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"Casting Against Type" Greatest Moment


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Walker is a better example than MacMurray becaus that's the ONLY time he played a character like that.

 

Walker also played a spoiled rotten character in SEA OF GRASS but only gets into the last third of the film. He's not any more likable in VENGEANCE VALLEY either.

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Here's a good example of casting against type, but only in retrospect - Andy Griffith in *A Face in the Crowd*.

 

I say "in retrospect" because *Face* came before Griffith was known to all of America as the amiable Andy Taylor, but when you look back and see Griffith in the film you really kind of have your eyes opened by his performance...

 

(Well, that's how it was with me, anyway. This film is one of my all-time favorites. I wish he had stretched his acting talent more often.)

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Actually Eugenia, I do remember a number of Made-for-TV movies in the 1970s which starred Andy as either a less-than-honorable figure or even a sociopath. I think Andy kind of missed playing those Lonesome Rhodes types and maybe wanted to break away from the nice guy image he had attained during the 1960s.

 

Two of these Made-for TV films I remember seeing back then were, *Pray for the Wildcats* and *Savages* , both broadcast in 1974.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tyrone Power - Nightmare Alley.

 

There are many more examples today of playing against type because the actors aren't tied to a system that developed an image for them. In the above example, the role went so against Tyrone Power's image that Zanuck withdrew the movie from release and rushed "Captain from Castile" out early.

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*Tyrone Power - Nightmare Alley.*

*There are many more examples today of playing against type because the actors aren't tied to a system that developed an image for them. In the above example, the role went so against Tyrone Power's image that Zanuck withdrew the movie from release and rushed "Captain from Castile" out early.*

*Power's last role, in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, also went against type. So did, for that matter, JOHNNY APOLLO.*

Exactly. Power's portrayal in NIGHTMARE ALLEY was not all that far from his persona in earlier roles, that of a imperfect, somewhat crooked individual. Roles such as those in LOVE IS NEWS, SECOND CHANCE, IN OLD CHICAGO, ROSE OF WASHINGTON SQUARE and BLOOD AND SAND show him to be a two-timing opportunistic amoral heel; his role in NA was not much of a stretch. However, these other roles were in romantic comedies or musical dramas, etc. and not in a cynical noir like ALLEY, with its faintly repellent carnival milieu. This is what shocked his fans, and Zanuck, who rushed the more familiar and palatable swashbucking persona for public viewing.

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Power often played a cad, but a likeable one in most cases. And, in the case of Love is News there was an element of comedy, as in "Yank in the RAF," where he was an outrageous flirt. In Nightmare Alley, he played much more than a cad. He wasn't very likeable and also the audience saw him disintegrate into a messed up alcoholic, with his looks distorted (which I think is what really disturbed Zanuck). Remember too that in those early films -- and I don't think he was crooked or anything of the kind in SECOND FIDDLE -- he was young and exceedingly charming. In Nightmare Alley, he was charming but it was pure slime. He was also a much rougher character.

 

As far as Witness for the Prosecution being against type, by then he was as far away as he could get from Zanuck and was anxious for that type of part.

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As far as Witness for the Prosecution being against type, by then he was as far away as he could get from Zanuck and was anxious for that type of part.

 

It's almost impossible for me to make a case for why Power really wasn't cast against type in the film.

 

 

SPOILER DOWN BELOW

Reading further can be hazardous to your enjoyment of WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's only at the very end of a first viewing that one realizes that Power was playing upon his image until the trial is over.

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Yes, I have it on in the background, my back is to the TV when I'm at the PC. But I was also mindful of the close of the film, and the request made:

 

"The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution."

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Agreed, in that sense, it was a dual role. The background of that film is that he was offered the role and refused it as by then he was way more interested in theater. The producer wanted him for two movies and came back to him later with an offer of more money, plus a percentage of the gross. It was then that he took the role.

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