April 30, 2016

Montgomery Clift, The Search


When you watch Montgomery Clift in The Search, there’s an immediate sense that something is off about him. He’s not normal, at least...not so in the Golden Hollywood sense. His face, smoldering in its God-given beauty, is distorted in peculiar ways as he expresses his reactions to the people and scenarios around him. He doesn’t sound rehearsed, almost recklessly so, as he fills the space with mumbled, ad-libbed lines. In other words, he’s a revelation, a breath of fresh air and a bookmark of a new style of acting that would be further popularized in the next decade. 

April 18, 2016

Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

Won: Academy Award - Best Actor | New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor | Golden Globe Award - Best Actor

It's Laurence Olivier's most famous Shakespearian performance! I had my doubts going into Hamlet, primarily because I've been fairly underwhelmed by his method of acting in his first three nominated performances. But those roles - Heathcliff, Max de WinterHenry V - those are different, more stoic men to Hamlet. So it was nice to see from the get-go an instant change of tone in Olivier, who appears as a more tender, vulnerable individual than I am used to.

April 9, 2016

Clifton Webb, Sitting Pretty

I can't wrap my head around this nomination. From the opening credits, wherein we're treated to a happy and homey sung melody, I got an instant twanging feeling of unconventionalism. Sitting Pretty is hands down the most lighthearted and easiest viewing experiences of the 1940s Oscar-nominated films, so it's curious how a film with content so off-base from the typical AMPAs fare would be nominated, and in the Best Actor category for a not-completely-lead performance by a character actor to boot.

April 2, 2016

Dan Dailey, When My Baby Smiles at Me

As I'm typically a sucker for song-and-dance-centric performances, I started off quite pleased by Dan Dailey's work in When My Baby Smiles at Me. But the hook for this performance, unlike that of say, Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh, is technically supposed to be more than just song and dance - one might deduce that this performance was noticed by AMPAs due to its display of showmanship and alcoholism. In that regard, I'm not sure that Dailey is wholly effective.