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Meanest Villian in Movies


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Who do you consider the most hateful male/female villian in movies? I'm thinking Bette Davis as the horrifying, vicious psycho in l934's "Of Human Bondage." Here's another one: Charles Laughton as Captain Bleigh in l935's "Mutiny on the Bounty." What a slobbering, vicious SOB. How about Veda, the snarling little b*** in "Mildred Pierce." You got any favorites?

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I dont think Bette Davis was mean, or vicious in "Of Human Bondage", she was just completely self-absorbed to the point that no one or nothing meant anything at all, it was ALL about her. She wheeled and dealed, cajoled and batted those eyes, until Philip, who was far too weak to resist and didnt know what he had gotten into until it was too late, gave her exactly what she wanted. Maybe to a third person she would appear mean and vicious, but to Mildred, it was self-preservation taken to its zenith. Having said that, I think Leslie Howard handed the film to Bette on a silver platter, so profound and mesmerizing was her performance. Its no wonder no other actress of the day would play Mildred, she was completely without audience sympathy, even when they found her dead. I think Bette was right to have worked so hard to play the part the way she did, although it may not have seemed so to her at the time. Time has vindicated her, though.

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Well, there are degrees of evil...and of mean

 

Meanest Villain?

Mary Nash as Fr?ulein Rottenmeier in "Heidi" (1937)

 

Most Entertaining Mean Villain?

Claude Rains as Alexander Hollenius in "Deception" (1947)

 

Most Strangely Sympathetic Villain?

James Mason as General Rommel in "The Desert Fox" (1951)

 

Most Uncomfortably Close-to-Reality Villain?

Ralph Fiennes in "Schindler's List" (1993)

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I agree with bansi4 mongo 100 per cent about: *DAY-LEWIS & that bit with *ADRIEN BRODY! I thought "The Pianist" was & is a great movie But *D.DAY was just part of an all-out Scorsese backlash??? He's never had a film with 10 nominations! & went home with O? That is one for the books though, that line!!! You scooped me!? I've never seen Hersholt's "Tess of the Storm Country?" & *MUNI in "Scarface: Shame of a Nation"-(they were forced to submit that subtitle) was tremendous & ape like! But Hollywood would never touch him in that & obviously didn't

Prestiigous bio's at WB was the trick for the OSCAR!? "Story of Louis Pasteur" '36. But TCM rarely shows the Jean Hersholt flick? Nor any station for that matter.

Pretty "Cool" THAT LINE> nickdimeo.

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4-star topic! (*-OSCAR Indication) To the author: patypancake there was a similar poll by the o.f.c.s.-(Online Film Critics Society) & the picked: Darth Vadar as #1??? I like those flix, but an all-out villian in my view anyway should have (NO REDEAMING QUALITIES WHATSOEVER & TO THE END!!!) (There is a personal pal 0'mine on here that's a *SINATRA fan, like myself! BIG-TIME!!! & *"THE CHAIRMAN" played an all-out bad-guy & was actually whimpering in his final? In '54's "Suddenly" I rank it as his best work. Most matinee idols, especially with girls. Would never have played such a monster!) But other than him in that, there are sooo-many:

Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet" (1986)-(NOTE: Perhaps the "sickest" & most shocking of all cinema villians ever & to the finis/ACADEMY nominated Hopper for "Hoosiers," that yr. instead? David Lynch has an entire world of his own & especially in his villianous creations! Ironically in '97's "Lost Highway" It was Robert Blake!!!)

Robert Mitchum in "The Night of the Hunter" (1955)

& in "Cape Fear" ('62 version)-(NOTE: I've always thought him more frightening than *DE NIRO-(Scorsese's 1991 re-make)just a bit! Because of the laid-back/laconic way Mitchum has)

*JACK PALANCE as Jack Wilson in "Shane" (1953)

& of course most that would immediately come to mind is: *SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS in "The Silence of the Lambs"-(& the other 2 sequels,etc)

Thing is, personally I don't get scared myself of human villians-(I can respect-it "acting-wise" & all that)

But thee only films that ever scared me: "Jaws" (1975) & pretty-much unhuman type of things! Although I despise how crappy the "Friday the 13th," & all of that ilk is!!!

Not frightening, more comical in my mind anyway & just plain cheap. All these slasher flix of course got inspiration from a well-made thriller: 1978's "Halloween"

Which got it's insipration from Norman Bates of course.

Great topic however & AFI if you go to it's site, you'll see it's candidates. In one of our "100 Years" surveys!

Gettin' to be "100 to many!?" & to patypancake, did you ever see *HOPKINS version of "The Bounty?"

 

 

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I used to wish a freight truck would run over the "Roseanne" character, brillaintly portrayed, by Shelly Winters in "A Patch of Blue." God, was she a mean old witch. And the way she slapped poor little blind Selena, also brilliantly played by Elizabeth Hartman. In her memoirs, Winters wrote that when they filmed the "slap" scene, she just couldn't slap Hartman hard enough. Finally, Hartman screamed, "Hit me, you b*****! and Winters socked her good. A curious film factoid: Hartman, who killed herself in a welfare hotel in real life, won the very coveted role of Selena over Hollywood's top young femme stars back in the early 60s. This included Natalie Wood, Carol Baker, Suzanne Pleshette, Vera Miles, Susan Kohner, Joanne Woodward, etc. Hartman was Oscar nominated for Best Actress. Her death was indeed a heartbreaker when she jumped from the l4th floor of the hotel. Her possessions included only one rayon gown, rubber sandals and a battered scrapbook of her past glories.

