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tcmfan4ever82!

Star of the Month: Character Actors/Actresses

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I've noticed that during the times that TCM was showcasing their SOTM series, they've had iconic stars viewed in articles like Battle of the Blondes for instance. So I thought that it would be really wonderful to have character actors and actresses featured as the Star of the Month because it would be a fun, insightful and enriching experience worth appreciating plus it gives classic film lovers a chance to view so many wonderful actors and actresses who gave Hollywood's Golden Era of Films an indelible, uncompromising, awe-inspiring and incomparable cinematic quality that comes from character actors/actresses. Talented artists of the silver screen like Ward Bond, S.Z. Cuddles Sakall, Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Lee J. Cobb, Edna May Oliver, Beulah Bondi, Frank McHugh, Lionel Barrymore, Elsa Lanchester, Harry Carey Sr., Victor Moore, Charles Coburn, Harry Davenport, Henry Stephenson, Walter Brennan, Thelma Ritter, Edward Arnold, Thomas Mitchell, Judith Anderson, C.Aubrey Smith, Nigel Bruce, Charles Bickford, Louis Calhern, Dan Duryea, Rosalind Russell, Henry Travers, Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Frank Morgan, Agnes Moorehead, Hope Emerson, James Gleason, Sydney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook ,Jr.,Dame May Whitty, Guy Kibbee and countless others who deserved so much more recognition over the years!

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Couldn't agree more. And many people consider these character actors to be as big as any other "star".

 

Sepiatone

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>... I thought that it would be really wonderful to have character actors and actresses featured as the Star of the Month because it would be a fun, insightful and enriching experience worth appreciating plus it gives classic film lovers a chance to view so many wonderful actors and actresses who gave Hollywood's Golden Era of Films an indelible, uncompromising, awe-inspiring and incomparable cinematic quality that comes from character actors/actresses. ...

 

This is an outstanding idea. By coincidence, the other night my wife and I were talking about featuring character actors as collective "Stars of the Month" when we were watching one of our favorite character actors (Edward Arnold) on TCM.

 

Two or three days a week during a particular month, TCM could schedule blocks of films -- maybe three or four separate blocks each day -- that feature a particular character actor. Of course, there are so many great character actors that TCM could even make it a whole month honoring character actors every day. Or maybe have a "31 Days of Great Character Actors" each year, similar to the annual Oscar month.

 

Great character actors are one reason I love classic films so much. The studio system apparently offered such steady and frequent work for these artists that many became almost as well known as the biggest stars, sometimes even getting lead roles (e.g., Charles Coburn in THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES).

 

Frank McHugh, Charles Coburn, S.Z. Sakall, James Gleason, Dame May Whitty, Edna May Oliver, Barry Fitzgerald, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner, Una O'Connor, Edward Everett Horton -- the list of favorites goes on and on. These accomplished actors deserve SOTM recognition!

 

Edited by: BingFan on Jan 6, 2014 12:56 PM

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Totally agree. For the last programming challenge (#23), my SOTM was the character actor. I proposed one a week, beginning with the great Beulah Bondi. Here are my notes and schedule (I've deleted the shorts):

 

*STAR OF THE MONTH: THE CHARACTER ACTOR*

*THIS WEEK: BEULAH BONDI*

 

Character actors made the classic movies great, perhaps even more so than the "stars." I particularly love Beulah Bondi and admire her great talent. Whether she was playing James Stewart's mother or Napoleon's, no actor did a consistently better job than our Beulah. The tribute includes such rarities as The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (said to be the first full-length outdoor three-strip technicolor film), in which Ms. Bondi has one of her best roles, lamenting the violence of the feuding families. ( Trail is preceded by Service with a Smile, a Leon Errol short which was Warner's first foray in the three-strip process.) In Shepherd of the Hills, Beulah has perhaps her nastiest role -- Aunt Mollie, whose scene with the ring of fire is truly eerie!

