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The Feast of Hayden


slaytonf
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Sterling Hayden, child of poverty, preppie, child runaway, seaman, captain, OSS commando, gun runner, silver star honoree, communist, ex-communist who ratted on his compatriots and ever-after vilified himself for it, author, autobiographer, multiple husband, father who abducted his children, sailing them to Tahiti.  Oh, yes, he also acted in some movies.  A towering presence, both literally and in his roles, he blazed a commanding trail through each movie he was in.  All the while despising the craft.  Yet do we see sloppiness or carelessness in his performances?  Nah, one of the most spot-on and consistent of actors, you don't get a career like his and iconic performances such as Jack D. Ripper with someone who doesn't apply himself.

 

As with all STOMs, we get a lot of retreads along with a number of never- or rarely-seens.  What I'm looking forward to, among others, is The Killing, a super caper movie chock-full of your favorite character actors:  Colleen Gray-who people will remember from her all-too brief appearance in Red River, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook, Kila Kwariani, and gorgeous Marie Windsor.  One of my favorite actors, my only complaint (as there always has to be one with anything TCM does) is the absence of 1900, where he played the salt-of-the-earth patriarch of the peasants opposite Burt Lancaster's decrepit, and decaying aristocrat.  It would also be great to see some of his TV work too (including his guest appearance on Starlost!).

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Great post!

Hayden always surprises me in a movie...for whatever reason I never recognise his face. When I see his name in the credits, am always amazed it's the "same guy as Jack D Ripper". Not only versatile, but chameleon-like in my book. He seems to be just a regular guy, but can transform himself to be convincing in any role. That's the definition of a really great actor, isn't it?

 

Great choice for a SOTM. I like that TCM is showing quite a few unusual titles along with Hayden's chestnuts.

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Sterling Hayden, child of poverty, preppie, child runaway, seaman, captain, OSS commando, gun runner, silver star honoree, communist, ex-communist who ratted on his compatriots and ever-after vilified himself for it, author, autobiographer, multiple husband, father who abducted his children, sailing them to Tahiti.  Oh, yes, he also acted in some movies.  A towering presence, both literally and in his roles, he blazed a commanding trail through each movie he was in.  All the while despising the craft.  Yet do we see sloppiness or carelessness in his performances?  Nah, one of the most spot-on and consistent of actors, you don't get a career like his and iconic performances such as Jack D. Ripper with someone who doesn't apply himself.

 

As with all STOMs, we get a lot of retreads along with a number of never- or rarely-seens.  What I'm looking forward to, among others, is The Killing, a super caper movie chock-full of your favorite character actors:  Colleen Gray-who people will remember from her all-too brief appearance in Red River, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook, Kila Kwariani, and gorgeous Marie Windsor.  One of my favorite actors, my only complaint (as there always has to be one with anything TCM does) is the absence of 1900, where he played the salt-of-the-earth patriarch of the peasants opposite Burt Lancaster's decrepit, and decaying aristocrat.  It would also be great to see some of his TV work too (including his guest appearance on Starlost!).

Wow. Whatta man. Never knew all that about him. I bet he was impossible to live with.

 

Had SAAM out the wazoo, like Robert Ryan, but never became a staaaaaaah.

 

Thanks for the heads up, slaytonf, I usually ignore SOTM. I hope they're not introduced by RO.

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Two things I forgot in my original post.  He was considered for the role of Britt (James Coburn) in The Magnificent Seven, and Quint (Robert Shaw) in Jaws.  External considerations obviously prevented this.  It would have been interesting to see him in Seven, but it's much more intriguing to consider him in Jaws.  Robert Shaw was memorable as Quint, but I think Hayden would have been killer, and could have set his performance there alongside the one in Dr. Strangelove.  Big loss, I'm almost sorry I know about it.

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Two things I forgot in my original post.  He was considered for the role of Britt (James Coburn) in The Magnificent Seven, and Quint (Robert Shaw) in Jaws.  External considerations obviously prevented this.  It would have been interesting to see him in Seven, but it's much more intriguing to consider him in Jaws.  Robert Shaw was memorable as Quint, but I think Hayden would have been killer, and could have set his performance there alongside the one in Dr. Strangelove.  Big loss, I'm almost sorry I know about it.

 

Can you explain the  'External considerations obviously prevented this'?      e.g. was Hayden sailing to Tahiti with his kids when these movies were made?

 

Hayden would have been great in those roles especially in Jaws.   (but either way the Shark would have been killer as it relates to Quint!).

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Wow. Whatta man. Never knew all that about him. I bet he was impossible to live with.

 

Had SAAM out the wazoo, like Robert Ryan, but never became a staaaaaaah.

