Sunday, 31 March 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1991: Viggo Mortensen in The Indian Runner

Viggo Mortensen did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Frank Roberts in The Indian Runner.

The Indian Runner is a moving story, although Sean Penn perhaps tries a little to hard to make a stamp with his direction at times, about the relationship between brothers one a rebellious criminal named Frank the other an officer of the law named Joe.

Mortensen doesn't just go for one tone as Frank, there is a furry of different elements to this man and he is amazing the way he is able to reflect them. In his first scene he seems to be a reasonable sort having just gotten out of the army, and at least for the moment seems to be able to get along just fine as man. Mortensen is very effective though because he suggests what makes him a man who never really can be his brother in this early scene. There is a spontaneity in his performance that is perfect in showing that Frank can never be like his more reserved brother Joe (David Morse). In this early scene Mortensen portrays it something harmless enough, but has still has it something so instinctual that he can't help but do it.

We Frank later on now looking far more the rebel than he did before in his army uniform having no qualms about his behavior. Mortensen is excellent in conveying basically Frank in his natural state which is rather odd, but entirely fitting. Mortensen makes Frank seem to be a series of contradictions, he is charming to a certain degree, he seems to be enjoying himself as well, but at the same time he seems to be hating himself in just the same way. When his brother informs him of their mother's death Mortensen's reaction is spot in the way he shows that Frank is in some way hurt by this revelation in an understated sadness portrayed by Mortensen, but still he never loses the rebellion in him that forces him to almost shrug it off as nothing.

As the film progresses Frank goes in and out of seeming like he could get over his steak as a troublesome sometimes quite violent streak with his behavior that he moves from seeming reasonable enough but it never seems to stay that way. Even when he seems to be going about a normal life there are moments where he becomes truly reprehensible and irresponsible. Mortensen gets this dynamic across so well by making it always the same man. It is something almost primal in a way as Mortensen never shows Frank as fully one way or the other way he is able to get across the wildness of this personality. Mortensen has Frank fly in all directions at once it would be wrong for Frank to always be wild or to not be at all when trying to be controlled he can never be just one way.

Viggo Mortensen very importantly has terrific chemistry with David Morse through just how understated they are together. The two mostly suggest their relationship through glances but the two get across both the disconnection between the two thanks to their natures but as well their connection due to their history as children together. It is a testament to the strength of their performances that they are able to make the relationship of the brothers the central theme of the film despite the fact that the two actually have a very little dialogue between each other, and most of it is fairly simple except for the point where Joe finally confronts Frank. Due to their underplaying beforehand when the conflict between the two finally comes out it is particularly powerful by the way they so effectively established their relationship beforehand.

This is a strong performance by Mortensen that succeeds in creating this distinct type of personality. Mortensen is very good because he does not go about an easy route for Frank which would be just being a rebel all the time or being black and white in the way Frank can change so easily. Mortensen gets across the instability and the impossibility of such a man to just rest for a moment though by instead being as unpredictable as Frank should be as character. The final result that comes from Frank is made by Mortensen an eventuality even though it seems so sudden sense builds the nature of Frank so well throughout his story. This is not Viggo Mortensen's greatest performance, but it is a great early indication of his considerable talent as an actor. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1991

And the Nominees Were Not:

John Turturro in Barton Fink

River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho

Val Kilmer in The Doors

Viggo Mortensen in The Indian Runner

Raul Julia in The Addams Family

Best Supporting Actor 1935

Again 1935 is not a year where there are a clear five or even a clear four that stand clearly out as most films really focused heavily only on the leads such as in 39 Steps where the main villain gets only a very brief scene. Still I will cover a few performances quickly.

James Cagney in A Midsummer's Night Dream- James Cagney plays a self absorbed player Nick Bottom who eventually get a donkey head in place of his own. Where some of the actors fail to make the Shakespearean material come to life like Dick Powell or Mickey Rooney who is just terrible as Puck, Cagney though knows how to bring it to life quite brilliantly even though he is not the first actor that would come to mind as Shakespearean. Cagney though is a whole lot of fun in the role and the film really comes to life when he is on screen. He is very funny in his portrayal of Bottom as he fails to act out the part in his play doing it instead in a properly hammy fashion. Cagney surprisingly is not overshadowed by the scene with the Donkey head and actually manages to be very amusing through simply his voice and his physical reactions to dealing with the donkey head. It is Cagney who really makes the story come to life with a great deal of humor. This is a different type of role by Cagney and very well handled one actually. 4/5.

