Alan Bates did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Charles Crossley in The Shout.
Alan Bates appearing as the mysterious stranger Crossley, actually begins the film seemingly in not at all mysterious circumstances. This as he is simply one of the men keeping score at a cricket game on tranquil grounds, but I suppose if Tim Curry is helping you keep score there might be something up. Bates appears to speak of something being not quite right within his own performance, and not just alluding to his haggard appearance and clothes that doesn't seem to fit his surroundings in the least. Crossley begins though to speak of telling his fellow scorer, which Bates textures with a grim and foreboding quality as he speaks, to tell the story of man whose wife loved him, however things didn't turn out well. A quiet mania in Bates's eyes as he speaks, and in turn crafts quite the intriguing starting point for this story. This story that seems tranquil enough at first as we meet experimental musician Anthony (Hurt) being prodded along to church by his seemingly loving wife Rachel (York). After church though he runs into Bates's Crossley who fashions here a presence that is alien to the majority of his role. This in delivering this innate intensity in his startling manner. Bates's oddly shaken manner and ghastly eyes allude to some strange state of this man before we even learn much of him. His first words though are to the nature of the soul, which Bates delivers in this fascinating way of speaking to himself as much as speaking to anyone else. This sort of self-pondering of a man who doesn't seem entirely there, and even Bates's expression seems to evoke a man's mind having been permanently transplanted elsewhere.
Bates's work evokes a man who has been through some horror, however he has come through it with a strange combination of illumination and trauma. Bates's carrying this magnetism here even as he walks as a drifter along the road next to Hurt, before showing up at his house and instantly inviting himself back in. Bates's performance is off-putting in his initial conversations, though that is an understatement, as he quietly delivers these odd statements with alluring yet chilling quality within each word. There is though this near detachment that Bates brings as though Crossley is reciting stories of the past. These stories that begin to take a bit more shape as he describes his time in Australia which included murdering of his own children. Bates delivers this simply as part of the story with this particularly eerie conviction of this sentiment of leaving no trace of one's self. It is said as though it would be any part of the story, though not quite just a sociopath, but rather this darker measure of the man who seems to view his existence within some alternative lens. Bates work is altogether brilliant in this scene though as he manages to create this odd supernatural creature within Crossley, while also still revealing a tangible humanity within him. This balance, that I wouldn't quite describe as elegant, but is nonetheless fascinating to watch within Bates's performance. This as Bates Crossley as though a person whose achieved some separate plane of existence in the current state, though having achieved this through some experience that placed him there.
This continues as Crossley speaks to Anthony of the titular shout as some ability he has learned from aborigines, a yell that kills those who hear it. Bates speaks again of it as this almost idea of a religious experience as he apparently invites Anthony to listen, while also warning him of his dangers. The actual shouting scene being brilliantly performed by Bates in his movement though as though he is conducting the earth itself as something in his control, before committing this extreme upheaval within himself before yelling out much to Anthony's horror, despite taking precautionary measures beforehand. Bates becomes increasingly this nefarious force beyond this point, this in portraying Crossley as an interloper manipulating Anthony and Rachel as he sees fit. Bates's work in itself is incredible here, this as he offers this sort of mesmerizing command within his own presence. This even in his disheveled appearance, Bates presents this ominous power that exudes from him every second he is onscreen. This continues though as he speaks to Rachel of essentially casting a spell of lust on her, which too Bates delivers with this combination of a more genuine lust but also this demonic allure as his eyes create an unnerving quality. This as we see their tryst it is a strange affair, still so effectively performed by Bates, as he presents Crossley's interactions with an animalistic Rachel, less as man loving a woman, but rather almost an owner conducting his pet to lavish and worship him. There is almost disgust in Bates as he compels this behavior in Rachel, without a sense of any joy or genuine pleasure from the experience. Bates portraying Crossley as seeming beyond that idea.
This experience though seems to bluntly end though as Crossley is arrested, though then we are shifted back to the framing device where that cricket field is beset by a storm, and it becomes clear we are on the ground of some type of asylum. Well here comes my interpretation on my end, and best that I do is offer my take on that. Although either way Bates's performance is outstanding here, what I see is the story he tells is of an imagined version of the man entering into the lives, likely of those he is jealous of or has imagined lives of for him to be jealous of. This is befitting that we have a mentally ill man crafting a version of himself whose mental problems provide almost some supernatural ability to change and control the lives around him. Bates in those scenes showing a man whose broken state empowers him, fitting to a mad man creating a fantasy that supports his existence. This then is in sharp contrast to the man we cut back to essentially having a mental breakdown back at the game as he is unable to finish his story. Bates delivers something particularly important then in this scene as he no longer has that power within his presence, and rather portrays a straight mania. This fear within the man of being taken away and controlled by others in this attempt to escape. Bates in this scene just showing a man who is mentally ill and terrified within this state. This in a way though the same man of his story deep down, but now without a power from his illness. Although technically in some ways a brief performance, this is a an amazing performance by Bates. This as he manages to make something vivid within the concept of the character and not get lost within it. This as his work in itself is compelling but goes beyond that in crafting a captivating portrayal of technically the ravings of a mad man as a cohesive idea.