Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1957: Results

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.

Best Scene: Allison's apology.
Updated Overall

Updated Supporting Overall

Next Year: 1991 Lead


Charles H said...

Louis: Your thoughts and ratings on other lead performances you saw.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on:
Jimmy Stewart in The Spirit of St. Louis
Anthony Perkins in Fear Strikes Out and The Tin Star
Henry Fonda in The Tin Star
Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens in The Enemy Below
Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the OK Corral
Gregory Peck in Designing Woman
Richard Widmark in Time Limit

Robert MacFarlane said...

Even though Benson is my Win for 1991, I don’t mind waiting for a review if you plan on doing something specifically for voice performances (which I believe you said you’d do). I should note: I was wrong that his wasn’t deepened for the role. It was, just not by much. Listen to him doing the voice in a 1991 interview: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=__j9okmK9a4&t=168s . As it turns out, they never deepened his voice again for he role in any reprisals for the direct to video sequels or the Kingdom Hearts games, and you can barely tell any difference.

As for any other performances, Wesley Snipes in New Jack City would be a fun one to review. The film is dated as hell and has an ending worthy of the Hayes Code, but it’s at the very least an interesting turn.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Present film roles you think Jack Lemmon would be great in?

Luke Higham said...

I'm fine with 1991.

Louis: Your Female Top 15s with ratings and thoughts on Ryu in Tokyo Twilight.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your winners for 1957.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you watch The Best Intentions (Bille August/Ingmar Bergman) mini-series that was broadcasted in December 1991. The film version won the Palme D'or in 1992 as well as Best Actress for Pernilla August.

Michael McCarthy said...

Alan Rickman-Close My Eyes
Kenneth Branagh-Dead Again
Joe Mantegna-Homicide
Christopher Eccleston-Let Him Have It
River Phoenix-Dogfight

Others I'm interested in:
Denzel Washington-Ricochet
Michael J. Fox & James Woods-The Hard Way

Luke Higham said...

Rickman - Truly, Madly, Deeply (Looking forward to his review though more so for Prince Of Thieves)
Kenneth Branagh- Dead Again
Joe Mantegna - Homicide
Christopher Eccleston - Let Him Have It (His best work and Courtenay's quite devastating as Bentley's father)
River Phoenix - Dogfight

I thought Weaving was better in The Interview (1998) and Irons will probably get a 4 again.

RatedRStar said...

Alan Rickman - Truly, Madly Deeply
Kenneth Branagh - Dead Again
Joe Mantegna - Homicide
William Hurt - The Doctor
James Woods and Michael J.Fox - The Hard Way

The Giant Claw haha Louis =D, I remember when Cinemassacre listed it as the best monster ever lol.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: Well done for doing the extra films for 1957, 1957 was probably the main year that needed them since there weren't many in the original list.

Could I have your very very very quick (3 OR 4 words or so lol) thoughts on these films:
Tin Star
The Enemy Below
Fear Strikes Out
White Nights
The Sprit of St. Louis
Black River
Edge of the City
An Affair to Remember
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Night of the Demon
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Time Without Pity

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts and rating on Carolyn Jones in The Bachelor Party?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Have you given your list of past film roles for Ben Foster? If not, what are the roles?

Anonymous said...

For 1991 lead:
Alan Rickman - Truly, Madly Deeply
Joe Mantegna - Homicide
Robert Duvall - Rambling Rose
Kenneth Branagh - Dead Again
James Woods and Michael J.Fox - The Hard Way
William Hurt - The Doctor
Christopher Eccleston - Let Him Have It
River Phoenix - Dogfight
Denzel Washington - Ricochet or Mississipi Mesala
Richard Dreyfuss - Once Around

GM said...

Denis Lavant, The Lovers on the Bridge
Jacques Dutronc, Van Gogh
Elias Koteas, The Adjuster
Joe Mantegna, Homicide
Jeremy Irons, Kafka
Wesley Snipes, New Jack City
Silu Seppälä, Zombie and the Ghost Train

Michael McCarthy said...

Oh snap, didn't realize Truly, Madly, Deeply was technically 1991. That could potentially be a great double-review.

Luke Higham said...

Michael: Are there any potential contenders for the lineup that could get a five.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your 10 favorite films set in the 50s and 60s (made after the decade occurred)?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your 10 favorite small towns in movies or TV?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Rating/Thoughts on Karl Malden in Fear Strikes Out.

