Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film - Due out this Fall from UOK Press

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Alan's sporadic takes on Film Noir and other aspects of pop culture

Actors and Actresses

Commentary and critique on actors and actresses

  I knew Richard Anderson had an impressive acting resume, but I didn't know how impressive a person he was until I met him Sunday night about an hour before the screening of The People Against O'Hara (1951). Nattily attired in a beige jacket with scarf, we started talking in the parking lot, continued while pausing in the Egyptian Theatre courtyard and then swept inside the lobby, still talking movies. The man isn't just an actor; he's a fan, a true cinephile. Anderson also is a history buff so we lapsed into a brief Civil War discussion in between stories about Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper, the two actors that Richard admires above all others. Frankly, I was momentarily disappointed after glancing at my watch and noticing that the film was scheduled to begin in two minutes. The People against O'Hara is a considerable film that really holds up. Spencer Tracy's...
©Alan K. Rode
  As the actors who became personal touchstones during my youth continue to depart this mortal coil due to the inevitability of time, I usually attempt to place their passings into a philosophical perspective (unless I knew them personally) despite the pangs of inner pain and regret. Sometimes the departure of a familiar face affects me more than others. A case-in-point was the death of veteran character actor, Dabbs Greer last evening. Dabbs was 90 years old and had been an working actor for seven decades. Greer was everywhere on television when I grew up: The Adventures of Superman, The Rifleman, The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, etc. He appeared in nearly 600 television programs and over 100 films. Greer was an actor's actor who was equally at home on a horse, a rocket ship, pumping gas or behind a grocery counter. There was always an earnest believability...
©Alan K. Rode
  Peggy Webber's part in The Wrong Man (1956) was a brief, but important scene as an insurance company clerk who wrongly identifies Henry Fonda as an armed robber. Her erroneous conclusion provided the impetus that propels an innocent Fonda into the bowels of injustice hell. I had to cajole Miss Webber just a bit to join me at the screening on Saturday night, "It's such a small part...", but thankfully she attended and her presence made for a delightful evening. The Wrong Man was an interesting disappointment. Hitchcock's solitary voyage into literal docudrama (he had apparently watched The Bicycle Thief and experienced a spasm of neo-realism with an actual miscarriage of justice story featured in Life Magazine) was simply too sterile to elicit rapt interest. For openers, I simply couldn't buy a 51 year old Hank Fonda as a 38 year old Italian jazz musician thumping a bass fiddle nights...
wrong man
©Alann K. Rode

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