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,The Best Character Actors?

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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klondike

Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby klondike » January 22nd, 2010, 4:49 pm

jdb1 wrote:Maybe Carol broke your father's heart. Be gentle with him.


Ahh, blessed are men's daughters.
With extremely rare exception, they are indeed the gentle ones, ever the vigilant protectors of their Pappa's hearts - and their memories . .
Now those other initials found on trees in carven hearts - the ex-girlfriends, the old flames, the undeserving crushes, the former lovers, the wide-eyed nymphs of long, summer nights - they are legion with their hobnailed boots, snuffing out the tenderest of secret longings with the strength of their happy survival.

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JackFavell
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby JackFavell » January 22nd, 2010, 5:37 pm

Did you write that, Klonny? It was beautiful - you should be a poet.

You menfolk are right. Thinking back over it, I may have stumbled into a little emotional landmine from the past.

I'll try to be more understanding... if I can control my curiosity.

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Professional Tourist
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Re: The Best Character Actors?

Postby Professional Tourist » January 22nd, 2010, 11:12 pm

JackFavell wrote:I called him, and apparently my dad and the one who married Regis were in a show together in Columbia, Missouri, where he went to college.

Your father went to college in Columbia, Missouri? By any chance did he attend Stephens College?

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JackFavell
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby JackFavell » January 23rd, 2010, 10:04 am

Not Stephens, I think Stephens was an all girl school at that time, but I may be wrong. He actually attended several colleges throughout his life, (he is a perpetual student of everything) and I'll have to ask him whether or not he went there, My knowledge of his time there was that he attended University of Missouri first, since he lived in St. Louis. However, I do know that he went to functions at Stephens. My father was something of an enfant terrible, starting college at the age of sixteen. That would have put him there in 1945- 6.

jdb1

Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby jdb1 » January 23rd, 2010, 3:27 pm

JackFavell wrote:Did you write that, Klonny? It was beautiful - you should be a poet.

You menfolk are right. Thinking back over it, I may have stumbled into a little emotional landmine from the past.

I'll try to be more understanding... if I can control my curiosity.


Menfolk? Did somebody call me "menfolk?" Guess I better lay off the chewing tobaccy -- it confuses people.

Ollie
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Ollie » January 23rd, 2010, 4:15 pm

"He WISHES he'd gone to Stephens College" might be your father's comment! ha ha... hmmm, this brings me back to the Alcatraz snickers. "Escaped From Stephens College" or "Escape INTO Stephens College"...

Jay C. Flippen is another favorite that is easily recognized, but I assert that's the completely wrong name for him. "Jay C." just does not match that man's face OR his persona. I wish someone could have pinned a different name on him.

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JackFavell
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby JackFavell » January 23rd, 2010, 4:51 pm

Ollie, I can never remember Jay C. Flippen's name for precisely that reason... he should have had a name like Dean Jagger. Jay C. Flippen sounds like a Steve Allen tonight show comic.

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Birdy
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Birdy » January 23rd, 2010, 10:01 pm

Sure enough, I just watched Little Big Shot, 1925 recorded from TCM on the 21st.
And wouldn't you know? Glenda Farrell, J Carroll Naish, E.E. Horton. I enjoyed the cast of this movie, but it was a little sadder than I expected as I was prepared for hoke. The little girl, Sybil Jason, was an excellent cryer!
B

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srowley75
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby srowley75 » January 24th, 2010, 4:42 am

Ollie wrote:I'd probably list Franklin Pangborn as one of my favorite supporting actors, just because I notice him in so many favorite (and often, excellent) films. But we've only got 21 of his pieces on DVD. I was going thru his early work and I was counting, "5, 10, 11 - wow, I didn't know he was in so many Torchy films! Wait - uh - I didn't know there WERE that many Torchy Blaine films!"

Gulp. There aren't. This is another character called "Torchy" in the early '30s Shorts. But Franklin's in those.

Did Franklin receive his Ph.D in Hotel Management? I think so. He must have done 50 of his 200+ roles as a desk clerk. The original Basil Fawlty, too - he could have ALWAYS run those desks much better without any pest-customers!


