Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1973: Vincent Gardenia in Bang the Drum Slowly

Vincent Gardenia received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Dutch Schnell in Bang the Drum Slowly.

Bang the Drum Slowly depicts a star pitcher on a baseball team who tries hard to help his friend simple catcher who has a terminal disease.

 Vincent Gardenia portrays the team manager Dutch who is unaware why the star pitches Henry (Michael Moriarty) wants the simple catcher Bruce (Robert De Niro) to catch for him, but he intends to find out. The exasperated sports team manager certainly is not the most original of character and Gardenia never tries to portray this type of character in an particularly unusual fashion. 

Gardenia though does manage to play Dutch just as he should be as well. Dutch is a tough manager who wants to handle his team his way, and does not much care for being told he won't have control over his lineup. Gardenia gets the constantly frustrated style of Dutch down just right. He also handles the frustrations of Dutch just wanting to figure what the deal is with Henry and Bruce is exactly well as well.

Gardenia mostly is simply consistent in his performance through the film but he does have a single big scene when he finds out what really is wrong with Bruce. He has a nice heartfelt scene where he shows that Dutch maybe is a bit of a softie at heart. Gardenia is appropriate earnest in this scene and does not seem fake either being honestly saddened by a member of his team dying that does not override the rest of his performance, but more of suggests his toughness toward his team is simply the way he has to do it.

Gardenia's performance is never an amazing one, but he does seem to get the most out of Dutch as a character. He does not take a completely unorthodox approach to the role, but Gardenia is effective in all of his scenes, and adds a nice presence to the film. I can't say it is ever all that much, or even especially memorable but it is a good performance.

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