W.C. Fields in David Copperfield- W.C. Fields was usually known for his role as W.C. Fields the likable drunkard a comic star in the vein of Laurel and Hardy. Here in David Copperfield he plays a more traditional type of character as Mr. Micawber a kingly if somewhat incompetent business man who takes David under his wings. Fields nicely moves into the character actually and gives a nice performance as Mr. Micawber. He stresses above everything else the warmth of his character which Fields makes genuine, and he stands well as a wonderful character while outside of his presence David consistently suffers. This is not incredible work by any means but Fields stays in the character and brings out the tenderness that Mr. Micawber should have. 3.5/5

Charles Laughton in Les Miserables- Charles Laughton portrays Javert the inspector who stop at nothing to catch Jean Valjean. Laughton is pretty good in portraying the strictness of Javert's belief in the law system and is actually quite moving when he subtly suggests that without the law there is nothing to Javert. He is quite strong in both of his most pivotal scenes when Valjean lets him go and his last scene. He expresses the conflicting emotions of hate, disbelief and distress over Valjean's actions quite powerfully. He is not the very best Javert I have seen, that would be Philip Quast in the musical concert. I did feel that he could have been a little more imposing on the whole, and he is somewhat limited by the fact that the conflic between he and Valjean could have been done better in term of the film's direction. Nevertheless he is a strong Javert that meets the complexities of the character that some unfortunately ignore. 4/5.

Edward Arnold in Crime and Punishment- This version of Crime and Punishment is told very dispassionately in terms of direction but the performances by Peter Lorre as the man who believes in the right of murder to the superior sort, and Edward Arnold as the police inspector who becomes suspicious of him offers the film some life. This is not a great role, but Arnold shows his skills as an actor well here offering the right sort of presence in the role and being properly incisive that would make it believable that Peter Lorre's character would become as nervous as he does by the inspector's increasingly suspicious nature.  3/5

Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein-Thesiger plays the evil mad scientist Doctor Pretorius who convinces doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) to make a bride for the monster. Thesiger takes the opposite of Clive's manic approach to the mad scientist instead he emphasizes the madness in his mind through his face. Thesiger plays his role with a certain flamboyancy all his own that has just a creepiness that oozes from him without effort. He makes the derangement of Pretorious quite unique, and is pretty effective in the part. He does not leave the biggest impression on the film, that would be Karloff, but he is quite good in the role. 3.5/5.

Overall Rank:
  1. James Cagney in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  2. Charles Laughton in Les Miserables
  3. Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein
  4. Lionel Barrymore in Public Hero No. 1
  5. W.C. Fields in David Copperfield
  6. Herbert Marshall in The Dark Angel
  7. Edward Arnold in Crime and Punishment
  8. Frank McHugh in A Midsummer's Night Dream 
  9. Charles Ruggles in Ruggles of Red Gap
  10. Wallace Ford  in The Informer
  11. Joe E. Brown in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  12. Edward Everett Horton in Top Hat 
  13. Basil Rathbone in Anna Karenina
  14. Roland Young in Ruggles of Red Gap
  15. O.P. Heggie in Bride of Frankenstein 
  16. Donald Meek in The Whole Town's Talking 
  17. Joseph Schildkraut in The Crusades
  18. Eugene Pallette in The Ghost Goes West 
  19. Ted Healy in Mad Love 
  20. Joseph Calleia in Public Hero No. 1
  21. Godfrey Tearle in 39 Steps
  22. Reginald Owen in A Tale of Two Cities 
  23. Edward Brophy in Mad Love 
  24. Cedric Hardwicke in Becky Sharp
  25. William Harrigan in G Men
  26. Freddie Bartholomew in Anna Karenina
  27. Franchot Tone in Mutiny on the Bounty  
  28. Cedric Hardwicke in Les Miserables
  29. Lionel Barrymore in David Copperfield
  30. Guinn Williams in Private Worlds
  31. Edward Brophy in The Whole Town's Talking 
  32. Barton MacLane in G Men
  33. Colin Clive in Bride of Frankenstein
  34. David Manners in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  35. Basil Rathbone in David Copperfield
  36. Donald Woods in A Tale of Two Cities  
  37. Nigel Bruce in Becky Sharp 
  38. Chico Marx in A Night at the Opera  
  39. Joel McCrea in Private Worlds
  40. C. Aubrey Smith in The Lives of the Bengal Lancers
  41. Gavin Gordon in Bride of Frankenstein
  42. Henry B. Walthall in A Tale of Two Cities
  43. Hay Petrie in The Ghost Goes West 
  44. Basil Rathbone in A Tale of Two Cities 
  45. Donald Calthrop in Scrooge 
  46. Charles Grapewin in Alice Adams
  47. Roland Young in David Copperfield
  48. Henry Stephenson in Captain Blood
  49. Harpo Marx in A Night at the Opera
  50. Basil Rathbone in Captain Blood
  51. Robert Armstrong in G Men
  52. Thurston Howell in The Black Room 
  53. Fred Stone in Alice Adams
  54. Victory Jory in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  55. Lionel Atwill in Captain Blood
  56. Oscar Asche in Scrooge
  57. Gyles Isham in Anna Karenina
  58. Hugh Sinclair in Escape Me Never
  59. Robert Allen in The Black Room
  60. Griffith Jones in Escape Me Never
  61. John Beal in Les Miserables
  62. Richard Cromwell in The Lives of the Bengal Lancers
  63. Dick Powell in A Midsummer's Night Dream
  64. Mickey Rooney in A Midsummer's Night Dream
Next Year: 1991 Lead

