Arthur Kennedy received his fourth Oscar nomination for portraying Lucas Cross in Peyton Place.
Arthur Kennedy plays the caretaker of the school who is an abusive drunk to a family he married into. Kennedy is one of the few actors in this film, in fact maybe the only one to play up the melodrama as much as possible, rather letting the over the top soundtrack do it instead. Many of the performances are very dull, but this cannot be said about Arthur Kennedy who flaunts the drunkenness as well as the crudeness of his character at all times.
Kennedy is pretty over the top, but perhaps that is the right way to play the part considering how melodramatic the film is to begin with. He does his drunk act is basically all he does in the film, but then again that is all Cross is written as to do, being such a bad drunk that he even rapes his step daughter. Kennedy though is not a great drunk, yes he perhaps could have been over the top, and it would have been fine, but it always feels like acting drunk at all times. When it comes to playing drunk Kennedy is no Thomas Mitchell, Ray Milland, or Dudley Moore. He simply can't sell it well enough.
The only real other facet of the character is his brutality towards his family. As this goes Kennedy again never comes off as realistic, that is for sure, but nor did have to really. The problem is though Kennedy really is not interesting or entertaining enough when he is being the angry Lucas. At least I can say that he is not boring like many of the other performances in this film, but still his performance is nothing special, and amount to very little in the end.