Sep 5, 2016

Round-Up: Actor 1949






5. John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima



4. Gregory Peck, Twelve O'Clock High


3. Broderick Crawford, All the King's Men





It's our third BATTLE OF THE FIVES, and our very first for the actors! This wasn't a very easy decision to make because Kirk Douglas and Richard Todd both turn in very different, very effective performances. Where Douglas is brash and savage, commandeering Champion with total ease, Todd is sensitive, poignant, and the absolute best thing about The Hasty Heart. It's tough because the two really are foils to one another; I was so very impressed by Douglas's icy bad boy and yet so fond of Todd's compassionate Scotsman that as I type out these words I am still debating between the two. I suppose that means that either make for a viable winner in my book, and because I have to choose just one -- ultimately my decision comes down to the performance that more holistically connected with me.

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2. Kirk Douglas, Champion



1. RICHARD TODD, THE HASTY HEART




IN CONCLUSION: And so, Richard Todd takes the win as we close out the 1940s! And just why is this? I absolutely understand the criticism this performance might have in regards to it being "hammy." It's certainly not one that's subdued. But I loved the amount of heart he gives to Lachie, which is in direct contrast to Kirk Douglas who (while excellent for what the character requires) is disconnected from the viewer. That's where Todd succeeds for me - he creates that attachment for me, such that I really feel for him, all the while delivering a pretty excellent performance. All other placements pretty much speak for themselves.

SIXTH PLACE: Hard to say. My guess might be Van Johnson for Battleground? Considering the film won for Best Screenplay and was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor, I'm thinking Johnson would have blended in quite easily amongst all these war heroes.

Otherwise - had Ralph Richardson not been dropped in Supporting for The Heiress, I'm thinking he could very well have made it in Lead, what with The Fallen Idol also coming out that year as well. Additionally, I was pretty fond of Montgomery Clift in The Heiress as well - he is so convincingly charming and hasty in the film and, having just been nominated the year prior, I imagine he'd have been in the running also. Other than that...Spencer Tracy in Edward, My Son could have at least been a contender considering Deborah Kerr made the cut. Larry Parks in Jolsen Sings Again? Some more less realistic selections could have been Joseph Cotten for The Third Man, James Cagney in White Heat, Robert Ryan in The Set-Up, or Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets.

In any case, after a decade's worth of a great many middle-of-the-road Best Actor selections, I'm glad that 1949 proved to be a pretty great year.

6 comments:

  1. I've been following your blogs for a while now, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to comment. I thought I was the only person who really enjoyed Richard Todd's performance in The Hasty Heart. I can concede that he is over-the-top at times, but I think you accurately point out the things that make his performance great. (I really like the vulnerability he demonstrates when he learns of his impending death.) I thought for sure Douglas would be your top pick; what a pleasant surprise to see you went with Todd! Cheers! Norm

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    1. That's really great, I'm glad to hear that and glad to know you! I was second-guessing myself with Todd there at first (as I did w/ Crawford in Possessed) -- but you feel what you feel, and I was just a little more taken with Todd than I was with Douglas. Awesome that we agree.

      And thanks for following, I of course welcome your thoughts!

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  2. I admire Kirk Douglas in "The Champion" - not a great performance but powerful none-the-less. Still, he "ACTS" at times in a manner that overdoes things a bit.

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    1. I can see how one may think that. I think it's great, and would otherwise make a pretty solid winner.

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  3. I haven't seen Todd yet, now I'm definitely interested.

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    1. The Hasty Heart is a nice little film - give it a shot, you might like it!

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