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Det Jim McLeod

Top Ten Ernest Borgnine Favorites

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He would have been 102 years old today

 

He is the only actor to appear twice in my personal top ten of all time.(the first two on the list below) 

1. "Marty"-well deserved Oscar as the lonely Bronx butcher. 

2. "From Here To Eternity"-one of the meanest,most sadistic villains ever on screen. 

3. "The Poseidon Adventure"-the greatest disaster movie ever made. Borgnine is one of the standouts in a great cast. 

4. "Bad Day At Black Rock"-another great grinning bad guy,takes a karate chop from one armed Spencer Tracy 

5. "Jubal"-excellent performance as a cuckholded husband in a great western. 

6. "Pay Or Die" a starring role as a heroic Italian cop battling the Black Hand,one of his more underrated films. 

7. "The Catered Affair" he is great as another nice everyman, good chemistry with Bette Davis. 

8. "Hannie Caulder" he is the leader of a trio of slimy western villains, gorgeous Raquel Welch seeks revenge. 

9. "Violent Saturday"a small role,but a memorable one,as an Amish farmer who wields a mean pitchfork. 
 
10. "Willard" I had to get this guilty pleasure in there, as the boss from hell who gets his just desserts from an army of rats.

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I liked him as Vaslov, the untrustworthy Russian defector in the 1968 Cold War thriller "Ice Station Zebra." The film, which featured an all-star cast headed by Rock Hudson, reunited Borgnine with "Bad Day at Bad Rock" director John Sturges.

Image result for ernest borgnine ice station zebra

And I've added one made-for-television production. In "Portrait: Legend in Granite," a 1973 ABC Movie of the Week, Borgnine channeled Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) -- the legendary Green Bay Packers head coach of the late 1950s and 1960s. The bio focused on Lombardi's takeover of the perennially losing NFL team in 1959.

517Ep7D6FoL.jpg
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Ernest Borgnine was in a lot of good films at the beginning of his career, where he had minor roles. So are we choosing the best films he appeared in, or are we choosing films that were great because of his performance? At any rate...

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My selections:

1. MARTY (1955). A star turn if ever there was one. An unlikely hit, it put him in the big leagues.

2. THE CATERED AFFAIR (1956). I've always enjoyed this one. I think he and Bette Davis are perfectly cast, and I love Barry Fitzgerald's character. The younger leads are good too.

3. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953). Honestly Borgnine is the one I remember least in this movie. 

4. JOHNNY GUITAR (1954). My favorite 50s western. Borgnine doesn't have a very substantial role.

5. THE BADLANDERS (1958). Another good 50s western. He's second-billed, after Alan Ladd.

6. EMPEROR OF THE NORTH POLE (1973). He's brilliant in this offbeat drama directed by Robert Aldrich.

7. ICE STATION ZEBRA (1968). It's slow in spots but Borgnine helps enliven things.

8. JUBAL (1956). An enjoyable Columbia western. He and Glenn Ford teamed up again for TORPEDO RUN two years later.

9. THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972). Cheesy. Gooey. Extra cheese.

10. BUNNY O'HARE (1971). He and Bette Davis pair up again, this time in a countercultural comedy. A fun film. Wish TCM would air it.

screen-shot-2019-01-24-at-7.33.34-am.png

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12 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Nice list Jim. He was in a lot of good films at the beginning of his career, where he had minor roles. So are we choosing the best films he appeared in, or are we choosing films that were great because of his performance?

 

 

 

4. JOHNNY GUITAR (1954). My favorite 50s western. Borgnine doesn't have a very substantial role.

EMPEROR OF THE NORTH POLE (1973). He's brilliant in this offbeat film.

10. BUNNY O'HARE (1971). He and Bette Davis pair up again, this time in a countercultural comedy. Such a strange yet fun film. Wish TCM would air it.

 

 

You can use your own judgement on your choices, just list personal favorites rather than the "best" films

Even though I have seen "Johnny Guitar" I don't even recall Borgnine in it.

I want to see "Emperor Of The North" as Borgnine and Lee Marvin are one of best tag team of tough guys in movie history.

"Bunny O'Hare" is one I would like to see out of curiosity, even if it turns out to beneath them.

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I was outraged when his passing got hardly any fanfare or attention. Cliff Robertson too. It should have been major news.

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I like most of the ones already listed, as well as The VikingsEscape from New York, and The Dirty Dozen. His role in the last was brief, but I always liked his alternately annoyed and bemused general.

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8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I like most of the ones already listed, as well as The VikingsEscape from New York, and The Dirty Dozen. His role in the last was brief, but I always liked his alternately annoyed and bemused general.

"The Vikings" is one I want to rewatch, I remember it most for Kirk Douglas as the one eyed viking, but it was a good return to villainy for Borgnine.

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4 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

He would have been 102 years old today

 

He is the only actor to appear twice in my personal top ten of all time.(the first two on the list below) 

1. "Marty"-well deserved Oscar as the lonely Bronx butcher. 

2. "From Here To Eternity"-one of the meanest,most sadistic villains ever on screen. 

3. "The Poseidon Adventure"-the greatest disaster movie ever made. Borgnine is one of the standouts in a great cast. 

4. "Bad Day At Black Rock"-another great grinning bad guy,takes a karate chop from one armed Spencer Tracy 

5. "Jubal"-excellent performance as a cuckholded husband in a great western. 

6. "Pay Or Die" a starring role as a heroic Italian cop battling the Black Hand,one of his more underrated films. 

7. "The Catered Affair" he is great as another nice everyman, good chemistry with Bette Davis. 