Charles H said...

Jacques Dutronc, Van Gogh
Jeremy Irons, Kafka
River Phoenix - Dogfight
Both Rickman performances
James Woods and Michael J.Fox - The Hard Way

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke: HAven't seen them yet, but they all seem very promising to me.

Anonymous said...

Rickman - Truly, Madly, Deeply & Close My Eyes
Eccleston - Let Him Have It
Branagh - Dead Again
Mantegna - Homicide
Fox & Woods - The Hard Way

Luke Higham said...

My Supporting suggestions are:
Alan Rickman - Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
Tom Courtenay - Let Him Have It
Derek Jacobi - Dead Again
William H. Macy - Homicide
Joe Pesci - JFK.

Omar Franini said...

Louis: your thoughts on Nights of Cabiria and the cast? Also your ratings and thoughts on Maria Schell in White Nights, Debora Kerr in An Affair to Remember, Nargis in Mother India, Marylin Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl and the cast of Les Girls.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on Tatiana Samoilova in The Cranes Are Flying and the Ladies in Tokyo Twilight.

Luke Higham said...

And Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.

RatedRStar said...

Louis was probably prepared for these questions lol haha =D.

Luke: I actually dont think any of the 1991 lineup will get a 5, lots of 4.5s I reckon.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: That's why I asked Michael because I too see it as a five-less year for Leading Actor (Bonus Round or Upgrade, a first so far). I don't see Mortensen going up, he's more likely to go up for Eastern Promises and I hope we'll get a surprise from somewhere.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I hope Eccleston does well though.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous and anyone else: Please don't compile a list of films to watch until the lineup is posted.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I was hoping for 1999 but it appears Louis is going by the order of Lead lineups from the alternates. 99 Supporting came before 1991 Lead but 1999 Lead came after 91 and 94.

RatedRStar said...

Just watched some clips of James Stewart in Sprit of St.Louis, he actually looks surprisingly young.

John Smith said...


I win.

My request is Nawazuddin Siddiqui, In 'Lunchbox'

Great feeling to see that I won a prediction after a long day on the job.

Charles H said...

Louis: Your top ten acting moments for Song Kang Ho and Tony Leung

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on The Predator teaser trailer.

Anonymous said...

Louis: I'm curious, what do you think a director needs to be consistent? And by consistent, I mean, being able to consistenly churn out great movies.

Mitchell Murray said...

Anonymous: I would think that the trademarks of a consistent director would be a complete understanding of their craft and the story they want to tell, and the creative control to see them through. For instance, I think Martin McDonagh has made three very strong films because strictly speaking, he knew what he wanted to write and for who.

Louis: Any recent viewings?

Louis Morgan said...


Mastroanni - 4.5(It is very much the type of role he thrives with in a way, the romantic of any type, however this is one of the best examples of this that I've seen from him. since it is rather different in a pivotal way. It is an interesting, really in some ways against what became his more obvious type, which was as the Lothario. Mastroanni here is far more the desperate type of romantic which he actually quite excels with. Mastroanni has that charm to be sure as usually is the case however he effectively undercuts it though by making it far more this mask this definite uncertainty within the attempted confidence. His chemistry with Maria Schell is great though in that he creates that overt warmth towards her and a genuine affection within that, but also shows this always going hand and hand with a far more potent desire in terms of receiving a return of that from her. Mastroanni is terrific in creating not quite an obsession but close to it in in conveying this narrowing perspective as though the somewhat flighty woman is his only path to happiness. In turn Mastroanni effective in realizing this growing unease as attached to this specific relationship that becomes this mess of both this pain and joy. This leads to a particularly moving portrayal of the whiplash of those very emotions in the ending where the man both has his moment of bliss, then of his most extreme heartbreak, which is one of Mastroanni's best acted moments period where he depicts so well by making such quiet yet powerful reaction of devastation.)

Perkins - 4.5(Fear Strikes Out)(Watching this film it made me actually ponder that perhaps Psycho wasn't really that much of a truly against type performance since he does explore somewhat similar ideas with his work here, even though with a far more sympathetic and a far less sinister bent. Perkins though is great in this role, even though he is not the most believable baseball player when he actually does perform, he is incredibly believable in creating the state of the mental illness. Perkins is great once again in portraying the mental illness here by making it something that is just below the skin as this growing trauma. Perkins is great in slowly developing this as a facet of the character as his mental decay just slowly and gradually grows outwardly as this intense aggression that builds towards a full blown insanity. Perkins properly builds to the point of wholly earning his breakdown and creates a rather heartbreaking portrayal of it because he so effectively realizes the man as a person before showing him a she is fully broken by his psychological demons.)

