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The only good thing that is resulting from my being cut off from TCM while Turner and Dish get their contract stuff figured out (which I've read that everything is all held up on negotiations for CNN.  Lame), is that it's giving me an opportunity to clear stuff off my DVR.

 

A couple weeks ago, I recorded a few movies during the Montgomery Clift birthday tribute.  I recorded: I Confess, Raintree County, and Young Lions.  I just got around to watching I Confess.  I'd watch more but Monday Night Football is starting, so I have to take a DVR break for a few hours. 

 

Anyway, I'm a big fan of Montgomery Clift.  He's considered one of the "Method" actors along with Marlon Brando and James Dean (and whomever else studied that acting style).  I like Clift's acting style the best.  He's more understated than Dean-- not as angsty and dramatic (but that could be due more to age rather that acting style).  Clift's emotions seem more genuine.  To me, Brando often seems to be "acting" in his roles-- he doesn't appear as natural as Clift. 

 

Montgomery Clift had matinee idol looks; but he was more than just a pretty face.  He was excellent playing characters with strong ideals, unwilling to change for anyone.  Clift's acting was intense and he gave his all to every character he played.  When he did From Here to Eternity, for example, he took bugle and boxing lessons even though he knew he'd be dubbed and doubled, respectively.  Clift just wanted to make sure he looked accurate. 

 

It's a shame that Clift's life was so tragic.  I'm curious what his career would have been like had he not been in the car accident during Raintree County, not had his looks marred by scarring and plastic surgery and hadn't developed the substance abuse problems.  Although, by many accounts, it sounds like he had some alcohol issues.  I wonder if his alleged suppressed sexuality would have come out and he would have had to enter into a sham marriage like Rock Hudson. 

 

For someone with such a small filmography-- 17 films, Montgomery Clift made an indelible mark on mid-20th century cinema.

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While  I haven't seen all of his films I definitely like Clift in the ones that I have. I recently commented on another thread that I have seen FROM HERE TO ETERNITY multiple times, I really  like all of the actors in that picture but I would say that Monty is the standout  (even though Frank and Donna got the awards) in that film. I also like I CONFESS a lot, one of the less appreciated Hitchcock's but Clift is very, very good in this one.  Probably my favorite Clift film is WILD RIVER, but that may not be a proper comment because my gal Lee Remick is in that one and I love her in that film (I believe she had said that was her favorite film role ).  Anyway, to get back to Clift, he always does appear "natural" in his roles but he can convey great emotion, usually its just smoldering below  the surface but you know it's there. I agree with you about Brando, too often his acting  appears forced (I like him in some films, in others I find him rather annoying). James Dean,  how can you make any judgment on him with so little to judge him by.  Clift's life story is rather  tragic, yet somehow with his personal problems he always turned in a fine performance in my opinion.

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While  I haven't seen all of his films I definitely like Clift in the ones that I have. I recently commented on another thread that I have seen FROM HERE TO ETERNITY multiple times, I really  like all of the actors in that picture but I would say that Monty is the standout  (even though Frank and Donna got the awards) in that film. I also like I CONFESS a lot, one of the less appreciated Hitchcock's but Clift is very, very good in this one.  Probably my favorite Clift film is WILD RIVER, but that may not be a proper comment because my gal Lee Remick is in that one and I love her in that film (I believe she had said that was her favorite film role ).  Anyway, to get back to Clift, he always does appear "natural" in his roles but he can convey great emotion, usually its just smoldering below  the surface but you know it's there. I agree with you about Brando, too often his acting  appears forced (I like him in some films, in others I find him rather annoying). James Dean,  how can you make any judgment on him with so little to judge him by.  Clift's life story is rather  tragic, yet somehow with his personal problems he always turned in a fine performance in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong about James Dean.  I'm a big fan of his too.  I enjoy his trilogy of films.  I'm not judging him as an actor.  He seems to have captured the angsty 1950s teenager perfectly in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. He didn't have the same type of role in Giant, so I feel like if he hadn't died so young, we would have seen James Dean in a variety of different roles. I think I read that James Dean really admired Montgomery Clift and looked up to him.  I'm sure Clift was an inspiration to his acting. 

