Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1938: Jean Gabin in Port of Shadows

Jean Gabin did not receive an Oscar nomination portraying Jean in Port of Shadows.

Port of Shadows is a rather effective early film noir following an army deserter who naturally finds himself in a world of deceit in a port city.

Well if one is speaking of actors with the most range of the period, one must speak the name of Jean Gabin within that context as well if one is speaking of early sound cinema. Gabin though is that notable, and always potent combination of the considerable actor, but also a proper star. The idea of his range is particularly well supported by his work in 1938 with this film and The Human Beast which share the similarity of a man being caught within a bad situation somewhat out of his control, yet very different within the characters in how that comes about. What is a most remarkable talent with a performer though also is even working within similarities there are key differences within the performances. Gabin is an actor with that talent here in that on the surface there are similarities, however the performances are properly dissimilar. This is seen from the outset as Gabin delivers a man of a wholly different burden in the opening scene. This is fascinating though just to watch Gabin play such subtle yet important differences, as his Jean hitches a ride with a truck driver. Gabin is burdened by a somber expression, however it is one that seems less to pertain to the man as his very being, but rather just the current state of his existence.

Gabin finds this balance within only his expression even of this sadness that essentially doesn't run too deep, as he reveals no pain within the man in terms of a truly burdened mental distress rather alluding to a more recent difficulty of his life. There is more within this though as Gabin delivers this natural soulfulness within his performance here that creates not only an inherent sympathy towards Jean as a character, but also so well alludes to the nature of the man even within his distressed state. This is as Gabin, even in this overarching somber state, doesn't portray even a hint of bitterness or hatred within his gaze. He presents a man well aware of his troubles, yet also not a man who seems to blame others for them. This is even further realized as Jean stops the truck driver, he's hitched a ride with, from hitting a stray dog, which leads the two to nearly come to blows. Now in the moment of the action, I love the unassuming morality that Gabin expresses, as the action is just of a man who simply has this need to do the right thing. When explaining his action Gabin delivers such an earnest conviction, yet so modestly within his delivery as again a man who just simply has to do that righteous act, yet in no way intends to boast of it.

That action though does lead to a near fight that Jean diffuses quickly in what is just a brilliant moment for Gabin, and the sheer unique magnetism he has in the role. Gabin again is very calm, very internalized in style as he plays it as Jean so calmly explaining that there is no reason to fight, while also asking for cigarette. Gabin is wholly convincing in this moment by bringing such an earnest goodness that he makes exude from the character through his meek expression, but also his wholly genuine while also unpretentious manner of speaking. Gabin uses this brief interaction to so successfully establish the nature of the man, that establishes Jean as such a congenial protagonist even within his current state. Jean moves on to become involved in a bit of the shadowy underground of the city merely by seeking refuge in the wrong place at a dive bar. Gabin in these moments is particularly interesting as this reactionary protagonist within the story, as he largely observes the others within the seedy world, however is never truly inactive. Gabin rather presents a man who essentially has come to be drawn within himself, which we see early as he expresses his hunger, while also noting his pride from having to do so earlier. Gabin in the moment presents so effectively this man who is burdened by his current situation, however most directly by his initial unwillingness to take the simple ways out of it.

Gabin realizes Jean as the soldier who had to desert long before we are given this information, by this natural reluctance in attitude of a man who has just escaped from something, which is currently defining his behavior however doesn't wholly define the man. Gabin portrays the state as purposefully thin, which we see more of as his place in the bar leads him to interacting with a low grade gangster Lucien (Pierre Brasseur), a wannabe runaway Nelly (Michele Morgan) and her creepy "protective" godfather Zabel (Michel Simon). In each of the interactions Gabin is able to allude to the state of mind of Jean where he essentially speaks and acts in a certain way as is fitting to his position. Within the interactions with the two men there is an initial lack of concern that Gabin presents through this exasperation fitting to a man on a run, who intends to run more by taking a ship to Venezuela. In turn these interactions Gabin delivers a lack of concern in both his blunt delivery in his less flattering attitudes towards them, but also in a certain indifference to their responses realizing a man who believes he will be gone from his current situation soon. The relationship with Nelly is quite different though where we technically we should have traditionally charming Gabin. Gabin to fall upon that type of charm though would be ill-fitting for the character, yet Gabin still realizes his usual charisma however in a way that is proper to the deserter Jean. When he initially speaks to her, he does so somewhat callously of a man who again is on his way out, however Gabin presents this as a facade in regards towards Nelly as even in his most negative statements Gabin grants an undercurrent of the disingenuous. He plays it in that moment of the charm naturally coming out, as he shows so effectively Jean's immediate infatuation with her, even as the man feels he should be the "bitter ex-soldier" in the current moment.