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Results

5. Paul Muni in Black Fury- Muni overacts as usual. He has a moment or two of decent acting but most of the time he just yells in an a needlessly loud fashion.

Best Scene: I guess when he finds out his girlfriend has left him. 
4. Errol Flynn in Captain Blood- Aside from one scene of weakness Flynn gives a charming performance that effortlessly carries his film.

Best Scene: Any of the swashbuckling scenes.
3. Charles Laughton in Ruggles of Red Gap- Laughton gives a particularly modest performance but still gives a very strong performance that is very funny but also quite moving when it needs to be.

Best Scene: Ruggles recites the Gettysburg Address. 
2. Robert Donat in 39 Steps- Donat is great as the wrong man playing well the down to earth reactions but as well giving a very charming and quite humorous performance as well.

Best Scene: Hannay finds himself handcuffed to a woman who believes him to be a murderer.
1. Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein- This is actually a pretty strong year for lead actors, and I think the academy could have been bothered to nominate more than four actors for the Oscar. It was a close one but my runner up for the year goes to Boris Karloff  who finds new ground with the monster giving a oddly enough tender performance as the monster learns to talk, and attempts to relate to others.

Best Scene: The Monster meets his Bride.
Overall Rank:
  1. Victor McLaglen in The Informer
  2. Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein
  3. Robert Donat in 39 Steps 
  4. Charles Laughton in Ruggles of Red Gap
  5. Edward G. Robinson in The Whole Town's Talking
  6. Boris Karloff in The Black Room
  7. Clark Gable in Mutiny on the Bounty
  8. Ronald Colman in A Tale of Two Cities
  9. Fredric March in Les Miserables
  10. Claude Rains in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  11. Charles Laughton in Mutiny on the Bounty
  12. Robert Donat in The Ghost Goes West
  13. Fredric March in The Dark Angel
  14. James Cagney in G Men
  15. Peter Lorre in Crime and Punishment 
  16. Groucho Marx in Night At the Opera
  17. Errol Flynn in Captain Blood
  18. Fred Astaire in Top Hat 
  19. Franchot Tone in The Lives of the Bengal Lancers
  20. Charles Boyer in Private Worlds
  21. Bela Lugosi in The Raven 
  22. Peter Lorre in Mad Love
  23. Freddie Bartholomew in David Copperfield
  24. Fredric March in Anna Karenina
  25. Boris Karloff in The Raven 
  26. Fred MacMurray in Alice Adams
  27. Franchot Tone in Dangerous
  28. Colin Clive in Mad Love
  29. Frank Lawton in David Copperfield
  30. Seymour Hicks in Scrooge 
  31. Gary Cooper in The Lives of the Bengal Lancers
  32. Douglass Montgomery in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  33. Paul Muni in Black Fury  
  34. Henry Wilcoxon in The Crusades
  35. Chester Morris in Public Hero No. 1
Next Year: 1935 Supporting 

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Errol Flynn in Captain Blood

Errol Flynn did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Peter Blood in Captain Blood.

Captain Blood is a fairly enjoyable swashbuckler about a loyal British subject who is wrongly enslaved, but later manages to become a pirate.

Errol Flynn got his big break in Hollywood with this which was his first major role and it is easy to see how Flynn was able to propel himself to stardom with this performance. He plays Captain Blood as above else a dashing hero which he does very well. Flynn has a great deal of charm and natural charisma which is perfect for the role as it makes Blood instantly likable which he needs to be. He makes him an easy hero to like as well as to follow throughout his adventures through the film.

