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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Lead or Supporting Role?


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#381 Bogie56

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:36 PM

 

1953: Children are almost automatically put in the supporting category, even Tatum O’Neal in PAPER MOON. SHANE is seen through the eyes of Brandon de Wilde, and I think he has a leading role. Geraldine Page in HONDO should be in the lead category, too, whereas Antony in JULIUS CAESAR is a supporting role—only Brutus is a lead—and Marlon Brando should be moved to supporting.

 

 

Leading vs. Supporting Categories in 1953…

 

I agree that Marlon Brando belongs in the supporting category for Julius Caesar.  He just isn’t the focus of the film for any length of time.  James Mason is the only lead in that film.

 

Yes, Geraldine Page belongs in the leading category for Hondo.  I’m not sure why Oscar put her in support.

 

Both Yves Montand and Charles Vanel are leads in The Wages of Fear and the others are supporting.

 

Danielle Darrieux and Charles Boyer are the leads of The Earrings of Madame De… and the others supporting.

 

Having seen The Big Heat again recently I concluded that Gloria Grahame’s part was supporting.

 

Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters and Joseph Cotten are all leads in Niagra.

 

 

Brandon de Wilde, Shane and Ava Gardner, Mogambo are probably rightfully in the supporting categories.  I see your point about Shane being from the p.o.v. of de Wilde but is he actually in the film that much?



#382 Bogie56

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 04:17 AM

I think Saint is definitely a lead in North by Northwest. The closer question is On the Waterfront. Is Brando the only lead, or is Saint also a lead? I'm inclined to consider her a lead there, too, but will go along with the group.

 

I agree with speed racer that Saint is a lead in North by Northwest and supporting in On the Waterfront.  She is very much the focus in the first and not so much in the latter.

But I would think that James Mason is the male supporting actor in NBN.



#383 speedracer5

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:27 AM

I think Saint is definitely a lead in North by Northwest. The closer question is On the Waterfront. Is Brando the only lead, or is Saint also a lead? I'm inclined to consider her a lead there, too, but will go along with the group.

I think she's supporting.  While her story definitely influences the storyline, it is ultimately Marlon Brando's story of him trying to prove himself as more than a dense, wannabe prizefighter.  He wants to show his corrupt union bosses that he's not afraid to testify against them for the crime he witnessed.

 

I would say that On the Waterfront only has one lead--Brando.


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#384 kingrat

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:14 AM

I think Saint is definitely a lead in North by Northwest. The closer question is On the Waterfront. Is Brando the only lead, or is Saint also a lead? I'm inclined to consider her a lead there, too, but will go along with the group.

 

 



#385 skimpole

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:03 AM

I think that Saint is the lead in the film.  She is the character who uses her feminine wiles to lead Grant to Vandamm.  Without her, Grant wouldn't have found Vandamm.  I would say that James Mason is a lead as well, as it is he who causes Grant to get into his predicament in the first place.  

 

I don't think the strategic importance of the character to the plot can be what decides the issue.  Otherwise Claudius and Hamlet's father would also be leads, as would the murder victim in every murder mystery.



#386 speedracer5

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 11:41 PM

The only movie that comes to mind where there are TWO Leading Roles is Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in 1962's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Bette was up for best actress for that movie but Joan sabotaged it so no one would nominate Bette for her role of Baby Jane Hudson. If Crawford hadn't gone around to everyone telling them not to nominate Davis--Davis would have been the first actress to win 3 Oscars.

 

There are plenty of films where there are two leading roles: (Double Indemnity, Barbara Stanwyck & Fred MacMurray; Casablanca Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid BergmanIt Happened One Night, Claudette Colbert & Clark Gableto name a few).

