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Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" was so hard to watch (for me). I understand why the character needed to be played that way but she was so over the top she was like a cartoon character. I was nearly distracted from the plot, watching her... As an offshoot of the idea of "hamminess", with some actors in films you are absorbed by the character they are playing, but with other actors in films, you never forget that it is the star playing the role. Sometimes the latter is like that for me with Bette Davis, but not all the time. As I said elsewhere she was wonderful in All About Eve, and I also liked her in Deception. She and Claude Rains had incredible chemistry.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

>

> I've never considered "over-acting" - if that is what is meant by "hammy" - to be such a bad thing. Some of the most memorable performances could be deemed "hammy", and yet, we do remember them.

>

When an actor is showing off or drawing undo attention to themselves then that's hammy. Or if they're obviously too emotional for the scene or their character. Some of the actors & performances you mentioned I like too. Swanson in Sunset Blvd. Barrymore in 20th Century. But those actors were intentionally playing hammy.

Yeah, I know a lot of people like Bette Davis & think she's a great actress, and I'm not disputing that. She just seems too "big" to me. To be fair to her, good acting in her day had a different definition than what it does today. Pre-Brando, good acting meant packing as much emotion into a performance as possible. The more emotional, the better. Post-Brando, good acting means being as honest & truthful as possible in imaginary circumstances. Don't think she's a bad actress, just her style ain't my cup a tea.

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Hey Finance, "Marty" is my second favorite movie. Steiger played the lead character differently than Borgnine. Steiger's Marty Poletti was much more glum than the expansive Borgnine performance. Probably more realistic as you might wonder why it was so dificult for the talkative and outgoing Marty in the movie to meet girls.

 

Also, Nancy Marchand as Clara, really was a "dog" compared to Betsy Blair who was plain but not unattractive. Marchand was also considerably taller than Steiger.

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I always liked "the quiet one". Have you seen the funny affectionate Beatles parody film, *The Ruttles* ?

 

So, today is Burt Lancaster day. Is he considered a bit "method" too? I heard a story, probably from Robert Osborne on TCM but I can't recall for sure, that Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn had a spot of trouble getting along on the set of *The Rainmaker* because of their two very different approaches to acting.

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I hadn't heard that story about Hepburn and Lancaster but I can easily imagine them not getting along since they seem to have strong personalities (and possibly big egos...).

 

Here's where I'm really showing how little I know, but can someone point out some example between a "method" and "non-method" actor? I know that Brando is method, for example, but how can I look at someone and say, "Ah, that person has the 'method' style"? That one has stumped me for a long time. If 'method' means natural, then you can also say that some 'non-method' actors can do the same.

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Now it get's confusing, because there is nothing natural about Lancaster's style. It would seem that the easier it is to do an impersonation of an actor, the less natural they probably are. It is difficult to impersonate Tracy, and he is very natural. It is easy to do a Lancaster impersonation.

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LOVE the Beatles (and thus the Rutles).

 

My favorite scene in the Rutles: They're on top of the roof (meant to simulate the the Beatles' roof top gig during Let it Be). A roadie squats down in front of "John" to hook up a chord. John, annoyed at this guy being in his way, kicks him in the arse sending him flying off the roof from ten stories up (his screams geting softer & softer). Cracks me up just thinking about it.

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Not quite! Just wanted to say I think darkblue did an excellent job defining "method" acting (or at least as it relates to Stanislavsky's approach). That's about as good a definition I've ever heard. There is nothing fake about the emotions the actor feels as he or she truthfully experiences what their character experiences. That's the theory, anyway.

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> {quote:title=darkblue wrote:}{quote}

>

> Because Marlon Brando was mistakenly reported to be a student of 'the method', it was given much shrift that was never warranted. "Be a tree", "be a mouse", "be a cloud". What utter nonsense.

 

 

I would suggest that you never read anything by Henri Bergson, one of my favorite philosophers, for he would have you 'become the color orange,' in order to know it.

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I could never act however I was on Front Page a short lived Ronald Reagan Jr. news type show. He did a ride-along with me for 2 weeks(we argued the merits of legalization of street drugs when the crew was not filming). It was exasperating. This aside I think this is why I love classic films. As far as I'm concerned there really are no "stars" now and those we may list now are few and far between. There were some benefits to the old "studio" system after all.

Sorry Brando fans, I never cared for him A Street Car Named Desire aside.

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  • 2 weeks later...

this is a direct quote from a famous critic:

 

Actress Greta Garbo had a greater impact on her craft than did any other actress in the 20th century. She introduced what is now called method acting to the screen, and in twenty-eight films, twenty-five of them filmed in the United States, redefined the image of women on the screen. Her stunning beauty and style captured the hearts of millions.

 

Need one say anthing more?

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