Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1936: Walter Brennan in Come and Get It

Walter Brennan won his first Oscar from his first nomination for portraying Swan Bostrom in Come and Get It.
I found Come and Get It to be a much better drama then I expected it would be with at least one very strong performance in the film by Edward Arnold as a man who gives up his true love for money.

Walter Brennan plays a swedish lumberjack and best friend to Arnold's character Barney. Swan also is the one who tells Barney's girlfriend (Frances Farmer) that Barney has left her for a more business oriented marriage. Brennan as Swan does do an accent for it although its clearly and old fashioned movie accent Brennan makes it work well with his performance since he never lets it control his performance. He still shows Swan as a man not just a stereotype and that helps Brennan's performance greatly.

The greatness in Brennan's performance is confined to his early scenes. His best scenes being when he questions Barney about his selfish actions. Brennan shows Swan's disappointment and sadness in Barney's actions perfectly with just his face and his eyes. He does not allows his slightly odd accent to stop from having an emotional presence in the film and that is shown perfectly in this scene. His greatest scene though is when he tells Farmer's character what Barney has done. Brennan perfectly shows Swan's struggle to try to get the words out, and his attempt to try to tell her the terrible news. Brennan is emotionally true in this scene and the scene where he is about to marry Farmer's character. Brennan strikes the right emotional note within these scenes, he shows Swan's kindness along with his sadness to great effect using his physical motions, and even with his slight hindrance of his voice.

Later after Farmer's character has died but they had a daughter also played by Farmer, Brennan unfortunately becomes regulated to the background of the film. This is not Brennan fault, he just he no longer really given anything to do for the rest of the film. Sure he is there, and a nice enough presence in the background, but the film never really allows him to do anything for the remainder of the film. I wish he was given more since I would think Swan would be concerned with his daughter's problems, but the film never shows him to be. Brennan never falters in these scenes and never fails to stand out when he could, because he is never given a chance to really. Still though I find this to be a strong performance despite, the only real important scenes being confined to a short time at the beginning of the film, and the swedish accent. Brennan still creates an interesting character even with the limits of the part and his accent, because Brennan is so effective with his key scenes.

6 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

Same rating from me...

And I finished Pigskin Parade, and I fully agree with your rating.

Louis Morgan said...

What did you think of Edward Arnold in Come and Get It?

Sage Slowdive said...

Didn't think he was as good, but a nomination would have been alright.

Fritz said...

I find it interesting that in your reviews for 1936 you mention a lot of times that the actors didn't have anything to do. I think it's difficult for us today to really enjoy the supporting nominees from earlier days because today most Supporting nominees have rather large roles or important characters while back then the Supporting category was invented for all the other actors with realy small parts.

Louis Morgan said...

I understand what you mean Fritz, and most of nominees from this period of pretty short performances, but Brennan does give a good performance with his limited amount of time, Akim Tamiroff actually had quite a bit of time but he never did anything with it.

joe burns said...

He'll be your pick easily......