March 2016

Great character actors Pt.4

March 11, 2016 // 0 Comments

  Elisha Cook Jr. achieved screen immortality with two memorable roles. His portrayal of Wilmer (the ‘gunsel’) in The Maltese Falcon (1941) is probably the one remembered by most fans, but I personally prefer his playing of ‘Stonewall’ Torrey twelve years later in Shane (1953). Whether he was getting slapped around by Bogie in one or shot dead by Jack Palance in the other, he made [...]

Great character actors Pt 3.

March 9, 2016 // 2 Comments

    Eve Arden was born Eunice Quedens in California in 1908. Her folks divorced when she was young and she quit school at 16 to join a stock theatre company. She made her film debut in Song of Love in 1929 and her Broadway debut (as Eve Arden) in 1934 in that year’s Ziegfeld Follies Revue, but it was not until she played a wise-cracking, fast-talking, witty character who befriends a [...]

Great character actors Pt 2.

March 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

    Celeste Holm was, in my opinion the most likeable of all the character actors down through the decades, although I am willing to admit that this may very well have had a lot to do with the kind of characters she invariably played. She was a kind of more sophisticated version of Eve Arden whom I shall get to later in this series, a wise-cracking, honest, self-deprecating woman of the [...]

Great character actors. Pt 1

March 5, 2016 // 2 Comments

    Obviously, most of us are drawn to a movie more often than not because of the lead players, yet very few great movies are carried entirely by their stars. The support players can make a profound difference to the quality of a picture. A prime example of this (and there are many) would be the very funny My Cousin Vinny (1992). This film has two hilarious performances from its leads, [...]

Leslie Howard – hero or just unlucky?

March 3, 2016 // 12 Comments

  Even fans of Gone With The Wind do not think much of British actor Leslie Howard’s insipid performance in the picture. I certainly felt he was a much over-rated actor whose casting as Ashley Wilkes (a pivotal role) in GWTW almost ruined the movie. In my opinion, it turned what could have been a great picture into merely a fairly good one. Surely, very few movie-goers truly believed that [...]

AVA – ‘She can’t sing, she can’t act, she can’t talk. She’s terrific!’

March 1, 2016 // 2 Comments

      Ava – a unique beauty                            If Ava had not decided to meet her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941, we might never have heard of Ava Gardner the actress. Beatrice’s husband was a professional photographer and offered to do a portrait or two of Ava and display them in his 5th Avenue studio window. One thing led to another and before long she was [...]
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