Monday, 10 October 2016

Alternate Best Actor 1960: Richard Attenborough in The Angry Silence

Richard Attenborough did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Tom Curtis in The Angry Silence.

The Angry Silence is a rather effective film about a man who refuses to join in his Union in an unofficial strike.

Richard Attenborough will always be one of the most underrated and best actors who has ever lived. I've had the privilege to cover several of Attenborough's underrated turns, there's no such thing as an overrated or even properly praised turn by him.The Angry Silence though seems even under seen as Attenborough fair goes, although that falls right in line with the work of the underrated Guy Green as a director. Attenborough here plays a very modest role. Tom Curtis is just a factory worker with a family. He has a wife Anna (Pier Angeli) and two kids, there's nothing out of the ordinary about the man. Attenborough gives a matching performance in the early scenes of the film. He's got that usual low key Attenborough charm, but just in a very natural fashion. It is interesting the way Attenborough actually doesn't try to make Tom stand out in these scenes. Oh he's still engaging, Attenborough just naturally has this certain magnetism about him, but Attenborough really let's Tom just be a normal guy, no more no less.

There is such honesty in Attenborough's depiction of essentially the nature of Tom. In the scenes with his wife Attenborough is excellent in exuding a genuine love though with understandable minor difficulties that still are apparent. I particularly love the way Attenborough brings so much real affection in whenever Tom apologizes for yelling, which he also depicts as only short minor outbursts natural to basically anyone. Tom is probably even more modest at work. Attenborough only presents him as a man who just wants to be able to go about his business. He shows a man who just really wants to work, though he always portrays a proper camaraderie with the other workers as they go about their duties. A curious problem arises though when the talk of a strike begins, mainly through the efforts of a purposeful rabble rouser, despite the fact that that Union itself is not properly officiating it. When the vote is called, Tom votes against it, but Attenborough's earnest face only reveals a man voting with only his conscience, though with perhaps a bit of nervousness due to being part of the minority group.

The group Tom is part of, because of the unofficial nature of the strike, decide to continue to work much to the outrage of the rest of the workers. This leads to reprisals by the rest of the workers as they harass the other men. This leads the anti-strikers group to just join the strike. Tom though is visited by one of the heads of the strike Bert (Bernard Lee). Attenborough is great in this scene because he very much keeps Tom his modest self as he speaks about why he continued to work. The passion Attenborough brings behind this is clear but muted fitting the man who we have known up until this point. Tom even seems to be even willing to agree to stop their counter strike of sorts, just to get it all over with. The problem is Bert decides to push the issue and attempts to illicit some sort of apology from Tom. Attenborough brings such power in his reaction as he reveals a man who doesn't really wish to act out but has no other choice. The real passion in Tom is shown by Attenborough as he states with such conviction his distaste in the strikers' actions because they threatened his family.

Tom decides to continue to strike, even though they other dissenters have stopped, so when they return to work the remaining workers choose to ostracize Tom by giving him the silent treatment. Attenborough is incredibly moving in portraying such quiet sadness in Tom as he's so poorly treated by his former friends. Again Attenborough makes it all the more palatable because he stays true to Tom's nature at every turn. Attenborough though wears the pain so well as a man who still always tries to hide it best he can. There's a terrific moment where Tom is interviewed by a reporter, who doesn't wish to help Tom at all, about his treatment. Attenborough conveys the way Tom is holding back as he does not want to say to much, but cannot help but still stay the true in his own unassuming way. This only becomes worse for Tom though as the management really doesn't care for him, and the workers only continue to make his life worse. This goes so far as they begin to do whatever it takes to get him to leave, which eventually leads to his son being attacked at school.