Louis Morgan said...

Stewart - 4.5(Well it is essentially a Stewart one man show, which is a good thing. The film has other characters, but it is a rather remarkable biopic from the period in that it narrows in to just one facet of Lindberg's life, telling specifically his ride over the Atlantic in detail with Stewart as the sole anchor for every step of it, particularly the journey itself. This is just primo Stewart a whole lot of the time in portraying a rather earnest depiction of Lindberg for the film. That really isn't the focus and this is not a standard biopic turn from the time. It is far more dependent on being more of this narrowing in on Stewart's ability essentially to be compelling with the potential minutia of preparing for the flight and then the flight itself. Stewart carries the film through every step through his charm as always but so well capturing every facet of the plan. That is in finding that unassuming yet potent ambition of the man as he prepares, but also the certain bits of doubts right within his physical portrayal of insomnia. The flight itself is the highlight of his work though as Stewart is able to keep just a man in a cockpit compelling by revealing the journey through his performance both in terms of the determination, but also the wear that almost forms a light madness as Stewart manages to make a random fly a character of sorts just through his interactions with it. His work isn't as Lindberg so much but just a striking one man show as any pilot taking this dramatic flight.)

Fonda - 4.5(Fonda filling in for Stewart in a way by playing the hard bitten Mann western lead, and this actually ended being one of my favorite Mann westerns in general. This honestly was one of my favorite Fonda turns in general as well as like his later work with Leone he thrives with a somewhat darker role. His old gunfighter is far cry from Frank to be sure, but Fonda effectively brings more of an alluded darkness to a much harsher life at one time. He's great in creating this chemistry with Perkins as the mentor to him. Fonda is particularly though in creating this harder edge to the teacher and delivery every one of his lessons as these hard truths that he is more of trying to inflict on the man then pleasantly administer them. Fonda in every one of those interactions is great, but he's also good in his own side plot in slowly easing up on the man's sharper edges in a naturalistic and believable fashion.)

Perkins (Tin Star)- 4(Well from the outset it becomes easy enough to believe Perkins as this hapless young Sheriff who barely can command anyone. He manages to make this rather endearing though without being too over the top in the character's inability to fulfill his profession. What is more remarkable though is that he manages to actually create a believable transition. In that he slowly brings the proper confidence and even aggression gradually through every scene in which Fonda's seasoned gunfighter teaches him a lesson. Once again their chemistry is terrific as they create a particularly engaging pairing, and one that ends creating a convincing change through Perkins's depiction of the Sheriff taking hold of his position.)

Louis Morgan said...

Chaplin - 4(The film is perhaps a bit too much of a scattershot approach as he kind of tries to cover all of his personal crusades at the time, while also still fulfilling some classical tramp humor all the same. I will give it to Chaplin for going for it and certainly not fully falling on his face. Although Chaplin has perhaps less physical energy here given his age he still is very much the engaging performer and manages to find some real physical humor in sort of a more gradual fashion. In addition he does manage to deliver beyond those moments to give a dryly comic yet semi-emotional portrayal of the king's exasperation with the values around him. Chaplin balances these well in reactions just of rather hilarious disbelief or disgust, or more moving moments of realizing the severity of the situations that are the result of other values.)

Nakadai - 4(Nakadai honestly, despite being lead, though just barely, has a pretty limited role as his gangster role is a pretty one note sleazebag as written. Nakadai does his best though to make the most of it in being such a good sleaze bag. He doesn't quite find too much depth, there is a purposeful lack of it for the character, but he's quite good in at least being more than one note in this sleaziness. He does the sleazy well though by bringing more than one type of it essentially in portraying moments of an attempted charm, though he purposefully makes as faulty as the rest of him, along with those moments of just being an overt creep defined by his personal lusts. It isn't Nakadai's most complex written role, but he still does well with it.)

Poitier - 4(This is very much one of Poitier's "Great guy" roles which means he relies heavily on his considerable charm and charisma which is more than enough to be honest. He just makes for a likable guy but does so in a way that makes the character's general attitude honest. He brings such a sincerity to every moment with Cassavettes that elevates him beyond just some random convenient idea. He aids this by having a few moments where he finds just a minor touch of pathos within his work that subtly indicates the character's honest desire for friendship, such as his initial "I don't want anything from you man". Poitier delivers that moments so well, not as this desperate plea, but rather as just a guy trying to genuinely portray a man just purely searching for a friend.)

