Saturday, 14 October 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: David Warner in Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs

David Warner did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dennis Charles Nipple in Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs.

Ah old David Warner the actor always giving such compelling work in the margins of any film he may appear, shining so well if he's ever allowed the center of a film. Thankfully we are granted some undiluted Warner here in about three or four scenes as one of the friends of the titular Malcolm (John Hurt), the recently kicked out of college pseudo thinker trying to create a phallic based political party. We are introduced to Warner's Dennis Charles Nipple last out of the principal players as he engages in a philosophical, and somewhat practical conversation on the quality of a jacket. As I mentioned in my review of John Hurt's performance in this film the script still feels very much of the stage. Like Hurt, Warner is such a great performer though that he manages to elevate the script and alleviate this problem to the certain extent through his performances. The monologues are perhaps too long, but they aren't too shabby when delivered by an actor of Warner's caliber. Warner is engaging simply to watch and speak in this role to begin with, however Warner takes this further through his successful approach to the role of Mr. Nipple.

Although before that I must commend the film for the costuming on Warner here which is something special in itself. Warner does not waste that useful starting point from the first scene on. Now his performance works best in terms of specifically how it relates to John Hurt's not only in terms of their chemistry but also how he makes Dennis differ from Malcolm. Now on one end you see how these two are friends as they meet each other in terms of their love of philosophical argument, although each seem to get something different out of this. The argument itself that opens their first scene together is quite useless about knowing "proper corduroy" though the two great actors make the most of it in certain terms in that is rather amusing to see both men bring such a misplaced intensity in this conversation. The nature of the intensity is a bit different though in that Hurt portrays a real frustration in not being able to convince Dennis on his belief, whereas Warner portrays a different dynamic. Warner portrays always a certain thrill, a real pleasure of just having the conversation itself, he brings just a little bit of frustration towards Malcolm, but Warner captures that natural friendly frustration when trying to get a point across, something I experienced myself quite recently in a discussion over whether Mother! is a masterpiece or a piece of trash, but I digress.

Past their direct arguments over their own specific viewpoints there is also a difference in the nature of the stance and frankly the use of their philosophy. Warner makes the passion in Dennis far more genuine and shows that the man doesn't use his personal views to build any facade for himself. Warner depicts a real comfort in his views and even when they may be ridiculous in his own way Warner makes Dennis rather endearing by making his passion so honest. When describing his own dreamlike experience from not eating Warner delivers this was such a sincerity, as a man trying to share his own wonderment, and potential illumination rather than force upon them like Malcolm. When Warner speaks Dennis's words there is the spirit of a man truly of this nature as Warner portrays Dennis wholly at comfort with himself. This is in stark contrast to Malcolm, but also Malcolm's other two friends Wick and Irwin whose connection isn't as fellow amateur philosophers, but rather are there for Malcolm's guidance. Warner's terrific when they enter as he shows very specifically that Dennis is only there for the discussions with his friend, through his reactions where he establishes just how unimpressed he is with Malcolm's followers.

Dennis sticks around for the beginnings of Malcolm's political movement, however the way Warner's maneuvers these scenes are key. Warner takes on an endearing curiosity and even playfulness suggesting Dennis sees it just as a game, and mostly there to just spend time with his friend. Warner keeps the right distance as just a man really playing around, which is in an effective sharp contrast to the bluster of Malcolm, and the blind devotion of Wick and Irwin. The one moment Dennis really does speak up early on is to offer a different more respectful view of women through one of his stories, which Warner again brings a gentle passion that stands against the viciousness of Malcolm's party. Dennis not really being into the phallic party is what leads to Warner's final scene where he is put on trial for his "crimes" by Malcolm and the other two. In this scene Warner once again begins with Dennis not taking too seriously as he protests the claims against him with the concern of playing game, however this changes when Malcolm sentences Dennis to ostracization and "death". Warner in this moment importantly captures the man outside the game in a way by so well expressing his eyes the growing sense in Dennis that there may be something seriously wrong with Malcolm. Warner is rather heartbreaking even in capturing a realization of the severity of the game, and the simple betrayal of friendship Dennis assumed they shared. Warner gives wonderful work here as he is not only one of the watchable aspects of the film, he alleviates some of its problems, and is pivotal in creating a wholly sympathetic, though still atypical, man to provide almost the antidote to the venom of our central character.

34 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: You need to fix the title of the review.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this Dirty Harry scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rcIJIWqYmo

Calvin Law said...

Louis: yeah I've given it a bit of time and actually, I really love The Return's finale. It doesn't give the viewers what they necessarily want but rather does its own thing and creates such a haunting question mark that's so emotionally impactful. I'll say that a fourth season would be lovely, but only if Lynch and Frost are really up for it.

Luke Higham said...

Saw The Snowman, I think Fassbender's in desperate need of a break.

Anonymous said...

Luke: How do you mean?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: He's been working non-stop for 10 plus years and he looked quite flat to me unfortunately.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: And these critical duds he's been in lately doesn't help much either.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Also, the film itself was so boring that I actually began to doze off in the middle of the the third act. And holy shit, I don't know what was going on with Val Kilmer.

