Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1954: George Sanders in Journey to Italy

George Sanders did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Alexander 'Alex' Joyce in Journey to Italy.

Journey to Italy is almost an anti-Roman Holiday about a couple whose marriage becomes increasingly strained as they vacation in Italy.

George Sanders is best known for his purring villains, whether or not he is playing a literal feline, or at the very least he is an intellectual sort with a biting wit whether or not he's even a sympathetic sort. This performance is again in that vein yet what we see of him here is different from those earlier performances. In that Sanders here is playing a man in a more modest situation with his wife Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) as they travel abroad. Sanders in many ways gives the performance you'd expect from him in that he is his usual suave self particularly when Alex and Katherine are among others. He has that certain wit about him and is properly as Sanders should be. This takes on a different shade though when the two are alone together or alone separately. In that Sanders's has this certain misery within that behavior, his statements being particularly caustic, emphasized as such by Sanders's delivery which lacks that certain joy in the cynicism found in his most of his work. This performance Sanders presents more of such a man that you get to know both when he is "on" in front of the crowd and off when alone with his wife.

Sanders's style is effectively subverted in these moments as we see him essentially as Katherine does which is as the excessively cynical sort, and this is one of the most painful marks on their relationship. Their interactions are notable for their broken chemistry of sorts as they only seem to connect in minor instances of social interaction, or when they are being more directly critical of one another. They lack any real warmth, but what Sanders and Bergman do though is capture this specific sort of coldness. It is not of two people wholly without a history rather there is a familiarity in this but an unpleasant familiarity represented often in a mutual disinterest or an unease in recognizing the faults they see in one another. The film breaks them apart where we see each going off their own where perhaps Bergman is allowed to create a bit more insight into her character partially because she speaks to herself. Sanders does have a few scenes though where we see him pondering a potential affair with a local. These scenes do feel a touch limited at times, and perhaps there was an intentional vapidness in Sanders's work. They don't leave the same impact though in Bergman's similair scenes where we seem to come to understand Katherine more than we do Alex.

Eventually the two troubles come to a head in their final day in Italy. Again this is where Sanders shines along with Bergman for that matter as they so well capture this certain vicious sniping the each make towards one another as the final conflict builds in that day. They once more capture the mutual stress in these moments, and their delivery works as this sudden messy outpouring of frustrations against one another. They work so well in creating this dissolution though along with their sudden switching to basically appease their hosts as their tour continues. The two find the difficulty in their attempts to switch back to their proper social behavior while always conveying their ongoing fight is still weighing on their minds. This eventually leads to the two getting caught up in a religious procession where suddenly their relationship turns around. Although as written there appears to be something missing there, though perhaps that is the point in that both Bergman and Sanders don't quite make that easy in their performance. The reason being that even as they declare their renewed love of sorts there is something off and desperate in the moment that suggests perhaps it is not as happy of an ending as it might seem. Although there seem something missing in his scenes away from Bergman with her Sanders gives a compelling alternative view of his usual screen persona.

98 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Charles Heiston said...

He's mostly a reliable actor i think.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: It still says Lang has 1 win on the nominations page.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: It's only 2 Noms now.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Yeah i get OCD with very slight inaccuracies sometimes.

Calvin Law said...

Saw Dunkirk. It's a terrific film, but I'll leave my extended thoughts to an upcoming full review. Ask for specific thoughts on the cast if you like.

Whitehead: 3.5
Glynn-Carney: 4
Lowden: 4
Styles: 4 (verging on a 4.5)
Barnard: 4
D'Arcy: 3.5
Keoghan: 3
Branagh: 3.5
Murphy: 4 (verging on a 4.5)
Rylance: 4.5
Hardy: 4

Matt Mustin said...

Calvin: Thoughts on Styles, Murphy and Rylance?

Calvin Law said...

