Sunday, 18 October 2020

Alternate Best Actor 1944: Results

5. Nikolai Cherkasov in Ivan the Terrible Part I - I decided against a full review, as like with Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, his Ivan The Terrible takes the approach, effectively I will say, of almost a documentarian's distance instead focusing on more so the visual spectacle of the historical events than to dive deeply within the nature of the historical figures past a certain point. Nikolia Cherkasov, who previously played the largely symbolic role of Alexander Nevsky, once again takes upon a part that is more so the idea of Ivan The Terrible, than an in-depth careful examination of his personal motivations. His performance largely being used to again symbolize Ivan as this fierce but also potentially troublesome ruler, often with a closer emphasis on how other's react to the man. There are individual moments for Cherkasov within the film, such as his quiet menace he underlines every word as Ivan makes his demands immediately following his coronation, or the made bravado he brings as he throws down a foreign diplomat in order to declare war. In both moments Cherkasov suggests he might've been able to explore more of the character if given the leave. Although then again even when just being the presence of Ivan, which works well enough, he maybe a little to frequently falls upon just the most extreme bug eyes to sell the nature of Ivan's madness. Largely still it is a fine performance, but again one that more so stands as an image of Ivan rather than bearing the actual soul of the man.

Best Scene: Coronation.
4. Dick Powell in Murder, My Sweet - Powell gives a fine turn in the premiere version of Philip Marlowe, finding his own path through a certain sardonic almost carefree quality for the private detective. 

Best Scene: Dealing with everything.
3. Errol Flynn in Uncertain Glory - Flynn gives perhaps his best performance excelling in crafting a far more cynical character than usual and slowly earning the transformation of the role to a more noble sort. 

Best Scene: Fake change of heart.
2. Alexander Knox in None Shall Escape - Knox gives an effectively chilling turn in showing a man go from a pathetic bitter man who slowly finds his terrible path through the Nazi regime. 

Best Scene: Final speech.
1. Laird Cregar in The Lodger - Good prediction Anonymous, Tahmeed, Luke, and Michael McCarthy. Cregar delivers a brilliant sinister turn as he grants a certain almost romantic quality of the man who both lusts after his victims and despises them.

Best Scene: Scene with Kitty in his room.

Next: 1994 Lead


Luke Higham said...

1994 Lead
Ben Kingsley - Death And The Maiden
Tom Cruise - Interview With The Vampire
Kevin Bacon - The River Wild
Shah Rukh Khan - Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
Woody Harrelson - Natural Born Killers
Ge You - To Live
Temuera Morrison - Once Were Warriors
Albert Finney - The Browning Version
Brandon Lee - The Crow
Robert De Niro - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the lead performances, any supporting performances with a 3.5 or 4.

Your Female Lead and Supporting top 10s with ratings and other 4+.

And is Olivier an incredibly strong 4.5 or 5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on This Happy Breed and A Canterbury Tale.

And you may wish I never came across this blog because my request is a post-bonus round review of James Woods in Killer: A Journal Of Murder.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Perhaps it’s the season putting me in the mood, but I’d advocate most for Cruise, Lee, and De Niro reviews.

Also, I watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time, and I have to say; What the fuck was that, and why did I like it so much? Also, probably a hot take, but I thought Ryder was kind of great.

Anonymous said...

Louis, my request is Daniel Auteuil in La Reine Margot for 94 Supporting. He's great there though Anglade's MVP for me.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: What better time to review those 3. :)

RatedRStar said...

Louis: Your thoughts also on The Adventures of Mark Twain cause I was curious about that one?

I also quite liked Brandon Lee in The Crow, I will say that after his actual death, they really handled the scenes after quite brilliantly considering the bad situation they were in, I honestly thought it was still Brandon Lee in the film.

RatedRStar said...

Aside from the 5 requested noms, I would say Albert Finney, Brandon Lee and Michael Keaton from The Paper would be the ones I would advocate for mostly.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Is Keaton definitely lead.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Definitely the closest to one.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Well, I have it down as an ensemble piece from what I've read and he's in my Supporting 5.

