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Itty-Bitty Parts


CaveGirl
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Okay, ladies of the TCM message boards, please no true confessions about your male paramours, this is a thread about tiny things in films which you love.

 

Now for me, there are two small parts in films that I always love seeing. One is the bellboy from "Some Like It Hot" who keeps hitting on Tony Curtis. He just cracks me up, and I have even looked up his name in the past [which is Al Breneman] hoping to remember if I ever see it in another film cast list but he was in so few it has not happened yet.

 

My other favorite really tiny film bit that I love seeing, is the soldier who stares dreamy eyed at Lillian Gish in "Birth of a Nation". To my mind I think like he looks like a more rugged David Wayne but as I recall he was just an extra and they have no idea who was playing the part. If you don't recall the scene, check it out here:

 

http://c0.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/pic_600x350_021715_SM_Birth-of-a-Nation.jpg

So again, please share with us some other tiny moments of enjoyment that you look for, even if the whole rest of the film is a disaster. There is always something that can be rewarding even in the worst turkey, but of course Al Breneman was in a hit, and I think his tiny bit added to its allure.

 

P.S. I notice my pop-up is blocked so just put in a Google search for "guy looking at Lillian Gish in Birth of a Nation and it will come up. That is how famous this scene is that so many people want to know who this man was. 

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This thread is another winner. Good topic!

 

I love watching these two in THE GRAPES OF WRATH:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-06-11%2Bat%2B2.05.0

Zeffie Tilbury & Charley Grapewin as the elderly Joads

As they say, there are no small parts, just small actors, TB!

 

Thanks for participating with a great example.

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I love watching these two in THE GRAPES OF WRATH:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-06-11%2Bat%2B2.05.0

Zeffie Tilbury & Charley Grapewin as the elderly Joads

 

The very next year Charley Grapewin got top billing (at least technically) in an A picture:

 

M4mnUuF.jpg

 

Googling CG I found this pic. Charley Grapewin as debonair man about town:

 

8twDHhK.jpg

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The very next year Charley Grapewin got top billing (at least technically) in an A picture

 

I think he had been in the stage production of TOBACCO ROAD. 

 

He plays a completely different type in Republic's musical ATLANTIC CITY in 1944. One of the more versatile character actors, who worked successfully across genres-- in small parts and more substantial ones.

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Cliff Nazarro.  Fluent double-talker.  Not that he could save a bad movie, because if it was "that" bad, you might not even notice him doing it.  He had entire conversations with other characters who just nodded understandingly and moved on.

 

 

 

 

 

As for Charlie Grapewin in Tobacco Road, I have a mental image of his son driving a new car back to the "homestead".  On the way in his son is driving so carelessly that he nearly wrecks it.  Then when he approaches the fence, there is a rusted-out skeleton of a clunker blocking the entryway.  Charlie Grapewin sees him approaching and yells "Push it, Dude, push it!!"  So his son drives the new car right into the junker, toppling it over.

 

Then after the son parks and shows his dad the car, Gene Tierney looks perplexed as she sees herself in her own reflection on the car.  Then the dad picks up a rock and smashes one of the headlights.  Then he pulls it off of the car.  It is followed by about a yard of what looks to be gooseneck wire tubing.  He rips it all out and throws it off to the side.  The son just nods his head approvingly.  "Yep, that's better."

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My other favorite really tiny film bit that I love seeing, is the soldier who stares dreamy eyed at Lillian Gish in "Birth of a Nation". To my mind I think like he looks like a more rugged David Wayne but as I recall he was just an extra and they have no idea who was playing the part. If you don't recall the scene, check it out here:

 

http://c0.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/pic_600x350_021715_SM_Birth-of-a-Nation.jpg

 

It's Dustin Hoffman

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Siblings George & Olive Brasno were a midget dance team who appeared in a handful of films, notably Charlie Chan At The Circus (1936).

 

2mNtwJ0.jpg

 

charlie_chan_at_the_circus.jpg

 

In CCATC they have a memorable Rumba-style dance number.

 

MJaxfso.jpg

 

The Brasnos were offered roles as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, but they were making twice as much money in vaudeville and so turned the offer down.

 

Here's Olive in a rather charming dance number from The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1952:

 

 

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I've always liked Slim Pickens' brief role at the end of Sam Peckinpah's 1972 heist film "The Getaway." He shows up as the driver of a pickup truck who gives the fugitives played by Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw a lift to the Mexican border. He probably believes he's going to be silenced permanently, but there's a surprise in store for him.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2Ecf7dvuRY

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"Itty bitty parts"?

 

Heh--at first I thought of comedienne RUSTY WARREN and her special "commitee"!  :D

 

But I get your drift.

 

First one of many to come to mind is the old man who nearly gets hit by the car and his being startled by it's horn as he watches GLORIA GRAHAME as Violet Bick cross the street after she tells Bert, Earnie and George Bailey "This old thing?  I only wear it when I don't care how I look"(in referrence to her dress) in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

 

 

Sepiatone

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In other threads, I've written about Jody Gilbert. She appeared on screen from 1937 to 1978 and racked up over 100 credits. In most of those roles, her character doesn't even have a first name. She's often billed according to her weight, like 'stout woman,' 'hefty girl,' or my personal favorite 'Tiny,' which is obviously meant to be ironic. But when you see her, she's instantly recognizable and makes the most of those small thankless parts. 

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itty bitty PART of a movie

 

 

I like when something in a movie is not planned but add realism to the setting.  In "Prancer" (1989) a Conrail train going full throttle went by while Rebecca was running to get Dr Benton.  Most directors would had yelled CUT! 

 

2ecptoh.png

Edited by hamradio
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Paul McGrath was a New York-based actor who spent most of his career on stage and the radio. He appeared in only a few films.

