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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV)

 
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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 24/8/2010 9:47:49 PM   
JonathanMardukas

 

Posts: 542
Joined: 4/1/2008
From: Russia With Love
quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides

43) Charles Grodin as Jonathan 'The Duke' Mardukas
Midnight Run, 1988




Let me start by saying that Charles Grodin is very much not the only reason to be watching Midnight Run. Not only is it hilarious, it's also one of the most robustly likable movies you're ever likely to run across - I've watched it with all kinds of vastly different people over the past couple of years and not one of them hasn't loved it. Mixing a fast-flowing stream of humour with equally fast-flowing action proves to be a brilliantly enjoyable combination - it's pure fun, but never brainless. However, the chief attraction is definitely the uneasy, flinty rapport between De Niro's Jack, a gruff bounty hunter and Grodin's chirpy ex-Mob accountant on the run. De Niro has shown himself repeatedly to be comfortable with comedy, pushing his tough guy act to the hilt with a knowing gleam in his eye, but Grodin works the hardest here, setting up and knocking down the movie's best laughs.

It's not a particularly 'acty' performance, but (much like Dick Powell or Cary Grant), what he lacks in natural dramatic genius he makes up for with a dead-on knack for dialogue. The verbosity of his character is married to Grodin's expert delivery, his endless musings running the gamut from sly manipulation of Jack to genuine affection for him without ever losing his sharp comic observation. Mardukas exhibits a level of consciousness unusual for this kind of movie - he satirises and lacerates De Niro's hardman attitude mercilessly, even acting out a conversation between the two which is much like the actual conversations they have been having up until that moment. "You have two emotions," he observes. "Silence and rage." And although this gradually proves not to be the case, it is emblematic of Grodin's wry, ironic assault on De Niro's gangster persona, which is one of the funniest, most rewarding running jokes in the film.



Yay!! nice to see recognition for this, i'm obviously a fan. Honorable mentions to Dennis Farina, John Ashton, Yaphet Kotto and Joe Pantoliano. All play great characters and make the film what it is. In fact just typing the names makes me realise what a cast the film had. Philip Baker hall pops up too but for about as long as he did in Air Force One so he doesnt really count.

_____________________________

G: Hey, guy. They tell me you're the actor who plays Marta's brother, Tio.
Spanish actor: Como?
G: Oh, you're gonna be in a coma, all right.

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 91
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 25/8/2010 10:22:51 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
It's really quite surreal to have the Duke himself thanking me for his inclusion...

I'm firmly of the opinion that any film featuring Joe Pantoliano can only benefit from his presence. A very adaptable actor.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to JonathanMardukas)
Post #: 92
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 25/8/2010 1:56:56 PM   
Gram123

 

Posts: 5537
Joined: 19/1/2006
From: Reino Unido
quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides
I'm firmly of the opinion that any film featuring Joe Pantoliano can only benefit from his presence. A very adaptable actor.

(see also: The Sopranos)

_____________________________

Gram123's Top Songs Project

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 93
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 25/8/2010 2:55:26 PM   
JonathanMardukas

 

Posts: 542
Joined: 4/1/2008
From: Russia With Love
quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides

I'm firmly of the opinion that any film featuring Joe Pantoliano can only benefit from his presence. A very adaptable actor.


Same applies to Dennis Farina (Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Snatch), he gets somme of the best lines in the film.

'Don't say a word to me, Sidney, don't say a fucking word to me. I'll get up and I'll bury this telephone in your head.'

_____________________________

G: Hey, guy. They tell me you're the actor who plays Marta's brother, Tio.
Spanish actor: Como?
G: Oh, you're gonna be in a coma, all right.

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 94
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 18/9/2010 8:51:08 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Just to confirm, guys - this thread has very much not been abandoned. I'm nearing the end of a three week hostelling tour of Europe (like a gap year for poor people ) and will be back to resume the list as soon as I'm back in Blighty and able to get online for more than ten minutes... Hope you're all keeping well. Much love.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to JonathanMardukas)
Post #: 95
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 18/9/2010 9:00:39 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
More pertinent to say 'take care' to you! Hope you're having a great time.

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

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

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 96
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 24/9/2010 1:47:54 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Back at home, vegging out on the sofa in front of Film4. It's like I've never been away 

37) Alad Ladd as Raven
This Gun For Hire, 1942




Part of me wishes that Ladd had kept his best performance for The Glass Key, given as it's one of my favourite books and the adaptation is distinctly uneven, despite some excellent sequences (the kidnapping of Beaumont, costarring a sadistic William Bendix springs to mind). However, Ladd's best work actually occurs in his very first major role, as emotionally screwed-up hitman Raven in this brilliant adaptation of Graham Greene's less-catchily named 'A Gun For Sale'.

