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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV)

 
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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 5:37:31 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14563
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7
The role he and Ward Bond played during the witchhunts was absolutely reprehensible.


Were they two of the main ones who testified?

quote:

It's a nice bonus when someone I like turns out to have been forward thinking about race (Myrna Loy springs to mind),


Ooh, I love Myrna Loy! How so?

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Cool Breeze
Mattyb is a shining example of what the perfect Empire Forum member is.


(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 151
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 5:41:35 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
"Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?"

Attributed to her during the 1930s. She did lots of work for civil rights when she stepped down from the movies in the 1950s and was an all-round lovely, classy lady without a judgemental bone in her body.

EDIT: I forgot - she was on Hitler's blacklist. Which I find hilarious.


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 4/4/2011 5:42:34 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 matty_b)
Post #: 152
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 5:46:38 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
quote:

until
quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Wayne on race in a Playboy interview from 1971

quote:

With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people


In 1971. After the civil rights movement and the assassination of MLK. That's a racist prick.



I now see no point in John Wayne's existence.


_____________________________

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 rawlinson)
Post #: 153
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 5:53:52 PM   
TheDudeAbides


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

ORIGINAL: Deviation

quote:

until
quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Wayne on race in a Playboy interview from 1971

quote:

With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people


In 1971. After the civil rights movement and the assassination of MLK. That's a racist prick.



I now see no point in John Wayne's existence.



Absolutism's a bitch, am I right?


_____________________________

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 #: 154
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 5:56:31 PM   
rawlinson

 

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

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides

"Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?"

Attributed to her during the 1930s. She did lots of work for civil rights when she stepped down from the movies in the 1950s and was an all-round lovely, classy lady without a judgemental bone in her body.

EDIT: I forgot - she was on Hitler's blacklist. Which I find hilarious.



Myrna Loy was indeed lovely. Great actress too.

Wayne was on Stalin's kill list. Not sure which is funnier. Stalin liked Wayne's films but not Wayne as a man. So from that we can conclude that Rick is Stalin.

Dude, are you going to be sending your performances list to the performances poll which is currently running on this fine site?

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 155
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/4/2011 6:02:44 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
quote:

Absolutism's a bitch, am I right?


Yes, a bigger bitch than those sudden one words that appear on my quoting and every great film I've had lessened in quality by Wayne's performances.

quote:

So from that we can conclude that Rick is Stalin.


I always knew he was Stalin. I knew it from day 1, when he personally told me that he should have sent Mel Brooks to a gulag. I took him as being senile as well.


< Message edited by Deviation -- 4/4/2011 6:11:54 PM >


_____________________________

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 #: 156
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 3:33:03 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7
The role he and Ward Bond played during the witchhunts was absolutely reprehensible.

Were they two of the main ones who testified?

Bond was president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which supplied names of supposed communists to the HUAC, with Wayne his informal right-hand man. Essentially people with liberal ideals had to come and beg for mercy from these two bigoted charlatans who were tormented by the fact they hadn't bothered to take part in the last war, preferring instead to chase women and further their own careers. I think that's a nice unbiased summary of what happened.

_____________________________

*Wendy Hiller fanboy*

Blog: DJANGO! DUMBO! DESPICABLE ME 2! Plus: other stuff.

"Nothin's really been right since Sam the Lion died."

(in reply to matty_b)
Post #: 157
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 3:44:22 PM   
rawlinson

 

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


Wasn't Wayne especially bad for war related stuff? Kept promising to join war film units and putting it off when it came up, stuff like that?

(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 158
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 3:56:50 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
Yes. He had four kids and some serious back injuries, so you can see why he wasn't in active service, but Ford asked him to join the Field Photo Unit and - as you say - he just kept putting it off.

There's a story about the shooting of They Were Expendable where Ford took the piss out Wayne in front of the whole cast and crew, making him do constant re-takes, before uttering the pay-off: "Just pretend you've been in uniform". Robert Montgomery took Ford aside and gave him an absolute bollocking, but considering several of Ford's best friends and Field Photo associates had been killed in combat, you can kind of understand where he was coming from.

_____________________________

*Wendy Hiller fanboy*

Blog: DJANGO! DUMBO! DESPICABLE ME 2! Plus: other stuff.

"Nothin's really been right since Sam the Lion died."

