Thursday, 10 February 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1940: Albert Bassermann in Foreign Correspondent

Albert Bassermann received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Van Meer in Foreign Correspondent.

Foreign Correspondent is an enjoyable and effective Hitchcock thriller, and it even managed to get in its final war speech well without seeming overly forced and actually pretty powerful, since it seemed almost all films about the war during the war had a speech similar to this near then end.

Albert Bassermann portrays Van Meer a dutch diplomat who has information wanted by foreign agents which leads to a complex, and interesting turn of events. Bassermann performance is a small simple one of an old man who just wants peace. He has the right quiet dignity in his first scene which work well for the film. After this scene though he is just always in a drug induced state. I suppose he is still fine if slightly odd, as just the drugged man. He even has a odd speech when drugged which he handles alright, but still it can't be that powerful since he still has to act drugged.

Bassermann gives fine performance which serves its purpose but little more than that. I was more impressed by other supporting players though. I particularly liked George Sanders who is quite good at playing a good guy for once, also good is Herbert Marshall as the more than meets the eye peace council leader, and even preferred Edmund Gwenn in a small but enjoyable role as a cockney assassin. Bassermann is not bad at all, I just feel he was not the best supporting player in the film.

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