Gabin uses this so well to grant an impact through the romance by quietly bringing a more overt charm and warmth within his performance. What is key though is he evokes this from the first interaction, and makes it a gradually growing revelation of what was already there. Gabin never just becomes charming in say the Pepe Le Moko way, but rather stays true to the character by still handling this with a great degree of modesty that not only is fitting towards how he established Jean in the opening scene, but also fitting to the man in his somewhat desperate circumstances. Gabin reveals that as Jean opens up it is perhaps a better man in creating a moving romance with Morgan's Nellie, while still even in these moments alluding to that weight on the man's mind due to his circumstances. Gabin carefully opens up though in allowing that greater warmth, and creating the right poignancy within the interactions between the two. Interactions that become more difficult through increasing suspicions of others particularly her godfather, which eventually leads to a confrontation. The confrontation that is a great scene by Gabin even as he reveals a more outgoing individual than the careful soldier of the opening of the film, he still shows the same nature of the act as he does what he believes is the right thing, just as when he saved the dog. Gabin in the moment brings similar almost instinct like manner to the act though with a greater intensity fitting that Jean is removing a problem rather than saving a life. Gabin is able to portray the transformation well of the closed off soldier, to a still modest, but now loving man, while carefully maintaining that nature of the man, which defines Jean's story from the opening to the final scene. Gabin delivers his second great performance from 38 that also realizes a man who becomes lost in a dark web, however through his powerful performance creates an alternative path, and a different man who becomes almost accidentally lost into shadow.

88 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast and has Gabin been upgraded for The Human Beast.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Crowe/Harris conversation scene in Gladiator.

And who would've been your choice to play Marcus Aurelius in a 2010s version.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the scene where Officer K is walking through the ruins of Las Vegas and the scene where he meets Deckard.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your reasons for Burt Lancasters' and Kirk Douglas present film roles?

I think Douglas could've been great as Lou Bloom as well, though I'd like to hear your reasons for Lancaster too.

Calvin Law said...

Well look there, Michele Morgan from The Fallen Idol. I'll check this out, sounds like pretty damn high praise.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Sam Rockwell as an actor?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

RatedRStar: If you've seen it, could I have your thoughts on A Chinese Odyssey and Stephen Chow's work in it?

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: Ashes of Time if it drank 10 Jagerbombs, Oh crikey lol, um where do I start in terms of explaining the film, im not gonna start with the plot, it has a lot of ideas and lot of themes whether it be religion or time travel , however, as for film making it is one of those films that do not get made anymore, it has a lot of gags in it (especially the first film/part), nearly all of them physical, from what I remember, I did enjoy the majority of them because they are so over the top that I didnt see them coming so I just laughed sort of awkwardly lol, love the lighting and the camera work which are so instrumental to how the tone of the film is that it makes most scenes have this surreal 90s quality to them, its very in your face, which also includes the special effects which can look both cheesy but rather surreal such as the appearance of the Spider Woman in her true form, thats how would describe the film as very surreal, quite confusing but never for a moment dull, it is enjoyable as a cult film (the first one being funnier but the second being more surreal).

Stephen Chows performance as the Monkey King is actually pretty short in the first part as he is in the beginning of the film, then the odd short flashback and then at the very end, the second film is where the Monkey King takes more screen time, the make up deserves its special mention, it looks terrific and Chow is hardly recognisable but he never just leaves it to the makeup, he stands out as memorable just from his reactions in his battle scenes to his more dramatic scenes, Chow says so much in his scenes just from his eyes alone, the majority of his performance as the Bandit King is classic Chow work, which means it is very enjoyable as a likable hapless dope that he often plays, and with his frequent costar Ng Man Tat as well have amusing chemistry with Chow always attempting to be the clearly not tough guy and Ng Man Tat being a hapless coward.

A particular comedy scene I like is is probably when Ng Man Tat spies on the two Devil Women, and witnesses them change into their true forms and then attempts to explain it to Chow, the timing is just perfect as the Devils merely glance menacingly at him lol just by sticking their tongue at them.

Calvin Law said...

I'm thinking of possibly requesting a Hong Kong performance with my next son.

Calvin Law said...

*win

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 ethan hawke acting moments

Charles H said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Ang Lee as a director

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: I'm super curious what you'll think of Sorry to Bother You, but my biggest hope is that you'll be as impressed with Stanfield as I was. Managed to do what so many actors fail to; make the straight man the funniest character.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the cinematography and screenplay of Ikiru.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 Andrew Garfield acting moments

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: Which performance you thinking of?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

RatedRStar: Thanks for the thoughts, I was intrigued because I saw it was the only film Stephen Chow won Best Actor for besides Shaolin Soccer (which I love a lot).

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this scene from The Godfather-
https://youtu.be/DQ9-wNAfTSY
This scene has always been the one that's secured Brando's 5 for me.

Bryan L said...

Anonymous: Here ya go :)

http://actoroscar.blogspot.com/2017/06/alternate-best-supporting-actor-1968.html

Alex Marqués said...

Robert: I really want to see that film. I love Stanfield, wish more people talked about him around these parts when discussing future promising actors. His performance in the "Teddy Perkins" episode of Atlanta is remarkable.

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: Chow was definitely seen as overdue by the time Shaolin Soccer came out, so many times he was nominated before he won a HK award, I am actually very surprised he was nominated for Chinese Odyssey, did not think the HK film association would recognize a film like that for leading actor.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: Well here's a few I'm considering. I will say that though I do like Chow as an actor, I'm not sure if a review of any of his performances would be that interesting.

