Friday, 26 September 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1983: Burt Lancaster in Local Hero

Burt Lancaster did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Felix Happer in Local Hero.

Local Hero is an enjoyable film about a representative from a Texas oil company (Peter Riegert) going to a town in Scotland to secure rights to build a refinery in the area.

Burt Lancaster plays the owner of the Texas oil company named Felix Happer. Local Hero is a lighthearted style of comedy with many colorful and off-beat characters. The first one we meet is Happer played by Lancaster who we first meet as he's sleeping through a meeting about the refinery in Scotland. Happer then proceeds to send Mac MacIntyre (Riegert) on this particular mission simply because he believes him to be Scottish due to his surname. Happer first gives Riegert a few words of "wisdom" the most important of which is to make sure to look to the sky. Lancaster of course has the command needed to man of Happer's power, but Lancaster wryly portrays the eccentricities of his character. There is such a enormous delight in his face as he encourages Max to make sure to observe all the things that take place in the stars, and report back to him first chance he has. 

Lancaster after that point appears periodically throughout the film as we either see Mac reporting him on the sky or Happer is being harassed by a seemingly deranged former employee. Lancaster is rather entertaining  in showing the joy in Happer as he seems to absolutely love to hear the various discoveries by Mac as Lancaster gives Happer an endearing childlike enthusiasm. Lancaster contrasts this well with the scenes of Happer being harassed though by showing the complete exasperation at the antics of the man that seemed designed just to get under Happer's skin. Lancaster does this quite well and is particularly funny when he more or less orders for the man to be shot. Lancaster has some excellent comedic timing in these scenes and made me look forward to every time the film cut back to him as he was consistently enjoyable to watch.

Eventually, in the film's climax, Happer comes to Scotland to make a deal with the one holdout on the deal. Happer basically shows up and solves all the problems, and rather quickly wraps up the film. The most important scene in regard to this is actually off screen as it appears that Happer finds a kindred spirit in the one holdout. Lancaster does not get to do a great deal in these scenes, but what does do he does well. He comes in, again with Lancaster's strong presence that he kept while into his later years, and makes Happer's clean up convincing. He also properly calls back to the enthusiasm of his phone calls with Mac to show Happer's change of heart as quite believable showing it to not be much of a change of heart after all. This role is obviously not the biggest challenge of his career, but Lancaster fulfills it wonderfully well proving himself quite capable in a mostly comic role. 


koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Thoughts and ratings on the rest of the cast?

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

My favourite Burt Lancaster supporting performance is probably Field of Dreams, he is amazing in that.

JackiBoyz said...

What did you make to the look of this film Louis?, it has a really breathtaking look to it and it makes me want to go back on holiday to Scotland =D.

mark said...

Here Here on FOD'S.

Anonymous said...

Question for everybody, what are your ratings on the cast of Magnolia?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Cruise - 4.5
Hall - 5
Reilly - 4
Hoffman - 4
Moore - 4.5 (I thought her histrionics worked)
Walters - 4
Macy - 4
Robards - 4.5

Anonymous said...

@kook160: I actually liked Moore a lot too, her overacting made sense for the character she was playing.

Michael McCarthy said...

Cruise: 5
Hall: 5
Reilly: 4.5
Hoffman: 4.5
Walters: 4.5
Moore: 3.5
Macy: 4
Robards: 4
Blackman: 4

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Cruise: 4.5
Hoffman: 5
Reilly: 5
Macy: 4
Walters: 5
Hall: 4
Moore: 3.5
Robards: 4
Blackman: 3.5
Molina: 3
Dillon: 4
Grace: 4

Matt Mustin said...


koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I have to say, I'm glad for all of the 4.5's and 5's for Hall. Such an underrated performance.

Michael Patison said...

GTSAO: I couldn't agree more. I must grant that it's excellent casting, but Lancaster adds even more poignancy to the role while also bringing a tremendous love of life.

Robert: I actually haven't seen it yet even though I own it.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what's your rating and thoughts for Samuel L. Jackson in The Incredibles? I didn't see him in the ranking.

Louis Morgan said...


Riegert - 3.5(His personal change is at the center of the film, but it is handled in a fairly understated way by both the film and Riegert. He handles it well though by just portraying the simple way that the nature of the place grows on him. His silent reaction in the last scene of the film I thought was particularly effective)

Mackay - 3.5(Does the old codger thing well. His character never comes off as overly pretensions or obnoxious, but rather wholly endearing. He realizes his character's ideals quite wonderfully, and carries the same sort of enthusiasm for the beach as Lancaster shows that Happer has for the sky)

The rest of the cast don't exactly stand out so to speak but the nicely add to the overall atmosphere of the film.


The look of the film was quite wonderful and made it believable how everyone was so taken away with it.


Making the long list I'll admit to missing a performance now and then. I'd give him a three as his voice work was quite enjoyable and was completely fitting for the role.

Michael McCarthy said...

Has anyone seen The Skeleton Twins? I saw it earlier tonight and really liked it despite some flaws. I thought Hader and Wiig gave wonderful performances.

Anonymous said...

Louis, what did you think of Chloe Sevigny in American Psycho? I rather liked her and I'd like to know your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your ratings and thoughts on the cast of Julius Caesar (1953)? If you're going to review them, Gielgud and Mason excluded

Louis Morgan said...

I rather like Sevingy in that film as I feel she gives one of the few honest performances in the film and acts an effective contrast to Bale's performance.

Julius Caesar:

Calhern - 3(I might be slightly generous here. Calhern has enough presence to be a believable Ceasar, but I don't know, I feel as though this could perhaps be one of those great short performances. In Calhern's hands its not and you feel no loss from his death)

O'Brien - 3(He does not get to do too much but O'Brien is always good at doing a bit of sleaze. He also is able to transfer that rather well to the period setting)

Garson - 2.5(I did not find her work all that memorable and the more I see of Garson the less I like her. She has the tendency to literally over emphasis her lines and that's the case here. I did not find her terrible or anything, but she's not anything great)

Kerr - 3(A re-watch could help her here. I thought she provided enough warmth with the seed of hesitation in her performance)