Saturday, 2 June 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1951: Gig Young in Come Fill Cup

Gig Young received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Boyd Copeland in Come Fill The Cup.

Come Fill The Cup tells about a news paper editor Lew Marsh (James Cagney) who after hitting rock bottom as an alcoholic comes back, and later is called on to help another alcoholic do the same. Also since it is a James Cagney film I guess he also needs to take down a couple of gangsters.

Gig Young portrays the alcoholic Lew is sent to help, since Boyd is the nephew one of his higher ups in his newspaper. The only problem is Boyd happens to be married to Cagney's character's former girlfriend. Young as usual for him is good in the role of the rich man with a drinking problem. What works about Young's performance is that early in his performance he actually does not stress that his character is a drinker to that great of a degree. At a time when many actors who played drunk absolutely overplayed them, Young actually mostly focuses on the fact that he is rich drunkard more than just a drunkard.

All of his behavior early on Young treats Boyd problem fairly casually, since unlike when Lew was drunk he never once has to worry about his drink actually ever running out. Boyd can simply afford to be a drunk in a way, even if he is not living anywhere near his potential he can't quite hit rock bottom since he can always afford more drink. Young shows Boyd really never takes his drinking seriously, and even when he is heavily drinking he always acts as if hew just sort of having his own little party at all times. Young makes through this shows Boyd's history as a drinker, and why he really has been one for as long as he has.

In Young's portrayal of Boyd as a heavy drinker, who is always acting as if he is just a casual drinker shows exactly why it is difficult for anyone to get him to quit as it seems to be. Eventually though due to a tragedy that Boyd feels responsible for he does hit rock bottom, and faces going through withdrawal as well as suicidal feelings. Although there is not a transition to this place in Young's performance there really should not be since he is faced with the results of his drinking in such a severe and sudden fashion. In his scene of withdrawal and suicide combined Young nails it.

In this scene that is quite a challenge, Young brings to life all of the emotions Boyd is going through. Young appropriately brings to life the intense pain, and guilt into the moment. Young effortlessly conveys just how much the tragedy has weighed upon him. What is amazing though is in the same moment he also brings to life the horrible physical ramifications from his withdrawal as well. Scenes like this are easy to get quite wrong but luckily Young successfully brings all of the horrendous effects of this to life without once resorting to overacting. Young is terrific here because he effectively brings everything involved in Boyd's state alive here.

After this scene it jumps to Boyd having found his way towards recovering, and this is technically rushed a bit by the fact that it is told rather than shown by Young. Nevertheless when we do see Boyd again Young is convincing in presenting a recovered Boyd. Young is good here because he still shows that Boyd is not suddenly fixed. There is still just the right amount of hesitation in his performance showing that Boyd certainly has not forgotten his past, but Young as well does show a much stronger and more confidant man that before. Although somewhat limited by the film this is most certainly a good performance by Young that successfully fulfills his role. (Special thanks to Derek Bowman for helping me see this performance) 

1 comment:

dinasztie said...

Yay! You could see this film. I'm so glad. Never seen it myself, though. :)