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Bethluvsfilms

When 'good guy/gal' actors suddenly play evil....

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Demure, refined Joan Fontaine, so nice and agreeable in Rebecca and Suspicion, showed she was capable of playing a femme fatale extraordinaire in Ivy (1947) and Born to Be Bad (1950).

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On 7/31/2018 at 8:21 PM, Arsan404 said:

Leading man Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall

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I sincerely like Robert Montgomery but would kill to have seen Emyln Williams in this role, on the stage or in the movie version. It seems he was magnificent and I've always wished I could have seen him in the role he wrote himself.

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7 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Just on last night: Darren McGavin's super-evil drug dealer in The Man with the Golden Arm.

And the mention of McGavin for some reason reminds me of Gene Kelly's insincere uber-cynical news reporter from Inherit the Wind.  Not "evil", just a lot slimier than his usual casting.

(Think McGavin had the part in the Kirk Douglas TV-movie version.)

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I don't believe anyone has mentioned George Sanders, who usually portrayed sinister villain types.  However, I've always enjoyed his role as a nice guy in Foreign Correspondent.

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On ‎8‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 5:27 PM, EricJ said:

And the mention of McGavin for some reason reminds me of Gene Kelly's insincere uber-cynical news reporter from Inherit the Wind.  Not "evil", just a lot slimier than his usual casting.

(Think McGavin had the part in the Kirk Douglas TV-movie version.)

Never saw the Kirk Douglas/Jason Robards version, though I would like to.

But Spencer Tracy and Fredric March are a tough act to follow, though Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott IMO more than rose to the challenge in the 1999 cable remake.

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 In the 1960s I think it was on the Hallmark Hall of Fame I saw a TV version of "Inherit the Wind "with Ed Begley and Melvyn Douglas.

As far as I can recall the two lead actors were as good if not better than the two actors in the

Stanley Kramer movie.

As for Kirk Douglas and Jason Robards, I never saw that but I believe Jason Robards could probably carry his own weight-- the other actor I'm not so sure about.. .  as for George C Scott, I will be looking forward to seeing that one day!

 

40 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Never saw the Kirk Douglas/Jason Robards version, though I would like to.

But Spencer Tracy and Fredric March are a tough act to follow, though Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott IMO more than rose to the challenge in the 1999 cable remake.

 

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On ‎8‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 11:20 AM, TomJH said:

James Cagney in White Heat

After becoming a star by playing a ruhtless gangster in The Public Enemy, Warners Brothers softened Cagney's screen image by having him play larcenous con men and, on occasion, a couple of (sympathetic) gangsters.

White Heat was different from anything previously seen in the actor's career (at least since Public Enemy) as he was playing a full blown psychopath. His cold blooded execution of two train engineers in the film's opening minutes told audiences that they were about to see something very different from their screen favourite.

280px-James_Cagney_in_White_Heat_trailer

The only gangster character of Cagney's that I found to be at all sympathetic is Eddie Bartlett in THE ROARING TWENTIES. And that was because he only really went into a life of crime because he had been unable to find employment since he returned from the war.

Tom Powers in THE PUBLIC ENEMY was mean to the core. Even Rocky Sullivan in ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, while he could be charming when he wanted to be and it's easy to see why the kids in the neighborhood would be fascinated with him, was still a rotten guy.

(SPOILERS here): Many have argued that reform school made him a more ruthless person than he would have been otherwise, but one has to remember WHY he ended up there in the first place....he tried to steal some valuable pens locked up in a train.

Rocky's one redeeming character trait is he did have some loyalty to Father Jerry, hence why he wouldn't let Keefer and Frazier (Humphrey Bogart's character) bump him off. So in that sole aspect he is a bit more likable than either Tom or Cody Jarrett.

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On 8/3/2018 at 1:57 PM, starliteyes said:

I don't believe anyone has mentioned George Sanders, who usually portrayed sinister villain types.  However, I've always enjoyed his role as a nice guy in Foreign Correspondent.