Almost all of Pangborn's dutiful characters find themselves targets for humiliation, and as such Sis and I tend to see a lot of ourselves in him even as we laugh at his predicaments. He does resemble Fawlty in the sense that he always winds up with egg on his face despite that he's often only trying to get things done (and here I'll mention that Fawlty is another character we both find sympathetic despite his, well, faults - and if you have a job that entails dealing with the public on a regular basis, odds are that you'll also find yourself siding with Basil).

I may have already posted about this, but I think my favorite Pangborn appearance is in W. C. Fields' The Bank Dick. Every moment Pangborn and Fields are at odds in this film is comedy gold. Pangborn's straight-laced, easily flustered persona provided the perfect foil for Fields' shifty idler, and every time I revisit the film, I find myself wishing they'd made more together. I also treasure his brief appearances in Sturges' comedies. His mere presence lightens the emotionally taut first half of Now, Voyager.

-Stephen

Ollie
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Ollie » January 24th, 2010, 3:14 pm

I should scratch around and try to find Pangborn's so-called 'biggest role'. But you can never bring BANK DICK up too often. All of Fields' films were collections of scenes - that coincidentally keep the same character names as if that means anything! But Pangborn was seldom given larger roles than Fields gave him, and he delivered so wonderfully. Sort of like Jerome Cowan or Paul Stewart - when they were given leads in films, they delivered with solid performances. I'm only sorry it's taken me decades of being a film-fan before IMDB and Mongo, etc. gave me a chance to identify these great cast-members.

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JackFavell
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby JackFavell » January 24th, 2010, 4:17 pm

Since My Man Godfrey is on my top ten list, I'll mention Pangborn's small role - I don't know if he was ad libbing the opening of his scene as the moderator of the scavenger hunt, but it certainly seems so... and he's SO funny - my favorite part is when he asks Godfrey for a feel of his whiskers. The way he distastefully flickers his hands afterwards to wipe off the taint makes me laugh EVERY time.

Hwever, I completely agree about his roles in the W.C. Fields films. Perfect, they are perfect together.

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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Ollie » January 25th, 2010, 11:14 am

Wendy, that bit of a scene to start GODFREY is one reason I've come to study Pangborn's work. That moment when he touches this hobo's face, like he was putting his hand into fire, knowing it would result in an agonizing experience - his face has to deliver ALL of that meaning so quickly and so perfectly. He can't overdo it or start too soon - he's got to save his Revulsion-In-Eyes-Corner-Of-Mouth until the absolute correct moment.

This, to me, is Method Acting. He HAS to draw on some experience and I don't think it can be coached or scripted - it might not even be rehearsible.

This is yet another of Pangborn's Perfect Acting Jobs. True, it's not a lengthy stint, and no one's going to give him a lot of official notice, but it's a perfect set of decisions on his part, and sets me up to pay attention to other exquisite moments of this film. My expectation's there, I think, because of Pangborn and the other characters' performances almost immediately. This film could have fallen SO far down after such a good beginning, and I'm glad it never has.

Ollie
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Ollie » January 25th, 2010, 12:43 pm

Birdy, I enjoyed LITTLE BIG SHOT, too. I think I may donate too many positive feelings toward films that are stacked up with favorite character actors. As much as Denham is almost-a-villain in KING KONG (cajoling poor Faye Wray with his taunting "Scream, Ann, scream!" camera directions - poor thing; or his cold-hearted "Twas beauty that killed the beast" closing line - the heartless cad!!), I still have positive valuations for Robert Armstrong. Throw him in a pix, and I give it higher marks.

Then, everyone else - Edward Everett Horton - and then putting both of them in fry-cook outfits to boot! This film just about required my positive viewing.

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Libertine
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby Libertine » June 12th, 2011, 4:46 pm

Orson Welles
Edward Arnold
Lionel Barrymore
Frank Morgan
Bette Davis
Edward Everett Horton
Lee J. Cobb
Perhaps I am mad. How should I know? I think I am normal.
~Tallulah Bankhead


I made myself a signature, but found out I can not use it.... world is cruel. :(
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JackFavell
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Re: ,The Best Character Actors?

Postby JackFavell » June 12th, 2011, 6:28 pm

Nice list, Libertine! I like that you put Orson and Bette on it, who both played leads, but in a very character oriented way.


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