Monday, 9 April 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1944: Monty Woolley in Since You Went Away

Monty Woolley received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Colonel William B. Smollett in Since You Went Away.

Since You Went Away details the harships faced by a family after their father goes off to war during World War II.

I sometimes mention when an actor portrays incredibly different characters for two different Oscar nominations. Woolley though portrays extremely similar characters though. Both are older former military men no longer believed to be useful by their countries' armies.They both are put in situation with young people, young people who they do not have all that great of a liking for, and act a bit stuffier toward them. Although I would say Wolley's Colonel Smollett opposed to his Howard in The Pied Piper are not exactly the same as Smollett is in a far better situation than Howard and Howard was bit less stuffy than Smollett is.

Woolley probably had these similar roles though is because he quite good at it. Smollett is the boarder at the house of mother Claudette Colbert, and her daughters played by Jennifer Jones, and Shirley Temple. He must deal with the young women as well as their dog which he at first off puts his usually stuffy ways. Woolley simply knows how to be stuffy as he has his various humorous reactions to the behaviors he sees while staying in the home. Woolley doesn't overplay the humor of his performance, he rather naturally brings it out in small well placed fashions.

A more serious aspect of his film though involves his relationship between Smollet and his Grandson (Robert Walker). Woolley again is effective in his few scenes with Walker as he shows disappointment in Smollet which he effectively ascribes Smollett's pride being hurt by the failures of his grandson. Woolley finds just the right way to portray Smollett's relationship with Smollett's grandson. He does mostly show his inability to get over his grandson's disappointment but does just show the slightest sense of love for his grandson. He shows that pride overrules these feelings but that they are there.

His performance though eventually depends on his character's transformation from well being less stuffy. This is here that it does become noticeable that Woolley really is not really given enough screentime. He disappears for much to great of a time like the film almost wanted you to forget about his character which is quite unfortunate considering Woolley's strong performance. Woolley though only comes in and out of the film still manages to make a believable as well as fairly moving change as Smollett slowly lightens up and begins to admit his admiration for those around him. It is a little too since Wolley is not shown enough throughout to work through it but he still shows it within his character and does succeed in making the transition, I just believe if Woolley had been given more time he could have made it more effective. Still this a good performance that I only wanted to see more of.


RatedRStar said...

I don't think there is a single bad performance in this line up, I think Cronyn, Rains and Webb will all get 3.5 or higher as all 3 of these were the best thing in each of their films.

Lukas Miller said...

What did you think of Jennifer Jones?