Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1951: Stanley Holloway in The Lavender Hill Mob and Results

Stanley Holloway did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Alfred "Al" Pendlebury in The Lavender Hill Mob.

Stanley Holloway plays the cohort of Henry 'Dutch' Holland who plan to steal the gold from the bank Holland works for to. Holloway's Pendlebury makes model Eiffel Towers which they plan to use to hide the gold and transport across the ocean. As the Lavender Hill Mob goes there are the two working class men they work with, Holland who plays the mastermind well pretending to be the loyal bank employee, and than there is Pendlebury who is a dignified fellow. It is interesting to see Holloway in this performance after seeing him in film like Hamlet and My Fair Lady where he played decidedly uncouth individuals, since here is plays a rather proper and cultured sort.

Holloway is brilliant the way he so effortlessly can be either lower or upper class in his demeanor, and in a way he almost comes off as a completely different actor here. Importantly like in My Fair Lady where he was humorous in his uncouthness here he is very amusing in his character's cultured ways. He has just the right style in his performance to his performance never overdoing it making Pendlebury just an enjoyable character with his own personal style. Holloway makes fascination with the finer things a gentle characterization, even though it does properly set up why his character would so easily take on to Holland's plan to steal the gold.

Holloway despite playing a criminal is very likable in his portrayal, and part of the reason for this is the naivety he inserts into his portrayal of the first time criminal Pendlebury. His reactions throughout the heist and later the problems that arise from trying to make money from the heist are just perfect. It is really quite interesting because he does manage some fairly broad reactions to the various moments through the film, but they are never overacted because Holloway always makes them very much in line with the character of Pendlebury. They only ever add to the film and every situation making them all the funnier through his excellent depiction Pendlebury's lack of experience when it comes to gold theft.

The most important aspect of his performance though is his chemistry with Alec Guinness as Holland. They are perfect together in every way and they are a great duo for the film. In the more serious sense they are great in creating a warmth between the two and make an appropriate friendship between the two. They both convey a great warmth and joy in their portrayal of this, and honestly the way their so happy makes it very easy for we as the audience to sympathize with their troubles when several of their gold towers end up in the hands of the wrong people. The two's genuine portrayal of the camaraderie also brings us into their pursuit easily even though it may in fact be a rather selfish one.

Although they get the more "serious" part of their friendship right, the most important part of Holloway's and Guinness's chemistry is their comedic potential. Holloway and Guinness play off each other with an incredible humor behind all of their antics. They maximize the comedy of every scene through the great way they play off each other and make these two amateur bank robbers just one hilarious pair. Holloway fulfills his role as the uneasy second banana so well, and complements Guinness's portrayal of the somewhat more assured portrayal of Holland as well as any supporting player could. This is just a great comedic turn by Stanley Holloway, and succeeds in making The Lavender Hill Mob the terrific comedy it is.
Well this stands as another year where there is not a great deal of supporting turns that really stick out. The academy honestly did a fairly good job especially since Holloway was not qualified until the next year. That is not to say there are not good supporting performances, but it just not one where it is easy to name performances that were really snubbed. Although it is bit ridiculous that the academy failed to recognize Holloway in 52.

Toshiro Mifune in The Idiot- Mifune once again shows his tremendous presence here as a friend of sorts of the title character. He does well to mix the intrigue his character has at the passive man, but as well the anger eventually forms at the same from the "Idiots" way about life. It is a good performance but a fairly simply one when it comes to Mifune's filmography. He delivers in the way his character should but character moments are rather limited in terms of his screen time.He does very well with all that he has, and it is interesting to see him a supporting role such as this. This is far from his greatest work, but it still is solid work from the great actor. 4/5

Zero Mostel in The Enforcer- Mostel plays a small time crook working for a large organization. He does not have a lot of time in the film, but he is fairly moving in his portrayal of a man who is clearly in way over his head. He is the right sort of sad sack in his performance that reflects the meek position his character holds, and his moments of showing the love of his family is actually fairly moving. It is a short part but he does a good job and does indeed add to his film the best he can. 3/5.