94dfk1 said...

Seems like Fassbender might be taking a bit of a break indeed, as his only upcoming project on IMDB is X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Louis: Your thoughts on "The Chinese Restaurant" from Seinfeld? George's "OF COURSE I'M NOT CARTWRIGHT!" might be my favorite moment of his, which is saying something.

Luke Higham said...

And he's getting married too, so he deserves the time off.

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Are there any Documentaries about film making that you've seen on TV or Online that you've really enjoyed. One that I saw recently which I thought was terrific was BBC's A History Of Horror with Mark Gatiss.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, congratulations to him and Alicia.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I suppose Kilmer just wanted to have fun with the role.

Calvin Law said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calvin Law said...

Saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. LOVED IT. Won't say more, best to go in completely fresh and I'll also hold off on a few of the ratings I need to either give some thought to.

McDormand: 5
Rockwell: 5
Jones: 4
Dinklage: 4
Corinish: 3
Weaving: 3.5
Condon: 3
Hedges: 3.5
Peters: 3.5
Ivanek: 3.5
Martin: 3.5

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: Can I ask one thing of course no spoilers, is it actually a whodunnit mystery film of any kind, because obviously with me being very disapointed in The Snowman, I just wondered if it was?

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: Well McDonagh plays with the idea but no it's not a whodunit. That's all I'll say though.

Alex Marqués said...

Can't wait to see that movie.

Henry W said...

Guys, which actors do you find the best at giving a visceral, silent intensity to their work?

Calvin Law said...

Henry W:

For actors working today,

Tom Hardy
Matthias Schoenaerts
Lee Byung-hun
Mark Rylance
Josh Brolin
Don Cheadle

And honestly, when he really wants to, Johnny Depp is really good at doing that.

Off the top of my head.

Alex Marqués said...

"Warner captures that natural friendly frustration when trying to get a point across, something I experienced myself quite recently in a discussion over whether Mother! is a masterpiece or a piece of trash, but I digress"

Great. I still have to see that movie, seems that everyone has a different reaction to it.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Ratings for Paul Muni in Juarez and The Good Earth.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, Muni gets a 3 for Juarez and a 3,5 for The Good Earth.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And Claude Rains in Juarez, The Sea Hawk, Four Daughters and Stolen Holiday.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, Charles Laughton in Salome.

Michael McCarthy said...

1. Richard Harris
2. Ken Takakura
3. David Warner
4. Roberts Blossom
5. Christopher Lee

Luke Higham said...

Michael McCarthy: Your ratings and thoughts on Richard Harris, Ken Takakura Roberts Blossom and Christopher Lee.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Louis: what did you think of the dance scene in the 1953 version of Salome? Because I thought it was absolutely terrible.

RatedRStar said...

Michael McCarthy: So you thought Fallon was the champion =D.

RatedRStar said...

I have given in to temptation because Fallon is such an awesome character.

1. Harris
2. Takakura
3. Warner
4. Blossom
5. Lee

Also I hope The New Mutants turns out to be good, because just like The Snowman I actually have read quite a few of the comics lol so DONT LET ME DOWN.

Luke Higham said...

1. Harris
2. Takakura
3. Warner
4. Blossom
5. Lee

Omar Franini said...

1. Harris
2. Takakura
3. Warner
4. Blossom
5. Lee

Louis: What's your rating and thoughts on Ben Johnson in The Sugarland Express?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

1. Harris
2. Takakura
3. Warner
4. Blossom
5. Lee

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

The scene is one of the better scenes from the later Dirty Harry films, although I will say this really isn't the Harry from the first film, however that's the case for all the sequels. The relationship between Harry and Tyne Daly's Officer Moore, actually made the character seem to have any real relationship or challenge, that isn't some terrible non-Scorpio villain, and makes the decent moments within the film. Here you get a bit of classic, hate the system Harry with Eastwood always good at delivering outrage, though along with Harry always accepting real evidence and Eastwood's reaction is equally good when Moore seems to prove herself somewhat.

94dk1:

It isn't one of my favorite episodes though I do like individual moments particularly that one for both Alexander and James Hong as well. I do appreciate the daring for doing a whole episode in just waiting for the table and they do mostly pull it off. I do think it suffers a bit from early Jerry when he had more than a bit of trouble being himself, and the lack of Kramer, which just seems strange.

Luke:

3.5, 3 3, 3, 3.5

Giuseppe:

It's pretty bad much like the film itself, really I'd say the only thing both the film and the sequence have going for it are Laughton's sleazy glances. The dance, as costumed, as a choreographed, as performed even is severely underwhelming in ever respect.

Omar:

Johnson - 4(He's one of the best parts of the film as he manages to convey quite a lot in his fairly subdued and internalized performance. Johnson brings the right toughness really on the surface in every moment, the right no non-sense delivery fitting to policeman who just wants to get the situation over with in a safe way. He's great though in portraying the concern for the couple less so as a direct sympathy but rather he is affecting by directing as a strict concern for the well being of all including the criminals.)