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Essential Character Actors

August 29, 2014 // 1 Comment

Essential Character Actors this is a work in progress (and currently male only) please check back later for updates During the studio era character actors were common (and respected) much more so than today. Whether it was MGM Warner Bros. or you name it each company had some stock players that were excellent supporting players whether they were typecast or not. Sometimes it was directors (e.g. like John Ford later copied by Clint Eastwood) who [...]

Smiling Ghost (1941)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Smiling Ghost (1941) Directed by Lewis Seiler with a screenplay by Kenneth Gamet and Stuart Palmer that was based on Palmer’s original story this mildly entertaining (B movie) mystery comedy features one of prolific racially typecast character actor Willie Best’s longest on-screen performances. Though billed only eighth Best (in a subservient and fairly stereotypical if expanded role for him) appears and speaks as much as any other [...]

Great Everyman Actors

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Great Everyman Actors Two prolific actors who specialized in playing ordinary men often put in extraordinary circumstances AND historical persons “known” to most Americans were Gary ‘Coop’ Cooper and James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart. Both men generated a lot of “good will” for themselves the way they conducted themselves off-screen (at least for most of their lives) as well. Although John Wayne earned a Congressional Medal [...]

Rain Man (1988)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Rain Man (1988) An Academy Award Best Picture buddy film: one is a selfish yuppie the other is his institutionalized savant brother featuring an unforgettable performance from Best Actor Dustin Hoffman (one of his two Oscars the other was earned in 1979’s Best Picture). Lots of hilarious interplay in this one. Director Barry Levinson won his only Oscar (to date) as did the Original Screenplay. #63 on AFI’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies [...]

Sayonara (1957)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Sayonara (1957) The story is about the restrictions placed upon American servicemen stationed in Japan during the Korean War – “there will be no sanctioned fraternization between Americans and the natives” – and racism. Red Buttons as Joe Kelly and Miyoshi Umeki (later TV’s Mrs. Livingston on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father) as Katsumi in her film debut earned Supporting Actor/Actress Oscars (their only [...]

Patsy The (1928) – full review!

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Patsy The (1928) – full review! Directed by the great King Vidor this Marion Davies silent comedy also stars Marie Dressler in the comeback role credited with keeping the great dame from taking her own life and rejuvenating her career. Reportedly Vidor hadn’t considered “drama queen” Davies appropriate for comedic roles until he got better acquainted with her and her sense of humor socially at William Randolph [...]

Hallelujah! (1929)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Hallelujah! (1929) An early (dubbed after the fact) sound era Musical drama set in the deep South and featuring an all Black cast from director King Vidor who not only wrote its story but received an Academy Award nomination for his direction. Wanda Tuchock and Richard Schayer wrote the screenplay. After being duped into gambling away his family’s cotton crop money to Hot Shot (William Fountaine) under the influence of a juke joint dancer [...]

I Live for Love (1935)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

I Live for Love (1935) Directed by Busby Berkeley this average B (comedy musical romance) movie’s story and screenplay were written by Robert Andrews Julius Epstein and Jerry Wald. It features tenor Everett Marshall (in his second and last film) as a street singer who shows up at a theater at just the right time looking for work. The theater manager (Berton Churchill) and his assistant (the recognizable Hobart Cavanaugh) are trying to [...]

Sister Kenny (1946) – full review!

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Sister Kenny (1946) – full review! Produced directed and co-written by the Academy Award winning screenwriter Dudley Nichols (The Informer (1935)) who adapted Elizabeth Kenny’s autobiographical novel And They Shall Walk (co-written with Martha Ostenso) along with actor Alexander Knox (Wilson (1944)) and Mary McCarthy this above average biographical drama about the Australian nurse who helped discover the treatment for infantile [...]

General Died at Dawn The (1936)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

General Died at Dawn The (1936) If not for all the grandstanding speeches contained within its dialogue this adventure drama might have been better. As it is it’s notable for earning Akim Tamiroff his first of two unrewarded Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominations. Cinematographer Victor Milner (Cleopatra (1934)) also picked up an Oscar nomination as did the film’s Score. Directed by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western [...]
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