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TomJH

Performances of Limited Screen Time That Still Have A Jolting Impact

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"You despise me, don't you, Rick?'

"If I gave you any thought I probably would."

One of my favourite dialogue exchanges in Casablanca.

Peter Lorre's Ugarte is knocked off far, far too early but he is one of my favourite characters in the film despite that. Lorre's slimy little murderous scoundrel who somehow respects Rick (though that respect is not returned) is just so much fun to watch in this film. And, limited screen time or not, is there anyone who watches Casablanca that doesn't remember his performance?

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I was gonna mention that one.  But another that stuck with me (due to it being her most "out of type" performance to my memory)  was MARJORIE MAIN's short time as  "Baby Face" Martin's Mother in DEAD END.

Sepiatone 

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Roscoe Karns as motor mouth Smiley in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT made an impression for obnoxiousness.

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Believe You Me.

"I just love a hot mamma who can sling 'em back at you."

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Harold Sakata has a jolting impact in Goldfinger:

 

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;) 

Yeah, I thought his performance was electrifying!   :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

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I remember a woman who had a small role in 1983's Silkwood named Sudie Bond. A very brief part, but she had the real authentic flavor of the Midwest about her, and when she was shown in near hysterics in a forced scrubdown, she was heartrendingly good.

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I remember her.  She was the frequently-fried 'Thelma' in SILKWOOD.  Sudie Bond died in 1984 or '85.  Wasn't long after she appeared in a small role in "Johnny Dangerously".

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A reunion of sorts and set at a restaurant table, the short but extremely moving performance by Steven Hill as Christine Lahti's estranged father in 1988's Running on Empty, is one I haven't forgetten since I watched this film years ago...

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Clarence Wilson as John Blakeley in You Can’t Take It With You. He cracks me up every time!

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Great idea for a thread, with so many great examples. Have you ever re-watched a film and been surprised that a performance you loved the first time was so brief? That happened to me with Max von Sydow in Winter Light as the man who's terrified the Chinese will use the atomic bomb and with Zohra Lampert in Splendor in the Grass.

I also have to add Juano Hernandez in The Pawnbroker. His heartbreaking scene is the best in the picture.

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Victor Francen as Grodek in The Mask of Dimitrios (1944).  Francen's scene in this film is one of the best brief performances I have ever seen. Every word, every gesture, every movement is perfect.

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Another favorite scene, a but more fraught, is John Abbott as Frederick Fairlie in The Woman in White (1948). His is the best performance of a nervous wreck.

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23 minutes ago, Swithin said:

Victor Francen as Grodek in The Mask of Dimitrios (1944).  Francen's scene in this film is one of the best brief performances I have ever scene. Every word, every gesture, every movement is perfect.

 

I thought the performance was rather typical of Victor Francen but that's not a knock. I always found this actor to be smooth and elegant, and I enjoyed his performance in Dimitrios very much. He often brought an inscrutable quality to his portrayals and I was often not certain if he would suddenly produce a gun and, with a smile, blast someone away. There was a sense of the aristocrat about him with courtly manners. You wondered, though, what that dignified demeanour might be masking.

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52 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I thought the performance was rather typical of Victor Francen but that's not a knock. I always found this actor to be smooth and elegant, and I enjoyed his performance in Dimitrios very much. He often brought an inscrutable quality to his portrayals and I was often not certain if he would suddenly produce a gun and, with a smile, blast someone away. There was a sense of the aristocrat about him with courtly manners. You wondered, though, what that dignified demeanour might be masking.

And, which also sounds a lot like many of the often short on screen time but also memorable performances that Otto Kruger gave over the years...

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And such as in Hitchcock's Saboteur (shown above) and in many others.

 

 

 

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Another "limited screen time" performance that was a standout in a film for me was MICHEL SIMON's  PAPA BOULE in 1965's  THE TRAIN

 

 

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George Sanders had only a few scenes in REBECCA, but darned if he doesn't make the most of them.

He always excelled in playing the charming, suave scoundrel. I love how he thought he had the upper hand on Laurence Olivier in here, only to have his bubble burst by the final reveal at the end of the movie.

 

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My favourite Otto Kruger performance is his pragmatic Judge Percy Mettrick in High Noon (1952).  He high-tails it from town at the start of the picture which doesn't help to make a lasting impression.

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Fox Harris as J. Frank Parnell in Repo Man (1984).

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26 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

 

My favourite Otto Kruger performance is his pragmatic Judge Percy Mettrick in High Noon (1952).  He high-tails it from town at the start of the picture which doesn't help to make a lasting impression.

This reminds me of one of my favourite performances in High Noon.

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Kathy Jurado as Will Kane's former mistress. Jurado shows strength and integrity in this brief but vivid portrayal. She won't stand by the sheriff because their relationship is over but excoriates Grace Kelly who is ready leave him in his hour of need. You know that if Jurado was still Kane's woman she would stand by his side.

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"Truly, this man really was the Son of God."

For all the wrong reasons, John Wayne as the Roman Centurain in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).  i wonder if the shots of him whipping Christ on his way to the cross ended up on the cutting room floor.

Spoiler ending ...

 

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ruby-dee-denzel-washington-american-gang

Ruby Dee had a very small role as Denzel Washington's mother, Mama Lucas in American Gangster (2007) but she certainly packed a lot of punch.  My choice for best supporting actress of that year.

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This thread seems to wander off and on the path pretty regular.  Some mention a  "jolting impact", and others just a favorite scene (and one of many),  sometimes all in the same movie.  And not really all that "jolting".  

Sepiatone

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59 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

ruby-dee-denzel-washington-american-gang

Ruby Dee had a very small role as Denzel Washington's mother, Mama Lucas in American Gangster (2007) but she certainly packed a lot of punch.  My choice for best supporting actress of that year.

I agree, she was just perfect in what could have been a thankless role, but she was just terrific and more than held her own with Denzel.

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The great Geraldine Page in "The Pope Of Greenwich Village " confronting two detectives who want to search her deceased policeman's son's ( Bunky) room for incriminating (for them) tapes.

 

 

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Now here is a lady who has packed a huge punch in a very short amount of screen time in a number of films.  Jo Van Fleet ...

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as Areltta in Cool Hand Luke (1967).

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as Bessie in The Rose Tattoo (1955).

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and as Kate in East of Eden (1955).

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"I would have just punched her out"

Helena Kallianiotes in  Five Easy Pieces (1970).

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