Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1978: Richard Farnsworth in Comes a Horseman

Richard Farnsworth received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Dodger in Comes A Horseman.

Comes a Horseman tells the story of two ranchers (Jane Fonda, James Caan) who fight economic hardship as well as well as the aggressive behavior of a land baron (Jason Robards).

Richard Farnsworth although was in many films in various bit parts from the 30's he rarely ever played more than just a nameless role. Farnsworth though after being nominated for Best Supporting Actor for this role never again portrayed a part that was not properly named. Richard Farnsworth is one actor that I can say easily that I have like him in everything that I have ever seen him in as he has such a simple charm, and low key charisma that is just wonderful. Farnsworth entirely unique screen presence certainly works well for the role of Dodger the longtime ranch hand who helps the ranchers.

Farnsworth is absolutely perfect for the role of the ranch hand Dodger as there is never a question of Farnsworth credibility in the role as he shows the history of Dodger without visible effort. He simply has the history of the man within his face, and the way he goes about everything that he does. Farnsworth is able to bring to life the old pasts that is underlying within entire film just by simple having Dodger be an old past himself. When Farnsworth talks about the old times and the long troubles around the land he is able to convey it a lived in history that Dodger went through.

Farnsworth is always a simple delight in any film and his presence is always welcome in every scene he appears in the film. He turns Dodger into a warm very likable old hand that we can't help but sympathize for. My only real problem with the character of Dodger is just how little he is used in the film. One would think he would appear in more scenes with Caan and Fonda but he instead he only comes in from time to time almost like the film did not have the budget for him to be there all the time even though it would make sense for him to be. Farnsworth though is a delight every moment he does appear, only ever making me want more of him actually.

Farnsworth though does have a pivotal scene after Dodger is injured from falling off his horse and no longer can be of help anymore. Farnsworth is completely heartbreaking in the scene as he shows the quiet pain Dodger is going through over no longer being able to do what he can, but Farnsworth never makes it a depressive moment though as his warmth still pulls through. He leaves with encouraging words to both Caan's and Fonda's characters that are genuinely moving as Farnsworth only every brings honest emotion to the scene. It is a terrific final scene as he he leaves on a very sad but also heartwarming moment that could not have been performed better. My only wish though was Farnsworth had been less wasted in the film which never spent enough time with him.

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