 

I just watched From Here to Eternity last night.  I've seen the film multiple times and love watching it every time.  While the entire cast is excellent-- Clift and Burt Lancaster are my favorites.  Clift brings such an intensity to his role and such emotion that you feel so bad for him during the entire film; and at the same time are proud of him for sticking to his guns in not entering the boxing competition.  While I think many actors would have been capable of delivering the lines, Clift brings something to the words, he isn't just merely reciting something.  His relationship with Lancaster in the film is endearing and it makes sense that Lancaster would want to protect him.  There's also an underlying vulnerability that attracts Donna Reed and makes her want to take care of him.  I don't think there's as much an attraction (although I'm sure there is) as much as they feel that they can protect each other since both characters feel like outsiders in their respective occupations.

 

I just watched I Confess and I really enjoyed it.  I liked how his character was determined to not reveal what was said to him in the confessional and you believe him when he says he won't tell.  I feel like I need to watch this again to capture everything that was going on.  I really liked it though, I didn't even know that Clift was in a Hitchcock film until I was reading the synopsis of his films during his birthday tribute on TCM. 

 

I really liked him in The Misfits even though the film is so tragic.  Within 6 years, the three main stars would be dead.  I thought Clift's best moment was when he was talking to his mother on the phone, so poignant.

 

I haven't seen Wild River; but will look out for it in the future. 

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Every time I watch Clift in a movie, my mind associates a bird. A tentative, delicate bird with a head slightly larger for its body than it should be.

 

Of his movies, I like 'Wild River' (1960) best.

He does have a delicate quality about him.  He's very thin and in many of his films, he doesn't exhibit very good posture--especially in From Here to Eternity.  I don't know if that was something he implemented for his character or whether Clift himself slouched a lot. I think his slight build helps lend to the vulnerability he brings to his characters.  I don't think Burt Lancaster, for example, would have been as believable in From Here to Eternity as the emotional Prewitt who is afraid to box and is putting up with "the treatment" at the base.

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Every time I watch Clift in a movie, my mind associates a bird. A tentative, delicate bird with a head slightly larger for its body than it should be.

 

Of his movies, I like 'Wild River' (1960) best.

that's my favorite Clift film too.

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He does have a delicate quality about him.  He's very thin and in many of his films, he doesn't exhibit very good posture--especially in From Here to Eternity.  I don't know if that was something he implemented for his character or whether Clift himself slouched a lot. I think his slight build helps lend to the vulnerability he brings to his characters.  I don't think Burt Lancaster, for example, would have been as believable in From Here to Eternity as the emotional Prewitt who is afraid to box and is putting up with "the treatment" at the base.

 

Prewitt was afraid to box because he had killed a man while boxing.   Your post makes it should like he was afraid to box because he was a wimp.

 

I do agree that his slight build makes it hard to believe he could deliver such a killer punch but that is the story line in the movie.

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Prewitt was afraid to box because he had killed a man while boxing.   Your post makes it should like he was afraid to box because he was a wimp.

 

I do agree that his slight build makes it hard to believe he could deliver such a killer punch but that is the story line in the movie.

Sorry.  You're right.  That was a bad example.  I know that Prewitt didn't want to box because of a past experience.  Although, I think he blinded a man in the ring, he wasn't killed; but that's not the point.  Prewitt wasn't afraid to box persay, he was afraid of hurting someone so severely again.  I don't think he was a wimp, after all, he bested Ernest Borgnine in the switchblade fight in the alley.  I think what I was trying to get at was that while Clift's character was strong willed and loyal (to the Army and Maggio) he was also fragile and conflicted.  I think Clift's biggest asset are his eyes.  His intense gaze conveys so many conflicting emotions. 

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...I think Clift's biggest asset are his eyes.  His intense gaze conveys so many conflicting emotions. 

 

I've said this same thing about "the eyes" being a very common factor in most if not all great film actors myself, Speedy. In fact, I believe many people have mentioned this over time around here.

