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Boo-hoo, sob sob: Classic films' best criers


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I recently re-watched THE CLAIRVOYANT (1935). It's a well-made British mystery drama starring Claude Rains and Fay Wray.

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 10.03.16 AM.png

I'm convinced Fay Wray is one of the best criers of all time. Early in the movie she has a scene where Rains has collapsed backstage. She remains in control but is visibly upset. During her dialogue with Rains, she does this interesting trick of getting a tear to form in her left eye.

THE CLAIRVOYANT is currently on YouTube so I took some screen shots for you to see what I'm talking about:

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 9.59.07 AM.jpg

Later in the movie, during a moving courtroom scene, she's at it again. She uses her hands and this time she reverses the earlier trick and cries with her right eye.

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 9.54.51 AM.jpg

I don't know any other actress who is able to form tears at will out of one eye like that. And it's not hammy. It's perfectly serene and looks natural, but she's clearly using some sort of inner mechanism to do this. It's astonishing to watch. Fay Wray is also quite good at conveying anguish in scenes where she doesn't cry but still has to feel sorrow.

At first I thought this was a fluke. But then I watched her in a 1941 RKO programmer called MELODY FOR THREE. And the does the crying tricks in that film too. What an interesting actress. Everyone remembers her for KING KONG, but her film career was so much more.

Who do you think is one of the best criers in the movies..?

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Well TB, in a little more modern terms, I always thought Meg Ryan was a very capable and believable crier.

(...of course then again, I suppose she COULD have just been faking it very well, and like she once memorably did another particular human emotional reaction across from Billy Crystal in a diner)  ;)

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7 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Well TB, in a little more modern terms, I always thought Meg Ryan was a very capable and believable crier.

(...of course then again, I suppose she COULD have just been faking it very well, and like she once memorably did another particular human emotional reaction across from Billy Crystal in a diner)  ;)

You mean .....

290551041478247313-640x640-602547232984.

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45 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Well TB, in a little more modern terms, I always thought Meg Ryan was a very capable and believable crier.

(...of course then again, I suppose she COULD have just been faking it very well, and like she once memorably did another particular human emotional reaction across from Billy Crystal in a diner)  ;)

She was on As the World Turns for a couple years in the early 80s. She bawled every week on that show, playing a long-suffering heroine with a ton of problems. 

Of course that was before she met Billy Crystal and started to experience other emotions.

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59 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Well TB, in a little more modern terms, I always thought Meg Ryan was a very capable and believable crier.

(...of course then again, I suppose she COULD have just been faking it very well, and like she once memorably did another particular human emotional reaction across from Billy Crystal in a diner)  ;)

Just for you:

Image result for meg ryan crying gif

 

image.jpeg

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Barbara Stanwyck -- her tears and grief are always so raw.  The scene after she meets her mother after a long estrangement in Remember the Night always gets me, as does the scene at the end of Meet John Doe.   Irene Dunne is also very skillful; she can express great emotion while being only at the edge of tears.  Compare her scenes in Showboat, after Gay abandons her, to Kathryn Grayson -- no contest.

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52 minutes ago, rosebette said:

Barbara Stanwyck -- her tears and grief are always so raw.  The scene after she meets her mother after a long estrangement in Remember the Night always gets me, as does the scene at the end of Meet John Doe.   Irene Dunne is also very skillful; she can express great emotion while being only at the edge of tears.  Compare her scenes in Showboat, after Gay abandons her, to Kathryn Grayson -- no contest.

Great examples.

Yeah, I think that scene in REMEMBER THE NIGHT is probably Stanwyck's best, in terms of conveying raw emotion. Up till that moment, the story has been rather zany. Then we get this powerful dramatic scene.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Great examples.

Yeah, I think that scene in REMEMBER THE NIGHT is probably Stanwyck's best, in terms of conveying raw emotion. Up till that moment, the story has been rather zany. Then we get this powerful dramatic scene.

My favorite Stanwyck moment from any of her films!

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Up till that moment, the story has been rather zany. Then we get this powerful dramatic scene.

An aside, if I may. I know the thread is supposed to be about crying, but ...