From the moment we first meet Raven, we know we are looking at a uniquely dark antihero for the era. Upon waking up, he examines the instructions for his latest hit and alternates preparing for the murder with petting the cat on his windowsill. This intriguing paradox becomes even more explicit when the cleaning girl comes in and roughly shooes away the cat - Raven clutches at her, tearing her dress, teeth gritted, and smacks her viciously in the face. Then, proceeding to his assignment, he coolly executes his target before turning to his girlfriend. "They told me he'd be alone," he says in a monotone, eyes completely blank. He pulls the trigger as she starts to flee into the kitchen. Misfire. The audience breathes a sigh of relief. Wait a second. He aims calmly at the closed door and fires one shot. Thud, as she hits the floor. Wow.

The whole opening sequences is a tour-de-force for Ladd, exuding the twitchy, disturbed, misogynistic sociopathy that consumes the character and which he is barely able to keep in check behind a blank exterior. For most of his scenes with leading lady Veronica Lake, he is monosyllabic (and occasionally thinking about killing her). He gets one significant monologue, as he talks in a low, frenzied rant about the aunt who abused him and the brutal reformatory that finished the job, and he knocks it out of the park. Probably the only truly psychopathic antihero of Hollywood's Golden Age, his act of heroism at the end clearly comes not from any patriotic instinct but from the childlike attachment his emotionally infantile brain has developed to Lake, much like one of his cats. A chilling and uncompromising characterisation from Ladd, and one unique for its time in psychological maturity.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 97
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 24/9/2010 2:02:28 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
And it's apt, I think, that his best performance really almost requires him to talk the least. So much of it is in the way Tuttle and Seitz put the film together, really quite beautifully. That fevered half light shot on his face, e.g., was very effective.

For me the star of the film is Cregar, - that rather dodgy need for the salacious details while pretending it to be beneath him. But he wanted/ needed to hear it, sucking the food off that spoon as it gave him a clearly sexual pleasure.

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

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

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 98
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 30/9/2010 12:31:39 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
36) John Mahoney as W.P Mayhew
Barton Fink, 1991
 


A great side character in the Coens' gripping and occasionally disturbing black comedy about hell in Hollywood, alcoholic Southern writer W.P Mayhew was heavily inspired by William Faulkner. John Mahoney was apparently cast due to his striking resemblance to the legendary author (they weren't kidding. Here's a picture of Faulkner: http://danmihalache.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/william-faulkner5.jpg ), but he went on to give a performance so consummately polished that it makes the question of resemblance seem like small potatoes.

Mayhew's self-consciously literary Southern drawl contains some of the most honeyed gems of Coenesque stylised vernacular thus far (the world 'olfactory' meaning 'sense of smell' being one of my favourite new discoveries). Yet the hyper-eloquence and attendant superficiality of Mayhew's speech hints at a corresponding emptiness of the soul, which the writer compensates with generous supplies of alcohol. Part genius, part monster and, as we discover, part fraud, Mayhew is a complicated character and without a huge amount of screen time in which to explore these conflicting facets.With this in mind, the job Mahoney does is remarkable - swiftly and squarely communicating all the traits of the character with his inimitable talent for hyper-expressive emotional nuance (we get a glimpse of it a fair few times in Frasier, too, to great effect). In fact, it is one of the most efficient and effervescent instances of dramatic marksmanship I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Mahoney is an actor who can do a great deal with very little, and this is a great example of a character simply appearing on screen, fully-formed, as though a real human being has just walked into the movie - surely the ultimate marker of a perfect portrayal.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 99
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 8/10/2010 3:12:30 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
35) Rudy Vallee as John D. Hackensacker III
The Palm Beach Story, 1941
 


Despite apparently being a rather unpleasant and humourless individual in real life, Rudy Vallee shines in this winning Preston Sturges comedy. He plays millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, a good-hearted, sincere but not overly bright business heir, whose eccentric worldview ("Staterooms are unAmerican.") and solemn pronouncements ("That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous" is the best known, but for sheer deadpan I prefer the utterly straightfaced aside upon the arrival of his sister: "She calls me Snoodles.") provide some of the film's best laughs.