Attenborough is incredible in the way he builds the volcanic pressure in Tom. It is gradual yet especially striking through the way Attenborough earns this from the modest man that it is Tom. He never rushes this yet lets it build to the moment in which Tom breaks and he finally unleashes his outrage against the crowd. Attenborough is tremendous as you feel that everything Tom has pent up is coming out in this moment. Attenborough also makes the scene rather heartbreaking though because he shows how this treatment has brought Tom to a point that is essentially against his nature as a person. Tom ends up going against the second unofficial strike and Attenborough unquestionably makes this believable. He's outstanding because he realizes such a strong conviction that is always that of the man Tom has always been, and is actually the cruelty he has suffered that has caused him to reach this point. It's a brilliantly realized arc by Attenborough since he so naturally portrays this quiet man being pushed to the edge.

56 comments:

Calvin Law said...

Great performance.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Another film I haven't seen. Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 voices and episodes of Darkwing Duck.

Anonymous said...

Louis: You said that other actors could have played Tracy's roles in Captains Courageous and The Old Man and the Sea better than him. Can you think of other roles of his that other actors could have played better than him?

Louis Morgan said...

Giuseppe:

Angeli - 3.5(She brings a real natural warmth to her role of the supportive wife. I like that there is a certain unease that she conveys showing that she isn't always completely confident with her husband's cause in an honest fashion. She's especially moving in her final scene)

Lee - 3.5(Lee is generally rather good. That's the case here as he does a good job of portraying his character as thick headed without making him seem villainous in any way. There's a nice earnestness that he brings that shows his character does have good intentions despite making the wrong decisions.)

Keen - 3.5(An underrated character actor from the period. He has a limited role but really makes an impact by always emphasizing that his character only wants to do the right thing even if he is confined by his position.)

Craig - 3.5(A good performance as he makes his character's low key attitude feel very realistic. He effectively shows a guy who isn't really concerned with most things, and does a great job as he tries to tip toe around dealing with Attenborough's character.)

Everyone else is good even in the most minor role.

Anonymous:

1. Jim Cummings
2. Christine Cavanaugh
3. Tim Curry
4. Kath Soucie
5. Tino Insana
6. Terence McGovern
7. Kenneth Mars
8. Hamilton Camp
9. Jack Angel
10. Dan Castellaneta

1. Just Us Justice Ducks
2. Darkly Dawns
3. Life, the Negaverse and Everything
4. The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck
5. Time and Punishment
6. The Steerminator
7. Dead Duck
8. Hot Spells
9. Clash Reunion
10. Negaduck

Though it's been awhile.

Anonymous:

Tortilla Flat without a doubt.

Calvin Law said...

Louis, your ranking of all the Guy Green films you've seen?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your ranking of all the Richard Attenborough performances you've seen.
As usual, your review made me want to watch the film. I think he might be #3 for the overall year behind Perkins and Olivier.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Saw Birth of Nation. Kind of a letdown, to be honest. Nothing overtly bad, but it feels like it should have been better.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who would you have chosen over Tracy and Garfield in Tortilla Flat?

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

1. A Patch of Blue
2. The Angry Silence
3. The Mark

All great.

Tahmeed:

1. 10 Rillington Place
2. Brighton Rock
3. Guns at Batasi
4. The Angry Silence
5. Seance on a Wet Afternoon
6. Morning Departure
7. The Great Escape
8. Doctor Dolittle
9. The Sand Pebbles
10. The Dock Brief
11. Jurassic Park
12. Dunkirk
13. The Chess Players
14. I'm All Right Jack
15. Elizabeth
16. The Flight of the Phoenix
17. Miracle on 34th Street
18. In Which We Serve
19. A Matter of Life and Death
20. Hamlet
21. A Bridge Too Far

Haven't seen an underwhelming turn from him yet.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Anthony Quinn and Thomas Gomez

Michael McCarthy said...

After not setting foot in a movie theater since late August, I finally found the time to go and see The Birth of a Nation. It's not perfect but WOW does it pack a punch.

Luke Higham said...

Michael McCarthy: Your ratings for the cast.

Michael McCarthy said...