Cassavettes - 4(Cassavettes's performance has a bit of his awkwardness on screen, but only just a bit. This is actually easily the best I've seen from him so far as an onscreen performer. This in some way sort of a Terry Malloy light in that he's not really struggling with as much of defeated attitude only part of one. Cassavettes is good though in creating the sense of the character's troubled history, but actually without dwelling on it as this constant. He in a way actually makes use of his lacking charisma in a way to create the idea of the man's struggle just to kind of work his way back into society in an honest way. His best moments are really the more casual ones with Poitier where they honestly create a real endearing friendship between the two of them. His weakest moments are near the end, though he's no way bad, however he falls into just a bit melodrama at times in the final fight. That is unfortunate as his other big dramatic moment, where he finally speaks to his parents, he shows quite a bit of restraint and is actually rather moving by doing so.)

Louis Morgan said...

Jurgens - 4(Jurgens is actually rather good here in creating the exasperated German captain who is ingenious but also lacking in a pure motivation for his cause. Jurgens create a believable balance between the two though in creating this sense of a certain thrill with battle but also in his reactions this direct concern for the men around him. This is underlined though with just that tired attitude towards the war that Jurgens makes rather palatable in revealing his submarine Captain as a man whose been at war for far too long, with a cause he doesn't believe in.)

Redgrave - 4(The film itself lacks the needed tension and paranoia for its story, of the father doing whatever it takes to save his distant son, however where the film lacks Redgrave does his best to fulfill. Although the film itself is more ponderous than frantic Redgrave is very good in terms of navigating the narrative in creating this sense of increasing distress even within his properly refined manner. Redgrave doesn't ever wholly breakdown, however he manages to still convey the same idea internalized within his work as every person he goes to he creates this every growing sense of a real heartbreak towards the fate of his son. Although his work is a little wasted on this underwhelming film, it remains compelling at least in itself.)

Grant - 4(The film itself doesn't really have much of a point as remakes go other than to have a more charming male lead than Charles Boyer, which is the one quantity it succeeds with having something different. Grant is the number one man for the job I suppose if that is the one thing needed, and Grant is charming as one will always expect him to be. He of course works at the romantic lead, if somewhat shackled by it being a romantic drama more than a romantic comedy, but Grant still does well. He also has, as really to be expected with Grant and any co-star, has winning chemistry with Deborah Kerr who also makes for a worthy successor to Irene Dunne. I think they could have saved time though and just re-teamed Dunne and Grant back in 39 for the best version of the story.)

Olivier - 4(Olivier manages to have a bit of fun here in playing a bit of eccentricity in playing the "generalized" foreigner however he does not go too far with the role given the story does try to be a bit more substantial than a pure farce. It doesn't quite go far enough in that regard however Olivier does excel within the more dramatic moments that are granted which he realizes well as this quiet subtler frustrations within the more overall regal presentation of the character.)

Louis Morgan said...

Mitchum - 4(Rock solid work from him as to be expected as Mitchum as a ship captain. He goes further with the role actually though by portraying this underlying desperation and distance from his crew that effectively humanizes his character. It is particularly notable though in how it makes such a fascinating dynamic with his German counterpart throughout as both actors figure out the mutual respect angle believably by showing two complicated men coming together in this battle.)

Peck - 4(From what I can tell in general Peck seems to do well when working with the romantic comedy genre. This example is no different as he strikes up an endearing chemistry with Bacall, but more than anything does well within the more absurdist comedic situations they get into. Peck for some reason is particularly endearing in this way perhaps because we get to see him breakdown usually rather prim and proper presence which is rather entertaining to watch.)

Clift - 3.5(Clift is more than fine in just giving a charismatic straight forward hero turn here, and a middle ground for Clift given he had his accident during the filming. Clift though manages to do well enough as really a low rent Rhett Butler in many was as the film itself is a expensive, yet certainly a poor man's Gone With The Wind. He still carries it best he can, but the role just doesn't ask too much of him.)

