Jan 28, 2014

Actor Round-up: 1935

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5. PAUL MUNI AS JOE IN BLACK FURY
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This was bad. This was very, very bad. This piece of work gets my vote for the worst performance by a male actor ever to be "nominated" for an Oscar. It is loud showboating in the worst way possible. I hated this performance. This almost nabbed the Best Actor Oscar in 1935 and let us all thank the Oscar God above for not allowing it to happen.



4. CHARLES LAUGHTON AS BLIGH IN MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
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Laughton comes in last out of all the Mutiny on the Bounty boys not because he was the worst per se, but rather he proved to be the least remarkable in my book. Not quite as convincingly evil as I'd have liked, and never given a chance to humanize his character, Laughton's portrayal of an extraordinary man ultimately comes out just ordinary.



3. CLARK GABLE AS FLETCHER IN MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
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Gable certainly gets points for playing that hero schtick to a tee, and what got him over Laughton was only due to the fact that I found myself liking Fletcher Christian more than Captain Bligh. Otherwise, I don't think Gable had the right acting chops to play this conflicted man--it was all glorified hero and no substance for me.



2. FRANCHOT TONE AS BYAM IN MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
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I suppose Franchot Tone's character is only ever responding to what is happening around him--the ball is never really completely in his court, so to speak. But he is a leading man in this picture through-and-through. He is the heart of the film, and he brings so much soul to his performance. It's an underrated turn by an underrated actor.



1. VICTOR MCLAGLEN AS GYPO IN THE INFORMER
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This is a magnificent performance filled to the brim with remorse, emotion, and fear. It's exactly what is often missing from the Best Actor category in the early years--a masculine man who wears his heart on his sleeve, who feels, and who has the potential to crumble before our very eyes. Victor McLaglen's portrayal of a troubled man is beautiful in its sensitivity and pain.



IN CONCLUSION: This was a below-average year. I only liked half of the official nominees (though one wonders if Paul Muni would have managed a win had he actually been an on the official ballot). In this day and age of playing safe with nominations, there is difficulty getting two lead nods in one category much less three, so that achievement alone ought to be applauded. I wonder how close Charles Laughton was to getting a nomination for Ruggles of Red Gap, especially since that was also a Best Picture nominee and because Laughton had won the New York Film Critic's prize for both Ruggles and Mutiny. Other than that, I can't say I know of any other potential Best Actor nominees, though I'm curious about the 1935 Les Miserables since my favorite Fredric March takes on the plum role of Jean Valjean...

7 comments:

  1. I have yet to see Victor but I'm looking forward to him. Great work covering this category this year! :) Your reviews are always a pleasure!

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    1. Thank you Fritz! Your blog is definitely one of my inspirations to keep on keeping :)

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  2. I suppose it's good that Muni didn't get an "official" nomination if he's that bad. This year in both Actress & Actor seems to be pretty flat, but not necessarily bad. Great coverage as always! :)

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    1. Flat is right. It's one thing to watch six nominees and be impressed by two, but it's horribly tedious to have to watch ten and be impressed by two :\ Here's hoping the next years are better. Thank you for the support :)

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  3. I have yet to see any of their performances , but the same goes for most of the 30's years for me. I will rectify that fact however!

    It's refreshing to see someone cover them so exclusively on their blog! Great job! How do I follow it BTW?

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    1. Thank you Joe! And welcome!

      I just made the decision to go about blogging in chronological order a long time ago and have tried my best to stick with it ever since. It's been grueling and often times frustrating trying to get ahold of the films but the worst will soon be behind me!

      As for the follow--I have no idea. I'm a little inept with all this blogger stuff...still trying to figure it out.

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  4. Charles Laughton!!! :) I go for loud.

    Mutiny on the Bounty one of my fav Best Picture winners ever.

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