Saturday, 16 October 2010

Best Actor 1943: Mickey Rooney in The Human Comedy

Mickey Rooney received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Homer Macauley in The Human Comedy.

The Human Comedy is a film that certainly has an intro that grabs you from the very beginning. I will admit its hold does not stay throughout the film, but it has a truly great introduction. After that it tells the story of people effected by World War II, and people in the town of Ithaca. Not every story was effective but some were, and I will admit to having my heart tugged a bit at the end.

Mickey Rooney as Homer is the center of the film, the person in which the other stories interact with. He plays a young man, whose father has died and his brother is in the Army. To support his family he must go to work for a telegram service, delivery singing telegrams, and sometimes telegrams that deliver cryptic news. I must say that Rooney usually can be looked at as a chronic over actor. Usually going too much with his manic energy, but that is not the case in this film, and I was really glad to see he tones it down here. He tries to really be this young man who does what he can during war time.

I like his youthful exuberance here because he never does over do it this time around. He really seemed like a young high school kid here, and I felt he did a good job in being authentically the part, especially since there are so many times were he plays the same age group in a completely different way. I really liked him here and I felt he properly fleshed out Homer very well, rather than doing the standard Rooney character. For he really showed the relationships between his character and everyone else very well. He always seemed natural when Homer was with his brother, his mother, his sister, in school, or his two employers. He always seemed like a really young man in these different scenes, which worked well. He still enabled himself to have a particular charm in his performance, but keeps as part of the performance rather than overtaking in it.

Mickey Rooney actually shows a very moving side of his acting abilities in certain scenes of the films. The scenes where he must deal with the death involved with the war. Rooney makes this scenes as powerful as they are because of his spot on performance. He really conveys the truest emotions possible in these scenes, when he reads the sad news on the telegraph, his face really makes these scenes of the emotional edge needed. All of the scenes where he must deal with the death, every single one, Rooney does as well with them, and they always hit the right emotional note. Especially when he sees the final telegram, and meets his brother's army friend. Rooney absolutely makes these scene honest, and they became truly emotionally effective moments in the film, and the best moments of the film. The performance was another pleasant surprise for me, and Rooney shows at least something of what must of contributed to Laurence Olivier calling him the greatest actor ever.


joe burns said...

Sounds interesting.... Do you really like him in anything else?

Louis Morgan said...

Never that much, this is the best performance I have seen of his. I find he usually is just okay, although I have not actually seen that many of his performances.

dinasztie said...

Olivier really did call Rooney the best actor ever?

Louis Morgan said...

I used slight Hyperbole, but he did call him the best Actor America Produced, and that Rooney was a better actor than he was so it sounded like he might extend that to further than just America.