Michael McCarthy said...

I know I specifically requested Bacon, but David Strathairn was also great in the same film and I’d love to see him reviewed alongside Bacon.

Bryan L. said...

I actually saw The River Wild recently among three of the other requested performances (felt like getting a head start), and I agree that Strathairn was also very good.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I won the prediction as well, check my second comment on the first review from the line up.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: I think him being placed in Supporting is fine as well, it isn't on the level of Spotlight supporting though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Tahmeed made a 2nd prediction on the Flynn review and it matches up.

Tahmeed: I'm glad you won, looking forward to Khan in Maqbool.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on The Most Beautiful and Takashi Shimura.

Bryan L. said...

Apparently, there's some rumblings going around that Netflix might actually campaign Chadwick Boseman for Lead in MRBB, since the role itself straddles between Lead & Supporting. Thoughts anyone?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: Was just thinking about that, If I were them, I'd go Supporting.

Anonymous said...

John Smith:

Suggestions (Really looking forward to your thoughts on Sharuks performance):

Nana Patekar-Krantiveer
Aamir Khan-Andaz Apna Apna
Kevin Smith-Clerks
Ge You-To Live
Peter Greene -Clean, Shaven
Sven-Bertil Taube-The Hands

Anonymous said...

Ben Kingsley - Death And The Maiden
Brandon Lee - The Crow
Woody Harrelson - Natural Born Killers
Ge You - To Live
Albert Finney - The Browning Version

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Agreed. They do also have the Chicago 7 ensemble and Mank (Burke/Dance) to sort out in Supporting, so I understand why they're considering Boseman for Lead, but as always...we shall see.

Louis Morgan said...


Laughton - 4.5(Terrific work from Laughton as he manages to balance what is a fairly complicated role of the murderer. This as Laughton establishes a real charm to the character and grants an honesty in his frustrations towards his wife that define the nature of the character's actions. This though against his interactions with everyone else where he delivers a real cordiality and sense of morality even. This as he makes his final actions both natural and moving in portraying the man's frustration to choose.)

Newton - 4(Although overshadowed by pitch perfect Celia Johnson, Newton is as well good in bringing what is a pretty different part for him. This in he's a lot more subdued than usual giving an earnest portrayal of the largely just loving father, and creates a moving quality within the man's struggles, and joys in the life.)

Powell - 4(Another enjoyable turn as Nick.)

March - 4(Kind of what you'd expect in a portrayal of Mark Twain, particularly for the time which hits largely expected points, though in a better than average way for the time. March gives a good performance here though in not overdoing the mannerisms, more touching them then broadening them, and more than anything giving a charming and amusing portrayal of the writer.)

Kjellin - 4(The film is a bit all over the place as you can sense Bergman is finding his voice even as a screenwriter, as there are some qualities of his later works, but it is a bit messy with how scattershot it is. A quality is in Kjellin's performance which is effective as sort of the confused and angry young man. The character's journey is perhaps a little too off-beat but it is fine work.)

Vanel - 4(Largely a moving portrayal of the supportive but also concerned husband of the pilot wife. Vanel's work in particular shining in the later half in showing how much he loves his wife in the moments grief.)

Louis Morgan said...

Armendariz - 3.5(Somewhat limited work, but he gives a moving portrayal of the quietly devote husband nonetheless.)

Milland - 3.5(The least of his works from the year but still rock solid work from him. He's mostly pushed to the side for much of the film, but he's good with what he has.)

Carradine - 3.5(A decently creepy turn in a largely forgettable film, in that I mostly can't remember it at this point.)

De Ambrosis - 3.5(A moving child performance. It is pretty straight forward largely reactionary work. He's good though in conveying sort of the boy's sense of understanding that grows and his work conveys the sense of distress through that.)

