Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Best Supporting Actor 1935

Again 1935 is not a year where there are a clear five or even a clear four that stand clearly out as most films really focused heavily only on the leads such as in 39 Steps where the main villain gets only a very brief scene. Still I will cover a few performances quickly.

James Cagney in A Midsummer's Night Dream- James Cagney plays a self absorbed player Nick Bottom who eventually get a donkey head in place of his own. Where some of the actors fail to make the Shakespearean material come to life like Dick Powell or Mickey Rooney who is just terrible as Puck, Cagney though knows how to bring it to life quite brilliantly even though he is not the first actor that would come to mind as Shakespearean. Cagney though is a whole lot of fun in the role and the film really comes to life when he is on screen. He is very funny in his portrayal of Bottom as he fails to act out the part in his play doing it instead in a properly hammy fashion. Cagney surprisingly is not overshadowed by the scene with the Donkey head and actually manages to be very amusing through simply his voice and his physical reactions to dealing with the donkey head. It is Cagney who really makes the story come to life with a great deal of humor. This is a different type of role by Cagney and very well handled one actually. 4/5.

W.C. Fields in David Copperfield- W.C. Fields was usually known for his role as W.C. Fields the likable drunkard a comic star in the vein of Laurel and Hardy. Here in David Copperfield he plays a more traditional type of character as Mr. Micawber a kingly if somewhat incompetent business man who takes David under his wings. Fields nicely moves into the character actually and gives a nice performance as Mr. Micawber. He stresses above everything else the warmth of his character which Fields makes genuine, and he stands well as a wonderful character while outside of his presence David consistently suffers. This is not incredible work by any means but Fields stays in the character and brings out the tenderness that Mr. Micawber should have. 3.5/5

Charles Laughton in Les Miserables- Charles Laughton portrays Javert the inspector who stop at nothing to catch Jean Valjean. Laughton is pretty good in portraying the strictness of Javert's belief in the law system and is actually quite moving when he subtly suggests that without the law there is nothing to Javert. He is quite strong in both of his most pivotal scenes when Valjean lets him go and his last scene. He expresses the conflicting emotions of hate, disbelief and distress over Valjean's actions quite powerfully. He is not the very best Javert I have seen, that would be Philip Quast in the musical concert. I did feel that he could have been a little more imposing on the whole, and he is somewhat limited by the fact that the conflic between he and Valjean could have been done better in term of the film's direction. Nevertheless he is a strong Javert that meets the complexities of the character that some unfortunately ignore. 4/5.

Edward Arnold in Crime and Punishment- This version of Crime and Punishment is told very dispassionately in terms of direction but the performances by Peter Lorre as the man who believes in the right of murder to the superior sort, and Edward Arnold as the police inspector who becomes suspicious of him offers the film some life. This is not a great role, but Arnold shows his skills as an actor well here offering the right sort of presence in the role and being properly incisive that would make it believable that Peter Lorre's character would become as nervous as he does by the inspector's increasingly suspicious nature.  3/5

Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein-Thesiger plays the evil mad scientist Doctor Pretorius who convinces doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) to make a bride for the monster. Thesiger takes the opposite of Clive's manic approach to the mad scientist instead he emphasizes the madness in his mind through his face. Thesiger plays his role with a certain flamboyancy all his own that has just a creepiness that oozes from him without effort. He makes the derangement of Pretorious quite unique, and is pretty effective in the part. He does not leave the biggest impression on the film, that would be Karloff, but he is quite good in the role. 3.5/5.

Overall Rank:
  1. James Cagney in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  2. Charles Laughton in Les Miserables
  3. Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein
  4. W.C. Fields in David Copperfield
  5. Edward Arnold in Crime and Punishment
  6. Frank McHugh in A Midsummer's Night Dream 
  7. Charles Ruggles in Ruggles of Red Gap
  8. Wallace Ford  in The Informer
  9. Joe E. Brown in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  10. Edward Everett Horton in Top Hat
  11. Roland Young in Ruggles of Red Gap
  12. O.P. Heggie in Bride of Frankenstein
  13. Godfrey Tearle in 39 Steps
  14. Reginald Owen in A Tale of Two Cities
  15. Franchot Tone in Mutiny on the Bounty  
  16. Cedric Hardwicke in Les Miserables
  17. Lionel Barrymore in David Copperfield
  18. Colin Clive in Bride of Frankenstein
  19. David Manners in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  20. Basil Rathbone in David Copperfield
  21. Donald Woods in A Tale of Two Cities 
  22. Chico Marx in A Night at the Opera
  23. Gavin Gordon in Bride of Frankenstein
  24. Henry B. Walthall in A Tale of Two Cities
  25. Basil Rathbone in A Tale of Two Cities
  26. Donald Calthrop in Scrooge
  27. Roland Young in David Copperfield
  28. Henry Stephenson in Captain Blood
  29. Harpo Marx in A Night at the Opera
  30. Basil Rathbone in Captain Blood
  31. Victory Jory in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  32. Lionel Atwill in Captain Blood
  33. Oscar Asche in Scrooge
  34. John Beal in Les Miserables
  35. Dick Powell in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  36. Mickey Rooney in A Midsummer's Night Dream
Next Year: 1991 Lead


Fisti said...

1991 LEAD!!!! Please feature Kilmer (The Doors), Phoenix (My Own Private Idaho), Nolte (Cape Fear), Kline (Soapdish) and Bridges (The Fisher King). Incredible performances.

RatedRStar said...

River Phoenix - My Own Private Idaho (one of my winning requests)
Val Kilmer - The Doors
Kevin Kline - Soapdish
William Hurt - The Doctor
Jeremy Irons - Kafka

RatedRStar said...

I think I spat out my drink when I heard the words, Nick Nolte and incredible performance in the same sentence lol

Anonymous said...

Val Kilmer- The Doors
Jeff Bridges- The Fisher King
River Phoenix- My Own Private Idaho
John Turturro- Barton Fink

moviefilm said...

You seem to really dislike Mickey Rooney. Though I haven't seen him anywhere, except from National Velvet, but he was the only thing I loved about it.

moviefilm said...

As for the 1991, I should mention these performances:
Raul Julia - The Addams Family (it would be fun)
Dustin Hoffman - Hook (he was not very good)
Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Terminator 2

Michael Patison said...

Jeff Bridges in The Fisher King
Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life
Kevin Costner in JFK
William Hurt in The Doctor
Val Kilmer in The Doors
Viggo Mortensen in The Indian Runner
David Morse in The Indian Runner
Al Pacino in Frankie and Johnny
John Turturro in Barton Fink
someboy from Boyz n the Hood

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Hmm, 1991:

River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho
John Turturro in Barton Fink
Val Kilmer in The Doors
Wesley Snipes in New Jack City
Robby Benson in Beauty and the Beast (Well, I thought his voice work was worthy. Sue me.)

Maciej said...

Raul Julia - The Addams Family
Jeff Bridges - The Fisher King
Val Kilmer - The Doors
John Turturro - Barton Fink
River Phoenix - My Own Private Idaho