Saturday, 19 May 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1963: Hugh Griffith in Tom Jones

Hugh Griffith received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Squire Western in Tom Jones.

Hugh Griffith portrays Squire Western the father of Tom Jones's (Albert Finney) love interest Sophie Western (Susannah York). Although he is a Squire is a very uncouth man. He stands as a jovial fellow who likes Tom Jones, but refuses Jones as a proper husband for Sophie due to the societal problems in the match up constantly told to the squire by his very very proper sister (Edith Evans). Griffith's whole point here is just to be funny as was his basically his point in his Oscar winning turn in Ben-Hur. The difference here is Griffith appears throughout with his comedic antics, unlike Ben-Hur where he just appeared in a group of scenes almost entirely together to put some humor in that film.

It makes sense though for Griffith to perpetuate throughout this film though as this is wholly a comedy unlike Ben-Hur where Griffith stood as the only comic relief in the film. Due to the fact that he is just one of the acts in an entire comedy show he has less of an impact than he had in Ben-Hur, but he still is an enjoyable part of the film which is Tom Jones. Tom Jones certainly is an interesting sort of film that is a comedy, but Griffith and every other actor never plays it like they are in a comedy, except maybe the few fourth wall breaks. Griffith the entire time of his routine that comes in and out of the film but it is always in the character of Squire Western.

I suppose it should be noted that Griffith apparently was drunk during filming, best shown when he actually fell right off his horse after mounting it. Even though I would say his drunkenness to shine through his performance, but I would also say it works for Squire Western. He has a manic, uncontrollable energy that works for Squire Western who is suppose to be a bit of his rocker at all times. It is an enjoyable performance that doesn't have a boring moment, and does bring life to all of his scenes. His character is suppose to be a basically insane presence Griffith certainly is that presence.

Hugh Griffith best moments though come with Edith Evans. Griffith as the Squire is as uncouth as the Squire's sister is proper. The two have an enjoyable dynamic and both actors play off of each other extremely well. None of their scenes are wasted, and their scenes of chasing after Sophie are some of the most enjoyable moments in the film. Griffith stands as just an enjoyable part of an enjoyable film. I would not quite put his work up with his Ben-Hur work since I love the idea of Griffith playing the smartest man in the room, but there certainly is nothing wrong, in fact is very enjoyable, though with Griffith playing the drunkest man in the room instead.


RatedRStar said...

I liked him a lot, wow this seems like a stronger year than everyone thought. I wonder, what is ur general opinion of Albert Finney because he seems to be quite mixed in your oscar results.

Louis Morgan said...

I think he is a pretty good actor, but I would not say he is a great actor.

Monica said...

I think he is a pretty good actor, but I would not say he is a great actor.