Eric Tsang - Comrades: A Love Story
Takeshi Kasheniro - Fallen Angels
Chow Yun-Fat - Better Luck Tomorrow (I consider him supporting) or All About Ah-Long
Tony Leung Chiu-wai - 2046

Calvin Law said...

Obviously prioritizing the two who haven't had reviews yet.

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: Good choices Id be happy with all of them.

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: Chow usually does play similar characters in most of his films, his successful ones anyway.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on the 'Scrum' and 'Pivot' sequences from Silicon Valley's Season 1. I've realized that the writing behind the characters is basically a super improved version of The Big Bang Theory.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If Humphrey Bogart had lived past 1957, what roles do you think he would've been perfect for.

And your top 25 greatest performances that we never got to witness. Could come from an unrealized project or a casting decision that should've happened but didn't. You could do the list numerically or in no particular order.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: How do you think Montgomery Clift would have done in William Holden's and James Dean's roles in Sunset Boulevard and East of Eden, respectively? Asking cause he was apparently the first pick for both.

Charles H said...

Calvin: I was thinking about requesting Leung for 2046 or Lust, Caution. I've yet to see Comrades: A Love Story yet.

RatedRStar said...

Since James Gunn has just been fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, I reckon Taika Waititi would be a pretty sensible option.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your toughts on Glass trailer

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your toughts on James Gunn being fired?

Calvin Law said...

Those tweets were pretty bad, but in a way I'm just relieved to find out he wasn't fired for reasons I'd feared. I agree, Waititi makes perfect sense especially if they're really planning on bridging Thor and the Guardians' universes together.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Gunn getting fired would more justifiable if they did this, say, during pre-production of the first Guardians. But this is clearly the work of right wing trolls successfully getting Disney to cave, specifically Michael Cernovich, AKA the guy who should be in jail for Pizzagate.

Calvin Law said...

I hated Split, loved Unbreakble, so Glass does have me somewhat interested.

Charles H said...

Gunn definitely deserved to be fired over his unfunny & disgusting "joke" tweets. Waititi would make a suitable replacement.

Mitchell Murray said...

Gunn's "joke" tweet was just disgusting to read. I mean, as trivial as may sound at first - firing someone over a 10 year old internet comment - Gunn posted those for the world to see. It seems only fair that he'd be accountable for how people respond to his words.

As for the Glass trailer, I'll admit I'm a little cautious for the film. Shyamalan really hit his stride in smaller movies like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, whereas some of his worst outings tended to be larger mainstream hits or blockbusters IE Airbender or The Happening. Split and The Visit seemed to mark a return for him, then, in those more independent pieces, and I'm worried the creative influence on Glass may hurt the project on the whole. Having said that, Unbreakable also features career defining work from Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson, and I'm excited to see if they can expand on their original performances and turn in something worth while.

Louis Morgan said...

Got to first comments, will get to second or third soon.

Luke:

Simon - 4.5(He's quite the good creep here by actually not overdoing it. He instead initially portrays it less overtly in sort of this weak attempt at a father figure which Simon portrays quite effectively by making it such a weak yet overt facade. He then is terrific in slowly revealing the more overt lusts of the character, yet I found his approach of this even quite remarkable as he does not immediately change. He rather reveals it naturally, but I also loved the degree of self-loathing he brings in the moment presenting the man well aware of his creepiness in a sense yet still going forward with it. Simon's whole approach is very atypical for this sort of part which is rather refreshing as he still wholly fulfills the need of such a character.)

Morgan - 4(She has a couple of iffy moments in there, mainly the ending, however overall she's quite effective in the role. She delivers the right low key charisma in the role, and finds a striking chemistry with Gabin that works very much in a modest yet moving way. In addition though her performance maneuvers well within her interactions with the less savory men she interacts with. In these moments she delivers sort of this knowing quality that would essentially deliver the wrong impression of the wrong type of familiarity, however Morgan quietly reveals understood yet understated exasperation of the bad men fitting for a woman who has been dealing with them for far too long.)

Brasseur - 4(Just a terrific sleaze bag in his few scenes. Brasseur doing sort of his charm offensive that he would late repeat in Children of Paradise, however here within the frame of just a general unsavory quality in every moment of it. Brasseur in a since counters Simon well by showing a man without a shame essentially and horribly burdened by a shallow ego.)

It is a good scene honestly carried very much by Harris bringing sort of the old standard, a role that perhaps would have been played by Claude Rains if it had been a 50's epic, against Crowe who is purposefully very stoic in the moment as the good general would be. Re-watching it again, Harris actually is great in really bringing an striking emotional quality within the emperor's pondering that alludes to both a certain philosophers spirit, but also a more honest sadness. Harris in the scene effectively establishes well really purpose of "Marcus's wish" that defines essentially the fate of everyone who isn't dead at the end of the film.

At the risk of being obvious, Anthony Hopkins.

Anonymous:

The first scene is a reason I love the film and its devotion to pacing. It allows the audience to gather the information as K does, and also allows us to enjoy the sheer beauty of sorts as captured by Villeneuve, Deakins and the production design team. The work just of working within the margins is brilliantly done as we come to understand that the place is livable not through overt exposition, but rather K finding the live bees.