Styles - (he actually has quite a lot of screentime. Anyway he's particularly good in showing the wear and stress of the war in the action sequences, and building up a growing desperation and cynicism in his character along the way that's very effective)

Murphy - (in it less than I'd expected, but he gives a terrific portrayal of a broken down man, but with hints of the brave soldier only so recently destroyed, and is affecting in showing how the intensity of war makes him react and act in ways he cannot control)

Rylance - (the heart of the film, he's such a wide and comforting presence as the ostensible father figure with such an inspiring drive to save the soldiers, and when more is revealed about his character his performance only becomes all the more poignant)

Calvin Law said...

*wise and comforting

Alex Marqués said...

Has anyone seen Extras? I'm in season 2 and I love it.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on the episode 'Fly'? I'm just astounded that a show can be so great that it can get away with an episode that's essentially a (very good) acting showcase.

Calvin Law said...

Also does Emily Rios get really bad later? Because so far I don't really see much wrong with her performance.

Luke Higham said...

Taron Egerton is playing Elton John instead of Tom Hardy in an upcoming biopic. It's the right decision IMO.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Bergman - 4.5(Again her portrayal of her relationship with Sanders is extremely effective in creating the problematic relationship between the two of them. She's also very good though in her solo scenes though and is particularly effective in creating that very real intensity in the scenes where she speaks to herself. Bergman makes them incredibly natural but also uses them so well to reveal just how her particular anger and frustrations towards are kept in such a way.)

Alex:

Yes, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen's guest appearances are both hilarious.

Calvin:

I can understand the hate for the episode since it does stop the momentum of the season, and really the series since it is the only episode that accomplishes nothing in terms of moving the plot forward. I don't mind the episode though because of how well the performances and interactions work, even if it does feel sort of the odd episode out.

I don't think she's terrible, no one really is in the series, but compared to the other performers I found her quite bland and forgettable.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are you seeing Dunkirk tomorrow.

Louis Morgan said...

Yes.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

RIP Chester Bennington. Linkin Park was such an integral part of my childhood, I am literally shocked beyond words.

Anonymous said...

RIP Chester Bennington

Luke Higham said...

RIP Chester Bennington, and he was close to Chris Cornell as well, which makes it more heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Louis: what would be your cast and director for a 90s version of Birdman and In Bruges?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Birdman 90's directed by Robert Altman:

Riggan: William Shatner
Mike Shiner: Michael Keaton
Jake: Michael Richards
Laura: Virginia Madsen
Sylvia: Veronica Cartwright
Sam: Ashley Judd
Lesley: Barbara Hershey
Tabitha: Joan Plowright

In Bruges directed by Stephen Frears:

Ray: Robert Carlyle
Ken: Stephen Rea
Harry: Gabriel Byrne

Michael McCarthy said...

This rating seems right, the film itself just seemed slightly underwritten. Anyway, I'm gonna go with my heart on this one:

1. Alec Guinness
2. Jean Gabin
3. Fredric March
4. Anthony Quinn
5. George Sanders

Michael McCarthy said...

Also, I just saw The World's End for the first time last night and I gotta ask Louis, is there any chance of you ever bumping it up into your Top 10 of 2013? It has a lot going for it in my opinion.

Luke Higham said...

Michael: The World's End was a disappointment for him. I personally found it to be a rather sombre experience, especially with Gary's arc.

Your thoughts on the cast.

Luke Higham said...

Michael: What's your rating and thoughts on Michael Fassbender in Alien: Covenant.

Louis Morgan said...

Michael:

Well I haven't watched the film since it came out, and I doubt a re-watch would change my view of it too much. There is potential for Pegg to go up in that year's ranking though.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Chester Bennington

Linkin Park were one of the truly original bands of my childhood, I know Bennington had so many demons and it is just very sad.

Anonymous said...

I think it was more than just because of Chris Cornell, keep in mind how hurt Bennington must have been during the bands recent album which got trashed by critics and fans, that must have hurt him a lot.

Alex Marqués said...

Michael: I'd like to rewatch it one of these days.

Calvin Law said...

