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Monday, December 28, 2009

For all Movie Buffs, and especially English ones

You would probably enjoy this article from today's Torygraph on classic British movies .

A good friend and I have long admired the English for their acting abilities. It's our theory that they're so good because in their own society, (particularly in decades past) they were keen observers of nuances in social status and pecking order -- thus giving them keen insight into playing desparate characters to a "T." Also, at least in "bye gone" times, terrifically good actors, "stars" -- would be happy to play a smaller "character" role if was suited to them.

Having said that, (are you ready for the handgrenade?) -- I can't STAND Lawrence Olivier's HENRY V. I wouldn't have followed him to the corner, much less "the vasty fields of France." And he was too OLD to play Hamlet.


Patricius said...

Gosh! Another person who isn't impressed by Olivier's Henry V !
It has long struck me as terribly "ham" - like the work of an amateur actor with overblown ideas of his own stage presence! Great comedy but I think Shakespeare meant it as serious historical drama.

gemoftheocean said...

I know, it's almost a sin to trash talk Larry...but, I call them as I see them!

His "God for Harry, England and St. George" is like the sound of butterflies farting.

Lucky it wasn't him that was at Agincourt. The French would own your asses. And we'd be speaking "frog" over here.

Fr John Abberton said...

I will watch "Henry V" again and then get back to you on that. You may be right about his age and Hamlet, but let's face it, most actors are older than the actual part, and I thought he was good in that.
One of my favourite British actors, and most undervalued, is the late Jack Hawkins.

Stephen said...

You want further proof that British actors are not always all they're cracked up to be? Go and watch "Nine", in which Daniel Day-Lewis is excruciatingly bad (though to be fair, the worst performance in the film is Nicole Kidman's hideous assault on "Unusual Way", and she's not British). It's not merely that his singing stinks - though his singing *stinks* - it's that his cigarettes and sunglasses seem to do more acting than he does.

I'm also not much of an Olivier fan.

gemoftheocean said...

Yeah, but Stephen you could argue that that that DDL was from a "newer Generation." -- the older generation had years and years of rep, and ensemble playing -- as a whole the British are still fine actors, but oh, for the NEW Ralph Richardsons! [His "what was I saving for" speach towards the end of Long Day's journey into Night rips me.

Even Charles Laughton in the charming Canterville Ghost almost moves me to tears in his bit about getting to "lie in the soft earth - no yesterdays and no tomorrows" speach is delivered exquisitly.

You can see the clip in question here.

gemoftheocean said...

True enough, Fr. John - but sometimes you have to believe your lying eyes! :-D

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