A similair appreciation can be had for the second more of sequence, which again is just so brilliantly crafted on a visual level on the outset, yet also supported by the story as it establishes the right tension between the two. I especially love how Gosling plays the scene as someone who has a secret and isn't sure whether or not to share it. The highlight of it for me is the showroom though which is just a genius scene on every level in terms of its use of visual effects, the sound design, and of course the cinematography. While it crafts a tense, what I love, LOVE, about it is the poignancy of the end of the fight with the appreciation for the song as almost really an appreciation of life in a way with Deckard's "I like this Song".

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Lancaster in the role, if at his peak, would be the perfect combination of his style as imagine the callous indifference of Hunsecker combined with the sheer energy of a Elmer Gantry. Those in tandem would be perfect for Bloom.

For Three Billboards, they'd just be the right fit with Lancaster as the rep for authority against Douglas as more of the immature wild card which was often the case in their pairings.

Lancaster as Strickland is something I'd genuinely want to see if you could have had him go from sort of boring Lancaster, to full blown mania Lancaster. It's kind of why I wished they had gone with less obvious choice like maybe Liev Schreiber in the role.

And Douglas at his best had the same sort of mischievous charisma, as Keaton does now, so seems like the right fit for Kroc.

Charles:

Kind of the modern day William Wyler, in that his career is defined by the variety of his output as there is no clear definition of what an "Ang Lee movie" is. Like Wyler he seems to attempt to create a clear vision for whatever the material may be, with striking sensibilities even though they may only exist in that film alone. This approach can lead to misfires, "Hulk" for example however as failed comic book movies go is at least interesting in its failures. Lee successfully worked with suburban claustrophobia (not my favorite genre but his is probably the best of those), prime and proper Jane Austen, Martial Arts movies, or a spiritual survivor story. The consistency is craftsmanship and vision. It might not always lead to a wholly successful end however his work is always that of a skilled artist who is willing to take risks, even if they don't always pay off.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Hawke:

1. Present for Maud - Maudie
2. Teeth Breaking - Born to be Blue
3. Bathtub - Training Day
4. Andy Knows - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
5. Graduation Advice - Boyhood
6. Changing relationship - Maudie
7. My Funny Valentine - Born to Blue
8. PCP - Training Day
9. Poor image - Maudie
10. Rental - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
11. Asking Out - Before Sunrise
12. Fading Away - Born to Be Blue
13. After the shootout - Training Day
14. Setting the initial duties - Maudie
15. Bringing the kids home - Boyhood
16. Miles Davis - Born to Blue
17. Andy's Idea - Before the Devil Know You're Dead
18. Goodbye - Before Sunrise
19. Home - Born to be Blue
20. Final Confrontation - Training Day

Robert:

I definitely intend to see "Sorry To Bother You" first chance get, sadly hasn't come near me yet.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Ikiru is brilliantly shot by Asakazu Nakai in just about every regard one can account for. The framing and composition of so many scenes are essential, and so well executed in every instance. Whether that be the way all the co-workers are under the "shadow" of his portrait, the crossing of Watanabe of the woman during the birthday, or how the placement of him in any given sequence say so much just in how he is positioned in a shot. That is of course never forgetting the lighting which is incredible, yet Nakai's work is this outstanding combination of a more general realism of sorts, where there are profound moments of a deep emotional quality with more striking use at times. These come into essentially the pivotal moments of either despair, or inspiration, such as the grim saturation as he drowns his sorrows at the bar, or the warm glow of that final swing. That final swing ride, which also should be noted for its flawless camera movement that creates such a delicate and profound dreamlike quality.

Tahmeed:

A great scene to be sure, so well written and a highlight of both Pacino's and Brando's performances. It is this fascinating little juxtaposition between this aging father/son, and the old King giving up to the new. I love the way the actors so naturally move from the discussion of their "professional" life, against the more modest moments of discussing family as any family would in a sense. Pacino is interesting in the scene in that some sense he reverts to old Michael in some sense, as a son would since he never needed to change in his eyes. Brando is indeed great though in conveying a certain sentimental quality of the old grandfather, however also with this sense of a real concern of making sure that Michael remembers his mob teachings since it will mean death otherwise. Brando in the moment though also does create that sense of sadly defending his actions for his family's sake, against his words to Michael where there is this recognition of failure in that sense due to Michael's corruption.

Anonymous:

It's more complicated than it should be due to the reason Robert mentioned. The firing is "fair" in the sense that those public tweets would get you fired from most jobs, especially a "family friendly" company. I ponder if there was due diligence originally when Disney hired him when he was more of a "mainstream fringe" director. There's actually a lot of issues that deserve discussion around the firing, however for now I'll just leave it that there is grey area to it though justified at least on some level.

Anonymous:

In a similair boat to Calvin, as I also didn't care for Split out side of the lead performances, however I do like Unbreakable, particularly Jackson as Glass, so I am at the very least intrigued by the premise, and this trailer didn't deter that.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your rating and thoughts on emma stone and bryce dallas howard in the help

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Here's Stone.

