Your favorite character actors

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

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hbenthow
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by hbenthow »

JackFavell wrote:Oh you've hit so many favorites on this list, hbenthow! Golly, You KNOW I love Glenda. I can't even tell you how great I think she is.
I'm the same way about her. In fact, she's my favorite actress.

By the way, did you see the parts of her 1959 interview that I posted in your thread about her a few weeks ago?
Mischa shows up playing gangsters or henchman every once in a while, it always surprises me how versatile he was.
I first saw him in The Monster Walks. In that one, he was rather sinister, and used his large hands and lanky physique in a very creepy manner. The next movie I saw him in was My Man Godfrey, in which he's hilarious. It didn't take long for me to realize that he was very versatile.
I never liked Guy Kibbee until I saw The Life of Jimmy Dolan. Oh, he's just so great in that one, I fell in love with him.
To this day, I can't think of Guy Kibbee without remembering Captain January, one of the first movies I ever saw. Whenever I see him, I always think "There's Captain January!".
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by JackFavell »

Oh gosh, I haven't seen Capn January in years! I just about forgot about it. I'll have to see if I can find it, I always loved it when I was a kid. You are right, he's a doll in that one.

I did see your marvelous interview with Glenda, thanks so much for posting it. I've been in and out lately on the boards, very busy here, so just because I don't write doesn't mean I'm not reading and relishing everything. She seems to have been as common sense a person as there ever was in Hollywood.

Barton MacLane is also a fave, he and Glenda are great together, so opposite, he's big, she's little, he's a dumb flatfoot, she's smart as a whip. I love his voice, and how he can play either side of the law quite easily. My newer favorite with him is the comedy western The Dude Goes West. He always seems such a warm fellow, even when he's playing a bad guy.
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hbenthow
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by hbenthow »

JackFavell wrote:I did see your marvelous interview with Glenda, thanks so much for posting it. I've been in and out lately on the boards, very busy here, so just because I don't write doesn't mean I'm not reading and relishing everything. She seems to have been as common sense a person as there ever was in Hollywood.
I might post a few more bits from the interview sometime soon. (What I posted isn't the whole interview, just a few bits from it.) She had some interesting things to say about method acting, actors taking themselves seriously, and television, among other things.
Barton MacLane is also a fave, he and Glenda are great together, so opposite, he's big, she's little, he's a dumb flatfoot, she's smart as a whip. I love his voice, and how he can play either side of the law quite easily. My newer favorite with him is the comedy western The Dude Goes West.

He always seems such a warm fellow, even when he's playing a bad guy.
I'll have to watch The Dude Goes West. It sounds good.

Have you ever seen Prison Break (1938)? I consider it sort of a companion piece to the Torchy Blane movies, since it stars Barton MacLane and Glenda Farrell. In Prison Break, Barton MacLane plays a man who is wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to jail. Glenda Farrell plays his girlfriend.

There's sort of an in-joke in the movie. In the Torchy Blane movies, Glenda Farrell calls Barton MacLane "Skipper". In Prison Break, it's reversed. He calls her "Skipper".
Western Guy
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by Western Guy »

Barton MacLane wrongly accused of a crime -- in a prison pic??!! Gotta check out this one.

BTW: Has anyone checked out the late John McCabe's bio of James Cagney? He tells a funny story about Barton and his frequent use of a certain expletive, even in social surroundings. The big lug.
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by JackFavell »

It's funny you would mention Prison Break, because I was just reading on IMDB (I forgot the name of The Dude Goes West) that Prison Break was MacLane's sole leading role in all those years of playing big lugs in the movies. I was thinking how much I'd like to see it.

Gosh, I'll have to get a copy of that Cagney bio, WG, it sounds just like MacLane to let loose a certain word in public and then wonder what all the fuss was about. :D :D
Western Guy
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by Western Guy »

That's right, Wendy. In the book Cagney is quoted as saying that Barton would use cuss words without giving any thought to what he was saying, as if using such terms were just a normal part of his vocabulary. Cagney also said that he and Pat O'Brien got such a kick out of it that they would deliberately ask questions just to get a four-letter word response out of MacLane.
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by JackFavell »

That's too funny, I can see them cracking up in my mind's eye. :D
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by charliechaplinfan »

James Cagney and Pat O'Brien sound just like little boys, ah the fun they must have had with Barton Maclaine.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
RedRiver
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by RedRiver »

Minutes before my girlfriend left me, I told her she was out of her ****ing mind. She said nobody had ever talked to her that way. I guess she can't say that anymore!
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by JackFavell »