 

Bette Davis was nominated for her role in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? but Joan Crawford was not.  In the days leading up to the Academy Award ceremony, Crawford contacted all the other Best Actress nominees to find out if any of them could not accept their awards and to ask if she could accept on their behalf.  Anne Bancroft ended up winning for The Miracle Worker, but could not attend the ceremony because she was in New York appearing in a play.  Bancroft told Crawford she could accept her award.  When Bancroft's name was announced and Davis' wasn't, Crawford triumphantly rushed up stage to accept it--she was absolutely thrilled that Davis hadn't won--even if Davis' victory would have meant more business for their film.

 

Crawford and Davis' contempt for one another is the reason why Crawford quit one-week into the production of Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and was replaced with Olivia de Havilland, a close friend of Davis'. 

 

For what it's worth, I much prefer Davis over Crawford.  I like Crawford in one part of her career, her 1940s-1950s output, before she had the enormous lips and eyebrows.  I didn't think she was that great in her 1930s films, her dancing is horrible.  In the 1960s, she became a parody of herself.  Davis, I think, was a more interesting personality on screen and had a more well-rounded career.


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#387 speedracer5

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 11:33 PM

Is Eva Marie-Saint lead or supporting for North by Northwest?  The case for supporting is that she's the last major character to appear, and she basically appears in four scenes (the train, Chicago/the auction, the Mount Rushmore restaurant and the climax). 

 

I think that Saint is the lead in the film.  She is the character who uses her feminine wiles to lead Grant to Vandamm.  Without her, Grant wouldn't have found Vandamm.  I would say that James Mason is a lead as well, as it is he who causes Grant to get into his predicament in the first place.  


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#388 skimpole

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 11:24 PM

Is Eva Marie-Saint lead or supporting for North by Northwest?  The case for supporting is that she's the last major character to appear, and she basically appears in four scenes (the train, Chicago/the auction, the Mount Rushmore restaurant and the climax). 



#389 Tisher Price

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 07:08 PM

The only movie that comes to mind where there are TWO Leading Roles is Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in 1962's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Bette was up for best actress for that movie but Joan sabotaged it so no one would nominate Bette for her role of Baby Jane Hudson. If Crawford hadn't gone around to everyone telling them not to nominate Davis--Davis would have been the first actress to win 3 Oscars.

 

 


​"Ya unn't gonna sell this house, an' ya unn't gonna leave it EITHER!"--​Bette Davis as Jane Hudson in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)


#390 kingrat

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 07:01 PM

I re-watched The Caine Mutiny recently because my spouse expressed an interest in seeing it (love it when that happens). He expressed surprised that Humphrey Bogart's entrance in the film was so delayed. He also was surprised that we didn't learn what happened to Captain Queeg after the trial. I think his reactions point up how clearly Bogart is playing a supporting role here. By the way, I looked up Wikipedia's article on the novel: Captain Queeg is sent to a naval supply depot in Iowa, obviously the end of his career.

 

Because I was looking for such things, it seemed very clear that Robert Francis plays the one and only leading role. The film opens with his graduation from Annapolis; he gets the only romantic interlude; and we follow his career and maturation from stage to stage. He's the only person we follow after the trial, as he reunites with his girlfriend. Francis' inexperience and relative lack of charisma make it harder to recognize how large his role is. He's not bad, and is perfectly cast for the part, but he can't hold his own against the top-notch pros.

 

Although I hadn't remembered Tom Tully much at all, this time I thought he gave a very fine performance as Francis' first captain. Always believable, never reaching for effects. His Oscar nomination isn't as much of a head-scratcher as I had thought.


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#391 kingrat

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 06:19 PM

Joan Greenwood has one of the most wonderful line readings in The Importance of Being Ernest, making this sound like the greatest tragedy of all time:

 

"I asked for bread and butter, but you have given me cake."

 

You probably have to have the Greenwood voice to make this a memorable line.

 


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#392 Bogie56

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:58 PM

Who are the leading roles in "The Importance of Being Earnest"? Is Joan Greenwood leading or supporting?

 

For "From Here to Eternity" I would suggest that Lancaster, Clift and Kerr are three leading roles.

