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Is it the Actor, or the Role?


classicsfan1119
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I'm just curious about something, and I don't think that we've talked about it here before...or, if it was talked about, it was years ago and a different group of people were talking about it. Anyway, sorry if a folder already exists.

 

I find that very often when we are discussing an actor or actress, the very first thing I think of when I hear their name mentioned is a particular role that I, for some reason, remember them for....and that this might be why I think of them as an "actor/actress" I really like, or perhaps dislike...and that it has little to do with their outstanding acting, or lack-luster acting in dozens of movies.

 

Take Marlon Brando. When he speaks, I can barely stand to listen to him. Therefore, I seldom find myself interested in his movies, even though I fully recognize his acting ability.

 

And, take Van Heflin. I really loved him in his role in "'Til the Clouds Roll By", and every time I hear his name, I think of that role, and that movie...and I like Van Heflin, the actor. Following me? Does this happen to any others here?

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I really think it depends on the strength and character of the actor. Some actors can take a role and own it so that you can't imagine another actor in it. Take John Wayne in RED RIVER, THE SEARCHERS, & STAGECOACH for example. Bette Davis in ALL ABOUT EVE,& THE LETTER. Spencer Tracy, my gosh there is not another actor that could replace that man in any of his many movie roles. Bogart, in TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, THE MALTESE FALCON. You look at some actors & roles and you can say yes he, or she could have been replaced by another actor. Clark Gable was a fine actor, but was he good enough to own a role in a film. The same goes for Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, I guess it all in how you look at it.

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Brando a very good actor...that doesn't interest me....or that I do not like?...I feel the same way Classicsf...when I saw "The Last Tango in Paris" (1972) I disliked intensely....On the Waterfront, The Men, ...are masterpieces by I don't like them....I'd never buy the dvds.....and I bought, i.e. the dvd of 1951 Showboat...which is a movie of a "lower" class than those people's & critic's favorites I named (from Brando)...and I like it a lot...It's like liking a cheesy pop group from the '80s...like BANANARAMA....which I just love...and disliking "excellent" & appraised legends artists like The Who....

 

It's sort of weird...I cannot stand Tom Hanks in any role...don't like him at all...But I like almost all Gable has been...or Gary Cooper, or Cary Grant...there are some screen personas or actors...that do not "Click" with us (personally)as audience...

 

I think of Stanwyck and I'll always think of Stella Dallas and Double Indemnity....I think of Vivien Leeigh...and she's Scarlett....I think of Ruth Chatterton, and she's Fran Dodsworth....etc.....Cooper IS Mr. Deeds.....Colbert is the heiress from It Happened One night.....Ronald Colman is the Lost Horizon's main character....forever in our memories....

 

Another thing has happened to me I like Liz Taylor's films from before 1963 (not after that year).....although I did like reflections in her golden eye (1967) with Brando....(exception confirms the rule).....I prefer her in Little Women, Cat on A Hot tin roof...(love that one)...even the soapy-trashy "Rhapsody" with Vittorio Gassman, Elephant Walk, etc....but I disliked intensely and couldn't stand all the blah, blah, blah, of Who's afraid of Virgina Woolf...although the principal characters achieved monumental performances...in a personal level...I hated the movie...and found it hard to watch it completely....hated it....it sort of weird...we can recognise something has quality...but dislike it...and like sort of cheesy stuff...

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Hi Feaito! I used a bad example when I used Brando, because my reaction about him doesn't come from a particular role I "remember" him for...I've just never liked him.

 

I wasn't looking for people who "owned" a role, either, like Gable as Rhett Butler. I was just curious if anyone else remembered someone from a role, and from that point on either liked them or didn't, no matter what role they played after that, or if whenever that actors name came up, only the favorite role always seemed to come to mind, like it seems to when I hear Van Heflin's name (smile).

 

 

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Yes...your comments about "Portrait of Jenny"...and the person in the role played...was what I was looking for! Thanks, Feaito! I'm going to log-off now and go watch "The Bells of St. Mary's". I've watched "A Chrismas Carol", and "A Christmas Story" already today and am sure enjoying the wonderful taste of the Spirit of Christmas. ML

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Burt Lancaster was one actor I did not care for. I liked Birdman but that was about it. Then he did Field of Dreams. For some reason I am able to go back to his early days and enjoy him on the screen after that movie. Another actor I still can not watch is Joan Crawford.

Tony Curtis in comedies is okay but in dramas (except The Defiant Ones) I can not handle. There are actors such as Stewart, Hepburn, Grant, Stanwyck, W. Powell, Loy, Arthur, Rogers, Astaire, Crosby, etc. that I loved from the the first time I watched them.

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Interesting topic here...a contemporary actress who I really disliked was Winona Ryder. Then I saw her as Jo in Little Women and from then on I had a new respect for her. I don't know why I didn't like her before. I think it may have been the slighty affected, jaded teen roles that she played in films like Beetlejuice, Heathers, and Reality Bites.

 

You know, I never really liked Barbara Stanwyck until I saw Ball of Fire about ten years ago. I had always thought of her as the mother from the tv show Big Valley, or from the miniseries The Thorn Birds--neither of which I was into as a youngster. But after seeing her in a comedic role, I began to seek out her films. She's great!

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