It's difficult watching the film to believe that this was Vallee's first comic role of an acting career which until then had consisted of a few throwaway 1930s musicals off the back of his main career as a teen-bait crooner. His performance contains not one hint of amateurishness, especially impressive considering he was up against serious pros McCrea and Colbert and Mary Astor at her absolute best. He demonstrates a talent for deadpan comic delivery which proves to be one of the most breathlessly funny in Sturges canon despire never once seeming to be trying for a laugh - a great trick if you can pull it off. This complete lack of mugging or showboating on Vallee's part means that Hackensacker actually comes off as a real and sympathetic character, whose kind nature is just as prominent in Vallee's characterisation as his more outright humorous traits. A thoroughly satisfying character, then, played with intuitive polish and an innate gift for deadpan by Vallee. We even get a nice rendition of the sentimental hit 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. What more could we reasonably expect?

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 8/10/2010 3:15:00 PM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 100
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 9/10/2010 12:08:52 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
Didn't notice the update. Great performance from a great film, though other Sturges films were engaging for me on the whole. My fav (though biased) performance from one of his films is without a doubt Babs as Eve.
Alan Ladd as Raven is also a great choice, super-influential, he shines through the propaganda bunk.
Back to Oxford, presumably? Don't abandon this.

_____________________________

quote:

jamesbondguy:
Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation

quote:

Deviation:
if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 101
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 9/10/2010 1:27:12 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Miles Messervy 007

Didn't notice the update. Great performance from a great film, though other Sturges films were engaging for me on the whole. My fav (though biased) performance from one of his films is without a doubt Babs as Eve.
Alan Ladd as Raven is also a great choice, super-influential, he shines through the propaganda bunk.
Back to Oxford, presumably? Don't abandon this.


I have to agree with you on Babs - she's the tops in Eve. Don't know if you've seen it, but I'm halfway through Ball of Fire and she is excellent (and smokin') in that. Plus, of course, opposite her you have Gary Cooper, who seems to have inadvertantly launched the careers of several actresses who came to Hollywood solely to try and bed him . My all-time favourite performance from Sturges' output would probs have to be Brian Donlevy in The Great McGinty, though.

Yes indeed, back in Oxford, drifting to the end of (re)fresher's week and so found some quiet time to update. No chance of me abandoning this when it's such a lovely way to procrastrinate. I can almost tell myself I'm not wasting my time



_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 102
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 9/10/2010 2:25:59 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
I'm a bit lukewarm on Hawks but I definitely want to see that one. Not sure about Donlevy in McGinty (though that's my 2nd least fav Sturges film so that comes into it), I think Tamiroff is better.
quote:

Gary Cooper, who seems to have inadvertantly launched the careers of several actresses who came to Hollywood solely to try and bed him
I thought that was Joel McCrea?

_____________________________

quote:

jamesbondguy:
Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation

quote:

Deviation:
if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 103
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 17/10/2010 5:03:20 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
34) Julie Kavner as the narrator's mother
Radio Days, 1987



In a film notable for the quietly sublime cast which make up the central family (Dianne Wiest, Michael Tucker, Josh Mostel and Renee Lippin, all detectable), it really is saying something that Julie Kavner stands out. As the affectionately sarcastic mother of the young protagonist, she holds the family and film together with her tempered toughness and way with a put-down. Kavner’s throaty comic timing is flawless, with eerie rasps of pre-Marge Simpson only reminding us that The Simpsons, for all it has given us, also kidnapped a very talented film actress. The narrator describes his parents as ‘two people who could find an argument in any subject’ before cutting to show them bickering over the size of oceans. Indeed both of them boast a swift caustic wit, as well as an old-fashioned parenting style that largely regards their offspring as a tiresome complication in an already difficult life.

And yet Kavner also makes her softer side completely believable, never feeling out of sync with her sharp exterior. “Boy, what a world,” she remarks, watching the anti-aircraft lights outside the window, “it could be so wonderful, if it wasn't for certain people,” and her faded romanticism strikes just the right chord. And again, the exquisite little scene set to the Mills Brothers’ gorgeous ‘Paper Doll’ depicting his parents’ anniversary and the only time the narrator ever saw them kiss works precisely because of the authentic rapport between Kavner and her screen husband, Michael Tucker. Dianne Wiest is usually the first name brought up for praise at the mention of Radio Days, and she is wonderful – although she was even more so in Hannah and Her Sisters – but for me it is Kavner who sticks with me the most.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 104
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 17/10/2010 5:58:04 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
That is indeed a great choice.

helps that I adore the film too.