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 159
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 4:17:02 PM   
rawlinson

 

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

ORIGINAL: rick_7
Robert Montgomery took Ford aside and gave him an absolute bollocking


You have to think that wouldn't have bothered Ford much.

(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 160
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 4:18:36 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
He was probably wearing a silk dressing gown and holding a cigarette holder.

_____________________________

*Wendy Hiller fanboy*

Blog: DJANGO! DUMBO! DESPICABLE ME 2! Plus: other stuff.

"Nothin's really been right since Sam the Lion died."

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 161
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/4/2011 4:22:05 PM   
rawlinson

 

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


Although you have to think Ford probably had more respect for Montgomery at that stage, he did see active service.

(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 162
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/5/2011 12:05:32 AM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
27) Claudia McNeil as Lena Younger
A Raisin in the Sun, 1961





McNeil, a former librarian and latecomer to acting, brings it on a huge level as the matriarch of a poor urban black family trying to escape life in the tenements in this adaptation of the much acclaimed 1959 play by Lorraine Hansbury. A Raisin in the Sun boasts what is probably the best ensemble performance of all time, making McNeil's standout status even more remarkable. A dizzingly handsome Sidney Poitier gets his teeth into a highly uncharacteristic role as angry young man Walter, Ruby Dee (never less than wonderful) breaks your heart in the part of Walter's ground-down wife, and Diana Sands rises above it all beautifully as Walter's sister, a sparky, politically-minded student with her sights set high (she also sounds uncannily like Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie in the Dick van Dyke Show). But McNeil is truly a force of nature, encapsulating in two hours the weight, pain and inextinguishable hope of the African-American experience.

The film is unapologetically stagey - few changes from the script, functional camerawork - and this extends to the performances of the actors. These are big speeches, people, and they deliver 'em big; but they are also pros, and the fever-pitch theatricality of certain scenes never descends into hamminess, but instead becomes spine-tingling, breath-snatching grandeur, ghetto Shakespeare. McNeil makes a sort of Bibilical prophet out of Lena, a God-fearing traditionalist with unshakeable faith in her family and their future. It is her son Walter puts that faith to the test when he allows himself to be conned out of the £10,000 insurance policy Lena has set aside as a down payment on a nice suburban home. The whole sequence in which she defends Walter passionately from the disdain of his sister, sets out to bring him home from a bar and then witnesses his hysterical breakdown when confronted with home and his expectant family, is one of the most distinguished pieces of truly emotional acting in cinema. When the film ends, you are left feeling utterly wrung-out (thank God it ends on a tentative note of hope), but in the long term, as it starts to sink in, you are guaranteed to feel enriched by McNeil's intense, passionate performance.

The whole film is up on YouTube, and I would highly recommend it. But for a taster of McNeil's performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUHoClv9eFA&feature=related


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 3/9/2011 6:54:32 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 rawlinson)
Post #: 163
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 28/6/2011 8:48:54 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
26) Sir Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)




Has there ever been a cooler supervillain than Magneto? This is not a rhetorical question. The answer is no, there hasn't, and Ian McKellen does a superb job of absorbing decades of accumulative awesome and distilling it onto the big screen. Rogueish, winning, refined, chilling, raffish - Ian McKellen's Erik Lehnsherr is the ultimate in affable meglomania. Even when the movies have been charmingly clunky (X-Men) or so uneven that you have take a Sturgeron beforehand (The Last Stand), McKellen has been the constant. Holocaust survivor and supremicist, cosy frenemy to Charles Xavier and would-be annihilator of mankind; there's a lot to fit into Magneto. From his reflections on Auschwitz whilst gazing at the Statue of Liberty to gleefully capturing Anna Paquin in a big spinny thing on top of said monument, our own Sir Ian handles the transitions from mournful antihero to moustache-twirling villain with astonishing ease.

There's a theatrical twinkle in his eye that you sort of assume is that of a respected old thesp having fun with the mainstream, until it hardens into ruthless determination and you realise that, at least to some extent, it is actually Magneto. McKellen seizes upon the innate theatricality of the comicbook supervillain, and embraces it - rather than unconscious camp, he plays Lehnsherr as a seasoned performer who uses his powers to keep his audience rapt, distracting them from his own dark past. He toys with his audience, feigns nonchalance where he doesn't actually feel it, all as part of his potentially apocalyptic game of Chicken with Professor X (bouncing off Patrick Stewart in a delightfully chummy fashion). He can be as snippy and acid-tongued as an old Broadway queen whilst at other times seeming almost bowed by the weight of his unshakeable sadness. The two occasions we see him regret his (involuntary) blows to mutantkind (in the cell with Xavier in X2 and upon losing his powers in The Last Stand), are played with the sort of heavy-eyed weight that you imagine McKellen would usually reserve for Shakespeare, and the films are all the better for the rich texture he brings to one of the most well-loved and fascinating figures in the Marvel universe.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 28/6/2011 8:50:51 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 #: 164
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 3/9/2011 6:52:14 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
25) Penelope Keith as Margo Leadbetter
The Good Life, 1975-1978




