George Arliss won his Oscar from one his two nominations this year for portraying Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli.
George Arliss was the third Oscar and the first one to win for portraying a real person. This fact results in him in rather odd looking hair which when up close looks rather strange. Arliss seems in his performance does actually want to try to portray Disraeli in an accurate realistic fashion. Disraeli whole flamboyant fashion is not inaccurate to the real Disraeli who apparently was that sort of fellow.
I think because of that Disraeli most certianly is an interesting character. A terrific manipulator, as well as thinker, who goes on very difficult and specific routes to achieve his aims. I think Disraeli probably could have made for a great character and film later than when this film was made. Disraeli manipulations though in this film never mean very much though because every character besides Disraeli is completely one dimensional and uninteresting.
Arliss is basically center stage throughout the whole film, and it follows Disraeli through his various manipulations of people to achieve his plan of gaining the Suez Canal. Arliss goes through a many of different type of manipulations whether he gently insures someone to do his will or more underhandedly by pretending to be sick, or pretending to be far more powerful than he actually is.
Arliss I will give credit is not completely dull as Disraeli, he is dull at times most certainly, but not all the time. There are many boring moments where Arliss reads his lines, in a slightly above average fashion, which is unfortuantely only slightly above average for the time, which means he still is pretty dull and quite boring. These moments he barely does much of anything, and he certainly does not add it to his completely stiff spine he has in the role either.
Arliss does have his better moments though which are the manipulation moments, where he does show some energy in his portrayal of Disraeli, showing that Disraeli enjoys being smarter than every thing else. He also inserts some passion into his performance when fighting for the nation. These are better moments because firstly he infuses some much needed spirit into the role, and also he does seem to use film a little bit to show his performance reacting in the right way toward the camera in the right fashion, rather than treating the film set like a stage set as he does in many other scenes. Although Arliss has his semi moments he never really is that good though, he is only ever at best mildly fine with his performance.