Damn, RIP Chester Bennington. Linkin Park has always had a special place in my heart.

Calvin Law said...

I think I'm beginning to see the Jonathan Banks you're all talking about on BB.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Hannibal (The Show) on your to watch list.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on David Costabile in Breaking Bad.

Calvin Law said...

So rumour has it Noah Hawley is working on a Doctor Doom film. Personally I'd love it if he took on the Fantastic Four; Legion unseen, I think him bringing that Fargo vibe to the series along with the family dynamic could be great.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

If you have seen it, may I have your thoughts on Carmen Jones, and your thought and ratings for the cast?

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke:

Fassbender: 5 (He sinks his teeth into the role in a way that's both very entertaining and kind of thrilling. I was always on the edge of my seat to see what he was going to do next, and it's very impressive that he managed to make some sense of the character's motivations. I also really liked his other character's reactions to David, the morbid curiosity he portrayed causes for a very intriguing relationship between the two androids.)

For The World's End men, I'm a lot more positive on the ensemble as a whole. They all managed to not only realize who they each were as completely individual characters, but also the history they all shared, particularly with Pegg's Gary King. On top of that, each had their own moments of comedic gold that were in perfect harmony with Wright's style.

Also saw Dunkirk. Loved it.

Whitehead: 3.5
Barnard: 3.5
Rylance: 4.5
Glynn-Carney: 3
Hardy: 3
Branagh: 3.5
Styles: 3.5
Murphy: 4

Calvin Law said...

I went a lot higher on Hardy because I thought he did a lot with just his eye, but I also just loved his character. I might be just a bit too partial though. Glad we agree on Rylance being great, Michael, and I largely agree with your ratings.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Even though I haven't seen it yet and will be watching it 3 times over the next 5 days, I knew Rylance would be MVP of the cast.

Michael McCarthy said...

I went as low as I did on Tom Hardy because...well he really didn't get to do a lot of acting. The character was cool simply because of what he did, and his scenes were thrilling, but he had like eight lines and you couldn't see any part of his face for the majority of the film. If it weren't for his final reaction I don't think I could've even given him a rating.

Calvin Law said...

That is very true. I have to say that I'm glad we also concur that all the young actors were solid to good. I have a particular soft spot for Barnard and Style's performances.

Calvin Law said...

Michael: what did you think of Hans Zimmer's soundtrack? I think it might be his best collaboration with Nolan yet.

Michael McCarthy said...

Calvin: LOVED the score. It felt like one continuous Mahler/Stravinskyesque symphony rather than a series of tracks, which really made the whole thing feel like it was happening at once.

Also while we're on the subject, I'm actually seeing Zimmer live in concert tomorrow and I'm beyond excited.

94dfk1 said...

Dunkirk. Great score, action scenes, nonstop thrills and sufficient knowledge of the characters. Perhaps Nolans best.

Styles- 4
Whitehead-3.5
Branagh-4
D'Arcy-3
Rylance-4.5
Murphy-4
Glynn-Carney-3.5
Barnard-3.5
Loosen-3
Hardy-3.5

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Thoughts on the "Finale" theme from Dragonheart. It's one of my favorite pieces of music ever.

Luke Higham said...

Saw Dunkirk. Perhaps my favourite of the year so far, I need time to ruminate on it. I think Memento still remains his best film but this is Nolan's finest directorial achievement to date. Zimmer delivers his best score since Gladiator. (The use of Elgar's Nimrod when the boats arrive was amazing and actually reminded me of Vangelis)

Cast ratings
Whitehead - 3.5
Styles - 3.5
Branagh - 3.5
D'Arcy - 3
Rylance - 4.5
Murphy - 4
Glynn-Carney - 3
Hardy - 3.5

This was a director's film through and through but Rylance managed to go further than what the script demanded of him.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Linkin Park songs 'What I've Done' and 'New Divide' from the Transformers films.

Luke Higham said...

I see that Hans Zimmer only produced Variation (Nimrod), a lot of the credit goes to Benjamin Wallfish. :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Richard White in Beauty And The Beast.