I've loved The Good Life ever since my grandparents would come over and babysit us and stick on UK Gold all night. Unlike many other programs they love from that era which I find incredibly mirthless (I'm looking at you, Keeping Up Appearances...we fucking get it, she's a social climber.), The Good Life holds up marvellously as clever, witty and most of all just fun in a peculiarly British way. In fact, the episode title 'Silly, But It's Fun' could more or less sum up the attitude of the whole show, which pits the easygoing, irreverent and even a bit childish Tom and Barbara against their straight-laced, firmly bourgeois neighbours, Margo and Jerry.

Okay, so why does it work? If course, the writing played a tremendous part it its success - the scripts were ahead of their time, even edgy, in their sharp observation of surburbia and an approach to sex that wasn't Carry On-style snickering double entendre but instead was ...well, sexy. But more than anything else, it was the magnificent chemistry between the cast that lifted in into the pantheon of great sitcoms. First, Richard Briers, who manages to play the only 'endearing manchild' role I have ever found remotely endearing (Zach Galifianakis take note), mostly because he knows exactly how to pull out those Shakespearean acting chops when needed. His innate silliness and impatience with convention make him a great comic character, but then suddenly you get something like the end of 'The Last Posh Frock' which ranks as one of my top lump-in-the-throat moments. Then, Felicity Kendal who yes, did look good in dungarees, we get it, but she was also a wonderful character. Like Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show, she quickly evolved from straight-man for her screen husband into a comidienne in her own right, in addition to having heartstopping chemistry with Briers. Paul Eddington is probably one of the most immediately likeable faces in the history of television - there's just something about him that means you can tangibly feel the audience's affection for Jerry. His occasional wistfulness for Tom's lifestyle and, indeed, Tom's wife, make him more than just a conservative counterpoint to the Goods' free-spirits. In fact, Jerry spends so much time mediating and advising the other characters that he's probably the nicest as well as the sanest member of the quartert.

But Penelope Keith. Ah. She really is a cut above when it comes to comedy. Unlike any other sitcom character, I know that every line that comes out of Margo's mouth will make me laugh. Of course, the writers gave her some superb material, but her performance was strong enough to get belly laughs with anything. Margo's snobbery is often outrageous in its Victorian brutality (laying out newpaper for the tradesman to stand on. In fact, referring to people as 'tradesmen' at all.) and yet she never strays outside the realm of believability. The character is crafted with such fondness and good-humour that her true-blue Conservatism and ruthless committment to respectability aren't mocked but are rather portrayed as signs of her innate goodness, which she has chosen to express through striving to achieve the bourgeois idyll she honestly believes in. Keith conveys the sincerity of Margo's convictions so marvellously that their more ludicrous manifestations don't undermine the believability of the character. Whether or not you share her ideals, its hard not to fall under the spell of her gloriously imperious attitude towards everyone who crosses her path, be it a car mechanic, a shopkeeper or her own husband.

Of course, there is such more to Margo than simply stuffiness, as we gradually begin to realise as the series goes on. 'The Windbreak War' and 'Silly, But It's Fun' show that rather than being an oblivious source of laughter (see: lolcow), Margo is acutely self-aware and in fact almost a prisoner of her own narrow-mindedness. When she drunkenly confides to Tom that she knows she is 'starchy' and that everyone laughs at her just as they did at school, Keith goes right for the jungular and plays it beautifully straight, leaving Briers to carry the comic burden for a few minutes. When, at the very end, Margo finally gets it for once, her spontaneous peal of laughter is infectious - such is the sympathy Keith has managed to create for what could have easily (and lazily) been played as a monstrous, flat stereotype. It's not even that there is really a joke - you are simply laughing because she is.

