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Movie Psychopaths We Have Loved


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Can anyone here ever forget the chills of watching British actor Barry Foster removing his tie for those murderous purposes in one of Hitchcock's last films, "FRENZY" ?

 

barry%20foster%20frenzy.jpg

 

(...the manner in which he went from portraying the likable outgoing sort to a man whose expression and demeanor would suddenly grow ice cold is something I'll never forget, anyway) 

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Can anyone here ever forget the chills of watching British actor Barry Foster removing his tie for those murderous purposes in one of Hitchcock's last films, "FRENZY" ?

 

(...the manner in which he went from portraying the likable outgoing sort to a man whose expression and demeanor would suddenly grow ice cold is something I'll never forget, anyway) 

I saw this one at the show, the only Hitchcock I ever saw in the theatre.

 

One of the most memorable scenes in the film for me is that in which the psychopath is with a victim inside an apartment. Hitchcock pulls the camera back, back, back from the room and the building out into the street. We see the passersby walking past the apartment building in the ordinary course of everyday business, the audience knowing at the same time that a murder is taking place inside that building.

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I saw this one at the show, the only Hitchcock I ever saw in the theatre.

 

One of the most memorable scenes in the film for me is that in which the psychopath is with a victim inside an apartment. Hitchcock pulls the camera back, back, back from the room and the building out into the street. We see the passersby walking past the apartment building in the ordinary course of everyday business, the audience knowing at the same time that a murder is taking place inside that building.

 

Excellent point, Tom. I too remember this scene and how Hitchcock allowed the viewer to use their imagination and instead of some graphic depiction of the murder taking place inside the building.

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Robert Montgomery cast against type as the Irish accented charming psychopath in Night Must Fall. He's carrying something around in that hat box that he hides, and it ain't a derby or homburg, folks.

 

James Cagney, a friend of Montgomery's, would play this same role in a wartime radio presentation.

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Oh yeah, Dargo, who can forget Joe Pesci's performance as the truly scary Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas ? Oh my gawd, that scene where he basically kicks a guy to death (to the tune of Donovan's "Atlantis") because the man "dissed" him, is one of the most repugnant scenes of violence I've ever experienced in a movie.

I was just about to list old Tommy myself, but you beat me to it.

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Speaking of Tommys, here's Richard Widmark as giggling Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death:

 

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The way he helped little old ladies get down stairs is not recommended in most boy scout manuals.

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Here's a question. The character Peggy Cummins plays in Gun Crazy. We understand she has her obsession with guns, but what if a gun wasn't handy and a knife was. Would she kill with as much pleasure if a gun wasn't handy, would she kill at all? She's is a psychopath when a gun is nearby and she is a sociopath. Just wondering if you guys think she'd be a killer no matter what weapon was available?

 

That is an interesting question.

I think it was something to do with guns, the power, the instantaneous result, the physical distance between the shooter and the victim, that made it easy for Annie to kill.  There was never anything in the film to indicate that she was violent in any other way.

It was all about the gun thing - hence the title  ! ?

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Is there any doubt that this man is a wacko sadist psycho (probably with bad breath, too)?

 

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Neville Brand in D.O.A.

 

Remember how he kept hitting Edmond O'Brien in his soft belly before he intended to put a bullet in him? This is a man who really enjoyed his work!

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My own personal, completely unscientific idea of a psychopath is this:

 

Someone who kills for pleasure, who gets a kick out of it,  and / or someone who feels some kind of need to kill, they have a compulsion to do so. So, obviously, serial killers ( real or cinematic ones) qualify as psychos.

Also- sometimes,- admittedly not always - there's a sexual connection to it, the killer often rapes the victim first (Tom's   Dargo's mention of the compulsive killer Rusk in Frenzy is a great example...) Or even if no actual sex act occurs, there's some kind of sexual thrill involved in the killing.

 

This is actually kind of creeping me out.

 

As for gangster killers (except of course for maniacs like Tommy DeVito), I think of them more as cold-blooded criminals who regard murder as part of their job. But they wouldn't kill you unless they "had" to, or were ordered to. They have no interest  in killing someone just for the sake of killing  (besides, it would waste  bullets, call attention from the police, be messy, etc.)

A true psycho killer would kill because he wants to, he needs to....the only orders he takes are from his own demented mind.

 

I could see being in a room with a gangster from, say, one of the Godfather movies, and not feeling scared - if I hadn't "done" anything to get whacked. 

But I'd be terrified to be alone in a room with someone like the guy in Frenzy.

 

Of course, this is a silly theory I'm indulging in here, because the poor victim never exactly has a choice.

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Oh yeah, Dargo, who can forget Joe Pesci's performance as the truly scary Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas ? Oh my gawd, that scene where he basically kicks a guy to death (to the tune of Donovan's "Atlantis") because the man "dissed" him, is one of the most repugnant scenes of violence I've ever experienced in a movie.

I was just about to list old Tommy myself, but you beat me to it.

 

Absolutely, MissW. If THAT scene doesn't establish Pesci's DeVito as one crazy-scary psycho, then I don't know what would. 