Are you continuing film thoughts any time soon.

Luke Higham said...

*Wallfisch

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Valerian. Found it surprisingly dull. But on the bright side, Ethan Hawke cameos as a space pimp named Jolly.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@Robert: how does the cast fares? I've read negative things about DeHaan and more divisive thoughts about Delevingne and Rihanna.

Robert MacFarlane said...

DeHaan is terrible in it. Delevingne is surprisingly okay. Rihanna is pretty wooden.

Charles Heiston said...

Ethan Hawke is mostly always reliable to boost a film bad or good.

94dfk1 said...

Dehaan needs a better agent. Or needs to pick better movies. Or both. Honestly idk. But his recent output has been dreadful.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Dunkirk, ratings and thoughts on the cast, direction, score and the tracks 'Supermarine' 'The Oil' and 'Variation 15'.

Louis Morgan said...

I'll get to all other requested thoughts soon.

Luke:

Well before all that let me just say that I thought Dunkirk was excellent, the most immersive and powerful cinematic experience I've had this year with Nolan in essence creating a silent war film.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Well I'd put some before Hannibal.

Anyway further on Dunkirk, this is probably Nolan's finest work as a director, though I wouldn't name it my favorite film of his overall, yet anyways. As it stands though it is such a daring achievement, though also a return to form in pulling back on those excesses I felt were evident in his last two efforts. I suppose the divide will come if either you believe Nolan succeeded in telling a just about purely visual realization of the events, or not. I stand firmly with the former as there is such a visceral intensity in every moment in the film whether it is running from gunfire, ducking from bombs, or being caught within dogfights he places you right there. This worked further though as I felt he managed to capture the overall emotional place of the people within each moment, and the visuals managed to convey what that was, with some pivotal help from the acting and view pieces of dialogue we do get. The funny thing is even thought he acting is not the focus it is an essential part to the film's success. Every facet though plays into this as Nolan wastes nothing at his disposal as a director to give us a truly one of a kind war film.

Whitehead - 3.5(Again the acting here is pivotal to the film as the actors must still bring these people to life within the limitations set upon them. I have to say just about every actors succeeds in this to some degree. Whitehead, who does sort of have a Tom Courtenay thing going though he's not quite THAT good, is effective in portraying the most basic soldier who just wants to survive, yet still intends to be moral in his survival. He helps to create that visceral quality so often through his reactions that reveal that fear in every moment, and the growing anguish of the situation. In addition he absolutely delivers in the confrontation scene in representing just that direct decency.)

Glynn-Carnay - 3(He does his job but I'd say he perhaps had a chance for me but doesn't quite find it with his performance. He's very much overshadowed by everyone else on the boat, but he's not bad in the least on his own.)

Lowden - 3.5(As the pilot we got to see far more of I thought he made his impact well in the later scenes in offering more to really what's going on with Hardy through his key reactions.)

Styles - 3.5(He importantly does not telegraph where his character is going too much. He shows the more intense survivalist bent within his scenes making what he does quite natural, and he does well in that scene to be rather deplorable without being wholly over the top.)

Louis Morgan said...

Barnard - 3.5(Well it's quite something for him since he has even less to work with since he has almost no lines. Barnard though does make his impact to create a moving portrayal of his character particularly in his body language where he does well to create this empathy within the character yet conveys his distance from the other men in an effortless way even before it goes further with that point.)

D'Arcy - 3.5(I'm quite sure this is his official job to be sort of a second in command type, he's basically the modern James Donald. Any who he once again delivers as you'd expect him to.)

Branagh - 4(Terrific work from him actually as he is not at all distracting yet excels within portraying the official sort of man, yet creates a greater depth within his reactions. He captures the emotion of the moments yet creates also a certain of sense dread then later hope in regards to the war as a whole.)

Murphy - 4(Moving work as I expected from him in portraying essentially just a broken man within his scenes. Murphy does well by showing the constantly pained state of the man and manages to be even quite affecting in portraying the overt fear of his character.)

