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Before the method actors ...


GABLE1NY
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My favorite move genre is the 1930s. The depression days, up to and through WWII, with very few after that time frame.

 

Before the method actors ... there was pantomime, melodramatics of the silent screen which I've been studying for the past 20 years. Not only the over emphasized emotions, make-up and movie sets, but the rare few that had the genuine art to a science ... the Barrymores, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and so many others. Only some were able to make the transition to sound. The Barrymores ... formal stage actors ... had no issues at all. Charlie Chaplin held out till the bitter end and when he spoke it was magnificent. Buster Keaton ... needn't ever speak but he did.

 

I'm talking about those actors that could say it all, subtly, with a simple expression, not an over emphasis of physical distortions.

 

Then there were the "every guy/girl" ... Gable (really could not act very well, every character was Gable, himself, except one bomb where he tried to act and failed miserably at it... Parnell). He was an ordinary guy, no matter how famous he became. His personal life filled with more drama than any of his movie characters.

 

Gary Cooper, young John Wayne, who both accomplished it with hitch in their voice to match their walk. Barbara Stanwyk, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis (a little over the top at times), Gladys Cooper,

 

I think "The Artist" was the best new movie I've seen in 20 years, that fits this type of cinema. Even better that the story has all the great components for a classic. e.g. the action, flare, happiness, and wealth, the naivety and innocence, the passion, the love, the loss of love, the suffering and poverty, the despair and finally the triumph of what a deep romantic love can accomplish. Excellent !

 

I often also get caught up in some more modern European B movies which are so much more dramatic and sincere than most American cinema productions.

 

Comedies, science fiction and action films are a genre all of their own, thus, not included in this topic.

 

I'd be interested in what other hard core cinema addicts have to add.

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Welcome, Gable! Wow, what a great post. A lot to sink one's teeth into. :)

 

You said:

 

*I'm talking about those actors that could say it all, subtly, with a simple expression, not an over emphasis of physical distortions.*

 

I look for different things when I watch classic film. One of those things is what you mention above. I love when a great actor simply changes his facial expression and conveys a wealth of emotion with no words at all, and moves an audience. Frank Capra is quoted as saying that to see good acting, you need to watch the eyes (I'm paraphrasing here).

 

I'm also a Gable fan, like you, and also just recently bought The Artist on DVD. Terrific film. :)

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>Eugenia said: I love when a great actor simply changes his facial expression and conveys a wealth of emotion with no words at all

 

I love this too and the Barrymores and Marion Davies come to mind for doing this brilliantly and almost so quickly, you only see it subliminally.

 

The best familiar example I can think of is Lionel Barrymore as Mr Potter in ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE. In the scene where he tries to woo George Bailey he says, "You wouldn't mind taking a few business trips...maybe even Europe?" His face changes expression several times in that otherwise dull conversation, and when he says "Europe" it's a big false smile-but only a flash-in an otherwise grim faced speech.

 

Also, the scene where the family meets Harry Bailey's wife at the station. Capra keeps the camera tight on George Bailey's face as he walks from the train to the baggage alone-you see exactly what he thinks of the situation in 3 flashes of expression on his face.

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