Nate Parker: 5
Armie Hammer: 2.5
Aja Naomi King: 3.5
Penelope Ann Miller: 3
Colman Domingo: 3.5
Jackie Earle Haley: 3

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top 10 film monologues. Mine would be:

1) The Barber's Speech- The Great Dictator (never fails to move me, and the monologue is perhaps the main reason Chaplin is a 5 for me)
2) The Indianopolis Monologue-Jaws (a perfectly acted scene by Robert Shaw, which also manages to always move me)
3) Atticus's closing remarks-To Kill A Mockingbird (Peck is so damn brilliant in this monologue, and you're right Louis, you can't stop watching him)
4) The "Mad as Hell" speech- Network
5) The "Bergin" Monologue-Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
6) The entire Filibuster-Mr Smith Goes to Washington
7) The Napalm speech- Apocalypse Now
8) Ezekiel 25:17-Pulp Fiction
9) Tears in Rain- Blade Runner
10)Greed is Good- Wall Street

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: Is Laurence Olivier still your favourite actor?

Also, other great monologues:
-Honorable men"-Gangs of New York
-Eric's story about his wife-The Rover (rewatched it yesterday, holy s**t is Guy Pearce great in this)
-Mr. Peterson and the nurse-Bronson
-"Insect politics"-The Fly
-Mr. O'Brien apologizes to his son-The Tree Of Life
-Karla monologue-TTSS
-Milkshake speech-There Will Be Blood
-"I have no home"-Ed Wood
-Bob's childhood story-The Assassination of Jesse James (...)
-W
"We all go a little mad sometimes"-Psycho


Calvin Law said...

Peck + TKAM is probably my all time favourite.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I'd add Stanton's and Kinski's monologues in their final scene in Paris, Texas. They were both phenomenal.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten horror films of the 1970s.

Alex Marqués said...

Yeah, that one is amazing.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And can I have a complete ranking of Tom Hardy's performances.

Calvin Law said...

New Rogue One trailer is good, but I can't help but feel like the last one was far better in terms of immediately compelling me to watch it ASAP.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anyone else think Mendelsohn looks like Hugh Laurie with that haircut?

Calvin Law said...

Now that you mention it...

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Giuseppe: Crap, I forgot entirely about Stanton and Kinski's monologues! They'd be #6 on my list.

94dfk1 said...

Anyone: What would a Leonardo Dicaprio/Coen brothers collaboration be like? And what type of character do you think he'd play in one of their movies? He has great comedic skills, as evidenced by The Wolf of Wall Street. Maybe Leo could be a fit for To The White Sea if the Coens decide to give it another go.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the cinematography of On the Waterfront?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Attenborough in In Which We Serve.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What actors do you think could have done better in the role of Raven than Alan Ladd?

Louis Morgan said...

Got a chance to see Deepwater Horizon, and The Magnificent Seven.

Tahmeed:

1. Indianpolis - Jaws
2. "God Will be Forced to Listen" - Amadeus
3. "Tears in Rain" - Blade Runner
4. "Do Your Duty" - To Kill a Mockingbird
5. "Mad as Hell" - Network
6. Karla - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
7. "I love the smell of Napalm" - Apocalypse Now
8. The Booth - Paris, Texas
9. "It would Happen This Way" - Three Days the Condor
10. "I have not Home" - Ed Wood (Funny what context can do)

I could go all day with honorable mentions.

Alex:

Mifune usurped him.

Luke:

1. Jaws
2. Alien
3. 10 Rillington Place
4. The Exorcist
5. Halloween
6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
7. The Omen
8. Carrie
9. Eraserhead
10. Nosferatu the Vampyre

1. Bronson
2. The Revenant
3. Locke
4. Legend
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. The Drop
7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
8. Inception
9. Warrior
10. Lawless
11. The Dark Knight Rises
12. Child 44
13. London Road
14. Black Hawk Down
15. Layer Cake

3

Anonymous:

Beautiful work. It has a documentary feel, that really creates the sense of place on the docks, but still manages to infuse a certain subtle style as well.

Calvin:

Loved that trailer as well, I have to admit this is the most I've ever looked forward to a Star Wars movie. I hope it does not disappoint.

94dk1:

DiCaprio would be a great fit for their screwball comedies, but I'm sure they'd tailor make him a role if they chose to have him in a drama as well.