Stone - 3(Stone does kinda have enough personal charm just to carry a part to a certain extent no matter what, and that's the case here. Her role though is a bit pigeonholed in that despite being the true lead she's mostly reactionary whether it's being moved by the tales of the women or being disgusted by her "friends". As those roles go though she's not quite Richard Frank in Amadeus and he had a lot less material to work with)

Calvin Law said...

How was Cedric the Entertainer in First Reformed?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your ratings and thoughts on Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable?

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous:

Willis - (Going on having not re-watched since I saw it in theaters. Anyway as I recall Willis makes for a good sort of purposefully stoic hero. In that Willis very much is a representation of the hero type in a fairly straightforward way, though not emotionally simple way. He portrays sort of the conflict of accepting his place in an effective way less as a hero shirking his duty, but just as man coming to terms with his strange reality.)

Jackson - 4(If I re-watched the film he probably would go up. As I liked his way of giving way the twist while never actually doing it. In that he gives sort of the cunning incisive style fitting to a villain yet Jackson is able to subvert with this genuine passion of a man who believes he's doing the right thing, again technically a villain though he hides it so well while technically not hiding it all. I particularly love his final scene where he's actually rather heartbreaking in depicting the man painfully accepting his apparent "fate".)

Louis: Thoughts on Alice Wetterlund on Silicon Valley?

Doug Grenier said...

Hi Louis. I enjoy reading your reviews so much. I've already seen your reviews of Tom Cruise and Philip Baker Hall in "Magnolia"; could you please rate the rest of the cast? Thanks!

Luke Higham said...

Doug: Welcome. :)

Reilly - 4.5
Hoffman - 4
Macy - 4
Robards - 4
Blackman - 3.5
Walters - 5
Grace - 4.5
Dillon - 3.5
Moore - 2

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your toughts on the trailers of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Shazam!, Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald?

Calvin Law said...

Shazam looks really, really fun.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Ikiru's screenplay is a brilliant piece of work that achieves both a certain simplicity and complexity in its approach. This is in several ways. One being the structure, which at first simply follows the man's journey then surprisingly takes a sudden flash forward after his death. In this approach it allows both the intimacy of that individual journey, but also allowing essentially the societal perspective at the same time. This dynamic is also found in its approach to the characters. As common in Kurosawa's screenplays the most developed character by far is the lead, this approach, also common, is extremely effective as it grants such vivid detail to the man's life and history, while also being able to reflect how he essentially fits into the world of Japan at the time through these limited yet varied people he comes into contact with. One other element within this dynamic though of the writing is its approach to craft both a sad and inspirational story. There are answers, opportunities to life's questions, however it also depicts the pain and the burden of it, as well as that no answer is simple or swift. In that even in Watanabe's, in the end, inspirational story we also see the deep tragedy that comes before that, as well as the failure of others to perhaps to the lessons to heart.

Two scenes that are pure Zach Woods gold in the first instance of the focused actual workflow method. The first though being particularly hilarious in his perfectly straight forward positive attitude, against the nonsense of Gilfoyle, and Dinesh pointless antagonism to him, that is only bested by the antagonism to each other. The pivot scene is just marvelous, slightly against his usual type as Jared, having that same sort of "positive corporate officer" somewhere in there though through a grotesque current of intense desperation.

Wetterlund - (Have kind of seen this performance before, and I don't think she brings anything too special as the consistently sardonic sort. She's wholly serviceable in the role, but I wouldn't say she is anything more than that however.)

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

For the purpose of this, let's say he lived as long as Cagney.

Don Prizzi (Prizzi's honor)
Tom Garrison (I Never Sang for My Father)
Roger Wade (The Long Goodbye)

Charles Laughton - I, Claudius
Laurence Olivier - Macbeth
Walter Huston - Moby Dick
Richard Castellano - The Godfather Part II
Eli Wallach - Duck, You Sucker!
James Mason - The Tempest
Mickey Rourke - The Untouchables
Steve McQueen - Sorcerer
Robert Redford - Barry Lyndon
Orson Welles - Heart of Darkness
Jim Carrey - Nolan's Howard Hughes
Robert De Niro - Leningrad
John Candy - A Confederacy of Dunces
Toshiro Mifune - Runaway Train
Anthony Hopkins - The Diary of Jack the Ripper
Jack Lemmon - Death Wish
Boris Karloff - Arsenic and Old Lace
Robert Downey Jr. - Poe
Bob Hoskins - Roger Rabbit 2
Lionel Barrymore - A Christmas Carol
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises 2
Raul Julia - The Mask of Zorro (though kudos for Hopkins doing as well as he did while being essentially miscast)
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Roger Ebert
Robin Williams - Batman (Joker)
David Bowie - Blade Runner 2049

Did not consider better actors in bad roles/films, like Gosling over Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones, or Hardy over Kinnaman in Suicide Squad.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I can't see Clift as Gillis, as that sort of irreverence, that was so naturally Holden, wouldn't quite fit. Clift could do many things, however he was just about always earnest, which wouldn't have been right for that role.

Clift could've been a great Cal, however Dean was perfectly cast there. Clift certainly could have delivered that similair, doesn't quite fit in his own body let alone the world, however I don't think it would have been quite as memorable as with what Dean did.