Watanabe - 3.5(As the "good guy" he more than decent in making this state of the man honest, and is effective in terms of creating the contrast with Nakadai. He still though is very much overshadowed by Nakadai, and I think more so than was necessary for the role. Watanabe though certain delivers but I actually think his best moments are reacting to his fellow poor denizens of a slummy apartment, than in his moments of dealing with the central love triangle.)

Lancaster and Douglas - 3.5(Not the most compelling depiction of the Wyatt Earp story. Lancaster and Douglas are both decent in the roles but in mostly more standard Lancaster and Douglas ways. They don't really make either notable role truly their own they just both are good in those roles. They just a more standard for both, but good examples of standard. Lancaster though is not the definite Earp nor is Douglas the definite Doc Holliday. Both are good though, but just as more typical western heroes.)

Widmark - 3.5(Widmark does his best to make the most of his material. He brings a real gravity to every scene and frankly gives more of a dramatic power to the proceedings than what we see from the actors with the more incendiary material. Widmark though never falls into overacting as they sometimes do, and just acts as this consistent stake in the middle of the film where he does his best to carry it through its overly preachy rough patches.)

Louis Morgan said...

Williams - 3.5(Williams isn't always the most charismatic leading man, however he does manage to take the role further than one might expect. He's actually rather effective in terms of humanizing the journey and not just leaving it all to the special effects. In turn Williams gives a pretty good survivalist turn as he portrays both the actual mental decay and fear that comes from the shrinking, but also convincingly portrays the growth in strength once his life becomes on the line.)

Murray - 3.5(Easily the better of his two performances from 1957. Murray does a bit of his over the top acting at points, however overall he actually is pretty good in the role in helping to create sort of the casual dramatic atmosphere the film strives for. The film isn't as successful as say Marty in this regard, and Murray is nowhere as good as Borgnine was, but he still has effectively moments in his portrayal of the man dealing with really his fall out adolescence crisis.)

Andrews - 3(Andrews is perfect fine here, but just perfect fine. He carries the film as he needs to as the determined skeptic, but the role doesn't challenge him too much. Andrews is usually best when he is challenged, since he usually matches it, but this is a standard role in turn Andrews gives a pretty standard performance from him.)

Astaire - 3(Hepburn really strikes up chemistry with just about any of her co-stars, Cooper from this year is a rare exception, and Astaire is no different. That takes them about so far really as the two are engaging on screen and those are the moments where Astaire's own work most comes to life. The rest of the time though his performance is less engaging, though not bad. Astaire though at times seems a little out of his element for playing the daring photographer type.)

Kelly - 3(I rather enjoyed Kelly's usual musical presence here because he alternated it to bring a bit more of a comic sleaze within it at times. That approach actually makes him more entertaining to me than I usually found him to be. The film I suppose also only uses him sparingly as he's barely a lead since the film focuses mostly on the ladies.)

Morrow - 1.5(Morrow actually isn't nearly as horrendous as the bird he is trying to kill, however he's just sort of bland and forgettable instead.)

Louis Morgan said...


1. The two moles meet - Infernal Affairs
2. Killing the old gangster - Hardboiled
3. Falling death - Infernal Affairs
4. Going home - Happy Together
5. The Prisoner - Longest Nite
6. Fight - Happy Together
7. Last meeting - In the Mood For Love
8. Meeting his contact - Infernal Affairs
9. Meeting tequila - Hardboiled
10. Fight against Gong - The Grandmaster


1. Memories - Memories of Murder
2. A different kind of song - A Taxi Driver
3. Ending - Age of Shadows
4. Tripping - The Good the Bad The Weird
5. The massacre - A Taxi Driver
6. The Bar - Age of Shadows
7. The Tunnel - Memories of Murder
8. Returning home - A Taxi Driver
9. The duel - The Good the Bad The Weird
10. Opening - Age of Shadows


Simon (The Gift)
Jordan Belfort



1. Deborah Kerr - Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
2. Giulietta Masina - Nights of Cabiria
3. Joanne Woodward - Three Faces of Eve
4. Setsuko Hara - Tokyo Twlight
5. Ineko Arima - Tokyo Twilight
6. Maria Schell - White Nights
7. Nargis - Mother India
8. Anna Magnani - Wild is the Wind
9. Patricia Neal - A Face in the Crowd
10. Tatiana Samoilova - The Cranes Are Flying
11. Marlene Dietrich - Witness For the Prosecution
12. Marilyn Monroe - The Prince and the Showgirl
13. Kay Kendall - Les Girls
14. Deborah Kerr - An Affair to Remember
15. Audrey Hepburn - Funny Face


