Thursday, 9 February 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1970: Richard S. Castellano in Lovers and Other Strangers

Richard S. Castellano received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Frank Vecchio in Lovers and Other Strangers.

Lovers and Other Strangers is a rather forgotten relationship based comedy of sorts.

Richard S. Castellano received his only nomination for reprising his stage role, but to most people I would say that he is best known for portraying Clemenza in the Godfather which he was mostly quite good in. Here though he reprises his stage role in a film that is quite stagy. He portrays an older couple in the film who is Italian and Catholic. His wife is portrayed by Bea Arthur and their whole shtick in the film is that they are always pestering everyone else about the importance of marriage yet they constantly are bickering or describing problems within their and other people's marriages.

Their first scene together is set up in a fashion where he says something and than she says something both supporting their main theme but at the same time they are always contradicting each other at the same time. Their first scenes actually feel a bit off as they are trying to have a comedic dynamic but the direction, the writing, and even the performances do not find the right tone to really make these work. Instead they more of just feel like a scene wants to be performed in colorful comedic fashion, more than one that truly is comedic and colorful. They are not really bad, but the film clearly wanted for the two to do something really special that doesn't work.

Later on in the film they separate their conversions stopping the gimmick from contiguity which is most certainly a good thing for Castellano's performance which picks up a bit in the last part of the film when Frank talks to his son about why he should stay married. The dialogue itself really remains almost the same shtick, but now without the gimmick of the two talking together Castellano is able to bring out a greater degree of realism, even if his performance still is always at least partially comedic.

Castellano has basically one long talk to his son that is constantly broken up by the rest of the stories near the end of the film. Castellano carries on the same course he set previously in the film. All I can really say is he is fine really, just fine as he constantly repeats the same thing over and over again, in basically the same fashion over and over again, which makes sense since he is suppose to be a bit redundant there is only two brief moments that really let him shine in any sort of fashion although they are still only seen within the mix of the repetition.

In a few brief moments Castellano also suggests a sadder quality in his character that he went after the wrong woman in the end and shows some small signs of regret that are well handled by Castellano as he goes on his string of repetition. Aside from those brief moments though this is a repetitive character that Castellano really can only do so much with, but to his credit he does basically all he can with it. Although it really is not saying much of anything he and Arthur are the best part of the film. Really in the end this is a good performance, just not all that memorable of one though.

3 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

I liked him, the problem is he gets overshadowed alot during the film. It's surprising that he was the one singled out.

dinasztie said...

Never seen him.

Anonymous said...

I loved this movie, Lovers & Other Strangers. I really loved the character of Frank Vecchio that Richard Castellano portrayed. He is an overlooked huge talent!