Hardy - 3.5(Okay this does require some explanation since this is an excellent example of that intangible thing that is screen presence. You see Hardy's face for just a few moments and somehow he anchors you into that man. I don't think that is all it though in that I did fine Hardy made the most out of his few lines and in his eyes particularly in the pivotal moment in the dogfight.)

More on Zimmer later, though I'll say this was his best score in quite awhile.

Calvin:

Costabile - (He's terrific in his role in that he creates the right sense of naivety and innocence in his character. When he describes his motivation he absolutely does believe it, though at the same time he shows that he really doesn't understand what he's truly in when doing so. He manages to be both annoying yet honest in what he is. Costabile shows that he's never means to be off-putting but you can see why Walter wouldn't naturally like him as well. He manages to simply be genuine in the role and by doing so ends up being quite heartbreaking.)

Tahmeed:

Ah Yes Randy Edelman where the film so often is not a match for his score. This is perhaps one of the best examples of that, and I don't hate the film, but Edelman's score is so beyond it. It is just a beautiful sweeping orchestral piece that just evokes such a splendid grandeur like few film scores have captured. It has come to be basically an evocation of epic cinema to the point that where the piece originates from can even be forgotten. Every section of that finale is masterful, and lends such sheer gravitas.

Only heard the song from the first film, which just isn't really my tempo.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah that's what I was thinking about Hardy. I didn't think I'd end up liking the airborne sequences as much as I did. I'd go significantly higher for Glynn-Carney but otherwise pretty much agree with your thoughts.

As for Costabile, I could not agree more. I actually think what happens to his character affected me way more than anything in the series so far, and I completely agree with you ranking his moment with Jesse so highly on Paul's acting moments.

Michael McCarthy said...

I forgot to post my rating for Lowden, but he'd also be a 3.5 for me. And Branagh in particular is sitting really well with me.

94dfk1 said...

Looking forward to Rylance's expanded review now.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Would you say your appreciation for Hoffman's performance in Midnight Cowboy has diminished? Just noticed that he isn't in your top ten male leads of the 60s.

John Smith said...

Bateman is killing it in 'Ozark'.

Anonymous said...

RIP John Heard. I swear character actors really are dropping like flies lately.

John Smith said...

Has anyone sen the show?

Calvin Law said...

John: It's available on Netflix, so I see. I'll make sure to check it out once I've finished BB.

RatedRStar said...

RIP John Heard

Calvin Law said...

Also, I saw Valerian. It's not awful - visuals are beautiful, and I did like that it tried for something new - but boy was the storyline predictable. Felt just like a lesser re-hash of The Fifth Element in that regard. DeHaan was indeed pretty terrible, although I think he was also severely miscast; he's just not cut into the mould of a charismatic badass. Everyone else ranges from distracting to okay.

DeHaan: 1.5
Delevingne: 2.5
Owen: 2
Rihanna: 2
Hawke: 3
Hancock: 2.5
Wu: 2.5

Calvin Law said...

Also thought some of the supporting players like Bob the pirate guy were decent.

Calvin Law said...

And actually, I'm not so sure I'd go for a 3 for Hawke. He was kind of fun to watch, but I'm not sure if it was a terrible performance. He didn't quite go full Redmayne, but maybe that's what the film needed, some full Redmayne.

Robert MacFarlane said...

What about Sam Spruell? He was the only performance I really liked.

Anonymous said...

RIP John Heard. Always good character actor.

Anonymous said...

It seems that Ben Affleck may be leaving the role of Batman. If you, Louis, and everyone else had to casting another actor to be Batman, who would it be?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the trailer for Ready Player One.

94dfk1 said...

If he wasn't already a part of two superhero franchises, Josh Brolin.

Charles Heiston said...

RIP John Heard.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the new Justice League trailer.

Calvin Law said...

Robert: Yes, he was quite good too.