Western Guy, you asked me where are the character actors of today who have the chops of our favorites in classic film. And I didn't actually answer, because my first thought was that there were none. But here's a list of actors now who will draw me to a new movie:


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Stanley Tucci


Tucci is my favorite character actor working right now because he fails to fall into any category at all. He's thoughtful, quiet and deeply committed as an actor, and he never goes in a traditional direction. I fell deeply, deeply in love with Stanley Tucci years ago after seeing an interview with him about the movie BIG NIGHT. I had seen him before but never really knew his name. I immediately went to see it, and thought the acting was absolutely wonderful. In it Tucci and Tony Shalhoub play Italian brothers who run a restaurant, Shalhoub is the chef and Tucci the business end of the restaurant and maitre d', and they are waiting for Julius La Rosa to show up for dinner, thinking this will make their restaurant fashionable.

I then heard a review of a new film he was making called Joe Gould's Secret, which he directed. It took me years to find a copy, but it is a first rate film, a tragedy in some ways but brilliant and thought provoking. I'm still trying to find his TV production about Walter Winchell. Tucci shows up in everything from The Hunger Games, to The Devil Wears Prada, to Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. He had made appearances in quite a few TV shows, like Thirtysomething, and movies like The Pelican Brief and Prelude to a Kiss, and he did a play I desperately wanted to direct or act in at one time, called Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune which I imagine he was very well suited for. He's a jack of all trades, and although I don't see everything he does (he works ALL the time, in cartoons, kids shows, HBO specials, whatever) I WILL make a point of going to his movies or renting the ones that seem in my general style preferences. He's a brilliant actor, and pretty much can play anything you give him - a cool Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy, a harried airport security manager in The Terminal or even the sweetest (and sexiest) man ever, Julia Child's husband in Julie and Julia. He's my favorite character actor working today. If you ever get the chance, rent Joe Gould's Secret and get the double dose of Tucci as actor and director... it's worth your time.

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Michael Rispoli

OK. Here's my brush with fame, and my turn to name drop.... I've MET Michael Rispoli. You may remember him in While You Were Sleeping as Joe Jr. but really he's turned up in all sorts of movies and you probably didn't even realize you were seeing him. The above picture is from his brilliant performance in The Rum Diaries.

I came up with so many names of people I love to see and recognize in movies nowadays that I can't possibly post their pictures here, so I'll just go ahead and make my list, hoping that it will produce some conversation. And I'm not even bringing out the big guns here by mentioning Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Laurence Fishburne, Tony Shalhoub, Peter Stromare or James Gandolfini! Here are my favorites from modern movies:

Tim Roth

Eileen Brennan

Don Cheadle

David Paymer

Lynn Thigpen

John Rhys-Davies

Forest Whitaker

James Cromwell

Viola Davis

Gary Oldman

Terence Howard

Luis Guzman

CCH Pounder

Lois Smith

Djimon Hounsou

Robert Duvall

Estelle Parsons

Daniel Stern

Catherine O'Hara

Donald Sutherland

S. Epatha Merkerson

Wallace Shawn

Nancy Allen

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Alfre Woodard

Alan Ruck
Last edited by JackFavell on January 4th, 2013, 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by Rita Hayworth »

Stanley Tucci is another favorite of mine ... I cracked up when I saw him in TERMINAL that starred Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

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I seen that movie at least 3-4 times and never get tired of it.
Last edited by Rita Hayworth on January 4th, 2013, 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

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I'm glad he's a favorite, kingme. I really like The Terminal, it's got a great premise and it follows through on it well.
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ChiO
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by ChiO »

JF - Add Steve Buscemi and John Turturro. And has any lead actor been more of a character actor than Jeff Bridges?

P.S. A gazillion bonus points for including Wallace Shawn. Which reminds me: Bob Balaban.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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JackFavell
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Re: Your favorite character actors

Post by JackFavell »

Hey, ChiO! Happy new year!

I knew I was going to forget someone great. I really love those under the radar, quietly perverse performers like Bob Balaban and Charles Martin Smith. Balaban is pretty funny in real life too, I totally crack up at his TCM interview about how he got the job in Close Encounters. Recently enjoyed seeing him in Moonrise Kingdom.

I'll go ahead and add Buscemi and Turturro, even though I cheated and added them in the first paragraph already. They are both so good they deserve a second mention. Oops! Make that a third...

And of course there's Austin Pendleton! Can't believe I didn't mention him.
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CineMaven
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Re: Your favorite character actors

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Wasn't Bob Balaban also on "Seinfeld" for a coupla episodes? I think he fell in love with Elaine and wound up working for Greenpeace to forget her. Droll, dry and funny.
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