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Sorry Norma Desmond, you don't have the best close-ups


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She really was a beauty, brunette OR blonde, alright TB! And yes, this WWII British "home front" saga and Deborah's performance as an Irish hater of the English in it is a great treat, and would be something quite different for the Scottish actress who would eventually personify British manners through most of her career.

 

(...btw...for some reason this film always reminded me a little of Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps", but I can't quite place why...maybe because of all the traipsing around the English countryside in search of the nefarious)  

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She really was a beauty, brunette OR blonde, alright TB! And yes, this WWII British "home front" saga and Deborah's performance as an Irish hater of the English in it is a great treat, and would be something quite different for the Scottish actress who would eventually personify British manners through most of her career.

Yes-- I was watching this film tonight, and her face registers so many different emotions-- especially when she is about to get caught as a spy. Apparently, this picture and BLACK NARCISSUS are the ones that brought her to Hollywood. In all her movies, she does a great job conveying the inner conflicts of her characters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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We'll give you an A for effort, Norma-- but you don't even come close to Deborah Kerr in I SEE A DARK STRANGER, who has one of the most-expressive faces in the history of cinema:

 

Was there a close-up contest that I didn't know about that apparently Kerr won? Was this a two person contest, or were there other contenders under consideration?

 

I only ask because I found your approach to praising the beautiful Deborah Kerr (I am also a fan) seemed to be at the unnecessary and unfortunate expense of another excellent actress in an unforgettable performance. I do realize you're probably just humorously using that famous line of dialogue from "Sunset Boulevard" 's finale, but I think Gloria Swanson's great turn as Norma Desmond and that final moment IS one of the great close-ups in classic films evoking "terror and pity", and as her character was "acting in a silent movie" on a daily basis, her final "close-up" is only the great climax of those two performances - Desmond's and Swanson's.

 

But on the other hand, Vertigo2, lighten up! Lol!

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In a Richard Pryor flick, "Some Kind of Hero"( I'm not sure...) there's a scene in which pryor, reunited with his wife, has the wife tell him she thinks he's gotten accustomed to "more sophisticated sexual things" and tries to find a way to "satisfy" his new-grown appetites.  Suddenly, he hears the sound of a HUGE v i b r a t o r being switched on, and the close-up of his expression as she roughly crams it up in him....is PRICELESS!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Laugh all you want, but this role made Lemmon a superstar.

You're right. Actually I am not a fan of SOME LIKE IT HOT-- I think it's a terribly stretched out gag. But Lemmon is truly masterful-- he brings a human quality and depth to a role that was probably quite shallow in the original script. He deserved to be a superstar after this.

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Laugh all you want, but this role made Lemmon a superstar.

I love Some Like it Hot, but I don't think it would have been nearly the classic it is without Jack Lemmon's performance.  He makes the movie in my opinion.  Apparently Billy Wilder's first choice was Jerry Lewis, but Lewis turned down the role because he didn't want to appear in drag.  This opened the door for Lemmon.  Thank goodness.  It's Lemmon's facial expressions and how he delivers his lines which makes the film funny.  Anybody could have been cast in the Tony Curtis role and they probably would have done a decent job, but Lemmon is what makes this film standout.  My favorite parts are when he's having the impromptu party in the bunk with all the girls in the band and he has to keep reminding himself "[that he's] a girl," when he gets "engaged" to the millionaire and at the end, when he's trying to talk the millionaire out of marrying him. 

 

My other favorite character who would be a better fit for the "voice" thread and less on this "face" thread, is the gangster in Some Like it Hot with the deep voice that says "Buttermilk" at the beginning and later says "my mashie."  Those lines aren't funny when written, but hilarious when that actor said them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm watching BLACK NARCISSUS this afternoon. I figured since I listed it on my profile as my second most favorite classic film, it was time to re-view it. I recorded it when TCM had a month-long tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff two or three years ago.

 

Again, I am struck by how impressive Deborah Kerr's close-ups are. Kerr does so much with a look, even a blank look, it's astonishing. She keeps the character a closely guarded secret, revealing bits and pieces when she feels we are deserving. 

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