1. Isuzu Yamada - Throne of Blood
2. Isuzu Yamada - Tokyo Twilight
3. Ingrid Thulin - Wild Strawberries
4. Isuzu Yamada - The Lower Depths
5. Carolyn Jones - Bachelor Party
6. Hope Lange - Peyton Place
7. Isuzu Yamada - Black River
8. Bibi Andersson - Wild Strawberries
9. Elsa Lanchester - Witness for the Prosecution
10. Maxine Audley - A King in New York - 3.5
11. Franca Marzi - Nights of Cabiria - 3.5
12. Kay Thompson - Funny Face - 3.5
13. Christiane Kubrick - Paths of Glory
14. Susan Harrison - Sweet Smell of Success
15. Lee Remick - A Face in the Crowd

I'll try to do so.

Ryu - 4(Ryu probably is the least important character in the film, despite being the patriarch of the family as the film follows much closer to the three women of the group. Ryu though still is quite effective in the role as essentially this steadfast core of decency and calm. Ryu's very good as he realizes this in a believable way by not focusing on sanctimony but rather delivery so honestly his clam words of wisdom. Ryu shows a man tempered by years who just try to persuade through come reason rather than enforce anything on his daughters. It's moving work even though he is rarely the focus of the main story.)

Malden - 4(Malden gives a good performance as the tyrannical father as he manages to believable make him an accidental tyrant. Malden portrays every moment of pushing his son, and pushing him too far, without a hint of masochism within it. He makes every moment rather fierce, but always underlies it with this palatable earnest passion of a man who wants his son to succeed even if it kills him. Malden creates the right naivety within the reactions of seeing his son's breakdown as he shows the lacking of understanding coming from this fervent belief towards success that he presents as pure even if it is also problematic. Malden even makes the pseudo turn around work by so calmly realizing through just a moment of interaction of Perkins that reveals finally a clear empathy that is no longer eroded by his passions.)

Louis Morgan said...

Samoilava - 4.5(Her performance is a dynamic and powerful piece of work as he she portrays naturally this really unraveling of the more traditional female role of a typical war epic. In that she begins seemingly as the supportive love interest, but slowly breaks that down through her own portrayal of this specific agency within the role. Samoilava is incredibly effective in this in that even though as the film shows this leads towards difficulty for her, Samoilava reveals a real power in every moment of this both when she is taking hold of herself, but also even as she suffers from certain judgment of the society around her.)

Arima - 5(As sort of the more troubled daughter Arima is incredibly good in creating this very specific state of discontentment within her work. In that she is not explosively broken through her relationship with her mother, but rather realizes this quiet unease of the state. Her interactions with Yamada are particularly fascinating as she creates something far more complex than a simple desire for affection. Arima's moments of interactions realizes so much more as she portrays this since of trying to understand through her while indeed looking for affection, but also seeming to suffer from her own loathing in these interactions. This is contrast to her scenes with Ryu where she portrays more of a insolent sort of distance from her father, even though these interactions are clearly far more straight forward even in her rebellion. Also notable are her moments with Hara were we gain insight within her perspective towards her sister which both performers find an understanding of a history together, but also this powerful low key conflict as again Arima creates this intensity within this desire for some rebellion, though purposefully without the insight to fully why she needs to do this.)

Hara - 5(Well watching another one of her performances she seems up there with an Ullmann and Spacek in terms of the sheer honesty of every moment of her work. There is not a single moment where one sees her "performing" for even a moment as she so fully embodies her character. What is so fascinating in this though is how she manages to create such a powerful journey for her character as well that leaves the most lasting impression despite her being the least incendiary transformation. Hara makes her character properly modest, but never simple. In that she creates clearly a general sound mind, and a warmth in her interactions with her father. She shows though so much nuance within her interactions with her sister and eventually Yamada. She is brilliant in these scenes because she realizes her intense action of either trying to understand her sister, or even technically lashing out at mother in such authentic way. In that she never breaks the naturally modest character, but instead reveals this emotions so powerfully still within this nature. It is remarkable as her performance bring such an emotional weight towards the ending as she takes her own action, as Hara never breaks out in some great emotion, yet still conveys every moment of it so gently through her resilient face, her calm yet potent deliveries.)

Louis Morgan said...