_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.

quote:


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 105
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 29/10/2010 1:53:30 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
33) Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes
Double Indemnity, 1944



I’ve watched Double Indemnity a fair few times now, with various people, and the same thing always happens. The credits roll, everyone goes “Wow, that was a cool film” and then, after a few seconds: “And that guy who played his boss!” To which I proudly reply: “That’s Edward G. Robinson.”

You see, in a film marked by iconic - if slightly cheesy - performances from its leads, beautiful cinematography and a script you could cut diamonds with, there is something about Robinson, hovering around the edges, that carves its way obstinately into the film’s legacy. He never seems to be trying to elbow his way deeper into the film, but nonetheless steals every scene in which he appears. Maybe it’s because the tense, staccato rhythm of Fred MacMurray has not aged particularly well, whereas the more relaxed, nuanced style of Robinson has survived changing taste. Either way, his justly-famous monologue on suicide is one of the film’s highlights, a blistering compendium of facts and figures which tell us more about his character than reams of expositionary dialogue ever could. And even though his character is often used as a Maguffin to crank the already-crackling tension up another ratchet, Robinson’s skills ensure that Keyes also becomes the heart of the film. Whilst the two leads lose their moral compass and eventually their very humanity, Keyes’ never wavers, which leads to the final, heartbreaking encounter between him and Neff, when the latter says: “the guy you were looking for was too close. Right across the desk from ya”.  Robinson injects such tremendous pathos into his three little words of reply that you wonder how he wasn’t even nominated for that year’s Ocars. In fact, poor Eddie would have to wait until after his death to receive a special Academy Award, but that should in no way detract from what is my favourite of his many dead-on performances.


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Deviation)
Post #: 106
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 29/10/2010 9:30:05 AM   
Miles Messervy 007


Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
Fantastic performance in an amazing film, though again I have to give Babs the edge there, possibly my fav performance of the 40s (not that I've seen nearly enough).

_____________________________

quote:

jamesbondguy:
Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation

quote:

Deviation:
if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 107
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 29/10/2010 5:54:23 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
She was very good, particularly at selling some of the more absurdly polished gems of dialogue. But I prefer her in roles where she is allowed to show a little more humour, because she had a great way with comedy. I haven't seen anywhere near enough of her movies, though. The Bitter Tea of General Yen is meant to be really good, and Night Nurse is apparently good for pre-Code cheekiness (apparently - brace yourselves - you see a fair few glimpses of chemise )

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 108
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/11/2010 7:27:13 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
32) Robert Haydn as Professor Oddly
Ball of Fire, 1941



Howard Hawks' delectable screwball concerns a cluster of tweedy professors engaged in compiling an encyclopedia, whose peaceful existence is irrevocably disturbed when the youngest of them (Gary Cooper) brings in a fast-talking nightclub singer (Barbara Stanwyck) to help his research on slang.

Due to its status as ‘the last great pre-war comedy’, Ball of Fire’s many other qualities are generally overlooked. Cooper and Stanwyck, both at their professional and physical peaks, do an expert job of pulling off the dramatic bits which so often fall flat in comedies. However, they are supported every step of the way by a tight set-up of esteemed character actors as Cooper’s fellow encyclopaedists. Of these, S.Z Sakall and Henry Travers are probably the best known, but for me it is Richard Haydn (later seen trying to make something of the rather useless role of Max in The Sound of Music) who stands out as doddery botanist Professor Oddly.

The word ‘doddery’ immediately conjures up the idea of comedy, and of course a great deal of comic mileage is indeed milked out of his nebbish lectures given in an inimitable reedy, wavering voice. However, he is also at the heart of one of the film’s best scenes, one of those unexpected touching moments that come along unannounced and catch you off guard. The professors are sitting together giving Gary Cooper’s character some paternal advice and Oddly begins to reminisce about his deceased wife. Although there is a strong stream of humour to his retelling of their impossibly quaint honeymoon (“Every time I bade her goodnight, I would kiss the palm of her hand, astonished at my own boldness.”), there is real pathos, too. When he mentions a popular song of the time which shared a name with his wife, the others slowly begin to sing it. This undercurrent gently builds up in tandem with Oddly’s own increasing emotion, as the old chap grows visibly overcome with memories. “Please sing it again,” he urges, before tearfully retiring to his room. “Thank you, thank you so much.” Hawks demonstrates a great emotional knowledge, here – he recognises that for us to care about the madcap romance between Cooper and Stanwyck, we have to be reminded what love is.

