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Best scene stealer?


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For me, it's *Spring Byington*. I love how she puts these quirky little mannerisms into her characterizations and this zestful sort of energy that radiates charm and humor.

 

I also like *Elsa Lanchester* for pretty much the same reason.

 

And then there's *Orson Welles*. I am referring to his work where he is not the lead actor but still really powers the story. In THE STRANGER, he upstages even the outdoor scenery. And in TOMORROW IS FOREVER, he plays it more subdued, but the way he has these lingering stares and pining for Claudette Colbert just commands our attention. Even when he's off-camera, you feel as if he's watching.

 

tomorrow-is-forever-3.jpg

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Yeah, I too, would have to go with Thelma Ritter.

 

Natale Wood as a child actor was good at it, too.

 

In more contemporary times, Robert Blake has been known to dominate attention, if we go by Top Billed's WELLES criteria.

 

Nowadays, well, in the "commentary" feature on the CD of "Ocean's 11" (2001), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia all agreed that DON CHEADLE is the best in the biz today. He doesn't need to do more than just BE in the scene and it's his!

 

Sepiatone

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Ya know Jeff, while I too certainly think highly of Mr. Powell's talents, I've always gotten the impression that the term "a scene stealer" refers more to a supporting and/or character actor or actress in a film who is so memorable in a particular scene or series of scenes that they tend to make one momentarily forget about or overshadow the lead players.

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I have to agree there. A lead is expected to hold the screen, that why if attention is diverted to a supporting player, they say the scene is stolen.

 

But I have long said that William Powell does steal MR. ROBERTS from Fonda and the rest. He's the center of calm amongst the wildly animated Lemmon and Cagney and the stoic Fonda, whom I think at times is just walking through a performance that he gave several hundred times already on stage.

 

That may have been owing to his problems with Ford on the changes made, but that's the stuff of another thread perhaps.

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Yeah clore, I've heard of that supposed tiff between Ford and Fonda during the filming of that movie, but I don't know, it seems to me that Fonda pretty much HAD to underplay the Roberts' part, and here's why...

 

Ya know the thread that Sepiatone just started about "Who's cool", well, I'm thinkin' that Fonda went with that understated angle because he probably felt that the crew of a ship would have been more inclined to look up to and like a guy with that whole "cool" aspect to his personality than of any other way to play the character.

 

And I don't know about you, but I've always thought Lt. (JG) Douglas A. 'Doug' Roberts was one cool cat!

 

(...for a navy officer anyway!)

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Mr. Roberts is cool - but he's really working hard at it. It's mentioned early that everyone else is close to cracking since there's been no liberty and it's up to Fonda to remain cool or calm in order to set some sort of example and get things done.

 

The captain has him by the you-know-whats because Mr. Roberts can't afford to let go just a little as it would show up in an evaluation and further hurt his chances of a transfer.

 

I've read that there was more of an edge to his character on stage, but perhaps that was just Fonda recognizing the difference between the stage and the studio. I just wonder if Fonda wasn't allowed to show some seams in his facade as Ford wanted to emphasize the comic aspects, or as Fonda once called it "the boys will be boisterous" approach with which he so disagreed.

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Some interesting thoughts there clore, especially the one about how you feel Fonda might've made the choice to "pull it in" a little too much for the film as compared to how he would've played it on Broadway.

 

I still think, however, that Fonda gets it pretty much right in the film version.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Amazing how opinions differ. I thought that Powell was so lousy in MR. ROBERTS that he almost ruins the film for me.

 

REALLY, finance? I don't get THAT at all!

 

Please elaborate.

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First as for scene stealer I believe the actor shouldn't be the star of the movie but instead a supporting player. A lead player doesn't steal a scene since, by definiton, a lead should dominate scenes.

 

So in that regard Ritter is clearly one of the top scene stealers. Even when a movie has a great lead, at the top of her game, like Bette Davis in All About Eve, Ritter steals a scene or two.

 

I would also add Eve Arden.

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