Anonymous:

Howard - (Her performance is almost out of a different film in that she does very much play a near maniacal villain, as her casual racist. I will say though she does do it with a certain style, however I would also say I'm not sure that is wholly in tone with all the other performance, however (however again) it does sort of fit with parts of the film which kind of wanders from wholly earnest to more overtly comedic. Her performance fits in distinctly one side, more so than say Chastain who plays within both. Honestly I'd need to watch it again to cement my thoughts on her.)

Anonymous:

Godzilla - (Potentially great cast in theory, however I think they're mostly going to be just looking in the air. Some marvelous visual effects as well, however looks like a tonal mess waiting to happen as again it doesn't seem sure if it wants to be a monster mash, or to take the idea of Kaiji seriously.)

Shazam! - (There were some wonky things, mainly the costume, though I am glad they're having fun with the concept, I could see them potentially overstepping that however. Unless of course they are just going full comedy, which could totally work.)

Aquaman - (No sir, I didn't like any of it. Bad luck on the inevitable Black Panther comparisons, but even ignoring that I just didn't care for any of it. The visual effects looked off, the action looked off, the performances looked off. That includes Mamoa who is a little strange in that he clearly has charisma, however strangely seems to lack that leading man presence. Not a single moment of the trailer got me excited for it, but hey fingers crossed that it turns out to be great.)

Fantastic Beasts - (Looks like it will probably be similair to the first one, which I didn't dislike, however it suffered a bit from cramming too much into a single film, seems like that will be the case again and side effect perhaps of having Rowling be the screenwriter. Although with that some of the threads looked entertaining, and Law actually looks very promising.)

Doug Grenier said...

Luke: I'm glad you gave John C. Reilly a 4.5 rating. He's one of my favorite actors.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your rating and thoughts on kyle maclachlan in blue velvet and what is his best scene

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on Matt McCoy on Silicon Valley.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could I have your thoughts on the 25 picks you've chosen.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Will Stroheim's review and the results be posted tonight.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: never mind, I've found your thoughts on McCoy.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten Silicon Valley moments.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvlm0XCBtsk

Charles H said...

Louis: Could Livesey go up for The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

Bryan L said...

Luke: I asked Louis once about how McQueen would've fared as the lead in Sorcerer, and he said the movie would've had a stronger focal point as a result of having a star like McQueen in the lead role, so that's one covered haha.
And he kind of covered how Lemmon (or someone like him) would've done as Paul Kersey in Bronsons' review of the same film.

Mitchell Murray said...

Not that it's the most recent film, but just tonight I got a chance to see "Disobedience", and I'm actually quite curious if anyone else on this blog has seen it as well - I remember Robert mentioning it briefly but that's it. In any case, I found it to be a fine movie but not necessarily a great one, mainly for two reasons. The first is the dialogue, which in general works, but there are some moments when the writing just didn't feel natural to me; In other words, a few crucial conversations came off as slightly forced in my eyes. I'm also not wild about the penultimate scene, not because the story didn't deserve it, but because the way it was executed didn't feel entirely earned. Nevertheless, it's still - to use a term Louis seems fond of - a more than decent movie that is effectively moving and well made. And like I said, I'm interested if anyone had a similar response.

Weisz - 3.5/4 (Now I'm normally not a huge fan of Weisz but in this movie I'll make a slight exception. I honestly felt a lot of authenticity in her performance this time around, as she shows Ronit's inner conflict very potently at points. I don't think its overly complex work, or that Weisz makes the absolute most of whats in the script, but its still a solid effort on her part that's more grounded then the majority of her film outings.)

Nivola - 4 (In a few areas he actually reminded me of Kyle Chandler's performance in "Carol", mainly in terms of how the movie treats his character. The domineering husband role could and has been portrayed as a complete bastard, but in this case Kuperman honestly seems like a guy who was simply raised in a certain way, and is expected to live up to certain expectations as well. Nivola finds that quality rather easily, and his performance only ever succeeds in being an honest and realistic "antagonist" to the main couple, while never resorting to hysterics in any given scene.)

I'm actually going to save McAdams for the mean time, which may or may not change as I see more female performances from this year.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

MacLachlan - 4.5(Although I've come to find MacLachlan is most at home with more than a bit of weirdness in his role, this is the best in a completely straight role as Jeffrey is. He works very much as this stable center towards the film as the traveler between at once as a resident in the pleasant suburban world where he depicts just a plucky earnestness, against then the fearful tourist into the underworld. MacLachlan provides the right balance in that tone, but also in terms of portraying how Jeffrey is changed through the story. In that MacLachlan just brings initially that earnest excitement that slowly lets that lapse into a man burdened by fear and knowledge of what lies beneath as well as sense of his own personal corruption to an extent. His best scenes throughout I'd actually say are his reactions though in any given scene, whether that be the internalized fear towards Frank's madness along with the right sense of moral disgust. He's great for example throughout the "In Dream" sequence simply through his expression that stands out as a man who not only shouldn't be there, but operates in a wholly different frame of mind. )

My favorite scene of his is probably discovering Frank's work in Dorothy's apartment.

Luke:

Charles Laughton - I, Claudius - (Great part, perfect fit for Laughton, and a real shame since they were actively shooting the film.)