 

I have Greenwood as supporting as do some others.  Some have suggested that Edith Evans might be considered a lead but the house is divided.  Redgrave is a lead for certain!


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#393 CoraSmith

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:55 PM

Who are the leading roles in "The Importance of Being Earnest"? Is Joan Greenwood leading or supporting?

 

For "From Here to Eternity" I would suggest that Lancaster, Clift and Kerr are three leading roles. 

 

For "How to Marry a Millionaire" I think there are three female leading roles; each has her own storyline.


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#394 Bogie56

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:53 PM

Bogie, what year is Beat the Devil?

 

1953 presents a few questions, too:

 

From Here to Eternity - Do you consider Deborah Kerr leading or supporting?

 

The Big Heat - Is Gloria Grahame leading or supporting?

 

Niagara - Is Marilyn Monroe leading or supporting? I tend to see Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters as the leads.

 

Julius Caesar - I believe we've established that James Mason is the only lead.

 

How To Marry a Millionaire - I see Bacall and Grable as the stars, unsure about Monroe.

 

Yikes, I had always had Beat the Devil as a 1954 film but I see wikipedia is quite clear that it is a British film released in 1953.  Even the imdb concurs on that.  I'm glad you mentioned it as I wouldn't want to leave that film out of 1953!

I think Kerr, Lancaster and Clift are the 3 leads in From Here to Eternity.

I saw The Big Heat again a few weeks ago and determined that Gloria Grahame is supporting.  It is a close call because of her screen time but it seemed like supporting to me.

I have 3 leads in Niagra.  Cotten, Monroe and Peters.

I only seen bits of How to Marry.


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#395 kingrat

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:08 PM

Bogie, what year is Beat the Devil?

 

1953 presents a few questions, too:

 

From Here to Eternity - Do you consider Deborah Kerr leading or supporting?

 

The Big Heat - Is Gloria Grahame leading or supporting?

 

Niagara - Is Marilyn Monroe leading or supporting? I tend to see Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters as the leads.

 

Julius Caesar - I believe we've established that James Mason is the only lead.

 

How To Marry a Millionaire - I see Bacall and Grable as the stars, unsure about Monroe.



#396 Bogie56

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:27 AM

That is weird.  Looking at last year's BAFTA eligibility rules, the deadline for theatrical release isn't December 31, as one might expect, or December 25, (so that they have a week in the theatres), but February 12 of this year.   But movies which open after January 1 are eligible if they are "screened" for BAFTA voters by December 17.  I don't know what the rules were in 1959, but that might explain the oddity.  The rules for 2007 awards give a similar deadline for February 8.

 

Yes, as a BAFTA member I am aware of that rule.  I somehow cannot believe that Room at the Top would have managed to get enough votes to win best picture with a few member screenings only.  There were no dvd or vhs screeners sent to members in those days.  The first round of votes are cast at the beginning of January to determine the nominees.

A google search of Variety reviews came up with December 31, 1958.  That would infer a public screening.  There are many publications that list Room as a 1958 film.  Lots more list it as 1959.

This may explain the confusion:  In July 1958 the film went before the British censor Board and was given an X rating.  Terry Bolas writes in his book Screen Education: From Film Appreciation to Media Studies about Room at the Top.  It is complicated, but it includes a report that was written in 1958 based on a review of the film.  "...the controversy which had surrounded the release of Room at the Top in 1958 when the Report was being written.  Given an X certificate, Rank cinemas had refused to screen the film, which had consequently been released in smaller independent cinemas."

So, I would think that the January 1959 general release came on the heels of the films growing popularity in 1958.

That's as far as I have gotten on the matter at this time.



#397 skimpole

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 02:50 AM

I didn't wish to start a new thread to debate the year of release of this film so here is my post ...

I view Room at the Top as a 1958 film.  Both the imdb and wikipedia list it as 1959.  Wikipedia goes as far as to say it was released in the UK on January 22, 1959.

