Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1953: Robert Strauss in Stalag 17

Robert Strauss received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Stanislas 'Animal' Kasava in Stalag 17.

Robert Strauss plays Animal one part of the comedy team within the POW barracks of one Stalag 17, his partner in comedy being Harry Shapiro (Harvey Lembeck). I might be in the minority around these parts but I really enjoy Stalag 17, for its story, its characters, and its clever dark humor. The two clowns are not exactly part of the clever dark humor and are part of a bit more obvious humor also in the film. These two and their characters could fall flat or be real scene stealers I do not feel they are quite either. They are never annoying or completely unfunny, but sometimes their bits do not completely work. Other routines of theirs I do like though, some Strauss's reactions to Lembeck are well handled. Both are part of the jokes and are essential to the ones that work better than the others. I think I did like Strauss a little more than Lembeck, but they really are a team together. They are not the greatest comedy team ever but I do like them more than others.

Strauss though does have a few more scenes without Lembeck where he is pretty good. He is a lively presence in the film which I enjoy all by himself. Also with his wild Animal behavior I actually do not think he goes over the top which could be incredibly easy. His outrageous behavior is as well handled as someone could, some of what he does works better than others at times, but again I never feel he really messes up in the film. In fact he shows a bit more range too. Such as just when he is in the more serious scenes in the film, he actually makes it so his joking presence does not interfere with the more realistic scenes and really works as part of the mean. Also one other scene that works well is when he reads a letter from home to a shell shocked soldier. Strauss actually has a nice subtle scene here that adds well to his performance. Strauss is never amazing and his performance is not as funny as it could be. Still it is a performance that could have been really bad but I think turns out to be a nice presence in the film.

9 comments:

joe burns said...

I imagine he'll be third......

Sage Slowdive said...

Forgettable.

Tom said...

This movie is one close to my heart, and I love Animal. That scene where he reads the letter is one of the best, as well as the scene where he thinks Lembeck is Betty Grable. I think his was a very memorable character.

Louis Morgan said...

I certainly agree with you on this one Tom, especially about the movie itself.

Tom said...

But I would have given him five Walter Brennans. :)

Fritz said...

I think Stalat 17 is an incredibly stupid movie and totally fails as a dark comedy or a light drama or anything else and Robert Strauss was incredibly annoying (for me).

Celso said...

I'm with Fritz. Just hated the movie. Hated "Animal" even more.

Louis Morgan said...

Well all I can say is I disagree.

Tom said...

Alot of hating going on here. lol