Friday, 28 January 2011

Best Actor 1979: Roy Scheider in All That Jazz

Roy Scheider received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Gideon in All That Jazz.

All That Jazz has interesting moments, but it is a rather self-indulgent semi-autobiographical effort by Bob Fosse, especially at the end of film.

Scheider portrays Joe Gideon who obviously is suppose to be Bob Fosse himself. Gideon is a talented choreographer, and musical director, but also a womanizer, and indulging in far too many drugs, drink, and smoking. It is certainly stranger to Scheider in this role as this manic flamboyant man, which is an extreme far cry from some of his other far more straight laced character such as the detective in the French Connection, or the Police Captain in Jaws. Scheider is very much against type, but he does not seem to be miscast though.

I think Scheider actually fits the role well enough, and is believable with the technical aspects of the performance. He completely is believable as Bob Fosse, and he does show the right amount of semi slimy charm, along with the right amount of energy he puts into everything. I really had no problem whatsoever with what Scheider did I thought it always lined up well with the character and just seemed right in the part in his various situations. He also handled the characters disintegration well at the end.

Now I did not think this was an amazing performance though, and I think that this is because this really is a director's film. All the actions, all the characters are always completely moved sometimes almost randomly by Fosse. Now most films are in control obviously not by the actors, but a film like this and its stylistic flourishes really almost seem to put the actors in a back seat in a way, and this includes Scheider. His performance never controls the film, and I never really felt an emotional drive with his performance because Fosse clearly drove for particular emotions with the direction and not the acting on the forefront, especially at the end of the film. Not that Scheider is not good he is, but the film just limited his performance for me.

3 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

I really liked him here - but I agree about the movie, I was surprised how much it didn't work for me.

joe burns said...

I haven't seen this in years, so not sure how I feel, but I do remember it being very visionary, as you say, a director's film.

dinasztie said...

I saw this about five years ago. I barely remember it, except for the last scene.