Flynn keeps his portrayal fairly light and he works best when he does so. His smile and his energy really do a great job of moving the story along in a breezy fashion. There are more serious moments to be had particularly early on when he is enslaved, but Flynn does not get too dark even with these moments. Still in the weightier moments Flynn is successful in being a serious when he needs to be even though it is obviously clear that he is best when he has a good time as he so easily transfers that good time he is having across screen that it is very easy for we as the audience to have a good time as well.

Flynn does have a single weak scene where he is most challenged when Blood becomes angry with his former owner played by Olivia de Havilland. He actually comes off as a little awkward in this scene and his charisma seriously takes a hit in the moment as it is clear that Flynn does not quite know how to handle the scene. Still it is not a downright terrible moment or anything, but it does suggest limitations to his ability as a performer as just does not appear comfortable in this scene where he does have to get a little deeper into the character of Captain Blood.

Luckily though Errol Flynn in every other scene other than the earlier scene referred to could not be more comfortable in the role. He gives a great leading role with a great deal of energy and really makes the movie an enjoyable ride thanks to his enjoyable performance. It is only clear that this is Flynn very first major leading role in his one scene where he does show a clear weakness in his portrayal thankfully that is only one scene and the rest of the time he could have been a leading man for several years considering the ease and effortless fashion in which he carries the rest of the film.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein

Boris Karloff did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Frankenstein's Monster in Bride of Frankenstein.

Bride Of Frankenstein is an entertaining sequel to the original Frankenstein.

Boris Karloff portrays the monster for the second time. At the beginning of the film it is a reprise of his first time as the monster, and the strength of that performance is once again apparent. I will not bother to really get into what works so well about his portrayal in terms of the physical portrayal of the monster since I will be reviewing that performance as well and in that case the focus will almost be entirely on his creation of the monster. In this case I will focus on what changes about his portrayal of the monster here which almost comes up really first when the monster just by chance happens upon a blind man the only person he does not scare away since the blind man cannot see him.

In the scene Boris Karloff shows a change in the monster as the monster meets a friend and even begins to learn to speak. Karloff is quite brilliant actually in his portrayal of the monster's change because honestly having the monster change could easily take away the danger or the mystery from monster but Karloff succeeds in only making this seem like a natural transition with the monster. His voice he uses is just perfect for the monster and it is particularly interesting considering the true soft spoken voice that Karloff actually had. Karloff is brilliant as he is actually quite moving in his portrayal of the monster as he tries to interact just like a normal human with the blind man.

Karloff is terrific in realizing the strange place that the monster reaches as he tries to interact with the old man, but is only troubled once again when hunters arrive. Karloff offers a fascinating dynamic between the monster still being the monster, yet trying to be a man. Karloff's face is particularly expressive here and it is amazing the way he change from that of the friendly giant to that of the monster so quickly yet internally naturally. Karloff manages to realize the state of the monster that is a confused state the monster itself is not aware of what it is, and Karloff makes the monster the hodgepodge emotions just like how he is made of a hodgepodge of parts.

His greatest moment has to be what is the greatest moment in the film when the monster meets his bride (Elsa Lancaster). Karloff successfully makes the moment quite heartbreaking as he portrays the monster's warm attempt to talk to his bride only to be turned down quickly by her. Karloff is incredible in the scene because when the monster is rejected it is not only anger he brings out in the monster, but as well a deep sadness over being hated by what was suppose to love. This is a great performance by Karloff that instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer idea of the monster but instead makes the monster his own through his strangely enough human portrayal of the character.

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Charles Laughton in Ruggles of Red Gap

Charles Laughton did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Marmaduke Ruggles in Ruggles of Red Gap.

Ruggles of Red Gap is an enjoyable film about a butler who learns about freedoms due to his services being traded to fulfill a gambling debt.

Charles Laughton had a banner year for 1935 appearing in two best picture nominees Les Miserables, and this film as well as best picture winner Mutiny on the Bounty. In Les Miserables and Mutiny he portrayed villains but this film he portrays the lead protagonist of the film. This performance is very different from most of his characters who tend to be flamboyant larger than life characters who tend to be rather brazen in their manner. Charles Laughton in this film as the butler Ruggles plays a rather meek and modest character. Ruggles early on in the picture actually says very little other than proper butler things to say.

