Thursday, 1 July 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1954: Karl Malden in On the Waterfront

Karl Malden received his second and final Oscar nomination for playing a priest Father Barry in On the Waterfront.

The three Supporting Actor nominations are rather interesting because each represent a different spot on the moral scale. Karl Malden is certainly on the good half of the scale as Father Barry, who is a priest who wants to strive for justice on the docks. Malden gives an incredibly interesting performance, and his performance stands out in a film filled with great performances. Malden is incredibly effective because he does not make Barry into a one dimensional character. He is not just some do gooder only but rather a real person trying to do this good. The good nature of the character never seems forced but rather quite natural due to Malden.

Malden is essential to the film because Barry's purpose to bring over Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) to the good side of things, and to help in the changing of the docks.  Malden's performance consists of a lot of pushing for good from all characters, pushing to get the various characters to stand up to, and to take down the evil Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). The push involves many invigorated speeches from Malden. The speeches are incredibly powerfully done Malden and each one stands out in the film. He is particularly effective in the Crucifixion speech. Malden puts all the right power and passion in this speech to make the scene truly effective and incredibly memorable. He also allows even greater believability in Malloy's transformation since Malden shows Barry to be a truly inspiring and effecting person.

Malden is always strong in this performance and never fails to be interesting and effective. He standouts even when he is with Marlon Brando which is rather something. He is never forgotten in scenes with Brando and completely stands his own. He takes a good character and puts the right amount of depth into him. He shows the priest is not perfect but rather a man trying to do the right thing. He is not just a speech maker but a man who wants to understand and learn why the dock is the why it is. Malden shows all of this as well as possible. He is always spot on in every scene and he only makes the powerful scenes even more powerful. Malden gives a flawless performance as Father Barry, and his performance perfectly adds to the great On the Waterfront.

3 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

Not a 5 from me, but he would have been my pick...

Louis Morgan said...

It seems like I like actor performances more in general. What would you give him?

Sage Slowdive said...

Probably a 4...like I said before, this category nearly always fails to really impress me.