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Brian Donlevy: An actor who never gets his due?


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15 minutes ago, papyrusbeetle said:

 THE BIG COMBO (1955)

Brian is terrific in this "noir of all noirs" - unfortunately, he has a hearing aid and his crime boss, Richard Conte, turns it against him.

Yes. He's great in this film. They all are.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes. He's great in this film. They all are.

The Big Combo has a fine and interesting cast.   I say interesting because here we have Donlevy playing an over-the-hill crime boss:  a great role for an actor that is passed his prime but still has a lot to offer (which Donlevy does).

Then there is Helen Walker;  This was her last film;   it a rather sad,  un-glamorous role,  but she handles it well.  

There then are the hired-hands in Lee Van Clef and Earl Holliman who play Fante and Mingo.   These were difficult roles for these young actors,  both would go on to have solid careers.

Of course there are the two male stars,  Conte and Wilde.   Conte gives one of his best performances and Wilde holds his own.

As already stated this film is often viewed as the:  "noir of all noirs".

Too bad it is an Allied Artist production.    Below is what I found on Wiki:  

The 1936–1946 Monogram library was not part of the deal with Ted Turner.  (The rights to some of these films are now owned by MGM; others – most notably The Big Combo– are now in the public domain.)

Hey, if in the public domain,,,,  maybe TCM can find a good digital print to show!

 

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8 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

The Big Combo has a fine and interesting cast.   I say interesting because here we have Donlevy playing an over-the-hill crime boss:  a great role for an actor that is passed his prime but still has a lot to offer (which Donlevy does).

Then there is Helen Walker;  This was her last film;   it a rather sad,  un-glamorous role,  but she handles it well.  

There then are the hired-hands in Lee Van Clef and Earl Holliman who play Fante and Mingo.   These were difficult roles for these young actors,  both would would go on to have solid careers.

Of course there are the two male stars,  Conte and Wilde.   Conte gives one of his best performances and Wilde holds his own.

As already stated this film is often viewed as the:  "noir of all noirs".

Too bad it is an Allied Artist production.    Below is what I found on Wiki:  

The 1936–1946 Monogram library was not part of the deal with Ted Turner.  (The rights to some of these films are now owned by MGM; others – most notably The Big Combo– are now in the public domain.)

Hey, if in the public domain,,,,  maybe TCM can find a good digital print to show!

Can't recall the last time TCM aired it...but it was definitely a public domain copy. Though some prints floating around seem better than others.

I like how you did a quick run-down of the cast. They're all fantastic. Helen Walker's haunting performance stays with me, long after I finish watching it.

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On 4/19/2018 at 9:38 AM, TopBilled said:

During the hundred years I've been posting here, in all that time, I don't think there's ever been a thread or discussion dedicated to Brian Donlevy. Is it because he blends effortlessly into so many classic films that he's easy to overlook?

He started as a model, even appeared in some silent films when he was quite young...but his success in Hollywood as a second tier actor didn't begin until the mid-30s. From 1935 to 1969 he appeared in a number of studio films, quite a few of them "A" pictures with important directors.

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 7.33.17 AM.jpg

Last night I watched DESTRY RIDES AGAIN. He's fourth-billed and it occurred to me how easy going he was in his scenes with Dietrich. In fact I'd say he had better chemistry with her than Stewart did. I also noticed when he laughed and when the camera was close up on his face that he probably had the best teeth of any male actor during the golden age of Hollywood. Okay perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration, but look at this winning smile:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 6.59.45 PM.jpg

He often played tough guys, which meant he was cast in a lot of crime dramas, westerns and war films. He certainly relished these kinds of roles.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 6.48.43 PM.jpg 

But he could even be counted on to play more vulnerable characters, such as the romantic figure in 1949's IMPACT, which I think is his best performance:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 6.55.26 PM.jpg

If I had to make a list of Brian Donlevy essentials, I'd choose:

1. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939)
2. THE GREAT MCGINTY (1940)
3. THE GLASS KEY (1942)
4. WAKE ISLAND (1942)
5. HANGMEN ALSO DIE (1943)
6. CANYON PASSAGE (1946)
7. KISS OF DEATH (1947)
8. KILLER MCCOY (1947)
9. A SOUTHERN YANKEE (1948)
10. IMPACT (1949)

TOP TOPBILLED, THE MT. SUMMIT GUY WITHIN THESE FORUMS,   unfortunately Donlevy is on a list of hollywoods most difficult actors ever!   Along w/the likes of Tallulah Bankhead, *Yul Brynner, Joe Besser, Shelley Long, Debra Winger and I hate to admit it my top 2 idols *The Great: Tracy and *The Chairman of the Board: Francis (Albert) Sinatra though only at times. There are about a dozen  director Roy Rowland, *DeMille, Connie Bennett, Mickey Rooney-(I knew the remaining Tracy family yrs ago & they even had a problem with "The Mick")

 

they loathed him despite the brilliant performance-(nod.) of his career in 1939's Beau Geste, even director Wild Bill Wellman,etc  By the way My own Alternate Oscar winner that legendary movie year though

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hey buddy, no shots of sgt marco in beau geste?  He was likely close to nabbing a 2nd consecutive nom for 1940's The Great McGinty (***1/2-out of four)  which as you of all know did win sturges his sole Academy (AMPAS) Award for writing. (P.S. for the record my fav of his world though was among Hollywoods all-time comedies 1942's Sullivan's Travels" (Paramount)

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I've seen that version a lot plus actual 1939 winner for s, actor *THOMAS MITCHELL in Stagecoach (UA) a marvelous work by a superb actor, think he also took it because he was in about 3 others that year though  Best per by *Mitchell I ever saw was 1940's Long Voyage Home (UA_  Do you agree or disagree?)

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4 minutes ago, spence said:

I've seen that version a lot plus actual 1939 winner for s, actor *THOMAS MITCHELL in Stagecoach (UA) a marvelous work by a superb actor, think he also took it because he was in about 3 others that year though  Best per by *Mitchell I ever saw was 1940's Long Voyage Home (UA_  Do you agree or disagree?)

Mitchell was a fine actor, good in almost anything he did.

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32 minutes ago, vidorisking said:

This thread makes me ponder whatever happened to user sgt_markoff? I especially enjoyed his “slant” on the message board. Where have you gone sarge, TCM turns its lonely eyes to you.

I think he turned up for awhile under another name, but then disappeared again.

I appreciated his comments in this thread about Brian Donlevy.

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1 hour ago, vidorisking said:

This thread makes me ponder whatever happened to user sgt_markoff? I especially enjoyed his “slant” on the message board. Where have you gone sarge, TCM turns its lonely eyes to you.

Yea,  I wondered the same thing;  He really made a big splash but disappeared rather quickly.  

 

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7 hours ago, vidorisking said:

This thread makes me ponder whatever happened to user sgt_markoff? I especially enjoyed his “slant” on the message board. Where have you gone sarge, TCM turns its lonely eyes to you.

I think he turned up under a few different accounts that got banned recently. 

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7 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

I think he turned up under a few different accounts that got banned recently. 

Funny, I never took Sgt. Markoff for a North Korean operative!  😁  On a more serious note though, I'm afraid he, like so many other posters we never see on here anymore may have gone to the 'Spirit in the Sky'.  😧

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4 hours ago, midwestan said:

Funny, I never took Sgt. Markoff for a North Korean operative!  😁  On a more serious note though, I'm afraid he, like so many other posters we never see on here anymore may have gone to the 'Spirit in the Sky'.  😧

Well, I do hear when they lay you down to rest, that that's the place that's the best.

(...yep, I hear that AND a lot of guitar reverb)

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On 8/23/2019 at 4:36 PM, vidorisking said:

This thread makes me ponder whatever happened to user sgt_markoff? I especially enjoyed his “slant” on the message board. Where have you gone sarge, TCM turns its lonely eyes to you.

He might be back.....

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