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I think we are confusing wicked and evil with someone who is the meanest in films. Rhoda in "The Bad Seed" was evil and wicked as posted in another topic "Wicked Women" on the boards. Also Bette Davis wasn't just mean but wicked and evil in some of the films mentioned on this thread.

A good example of mean was Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life" and he was also greedy.

Another good example is Scarlett O'Hara who was very mean to her sisters.

 

Mongo

 

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I cannot fathom that I forgot about *HENRY FONDA as Frank in Leone's 1969 masterpiece "Once Upon a Time in the West???" It's that role in particular that broke *FONDA from the Heroic Golden Age Heavyweights, the likes of: *GABLE/ *TRACY/ *BOGART-(only after: *"CASABLANCA!")/ *COOPER/ *STEWART & of course *JOHN WAYNE! The latter 2 of which, never really played an all-out killer the likes of *HANK in that epic western! It's also acknowledged as part of our country & It's loss of innocence as well. Here was the guy whom played Lincoln,etc. His daughter & the vietnam debacle & his son had: "Easy Rider" also that yr.! Plus cinema in itself changed! The then new MPAA was est. & ton's of films that challenged the norm/system,etc.

The end of the 1960's & perhaps our nations worst decade to date-(But there was some great filmmaking during that period!)

 

 

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To patypancake! You seem to know your-stuff. So you'll likely know this bit of true Hollywood history!? Jack L. Warner & *BETTE DAVIS were in a power struggle over dough during release date of her role in "Bondage!" She wanted a raise-(NOTE: *CAGNEY used to break into "yiddish," that he picked up in NYC as a youngster, when he & Warner fought & *JIM usually won/he even got pd. more than *"The King: GABLE!?") But Warner put the word out, that the then still pretty-much controlled by the moguls A.M.P.A.S. OSCARS, that she was to not even be nominated for her work in that 1934 film! & she was not, as you know. She obviously kinda' won a consolation prize the next year. It's what she always thought of her 1st BEST ACTRESS victory as-(1935's "Dangerous")

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When I think of a movie villian, Edward Arnold always comes to mind. He wasn't really a "villian," but many times played a mean character who caused turmoil throughout - especially in Frank Capra's movies. Thankfully he usually saw the error of his ways by the end.

A great villian performance is by one of my favorite actors - James Coburn in "Affliction." Even when he dies you don't feel too bad about it.

But the best villian performance that I can think of that hasn't been mentioned is James Cagney in "White Heat" - one of his best. "Toppa the World Ma!"

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Spencer,1964, you're one obviously savvy movie buff. you're right indeed about Bette Davis' struggle to make "Of Human Bondage" against the wishes of her boss, Jack Warner. His demand that Davis' name be kept off the Academy Award ballots not only backfired on him but changed Hollywood history. Movie goers back then were outraged that Davis' name was not on the list of Best Actress contenders for the l935 list. When Davis did win her Oscar for the l935 "Dangerous" she always said it was a consolation prize for not winning for Mildred. But, as usual, Davis was never her best critic. "Dangerous" might have a laughable ending and a corny plot, but Davis is phenomenal as the bad-luck dame, Joyce Heath. Her great genius is obvious in the "barn" scene with Franchot Tone during the storm, when she suddenly looks at him with a calculating/cruel/lascivious expression all intermingled into one moment of screen time. Bravo to the movie's greatest artist!

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Yes, Bette was always roughest on herself (and thats saying a lot!), but "Dangerous" was certainly no consolation prize. She was superb from start to finish, and even though the ending was lame, she had no reason to feel cheated for having not won, or even been nominated for "Bondage". It would have been impossible to reach the heights she achieved in "Bondage" anyway, as "Dangerous" did not lend itself to big scenes, especially where she lets Leslie Howard have it, and tells him she used to wipe her mouth off when he kissed her. That scene, after all the times Ive seen it, is still rather hard to watch from the point of view that the Howard character must have felt about 2 inches tall after she got through with him. Its no wonder her performance in "Bondage" caused such an uproar at the time, considering the type of character most females were playing on screen at the time. Mildred/Bette must have seemed like a hurricane had blown into town!

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To patypancake! Saw your very thoughtful response about J. L. Warner & *BETTE DAVIS & her 1935 victory for: "Dangerous" But I agree with most, she in reality deserved it for: "Bondage," instead! & NY Film Critics actually did the correct thing, that it seemed mostly L.B. Mayer did not ever want to happen & never did either! Garbo in "Anna Karenina" won in NY for '35-(It's debut yr.)>(He actually called her: "That damn swede!") & a lotta' critics now think that *KATE H. deserved another victory for RKO's "Alice Adams" over *DAVIS!? At least *KATE was nominated for-it! Where Garbo was not even nominated for that role??? But a couple other people cited a couple heavyweights & ONES WITH NADA REDEAMING QUALITIES AT ALL! Ralph Fiennes in *"SCHINDLER," though I knew he would not win that yr. He deserved the gold! I however forgot another role that scared me as a child, seeing-it on tv around 1971. Alan Arkin in "Wait Until Dark" (1967) His finest work ever! *AUDREY HEPBURN was nominated her 5th & final time, but not him as Roat? & you are on the $$$ w/*WINTERS in "A Patch of Blue." But she was just more of a "Pig," in that, than dangerous!

& I have not seen if you'd replied as to wether or not ya' ever saw: *HOPKINS as Bligh in '84's "The Bounty?" It stuck more to the novel & *LAUGHTON though brilliant, was more of a monster!

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