Yamada - 5(Yamada had quite the year in 57 in that she had not one, not two but four rather memorable turns. This is a far cry from her far more stylized and chilling turn in Throne of Blood, though also as a woman who has caused much suffering though in a very different way. Yamada is brilliant though in realizing the deadbeat mother through the interactions with both of her daughters in their scenes together. In that she puts up an honest portrayal of a real cheerfulness towards as someone who genuinely wants to go them. There is this certain stunted element in there as Yamada believable portrays this certain attitude of not really adhering to the past of abandoning them, but not forgetting it in her work. She is convincing in instead projecting really the very same attitude that made her originally abandon them which is this naive misunderstanding of the needs of others. She manages to make this such an earnest depiction that she ends up making the character oddly sympathetic despite being clearly problematic in a whole lot of ways. Yamada though creates this complexity of the character's state so honestly though and pulls of such a surprisingly moving portrayal of this person who simply never was prepared for parenthood, even after the point of direct responsibility. She creates an understanding of this state which is rather remarkable. )

Hepburn - 4(A proper charming assault by Hepburn who does everything within her great charm to make it all work even with a co-star that is a bit miscast. Hepburn though shines in every scene, and even though she's not the best singer the purity of her singing within the character more than makes up for it. She manages to carry the film, and even in some ways her co-star, through just the sheer charm she brings to every single sequence in the film. A film that honestly doesn't add up to all that much, though it does have some great cinematography, but Hepburn's spirited turn makes it rather pleasant experience nonetheless.)

Can't say I was overly impressed by the Predator teaser, even the Shane Black stylized line didn't really quite work, at least not in the overall tone of the trailer of the predator material, which looked a touch generic. Hopefully the tone is a little more engaging in the actual film.

Louis Morgan said...


Tin Star - (Terrific Mann western)
The Enemy Below - (More than decent, "two captains" war picture)
Fear Strikes Out - (Notable early mental illness film, bolstered well by the performances/direction)
White Nights - (Remarkable adaptation in its own right of the same source as Two Lovers.)
The Spirit of St. Louis - (Rather interesting atypical biopic for the period.)
Black River - (Weakest Kobayshi's I've seen, the love triangle isn't great, but the overall realization of the world is.)
Edge of the City - (Weaker ending, but rather moving depiction of friendship.)
An Affair to Remember - (Pointless, but decent leads.)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - (Okay western, but not overly distinctive as Corral films go.)
Night of the Demon - (Fun horror picture, particularly the demon effect.)
The Incredible Shrinking Man - (A lot of entertaining effects/set pieces, with a bit more emotional depth than I expected.)
Time Without Pity - (Promising start, but falls into preachy melodrama.)


Jones - 4.5(A fascinating two scene wonder. Jones manages to accomplish so much in so little time, and this is an example of an actor really stealing a film with very little at her disposal. Her initial scene is just a bit of good old incisiveness but manages to even make it a touch humorous as well. Jones though truly delivers her knockout in her other scene where she so brilliantly unravels this woman to reveal all her vulnerabilities, and insecurities in such a single bit of exceptional acting.)


Back to the Future
L.A. Confidential
Boogie Nights
In the Name of the Father
Inherent Vice
Casualties of War


I'll give you a top five.

Bedford Falls
Twin Peaks
Springfield (Although it often appears to be a city)

Louis Morgan said...


Nights of Cabiria I rather loved, I guess I prefer non-meta Fellini. It creates just such a moving, yet darkly funny, and always very vivid portrait not only of this desperate prostitute but also the world she lives in.

Masina - 5(This performance I think is particularly interesting when comparing it to her purposefully naive work in La Strada. This is an extreme against that type by taking such an overtly pure character to such an earthy one, though they do both share that certain spark in their core in terms of their desire for something more. Masina though is great as this far more brazen sort though she uses this as a surface. A surface she develops rather well as seemingly as though she doesn't suffer fools, though that is in reality all she suffers. In this she is very lively and quite entertaining. Underneath that though she realizes such a palatable and searing desperation that defines the moment. She realizes this so well though as moments of overt exasperation and heartbreak, such as in the opening and ending, but just even those more humorous moments. She brings a certain edge to them that reveals always this very real pain even when it appears as though she is fine for the moment. It is of this overall captivating portrait she portrays of this woman so desperately trying to find happiness, which she manages to make endearing but in turn all the more heartbreaking. Her final moments of reaction is particularly remarkable in that regard creating such bittersweet end to the character.)