Laurence Olivier - Macbeth - (Supposedly his greatest Shakespearean performance, given his personal pedigree in that department, that would have to be saying a lot.)

Walter Huston - Moby Dick - (Would've been a much better fit for the character than Peck, could have delivered the right madness, the right age, and could've been a great sendoff as a performer.)

Richard Castellano - The Godfather Part II - (Although Gazzo did very well, I do think Castellano, given his scenes with Michael in the first film especially, could have brought an even greater emotional weight to the fall and betrayal of sorts to the character.)

Eli Wallach - Duck, You Sucker! - (Steiger is a weak link in the film, Wallach returning to work with Leone could have been another masterwork from him, and would've also improved the film.)

James Mason - The Tempest - (Mason in a Shakespearean/leading role nuff said.)

Mickey Rourke - The Untouchables - (Well would've replaced Costner at one of his weaker turns, which is already a great thing, 80's Rourke though was something special, and could've brought a far greater intensity to the role, which frankly needed it.)

Robert Redford - Barry Lyndon - (Well anyone but O'Neal in my mind. Redford, who sadly dropped out and was apparently Kubrick's first choice out of his choices, could have potentially delivered something quite special something far more fitting for a conman if he played with his image a la The Candidate.)

Orson Welles - Heart of Darkness - (Not sure who he intended to play, however even if he indeed just did POV narration, that could've been something special in evoking every moment of the journey.)

Jim Carrey - Nolan's Howard Hughes - (Fascinating casting, and Carrey I think could've had it in him to give something truly daring and dynamic. Carrey's sort of energy could have captured that unique sort of ambitious yet mad spirit of Hughes.)

Robert De Niro - Leningrad - (80's De Niro, plus such potentially powerful material could have been a fascinating combination.)

John Candy - A Confederacy of Dunces - (Shame the development has been through such a specific hell, with both the project falling through and so many potential leads dying at a young age. Candy I think would've been the most promising given his success with the dramatic work he did do, and although it isn't purely that I think his performance could've captured the tone of the character in quite the memorable fashion.)

Louis Morgan said...

Toshiro Mifune - Runaway Train - (Mifune/Kurosawa what more do you need? Although the film was never set for production it is easy to imagine Mifune as the prisoner pushing against the system, and that would've been something to see.)

Anthony Hopkins - The Diary of Jack the Ripper - (Hopkins as a terrifying serial killer is always a good thing.)

Boris Karloff - Arsenic and Old Lace - (Although Massey wasn't a bad replacement, I think the original would've been better. Not only for the meta-jokes, but also Karloff simply excelled in such ghoulish roles.)

Robert Downey Jr. - Poe - (Poe is ripe for a great performance as well as a great film. Not sure if we'll see it, but Downey would've been a fantastic choice as a charming, brilliantly, yet tragically so sort.)

Bob Hoskins - Roger Rabbit 2 - (Although we probably would've never seen it even without Hoskins's premature death, it is still a shame not to be able to see him so seriously interact with cartoons again.)

Lionel Barrymore - A Christmas Carol - (Reginald Owen's take was a weaker one, so it's a shame we did not get to see Barrymore pull off his lauded radio turn.)

Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises 2 - (Any unseen Mortensen performance would be considered a loss, where he could've taken the character in continuation of the story could've been fascinating.)

Raul Julia - The Mask of Zorro (Well he would've been perfectly cast. Full charm Julia would've great to see, and would've especially delivered in the pathos behind the character's journey as well.)

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Roger Ebert - (I don't know what Roger Ebert film would've been, however Hoffman would've been perfect casting)

David Bowie - Blade Runner 2049 - (Although I liked Leto, I think seeing Bowie in the role would've captured more of a true ethereal quality that could have been something rather remarkable.)

Robin Williams - Batman - (It's sad that Williams as a big comic book fan himself never got to be in a comic book film made worse here since he was just used as leverage for Nicholson. Given his other villainous turns I think Williams's work would've probably been far less indulgent, far darker, and quite potentially something quite memorable if he twisted that through those ideas into his typical comic energy to create his own version of the Joker.)

Tahmeed:

1. Bachman cross examination
2. Tip to tip Efficiency
3. Let Blaine die?
4. "Justice Baby"
5. Pivot
6. Ending "chase" from Two Days of the Condor
7. Holographic Teleconference
8. Sad Russ Hanneman
9. Burger King
10. Bulldog

Anonymous:

Thanks for sharing this with me, I loved it. For starters Lynch drinking coffee with such affection is something strangely beautiful. Seeing him and Stanton together is a certain type of magic, as both embody this Americana, or at least a love for it. It is so heartwarming then to see Lynch interview him with clearly such warmth, and every one of Stanton's answers, despite being so blunt, have a strange almost poetic quality to them. That includes that wonderful end of the "Ancient/Old" correction that feels of just two kindred spirits.

Charles:

Yes

Robert MacFarlane said...

I... actually dissent on MacLachlan in Blue Velvet. In fact, when I got to re-watch it last year at the AFI theater, my opinion of the movie went down a notch due to him. He's a black hole and every other actor has to do the heavy lifting for him. My opinion of Dern went up, by contrast, for basically saving their scenes together. He has the same expression in every reaction shot. It's probably the best movie I've scene where I hated the lead performance.

