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Robert Ryan


tcmfan4ever82!
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On Monday Turner Classic Movies will devote 12 hours of its day programming to the film career of the Oscar nominated American classic film actor Robert Ryan (November 11th, 1909 ? July 11th, 1973) as well as commemorating Veteran's Day; I'm very happy that TCM is able to showcase a 9 film retrospective on that day beginning at 6:00amET and I wanted to ask if there was any classic film of Ryan's that you've enjoyed him in on TV?

 

Edited by: tcmfan4ever82! on Nov 9, 2013 10:35 PM

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Robert Ryan is one of my favourite actors. I'm glad that TCM is dedicating a day to his films.

Ryan was in a lot of film noirs, my favourite genre of "classic" movies. "Act of Violence" is one of his best. Another one well worth checking out is "On Dangerous Ground", with Ida Lupino.

 

Ryan often played "bad" characters, or at least, tough, harsh men. But in many of his roles he excelled at indicating, in various subtle ways, a vulnerability beneath the toughness.

 

A fine intelligent actor, and an under-rated one. Thanks for starting a thread about him.

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I saw "Caught" for the first time last year - good movie and a good Ryan performance.

 

He seemed a good fit in westerns as well as excelling in noir - "The Naked Spur" The Proud Ones" and "The Wild Bunch are a few of his good ones. And maybe the noirish western - "Bad Day at Black Rock"

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Robert Ryan always gives a strong performance and seems at his best playing those menacing bad guys. While Richard Widmark usually is the somewhat mentally unhinged guy and Dan Duryea is the sneaky double crosser type, Ryan is often the straight forward wise guy who likes to play mind games with his adversary. I'm thinking of *The Naked Spur* when Ryan slowly undermines James Stewart's efforts to bring him (Ryan) to justice. In *Clash By Night* Ryan drives a wedge between the married couple (Paul Douglas and Barbara Stanwyck) . My favorite Ryan bad guy is Master at Arms Claggart in *Billy Budd* . I really enjoyed Ryan in the offbeat (for him) role in *God's Little Acre* . His best role of all may be as the down and out boxer in *The Set Up* , another unusual role for him playing a very sympathetic character. Robert Ryan was a very active actor right up to the end of his life, dying at only 63 years.

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In the TCM documentary narrated by Ernest Borgnine he's talking about the gas station scene in Bad Day. Tracy is seated and Ryan is standing. Borgnine says that Ryan is working like hell to try to stop Tracy from stealing the scene. I don't find it so. My eyes were on Ryan the first time I saw it because he's the type of guy you expected to make a move of some kind. Unpredictable I guess I'd call it. I always find him so.

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Notice below I mention this same Ryan Tracy scene since I think it is the best one in the movie. Two great actors going toe-to-toe.

 

What I get from Borgnine's point was that here is Ryan, standing and therefore towering over a sitting Tracy, and Tracy still holds his own.

 

But I agree with you that Tracy doesn't steal the scene. But the way the scene was shot one would expect the Ryan character to dominate the scene and that isn't the case (IMO).

 

As for Ryan making a move. Yea, when Tracy stands up and Ryan is about to blow his top, one is just waiting on Ryan to punch Tracy. At this stage of the movie one doesn't know that Tracy isn't a defenseless one armed man. If Ryan had tried to punch Tracy he would have ended up like the Borgnine character!

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Late to this thread, but if I had to pick my absolutely favorite Ryan movies, they'd probably be The Racket, The Naked Spur, and House of Bamboo. But then I can't remember a single film of his where he didn't excel. I can't think of any actor I admire more for his willingness to take on the sort of unglamorous, non-romantic roles that he could have almost certainly avoided with his chiseled good looks.

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