Thursday, 26 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1961: George C. Scott in The Hustler

George C. Scott received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Bert Gordon in The Hustler.

George C. Scott is the second nomination from this film, and has more screen time than Gleason, although I would say his character technically is of equal importance. Bert is a fascinating character, he is a man who seems to love thrills, and manipulation. He is a man who is already rich but loves to play with Hustlers and gamblers because he merely loves the action. It is not only that but he also manipulates anyone he so chooses even when money is not involved. Scott initially comes into the film very mysteriously as the money man for Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). Like his co-nominee in the film Scott's presence is incredibly strong.

Scott again like Gleason leaves for a time while the film more heavily focuses on Eddie Felson's (Newman) relationship with Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie). Bert returns when Eddie happens upon him in a bar. Their first scene together both actors are brilliant. Bert dissection of Felson is brilliantly and brutally handled by Scott. He shows that Bert basically knows just about everything about a man quickly. Scott brilliant shows how Bert is always dissecting with his eyes, he does not just look at someone he looks through them. His description of a natural character and character is played without fault, this description is a completely needed for the film entire, and Scott allowed me to understand it perfectly. Scott handles Burt manipulation with a magnificent effectiveness and efficiency just as a businessman would. He shows no remorse rather just a strict control, who refuses to lose his control.

His strongest scenes which are also Bert's most despicable, and manipulative is when he goes on the road with Eddie and Sarah. His slow manipulations of Sarah and Eddie are shown to be as cruelly effective as possible by Scott. Every remark Bert says or every little single he gives is made as terrible and chilling by Scott's brilliant delivery, and determined demeanor. Scott's most starkly effective scene is when he whispers something to Sarah. You do not hear what it is, but Scott's face tells is all, since you do not hear but you can see exactly what Bert is thinking. His specific manipulation of Sarah is almost too well played by Scott, his pushing her to her fate, is made believable, which is rather frightening, due to Scott's performance.

An especially strong scene of Scott's is his final scene with Newman. In this scene everyone is in the top of their form, Newman, Scott, somehow Gleason despite being pushed to the side. Bert tries is standard manipulations once again, but he fails reducing to threatening Eddie with physical violence. Scott backing down is handled again with his perfect realism. When Bert describes what he will do to Eddie, Scott shows Bert's evil to be just part of everyday business for him, through his casual delivery of the most despicable words. Scott never utters a false word and makes all of Bert's manipulations powerful, in a rather nasty way, and adds only to the greatness of The Hustler.

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