 

Thanks for the heads up, slaytonf, I usually ignore SOTM. I hope they're not introduced by RO.

Sterling Hayden was a pretty decent actor but for me he always lacked the intensity of Marshall Thompson or for that matter Arthur Franz. Thompson and Franz had that subdued toughness persona that coulda come to the fore with Hayden had he done more films. question: who is tougher? General Turgidson or General Ripper?  :) 2isy52h.gif

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Sterling Hayden was a pretty decent actor but for me he always lacked the intensity of Marshall Thompson or for that matter Arthur Franz. Thompson and Franz had that subdued toughness persona that coulda come to the fore with Hayden had he done more films. question: who is tougher? General Turgidson or General Ripper?  :) 2isy52h.gif

yeah, I know, Thompson and Franz did minor low-budget fare but I doan judge good actors by that criteria. the reason that decent actors like Marshall Thompson and Arthur Franz get overlooked by outfits like tcm is of course because they did not consider themselves above doing science fiction. :) all leslie neilsen hadda do was star in forbidden planet to earn him countless showings of forbidden planet on tcm six decades later. hayden had the same hoy-faloy attitude as gregory peck and limited himself to films they he wanted to do instead of paying the dues. john wayne began his career with a decade of low-budget western oaters before stagecoach. the last decent film hayden starred in was king of the gypsies. must've known some gypsies when he was doing his OSS work. :lol:

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Tonight's lineup of Hayden is terrific.  THE KILLING is hardly ever on TCM.  SUDDENLY was gone for a long time due to subject matter and has only become available in relatively-recent years.  I know TCM shows ASPHALT JUNGLE a lot but who can blame them? - it's awesome!  I don't think I've seen the other crime dramas on tonight but they look interesting.  Get those DVRs (or other recording devices) ready, friends...

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Tonight's lineup of Hayden is terrific.  THE KILLING is hardly ever on TCM.  SUDDENLY was gone for a long time due to subject matter and has only become available in relatively-recent years.  I know TCM shows ASPHALT JUNGLE a lot but who can blame them? - it's awesome!  I don't think I've seen the other crime dramas on tonight but they look interesting.  Get those DVRs (or other recording devices) ready, friends...

I never tire of watching The Asphalt Jungle.  It's just that good.

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Don't miss Crime Wave tonight, which has spectacular noir photography by John Alton and superb direction by Andre de Toth. With The Killing, The Ashphalt Jungle, and Suddenly, this is an incredible lineup.

 

Did I mention that Timothy Carey is also in the cast of Crime Wave and The Killing?

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Oh my god, wotta Sterling Hayden fest. A Sterling Hayden feast. Six, count 'em, six Sterling Hayden movies in a row.  And the first three, especially, are killer movies (why can I never resist a pun?)

 

The Killing, Asphalt Jungle, Crime Wave.  I'm in some kind of noir / Hayden heaven!

 

slayton, thanks for starting this thread. Not only informative (lots of stuff there about Mr. Hayden I didn't know), but nicely written. I especially liked this line,

 

" A towering presence, both literally and in his roles, he blazed a commanding trail through each movie he was in. ".

 

oh yeah.

 

One thing I'd like to point out, regarding The Killing: I agree, fabulous cast in this early Stanley Kubrick film. You mentioned Coleen Gray. This actress, who seemed to specialize in "sweet supportive young lady " roles (I mean that in a good way), was also in two of my favourite noirs, Kiss of Death and Nightmare Alley (both released the same year - 1947.) She plays the same kind of character in The Killing.

 

I also love that odd, kind of "underground" actor Timothy Carey in this. He's quite memorable.

 

SEMI-SPOILERS:

 

Does everyone enjoy how bitchy Marie Windsor is in this? How did she ever end up with Elisha Cook? And why is it that every movie that has a bird cage scene is funny? - the bird cage scene, not necessarily the whole movie.

 

Movies with a horse race setting are always fun, for some reason.

 

The Killing invites comparisons to Asphalt Jungle and Treasure of Sierra Madre - in the case of the latter, the ending.

 

I love the other two I mentioned, but this post is long enough.

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Sterling Hayden was a pretty decent actor but for me he always lacked the intensity of Marshall Thompson or for that matter Arthur Franz. Thompson and Franz had that subdued toughness persona that coulda come to the fore with Hayden had he done more films. question: who is tougher? General Turgidson or General Ripper?  :) 2isy52h.gif

I'm hoping this is a pun.

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Damn, The Killing is one frigging good movie.

 

Notes:

 

Ooh, that Marie Windsor is even trashier and nastier than I remembered. What a piece of work. I'm so glad Elisha Cook killed her before he kicked it himself. And the last thing we see in the Peatty's apartment is the parrot, who doesn't seem to have quite realized what's happened.

