Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1942: Henry Travers in Mrs. Miniver

Henry Travers received his only Oscar nomination for portraying James Ballard in Mrs. Miniver.

Henry Travers I must say is one of the pleasant actors I have seen on screen. Everything about him just seems to say very nice old man. In turn he mostly played nice old men. His best nice old man portrayal was as Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life, and he would have been very deserving had he been nominated for that, but instead he was only nominated for his performance for the popular Mrs. Miniver. Here he plays once again a nice old man who is a friend of the Miniver family, and has named his prize rose after Mrs. Miniver.

As usual with a Travers character he is a somewhat shy and timid man, who has a very good heart. Henry Travers certainly is playing in type here, but why not he is so good at it, in fact I would say he was the best at it actually. He is always a genuinely sweet man here, and there is no doubt that every nice thing he says he absolutely does believe. Travers in just extremely likable in his unique unassuming charm that certianly works for the character of James Ballard who is just suppose to be a likable old man.

Besides being a sweet old man in a few scenes the main point of his character is his Miniver Rose which James puts his whole into, and Travers in turn does show that he puts his whole into the rose. Travers always makes it abundantly clear that James has an unwavering passion for his rose growing. In each moment when he talks about it or about roses in general Travers shows a sweet passionate love for what James does brings it out marvelously. His whole story could seem overly saccharine, but Travers always manages to avoid this by never ringing a false note in his performance.

His most pivotal scene comes in at the very end at the flower contest, and here Travers is simply wonderful. His realization of just how much joy, and ever disbelief he has over the fact that his flower has finally gained recognition could not be better. Travers brings the most genuine of emotions to this scene, and does make it quite moving actually. This is a good performance by Travers he always puts a lot of heart into his part, and never has a false moment. The only problem is he really is only in a few scenes, and most of his appearances are very brief. His part is quite limited, and I really wish there had been more of him. This still a fine portrayal of a nice old man, it just is not Travers's very best portrayal of a nice old man.


Fritz said...

I don't care very much for him here. I also think the plot with the flower contest is the weakest part of Mrs. Miniver.

moviefilm said...

I couldn't be more wrong in my prediction... :)

Oscargrouching said...

This guy is The Wizard of Oz , lol .