Yet it won Britain's BAFTA Award for Best Picture of 1958 and Simone Signoret won Best Actress for 1958 as well.  This is well before the days of vhs or dvd screeners so I would say that Room at the Top had to have been in release in the UK in late 1958.

There are not many instances where I chose to ignore the imdb or wikipedia but this is one of them.  Of course, everyone is free to chose as they wish.

I am going with 1967 for Mel Brooks The Producers.  Wikipedia says the film was released March 18, 1968 but then in its release notes it goes on to say that it had a disastrous initial release in Pittsburg on November 22, 1967.  So, for me 1967 it is.

 

That is weird.  Looking at last year's BAFTA eligibility rules, the deadline for theatrical release isn't December 31, as one might expect, or December 25, (so that they have a week in the theatres), but February 12 of this year.   But movies which open after January 1 are eligible if they are "screened" for BAFTA voters by December 17.  I don't know what the rules were in 1959, but that might explain the oddity.  The rules for 2007 awards give a similar deadline for February 8.


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#398 Bogie56

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:39 AM

I didn't wish to start a new thread to debate the year of release of this film so here is my post ...

I view Room at the Top as a 1958 film.  Both the imdb and wikipedia list it as 1959.  Wikipedia goes as far as to say it was released in the UK on January 22, 1959.

Yet it won Britain's BAFTA Award for Best Picture of 1958 and Simone Signoret won Best Actress for 1958 as well.  This is well before the days of vhs or dvd screeners so I would say that Room at the Top had to have been in release in the UK in late 1958.

There are not many instances where I chose to ignore the imdb or wikipedia but this is one of them.  Of course, everyone is free to chose as they wish.

I am going with 1967 for Mel Brooks The Producers.  Wikipedia says the film was released March 18, 1968 but then in its release notes it goes on to say that it had a disastrous initial release in Pittsburg on November 22, 1967.  So, for me 1967 it is.



#399 Bogie56

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:34 AM

 

1952: Richard Burton obviously belonged in the star category for MY COUSIN RACHEL. I would probably put Colette Marchand there, too, for MOULIN ROUGE. Although she disappears after the first half of the film, it’s much the largest and most important female role, second in importance only to Jose Ferrer’s Toulouse-Lautrec.

 

 

 

Leading vs. Supporting Categories in 1952…

 

I don’t think there is any question that Richard Burton belongs in the leading actor category for My Cousin Rachel.  He was a relatively new Hollywood star in 1952 and de Havilland was the marquee name but Burton’s part was still a lead.

 

Jack Palance belongs in the leading category for Sudden Fear for much the same reasons as Burton does for My Cousin Rachel.

 

I am putting Michael Macliammoir’s Iago as a co-lead in Orson Welles’ Othello.  Desdemona is supporting.

 

I have Collette Marchard as supporting in Moulin Rouge.  Ferrer is the sole lead.

 



#400 Bogie56

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:31 AM

Bogie, is The Pawnbroker also 1964? I believe that it and The Train were shown at film festivals in Europe in 1964, but released elsewhere in 1965.

 

With Scofield and Ustinov gone, I'm done to six candidates for best supporting actor in 1964, even with the addition of two from The Pawnbroker.

 

If we're looking ahead to 1965: I consider Olivier, Finlay, and Maggie Smith all leads for Othello.

 

Claire Bloom a lead for The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.

 

Orson Welles and Keith Baxter both leads for Chimes at Midnight.

 

Dirk Bogarde is a lead in Darling. He won the BAFTA for Best Actor. Laurence Harvey, though top-billed, is supporting.

 

Who are the leads in Ship of Fools? Werner, Signoret, and Leigh?

 

1964 for The Pawnbroker.

Re, Othello.  Othello and Iago are co-leads and Desdemona is supporting.

Bloom is supporting in Spy.  She just isn't in the film that much and it certainly isn't her story.

Baxter and Welles are co-leads in Chimes.

Werner, Signoret and Leigh as co-leads of Ship of Fools.


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