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rayban

Neglected Performances by Young Actors in World-Class Films

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Julie Herrod as Audrey Hepburn's neighbor in WAIT UNTIL DARK was very good.

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23 hours ago, DougieB said:

Definitely Mary Badham and Phillip Alford in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). I'm sure everyone who's seen the movie appreciated their amazing performances, but their names seem to have faded with time, Phillip's especially, so in a sense they're neglected. I can't imagine better casting and even when I reread the book now I see their faces.

P.S. Also John Megna as "Dill". I had to go to the data base for his name, which is a shame.

I read the book before ever seeing the movie, but had NO image in my mind for any of the kids.  But AFTER seeing the movie, of course when re-reading the book, those kids come to mind.  ;) 

I recognized young MEGNA from earlier TV appearances, but too, didn't know his name. 

 

And although there are several here that absolutely HATE "FORREST GUMP", it must be admitted that  MICHAEL CONNER HUMPHREYS, who played Forrest as a youth did a pretty nice job of it.  As did HANNA R. HALL as the young Jenny. 

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, sagebrush said:

Julie Herrod as Audrey Hepburn's neighbor in WAIT UNTIL DARK was very good.

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Yes, Julie Herrod gave Audrey Hepburn excellent support in "Wait Until Dark".

I always remember her line (and I probably paraphrase) - "Gee, why can't something like this happen every weekend."

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Virginia Wiedler as the hilariously bratty yet endearing Dinah Lord in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. She's not to everybody's taste, but I thought she was a hoot.

Natalie Wood in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. She's so adorable in this, that's the way I choose to remember her by.

 

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13 hours ago, rayban said:

Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin in Jack Clayton's "The Innocents" - 1961 -

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Love this movie, and these child actors were brilliant, as was Deborah Kerr. Ending was a downer, but also tragically satisfying in a way.

 

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"The Night of the Hunter" is one of my all-time favorite movies.  In the book on the making of this movie, Billy Chapin refused to be interviewed.  That's really sad, because I'm sure he could have offered so much.  I can only assume that his experience making this was not a pleasant one.

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6 minutes ago, Terrence1 said:

"The Night of the Hunter" is one of my all-time favorite movies.  In the book on the making of this movie, Billy Chapin refused to be interviewed.  That's really sad, because I'm sure he could have offered so much.  I can only assume that his experience making this was not a pleasant one.

This is only hearsay, mind you, it may be true, or it may be a bunch of hogwash, but I have heard that Charles Laughton wasn't particularly fond of working with children, at least as far as THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER goes. 

Robert Mitchum apparently had to direct the scenes involving him and the kids.

As I say, I can't say whether this is true or not, but if it is, it would certainly explain why Billy would be reluctant to talk about the film or the making of the film.

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1 hour ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

This is only hearsay, mind you, it may be true, or it may be a bunch of hogwash, but I have heard that Charles Laughton wasn't particularly fond of working with children, at least as far as THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER goes. 

Robert Mitchum apparently had to direct the scenes involving him and the kids.

As I say, I can't say whether this is true or not, but if it is, it would certainly explain why Billy would be reluctant to talk about the film or the making of the film.

Beth-- Charles Laughton is one of the personalities of the Golden Age  who defied realistic expectations.

I would say the same thing probably about Errol Flynn and a handful of others.

So more than likely, there's some truth in what you're saying.

When some people have such open ended reputations-- one is more likely to accept more possibilities concerning their behavior-- even if it is just hearsay--but it is going back decades.

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Those of you who have praised the work of Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce in The Night of the Hunter would do well to watch the extensive outtakes that are included on the Criterion edition.  They go a long way in showing how their performances were shaped, and the struggle Laughton sometimes had to get little Sally to focus.  I myself will have to respectfully disagree with either performance being called naturalistic.  Pretty much all of the performances in that movie were intentionally artificial, with Gish probably coming closest to being natural.  I've always found Chapin wooden in the part and the one weak link among the actors.  Sally Jane Bruce, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect as an archetypal innocent.  She looks like a porcelain doll come to life and possessed a delightful sing-song way of speaking -- "John made a SIN! John told a LIE!"

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I'll add to the list Gigi Perreau in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952).  When I saw this movie for the first time last year, I immediately thought this child was the greatest child star I've never heard of.  She has great chemistry with Charles Coburn and strikes the perfect balance between cute and preternaturally mature.

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Rex Thompson as Prince Edward/King Edward VI in MGM's "Young Bess" - 1953 -

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Young Edna May Wonacott had no aspirations of being an actress when Alfred Hitchcock spotted her with her cousins in Santa Rosa, CA, while checking out the local for his film SHADOW OF A DOUBT. He soon had her screen tested in Los Angeles and then cast her as Teresa Wright's bookworm sister in the film. I thought she did a pretty darn good job, too. She credited Hitchcock for his explicit direction.

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Yes, Alfred Hitchcock was a very astute director - he could get a performance out of a non-actress.

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Nadine Nortier in Robert Bresson's "Mouchette" - 1967 -

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Guillame des Forets in Robert Bresson's "Four Nights Of A Dreamer" - 1971 -

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Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" (Disney; 2000). Granted, the material is slightly overdone, but she managed to do a superb job as young Helen. I find it a shame that no one talks about her these days. Her brother is Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network). 

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Going back to Gigi Perreau, I thought she did a great job in "Shadow on the Wall" (1950) with Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, and Nancy Reagan. She made me believe her character was actually frightened.  

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Tim Considine in Robert Z. Leonard's "The Clown" - 1953 -


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(It's not exactly a world-class film, but the performance is so ingratiating.)

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Ana Torrent in Cria Cuervos.  There are actresses who have given two oscar-worthy performances in three years.  None were as young as Torrent.

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Dickie Moore in the most ornate soap opera ever filmed, Josef von Sternberg's "Blonde Venus" - 1932 -

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Barry Gordon wasn't really a child (he was actually 17) when he played the role of Nick Burns in A THOUSAND CLOWNS, but he was terrific in the film, nonetheless.

 

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Joey Walsh as Peter in Charles Vidor's "Hans Christian Andersen" - 1952 -

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My choice for best actor of 1987:  Babek Ahmed Poor in Where is the Friend's Home?

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