 

(...yep, and this is why I believe Gary Cooper was a great film actor, and not nearly as "wooden" as George Raft...returning back to a comment you've recently made in another thread) ;)

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I've said this same thing about "the eyes" being a very common factor in most if not all great film actors myself, Speedy. In fact, I believe many people have mentioned this over time around here.

 

(...yep, and this is why I believe Gary Cooper was a great film actor, and not nearly as "wooden" as George Raft...returning back to a comment you've recently made in another thread) ;)

I haven't seen "the eyes" comment around here (definitely not disagreeing with you, I might have missed the conversations where eyes were mentioned); but I believe that a person's eyes are very telling.  If an actor seems to have "dead eyes" in their films, it's a turn off to me. 

 

Maybe I just haven't seen the right Gary Cooper film.  I haven't looked too deep into his eyes to see if they do anything for me.  He did not do anything for me in Love in the Afternoon.

 

I think George Raft might be a robot.  Lol.

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just a very short time ago, i wouldn't dare watch ANY montgomery clift movie.

i read somewhere that he was homosexual; i guess it was this belief that repelled me.

however, after seeing him in 'lonelyhearts' and 'from here to eternity', i'm beginning to warm up to the guy.

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I like most of the Montgomery Clift films shown on TCM.  I've never seen "Wild River", but I thought he was great in "The Search".  I also liked him in "Judgment at Nuremberg".  The guy was quite versatile and believable in the roles he had.

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I haven't seen "the eyes" comment around here (definitely not disagreeing with you, I might have missed the conversations where eyes were mentioned); but I believe that a person's eyes are very telling.  If an actor seems to have "dead eyes" in their films, it's a turn off to me. 

 

Maybe I just haven't seen the right Gary Cooper film.  I haven't looked too deep into his eyes to see if they do anything for me.  He did not do anything for me in Love in the Afternoon.

 

I think George Raft might be a robot.  Lol.

 

I also feel Cooper displays a lot of inner emotions with his eyes.   So I don't find Cooper wooden,  well at least in the flims I realy like that he is in;   Along Came Jones,  Me Deeds,   Meet John Doe,  Ball of Fire (well somewhat wooden but that was called for by the character he played),  Designed for Living,  The Plainsman, etc...

 

Montgomery sure could show inner emotions using his eyes.     Raft;  yea,  he might just be a robot but one that wore a suit well! 

 

(oh,  and you were right about his character blinding a man and not killing him, but as you noted that didn't change the point I was making).   

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FMC was showing Wild River pretty frequently for a couple of weeks

during the morning/afternoon slot. Sort of their version of North by

Northwest. They may be giving it a rest now.

 

I have never seen Wild River.    Does Jo Van Fleet wear a tons of make up in this film and does she look phony?   I only ask because according to Wiki she was 16 years younger than the actor Jay Flippen,  who played her son.    Now I have seen something like this before; funny but the first example that came to mind was Cary Grant and Jessie Landis in NBNW.    But in that case the age difference wasn't so great.

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Jo Van Fleet's makeup in Wild River is very good, and there is nothing phony about her performance. She and Lee Remick were never better, and this is one of the very few films which accurately shows the South I grew up in.

 

I wouldn't call this one of Clift's best performances, but he is still good.

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Prewitt was afraid to box because he had killed a man while boxing.   Your post makes it should like he was afraid to box because he was a wimp.

 

I do agree that his slight build makes it hard to believe he could deliver such a killer punch but that is the story line in the movie.

Great Boxer,  great bugler, and someone who could "soldier with the best of them". You'd think he would have climbed higher than the rank of corporal.

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Great Boxer,  great bugler, and someone who could "soldier with the best of them". You'd think he would have climbed higher than the rank of corporal.

 

In the beginning of the film, when he is arriving at his new company, isn't it mentioned somewhere that he was demoted? Was he demoted from Corporal to Private? Is Corporal the next rank after Private? I'm not up on my Army ranks.  I'm thinking promotion probably wasn't in the cards for him at his new company since Major Holmes was upset he wouldn't box and basically punished him day in and day out. 