Laughton knows how to make his presence known well staying appropriately meek, and he has a lot of fun with his character's manner in which he sticks to procedure. Laughton is quite amusing as he shows Ruggles attempt to keep proper while encouraged to be anything but by his new American employer. A particularly amusing early on is Ruggles rather poor attempt to smile when encouraged to do so by the American, and Laughton's portrayal of Ruggles's attempt is just hilarious. In the early half Laughton stays lightly comedic and enjoyably so as Ruggles is forced by the American to slowly lose some of his butler mannerisms, but Laughton is very funny as he portrays Ruggles in between styles.

Laughton does stay rather modest in his portrayal but handles the transition of Ruggles very well. He eases into properly as Ruggles only slowly loses his mentalities and to a certain degree never fully loses his old habits. This is a particularly charming performance by Charles Laughton, and he makes Ruggles really likable through the genuine fashion in which he portrays Ruggles. When Ruggles discovers the new joys in place to having more freedom, and begins enjoying himself Laughton handles it all very honestly which is interesting as he still manages to be humorous in the transition at the same time. He combines these conflicting elements actually quite well even as his portrayal moves more toward the dramatic at the end. 

Laughton handles the dramatic finale of his role particularly well as he makes Ruggles fully become his own man. He does it though simply that is fitting for Ruggles as he passionately reveals that he truly does care for his own freedom in a particularly powerful scene where he recites the Gettysburg address. He makes these final scenes moving as he plays the modest Ruggles stand up for himself. He does this so well because although finally Ruggles completely stands out on his own it is still done in an appropriately modest fashion that fits the character he has established from the beginning, and the final change has been earned by his performance through the film. This is a very strong performance by Charles Laughton very low key for him yet he still manages to stick out through humorous and honest portrayal that I actually prefer over his Oscar nominated work from 1935.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Robert Donat in 39 Steps

Robert Donat did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Richard Hannay in 39 Steps.

39 Steps is an enjoyable thriller about a man who by chance gets involved with espionage involving a ring of foreign agents trying to get some sort of information out of the country.

Robert Donat here plays the Alfred Hitchcock staple of the wrong man. The wrong man being the man who only by sheer bad luck not only gets into the central situation but also finds himself wanted for the crimes that were caused by the villain. Donat plays the wrong man as just an average fellow who happens to be in the wrong place that leads him into the sort of trouble he gets into. Early on in the film when he first hears of the plot and later that he has been framed for the murder of the person who have him that information Donat is very good at acting just like how just about anyone would in the sitauton which is being very much taken aback, and very confused.

Robert Donat here is being the leading man in the most traditional sense of the word. He is the man we follow through the plot and we have to go along with him through the various twist and turns that come up along the way. Donat is very good in allowing on in through two way. He gives the appropriate reactions to the various events that take place and gives the right down to earth approach that allows us to go right along with. Also importantly Donat gives a very charming portrayal of Hannay. He is fun just to follow through his troublesome affair and he keeps the right sort of the tone for the film with his portrayal.

Donat has some great lighter moments in the film such as when he tries to get through a political rally speech by winging it making for a very entertaining moment. He also is great in his scenes with woman Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) who he also brings in on the mystery and the two end up handcuffed together. Again Donat has a great deal of fun in their scenes together as he shows Richard trying to keep her in control as well as tries to convince her that he is not a murderer. Donat brings the best out of these scenes playing the part with a great deal wit, and terrific comedic timing. Importantly he never overplays his hand in this regard though, and keeps the proper thriller tone intact.

This is just a great leading man performance by Robert Donat and the perfect type of performance to lead a thriller of this sort. He is able to play the central role as the ordinary man in the extraordinary situation incredibly well. He does both properly reflect the problems his character faces so we can properly emphasize with him throughout the adventure, but at the same time he does manage to just have his performance enjoyable all on its own as well through his well placed humorous moments. Donat just makes for a charismatic hero that allows this to be a thriller that is a very easy one to watch go through its course.

Alternate Best Actor 1935: Paul Muni in Black Fury

Paul Muni did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite apparently receiving the second most votes due to write ins, for portraying Joe Radek in Black Fury.

Black Fury is an okay although fairly unremarkable film about the conflict between a union of coal miners and the head bosses who hire detectives to break up the strike.

Paul Muni plays Joe Radek a miner who is rather a simpleton who ends up being used by a false member of the Union to encourage the Union to become divided. Paul Muni is not a favorite actor of mine and the reason I chose to review him here is due to the fact that he came second to Victor McLaglen in votes for the leading Oscar win. Muni once again proves himself to be the overacting sort by doing a big broad accent for the role. Now this alone would not be so bad but for most of the film he just basically yells every line seemingly to suggest the stupidity of the character, but he frankly takes it a bit far so his portrayal is rather dull.

