Monday, 21 February 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1950: Sam Jaffe in The Asphalt Jungle

Sam Jaffe received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Doc Erwin Riedenschneider in The Asphalt Jungle.

The Asphalt Jungle is a well made and an effective crime thriller.

Doc Erwin Riedenschneider conceives the plot to heist jewels. He is the brains behind a small group of men in this scheme. Jaffe portrays the part with a very smooth, and proper demeanor. Jaffe just gives this perfect smoothness to his performance. He shows well that the Doc is a man who knows precisely what he is doing, and never at all loses his cool no matter what the situation.

 Jaffe's very calm and cool presence always adds to The Asphalt Jungle, and I was always very much interested in what he was doing even with the simplest actions. I think the heist scene shows best how quietly interesting  and effective Jaffe is in his role. He moves throughout the scene with an effective precision showing this as something that Doc has done more than once before. Also just when he is waiting for the others to do their jobs, Jaffe makes the Doc just quietly smoking a cigar somehow riveting.

Jaffe is not given an enormous amount material but he makes so much of the little he does indeed have. I think I particularly liked his performance near the end, where Jaffe shows a slightly less business oriented Doc. He has some oddly poignant moments that Jaffe creates very simply. I say odd because I think he sort of makes one briefly with Sterling Hayden, anyone who makes a scene at all poignant with him deserves an Oscar nomination. I particularly liked his final scene where he spends too long to "enjoy" life. Jaffe finds just the right note for this scene to make a fascinating end to his performance. A quietly effective performance by Jaffe, that I was pleasantly surprised by.


Sage Slowdive said...

Oh was he most definitely great - not alot, but worthy nonetheless.

dinasztie said...

I'm very interested in this one.

Anonymous said...

The scene with the teenage girl dancing to the juke box, which cost him his freedom was just terrific- the way he looks at her twisting her body to the music! He was a dear personal friend and I cherish every moment I was privileged to spend with his wife, my best friend Bettye, and him.

Louis Morgan said...

That's very interesting to hear, thank you for the comment.