And here’s the kicker: it wasn’t until I looked Haydn up on IMDb and saw that he was in The Sound of Music that I realised he wasn’t the wizened old veteran I took him for.

He was in his mid-thirties when the film was made.



_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 109
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/11/2010 1:29:06 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
31) Claudie Blakley as Emma Timmins
Lark Rise To Candleford (2008 - )



Suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms, I was recommended Lark Rise to Candleford; and having now watched the first two series in the disgustingly brief period of one week, I can testify to its addictiveness - strange given that it revolves around 'plots' so lightweight that they probably need to be weighted with stones at the corners. Combine this with writing which wavers between ham-fisted and sublime depending on whoever's turn it is to bash out the next episode, and it is clear that there must be something else which keeps me (and approx 6 million others) coming back, and that is surely the handful of superb performances it boasts. Julia Sawalha's Dorcas Lane is a beautiful creation indeed, as is Victoria Hamilton's twittering gossip Miss Ruby, but the performance which has hopelessly kidnapped my emotions comes from Claudie Blakley as the main character Laura's mother, Emma.

The relationship between Laura's parents is at the very foundation of the show, as theirs is the marriage to which almost every other character in the show aspires. It's a good job, then, that Blakley and her screen husband (Brendan Coyle - consummate actor, possessor of a beautiful semi-Irish brogue and currently occupying spot number three on my mental list of Inappropriately Older Crushes) give one of the most natural and convincing portrayals of a happily married couple I've ever seen. A winning combination of chemistry, understanding and most of all humour means that their home becomes a safe shelter for the viewer to retreat to when the (minor) angsts of the show threatens to overwhelm its Sunday night serenity.

Despite the solidity of their union, Emma must contend with Robert's great flaw - his hypersensitive pride, which often threatens his livelihood and thus the family's fragile stability. This is the subject of my favourite episode, in which her off-the-cuff joke about women ruling the home hits a raw nerve and provokes a nasty outburst from Robert which ends with him dismissing her old love letters to him as lies. Refusing to tiptoe around his ego as she had done in previous episodes, she instead really gives him what-for (starts about twenty seconds in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQp5K6f13q0&feature=related) and the obstinate bugger had it coming. Blakley's awe-inspiring combination of fragility and strength, across the series as a whole but in this scene in particular, builds Emma up into one of the most sympathetic and interesting characters in the show. Her verbal beatdown ends, as do all their marital disputes, with rueful laughter on both sides and immediate make-up. This is a resolution which is difficult to pull off without it seeming contrived or unrealistic and it is a testament to the naturalness and nuance of both actors that it actually comes across as the perfect opposite.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 110
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 1:23:14 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Bah, long time no post. I didn't really want to post three response-less entries in a row

Anyway, onwards we go with no heed for mere 'popularity' (), and a recent entry into the list (displacing Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra, I'm afraid)

30) Morey Amsterdam as Buddy Sorrell
The Dick van Dyke Show, 1961-1966



So I just got into The Dick van Dyke Show, having heard it mentioned here and there on the Internet one too many times not to investigate. I could write an essay on what makes it so mightily successful as a sitcom - pacy, gag-heavy scripts, a cast with unbelievable chemistry, an instinctive awareness of the line between sweet and sappy, Dick van Dyke's jawdropping flexibility - but one thing in particular has made an impression on me and that is Morey Amsterdam as Buddy Sorrell.

Based partially on Mel Brooks but mostly a pumped-up version of Amsterdam himself (he went on record several times as saying he 'was' Buddy), Buddy is Rob's (Van Dyke) fellow comedy writer on a hit sketch show. Known both on the show and in real life as 'The Human Joke Machine' (stemming from a vaudeville act Amsterdam had in his youth in which he would tell jokes on any subject shouted from the audience), Buddy is a relentless wisecracker, always 'on'. He forms a formidable comedy partnership with the third writer of the team, Sally (played with inimitable timing by Rose Marie, herself also a former vaudevillian who recommended Amsterdam for the part), often driving the perenially in-the-soup Rob to distraction with their absolute inability to take anything seriously. Amsterdam has the kind of face made for quipping, lips always slightly pugnaciously pushed out as though waiting for a fight, eyes which seem to be popping out of his skull with glee as he smoothly glides into another punchline. The jokes were usually of the corny variety, but he pulled them off effortlessly with a combination of pitch-perfect delivery and immense general likeability.