Mervyn Johns in Scrooge- Johns plays the role of Bob Cratchit, and much like Alastair Sim does in his lead role, he gives the best performance as the character. Cratchit is not an overly complex character as the sad sack clerk that works for Scrooge, but he can be played incorrectly. Some performances as Cratchit are overly enthusiastic, and honestly can be a little hard to believe. Johns though takes a more down to earth and quiet approach as Cratchit. He plays him as a simple worker who even despite his hardships keeps a smile on his face. He is earnest in the role, and very sweet without being saccharine. He does well in the role particularly in the important scenes where he talking about his sick son Tiny Tim. The loss of Tim in the future vision is made very moving through Johns honest portrayal of grief. Also the final scene of the film is great due to both Sim and Johns. Sim's performance as the changed Scrooge is perfectly complemented by Johns's wonderful expression of surprise, confusion, and joy at the changed Scrooge. His performance is nice effective one that supporting the lead properly. 4/5.

Michael Hordern in Scrooge- Hordern plays Scrooge's old partner Jacob Marley who visits him on Christmas Eve night to reveal himself as a cursed soul who must bear a chain and wander the earth. Hordern gives the second best performance as Marley, although probably is the most accurate one to the book's character. Hordern is quite good the way he starts out so quietly and properly suggests the otherworldly quality of Marley. After Scrooge denies his existence though Hordern blows up in terms of his performance as he expresses the extreme suffering his character has fallen, as well as the regret. It is definitely loud, but fitting as Marley is suppose to make a chilling scream as written. His portrayal works as it makes it clear that Scrooge does not want to end up like him. It should be noted he also is good in his brief appearances in the past first as the partner to Scrooge's plans, and mirrors Sim's smug demeanor brilliantly. 4/5.
  1. Karl Malden in A Streetcar Named Desire
  2. Stanley Holloway in The Lavender Hill Mob
  3. Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis 
  4. Mervyn Johns in Scrooge 
  5. Ralph Richardson in Outcast of the Islands
  6. Walter Brennan in Along a Great Divide
  7. Brian Smith in The Browning Version
  8. Toshiro Mifune in The Idiot  
  9. Michael Hordern in Scrooge
  10. Gig Young in Come Fill The Cup 
  11. Kevin McCarthy in Death of a Salesman 
  12. Jack Warner in Scrooge
  13. William Bendix in Detective Story 
  14. Zachary Scott in The Secret of Convict Lake
  15. Ed Wynn in Alice in Wonderland
  16. Jerry Colonna Alice in Wonderland
  17. George Cole in Scrooge 
  18. Nigel Patrick in The Browning Version
  19. Miles Malleson in Scrooge 
  20. Pat O'Malley in Alice in Wonderland 
  21. Richard Benedict in Ace in the Hole
  22. Robert Morley in Outcast of the Islands
  23. James Gleason in Come Fill The Cup 
  24. William Tallman in The Racket
  25. Lew Freed in Detective Story
  26. Robert Keith in Fourteen Hours
  27. Franchot Tone in Here Comes the Groom
  28. Richard Haydn in Alice in Wonderland 
  29. Richard Loo in The Steel Helmet
  30. Porter Hall in Ace in the Hole
  31. Raymond Burr in A Place in the Sun 
  32. Ernest Thesiger in The Man in the White Suit
  33. Bill Thompson in Alice in Wonderland
  34. Jim Backus in Bright Victory
  35. Sterling Holloway in Alice in Wonderland
  36. Brian Worth in Scrooge 
  37. Horace McMahon in Detective Story
  38. Roddy Hughes in Scrooge
  39. Ernest Thesiger in Scrooge 
  40. Sid James in The Lavender Hill Mob
  41. Murray Hamilton in Bright Victory  
  42. Laurence Olivier in The Magic Box
  43. William Demarest in The First Legion
  44. Prithviraj Kapoor in Awaara
  45. Dana Andrews in The Frogman
  46. Glyn Dearman in Scrooge 
  47. James Edwards in The Steel Helmet 
  48. Wilfrid Hyde-White in The Browning Version
  49. Cecil Parker in The Man in The White Suit 
  50. Sumner Williams in On Dangerous Ground
  51. Richard Pearson in Scrooge  
  52. Zero Mostel in The Enforcer
  53. Michael Gough in The Man in the White Suit  
  54. Howard Da Silva in Fourteen Hours
  55. Zero Mostel in Sirocco
  56. Harold Warrender in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman 
  57. Francis De Wolff in Scrooge 
  58. Richard Attenborough in The Magic Box
  59. Alfie Bass in The Lavender Hill Mob
  60. Everett Sloane in The Enforcer 
  61. William Chun in The Steel Helmet
  62. Oscar Levant in An American in Paris
  63. Joseph Wiseman in Detective Story
  64. Takashi Shimura in The Idiot 
  65. Leo G. Carroll in The First Legion
  66. Robert Morley in The African Queen 
  67. HB Warner in The First Legion
  68. Everett Sloane in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel
  69. Sheldon Leonard in Come Fill the Cup 
  70. James Barton in Here Comes the Groom 
  71. Han Christian Blech in Decision Before Dawn
  72. Ray Collins in The Racket
  73. Ted de Corsia in The Enforcer
  74. Leo G. Carroll in Strangers on a Train
  75. Michael Tolan in The Enforcer
  76. Leo G. Carroll in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel
  77. Cameron Mitchell in Death of a Salesman
  78. Hume Cronyn in People Will Talk
  79. Ray Teal in Along a Great Divide
  80. Finlay Currie in Quo Vadis
  81. Raymond Massey in Come Fill The Cup
  82. Ray Teal in Ace in the Hole 
  83. Everett Sloane in Sirocco 
  84. Ward Bond in On Dangerous Ground
  85. Richard Basehart in Decision Before Dawn
  86. Larry Keating in The Mating Season 
  87. Jeffery Hunter in Fourteen hours
  88. Leo Genn in Quo Vadis
  89. Luther Adler in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel
Next Year: 1949 Lead


