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Who was the hammiest actor in the movies?


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Those two are good jambons, but the best ham of them all has to be John Barrymore, especially in *Twentieth Century*. (By the way, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing...I enjoy hammy actors, they're fun to watch. And I believe you can be a good actor and add a little salty pork now and then too.)

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> {quote:title=cody1949 wrote:}{quote}Not in every movie of his, but in quite a few. I would have to say, Rod Steiger.

I heartily agree, Steiger is the hammiest of hams in everything I've ever seen him in. (I have not seen The Pawnbroker , people always say he's great in that, but I dunno. He'd have to be pretty effing _great_ to atone for for some of his sins- especially The Big Knife. .)

 

Funny though: almost every time I've seen any actor talking about working with Steiger they've always said almost the _exact_ same thing: "it was like going to acting school all over again" and/or "I learned so much" which I can only hope was code for: "Man alive!, this S.O.B. is impossible to work with" and "he taught me how to get bits of drywall out of my back molars he chewed the scenery so bad."

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Stand back everybody because I've got the ultimate answer - ROBERT NEWTON!!! Particularly when he played a pirate, any pirate, Long John Silver, Blackbeard, whoever. Never did eyes pop out so far, never did a face distort to such grotesque extremes during the delivery of any dialogue. And, for that matter, without dialogue. Aaarree, Jimbo!

 

There's so much excess ham spewed forth from this artery clogging actor that I'm sure his performances are bad for a viewer's health. If there is such a thing as a viewer with a ham allergy he should have a medic nearby if he makes the mistake of watching Newton in piratical form.

 

Okay, everybody (I say smugly) beat Robert Newton as a ham!

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Well, I guess it was Steiger's choice of roles. Is there any hammier (and more delightful) performance than Mr. Joyboy in The Loved One ? Yet Steiger's role as the Hasidic Rabbi in The Chosen was truly understated. A magnificent, overlooked performance.

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote: }{quote}Is there any...more delightful performance than Mr. Joyboy in The Loved One ?

On my own personal "delightability" scale Steiger's performance in The Loved One rates slightly higher than Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck and just below Sofia Coppola in The Godfather Part III

 

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Not "was" but is Al Pacino. I would have chosen James Dean, but his output is so minimal. Still, pretty hammy. Katharine Hepburn isn't so much hammy, imo, as obvious. Meryl Streep stikes me the same way. I never get lost in their roles. I'm always aware of the technique. They're always ACTING. I find Streep less annoying, however.

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I can't even watch GOLDEN BOY as Cobb comes off like Chico Marx to me, or one of the Super Mario Brothers - the short one. Then again, I must admit that I find Clifford Odets to be unbearable for the most part. I find his work so overwrought as to become laughable.

 

He's also hamming it up in MAN OF THE WEST and THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE to a great extent. Less so in 12 ANGRY MEN, but there are a few scenes where the pork starts showing.

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I have to agree with Hepburn and Streep being obvious in their acting...that is why (also please include Bette in this too) they were great actresses, but you knew they were acting, take Garbo, she always looked so natural, that you forget she is acting...her directors (i.e. Cukor, etc.) always said that her acting came from her soul and you could see it through her eyes....that is one in a million!

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Mickey Rooney (unless I overlooked it).

 

It seems like the word "ham" often comes up in connection with his name. While I wouldn't deny that Mickey's one of the biggest hams, I'd also say that he's one of the best actors ever to grace the movie screen. Yes, his energy may be a bit too much sometimes, but the guy knows how to find the emotions in a scene -- he could make you laugh or tear your heart out.

 

It's funny, because even though being called a ham is sometimes considered pejorative, the term seens to be applied to some of the best actors around. Besides Mr. Rooney, I would say that almost everyone else we've mentioned here -- Jolson, Barrymore, Hepburn, Beery, Main, Streep, Steiger, Hope, Crosby et al. -- is a terrific actor. I'm not saying they all have the same range, but each one does his or her job very, very convincingly.

 

I guess the same talent that makes you a really good actor can also go a bit farther and make you a ham as well.

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How did we forget Charles Laughton? Even the often hammy Peter Ustinov knew there was already enough ham already and toned it down for his scenes with Laughton in SPARTACUS.

 

Otherwise, Ustinov's performance in QUO VADIS certainly has him as a qualifier.

 

How about Jay Robinson as Caligula in THE ROBE? He didn't just play to the back row, he played to the theater across the street.

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