I've both read in a book and heard on a DVD commentary that screenwriter Preston Sturges rolled his eyes at all this sentimentality director Mitchell Leisen was putting into "his" movie and vowed from then on, he'd direct his own scripts. As celebrated as Sturges went on to be, I disagree with his assessment of Remember the Night: I think it strikes just about a perfect balance of comedy and drama. I feel sometimes Sturges the writer/director went too far the other direction. I still scratch my head at The Great McGinty, which (spoiler alert!) just kind of ends on a flat comedy note after McGinty has to abandon his wife and children (otherwise, it's a great movie).

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4 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

An aside, if I may. I know the thread is supposed to be about crying, but ...

I've both read in a book and heard on a DVD commentary that screenwriter Preston Sturges rolled his eyes at all this sentimentality director Mitchell Leisen was putting into "his" movie and vowed from then on, he'd direct his own scripts. As celebrated as Sturges went on to be, I disagree with his assessment of Remember the Night: I think it strikes just about a perfect balance of comedy and drama. I feel sometimes Sturges the writer/director went too far the other direction. I still scratch my head at The Great McGinty, which (spoiler alert!) just kind of ends on a flat comedy note after McGinty has to abandon his wife and children (otherwise, it's a great movie).

Yes, I think Sturges' films lack heart. They get too caught up in the gags and taking things to the limit for comic effect.

Leisen knew how to weave melodrama into the comic scenarios. He understood that Stanwyck's character in REMEMBER THE NIGHT is doing these crazy things because she comes from a broken home.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Great examples.

Yeah, I think that scene in REMEMBER THE NIGHT is probably Stanwyck's best, in terms of conveying raw emotion. Up till that moment, the story has been rather zany. Then we get this powerful dramatic scene.

Good scene alright, but for MY money, THIS scene of Babs' in Stella Dallas is still tops...

8988d4a58a1e3854fc9114be783d501e--hollyw

(...geez...I'm tearin' up MYSELF right now just lookin' at her here)

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And then there's both Tommy Kirk in Disney's Old Yeller here...

...and in the same vein...

Claude Jarman Jr.  in The Yearling, which I couldn't find a video of him performing the same deed.

(...okay, THAT'S it...that's all for me at the moment in this thread...my eyes are now much too soaked)

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Can anyone tell me who the actor is (in the dark suit) that has the outburst at the end of that Twin Peaks clip? He looks just like my cousin's son who is in Hollywood trying to break into acting.

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Can't let this one go without mentioning two. First, Bobs Watson. The ultimate blubbering kid.

 

 

Second - Lou Costello. His schtick where he is dissolved in fits of laughter that gradually turn to tears is wonderful. Done best, IMHO, in the "Africa" episode of THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW.

 

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Can anyone tell me who the actor is (in the dark suit) that has the outburst at the end of that Twin Peaks clip? He looks just like my cousin's son who is in Hollywood trying to break into acting.

The guy on the coffin is Ray Wise if that is who you are referring to. He played Leland Palmer.

Ray+Wise+Twin+Peaks+Fire+Walk+With+Me.PN

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Ray Wise is a terrific actor. Good-looking enough and talented enough to have been a leading man, but has had a steady career in TV as a character actor. Long list of credits in TV shows I have never heard of. I first saw him years ago when he was on Love of Life (and underutilized there). He had a stint as a devilishly wicked villain, even wearing a devil costume, on The Young and the Restless a few years back.

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1 minute ago, kingrat said:

Ray Wise is a terrific actor. Good-looking enough and talented enough to have been a leading man, but has had a steady career in TV as a character actor. Long list of credits in TV shows I have never heard of. I first saw him years ago when he was on Love of Life (and underutilized there). He had a stint as a devilishly wicked villain, even wearing a devil costume, on The Young and the Restless a few years back.

Ray Wise gave one of my favorite depictions of the devil in the series Reaper. He also had a small-but-good role in Good Night and Good Luck. The first thing I noticed him was RoboCop, though.

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5 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Ray Wise is a terrific actor. Good-looking enough and talented enough to have been a leading man, but has had a steady career in TV as a character actor. Long list of credits in TV shows I have never heard of. I first saw him years ago when he was on Love of Life (and underutilized there). He had a stint as a devilishly wicked villain, even wearing a devil costume, on The Young and the Restless a few years back.

He wasn't utilized well on Y&R after his introductory storyline. Subsequent head writers lost interest in his character and he simply disappeared. But I agree, he's a very memorable actor when he has good material to play.

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