Anonymous:

Burt Lancaster, Gig Young, Richard Widmark, Lee J. Cobb, James Mason, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Hardy a 4 for Inception and your ratings for his work in Black Hawk Down and Layer Cake.

Thoughts on Deepwater Horizon and The Magnificent Seven with ratings and thoughts on the cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes. 3 for the other two which are both notable since he still stands out despite being almost a speaking extra in both.

Deepwater Horizon is a very effective disaster film. It's to the point and does it well. Berg thankfully pared down the fluff he inserted into Lone Survivor and just tells the story in a concise and compelling fashion. This actually makes me far more interested in Patriots Day now.

Russell - 4(I'm so glad he's having this comeback since he keeps giving consistently strong performances. He's the clear MVP here so well realizing not only the accent, but also giving life to the setting through his naturalistic work. When the disaster strikes he's terrific in realizing both the physical and emotional anguish of the situation.)

Wahlberg - 3(Accent is not consistent but he downplays his Whalbergisms for the most part here. That helps a lot. He's good enough in the early scenes though I'd say overshadowed by Russell. He delivers in the final act very well though particularly his last few scenes.)

Everyone else is good in their smaller roles particularly Ethan Suplee, well everyone except for....

Malkovich - 2(The man should be banned from doing accents ever. It's just weirdness overload since Malkovich is already weird to begin with. He could've been fine if he just used his normal voice, but his accent makes him stand out in a bad way.)

The Magnificent Seven I found to be appropriately entertaining. It isn't great but I had more than enough fun with it. The action is very strong, though the performances are inconsistent. The villains also are not fit to lick Calvera's boots. If they were going to be so thin they needed a Michael Wincott or a Ted Levine to help them out, and if not beef up the role and get someone like Russell Crowe. I also really did not need them to give Washington Jim West's back story from Wild Wild West. The film could've been trimmed down a bit, or the time could have been relocated to more character development. Still I really did enjoy it despite its flaws. Plus kudos for bringing in the original theme.

Washington - 3.5(Rock solid leading work from him as usual. He brings the right sort of cool and charisma to the part, while carrying the emotional weight in the few moments where it is needed.)

Hawke - 3.5(Found he performed much better than Robert Vaughn in basically the same part. I liked the real poignancy he found in the character's somberness, while showing off just enough in terms of being the showman gunfighter in his lighter scenes. I actually wish we had gotten more of him with Washington and Byung-Hun Lee together.)

Byung-hun Lee - 3.5(Not a bad successor to James Coburn in the least. He brought the right badass cool you want from the part, while having a strong unassuming chemistry with Hawke that works quite well.)

D'Onofrio - 2(It just didn't work. Kudos for trying but just never found him funny or endearing. The thing is I could see D'Onofrio pulling it off, he just didn't this time)

Garcia-Rulfo - 2.5(Good but just had almost nothing to do.)

Sensmeier - 2(Just rather forgettable. His appearance was more compelling than his whole performance.)

Bennett - 2.5(Overdoes the voice for her line delivery. She makes mistake of doing her lines like an actor from an old western, a bad actor. I did think outside of that she was good though.)

Sarsgaard - 1(WHY DOES HE ALWAYS HAVE THE FLU IN HIS BROAD PERFORMANCES? I almost feel like they rewrote the ending to give him a pathetic demise for his pathetic performance. He just overdoes every second of his performance. The problem is there's no real menace, he's entirely one dimensional, and not even entertainingly so. But hey at least by seeing his performance one can appreciate all the more just how good Eli Wallach was in the 60's version.)

Joss - (What a waste, especially that letdown of a Comanche showdown)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What about Chris Pratt.

Anonymous said...

Louis, can I please get your top ten performances in a western?

94dfk1 said...

