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Those Small Performances in Films That You Love


TomJH
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5 hours ago, mkahn22 said:

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Can't say enough about Dorothy Malone's performance in the famous "Bookshop" scene in "The Big Sleep:" possible the best pickup (she picks him up) and casual-sex scene in a movie ever. It is all her scene with Bogie just along for the ride (tee-hee). Kidding aside, Malone owns the scene from beginning to end. 

 

Good pick, mkan22. I always get a laugh out of scenes like this in older films in which it's not until the gorgeous actress takes off her glasses and literally lets down her hair that the male realizes she's a knockout. Well, Dorothy Malone is a knockout in this scene but she didn't have to take off her specs for me (and, I suspect, just about everybody watching the film) to realize it.

One more small female performance in The Big Sleep also worthy of mention:

Just Noir🕵️ on Instagram: “Joy Barlow: If you can use me again sometime,  call this number. Bogie: Day and night? Joy: N… | Numbers to call, American  crime, Bogie

Joy Barlow as the cabbie who gives Marlowe her card should he want to see her afterward. Now why do I never see taxi drivers like this?

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Betty Garde played several memorable supporting roles (Kitty Stark in Caged; Thelma the Maid in The Honeymooners; Aunt Eller in the original production of Oklahoma!) but the one that could be considered a memorable small performance was as Wanda Skutnik in Call Northside 777.

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53 minutes ago, TomJH said:

One more small female performance in The Big Sleep also worthy of mention:

Joy Barlow as the cabbie who gives Marlowe her card should he want to see her afterward. Now why do I never see taxi drivers like this?

Well of course Tom, this could all be attributed to the fact that YOUR frame of reference in these matters is based in the late-20th/early-21st Century of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and NOT in mid-1940s Los Angeles, Califonia, USA!

And where and when I understand a good number of Yellow Cab drivers were hot babes just like Joy here, and who had come to L.A. from places such as Toronto in efforts to break into the movie biz.

(...well, it was either THIS or waiting tables until their big break came along, anyway)

;)

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Sylvia Miles in Farewell My Lovely beautifully  conveyed the alcoholic existence of some people living by themselves in the big city. She's a lady who had been around, had had her day and was now reduced to living in a crummy little apartment, her chief companions a bottle of booze and any guy who might care to share it with her. The actress delivered a pathetically sad portrait of loneliness.

Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

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Okay, sure, the following might be stretching the definition of what we're talkin' about here JUST a bit, but I gotta say I was always very impressed with the "performance" of the two Triumph motorcyles that Clint Eastwood and Don Stroud ride through NYC's Fort Tryon Park in 1968's Coogan's Bluff here...

AND come to think of it, this very same year, the "performance" of McQueen's Mustang GT 390 and Bill Hickman's (the stunt driver who plays the hired killer) Dodge Charger along the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, I always found pretty darn impressive TOO!

(...alright alright, sorry...the gearhead in me just can't be restrained sometimes, OKAY?!) LOL  ;)

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Harry Davenport as the judge in You Can't Take It with You (1938)              and again as a judge in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

MV5BMzMwMmRjOGUtMGZkMi00OTRhLTk0MGUtNjBmYjg0ODk5NTNmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_.jpg                                               MV5BMDFkNTgyYTMtODI2NS00MzdiLWI3YTEtMGVmNjcxOTM4YzBiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_.jpg

 

Harry Carey as President of the Senate in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

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41 minutes ago, BunnyWhit said:

Harry Davenport as the judge in You Can't Take It with You (1938)              and again as a judge in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

MV5BMzMwMmRjOGUtMGZkMi00OTRhLTk0MGUtNjBmYjg0ODk5NTNmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_.jpg                                               MV5BMDFkNTgyYTMtODI2NS00MzdiLWI3YTEtMGVmNjcxOTM4YzBiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_.jpg

 

Harry Carey as President of the Senate in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

MV5BNzE0MTI1MmQtY2UxMS00YTc4LTlkZTEtYTU3YmM5NGMyZDA2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA1NTgxOTY0._V1_.jpg

 

 

Yep, gotta say they're all pretty much the opposite in temperment than Jack Warden was here in And Justice for All, huh... ;)

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(...and which I probably shouldn't have mentioned here because his role is too large in this film)

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George Tobias as the 'Russian Visa Official' in Ninotchka (1939).  Tobias is only in the film for one very short scene but it is one of the funniest in the entire film.

