Monday, July 20, 2009

Supporting Actor Spotlight: Karl Malden

Name: Mladen George Sekulovich

Notable Roles: Harold 'Mitch' Mitchell (Streetcar Named Desire - 1951), Father Barry (On the Waterfront - 1954), Archie Lee Meighan (Baby Doll - 1956), Sheriff Dad Longworth (One-Eyed Jacks - 1961), Gen. Omar Bradley (Patton - 1970).

Trademark: Played wide ranging roles from generals to priests, but often played an everyman.

Achievements and Awards: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (1951 - Streetcar Named Desire), Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series (1985 - Fatal Vision), President of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame (2005).

Why we love him: Malden was one of the most versatile supporting actors in Hollywood and gave some of Hollywood's most memorable performances in supporting roles. Malden is also credited, along with Marlon Brando, Elia Kazan, and other New York theatre stars, as bringing a more realistic style of acting to the screen. Malden always came across as a likeable guy who you wanted to root for and for this we want to thank Karl Malden for being a great supporting actor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Supporting Actor Spotlight Series

Very shortly, we'll be starting a new post series discussing one of our favorite classic movie topics - the supporting actor.  So many talented actors never quite get the attention they deserve (as this Daily Show clip points out after the death of Karl Malden).  You never see Biography: Thelma Ritter or AFI Life Achievement Award: Thomas Mitchell, even though these actors are an essential part of the films they're in.  Never fear, talented supporting actors - Anatomy Of A Classic, uh, supports you.  

Who's your favorite?  

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Starring: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlow, Gary Merrill

Co-Starring: Millard Mitchell, Dean Jagger
Directed by: Henry King
Other notable contributors: produced by Darryl F. Zanuck

Favorite scene: Brigadier General Savage (Peck) visiting a wounded pilot (Marlow) in the hospital.

Favorite line: "I never heard of a jury convicting the lawyer." - Major Stovall

Raves: Even though the film is about a WWII bomber group, this isn’t really a war movie. It’s more of a study of leadership and how Gregory Peck’s character is able to turn a “hard luck” bomber group into a successful unit despite resistance from his men. The film is very engrossing and the screenplay is well written. There is none of the usual overdone go-get-‘em mentality of most war films. Instead, the film depicts the real emotional damage war has on the people involved in a profound way.

Rants: None come to mind.

My take: My father has been trying to get both of us to watch Twelve O’Clock High for years, but I always shrugged it off as another war film (not my favorite genre). I’m glad I finally did watch it though, and I hope others don’t do what I did for so many years. While the film may not contain the snappy dialogue that I think makes other classic movies entertaining, it does have several short monologues or exchanges between characters that can be equally as engaging.

Recommended if: You're in the mood for a more thoughtful or thought provoking film.

Modern-Day Counterpart: The movie Gallipoli (1981) is similar in that it explores the effects of war on the solidiers fighting in it.