Seems like we see pretty eye-to-eye on the cast of the Magnificent Seven, and Deepwater Horizon in parts. I didn't think Sarsgaard was particularly bad; just miscalculated.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm glad you agreed on Sarsgaard. Truly baffling work.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Pratt - 2.5(His work right now is getting a bit too samey and shticky. I hope Passengers switches it up a little more for him. I thought he failed to really become part of the setting properly. He just felt too modern in his manner both physically and verbally. He too also showed the strength of McQueen's performance when working with the same lines, as they just did not come off nearly as well with him saying them. He took too light of an approach at times, and could not match the King of Cool at his own game. I still enjoyed him to a degree though, but hope he starts mixing it up in the future.)

Anonymous:

1. Gene Hackman - Unforgiven
2. Eli Wallach - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
3. Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James
4. Dana Andrews - The Ox-Bow Incident
5. Humphrey Bogart - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
6. Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven
7. John Wayne - The Searchers
8. Lee Van Cleef - For a Few Dollars More
9. Walter Huston - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
10. Val Kilmer - Tombstone

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who do you think was more one-dimensional? Phil Green (Gentleman's Agreement) or James McKay (The Big Country)?

Anonymous said...

Just watched Ice Cold in Alex. Wow, Quayle was amazing. I think he'll be third on the 1958 rank for Best Actor.

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: I requested expecting him to be in Best Supporting Actor, but really I don't mind either category he gets in. Louis could put him as a co-lead or big supporting player and it'd be equally valid.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Given that you think Hardy's work in Bronson is better than his performance in The Revenant, does that mean he might jump a slot or two for the overall ranking of 2009?

Calvin Law said...

Much as I love Hardy in Bronson, I hope Copley and Mortensen keep their positions.

Luke Higham said...

There's no way Mortensen's losing the top spot.

Anonymous said...

After this year is reviewed, what decade do you guys want next? For me, the 40's or the 50's.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: 2000s. I personally want 2005 out of the way much sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Oh, right, Kingdom of Heaven. Louis will love Massoud's performance.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me like this year is getting better. Hope Silence and The Founder don't disappoint.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Green though it's close.

Tahmeed:

No. The Road happens to also be Mortensen's career best, and the same goes for Copley, though I'll admit that means a lot less for him.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: You have no idea how relieved I am xD

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the performances of Christine Cavanaugh, Tim Curry, Kath Soucie, Dan Castellaneta and Terrence McGovern in Darkwing Duck?

Varun Neermul said...

Saw ' Hunt For The Wilder People'.

Neil gives a career best performance

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, thought and ratings on Mark Margolis in Breaking Bad.

Also your ranking of the breaking bad season please.

Varun Neermul said...

I Am Sam is one of, if not the best, motion picture of all time.

Michael McCarthy said...

Oh dear.

Varun Neermul said...

Penn: A perfect 5.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Christine Cavanaugh - (Great work as she brings the right energy to the part but does not overdo it to the point of being annoying. She manages to make Gosling endearing rather than obnoxious as the same character with the wrong voice could have easily been. In addition the few moments we get of genuine heart between her and Cummings really work due to their well realized performances)

Tim Curry - (Can Curry do wrong exactly? Not so sure. He's only in a few episodes but really makes an impression. He's properly entertaining of course, as one would expect, but he goes a bit further as brings a real menace to Taurus Bulba.)

Kath Soucie - (Treads the line very nicely not to overdo the sultry routine but still utilizes quite well. She really gives more to Morgana than you'd expect as she effectively realizes more depth and makes it more believable than you'd expect. Well of course still being entertaining)

Dan Castellaneta - (Sure he's Krusty the Clown but it works for the character as his crackly voice is perfect for his always shaky villain)

Terrence McGovern - (Always found the choice of Launch Pad as a sidekick rather odd all things considered. McGovern follows his Ducktales turn well though with his always endearing and enjoyable work.)

Varun:

Margolis - (In the few flashback scenes we get, as well as his later appearances in Better Call Saul, Margolis is terrific in bringing this casual menace to the part of Hector, as though what makes him so scary is the ease in which he can live his life. He's great though as the broken man. He realizes the physical state in itself well, while somehow managing to really bring a surprising degree of nuance and even menace as a crippled man in a wheelchair. His final scene in the series is particularly amazing as he does so much in his change of expression)

Breaking Bad:

4
3
5
2
1

Really?