Man, the new Justice League trailer is such a mixed mess. I think most of the action and visuals look really off, and the villain seems generic as hell, but the acting seems okay, and I actually did laugh at Alfred's quips.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I do feel some of Whedon's influence here. At this point, I'm not hoping for a good film, but hopefully much more tolerable than those other 2 films that I don't want to mention.

Anonymous said...

Flash's costume just looks odd in that trailer.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the arrival of the civilian boats scene in Dunkirk.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the ending of Apocalypse Now.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Which technical categories would you give Dunkirk the win at the moment.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

No.

Anonymous:

Jon Hamm, though I wish there wasn't so much focus on Affleck's role in the DCEU by the press.

Luke:

Well that certainly was a lot of references, and I will be interested to see how they work in and if they go past just fun easter eggs. I don't love the visual style as of yet, but it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Anonymous:

Better than the last trailer, and it looks like they might be easing up on the Snyder style from the look of things. Also Irons looks like he's going to deliver again, hopefully he'll get more to do this time. Still does not look great, and could easily be a mess again though hopefully less of a mess at the very least.

The civilian boat scenes was such a pivotal point for the film, and as I was watching I was curious to see how Nolan was going to pull off optimism given the fairly chilly tone he established. I thought he found just the right balance personified in the musical cue which was hopeful but never went into say a Spielberg/Williams style. Nolan found the right elegance as he gave the hope but did not overwhelm you with it.

Anonymous:

A truly mad scene fitting towards the madness of the film and its making to be honest. Though it's not universally beloved I believe it was the only way for the film to end and beautifully realized in its accomplishment of the soldier granting a sort of mercy of the soldier Kurtz but also sacrifice of the god Kurtz. That is saying nothing of how mesmerizing it is visually from Willard rising from the water to Kurtz's death in shadow leading towards the unforgettable final line of the film.









RIP John Heard

Anonymous said...

What tech wins would you give Dunkirk Louis?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on 'Supermarine' 'The Oil' and 'Variation 15' from Dunkirk.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Score
Sound Editing
Visual Effects
Editing
Cinematography

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What about the rest of the Techs and Screenplays.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Supermarine - (The whole haste of a stopwatch idea was such a brilliant foundation to the score, and this is an incredible example of that use. The pace of the of that percussion creates such an urgency, with the sound effect of that propeller only adding all the more to creating a sense of place just in the music itself, only to build it up all the more with the strings and horn, then almost making it maddening, in the best way, in the echoing voices of what sounds like a battle between the voices. An amazing piece.)

The Oil - (A slower piece though that does not mean you can breath during it. It instead creates such dread with the contrast of the very low horns and what almost sounds like an alarm above. Again Zimmer somehow builds past what you'd think would be a climax in creating such a gripping yet absolutely beautiful piece.)

Variation 15 - (I mean using Elgar could not be more perfect but this is again a great example of that underrated art known as arranging. Zimmer's arrangement finds really the more innate hope of the piece and dilutes it through his orchestration and tempo. The more inspirational qualities of the piece are still there but compromised in the right way that again so successfully invokes exactly what the film needs within its ending.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Did you get a bit of a Vangelis vibe with 'Variation 15'

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Sound Mixing: Baby Driver
Production Design: Okja
Costume Design: Okja
Makeup and Hairstyling: Logan
Original Screenplay: Okja
Adapted Screenplay: Logan

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes I did.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I think you should keep away from any further promotion for Ragnarok.

Luke Higham said...

I saw some of the trailer and it's quite spoiler-heavy.

Matt Mustin said...

That first trailer and that new poster are more than enough to get me excited for Ragnarok.

Calvin Law said...

Matt: Couldn't agree more. I couldn't be more excited for this new Thor film, but I had little to no excitement towards the release of the previous two.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Thanks for the heads up. Really if I'm completely sold on a film, I avoid most promotional material which there is far too much of these days. I mean there was a Game of Thrones trailer well the season is currently on, that's ridiculous.