Charles H said...

MacLachlan in Blue Velvet is a performance i think is overshadowed every step of the way. He's a good actor and knows how to handle Lynch material but Blue Velvet he was very boring and uninteresting for me. I didn't hate him but i didn't like him either.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis and Anonymous: You know what I really love about the beginning of that Lynch/Stanton interview? Lynch doesn't say "That's really good coffee, thank you" like someone normally would, he just goes "Nice flavour."

Charles H said...

Happy to see another five for Gabin

John Smith said...

Louis, have you seen 'Bloodline'? Mendhelson is amazing. The entire cast is but Mendhelson is the MVP.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your present film roles for Richard Attenborough?

Michael McCarthy said...

I made the great decision to see Sorry to Bother You without having watched the trailer or knowing anything about the plot. You might really like it Louis, Boots Riley's vision is an insane concoction that's sort of half Jordan Peele and half Terry Gilliam.

Louis Morgan said...

John Smith:

I haven't.

Bryan:

Mr. Dawson or Collins (Dunkirk)
Hector (Our Kind of Traitor)
Father James (Calvary)

Michael:

Certainly will check it out when I have the chance to.

Bryan L said...

Louis: I'm guessing Collins in a 40s version when he broke out and Mr Dawson in the 70s. And him as Hector would've been too good to pass up.

Speaking of Nolan, would he be your director for a 2010s version of A Bridge Too Far? I believe you gave a cast once and he does have a WWII ensemble film under his resume :)

John Smith said...

Louis: I would highly reccomend if you eventually decide to do tv reviews.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on Chris Williams, Bernard White, Andy Daly and Cornelius Peter (the focus group moderator) and on Silicon Valley?

Calvin Law said...

Also, that trailer for Mid-90s looks great. Jonah Hill has an eye.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I like the 90s style cinematography from the trailer. Agree with you on Hill.

Omar Franini said...

I heard good things about Waterstone in Mid-90s but she isn’t even in the trailer.

Luke Higham said...

Really looking forward to Mission: Impossible - Fallout tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Damien Chazelle as a director?

Anonymous said...

Meh, having rewatched the film a month ago, I didn't really have any problems with MacLachlan. Sure, he is overshadowed by Hopper, Rossellini and Stockwell, but he still gives a very good performance. I guess to each his own. I do agree that Dern was also great.

Ghost Rider (1980's version, directed by John Carpenter)

Johnny Blaze: Kurt Russell
Roxanne Simpson: Jamie Lee Curtis
Blackheart: Michael Wincott
The Caretaker: Robert Mitchum
Mephisto: Donald Pleasance

Blade (1980's version, directed by David Cronenberg)

Blade: Denzel Washington
Karen: Angela Bassett
Deacon Frost: Judd Nelson
Whistler: Harry Dean Stanton

The Punisher (1980's version, directed by Sergio Leone)

Frank Castle: Robert De Niro
Howard Saint: Harvey Keitel
Quentin Glass: Roy Scheider
Frank Castle Sr.: Kirk Douglas
Livia Saint: Kathleen Turner
Spacker Dave: Johnny Depp
Joan: Patrícia Clarkson
Bumpo: John Candy
Maria Castle: Meryl Streep

Louis: After finishing Psycho, Hitchcock and Lehman wrote a screenplay about a blind man that would have been played by Jimmy Stewart that regains his vision by receiving the eyes of a dead man. While watching a show on Disneyland with his family, the man would have received visions of being shot, eventually realizing that the dead man had been murdered and the image of the murderer was still imprinted in the retina of his eyes. The story would have ended with a chase around the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary. It was never made because Walt Disney had forbidden Hitchcock from shooting there because he had seen Psycho.

In the 90's, Lynch had written a script about three men who used to be cows and he had described the script as being a really bad, stupid and repulsing comedy but he found the idea of it fantastic. Stanton was to play one of the three men and he and Lynch had persuaded Brando to play one of the other men, but Brando found the script completely hollow.

And Raoul Walsh planned to make a biopic of Jack London, who wrote The Sea Wolf. Thoughts on these never made projects?

Matt Mustin said...

Saw Leave No Trace. Excellent film, one of the best of the year for sure. A note on Foster's placement: I consider him co-lead, but an argument could potentially be made for supporting as the film is presented pretty much entirely from McKenzie's POV. I still consider him lead though, because the film is very much about both of them together.

Also, this should be in contention for Best Cinematography.

McKenzie-5
Foster-5
Dickey-4

Everyone else is good as well.

Calvin Law said...

Cinematography, and for that matter Sound Editing for sure, plus Granik is easily my choice for Director thus far.

I think the supporting argument will be used for awards season, and could be his gateway to getting a nomination.

Anonymous said...

Matt: Sounds like an interesting flick. Will definitely check it out for Foster and McKenzie.

Charles H said...

Matt: I'll get around to seeing it soon. This looks like Foster's ticket to an overdue Oscar nod.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Yes.

Anonymouses, Calvin:

Let me get you those thoughts on the next comments section.