 

One of them was A Face In The Crowd, as the high-toned ad exec who slowly gets aced out of his job by Lonesome Rhodes. McGrath makes a memorable impression in a limited part, adding depth and vulnerability to what's in the script.

 

Couldn't find a pic of McGrath in Crowd, here's a glamorized publicity shot:

 

 

3wmX2jp.jpg

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In other threads, I've written about Jody Gilbert. She appeared on screen from 1937 to 1978 and racked up over 100 credits. In most of those roles, her character doesn't even have a first name. She's often billed according to her weight, like 'stout woman,' 'hefty girl,' or my personal favorite 'Tiny,' which is obviously meant to be ironic. But when you see her, she's instantly recognizable and makes the most of those small thankless parts. 

 

Gilbert probably will always be remembered for her appearance in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). She's the angry passenger "menaced" by the Hole in the Wall Gang the second time it robs the Union Pacific Flyer. It's just a ruse devised by Butch (Paul Newman) to force the dedicated railroad employee Woodcock (George Furth) to open the car containing the safe.

 

Naturally, she's listed as "Large Woman."

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Gilbert probably will always be remembered for her appearance in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). She's the angry passenger "menaced" by the Hole in the Wall Gang the second time it robs the Union Pacific Flyer. It's just a ruse devised by Butch (Paul Newman) to force the dedicated railroad employee Woodcock (George Furth) to open the car containing the safe.

 

Naturally, she's listed as "Large Woman."

I found this on the IMDb about her:

 

"In the case of Miss Gilbert, she was frequently cast as an archetypical fat woman for comedic purposes but never given credit. However her face was recognizable to movie or TV fans. She played Rosa, the fat, stupid daughter of Pasquale (Alan Reed) who was always trying to marry her off to Luigi (J. Carroll Naish) in the radio and TV versions of "Life With Luigi."

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Another nice moment in "Butch Cassidy" belongs to Jeff Corey, who also was a famed acting coach. He plays Ray Bledsoe, a local sheriff who happens to be an old friend of Butch and Sundance. When the outlaws are pursued by a relentless all-star posse, they break into Bledsoe's home while he's asleep. When they ask him about going straight and joining the Army, he gives a prophetic warning that their time is up.

 

"There's somethin' out there that scares ya, but it's too late," he says. "No, you should have let yourself get killed a long time ago while you had the chance. You may be the biggest thing that ever hit this area, but you're still two-bit outlaws. I never met a soul more affable than you, Butch, or faster than the Kid. But you're still nothin' but two-bit outlaws on the dodge. It's over! Don't you get that? Your times is over and you're gonna die bloody. And all you can do is choose where."

 

Jeff%20Corey%20%20Butch%20Cassidy%20and%

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"Itty bitty parts"?

 

Heh--at first I thought of comedienne RUSTY WARREN and her special "commitee"!  :D

 

But I get your drift.

 

First one of many to come to mind is the old man who nearly gets hit by the car and his being startled by it's horn as he watches GLORIA GRAHAME as Violet Bick cross the street after she tells Bert, Earnie and George Bailey "This old thing?  I only wear it when I don't care how I look"(in referrence to her dress) in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

You forgot to mention the punchline at the end of the scene here, Sepia.

 

After George, Ernie and Bert somewhat lasciviously watch Violet sashay down the street, Bert says, "I think I'll go home and see what the wife's doing", and to which Ernie then remarks to George as Bert is walking away, "Hmmm...family man".

 

Now, when it comes to "Itty-bitty parts" in this movie(sorry Sepia, but neither Violet's, Bert's OR Ernie's roles are "itty-bitty" in my view). I'll take Tom Fadden's role here as the bridge tollhouse keeper, and his line of...

 

"Oh, it's against the law to commit suicide around here!"

 

11379171474_ac77d6815a_z.jpg

 

 

(...I'll now depart this thread to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star")

 

;)

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Wow, what a great bunch of itty-bitty parts that make a good movie better. Thanks to all who've contributed.

 

I woke up last nite thinking of another of my favorites. It is Robert Dudley as The Wienie King in "The Palm Beach Story". His scenes with Claudette Colbert are deliciously enjoyable to watch.

 

Dudley was in 129 movies, sometimes uncredited and that was not the only one Preston Sturges directed, so maybe he enjoyed Dudley's often pixilated state also. Dudley's credits were often for things like "Hired Man", "Insurance Agent", "Coroner", "Parson" but the one I like best is for "Husband Getting Haircut".

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Siblings George & Olive Brasno were a midget dance team who appeared in a handful of films, notably Charlie Chan At The Circus (1936).

 

2mNtwJ0.jpg

 

charlie_chan_at_the_circus.jpg

 

In CCATC they have a memorable Rumba-style dance number.

 

MJaxfso.jpg

 

The Brasnos were offered roles as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, but they were making twice as much money in vaudeville and so turned the offer down.

 

Here's Olive in a rather charming dance number from The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1952:

 

Oooh, I remember them. The first time I saw them was when I was about six and was watching "Little Miss Broadway" with Shirley Temple and they were in it. I recall they sort of scared me, and I wasn't even afraid of aliens, King Kong or even giant ants. Not sure why but I do think they are very memorable in any movie they inhabit. Thanks!

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I've always liked Slim Pickens' brief role at the end of Sam Peckinpah's 1972 heist film "The Getaway." He shows up as the driver of a pickup truck who gives the fugitives played by Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw a lift to the Mexican border. He probably believes he's going to be silenced permanently, but there's a surprise in store for him.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2Ecf7dvuRY

I adore Slim Pickens! Wasn't his real name something like Louis Lindsey, Jr. which sounds more like a wealthy landowner. I recall him getting his name during his rodeo days I think. Great choice!

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