 

6:00 AM Street Scene (1931) Sylvia Sidney, William Collier, Jr., Estelle Taylor, Beulah Bondi. Dir: King Vidor. Samuel Goldwyn, 80 mins. P/S

 

7:30 AM Registered Nurse (1934) Bebe Daniels, Lyle Talbot, Minna Gombell, Beulah Bondi. Dir: Robert Florey. First National, 63 mins. P/S

 

8:45 AM Finishing School (1934) Frances Dee, Billie Burke, Ginger Rogers, Bruce Cabot, Beulah Bondi. Dirs: George Nichols Jr., Wanda Tuchock. RKO, 73 mins. P/S

 

10:00 AM The Sisters (1938) Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Donald Crisp, Beulah Bondi, Henry Travers. Dir: Anatole Litvak. WB, 99 mins. P/S

 

11:45 PM Track of the Cat (1954) Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi. Dir: William A. Wellman. Wayne-Fellows, 102 mins. P/S

 

1:45 PM Of Human Hearts (1938) Walter Huston, James Stewart, Beulah Bondi, Guy Kibbee, Charles Coburn, John Carradine, Ann Rutherford. Dir: Clarence Brown. MGM, 103 mins. P/S

 

4:15 PM Our Town (1940) William Holden, Martha Scott, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Stuart Erwin, Frank Craven. Dir: Sam Wood. Sol Lesser, 90 mins. P/S

 

6:00 PM Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) Beulah Bondi, Victor Moore, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Porter Hall. Dir: Leo McCarey. Paramount, 91 mins. P/S

 

8:00 PM The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936) Sylvia Sidney, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, Beulah Bondi, Fred Stone, Nigel Bruce. Dir: Henry Hathaway. Wanger/Paramount, 102 mins. Exempt

 

9:45 PM The Shepherd of the Hills (1941) John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey, Beulah Bondi, Marjorie Main. Dir: Henry Hathaway. Paramount, 98 mins. Exempt

 

12:00 AM The Southerner (1945) Zachary Scott, Betty Field, J. Carroll Nash, Beulah Bondi, Percy Kilbride. Dir: Jean Renoir. Jean Renoir Productions, 92 mins. P/S

 

1:45 AM Hearts Divided (1936) Marian Davies, Dick Powell, Charlie Ruggles, Claude Rains, Edward Everett Horton, Arthur Treacher, Beulah Bondi. Dir: Frank Borzage. WB, 76 mins. P/S

 

3:15 AM The Invisible Ray (1936) Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton, Violet Kemble Cooper, Beulah Bondi. Dir: Lambert Hillyer. Universal, 80 mins. P/S

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I don't know which I love better-- your idea or the fact that you mentioned Ward Bond first :)

 

Character actors are the best, let's just face it.

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I wonder if it would be better to feature character actors as part of Summer under the Stars instead of SOTM.

 

One charater actor featured each day, instead of one each week. This way 30 actors could be featured instead of 4 or 5.

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I love this idea too-it makes perfect sense because while these actors don't "star" in a film, their support often makes the film "gell" and I think that takes lots of talent.

 

As is with any subject here on the message board, I have to put in my 2? opinion- while you list many deserving charactor actors, a few in there I consider "stars", like Lionel Barrymore, Judith Anderson & Rosaland Russell.

 

I'd rather see days filled with actors that never had top billing, that were truly supporting the cast & story. Some, like Thomas Mitchell support quietly, while others like SZ Sakall almost steal the show. I really enjoy Ann Revere's understated contributions to film stories too.

 

My favorite charactor actor of all time is James Gleason. I recently viewed the 2.5 hour Criterion NIGHT OF THE HUNTER bonus disk of outtakes. It was amazing to see the first chosen actor do the part, then James Gleason came in as replacement. It was if Gleason WAS the guy in the movie, you just could not see him "acting" but instead recognised the entire back story of this charactor.

 

And don't forget Eve Arden!

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