Muni pretty much stays on the same note except occasionally he does what bothers me so much about Paul Muni as an actor which is actually act well. Muni troubles me because there is a good actor there waiting to get out yet my experience with him as an actor has suggested he only rarely allows this good actor come out for a whole performance. In this case the good actor comes out just a few times mostly in just short silent reactions such as in a scene where Joe hears that his girlfriend has left him. In that scene Muni is pretty good suggesting the internal heartbreak in his character without going on and on about it like he does in almost every other scene in the film.

Muni has a short moment here or there of strength that really brings out the emotions of the scenes through the use of subtly but for the most part he just hams it up to an unnecessary extent. Muni is indeed playing a character who is suppose to be stupid, but if that was the main feature Muni was aiming for he honestly overdoes even that. Muni again shows that if he showed some restraint in his performance that he could have given a good performance on a whole, but as it is his overacting comes off as annoying after awhile. More than anything else it seems like Muni just needed a director to reign in his performance, but that is not the case here.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1935

And the Nominees Were Not:

Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein

Paul Muni in Black Fury

Robert Donat in 39 Steps

Charles Laughton in Ruggles of Red Gap

Errol Flynn in Captain Blood

Best Bond: Results

6. Roger Moore in Live and Let Die- Moore sits as the worst Bond due to his excessively light approach that makes his Bond seem frankly disinterested at times. He tries to just be charming and funny but the problem he does not even do that all that well.
5. George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service- Moore has more screen presence than George Lazenby but I do prefer Lazenby because he actually seems into the action scenes and he is pretty good in his last scene. As a whole though his Bond is underwhelming just by how indistinct his approach is to the character.
4. Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye- Brosnan gives a slick and suave approach to Bond similar to that of Connery. He does not reach the heights of Connery but he gives nice performance as Bond that balances the serious and humorous elements of his character well.
3. Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights- Although Brosnan is more consistent I prefer Dalton for dealing with the inconsistent tone of his picture and actually delivering well on his darker approach to Bond when there is a scene that actually allows him to do it. I would love to see Dalton in a bleak picture about espionage.
2. Daniel Craig in Casino Royale- Craig gives an excellent portrayal of Bond that shows a much more vulnerable and less experienced Bond. Unlike Dalton, who went alone, he and the film go together to effectively explore a darker place for the character.
1. Sean Connery in From Russia in Love-Good Prediction RatedRStar. My favorite Bond performance goes to Sean Connery in this film. He took on a role that was already big shoes to fill and instead of just fulfilling the role he instead made the role his own. He made him the iconic character he has become through his charming, suave, and charismatic portrayal that could even go darker when necessary. He simply made Bond.
I might do something like this again down the road if I can think of something good

Overall Rank:
  1. Sean Connery in From Russia With Love
  2. Daniel Craig in Casino Royale
  3. Sean Connery in Dr. No
  4. Sean Connery in Goldfinger
  5. Daniel Craig in Skyfall
  6. Daniel Craig in Quantum Of Solace
  7. Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights
  8. Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye
  9. Timothy Dalton in License to Kill
  10. Sean Connery in Thunderball
  11. Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice
  12. Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies
  13. Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever
  14. Pierce Brosnan in The World is Not Enough
  15. Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day
  16. George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  17. Roger Moore
Next Year:  1935

Best Bond: Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Daniel Craig became the sixth man to play James Bond in Casino Royale and actually was nominated for a Bafta.

Casino Royale is one of the very best Bond films and possibly my favorite of them all.

Well here we are with the sixth and current Bond actor Daniel Craig. Pierce Brosnan went on for four films and something strange happened with his films. Although GoldenEye managed to find a proper tone for the series again it was lost by the end of Brosnan's run with Die Another Day where Bond spent some time driving around in an invisible car it became so silly even Roger Moore thought it went too far. Anyway there was a four year hiatus between that film and this one and again there was a great deal of retooling that occurred, an even greater retooling than even between License to Kill and GoldenEye.

In the old Bond films the changing actor was never a fresh start for Bond. For example in License to Kill with Timothy Dalton it mentions Bond's marriage that went all the way back to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and in GoldenEye Bond mentions the old M suggesting that he worked with the M found in the previous films. He apparently was the same character through all even though that really did not make sense for the performances of the Bonds which could be quite different. This film though makes it clear that this is not the same Bond as it takes place in present day yet this Bond at the very beginning of the film is just completing his first task as a 00 agent.

