Sunday, 19 June 2011

Best Actor 1930: Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond

Ronald Colman received one of his first two Oscar nominations for portraying Captain Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond in Bulldog Durmmond.

Bulldog Drummond is a fairly enjoyable film about a bored soldier who decides to become detective, and help a young woman, whose uncle is being extorted by a nasty bunch. 

Although I enjoyed the film, an obvious flaw with the film is the either over the top, or dull performances by many of the performers but this does not matter all that much due to the fact Ronald Colman is the lead.  Ronald Colman as he also showed in Condemned from this year shows his ability to play his part with an incredible ease and grace that puts to shame many of the stiff performances of this year.

Colman instead of playing a criminal instead portrays basically a free time detective Bulldog Drummond. He plays the part simply wonderfully. He always has a special pleasure in the part, that is most certianly a joy to watch. He is just a great leading man, he always is filled with charisma and charm in the part. He as well has a great amount of humor in the part, which most of comes directly from he himself, in his brilliant little reactions he has in his stories.

In this part he in a some ways reminded of William Powell in the Thin Man, which is most certianly a good thing. It is just the spectacularly entertaining way he portrays the part. He never takes the part too seriously, but does not just walk through it without depth either. He instead finds the perfect balance, making his journey through the case extremely enjoyable to follow through from beginning to end.

The film really probably would not be good if it were not for Colman, but because of him it is quite enjoyable. Colman almost seems to know the problems with the other performances in this film, and plays off of them brilliantly. He tones down toward the over the top ones, he humors over the dull performances, Colman is always terrific no matter who he shares a scene with.

Colman as Drummond even manages to make Drummond romance with the young woman work despite the fact that she is played rather boringly by Joan Bennett. Colman makes it work because he is just so deliciously charm. Even though her affections back at him are forced, the romance is great nonetheless because Colman coveys Drummond affection for her so beautifully.

Colman, unlike so many performances this year never bored me for a moment in this performance, Colman always knows how to play on film, unlike many of the stagy performances that are even in this film. Colman is able to convey more emotion in a single twitch of his mouth, a raise of eyebrow, or the movement of eyes than other actors of this time could convey in a whole film, I wanted to say all this really to tell you that this is one performance that is not at all dated. I love every moment of this performance, every dead pan, reaction, charisma filled gesture, this is a great performance.


dshultz said...

Looks like Ronald Coleman just beat himslef!

Mythical Monkey said...

I completely agree with your assessment of Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond, which I had a chance to write about a couple of years ago here.

One of my favorite Ronald Colman films ...