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ROBERT RYAN - The Real Quiet Man


MissGoddess

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Marvin seemed just plain mean for meanness sake. Ryan's meanness usually seemed to have its root in some inner torment or conflict, as if he never intended to turn out this way or like life had played him a dirty trick. I don't think any such conflicts exist in Marvin's villains. His baddies like being vicious. That's why I'm almost prompted to laugh (somewhat nervously) at his Libert Valance---it's such pure unadulterated viciousness for its own sake, as though it really brought him some kind of perverse joy to hurt people.

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Ohhhhh, I had to make a quick stop in here to defend *The Wild Bunch*, my second favorite western of all time.

 

*The Wild Bunch* is about brotherhood. It's very much a male-bonding film. I think it's a film sports teams should view for inspiration. The "bunch" considers turning its back on one of their own out of selfish greed and fear, but they end up seeing the light in the end. Sadly, the light equals darkness for them. It's a film that speaks of never quitting on one your own. It's a film that says, "don't go down without a fight." A loyalty film.

 

Miss G -- You probably wouldn't like *The Wild Bunch* because it doesn't feature much romance and the women in the film aren't that prominent... until one lady shows up at the end. It is on the violent side, as well. To me, there's a sadness attached to the violence though. The ending is rather heartbreaking. Well, at least to this guy. It's a poetic kind of violence. Yes, I know, I need to post on your "Violence" thread. I promise to do so tonight.

 

And guess what aspect of *The Wild Bunch* you would actually like the most? Yup, Robert Ryan. I think you'd like Ryan's character and you would most definitely enjoy his performance. Ryan used to run with the "bunch" but now he's on the side of the law. The thing is, he's completely torn up about it inside. He wants to be loyal to his boys but he knows he can't be anymore. It's a very moving part. Ryan at his best.

 

I'll read your recent batch of Ryan quotes that you posted later on.

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I'm with Ken on my aversion to nihilism in Peckinpah's (or anyone's) films, but Frank you touched on the aspects of the movie that have always had me curious. I will watch it eventually because I feel like I should at least once.

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Hi Miss Goddess, The photo that you posted of Robert Ryan and Shirley Booth on the beach was reason enough for me to want to see "About Mrs Leslie". Daniel Mann directed the movie, and Shirley Booth won the Academy Award two years earlier for "Come Back Little Sheba" under his direction. Robert was the TCM Star Of The Month a few years ago. I wish that this movie had been shown. Ernest Borgnine did a very nice tribute to him when Robert`s movies were being shown. My favorite Robert Ryan movie is "Clash By Night". He tell Barbara Stanwyck "That`s the liquor talking" and she replies "two tiny slugs". I love that line..

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Miss Goddess -- Speaking of "choice", Miss G, you selected some "choice" quotes about and from Ryan. An excellent read. Here are my favorites:

 

"Ryan's kindly, rather worried face and tired eyes are sometimes seen in completely sympathetic parts, but the emotion he conveys most effectively on the screen is hate." Ian & Elisabeth Cameron, The Heavies

 

For a while we had trouble with the more conservative elements in the community. When we ran up the UN flag, they threw eggs in the windows and at night they painted crosses on the building."

 

As I said, I get all the worst locations because of the way I look." RR

 

The "hate" comment is dead on. Many of the characters Ryan portrayed spewed venomous hate. Underneath this hatred hid an emotional coward. I can't think of another actor who could show us such strength on the outside while also letting us know he was very weak on the inside. Ironically, the real Ryan was quite the opposite. He was a very kind, loving, thoughtful person. That's why I consider him a great actor. He possessed the great talent to play something he's not.

 

CARY GRANT to ROBERT RYAN:

 

"I want you to know that I just saw 'The Set-Up', and I thought your performance was one of the best I've ever seen."

 

Receiving such a compliment from Cary Grant must have sent Ryan to the mat. "Stoker Thompson" (The Set-Up) is my favorite Ryan performance to date, although I love his "Earl Pfeiffer" (Clash by Night) and "Sandy Dawson" (House of Bamboo).

 

Marvin seemed just plain mean for meanness sake. Ryan's meanness usually seemed to have its root in some inner torment or conflict, as if he never intended to turn out this way or like life had played him a dirty trick. I don't think any such conflicts exist in Marvin's villains. His baddies like being vicious. That's why I'm almost prompted to laugh (somewhat nervously) at his Libert Valance---it's such pure unadulterated viciousness for its own sake, as though it really brought him some kind of perverse joy to hurt people.