Daniel Craig like Pierce Brosnan takes an approach to Bond similar to another actor in the role. His approach being closest to that of Timothy Dalton's Bond the emphasized the government killer aspect of the character. Like Brosnan who did not just copy or rip off Connery, Craig takes on a similar style but never tries to replicate what Dalton did in the role. Craig is quite helped in his task as a darker Bond by the fact that the film is taking this approach whereas Timothy Dalton seemed to be trying to take Bond to different places well the film wanted him to stay put in the Roger Moore era. Craig's Bond is not a burnt out Bond that was Dalton's instead his is one of youthful inexperience.

Craig plays Bond as again a man with a great deal of confidence but this confidence is different from every other Bond. Craig actually plays it to a certain degree as overconfidence. To a certain extent he makes this Bond a Bond who acts the part of the perfect super spy even though he might not be that super spy just yet. Now Craig is not all bluster in his performance by any means. He establishes well a quiet intelligence in his characterization of Bond, and where the overconfidence lies quite interestingly in his manner of being a dispassionate killer while being a suave man on the outside. It is quite a fascinating dynamic Craig makes which is that of an efficient spy but not a perfect man by any means.

Early on in the film Craig plays Bond very coldly as he goes about his mission and accentuates the hit man. Craig is very effective taking this approach particularly in the early scenes as he goes about his mission efficiently and brutally. Craig finds just the right tone not going too far, yet going pretty far with the intensity of his portrayal of Bond. It is an interesting take on the character as we see Bond as brutal agent he is when he goes dealing with a threat by quickly moving, deciphering, killing and even quickly seducing to deal with what he has. He makes this Bond absolutely believable and it excellent the way he gets across the cold fashion that Bond uses to complete his mission.

Craig plays his action scenes differently from every other actor in the Bond role. Craig plays them as a fight to the death, and even infuses more of the violence of the situation. When his Bond kills him you see the killer in his eyes as he sticks the knife in. What I find quite incredible about his Bond though is even with this approach which he does quite intensely he does not fail to bring in the lighter quality should have. Yes it is far more muted here than most and his quips are sort of there but never in the way they were in the previous films not even the way the quips were in GoldenEye. Craig still manages to bring so low key humor and a certain degree of joy to the proceedings to still make him Bond.

The key to his Bond is his vulnerability in this one as he is not only poisoned close to death, but as well almost tortured to death. Craig is quite excellent though because he manages to go to these darker points of the film while without compromising the nature of Bond as a character. The crux of this film is that his Bond has quite the learning experience as he ends up falling in love with the film's bond girl Vesper Lynn. Craig is terrific in portraying Bond losing his the dispassionate quality in Bond in his scenes with her, but the great thing about this performance at the end is he goes back to the proper agent by the end of it. Craig is terrific though because he does not show him just go back to the same man at the end but subtly suggests Bond as now to a pain from his troubled experience.

Daniel Craig is a terrific Bond and my personal favorite scene of his has to be when he is tortured by Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). He and Mikkelsen are outstanding in their scene together as they make it a particularly brutal scene yet strangely comic when Bond attempts to laugh off the pain, or when Le Chiffre sees that Bond really won't give him the information he wants, both Craig's and Mikkelsen's reaction in this scene are just brilliant. Craig has a great scenes throughout the film and he delivers an original and memorable performance as James Bond. Craig is of course the current Bond and has been consistent through his three films so far. It will be interesting to see if Daniel Craig can deliver a total of five times as Bond.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Best Bond: Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan became the fifth man to portray James Bond in GoldenEye.

GoldenEye is an entertaining Bond film with some fairly memorable villains, and action set pieces.

There was several years between Timothy Dalton's second and Brosnan's first. The time delay was probably a good thing as this film now has a tone that feels right for Bond unlike The Living Daylights and especially the previous License to Kill which failed to find a consistent tone leaving Timothy Dalton moving in every direction to meet the demands of the part which he did quite well considering the difficult situation. Pierce Brosnan has much to benefit from the fact that GoldenEye does find a consistent tone for Bond, therefore allowing Brosnan to make an entirely consistent Bond.

Brosnan, like the actor I will be getting to next, actually goes for covering Bond in a way to the manner a previous Bond handled him. Brosnan forgets the darkness Dalton tried to examine for the most part, and goes instead to opt for an approach similar to Sean Connery. What this means is he takes Bond as a much lighter character on the whole although never nearly as light as Roger Moore, but darker when needs to be although never as dark as Dalton was. This means the thing Brosnan aims at first being a charming Bond, but still a Bond with a mission to do unlike Roger Moore who seemed frankly disinterested at times. 