Also, on a side note: after my recent television appearance, my apparent resemblence to Margo Leadbetter was remarked upon on Twitter.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 3/9/2011 6:56:44 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 #: 165
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/10/2011 12:05:49 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Okay, so as we hit the half way mark and prepare to plunge into my absolute favourites, I thought this might be a good moment to talk about the also-rans. A few people who just missed out on inclusion by the teeny-tiniest of narrow margins.


Nigel Havers, Empire of the Sun - Havers is utterly arresting every time he is on screen, his gaunt features and haunted eyes bearing witness to the trauma of war and imprisonment. In many ways, he is less switched on Jim, who he is supposed to be tutoring but in reality is probably being protected by. Unsuited to the demands of internment and the dirty fight for survival, he is nonetheless a source of comfort to Jim, a reminder of a saner world. Both Havers and Bale put in astounding work in what might well be my favourite movie scene of all time: Attack on the camp

Adam Goldberg, Saving Private Ryan - of the ragtag crew of involuntary heroes, Goldberg really stands out to me as the hard-edged but fragile Mellish. With his brittle delivery (that can't help but make you remember his stint as Crazy Eddie, Chandler's unhinged roommate) and dark humour covering for the tension and fear inside, he makes a very believable WWII grunt. Two of my favourite moments in the film are his breakdown over the Hitler Youth knife and him brandishing his Star of David at German POWs, both of them full of unpolished, seemingly spontaneous emotion.

Jean Arthur, Mr Deeds Goes To Town - she plays the original 'cynical city gal falling for small-town goon' much better than Jennifer Jason Leigh did in shockingly-near-remake The Hudsucker Proxy, and better than anyone else in the classic era except perhaps Stanwyck. A wonderful way with dialogue and a climactic courtroom finale played right up to the hilt and guaranteed to summon a lump to the coldest throat make this my favourite role in a shining career.

Joe Spano, Hill Street Blues - the first of my Hill Street Blues also-rans. I more or less wanted to include every cast member, but in the end I settled on just one. As Henry Goldblume - hostage negotiator and the station's resident liberal mouthpiece - he is frequently the one plaintive voice amongst the chaos, pleading for reason to prevail and often failing. Spano never lets the political spiel turn into bleating, and imbues Goldblume with scads of humanity. Of particular note are his interactions with Daniel J Travanti as Furrillo, where the chemistry between the two is electric.

James B Sikking - second of the HSB near-misses. Not a single scene of the show is not improved by the presence of his overbearing, militaristic but oddly endearing bigot, Lieutenant Hunter. So confident in his worldview that he is staggeringly unself-conscious about proclaiming his distaste for the darker skinned members of the community clogging up the streets (members of the police force and anyone else he happens to like excluded, naturally), he is an unashamedly fun character to play and Sikking does it tremendously - never making him into a buffoon or a strawman.

Gabriel Byrne
- seriously, one of my favourite actors and yet just missed out on inclusion. Miller's Crossing is probably his most pungent, striking performance, but the general effervescence of the ensemble, particularly Finney and Harden, means he doesn't stand out quite enough to meet my criteria. He was also unfortunate enough to play a role which would have been included as a sentimental favourite if I hadn't already included someone else playing the same role. Poor Gabriel. Oh well, at least I''ve given him a reason to crack out the mournful expression he does so well.

Celia Johnson, Brief Encounter - that beatific, martyr's face still haunts me even though I thought the film was good but not great. I know not everyone on here is a fan, but something about her eyes got through to me and her performance as the middle-class housewife contemplating adultery really sucked me in. Just missed out because... well, I realised I'd forgotten somebody and she just got nudged out at the last minute.

Bette Davis, All About Eve - delectably OTT as aging stage star Margo Channing, this is one of the iconic roles of the classic era and Davis absolutely eats it up. She knows exactly how much to ham as Margo (after all, Davis practically wrote the book on hamming herself) and exactly how much to reveal. A masterclass in control disguised as a masterclass in excess.

Gary Cooper - aw, Coop. I really wanted to find a place for him. Watching Gary Cooper act is like sitting down in front of a warm fire. Always familiar and yet never exactly the same, he glided effortlessly from character to character and made all of them work. Sergeant York is probably his most acclaimed work and it is indeed a lovely performance, but my personal pick would probably be Ball of Fire, if only for that ridiculously charged bedroom scene with Stanwyck which goes to show that when it comes to sex, less can indeed be more.