 

I agree. Marvin played some seriously mean dudes, and he played them with force. Ryan's hateful characters weren't as forceful. They wished to be, but they just couldn't be because they were often cowards deep down.

 

Here's some screen captures from *God's Little Acre*. The transfer of the film is quite good but freeze-framing causes some distortion. *God's Little Acre* is the most unique Anthony Mann film I've seen and it's one of the most interesting performances by Ryan. Tina Louise is hard to miss. This a must film for ChiO, a fellow Ryan/Mann admirer.

 

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Ken -- The Wild Bunch is very nihilistic, a trait that I find runs thru all of Peckinpah's films.I am not a fan of his films.

 

You are correct. Peckinpah's films tended to be nihilistic. I guess I like to find good within dark worlds. A flower in the desert.

 

Miss Good Girl -- I'm with Ken on my aversion to nihilism in Peckinpah's (or anyone's) films, but Frank you touched on the aspects of the movie that have always had me curious. I will watch it eventually because I feel like I should at least once.

 

I was actually going to edit my words that I addressed to you but you replied before I could do so. I said that "you probably wouldn't like The Wild Bunch." I was going to remove the word, "probably." *The Wild Bunch* is nowhere near your kind of film. The heroes are villains. The film plays as an "honor amongst thieves" film.

 

I do stand by my words about you liking Robert Ryan in the film. You'd find his inner conflict to be very interesting. A classic Ryan performance, although in a lesser capacity.

 

Cashette -- Now how is it that I'm not surprised that your favorite Ryan film is Clash by Night? I love Clifford Odets' dialogue in the film. I think that and the performances by Ryan and a certain actress are the strongest elements in the picture.

 

ButterscotchGreer -- I didn't know you liked *Clash by Night*. That's a nice surprise.

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>>>My favorite Robert Ryan movie is "Clash By Night". He tell Barbara Stanwyck "That`s the liquor talking" and she replies "two tiny slugs". I love that line..<<<

 

That movie is filled with lines and bits of character business I love. Like this one, which may be my favorite Stanwyck moment in any film, when she tells fluffy-brained Marilyn: "Home is where you go when you've run out of places." Plunk! Dumps her cigarette in the coffee cup. Hee heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Sometimes I rewind that bit over and over because she just cracks me up every time---and because I agree with her.

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Well, I'll just fast-forward through Peckinpah's "slow motion" shoot-outs when I watch The Wild Bunch. And listen for him spinning in his grave.

 

I love what Howard Hawks said about that, "Hell, I couldn't had six men killed before one of his fell to the ground in that scene."

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Hi Miss Goddess, I love the opening of "Clash By Night" when the credits are shown. The waves are rolling into the shore, and we see the seagulls. Louella Parsons daughter Harriet coproduced the movie. A line I remember is "Big Ideas Small Results" when talking to Marilyn Monroe about her ill fated affair with a married man. Keith Andes to Marily when she takes a bite of her a candy bar "You`ll Spread" Marilyn replies " So I`ll Spread". I can`t remember the exact line, but Robert Ryan is telling Marilyn that she is like a bee spreading honey buzz buzz buzz. When I came remember lines from a movie, you know that I like the movie. It is too bad that this movie is not included in the Barbara Stanwyck signature collection that will be available the end of October. "Clash By Night" is Barbara`s best movie of the 1950`s. I want to see "About Mrs Leslie" because Robert Ryan was usually cast as brooding loners. He was not given a chance to play other roles, and this movie with Shirley Booth gave him the opportunity.

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I think *Clash by Night* would be well placed in the BS Signature Collection, as well. It certainly gives her much more to sink her teeth into than Executive Suite. I love those lines with Marilyn, the busy bee line is one I like to use often. I've read that Barbara was very sweet to Marilyn, who was predictably frightened to death, during filming.

 

I hope TCM is reading this post and will try to air About Mrs Leslie!

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*RR in The Naked Spur*

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*RR in Lawman*

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RR in Horizons West (he's gorgeous!!!!)

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*RR with Clark Gable in The Tall Men* (Regarding this movie, for the first time it was a toss up for me who I would prefer to Gable---this time, if I were Miss Russell, I think I'd have chosen "the world" with Robbie-Baby over Prairie Dog Creek. Sorry Gabie!!!!)

thetallmen.jpg

 

*And in The Wild Bunch*

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