This inherent likeability also served him well when it came to the rare dramatic moments he was required to pull off. A lifelong comic with no dramatic experience, his own reluctance, almost shyness, when it came to serious acting fortunately meshed exactly with what you would expect of his character, who was similarly unused to communicating anything but humour. He got his reward for his exceptional work in the fifth season, getting the honour of being the first TV character to be Bar Mitzvahed on screen (long story) and thus to be explicitly identified as Jewish, a landmark in American TV history.

'Fun' bonus trivia: in the performance scenes of 1927's The Jazz Singer, a very young Amsterdam can be briefly seen in the background orchestra, playing the cello. His father, Max, plays the violin.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 4/1/2011 1:58:14 AM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 111
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 1:33:05 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
I could have sworn I'd posted about Double Indemnity - but I wonder now if he came up in a GOlden Oldies thread at the same time and I got confused? I adore that performance too, though, and it will certainly be in my list for Rawlinson's poll.

I like Hadyn - like you he's my favourite prof I think. I find him unrecognisable in Sound of Music because my main memory of him is the wonderful servant in And Then There Were None (and an equally dithery performance in Cluny Brown). He did very similar things but he just did them so very well.

Not a fan of Lark Rise, although I do like Blakely in Severance. I've seen the Dick van Dyke show but way too long ago to safely comment on performances I'm afraid

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

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

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 112
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 1:57:15 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

I like Hadyn - like you he's my favourite prof I think. I find him unrecognisable in Sound of Music because my main memory of him is the wonderful servant in And Then There Were None (and an equally dithery performance in Cluny Brown). He did very similar things but he just did them so very well.

Not a fan of Lark Rise, although I do like Blakely in Severance. I've seen the Dick van Dyke show but way too long ago to safely comment on performances I'm afraid


I accidentally hit post a little too soon, making it look as though words had simply failed me when, reliably as ever, they haven't. The Dick van Dyke show is pretty awesome - he and Mary Tyler Moore are one of the most chemistry-abundant couples I've ever seen on screen, and it's held up surprisingly well thanks to its forward-thinking attitude - it wasn't all Mad Men, apparently

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 113
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 5:26:16 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77554
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
I've been wanting to see The Dick Van Dyke show for ages now, but the sets are all too expensive.

_____________________________

So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 114
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 7:45:27 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Oddly enough Elab and I just convinced TRM to buy a copy of Ball of Fire. Haydn did the voice of the victim in Avery's Who Killed Who?, probably his smallest but coolest role. 

I'm surprised Dick has been mentioned and Fritzl hasn't invaded the thread. Morey Amsterdam's finest role was, of course, Cappy.

(in reply to Gimli The Dwarf)
Post #: 115
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 9:59:03 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf

I've been wanting to see The Dick Van Dyke show for ages now, but the sets are all too expensive.



I feel I should know this, but whereabouts are you? The Region 2 set of seasons one and two is on Amazon for about four or five quid under Used and New. If you're not in that zone, a viewing platform like VLC will usually play any disc anyway. The first six are uploaded to YouTube by the company that owns them and thus full-length and in nice nicker.


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

I'm surprised Dick has been mentioned and Fritzl hasn't invaded the thread


I wondered how long it would be before the inevitable name gag. Congratulations!

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 4/1/2011 10:04:21 AM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Gimli The Dwarf)
Post #: 116
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 10:09:50 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
He honestly actually means Dick van Dyke rather than the name joke - Fritzl did some kind of attempted meme thing with him for ages.

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

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

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 117
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 10:11:01 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Wow. I am lost for words... In which case, the contest still stands

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 118
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 10:51:32 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77554
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo

quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides

I feel I should know this, but whereabouts are you? The Region 2 set of seasons one and two is on Amazon for about four or five quid under Used and New. If you're not in that zone, a viewing platform like VLC will usually play any disc anyway. The first six are uploaded to YouTube by the company that owns them and thus full-length and in nice nicker.



I'm in the UK so R2 is fine. I actually didn't know they were out on R2 dvd, my searches always seem to show R1 first

I'm very tempted to get the first one but as I mentioned the other day in a thread with reference to Homicide Life On The Street (which I ended up buying anyway) I just have so much to watch. My shelves will collapse under the weight of unseen Tv boxsets! Dick Van Dyke is now top of my list to buy once I've whittled my collection down.



_____________________________

So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 119
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2011 6:59:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

He honestly actually means Dick van Dyke rather than the name joke - Fritzl did some kind of attempted meme thing with him for ages.


Dick singing Hushabye Mountain  = Awesome.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 120
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