David Tomlinson
, Mary Poppins - he just disappears right into the part of Mr Banks, playing this ridiculous, dictatorial, fussing but ultimately good-hearted patriarch with complete conviction. It's just so much fun to watch him, a performance I appreciate more with each viewing. Forget Feed the Birds, his duet with Dick van Dyke is the emotional heart of the film.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 16/10/2011 12:09:19 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 #: 166
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/10/2011 12:34:00 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides

Jean Arthur, Mr Deeds Goes To Town - she plays the original 'cynical city gal falling for small-town goon' much better than Jennifer Jason Leigh did in shockingly-near-remake The Hudsucker Proxy, and better than anyone else in the classic era except perhaps Stanwyck. A wonderful way with dialogue and a climactic courtroom finale played right up to the hilt and guaranteed to summon a lump to the coldest throat make this my favourite role in a shining career.



Interesting choice, and sad to see it means she won't make the list proper, also one of my all-time favourite actresses. A lovely performance but I'm not as fond of the film itself - perhaps that impacts on how I'd rank it for her.

quote:


Joe Spano, Hill Street Blues - the first of my Hill Street Blues also-rans. I more or less wanted to include every cast member, but in the end I settled on just one. As Henry Goldblume - hostage negotiator and the station's resident liberal mouthpiece - he is frequently the one plaintive voice amongst the chaos, pleading for reason to prevail and often failing. Spano never lets the political spiel turn into bleating, and imbues Goldblume with scads of humanity. Of particular note are his interactions with Daniel J Travanti as Furrillo, where the chemistry between the two is electric.

James B Sikking - second of the HSB near-misses. Not a single scene of the show is not improved by the presence of his overbearing, militaristic but oddly endearing bigot, Lieutenant Hunter. So confident in his worldview that he is staggeringly unself-conscious about proclaiming his distaste for the darker skinned members of the community clogging up the streets (members of the police force and anyone else he happens to like excluded, naturally), he is an unashamedly fun character to play and Sikking does it tremendously - never making him into a buffoon or a strawman.



SPoilers for HSB

I'd add for Sikking that he also has one of the most powerful breakdowns. Howard made my TV character list top from HSB as well - not just for the underground crocodile hunts that made me howl with laughter, but for the episodes where he nearly decided to take the cop way out. and HSB gets the kudos for the genius in who they choose to talk him through it. Brilliant brilliant stuff.

quote:


Gabriel Byrne
- seriously, one of my favourite actors and yet just missed out on inclusion. Miller's Crossing is probably his most pungent, striking performance,



Agreed. I'd not mark it down as much because of everyone else's brilliance, though.

quote:


Bette Davis, All About Eve - delectably OTT as aging stage star Margo Channing, this is one of the iconic roles of the classic era and Davis absolutely eats it up. She knows exactly how much to ham as Margo (after all, Davis practically wrote the book on hamming herself) and exactly how much to reveal. A masterclass in control disguised as a masterclass in excess.



And this - superb work done by many in this film, but none match her.



_____________________________

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 #: 167
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/10/2011 4:47:15 PM   
matty_b


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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Good choice with Goldberg there. Great performance.

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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/10/2011 4:50:42 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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Thelma Ritter wipes everyone off the screen in All About Eve. Then Sanders, and only then Davis.

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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/10/2011 8:54:44 PM   
TheDudeAbides


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From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
I'll give you Ritter, magnificent. Never cared for Sanders too much though. I know it's meant to be, but it's just such a cold and technical performance.He gets some of the best lines, but he never actually has to do very much. It's just like they decided to put the narrator on the screen.


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 16/10/2011 8:55:23 PM >


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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 17/10/2011 2:01:00 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides
Joe Spano, Hill Street Blues - the first of my Hill Street Blues also-rans. I more or less wanted to include every cast member, but in the end I settled on just one. As Henry Goldblume - hostage negotiator and the station's resident liberal mouthpiece - he is frequently the one plaintive voice amongst the chaos, pleading for reason to prevail and often failing. Spano never lets the political spiel turn into bleating, and imbues Goldblume with scads of humanity. Of particular note are his interactions with Daniel J Travanti as Furrillo, where the chemistry between the two is electric.

James B Sikking - second of the HSB near-misses. Not a single scene of the show is not improved by the presence of his overbearing, militaristic but oddly endearing bigot, Lieutenant Hunter. So confident in his worldview that he is staggeringly unself-conscious about proclaiming his distaste for the darker skinned members of the community clogging up the streets (members of the police force and anyone else he happens to like excluded, naturally), he is an unashamedly fun character to play and Sikking does it tremendously - never making him into a buffoon or a strawman.





