Monday, 16 April 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1956: Mickey Rooney in The Bold and The Brave

Mickey Rooney received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Willie Dooley in The Bold and The Brave.

The Brave and the Bold depicts a group soldiers on the Italian front during World War II.

Mickey Rooney is an actor who is commonly derided by modern viewers for his Rooney mannerisms, and tendency to overact his parts. I must personally I have no animosity toward Rooney. Firstly he showed in The Human Comedy he is capable of giving a moving performance, secondly I personally never had a problem with his Rooneyisms. This is not to say that I do not understand people who do hold this animosity, Rooney certainly is an actor that if he rubs you the wrong way he probably really rubs you the wrong way.  He simply does not annoy me in that way, although it most certainly is true that his performances tend to be better when they are further away from a typical Rooney performance than closer.

I certainly had my hopes up for this performance as it is in a war film and I assumed Rooney would attempt a more realistic approach because of that reason. Unfortunately that is not the case in the Bold and the Brave as  Rooney portrays Dooley who takes a rather lighthearted approach to the war, running a craps game, drinking, treating it as a free ride of sorts. Not that he does not kick into action when his life is threatened but nevertheless he does not treat like the average soldier. Rooney takes it as a comedic turn even though it is in a mostly serious war film.

Rooney as with most of his performances when he was younger, good or bad, throws a great deal of energy into his portrayal. A large amount of this energy goes into his mannerisms he constatnly employs, but to his credit Rooney always tries to light up the screen with his presence. I won't say it really always works as well as he wants to but his efforts are not completely wasted. He does have some humorous enough moments here and there, and Rooney's own joy in his performance does come across that works well for his role whose only concern really is have pleasure in life.

He certainly does get across his character's motivations on the screen which are rather shallow to say the least he wants money and the pleasure one gets from it, and not even the war itself with take his mind away from his goal. Rooney shows an intense greed within Dooley. Rooney manages to still make him likable and charming to a degree even though Dooley is greedy to a fault. I must say if his performance was less mannered this could have been a truly great effort by Rooney. Unfortunately his obvious mannerisms keep his performance from being especially natural. He never fully becomes the character always staying somewhat aside him, not that the performance does not have it strong points the only problem is it could have been an entirely strong performance. Rooney instead gives of a somewhat weak performance with some strong points.

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