 

Why, oh why, did Sterling  aka Johnny Clay - ( note the apt last name) - buy that crummy old used suitcase? If only he'd taken just a little time to buy a really good one - or better yet, two medium size dufflebags (one for himself, one for Fay)  - all would have gone ok, they could have boarded the plane with their money-filled backpacks/ duffles  and soared off to Boston.

 

The most  upsetting scene in the film is the one where Nikki curses the young black parking lot attendent. Maybe this is why he (Nikki) gets killed, if he'd been calmer and respectful, he might not have drawn attention to himself (ok, firing off a rifle is pretty attention-getting.) When he calls the nice young guy the "n" word, it's jarring, even for back then.

 

Jay Flippen as Marv ( I never quite got what Marv's role in the heist was) is touching as the older man who has feelings for Johnny Clay. At least that's what I picked up from the scene; Marv is gay, has been hiding it all his life, and wants to go away with Johnny after the heist and live with him. Of course he makes out his feelings for Johnny are "fatherly". It's a sad, tentative bit of dialogue between Flippen and Hayden.

 

Would it have all gone off as planned if wicked heartless selfish Marie hadn't told her equally horrid boyfriend about it? Oh, Elisha, how could you believe a word that harpy told you?

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Can you explain the  'External considerations obviously prevented this'? 

 

Seems Hayden was otherwise occupied (working elsewhere?) when the roll for Britt was cast.  As for Jaws, he was prevented from entering the United States due to tax problems.

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Two things I forgot in my original post.  He was considered for the role of Britt (James Coburn) in The Magnificent Seven, and Quint (Robert Shaw) in Jaws.  External considerations obviously prevented this.  It would have been interesting to see him in Seven, but it's much more intriguing to consider him in Jaws.  Robert Shaw was memorable as Quint, but I think Hayden would have been killer, and could have set his performance there alongside the one in Dr. Strangelove.  Big loss, I'm almost sorry I know about it.

 

The role of Britt seems a little small for an actor of Hayden's stature at the time of shooting 'Seven'.

 

But, yeah - I think he would've been perfect for Quint in 'Jaws'. And more interesting.

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Sterling Hayden was a pretty decent actor but for me he always lacked the intensity of Marshall Thompson or for that matter Arthur Franz. Thompson and Franz had that subdued toughness persona that coulda come to the fore with Hayden had he done more films. question: who is tougher? General Turgidson or General Ripper?  :) 2isy52h.gif

 

Oh boy, if anyone's presence on screen could be a knot of energy, grinding intensity, and violent mayhem, it was Hayden's.  

 

As for the Gens, it's Ripper.  Man, he was hard core.  Turgidson was a blowhard.

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Why, oh why, did Sterling  aka Johnny Clay - ( note the apt last name) - buy that crummy old used suitcase? If only he'd taken just a little time to buy a really good one - or better yet, two medium size dufflebags (one for himself, one for Fay)  - all would have gone ok, they could have boarded the plane with their money-filled backpacks/ duffles  and soared off to Boston.

 

Yes, that's the flaw in this movie.  I just wish someone would have taken the time to sit down and work out a more plausible path to all those bills swirling in the air (one of my favorite images from a noir).  I'm afraid it asks just that amount too much of the audience to accept after seeing such a well-planned heist.  He takes so much trouble with all the other details.

 

Marie Windsor is a favorite of mine.  Of course, you will remember her from The Narrow Margin.  Hm, she gets killed in that one, too.

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In both The Killing and The Asphalt Jungle, we are with the "criminal" characters every moment. I put quotation marks around "criminals" because I don't see these guys as such.

 

Especially in AJ, the men planning the caper are portrayed sympathetically. And in both films, the screenwriter is careful to give us reasons why each man decides to get involved with the planned robbery.

Here's the thing about these two films, and in fact, about most heist movies:

You want them to get away with it. They've worked so hard, planned it all so carefully. The ingenuity, effort, and detail that's gone into the planning of the heist is work, hard work. These guys are smart and resourceful. Ok, yeah, they're stealing - but they almost deserve the loot, they've put so much intelligence and resourcefulness and care into working out the heist, at least as much as most people put into their daily jobs. Hell, pullling off a successful heist is their job to them.

 

As long as they don't kill anybody. If the plan for the heist includes killing someone, we lose our sympathy for the gang.

But in both The Killing and Asphalt Jungle, they make a point of not wanting to hurt anyone, certainly not kill them.

 

I just looked up from my computer screen to the television screen, there's wiley snakey old Louis Calhern and Sam Jaffe playing cat and mouse about the stolen goods. It's a great scene, so tense, such beautiful black and white lighting.

