Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Best Actor 1959: Paul Muni in The Last Angry Man

Paul Muni received his fifth and final Oscar nomination for portraying Doctor Sam Ableman in The Last Angry Man.

The Last Angry Man is partially about a hard working doctor in a working class neighborhood who wants to do the right thing for his patients no matter what, but it is mostly about actually a television producer who wants to make a story about the doctor.

Paul Muni as the doctor really is only sort of the main character, as most of the attention is given to the television producer played by David Wayne who also is the character with an arc of sorts. Muni though received his last nomination though for his last film performance.

Muni's performance here is much like many of his performances. Muni is an actor I get annoyed at because he shows certainly a talent, and does create a potentially interesting characterization, but constantly overacts though.

Paul Muni does create the doctor well by not making him an overly goody good sort of a character. He does show that he really does not do what he does to seem or act like a nice person, but simply that it is what it required of him as a good doctor. He has some honestly good moments as the doctor where he shows the honest ethic of the character who hates freeloaders but refuses to turn the needy away.

Although he does have a good honest emotional moment now and again like his tough dealing with an ill street punk, but he is terribly inconsistent due to Paul Muni's tendency to overact. It would not be so distracting but Muni overacts almost randomly in this performance. There will be a scene where he realistically underplays most of a scene than suddenly sometime mid sentence he starts his overemphasized facial expressions or a very labored sounding line reading. 

Muni goes back and forth through his entire performance like this sometimes some scenes are better than others for him entirely on how much he chooses to overact in a particular scene. Muni certainly again shows a talent since there is an honest depiction of this doctor in his performance, but unfortuantely it is always offset by Muni giving a far too self-aware performance.

1 comment:

Sage Slowdive said...

I've only seen bits and pieces of this.