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Zea

CHEW THAT SCENERY!

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Which actors and actresses would you consider the most scenery chewing?

There's been one specific actor already mentioned in some recent posts, so I'll go for some others. Interestingly, more hammy males came to mind than females.  Also, I think quite a few actors & actresses tended to over play it the older they got.  But that may be a whole different topic.

AL PACINO and RICHARD BURTON

KATHERINE HEPBURN and MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE

BTW: Due to the fact that I stand on my rights not to self-incriminate myself or my avatar, I cannot in all good conscience nominate Bette Davis, even though she's probably a very strong contender in some people's eyes. 

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3 hours ago, Zea said:

KATHERINE HEPBURN and MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE

I saw Suddenly Last Summer for the first time on TCM I think early this year, featuring KathArine and Mercedes. Boy, between the two of them and Elizabeth Taylor for good measure, there was a LOT of scenery chewing in that movie. Montgomery Clift is the only one with any subtlety. I'm pretty unfamiliar with McCambridge's body of work. I just know she was so great in All the King's Men, which made me really excited to see she was in this movie ... until I actually watched it.

 

3 hours ago, Zea said:

AL PACINO and RICHARD BURTON

Both got a lot less subtle as their careers went on, didn't they? Hoo-wah! Heat is probably the best Pacino performance in the last quarter century, but he does some scenery-chewing in it, too. Compare with DeNiro's even-keel, slow-burning intensity throughout.

In addition to the ones listed above, I would say Burt Lancaster went on a generally increasing-haminess slide in his later career, though he largely reined it in in Atlantic City. At the risk of being controversial, I would say almost every Sidney Poitier performance post-In the Heat of the Night was pretty hammy. I'm trying to think of an actress to add to the list who hasn't been mentioned already. Sally Field and Glenn Close have had their moments.

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5 hours ago, Zea said:

Which actors and actresses would you consider the most scenery chewing?

There's been one specific actor already mentioned in some recent posts, so I'll go for some others. Interestingly, more hammy males came to mind than females.  Also, I think quite a few actors & actresses tended to over play it the older they got.  But that may be a whole different topic.

AL PACINO and RICHARD BURTON

KATHERINE HEPBURN and MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE

BTW: Due to the fact that I stand on my rights not to self-incriminate myself or my avatar, I cannot in all good conscience nominate Bette Davis, even though she's probably a very strong contender in some people's eyes. 

BTW,  I loved your BTW about Davis.    Yes,  Davis could be over dramatic (e.g. two scenes in Juarez),  but hey she was playing a character that was losing her mind!     Often I find that people forget about her more 'controlled' performances;   The Corn is Green,  The Great Lie,  and many others. 

As far as actors,  I have to echo Larry with Rod Steiger.    For actresses,  McCambridge is a solid choice but I would also add Miriam Hopkins.   I find most of her performances to be  'on-target' in that the roles needs the sort of 'juice' she brings.

 

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33 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

For actresses,  McCambridge is a solid choice but I would also add Miriam Hopkins but most of her performances I find 'on-target' in that the roles needs the sort of 'juice' she brings.

 

Definitely Miriam Hopkins! I agree with you about the "juice" factor, though, in the characters she played. I seem to either love her or hate her, regardless of whether her character is supposed to be a scene chewer.

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Must confess Miriam is a tough watch for me. Love her in some of her younger, sexy roles, but oh my gosh, Old Acquaintance? Is the character really supposed to be that over the top? How her husband could have stood to be with her for five minutes not to mention many years is beyond me.

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Godzilla.

Well okay, I suppose he didn't really "chew" the scenery more than he actually set it ablaze and destroyed it.

(...hey, MY picks of Steiger and Cobb were already mentioned, and so I decided to go in THIS direction instead...so sue me!)  ;)

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I was just about to add him to my list!

Cobb not only chews the scenery, he regurgitates it, and chews it again! 

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

 

  • Rod Steiger
  • Shelley Winters
  • Anthony Quinn
  • Mickey Rooney

Agree 100% about Steiger.  He is the only character in On the Waterfront who I was really irritated by, which is saying a lot since that film also featured Lee J. Cobb and Marlon Brando! Cobb and Brando are two actors that I don't really care for.  Though, I did think Cobb was good in 12 Angry Men and with Brando, I like his 1950s work.  His mumbling irritates me--though it works for 'Waterfront.' 

Mickey Rooney I also agree 100%.  He is just too much, most of the time. 

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Requiem for a Heavyweight is maybe Rooney's best film. It's the most restrained and underplayed I've ever seen him.

Although thinking of that movie made me think of another scenery-chewer! Julie Harris! I actually don't mind her in that movie, but Member of the WeddingEast of EdenThe HauntingReflections in a Golden Eye, she drives me nuts in all those movies with her histrionics. 