By the way, my sympathy does not extend to Louis Calhern and Brad Dexter as the sleazy back-stabbers. They didn't do any work or planning.

 

Although Emmerich does sum up what I'm trying to say here with this great line:

 

"Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavour."

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misswonderlytoo, on 06 May 2015 - 9:47 PM, said:

 

Why, oh why, did Sterling  aka Johnny Clay - ( note the apt last name) - buy that crummy old used suitcase? If only he'd taken just a little time to buy a really good one - or better yet, two medium size dufflebags (one for himself, one for Fay)  - all would have gone ok, they could have boarded the plane with their money-filled backpacks/ duffles  and soared off to Boston.

 

I guess it was because Hayden didn't want to be seen with a suitcase until the last minute, and when he went to the luggage shop all the good suitcases were too small.  And of course having that ratty suitcase set up the sublime ending.

 

In the early 70's my GF and I had an experience that was eerily similar to that suitcase disaster.  We had just arrived late at night back in Washington with a 15 year old canvas zippered suitcase that was filled with about $5000 worth of small bills we'd accumulated showing 16mm prints of old TV shows (The Lone Ranger, Amos 'n' Andy, etc.) on college campuses in North Carolina.  It was cold and windy and our car broke down about 3 blocks from our house, and we had both of our arms full.  Yadda yadda yadda I dropped the suitcase and the bills started flying out.  It was funny in retrospect, but it wouldn't have been funny if the block hadn't been deserted at the time, and the money hadn't been bundled with thick rubber bands, especially given that Washington's upper 14th Street in 1972 wasn't the upper 14th Street of 2015.  We were used to carrying big wads of cash around in those days, but we  usually didn't flash it for the entertainment of spectators. B)

 

The most  upsetting scene in the film is the one where Nikki curses the young black parking lot attendent. Maybe this is why he (Nikki) gets killed, if he'd been calmer and respectful, he might not have drawn attention to himself (ok, firing off a rifle is pretty attention-getting.) When he calls the nice young guy the "n" word, it's jarring, even for back then.

 

It certainly was, but then it sure certified Tim Carey as one of those unforgettable characters who spice up any good heist movie.  When I was thinking of the three actors whose names to write on my DVD, he was right there after Hayden and Windsor.

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Yes, that's the flaw in this movie.  I just wish someone would have taken the time to sit down and work out a more plausible path to all those bills swirling in the air (one of my favorite images from a noir).  I'm afraid it asks just that amount too much of the audience to accept after seeing such a well-planned heist.  He takes so much trouble with all the other details.

 

Marie Windsor is a favorite of mine.  Of course, you will remember her from The Narrow Margin.  Hm, she gets killed in that one, too.

How wonderful to see this movie for the first time, thanks again. TCM like it used to be.

 

Dear Sterling: next time, DRIVE to Boston. You're welcome.

 

Whatta man..............

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Fay:  Johnny, you've got to run.

 

Johnny Clay:  Aehh. . . . What's the difference?

Such an actor. Such a reading of a line. Brilliant.

 

And he scoffed at his profession? I call baloney on his scoffing. If he was so dismissive of his profession, he wouldn't have turned dirty rat to keep it. He would have been loyal to his fellow actors and not become a squealer and gone off and done an honest day's work as a ditch digger. If he suffered pangs of guilt for being a stoolie, he deserved every minute of them.

 

That said, he suuuuuuuuuuuuure was pretty, like Mitchum and Ryan were pretty. I bet they drove all the girls who knew real men - not married them, mind, although wasn't Mitchum with one woman for a long time? - and weren't swayed by the guys who looked in the mirror more than they did, like Gable, wild, and took advantage of the proximity to bed them.

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Such an actor. Such a reading of a line. Brilliant.

 

And he scoffed at his profession? I call baloney on his scoffing. If he was so dismissive of his profession, he wouldn't have turned dirty rat to keep it. He would have been loyal to his fellow actors and not become a squealer and gone off and done an honest day's work as a ditch digger. If he suffered pangs of guilt for being a stoolie, he deserved every minute of them.

 

That said, he suuuuuuuuuuuuure was pretty, like Mitchum and Ryan were pretty. I bet they drove all the girls who knew real men - not married them, mind, although wasn't Mitchum with one woman for a long time? - and weren't swayed by the guys who looked in the mirror more than they did, like Gable, wild, and took advantage of the proximity to bed them.

If you read Hayden's autobiography The Wanderer you will see how he was really set up to turn evidence.   That said and even considering all of the other extenuating circumstances such as his being the bread-winner of a young family, Hayden is his own worst critic of the HUAC affair.

There were plenty of other stars that were friendly witnesses such as Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Taylor, Ward Bond.  Perhaps Hayden stands out due to his own remorse.

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