Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Forgotten Roles

Occasionally, I see lists of past Oscar winners and nominees. I'm frequently surprised by the films I don't recall or have never heard of. So it was at this year's Noir City which I forgot to mention in my last post.

Ronald Coleman won an Academy Award for Best Actor in A Double Life (1947). I am most familiar with Coleman's work in Lost Horizon and had never heard of A Double Life. In A Double Life, Coleman plays a successful Broadway actor who takes method acting to extremes. He brings Shakespeare's Othello to stage and stars in the play-within-a-film as the Moor of Venice. The play becomes a smash and Coleman is left to stew in his toxic creativity over the extended run. Eventually he murders waitress Shelley Winters in the same manner which Othello murders Desdemona.

I tip my hat to Coleman as he essentially plays three roles - Othello, the actor and the actor descending into madness. So his Oscar was well deserved although the only performance that I can recall from among the other 1947 nominees is John Garfield in Body and Soul. Despite Coleman award-winning turn, I was largely bored by A Double Life. The film was well staged and photographed but I found the plot to have major holes and it dragged at times. A Double Life did not distinguish itself among this year's features at Noir City. I noted that although Ronald Coleman was nominated for his performance, the film was not nominated for Best Picture.


I also compared the two versions of True Grit in a previous post.

This weekend, I was able to catch almost an hour of the 1969 version on AMC. It's been several years since I saw the film. AMC doesn't play it with all the other John Wayne films they show on various holidays. Perhaps they were restricted by producers of the version currently in release.

Anyway, the 2010 version closely follows the plot of the 1969 version including LeBouef's dialogue which I don't remember as being so stilted as Campbell and Matt Damon delivered.

The 1969 version had the courtroom scene which I didn't recall. It even used the same joke where the lawyer asks Rooster to restrict himself to the number of people killed in the line of duty so that they may work with "a manageable figure." As I was watching the scene, I realized that Morgan Freeman played the bailiff or court clerk. His voice was aa distinct and well enunciated in 1969 as today. Freeman didn't receive a credit for the role and it isn't listed on IMDB but I am positive that was him.

As I was watching True Grit (1969), the score reminded me of The Magnificent Seven. Looking on IMDB, I see that Elmer Bernstein wrote the score for True Grit which I must have forgotten or never knew.

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