Monday, 5 March 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1958: Lee J. Cobb in The Brothers Karamazov

Lee J. Cobb received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Fyodor Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov.

The Brothers Karamazov details tensions involving
the brothers over their fathers decision for his heir.

Lee J. Cobb portrays the father of the brothers and you know there is a problem when he makes Burl Ives's father in The Big Country look like a good father, but Fyodor comes close to doing this. He is a rather lowly man who fathered several sons but clearly cares very little for them. In many ways Fyodor is villainous character in the film as he really is the cause of most of the problems in the film. Lee J. Cobb very memorably and effectively portrayed the villainous Johnny Friendly in On The Waterfront who was the cause of most of the problems in that film, this performance is not on that level, but it is an interesting performance nonetheless that has some of the same strengths found in that performance.

Lee J. Cobb is really the perfect brutish buffoon, and does indeed the same powerful presence he showed in his earlier stronger nominated performance. It is clear that Fyodor has a command even if he he the most lowly sort of a man. Cobb is really quite effective in his portrayal of his feelings toward his sons as he shows the nature of the man. Cobb makes absolutely no excuses for his character he is a bad man, and Cobb handles this rather realistically as he does not make his emotions toward his sons one dimensional. Cobb certainly conveys the idea that he does not care for them, but does not exactly hate them either. He instead just seems to show that he really has no love to really convey to them, he does treat them with a bit of descent as he does recognize them, but Cobb acts it as just something he feels he is required to do than any form of love he has for his children.

As the manipulator Fyodor Cobb again does excel in his own fashion because he never overplays Fyodor's rather villainous role in the proceedings. Yes he is always pushing and attempting to control his sons in his own way, but Cobb actually creates Fyodor into a rather realistic manipulator because he never makes Fyodor into being overly intelligent man but just someone who basically knows how to make people tick in his particular way. It is an interesting way to portray a manipulator as he does in such a rather crude manipulator, but it is an effective portrayal. Cobb realizes exactly how easy it would be for the brothers to desire to murder him. It is a good performance by Cobb that creates Fyodor in the buffoonish antagonist that he should be. It would have easy to come off as too evil or too buffoonish, but Cobb finds just the right balance.


dinasztie said...

Never seen him but he was such a great actor.

RatedRStar said...

Saw the movie on youtube, hated the film lol Yul and Shatner are so wooden, but Lee J Cobb is a great scene stealer

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