Thursday, 30 March 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1973: Sterling Hayden in The Long Goodbye

Sterling Hayden did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Roger Wade in The Long Goodbye.

Sterling Hayden is best known for his cold tough guy roles in films like The Killing and The Asphalt Jungle, even his best performance in Dr. Strangelove is a subversion of that idea. His performance in The Long Goodbye is a complete departure from that type. We first see Roger Wade, a successful novelist, as Elliott Gould's Philip Marlowe finds him staying in a shady rehab center for celebrities with drug and alcohol problems. Marlowe gets him out and returns him home to his wife, but that doesn't mean Roger's all okay. Hayden's work is unlike any other performance I've seen of his in his portrayal of the mess of the man that is Roger Wade. Hayden's performance though isn't just of any trouble man it's sort of a Ernest Hemingway pseudo genius who happens to also be a complete drunkard. Hayden's terrific in bringing to life that sort of grand larger than life personality. Apparently Hayden was in reality drunk and high throughout the shoot, well this is one time where it actually works out. Hayden doesn't just wear it well he kind of glories in it as he should in this role. Hayden plays the way Wade projects himself as just a guy loving life. Hayden is this curiously endearing bundle of life in his portrayal as he never feels over the top it only feels natural to the state of man that Roger is. Now the reason Hayden's apparent intoxication works here is because this is not just a performance to watch to be a mess. Hayden's work is surprising in its level nuance particularly given the circumstances supposedly behind the performance.

Hayden though with company brings that whole lively boisterous routine, but it definitely hiding something as he underlines it with such unease whenever he speaks alone with his wife. His scene we see alone with his wife it is rather striking to see such a sensitive and vulnerable Hayden as he reveals the insecurities of the Wade who in reality isn't enjoying life in the least. Hayden shows that most of the time though Wade hides a sadness in front of other that is until  his former doctor (Henry Gibson) comes to collect a bill. Hayden surprisingly heartbreaking in this scene by starting with Wade trying to work through by yelling at the man but as the doctor is not deterred Hayden reveals the facade of Wade's deteriorate. There is such a powerful sorrow that Hayden brings by withdrawing himself, losing that boisterousness, portraying this self-examination in his eyes that forces Wade into this lonely place. What happens to Wade in the end is made an unfortunate inevitability by Sterling Hayden fantastic performance. Hayden goes against his usual style so effectively to create this tragic figure of a man whose disposition cannot hide his depression.

28 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Jordan's gonna win.

Luke Higham said...

1. Jordan
2. Cusack
3. Lee
4. Hayden
5. Brynner

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Top Ten Russell Crowe acting moments.

Anonymous said...

1. Jordan
2. Lee
3. Cusack
4. Hayden
5. Brynner
Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Hume Cronyn in Brute Force.

Charles Heiston said...

I think Jordan might come in 3rd below Ryan and Shaw(who could switch positions)

1. Jordan
2. Cusack
3. Lee
4. Hayden
5. Brynner

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

1. Jordan
2. Cusack
3. Lee
4. Hayden
5. Brynner

Alex Marqués said...

I really don't see what's the big deal with Jordan's performance. Maybe the review will change my mind in some way, but it was Mitchum who caught my attention completely.

Luke Higham said...

Alex: What did you think of Christopher Lee in The Wicker Man.

As much as I liked Lee, I'll be really surprised if he ends up winning this lineup.

Charles Heiston said...

I wasn't overly impressed with Lee, i can't see anybody taking the win from Shaw besides Robert Ryan.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'm rather hoping Shaw keeps his win.

Michael Patison said...

1. Richard Jordan
2. Cyril Cusack
3. Christopher Lee
4. Sterling Hayden
5. Yul Brynner

Michael McCarthy said...

1. Richard Jordan
2. Cyril Cusack
3. Christopher Lee
4. Sterling Hayden
5. Yul Brynner

Robert MacFarlane said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually liked Ghost in the Shell outside of the whitewashing thing.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Really? Was it good?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Yeah, it's really impressively made and acted. Plus I'm a sucker for "What measure is a non-human?" stories. There is a late game twist that I have to acknowledge is... unfortunate in its implications, but otherwise I found it to be pretty nice blockbuster.

Anonymous said...

Robert: I'll believe it's good when I see it.

Calvin Law said...

Robert's stamp of approval has my confidence.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Perhaps I'm just too pessimistic when it comes to anime adaptations.

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: Oh so am I, but I'm always going to give something a chance.

Charles Heiston said...

Anonymous: I'll totally give it a chance, only thing that's a bit uncomforting is the 50/50 critic reception.

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: I think he was fascinating in the role. He was very entertaining as a "villanous" performance, but he also makes clear why he's the lord of the island through his charisma and conviction.

Varun Neermul said...

1.Jordan
2.Cusack
3.Hayden
4.Lee
5.Brynner

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1. Budd in bed with Lynn - L.A. Confidential
2. Interrogation - L.A. Confidential
3. "My Name is Maximus" - Gladiator
4. Story of his mother - 3:10 to Yuma
5. Hotel scene - The Nice Guys
6. Deposition - The Insider
7. Being Shown the pictures - L.A. Confidential
8. "Are you not entertained" - Gladiator
9. Speaking in the car - The Insider
10. Beating up March - The Nice Guys

Purposefully did not include anything from Master and Commander.
Anonymous:

Cronyn - 4(Cronyn's very good villain film though and succeeds in pulling off actually somewhat tricky part. That being the non-imposing main villain. Cronyn though makes it work though showing just how petty and slimy of a weasel he is. He's create this right sick sadism and just the way his character gets far too much joy out of any bit of cruelty he can inflict on the prisoners.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Will Crowe's review be part of the 2003 lead lineup or an extra like Jeff Daniels in Gettysburg.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could I also have your top ten Guy Pearce moments.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Looks like Joss Whedon is going to direct and write a Batgirl movie. What are your thoughts on this?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Depends how that line up shakes out.

Pearce:

1. Rollo Tomasi reaction - L.A. Confidential
2. The story of his wife - The Rover
3. Confronting John G. - Memento
4. Interrogation - L.A. Confidential
5. Learning the truth - Memento
6. The Ending - The Rover
7. "No More" - The Propostion
8. Being manipulated by Natalie - Memento
9. Explaining Rollo Tomasi - L.A. Confidential
10. "Who is this?" - Memento

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

I'm honestly not overly enthusiastic towards Wheedon's writing style, though works well enough for comic adaptations, but I really don't think there's anything special about his directing. It's very workmanlike.