Price - 3.5(A fine sort of charming yet calmly confident work. In what is such a strange film that is even stranger that it work as it does. Price certainly aides that.)

Sweet - 3(Jump ahead to Sweet who is obviously not an actor, but oddly enough that kind of is the charm of his performance. He's out of place in a film with his accent and everything, but it strangely works.)

Culver & Brook - 3(Both border on a bit boring, but still convey enough wit in their work.)

Rooney - 2.5(His performance are always defined by just how much "dramatic" acting is there from him. The more of it, the worse he is, as he's actually pretty good when he's quiet. There's mostly quiet work, sadly one big dramatic scene where he as usual goes way too big, and falls flat.)

Louis Morgan said...

Young - 2.5(Overshadowed by both Laughton and O'Brien. He's occasionally minorly charming albeit briefly.)

Pidgeon - 2(Very bland and boring performance from an actor I often find a little bland to begin with.)

Jarrel - 4(He's an effective terror. This bringing in such a smug confidence within his performance as he berates all around him. This though as he naturally segues this to an equally smug sleaze of the character. This making for quite the memorable fiend to be sure.)

Tone - 4(I think they honestly introduce him a bit too late, which is a little bit of a shame as Tone is quite effective once he gets going a bit. This as Tone portrays the derangement actually in a rather calm and even introspective way that is rather interesting for the time. It's a shame as the character's a bit rushed but Tone is good with what he has.)

Portman - 4(The weirdness of the film continues right with Portman's character whose nature is a little bit more than strange. Portman though is good though in balancing the sort of nobility within the character's passion for history though wrapped around with a sense of darkness hinted in there all the same.)

Laughton - 4(A fun little performance this in just portraying the right sort of comic quality to his sad sack ghost.)

Slezak - 3.5(As the only slightly sympathetic Nazi Slezak is once again good, if less memorable than his Lifeboat turn. This in portraying the right determination in the inspector though nailing his essential final moment in portraying the character's limits with evil.)

Davenport - 3.5(A properly charming grandfatherly turn. This in bringing such an earnest winning warmth in his moments with Garland. This though with the right sort of comic edges when he can as well. Wonderful work from kind of an underrated character actor from the period.)

Gomez - 3.5(Speaking of underrated character actors, Gomez gives an unexpected turn in bringing the right sort of quiet passion and earnest qualities in the man trying to support a case even after it is said and done. Honestly reminded a bit of Bill Camp's work in The Night Of, if a bit briefer to be sure.)

Crisp - 3.5(Although the role is a little strangely written at times Crisp does a nice job balancing a certain fussiness with a genuine warmth as the father who takes a particular degree of action.)

Cigoli - 3.5(Moving in portraying the sad sack father in contrast to the performance of his wife in particular. Effective in just being this sort of weak willed horrible state.)

Louis Morgan said...


1. Barbara Stanwyck – Double Idemnity
2. Celia Johnson – This Happy Breed
3. Ingrid Bergman – Gaslight
4. Gene Tierney - Laura
5. Jennifer Jones – Since You Went Away
6. Shelia Sim – A Canterbury Tale
7. Claudette Colbert – Since You Went Away
8. Myrna Loy – The Thin Man Goes Home
9. Judy Garland – Meet Me in St. Louis – 4
10. Barbara Britton – Till We Meet Again - 4


Greer Garson – Mrs. Parkington
Madeleine Renaud – Le Ciel Est A Vous - 4

Supporting Actress;

1. Tallulah Bankhead – Lifeboat
2. Mai Zetterling – Torment – 4.5
3. Clair Trevor – Murder, My Sweet
4. Josephine Hull – Arsenic and Old Lace
5. Isa Pola – The Children Are Watching Us – 4
6. Kay Walsh – This Happy Breed
7. Jone Frigerio – The Children Are Watching Us – 4
8. Alison Leggatt – This Happy Breed
9. Agnes Moorehead – Mr.s Parkington – 4
10. Gladys Cooper – Mr.s Parkington


Amy Beness – This Happy Breed
Jean Adair - Arsenic and Old Lace

Gotta admit Luke, don’t love that request.