Mark said...

Well, that was quick. Could you review Joseph Cotton and/or Orson Welles for The Third Man?

RatedRStar said...

Im really sorry that I couldnt really find anyone that was truly great aside from the Scrooge guys and Holloway =(. Also sorry to Koook160 for our little disagreement beforehand.

As for 1949

Montgomery Clift - The Heiress
Dennis Knight - Kind Hearts And Coronets
James Cagney - White Heat
Trevor Howard - The Passionate Friends
Robert Ryan - The Set Up

RatedRStar said...

I meant Dennis Price not Knight ahhh lol.

RatedRStar said...

also Mark, if you look on the 1950 best supporting actor page, it shows that Louis mentioned that he ll probably do Welles for 1950 since that was when the film was nominated then at the oscars.

Louis Morgan said...

No I'm definitely going to put him in this year, I have changed my philosophy in regards to year placements since then. He is supporting through and through though.

RatedRStar said...

oh, in which case ill change my list ever so slightly

Montgomery Clift - The Heiress
Dennis Price - Kind Hearts And Coronets
James Cagney - White Heat
Trevor Howard - The Passionate Friends
Joseph Cotten - The Third Man

Michael Patison said...

James Cagney in White Heat
Joseph Cotten in The Third Man
Lamberto Maggiorani in Bicycle Thieves
Dennis Price in Kind Hearts and Coronets

I couldn't think of/find a 5th, so I found Bobby Driscoll in The Window, but I don't really know what he's like.

Also, I love how you included everybody from Alice in Wonderland.

Michael Patison said...

Oh duh. I can't believe I completely skipped over The Heiress. Definitely Montgomery Clift instead of Driscoll.

RatedRStar said...

Also, Trevor Howard in The Passionate Friends is debatable as the lead but I think he edges over a certain favorite actor of mine that I will not mention until supporting 1949.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@RatetRStar: What's there to be sorry about? It was a friendly debate. I'm sorry if my tone was douchey, I work on that.

Anyway, those considered snubbed:

Joseph Cotton in The Third Man (a 1950 release by my rules)
Lamberto Maggiorani in Bicycle Thieves
Takashi Shimura in Stray Dog
Toshiro Mifune in The Quiet Duel
James Cagney in White Heat

RatedRStar said...

=( nah man I was being a bit of a douche (im only a naive kid),

also can I change again my list haha lol one more time I promise this is my final list

Montgomery Clift - The Heiress
James Cagney - White Heat
Joseph Cotten - The Third Man
Toshiro Mifune - The Quiet Duel
Trevor Howard - The Passionate Friends

Michael Patison said...

On an unrelated note, has anybody else seen Lee J. Cobb's TV movie version of Death of a Salesman?

Louis Morgan said...

I saw a clip of it and Cobb clearly was much better in the role than March.

Lezlie said...


Toshiro Mifune - The Quiet Duel
James Cagney - White Heat