Schell - 4.5(Schell is great here as she manages to create such a convincing realization of this woman that makes both her own obsession, and Mastroianni's character's obsessions believable, as they unfortunately obsesses in the wrong directions. Schell though manages to create a real allure towards her character even in moments of actually being rather cruel to him, or revealing her own obvious wounds in her person. Schell finds this inherent low key charm in her work. She has this vibrancy within her that is remarkable even as in some ways she reveals the same type of obsession in her work. An obsession that she reveals so powerfully as this own moments of such a potent need for some sort of completion, which is particularly important given that she makes you believe her obsession with Jean Marias's character even as Marias gives a rather bland and forgettable turn. Schell and Mastroianni though together are were the film most sings though because of how good both are in realizing this strange wavelength. In that they find this sense of comfort and warmth between the two, but find it in this sort of broken way as Schell shows her always looking past him, while he can see nothing but her.)

Louis Morgan said...

Kerr - 4(As with Grant she certainly delivers on her end in giving an appropriately charming turn, and she strikes up the right chemistry with him as to be expected. In turn even as the film doesn't develop into anything notable as a remake their chemistry manages to carry the film enough through it as it takes itself into its overtly dramatic element. In there Kerr gives honest and moving work that manages to carry the film through even as it seems to have little point.)

Nargis - 4.5(Although the film is perhaps a bit bloated, I don't think I will come to love the Bollywood musical interludes, having said that Nargis really does give a powerful performance here. Her work carries the epic throughout as she gives a convincing portrayal of aging, and life of this mother in general though in a very specific way. In each phase she conveys the physical age of her so well but also every state of her life. In that she captures the naivety of her youth with her husband and their romance, but then carries this to a natural maturity as she grows as a mother. What I really love about her work though is the growing strength of the character. Nargis even as she so effectively reveals a growing fragility physically she is so good in depicting this emotional resilience within even her greatest heartbreak. She creates such a vivid portrait of every stage of the woman's life that delivers a real power that grants the film overall its needed dramatic weight.)

Monroe - 4(Monroe is rather charming to be expected, and her comedic timing her is actually quite on point throughout. She manages to make her titular showgirl rather endearing while realizing this certain force about her presence beyond that even. She sort of weaponizes her cheerful enthusiasm that is interesting as she manages to transition within the film's semi-dramatic ideas. Although I wish the film went further with this idea, Monroe does manage to deliver in creating this certain power within the character that becomes convincing as she creates her influence even beyond her palatable allure towards the titular king and those around him.)

Gaynor & Elg - 3(They both bring a certain charm to their roles and deliver in the musical numbers to be sure. They don't leave that much of an impression though or at the vest least are very much overshadowed by....)

Louis Morgan said...

Kendall - 4(She very much steals every scene she is in and the film entire. She is just an absolute delight every moment she is onscreen and brings the comedy out of the film so naturally. Every moment she is onscreen the film just really comes to life all the more bringing the most out of the romantic comedy musical she can. She finds this particularly wonderful balance as she manages to bring this certain silliness even while being convincing in bringing the more expected and incisive demure qualities of the character. Her timing just is simply impeccable and I must say I actually wish she had been the sole lead. Although the film doesn't completely falter when she is not around it is a whole lot less entertaining than when she is on screen.)


There is no clear formula just as there is no magic formula to guarantee that a film is good. Most directors have made at least one bad film, even in the case of someone like Paul Thomas Anderson (who in my view has never made anything close to a bad film) he has ostracized some with his latest films to the point there are those who view say Inherent Vice as a bad film though. Nonetheless I think PTA's success, in my view, still can give some insight in terms of at least some elements that are common with a consistent director. They are usually an auteur, in a way this guarantees a certain level of quality insurance especially if they are writer/directors. It seems to help when every film has a distinct vision, and distinct purpose for the director. They are not overly prolific. The fewer times at bat the fewer misses, but it also suggests that if a filmmaker takes the time, they'll likely make a better film. Perhaps most importantly they have some way of being independent as a director. This doesn't mean avoiding collaboration, but rather they find some way to avoid the negative type of interference. There are multiple ways filmmakers accomplish this, but when they're allowed to make their film it seems to help. After all one can point to specific films where a filmmaker's vision was screwed over by studio interference. There are exceptions to all these rules though as there can be a dark side in a way to each, and there is just no way to guarantee a filmmaker will never have just one bad idea, or perhaps need someone to interfere.