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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2012 2:50:15 AM   
TheDudeAbides


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From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
24) William Shatner as Professor Bhaer
Little Women (1978)



I apologise in advance, but this is going to digress a little, because once I started thinking about how different actors play the same role I got carried away by my own thoughts...

Anyway, I mentioned Gabriel Byrne missing out on inclusion in this list because I already had someone else playing the same role, and this was it. Little Women was my favourite childhood book and Jo my favourite book character, and as a twelve year-old nothing was more important to me then who Jo was going to marry. Her handsome, rich, practically-perfect-in-every-way childhood friend, Laurie, or the plain and peculiar German professor she meets during her stay in New York? The 1994 version takes a practical approach to the thorny love triangle - the female writing-directing duo of Robin Swicord and Gillian Armstrong, no doubt with a sly wink to the ladies of the world, threw out most of the book's disobligingly awkward version of events and remodelled the plain, bookish academic as a smouldering Romantic played by Byrne at his intense-iest. Which solves the Laurie conundrum - ie., how to wean the audience away from the charming, fun and emphatically gorgeous Laurie and steer them towards Alcott's chosen conclusion (if you don't believe that it's still a hotly contested topic, a glance at YouTube comments confirms that petulent Laurie fans are still as bitterly upset at the injustice as they were when the book was first published) - but at the expense of faithfulness to the book.

The Laurie conundrum is what just edges out the otherwise excellent Paul Lukas' interpretation in the 1933 - he nails the awkward nerd stuff, he is suitably kindly and his accent is reassuringly genuine, but there is no romantic chemistry with Katharine Hepburn's Jo, who in this version seems on to be on a constant higher plane of intellectual bliss which prevents her paying attention to anyone else. The film more or less surrenders to the problem, as evidenced by the fact that it sexes down the book - Jo and the Professor celebrate their engagement with a bone-chillingly unromantic hug-type-thing. Of Rossano Brazzi in the carbon-copy 1949 version, there isn't much to say except that he is Italian and this was obviously considered enough to make up for any structural deficiencies. And in the interests of complete fairness, I even forced myself through about twenty minutes of the repellently poor 1970 BBC miniseries. My only observations were that Frederick Jaegar, for all his genuine German-ness, bore an unfortunate resemblence to Bill Oddie, was distractingly encumbered by facial hair and spoke all his lines like Poirot on the verge of exposing the true murderer.

So why Shatner? In a nutshell, this performance perfectly exemplifies the spirit in which I entered this countdown. The casting of Shatner here is the kind of inspired lunacy that could only conceivably happen in the late 70s, and yet his (baselessly self-confident) neck-or-nothing approach injects a pleasing eccentricity into what is otherwise an incredibly pedestrian adaptation. The other actors are almost uniformly appalling, the script way off the mark and the production values indicate it was shot off-the-cuff in the various display rooms of a B&Q. And standing in the middle of this smoking trainwreck, unshakeably cheerful, is William Shatner. Anyone who has seen Boston Legal can confirm that as an actor he firmly believes that goofiness and sincerity can go hand in hand, and he uses this to excellent effect. His Professor Bhaer is taken straight from the page, with all the awkwardness, unfashionably heavy moralism and comedy German syntax which the 1994 version found necessary to jettison for fear of sinking their fragile ship.

Precisely what makes Shatner's performance so good is that he succeeded where no one else had before - every other adaptation has been forced to choose between remaining faithful to the character as written and having a viable romantic challenger to Laurie. Shatner's performance does not play down the aspects which make Professor Bhaer such an inconvienient, unwieldy love interest to sell to an audience. Rather, he dives headlong into them with a sincerity born of an oddly endearing obvious confidence in his personal charisma to paper over whatever problems the character might otherwise create. In technical terms, he isn't even good. Even if we overlook the world tour taken by his accent, it cannot be denied that he hams abominably and his line readings are idiosyncratic to say the least. And brilliantly, this is precisely what makes it work. It is said that Alcott deliberately created an awkward, unfashionable love interest to spite the legions of teenage girls who has begged her to marry off the heroine she had intended to be a spinster, and in Shatner she seems at last to find a willing partner in crime. Nothing like his bold committal to the character as written, delivered with such dramatic flair, had ever been attempted before or after.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 4/1/2012 2:54:43 AM >


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"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/1/2012 8:50:51 AM   
impqueen


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I adore Professor Bhaer. Iíve never seen Shatnerís version but I am intrigued. I love your write up and agree with your assessment of the other Bhaers with Paul Lukas and obviously Gabriel Byrne being particularly memorable.