This Happy Breed is one I enjoyed more than I expected to , though in many ways it is a masterclass by David Lean on how to direct a play adaptation, this as he makes it wholly cinematic even as it remains largely a chamber-piece. A piece that I found a lot more affecting than I expected in revealing just such a mix of joy and heartbreak in granting such a detailed view of the working class English of the time. It is appreciative in the right way by showing both hardship but doing so with an appreciation for their moments of happiness as well.

A Canterbury Tale is a weird movie just the whole plot is strange, where it goes, and its structure is equally odd. It all works though is what is even stranger and is an oddly engaging and enjoyable watch despite being so weird in its off-beat mystery about a man who throws glue in women’s hair.

The Most Beautiful is easily Kurosawa’s worst film. Although still shot well and his visual sense of direction is there, it is a horrible propaganda film. Now a lot of the allied films were the same at the time, but they were a lot better at it. This in not only the message that managed to emphasize the individual, and things like, you know love and concern for one another. Here it is all about how the land is so important, and is more important than anything. Although it is a window into the mindset of Japan at the time. There is no character development, just reciting of that same rather terrible message over and over again. Shimura is sadly pushed just to repeat that same message in a few random scenes.

Re-watching the film again, Olivier is clearly a 4.5 for me. This just largely from his own choices to reduce the content of the character to largely a heroic force for good. It works in his approach for the film, but does limit how much he can do with the role which typically has a little more to it.

Louis Morgan said...


I guess they’d like to rule both categories. Although I’d say why not just completely own supporting actor, with probably a guaranteed win for Netflix. As I theoretically could see supporting actor as just someone from Mank, 2 or even 3 from Trial and Boseman. They got 3 last year in the category so it’s not out of the question. In lead, he may struggle more, given Netrlix already has contenders with Lindo and Oldman,


Largely a biopic of the time, just about Mark Twain. One of the better “then this happens” in that vein however.


Hey Louis
Say your TOP 7 of 1944 in the categories:
- SCREENPLAYS (original and adapted)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Gonna have to face your fears at some point. And I'm intrigued abut Woods.

Ratings and thoughts on Johnson, Sim, Loy, Garland, Britton, Garson, Renaud, Zetterling, Pola, Walsh, Frigerio, Leggatt, Moorehead, Cooper, Beness and Adair.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I don't mind if you save him until after the bonus rounds, I won't pressure you into reviewing him for the next backlog.

Anonymous said...

Louis, your ratings for Bergman, Tierney, Jones and Colbert.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Bergman's a five for Gaslight.

Louis Morgan said...



1. Laura
2. Gaslight
3. Henry V
4. Meet Me. In St. Louis
5. Since You Went Away
6. A Canterbury Tale
7. Double Indemnity


1. Laura
2. Murder, My Sweet
3. Gaslight
4. Phantom Lady
5. The Lodger
6. Ministry of Fear
7. Dark Waters


1. Double Indemnity
2. Laura
3. Gaslight
4. 30 Seconds Over Tokyo
5. This Happy Breed
6. Henry V
7. Ivan The Terrible Part I

Original Screenplay:

1. Lifeboat
2. A Canterbury Tale
3. Hail, the Conquering Hero
4. Uncertain Glory
5. None Shall Escape
6. The Adventures of Mark Twain
7. Ivan The Terrible Part I

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Double Indemnity
2. Laura
4. Gaslight
5. Henry V
6. This Happy Breed
7. Murder, My Sweet


1. Phyllis Dietrichson
2. Laura
3. Walter Neff
4. Slim Browning
5. Father O’Malley
6. Barton Keyes
7. Gregory Anton (What he’s doing anyways has become quite a popular phrase at least)


1. Double Indemnity
2. Lifeboat
3. Gaslight
4. This Happy Breed
5. Laura
6. Since You Went Away
7. The Children are Watching Us

Louis Morgan said...