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Jo Van Fleet's makeup in Wild River is very good, and there is nothing phony about her performance. She and Lee Remick were never better, and this is one of the very few films which accurately shows the South I grew up in.

 

I wouldn't call this one of Clift's best performances, but he is still good.

I agree with everything you say here (except about growing up in the South...I didn't). I would just add thaf WILD RIVER is a very good movie with an outstanding cast.

 

Btw, to the commentator saying WR is like the NORTH BY NORTHWEST of FMC, well just about every film they show is in constant rotation there for something like 6 months to a year. They leave the most repeated titles on TCM way behind.

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Jo Van Fleet's makeup in Wild River is very good, and there is nothing phony about her performance. She and Lee Remick were never better, and this is one of the very few films which accurately shows the South I grew up in.

 

I wouldn't call this one of Clift's best performances, but he is still good.

 

Note I didn't ask if Van Fleet's PERFORMANCE was phony but if her make-up made her LOOK phony.    The actor playing her son  was 16 years older than her so I just wondered how realistic both of them looked at it related to mother and son.    But based on what you say here the make-up man must of done a great job.   

 

Also the producers must of really wanted both of these actors to play those parts because I have to assume this is the largest age difference,  for mother \ son in movie history.     e.g.  in The Manchurian Candidate Lansbury was only 3 years older than Harvey but she was still older not 16 years younger. 

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According to the wiki entry on Jo Van Fleet it took up to 5 hours for her to get made up for her character  in WILD RIVER.   She was another one of those "method actors"  and I believe I read somewhere that she had much of her  body " done up to be old" even though we only ever see her face and hands, the rest is all clothing. And once in character she stayed very much  in character all day, even during breaks between shooting scenes.  Was that all necessary?  Maybe not but she gives a very realistic portrayal of a very old, worn down woman, but still very feisty and defiant . She ain't selling her land .  Hard to believe she didn't get an academy nomination for her effort in this film.

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According to the wiki entry on Jo Van Fleet it took up to 5 hours for her to get made up for her character  in WILD RIVER.   She was another one of those "method actors"  and I believe I read somewhere that she had much of her  body " done up to be old" even though we only ever see her face and hands, the rest is all clothing. And once in character she stayed very much  in character all day, even during breaks between shooting scenes.  Was that all necessary?  Maybe not but she gives a very realistic portrayal of a very old, worn down woman, but still very feisty and defiant . She ain't selling her land .  Hard to believe she didn't get an academy nomination for her effort in this film.

 

Clearly she gets an 'A' for effort!    What you wrote supports the point that the director and producers really wanted her for this role.   They could of just cast an older women.   That says a lot. 

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alright; i think you guys sold me with 'wild river'.

 

i'll cop a copy of the dvd this weekend.

 

and as for the incomparable ms. van fleet, she gives another unforgettable performance in 'gunfight at the o.k. corral'.

 

Elia Kazan had previously directed Jo Van Fleet in EAST OF EDEN.  That undoubtedly led to casting her in WILD RIVER.  Interestingly she didn't do a lot of film work, much more television and stage work.

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alright; i think you guys sold me with 'wild river'.

 

i'll cop a copy of the dvd this weekend.

 

and as for the incomparable ms. van fleet, she gives another unforgettable performance in 'gunfight at the o.k. corral'.

Hope you get to see WILD RIVER soon and let us know what you think.  A very different film from "Gunfight" for sure. And Ms Van Fleet does give another engaging  performance.  Clift's character is very low key, somber, but that is in keeping with the tone of the whole film.  The film/story is very compelling with real characters struggling with real issues of the day, very representative of the depression era.

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In the beginning of the film, when he is arriving at his new company, isn't it mentioned somewhere that he was demoted? Was he demoted from Corporal to Private? Is Corporal the next rank after Private? I'm not up on my Army ranks.  I'm thinking promotion probably wasn't in the cards for him at his new company since Major Holmes was upset he wouldn't box and basically punished him day in and day out. 

I inferred that he had been in the Army for several years. In that time, he certainly should have risen to a Sergeant's rank, with all his abilities. KInd of a head case, though. 

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