8. "Hannie Caulder" he is the leader of a trio of slimy western villains, gorgeous Raquel Welch seeks revenge. 

9. "Violent Saturday"a small role,but a memorable one,as an Amish farmer who wields a mean pitchfork. 
 
10. "Willard" I had to get this guilty pleasure in there, as the boss from hell who gets his just desserts from an army of rats.

Hi,
Pay or Die was a nice mafia depiction, filmed in 1960. This film was shot extensively on Lot 2. It is a really nice piece. Gene Kelly made a similar movie. It was called The Black Hand, one of his two non-musicals. I worked on Airwolff, starring Ernest Borgnine and Jan Michael Vincent. On set, what you saw was the professionalism of Borgnine and his many years in show business...a polished, class act, all the way. But sorry to say, Jan Michael Vincent was "out to lunch," in this series. His addictions were at their peak. He often couldn't be found when he was needed. And when he finally arrived on set, Borgnine would him the once over. 

This was not his first TV series on this lot. McHale's Navy was filmed here in the early sixties, which is Universal TV, which was called "Revue" studios, in the credits.

Edited by Phantom of the Backlots
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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I was outraged when his passing got hardly any fanfare or attention. Cliff Robertson too. It should have been major news.

Yeah, but Cliff got into all that trouble where he went around telling the truth about certain declasse industry issues so he became a pariah, poor guy.

I like anything Borgnine was ever involved with, except maybe for Ethel Merman though I'm not so big on McHale's Navy.

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His career was a long one, with lots of exceptional performances, but what I really love about him was that he'd give his best effort to many other films which were maybe marginal at best. He definitely was no acting snob, going where the work was and doing what he was hired to do with total dedication. He was in a few of my favorite 1960's stinkers and added his own special touch to each. In The Legend of Lylah Clare he was the blowhard studio head. In The Oscar he was a private eye digging up dirt on the "hero". And in Go Naked in the World, which I actually like a lot, he was the tycoon/patriarch dealing with the fact that his son's fiancé was actually a call girl well-known to him and his buddies. It was a good-sized role of an over-sized character; he had major scenes with his son, daughter and wife as the family kept unravelling and he managed to keep it real throughout. And, of course, Marty was sublime, which is why it seems to be the favorite of so many people. 

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14 minutes ago, DougieB said:

And in Go Naked in the World, which I actually like a lot, he was the tycoon/patriarch dealing with the fact that his son's fiancé was actually a call girl well-known to him and his buddies. It was a good-sized role of an over-sized character; he had major scenes with his son, daughter and wife as the family kept unravelling and he managed to keep it real throughout.

I want to see this one, sounds interesting

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I'm a child of the 80s. So of course the first time I'd ever seen Ernest Borgnine on screen, it was watching episodes of Airwolf. Here he is in the opening credits:

 

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For Me

The Mob (1951)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Marty (1955)

Jubal (1956)

The Catered Affair (1956)

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

Emperor of the North (1973)

Escape from New York (1981)

Renegade (2004) Sort of a Spaghetti Mystic Western.Ernest Borgnine as the wheelchair bound sheriff called "Rolling Star." 

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

For Me

The Mob (1951)

I debated mentioning this one. It's number 11 on my list. 

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 My top 10 favorite films Ernest was in,  in chronological order;

The Mob

From Here to Eternity

Johnny Guitar

Bad Day at Black Rock

Marty

Jubal

Man on a String

The Flight of the Phoenix

The Dirty Dozen

The Wild Bunch

 

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He's always been one of my favorite actors.

Marty

From Here to Eternity

Emperor of the North Pole

The Poseidon Adventure

Bad Day at Black Rock

The Dirty Dozen

The Wild Bunch

Willard

 

 

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On 1/24/2019 at 11:18 AM, LawrenceA said:

I like most of the ones already listed, as well as The VikingsEscape from New York, and The Dirty Dozen. His role in the last was brief, but I always liked his alternately annoyed and bemused general.

I was about to ask how anyone could forget Dirty Dozen, before realizing I had forgotten the Cabbie from Escape From New York.

Not specifically a Borgnine role, but I remember seeing BTS footage of George Lucas working on designs for Obi-Wan's street-informer diner pal from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones ("Dexter Jettster", for the trivia-curious), trying to explain the minor unhistoried bit-character to his SFX crew:  "He's sort of a guy who's got his own business, knows what's going on, and hears all the word on the street, he's...well, he's Ernest Borgnine, basically."

Dex_Obi.jpg

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I really enjoy Borgnine in From Here to Eternity and The Catered Affair.  He's also great in The Simpsons. I also loved him in The Poseidon Adventure

His greatest moment however is as "Mermaid Man" in Spongebob SquarePants. My husband and I went to The Spongebob SquarePants Movie on our first date.  Lol.

Related image

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56 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I really enjoy Borgnine in From Here to Eternity and The Catered Affair.  He's also great in The Simpsons. I also loved him in The Poseidon Adventure

His greatest moment however is as "Mermaid Man" in Spongebob SquarePants. My husband and I went to The Spongebob SquarePants Movie on our first date.  Lol.

Related image

Yeah, I saw that one as a kid. His nemesis (The Dirty Bubble) was played by Charles Nelson Reilly, of Match Game 74 fame. It was the last screen appearance for both actors.

 

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The Wild Bunch

Emperor of the North

Marty

From Here to Eternity

Sunday in the Country

Chuka

The Adventurers

The Dirty Dozen

Jubal

Bad Day at Black Rock

 

 

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