I'm not afraid of the film, I just happen to know it's complete garbage on every level, except having a outlier central performance.

Johnson - (I mean Johnson seems to be one of those actresses who is incapable of being inauthentic. She is just so wonderfully honest in every possible way, and reminds of say a Sissy Spacek in just kind of being real. This is ideal here as the working class wife and mother. She representing this by being a person with such strict authenticity. This with moments of just a shared affection with the children and husband, that feel so palatable in her hands. This in her moments of heartbreak that couldn't be more devastating, especially the heartbreaking moment of her and Newton walking home after hearing terrible news. This though in the moments of strength and vulnerability that are earned in equal measure of just from an actress who never seemed to act for a moment. Incredible work.)

Sim - 4(Very charming work that is just so wonderfully earnest. She brings though a certain powerful sense of the emotional connection with the world bringing a needed honesty of just self that makes her feel properly authentic.)

Loy - (Same deal as Powell)

Britton - (A sort of imperfect performance at times, yet her remarkable moments are quite that. This in her moments of quietly reacting to Milland where she brings a nuance in her struggle to deal with her vows/mission. She's moving though in portraying sort of the quiet resilience yet heartbreak at the same time. Her final reaction in particular being quite moving to be sure.)

Garson - (Largely typical Garson though with an added bit of her aging. She's good though in portraying the aging of her character effectively.)

Renaud - (In a weird way I expected more. She's good though in bringing sort of this quiet sense of ensured quality within the character's devotion to make an atypical career choice for the time.)

Zetterling - (A precursor performance to the Bergman ladies in a certain respect. Although perhaps not realized as powerfully as directed, her work evokes a similar quality. This as she manages to portray really the sense of life within a desperate state. This in she conveys a earnest moving quality and charm, while also showing the raw distraught qualities within the woman as though she is rotting from the inside.)

Louis Morgan said...

Pola - (Effective in portraying the indifference seemingly of her character though in a way that emphasizes the humanity of the character. This in showing it as relating to her own desires more so than any concern for her son. Finding the right nuance in reacting to him in presenting a glimpse of motherly concern even if her wants overrides it.)

Walsh - (Effective as the sort of callous daughter. Although overshadowed in her scenes with Johnson, hard not to be. She's good though in not overplaying the sense of frustration in her state, and earning her final moment of reconciliation. This by not overplaying her more selfish qualities in comparison to her final change of heart.)

Frigerio - (A moving performance in contrast to Pola, this in naturally emphasizing the overt motherly concern despite not actually being the mother.)

Leggatt - (Mostly effective as the sort of kooky aunt, though finds her placement in her quiet moments of the woman behind sort of the state of treated as a caricature. She's moving in these moments naturally balancing the sides of the part.)

Veness - (Effective as the randomly incisive woman in the classic sort of British sense.)

Garland - (An effective example of Garland's star persona. Really plays into her strengths in finding more of the emphasis on a polite innocence and moments of just showcasing her singing. Plays to her strengths, and she succeeds within those strengths.)

Moorehead - (Although her accent is very standard Frenchie French, Moorehead is good in what is really a different role for her. This being in just a charming sort of type that is more luminous than her typically downtrodden or troubled roles. She's effective in playing this different type.)

Cooper - (As usual excels as the cold fish like few others. Brief rendition but a good one.)

Calvin Law said...

Glad you loved Johnson. As for 1994, I have the following recommendations:

- Jean Louis Trintignant for Three Colours: Red is a good choice but I also do think he belongs more in supporting, even though he was nominated in Lead at the Cesar awards. I’d give him a strong 4.5.

- Exotica is really good and underrated

- Hope you love Muriel’s Wedding and Collette and Griffiths’ performances.

- Hope you end up loving Hoop Dreams, it’s my favourite documentary and I think you’ll really dig it.

Very excited for this year.

Luke Higham said...

Yeah, Trintignant's supporting to Jacob in my opinion.