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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 21/4/2012 1:45:18 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Apologies for the hiatus, I won't make any excuse except to say that I've been in Rome for the last few months, living in a manner described by my mother as "the life of Riley". and although I doubt you've spent the last two months of tenterhooks for this, impqueen, thank you for your comment I was rewatching the 1949 one in Italian on YouTube the other day (for... work?). Rossano Brazzi dubs himself. This leads to the rather convoluted situation of him pretending not to be Italian in Italian.


23) Gladys George as Panama Smith
The Roaring Twenties, 1939




Yeah, I said I wasn't going to include any Cagney performances here, but I'm afraid I did still feel the need to sneak one in from my favourite of his films. Gladys George plays Panama Smith, based loosely on real-life sassy speakeasy proprietor Texas Guinan, who introduces Cagney's character Eddie to the world of bootlegging. She stays by his side through his rise to the top and subsequent fall from grace because, as we slowly see, she is quietly in love with him whilst he chases hopelessly after an uninterested young lounge singer. This lends their friendship a wonderful bittersweet undertone - both of them are trapped in unrequited love, although only Panama is sufficiently switched-on to realise it. In addition, it is one of the best, most realistic portrayals of such a situation you are likely to see - there is no dramatic confession, no wide-eyed pining in sight. They simply go on being friends and she keeps her feelings to herself, resigned to Eddie's perpetual cluelessness.

She is also wonderfully funny and sharp in the role. Her line deliveries are a treat for the ears, every word projected with a snap and a twang. There is no trace of 1930s mannerism in her speech, instead the easy flowing chatter of a professional hostess. And yet, despite her extravagant front-of-house persona, each scene between her and Cagney is a masterclass in naturalism and understatement, culminating in one of the most heart-breaking final scenes in the gangster genre. Particularly fitting is her response to the cop's question "How were you hooked up with him?", a final recognition of their long, complicated relationship - "I'll never figure it out.". She then gets to deliver the final punch, one of the best last lines in film history. Which I think is a fitting reward.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 21/4/2012 7:13:17 PM >


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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."

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Post #: 174
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 15/6/2012 10:33:09 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
22) Montgomery Clift as Noah Ackerman
The Young Lions, 1958




Monty Clift has this habit of looking so painfully fragile you sort of want to wrap him up in a towel and feed him milk through a pipette. In some films this vulnerability becomes almost oppressively intense, to the extent that I find watching him a strain on my nervous system. But in The Young Lions, taken from the terrific novel by Irving Kahn, heís got such a good character to work with - a passionate, awkward but doggedly principled conscript - that he makes you respect him, rather than want to shoot him to put him out of his misery.

Unlike his character in From Here To Eternity, who seemed to have been born to suffer, his Pvt Ackerman has the love and support of his one friend in the barracks (Dean Martin, subbing in for Tony Randall and inadvertently launching a dramatic film career) and his besotted new wife (Hope Lange). He plays the hell out of their early romance scenes, by the way - Iím pretty sure every straight woman dreams of having a man look at her the way Clift looks at Lange. His eyes are so desperately trying to drink her in as he prepares to leave for the army that it would be hard to watch if he wasnít also so mesmerising.

The first real show we get of his unshakeable (and often unfathomable) moral code is in the scenes where he challenges all four men who have stolen money from him to a fight, which ends with some of the most sickeningly brutal punch-ups on record (although I admit that at first I wondered why he kept losing the fights, given that he was a pro boxer, and then realised I was thinking of From Here To Eternity). And with time he becomes a respected member of the company - a confidence which is shown to be justified when he proves himself a brave and unflappable soldier, in contrast to Dean Martinís self-loathing coward. What I really like is that Ackerman has no moment where he discovers the heroism under his gawky, meek exterior - he always has been a hero, and thinking of him is otherwise was everyone else's mistake, thank you.

Luckily, the filmís Ackerman gets a much nicer ending than the bookís Ackerman, and I have to say - it couldnít happen to a nicer guy.


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 15/6/2012 10:35:57 PM >


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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)
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