I just watched that last night! Not my first time, but first time in a long time. And I thought the same thing! He's like totally chill, as the kids say (or said five years ago). He's not trying to be a romantic rival with Joel McCrea or upstage him in his quest to get the story. He's the perfect buddy. And he's quite heroic in the scene where he keeps Albert Basserman from spilling the beans. I will say there's just a hint of how he can be ominous when he tries to blackmail Herbert Marshall with his allegedly kidnapped daughter (the kidnapping is extremely innocuous, but Marshall doesn't know that!).

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8 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

The only gangster character of Cagney's that I found to be at all sympathetic is Eddie Bartlett in THE ROARING TWENTIES. And that was because he only really went into a life of crime because he had been unable to find employment since he returned from the war.

Tom Powers in THE PUBLIC ENEMY was mean to the core. Even Rocky Sullivan in ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, while he could be charming when he wanted to be and it's easy to see why the kids in the neighborhood would be fascinated with him, was still a rotten guy.

(SPOILERS here): Many have argued that reform school made him a more ruthless person than he would have been otherwise, but one has to remember WHY he ended up there in the first place....he tried to steal some valuable pens locked up in a train.

Rocky's one redeeming character trait is he did have some loyalty to Father Jerry, hence why he wouldn't let Keefer and Frazier (Humphrey Bogart's character) bump him off. So in that sole aspect he is a bit more likable than either Tom or Cody Jarrett.

I can't agree with you at all, Bev, about Rocky being a "rotten guy."

Sullivan was highly sympathetic, clearly presented as a victim of society, the boy who "couldn't run fast" and might have been different if not sent to reform school. So what if he stole pens to arrive there? That's street kid stuff, hardly the behaviour of someone doomed to a life of crime. You see the tough guy's rapport with the Dead End Kids and Ann Sheridan, as well as his softening to a large degree around his priest pal.

Sullivan is a classic sentimentalized movie gangster portrait, deliberately trying to gain the audience's sympathy in spite of his ruthlessness when angered (and the only guys with whom he is ruthless are gangsters who deserve it the audience's eyes - even a few of the cops in this film are presented as hard cases, not designed for audience sympathy, even if they are on the right side of the law).

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30 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I can't agree with you at all, Bev, about Rocky being a "rotten guy."

Sullivan was highly sympathetic, clearly presented as a victim of society, the boy who "couldn't run fast" and might have been different if not sent to reform school. So what if he stole pens to arrive there? That's street kid stuff, hardly the behaviour of someone doomed to a life of crime. You see the tough guy's rapport with the Dead End Kids and Ann Sheridan, as well as his softening to a large degree around his priest pal.

Sullivan is a classic sentimentalized movie gangster portrait, deliberately trying to gain the audience's sympathy in spite of his ruthlessness when angered (and the only guys with whom he is ruthless are gangsters who deserve it the audience's eyes - even a few of the cops in this film are presented as hard cases, not designed for audience sympathy, even if they are on the right side of the law).

Stealing pens might seem like  'kid stuff' but it demonstrates that Rocky clearly had no regard for the law or rules even before he gets incarcerated.

I just don't see Rocky as any 'victim of society' as you do. Did reform school make him a bigger criminal than he would have been if he hadn't been caught? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that he was in and out of jail up to the time he meets his fate at the end of the film....he could have made a better choice to lead a different life (and Father Jerry I have no doubt would have tried to help him land on his feet) but I think the lure of crime was just too strong and exciting for him to give it up.

As I say Rocky can certainly be charming up to a point, but his charm would have proved fatal in the long run. The Dead End Kids were starting to act a bit too much like him and even Laurie (Ann's character) was starting to fall under his unsavory influence. 

I'll grant you that Keefer and Frazier got what was coming to them, but the police were simply doing their jobs. With guys like Rocky sometimes you have to be a hard case.

Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on Rocky. But as I said before, his undying loyalty to Father Jerry can't be dismissed. 

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46 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Stealing pens might seem like  'kid stuff' but it demonstrates that Rocky clearly had no regard for the law or rules even before he gets incarcerated.

I just don't see Rocky as any 'victim of society' as you do. Did reform school make him a bigger criminal than he would have been if he hadn't been caught? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that he was in and out of jail up to the time he meets his fate at the end of the film....he could have made a better choice to lead a different life (and Father Jerry I have no doubt would have tried to help him land on his feet) but I think the lure of crime was just too strong and exciting for him to give it up.

As I say Rocky can certainly be charming up to a point, but his charm would have proved fatal in the long run. The Dead End Kids were starting to act a bit too much like him and even Laurie (Ann's character) was starting to fall under his unsavory influence. 

I'll grant you that Keefer and Frazier got what was coming to them, but the police were simply doing their jobs. With guys like Rocky sometimes you have to be a hard case.

Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on Rocky. But as I said before, his undying loyalty to Father Jerry can't be dismissed. 

I think the message of the film regarding Rocky is provided by Pat O'Brien in his final line in the film when he says "Lets say a prayer for a boy who couldn't run as fast as me." Clearly that line reinforces the film's narrative that Rocky was a victim of society. That adds significantly to any audience sympathy for his character.

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Ray Milland was never better than when he was bad - as in Kitty, So Evil My Love, Dial M For Murder and 1957's The River's Edge.

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2 hours ago, clore said:

Ray Milland was never better than when he was bad - as in Kitty, So Evil My Love, Dial M For Murder and 1957's The River's Edge.

I'd include Alias Nick Beal.

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Although I've never seen the film, doesn't Ronald Reagan play a nasty character in The Killers from 1964?

Also, as for bad guys who act good for a change, I give you Claude Akins and Robert J. Wilke in From Here to Eternity.

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On 8/7/2018 at 9:01 AM, TomJH said:

I think the message of the film regarding Rocky is provided by Pat O'Brien in his final line in the film when he says "Lets say a prayer for a boy who couldn't run as fast as me." 

I think that line shows that Father Jerry wasn't paying attention in English class.

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8 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Although I've never seen the film, doesn't Ronald Reagan play a nasty character in The Killers from 1964?

Also, as for bad guys who act good for a change, I give you Claude Akins and Robert J. Wilke in From Here to Eternity.

Yep, Rich. Ronnie basically played the character(different name though) that Albert Dekker played in the '46 version...the crime boss.

Ronnie's pretty good in it, too.

(...btw...Albert Dekker...did HE ever play a good guy at all, I wonder?)

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37 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Yep, Rich. Ronnie basically played the character(different name though) that Albert Dekker played in the '46 version...the crime boss.

Ronnie's pretty good in it, too.

(...btw...Albert Dekker...did HE ever play a good guy at all, I wonder?)

I remember Dekker playing a detective one time, but can't recall the film title. He also plays a sympathetic character in She Devil, trying to convince Jack Kelly that Mari Blanchard is basically the spawn of Satan. 

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22 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Yep, Rich. Ronnie basically played the character(different name though) that Albert Dekker played in the '46 version...the crime boss.

Ronnie's pretty good in it, too.

(...btw...Albert Dekker...did HE ever play a good guy at all, I wonder?)

He was a good guy in Suddenly Last Summer (as the head physician,  but he did want the money for the hospital) and as March's friend in Middle of the Night with Kim Novak (saying to Fred,  hey I'd go for 'it',  since guys our age don't get opportunities like that everyday!).

 

 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I'd include Alias Nick Beal.

Damn - I knew that I forgot one. And to have forgotten his most evil character - the devil made me forget it. ;)

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On 7/31/2018 at 1:09 PM, CinemaInternational said:

Jimmy Stewart in After the Thin Man.

James Stewart was also the bad guy the mountie (Nelson Eddy) is after in Rose Marie.

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