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Roscoe Karns as Oscar Shapeley in It Happened One Night

Roscoe Karns

It Happened One Night (1934) with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert –  Classic Film Freak

An obnoxious loud mouth, the type of guy you always fear getting stuck beside, with the unforgettable moniker of Oscar Shapely, he is most enjoyably played by Roscoe Karns, a character actor who enlivened so many comedies and dramas (usually as comic support) during the '30s. Frank Capra always let the 'little actors" be the stars of their scenes and this role was a particular highlight in Karns' career. Oscar lets Claudette, trapped in a bus seat beside him, know that he just  loves a hot mama that can snap them back at him and when a cold mama gets hot, boy how she sizzles.

Oscar Shapely,  winner of the Loud Mouth Schnook of the Year Award nine times out of ten (and the only reason he didn't win the tenth time was probably because he got stuck beside a deaf person). An obnoxious non-stop talkative bore. Believe You Me.

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51 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Roscoe Karns as Oscar Shapeley in It Happened One Night

 

I love when she fires insults at him, and he laughs appreciatevely and says things like,  "ZING! I had that one coming!" and then just keeps on talking.

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Haha we often describe someone as a Mr Shapely! Roscoe's handsome lookalike son played Harry Bailey, who raised his glass to his brother George "the richest man in town"

Also think George Tobias & Harry Davenport are two great charactor actors.

What about Thelma Ritter's two brief scenes in MIRACLE ON 34TH ST?

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That's when having a funny face or voice is important - makes you memorable in only a few seconds of a scene.

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Charles Sellon as Mr. Muckle in It's A Gift

It's a Gif (1934) | IMDB v2.1

It's a Gift (1934) directed by Norman Z. McLeod • Reviews, film + cast •  Letterboxd

It's Mr. Muckle, blind and swinging a cane, truly a threat for all store keepers with a display of loose light bulbs. This man created more havoc in W. C.  Fields' store than most hurricanes. That plus, with Sellon's memorable comic turn, he had the additional  charm of being the town's biggest grouch, as well. Being blind and almost completely deaf will do that to ya, at least in a Fields film.

Yes, I definitely call this a memorable performance by an actor in a small role.

 

(With special thanks to new poster Carl LaFong for reminding me of this film and performance.)

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On 12/31/2021 at 11:58 AM, LsDoorMat said:

Can I talk about a small performance I hate? The drunk in Me and My Gal (1932). He interrupts lots of scenes in the first half and his act gets tedious and tiresome in about ten seconds. Maybe during Prohibition people thought this was funny. Every time he would reappear I would cringe. Fortunately he is completely missing from the second half. 

Drunks usually DO get tedious and tiresome, and you really gave cause as to why that actor's drunk scenes in the movie puts it on the "good small performances"  list. 

Sepiatone

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11 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

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George Tobias as the 'Russian Visa Official' in Ninotchka (1939).  Tobias is only in the film for one very short scene but it is one of the funniest in the entire film.

And then George Tobias again in SILK STOCKINGS

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Balloon Man in The Third Man

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The Third Man | Black and White Movies

Blessed with a memorable introduction with his shadow gliding along a building wall and with only five or six words of dialogue, Balloon Man made a memorably humorous appearance at a particularly tense moment in The Third Man when the police are staking out a diner in the hopes of finally nabbing the elusive Harry Lime.

Apparently director Carol Reed came across this old guy when he was shooting the film in the streets of Vienna and talked him into appearing in his film. Would anyone know the name of the performer by chance? In any event brief, make that very brief, as his appearance is in this film, he has always stayed with me. I have to say one thing for the old bird, he certainly was persistent in selling a balloon.

Balloon, mein Herr?

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