. He has to be an innocent man on the run, he has to put in comedy, he has to hit the drama in the tense sequences and he has to do all this while looking like only the suave Grant can.

Maybe he mugs once too often to the camera, but for the auction scene alone I love this performance.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:24:50 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 3. Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta (Raging Bull)

I don't read many magazines, but whenever I do the first thing I usually see mentioned in this film is how much weight De Niro put on and lost for the role. Like that is going to make a great performance. It helps round out the film, but there's much more here to see than that or even the boxing he does. Its a grandstand classic performance that De Niro manages to portray in the round.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:33:00 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 2. Richard Harris as Frank Machin (This Sporting Life)

I know that elab recently read Hellraisers, which is a fun anecdotal read about the lives, drinking and womanising ways of O'Toole, Burton, Harris and Reed. Right there you have four of the best actors to ever set foot on a stage or in front of a camera imo. Their talents may have largely been pissed up the wall, but the genius of each is there to see.

In This Sporting Life Harris is like some wild animal unleashed onto cinema, such is his dynamism and bursting talent. The film might not be the happiest one you've ever seen, but the performance is amazing.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:38:16 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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# 1. Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane (Citizen Kane)

Welles is such a presence in every film he's in, with the only caveat to this rule being his unexceptional accent in The Lady from Shaghai, so I could probably have picked a frozen pea commercial and he'd still out act most actors, but I've gone for his media mogul, Kane. Putting aside all the stuff about the directing and whether this is the greatest film ever made, or whether its actually too boring and black and white to watch, just watch it for the story that Welles in the body of Charles Foster Kane brings you on and how completely hooked into his character you become.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:43:46 AM   
paul_ie86


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

# 2. Richard Harris as Frank Machin (This Sporting Life)

I know that elab recently read Hellraisers, which is a fun anecdotal read about the lives, drinking and womanising ways of O'Toole, Burton, Harris and Reed. Right there you have four of the best actors to ever set foot on a stage or in front of a camera imo. Their talents may have largely been pissed up the wall, but the genius of each is there to see.

In This Sporting Life Harris is like some wild animal unleashed onto cinema, such is his dynamism and bursting talent. The film might not be the happiest one you've ever seen, but the performance is amazing.


Need to see this film

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 12:28:48 PM   
impqueen


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Wages of Fear, Jeanne d'Arc, Ikiru, North by Northwest and Kane are all in my Top 100, so I couldnít agree more with those individualsí performances being mentioned.

I watched Citizen Kane at the beginning of the year and Welles is fantastic, it isnít my personal favourite performance from him but the viewing reminded me how much I enjoy watching Welles on screen, it also slightly freaked me out because I forget how young he is when he first pops up in Kane.


< Message edited by impqueen -- 2/2/2010 12:29:12 PM >


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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 12:37:39 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: impqueen


I watched Citizen Kane at the beginning of the year and Welles is fantastic, it isnít my personal favourite performance from him


Which would be your favourite? My favourite film of his is Chimes at Midnight, but I'm not so sure its my favourite performance. F for Fake has me completely suckered at the moment and I need to watch that again when I get chance. I did get very near to having Perkins in The Trial in this list too.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 1:11:07 PM   
impqueen


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The Third Man is my favourite film so his turn as Harry Lime is much loved but Welles as Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight (a film Iíve come to really appreciate over the years) has really stuck with me. There is also Quinlan in Touch of Evil an exceptional performance I think and one that does get better on each subsequent viewing. I am also partial to his portrayals of Macbeth and Othello with each one alternating in my affections, though I think Othello just edges it (today).

As for F for Fake I usually watch it with a massive grin on my face, itís such an experience watching that film, sublime.

I had a conversation last week about Anthony Perkins and his merits as an actor, I think heís incredibly underrated and though his turn in Psycho is fantastic I suggested Le procŤs/The Trial, his Josef K is brilliant.


< Message edited by impqueen -- 2/2/2010 1:14:04 PM >


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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 1:44:34 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: impqueen

As for F for Fake I usually watch it with a massive grin on my face, itís such an experience watching that film, sublime.



I tend to have more this type of look on my face

I find it the biggest headfuck since Fowles' Magirus.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 5:49:48 PM   
MHill


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

# 3. Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta (Raging Bull)


I have been meaning to watch this film for quite a while. Maybe this calls for its purchase.

< Message edited by MHill -- 2/2/2010 5:52:22 PM >


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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 7:04:17 PM   
rawlinson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: impqueen

I had a conversation last week about Anthony Perkins and his merits as an actor, I think he's incredibly underrated and though his turn in Psycho is fantastic I suggested Le procŤs/The Trial, his Josef K is brilliant.


Have you seen Pretty Poison? I think it's one of Perkins' best performances, but it's often overlooked. 

Great list, Prof', not a bad performance in the bunch.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 7:27:52 PM   
siegfried


Posts: 13582
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

# 5. Alastair Sim as Inspector Poole (An Inspector Calls)

Some might call Sim a poor man's Alec Guinness, which is surely a great way to wind up elab. Many more, would select his outing as Scrooge above this, but I've a big place in my heart for this story and I love police inspectors on film, so it has to be this entry for me.

The final scene of his in the rocking chair is one of my favourites of all time.

Marvellous performance, but then when did the incomparable Alastair ever turn in a poor one?
However, my personal favourite, and one which would make my own list of top performances, is Inspector Cockrill in Green For Danger, also one of my favourite British films of all time.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 7:31:54 PM   
Harry Lime


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Perkins was a decent actor, but he really got lumped with the sexually repressed neurotic roles after Psycho. His performance in Murder on the Orient Express is painfully bad.

Nice list, Professor. I don't think of them would make my own top ten but they are great performances none-the-less.

Edit: My pick of your bunch is Richard Harris, by the way.

< Message edited by Harry Lime -- 2/2/2010 7:34:52 PM >


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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 7:38:35 PM   
elab49


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

# 5. Alastair Sim as Inspector Poole (An Inspector Calls)

Some might call Sim a poor man's Alec Guinness, which is surely a great way to wind up elab. Many more, would select his outing as Scrooge above this, but I've a big place in my heart for this story and I love police inspectors on film, so it has to be this entry for me.

The final scene of his in the rocking chair is one of my favourites of all time.




How many times have I commented on that very chilling scene - sends shivers down the spine every time.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 7:42:49 PM   
FritzlFan


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Great list - numbers 9, 8, 7, 3 and 1 in particular are superb performances.

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RE: My Top 10 Performances - 2/2/2010 11:05:07 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harry Lime

Perkins was a decent actor, but he really got lumped with the sexually repressed neurotic roles after Psycho. His performance in Murder on the Orient Express is painfully bad.

Don't remember him as being particularly bad there
Good list, love Grant in NBNW and Welles in Kane, seeing The Wild Bunch soon.

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Post #: 26
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