Monday, 9 December 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1964: Frank Overton in Fail-Safe

Frank Overton did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying General Bogan, USAF in Fail-Safe.

Fail-Safe is the dead serious version of Dr. Strangelove about a malfunction that sends a bomber on a mission that could cause a nuclear holocaust. Although this is an effective film in its own Dr. Strangelove is the superior film. This film suffers from just too many conveniences (inconveniences) that makes Dr. Strangelove honestly more believable (precious bodily fluids aside) since Dr. Strangelove compensates for unlikely human behavior by having the most gun-ho pilot of all time, and a deranged general to push the insanity forward.

Fail-Safe has a large cast in its story which jumps back and forth between the plane itself, the president (Henry Fonda) talking to the Russian premier with a young Larry Hagman as his translator, the pentagon with Walter Matthau playing against type before he had a type as a callous political science professor, and a dread filled General played by Dan O'Herlihy, and the Air Force headquarters that is run by Overton's General Bogan. Overton, who is probably best known for his role on Star Trek or playing the sheriff in To Kill a Mockingbird, plays the important role of General Bogan who must handle perhaps the most problematic group of people during the extremely tense situation.

Frank Overton plays General Bogan as a calm controlled figure who is very much a man who try his very best to diffuse the situation no matter what it might take. Overton handles his performance very well as a man set out in his duty but he carefully alludes to the emotional strain that Bogan has to face. Bogan never cracks staying assured the whole time, but Overton is effective by showing that it is not that Bogan is unemotional but he is a man who is doing his very best to stay in control of his situation. Although every situation is a stressful one the place Bogan is in is perhaps the most because it eventually is decided that the USAF must help the Soviets bring down their own planes.

Overton makes the most out of his part of Bogan who does his best to avert disaster even though many other men in the room are not really behind the idea of shooting down their own men and helping the enemy. Overton brings the emotional weight necessary in his scenes to show the urgency in Bogan to stop the upcoming travesty while to still reflecting his underlying unease in needing to give away the position of his own men. Bogan stays on course the entire time, but Overton is very effective in showing the building frustrations in Bogan. Overton lets these frustrations out in the right which are the worst times such as when either his own men or the Russians won't listen due to distrust.

Overton's best moment though is a quieter one where he talks to his Russian counterpart for a brief moment while the mayhem rages around them. Overton is excellent in this scene by honestly not becoming overly emotional in this scene either even though it is a very tender scene, one of the few of them in the film. Overton nicely plays the scene in a simple but very poignant fashion as he shows for a moment a Russian and American having understanding even though it is only for a moment. Overton succeeds by making it in a powerful moment by just giving that remarkable but brief moment of reflection where Bogan is allowed to feel the weight of the situation at the scale of an individual. Frank Overton's fulfills his role well making an impact within the large cast and amplifying the power of the scenes with the USAF war room. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What rating would you give Michael Fassbender in Prometheus and from what you've seen so far, is he your favourite to win supporting actor this year

Anonymous said...

Louis, who are your top 5 directors, I imagine Kurosawa, Kubrick, Hitchcock and Leone will be there

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous: I'd give him a four for Prometheus. To give very little away in terms of the possible eventual nominees he's one of my favorite supporting performances of the year along with another likely nominee Barkhad Abdi.

I also really liked Sharlto Copley in Elysium. I'm sure he's far from everyone's cup of tea but he made that film watchable for me. Although his performance seems more fitting for Mad Max than a film that makes Oliver Stone look subtle.

Anonymous: Those four and probably either David Lean, The Coens, or Billy Wilder.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Funny, Sharlto Copley was my LEAST favorite aspect of Elysium. So much mugging.

Louis Morgan said...

Really you preferred Jodie Foster and Wagner Moura(now that was some mugging without purpose)?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I didn't really like any of them. His was just the most annoying. Reminded me too much of Stephen Lang in Avatar (who actually WAS the best part of that movie), and not in a good way. He just seemed like he was trying to hard to be evil. Though going by the reviews of the Oldboy remake, maybe I should count my blessings.

RatedRStar said...

No actor is perfect lol Fassbender proved that with The Counselor, Benedict Cumberbatch proved it with The Fifth Estate, lol Copley is usually a good actor and was by far the best thing about District 9.

Michael McCarthy said...

I'm glad you brought up Wagner Moura Louis, because he's currently my worst supporting actor of 2013. I agree with you about Copley though, he was the only interesting character. Are you going to review him for District 9? I thought he portrayed the change in hi character flawlessly.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

For me, Emory Cohen is my Worst Supporting Actor winner in Place Beyond the Pines in a landslide. Seriously, no one is touching that slot but him.

Anonymous said...

My Worst Supporting Actor right now is Burn Gorram in Pacific Rim.

Kevin said...

On the subject of Wagner Moura, did you guys watch the Brazilian film Elite Squad and its sequel? I thought he was actually quite good in it

Michael McCarthy said...

I haven't seen Place Beyond the Pines, and I could never judge any of the Pacific Rim actors too harshly because that was a movie that never took itself too seriously.

Louis Morgan said...

Kevin: Haven't seen it.

Matt Mustin said...

Michael: Yeah, but Burn Gorman went WAY too far with it. He was infuriatingly annoying