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Okay, I'm pretty sure I've caught THESE two occasionally doin' this very thing in some of the movies I've seen 'em in...

vintage-photo-of-kirk-douglas-with-a-wom

(...not always mind you, but occasionally)

 

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Gotta question here...

Does Harpo eating a coffee cup in A Night at the Opera count?

(...or do ya wanna get all technical here and say props don't count as part of the scenery?) 

;)

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4 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

 

In addition to the ones listed above, I would say Burt Lancaster went on a generally increasing-haminess slide in his later career, though he largely reined it in in Atlantic City

Holy Smokes! Burt Lancaster, of course!!! He devoured scenery even early on in his career. Just thinking of him in....

"ELMER GANTRY"

elmer-gantry.jpg.b32f35bf56d56b26a466700b51d8311a.jpg

and

"THE RAINMAKER"

 

.....makes me wonder why I didn't just choose him and forget all the rest.

Burt literally had the teeth to gnash a whole studio lot full of scenery, too. :lol:

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2 hours ago, Dargo said:

Okay, I'm pretty sure I've caught THESE two occasionally doin' this very thing in some of the movies I've seen 'em in...

vintage-photo-of-kirk-douglas-with-a-wom

(...not always mind you, but occasionally)

 

Not thinking of one off the top of my head. Did these two ever make a movie together?

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

Not thinking of one off the top of my head. Did these two ever make a movie together?

Not that I know or can remember, sewhite.

Ya see, while google image searching for a pic of Kirk to post and who was my first thought as to whom I've recalled "chewing the scenery" on occasion, I ran across that candid photo of him with Joan Crawford probably taken at some gala.

And THEN it suddenly donned on me that YEAH, ya know I've watched Joan there masticating the ol' scenery a time or two TOO!

(...and so decided to post that pic of 'em together and make that comment I made with it)

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Here's another one...

price.jpg,

Now, while I must admit I've always loved Vincent here, he WAS known to "play it pretty broadly" on more than a few occasions, but was still almost always fun to watch.

I can't think of better examples of this than his over-the-top portrayal as Gene Tierney's spurned lover and prosecuting attorney in Leave Her to Heaven (in the courtroom scene especially) and his WAY over-the-top(and/but still very entertaining) comic turn as the soap company president that sponsors the television quiz show in the comedy Champagne for Caesar

 

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8 hours ago, Dargo said:

Gotta question here...

Does Harpo eating a coffee cup in A Night at the Opera count?

(...or do ya wanna get all technical here and say props don't count as part of the scenery?) 

;)

I'd second their names into contention. :D

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4 hours ago, Dargo said:

Here's another one...

price.jpg,

Now, while I must admit I've always loved Vincent here, he WAS known to "play it pretty broadly" on more than a few occasions, but was still almost always fun to watch.

I can't think of better examples of this than his over-the-top portrayal as Gene Tierney's spurned lover and prosecuting attorney in Leave Her to Heaven (in the courtroom scene especially) and his WAY over-the-top(and/but still very entertaining) comic turn as the soap company president that sponsors the television quiz show in the comedy Champagne for Caesar

 

seconded!

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9 hours ago, Dargo said:

Gotta question here...

Does Harpo eating a coffee cup in A Night at the Opera count?

(...or do ya wanna get all technical here and say props don't count as part of the scenery?) 

;)

Well if they did, then you'd have to include CHARLIE CHAPLIN dining on his SHOES in THE GOLD RUSH!  ;) 

Of course too, JAMES DEAN chewed a lot of scenery.  But maybe it wasn't his fault, as most of it was done TEARY-EYED, much like a kid who was forced to eat his spinach or Brussels sprouts.  ;)

Sepiatone

 

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I can already feel finance, whether corporeal or non-corporeal, scowling at me, but I have to nominate Susan Hayward as a scenery chewer extraordinaire. Especially in her later films, she dove right into a role with that "plucky dame" persona of hers and took no prisoners until the dust finally settled. TCM recently showed I Thank a Fool with Peter Finch and she uncharacteristically underplayed her part (very effectively, I thought), but in most cases she reminded me of some of the speed freaks I knew in my youth, with a bug-eyed intensity which radiated to every corner of the room. There was a focused self-awareness to her performances which I find hypnotic. (I feel the same about Lana Turner; Lana also had a kind of self-aware intensity, so that you could never for a moment catch her not acting.) Don't get me wrong; I love me a good Susan Hayward movie, but my money was always on her to reduce that scenery to rubble, and if it was Ross Hunter scenery and a Jean Louis gown, all the better.

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Yikes! How did I overlook Captain Kirk? First time I saw this on tv, I didn't know whether to laugh hysterically till I threw up or just throw up right off the bat. Can't believe I lasted to the end, but it's worth it (or not) depending on the strength of your hysteria-to-wretching ratio.

 

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