 

And, regarding his famous "Am I a clown?" scene depicted below...Ray Liotta's reactions to Pesci while it transpires are priceless also, as we see that Liotta knows the guy IS one crazy-scary psycho who could flip out at the drop of a hat. 

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...(Tom's example of the compulsive killer Rusk in Frenzy is a great example...) Or even if no actual sex act occurs, there's some kind of sexual thrill involved in the killing.

 

 

HEY! What the hell is WRONG with you, LADY???!!!

 

It was me, DARGO, who first brought up Barry Foster's role in "FRENZY" here, NOT that fellow Canuck o' yours!!!

 

(...just practicing my own little psycho role here...sorry) ;)

 

LOL

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HEY! What the hell is WRONG with you, LADY???!!!

 

It was me, DARGO, who first brought up Barry Foster's role in "FRENZY" here, NOT that fellow Canuck o' yours!!!

 

(...just practicing my own little psycho role here...sorry) ;)

 

LOL

Better agree with him quick, MissW. He might find your address if you don't. ;)

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Is there any doubt that this man is a wacko sadist psycho (probably with bad breath, too)?

 

600full-neville-brand1_zpsxxz9dkjo.jpg

 

Neville Brand in D.O.A.

 

Brand in D.O.A, Widmark in Kiss of Death, William Bendix in The Glass Key, and Rudy Bond in Nightfall are four outstanding examples of what I'd almost call a separate category of "Joyful Sadists".  They don't have the mother's complex of Cody Jarrett to explain their actions, or the racism of Robert Ryan's Montgomery, or the dark ambition of Daniel Plainview, but unlike Jarrett or Montgomery or Plainview, whenever we remember their characters we do so with a fair amount of fondness and even affection.  It's hard to imagine ever feeling much affection for those other three.

 

Bogart often played characters like this in movies like The Roaring Twenties and Bullets or Ballots, and in many ways he's remembered in the popular imagination even more for relatively minor roles like these than he is for his much more critically acclaimed performances in Casablanca or The African Queen.  When most people think of what I'd call "Essence of Bogart", they're not usually thinking of suave gin joint owners or African adventurers; they're thinking of the sort of character who would drill a fifteen year old in the back and then with a great big grin say "He won't see sixteen".  

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HEY! What the hell is WRONG with you, LADY???!!!

 

It was me, DARGO, who first brought up Barry Foster's role in "FRENZY" here, NOT that fellow Canuck o' yours!!!

 

(...just practicing my own little psycho role here...sorry) ;)

 

LOL

 

Yikes !  Sorry, Dargs !

 

I just hate that, when somebody don't give ya credit for somethin' ya done, and  done good. Oh, it makes me MAD   :blink:  :angry:  :wacko:

 

(I'll just go back and edit that little post, right now.)

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Yikes !  Sorry, Dargs !

 

I just hate that, when somebody don't give ya credit for somethin' ya done, and  done good. Oh, it makes me MAD   :blink:  :angry:  :wacko:

 

(I'll just go back and edit that little post, right now.)

 

No, DON'T!!!

 

(...'cause then my little psycho act wouldn't make any sense!) ;)

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......Bogart often played characters like this in movies like The Roaring Twenties and Bullets or Ballots, and in many ways he's remembered in the popular imagination even more for relatively minor roles like these than he is for his much more critically acclaimed performances in Casablanca or The African Queen.  When most people think of what I'd call "Essence of Bogart", they're not usually thinking of suave gin joint owners or African adventurers; they're thinking of the sort of character who would drill a fifteen year old in the backindis and then with a great big grin say "He won't see sixteen".  

 

I dunno, Andy. I think the "iconic" (if  you'll forgive this over-used word) image of Humphrey Bogart is as the fedora and trench-coat -wearing private detective in films like The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. I DON'T associate him that much with those earlier roles you mentioned.

But even if we do consider those early Bogart characters, i still wouldn't say he  played a psychopath per sec in any of them (see my perfect indisputably correct definition of a psycho killer below. Or just listen to the song.)  His characters were violent, yes, as well as untrustworthy and ruthless. But, like most gangster killers in those 30s movies, I never got the impression that his characters would kill just for the "fun" of it.

The scene you quote from is, as you know, a scene from when Bogart and his pals were fighting in the First World War. Yes, he did kill a young boy, but the boy was also a soldier, an enemy soldier in a war they were waging  (not that this makes it ok, but it's not the same thing as a random psychopathic killing...)

 

I don't want us to get into a digression here, debating Humphrey Bogart's cinematic persona and the various films he was in which demonstrate what kind of characters he played. 

But, repellent and violent though his characters often were in those 30s films, I never got the impression he was the kind of killer (as in psychopathic) that Tom was thinking of when he started this thread.

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4efe0d30-e148-4d43-9393-5dd54432f978.jpg

 

"Okay, shweetheart. if I didn't come acrossh as jusht a LITTLE psychotic while proshpecting for gold in dem Mexican mountains with dem two other fellas, then I washn't as good as I thought I was in this here role!"

 

;)

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