5. Ben Gazzara in The Strange One - I decided against granting this performance a full review as there is just not much to it. In one part it is a shaky film debut by Gazzara, something he thankfully shook off rather quickly in just a few years, that I would probably ascribe to weak direction. His performance though makes little use of really the cinematic perspective only garnering actions or reactions when absolutely needed for the character. His performance is oddly indifferent for what is as described to be by the other characters this near dictatorial character. There is no sense of charismatic persuasion, nor even a weasel trick in his work. He's mostly just there with the same dour expression until the very end where he gives a fairly standard melodramatic breakdown. This is part the fault of perhaps the adaptation which leaves too much merely stated about the character as the film fails to create a real sense of the cadet's toxic influence within the barracks. Gazzara though doesn't create this in the few instances he has a chance with either, and this is rather underwhelming work from an actor who thankfully quickly improved after this film.
Best Scene: The opening....I guess.
4. Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge - Despite some initial concerns, Steiger gives a rather effective depiction of a cold amorality, that slowly segues to a pained desperation as he naturally discovers the character's morality.
Best Scene: The dog across the bridge.
3. James Cagney - Man of the Thousand Faces - Cagney proves himself once again to be one of the very best actors of his period giving a moving, and more emotionally complex than you might except given the period, portrayal of Lon Chaney's personal struggles, but also a rather remarkable recreations of the man's legendary work that made him an early screen legend.
Best Scene: The handicapped man.
2. Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries - Sjöström's performance suggests an understanding of the film's nature giving a moving despite being a largely reactionary turn that grants an even greater power to the imagery and themes presented by the film's notable direction.
Best Scene: The dream of failure.
1. Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - Good prediction John Smith.Robert Mitchum gives one of his most charming performances that makes for a truly endearing action hero of sorts, but he goes even further in his rather effective realization of the changes of his character through his particularly potent and complex chemistry with his co-star.