Brosnan I should specifically say does not copy Connery in any way in terms of even the manner of charm he uses, or the fashion in which he brings weight to the performance, but I would put these two in the same style of Bond. Brosnan's task is a bit different this being a 90's action movie instead of a 60's action movie. This means there are less diversions really and the action is louder and the danger tends to be more oppressive in a certain way where in the 60's Bond there was usually some breathing room along the way. Here Brosnan is almost always on the move, or if he is not the story is doing very much the same around him.

As the suave charmer Brosnan is properly suave and charming. He knows how to deliver the lines of "Bond, James Bond", "Shaken not Stirred" and the quips he has throughout the film although these are far less frequent here than they were present the past films. Brosnan still has to say them on occasion but there are not the stream of them like there was before, making it so he actually has less of challenge to keep them having an impact throughout since he just does not have that many to say.  Brosnan though handles the lighter qualities well, and while doing keeps it within Bond still going about his task, the best example is when he deals with a Russian mobster and Brosnan is playful, humorous yet he still shows that Bond is still keeping his mission in mind.

Brosnan does a good job of handling the action scenes. He makes them believable, and is able to bring the wit needed for Bond well still creating that illusion of threat needed. Brosnan's Bond treads through serious situations but there is only one major personal issue that his Bond faces which is that the main villain is a former fellow agent and friend. There are not too many scenes that linger on Bond's feelings toward this in fact Brosnan pretty much has to express his feelings about it almost entirely in his reactions, but even with these limitations Brosnan does handle them well. He does not have Bond lose his resolve at all but he does handle in a satisfying fashion of Bond more of being surprised and disappointed with his friend more than anything else.

In a way this is the mainstream streamlined Bond by Brosnan is in the vein of Connery. I will say he never quite reaches the heights of Connery's best work as Bond, but his portrayal of Bond is a good one. He leads the film well and although he does not get all that deep with the character he does find his own way to play Bond that harkens back to Connery without ever copying him. Brosnan went on to play Bond three more times and the quality of the films and to a lesser degree Brosnan's performance went down in quality as well, although he never became bad in the role, this film is by far his highlight as Bond. Brosnan is not the best Bond but he is a good Bond that handled the role effectively in a fashion fitting for his set of films.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Best Bond: Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton was the fourth man to portray James Bond in The Living Daylights.

I actually liked the Living Daylights more than I expected to. The villains are not particularly remarkable, and the moments that are pure 80's sting in the wrong way, but I still found fairly entertaining and intriguing thanks to something I will get to in the review. The reasons my expectations ran low came from my feelings toward Dalton's second outing as Bond License to Kill. License to Kill I thought was a particularly bizarre experience as it would have down right brutal violence mixed in with silliness. For example it goes from a scene of Benicio Del Toro being ground up by metal grinders, far too graphically for a Bond film, but then soon afterwards Bond is chasing the bad guys by driving a truck on only one set of wheels which just makes it a bizarre cluster of tones that do not mold together well. The Living Daylights does not fully avoid this, as I will get to, but it certainly does a better job of it on a whole.

Timothy Dalton, who potentially could be one of my favorite actors if casting directors did not seem to hate him so much, actually was long considered for Bond going all the way back to 1969 for On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Dalton turned down the role feeling he was too young then, and he was probably right considering how youthful he looked in the Lion in Winter just a year before. Dalton continued to miss the part several more time until this film, although the funny thing was he would actually have lost it in favor of future Bond Pierce Brosnan if Brosnan's show Remington Steele was actually canceled as it appeared it was going to be.

Dalton though finally managed to secure the part officially ending the reign of Roger Moore as Bond whose films just got sillier and sillier as they went along and the only thing that changed about Moore as Bond was the amount of wrinkles he had in the role. Dalton, although obviously would be different than Moore to begin with, decided that he was going to take a wholly different approach from all previous Bonds and especially from Moore who always went for the lighter route when it came to Bond as a character. Dalton, a fan of the novels, decided to find the dark truth of the character who when you go right down to it is a killer for the government.

Because I really like this portrayal I should say what I don't like about it first. The Living Daylights did not seem to revise its script all that much for Dalton's take on Bond. In fact I gotta say this seems to be a case where the actor seems to be doing all the heavy lifting with little help from the actual film. One big reason for this is in a few cases it has him doing some things that seem far more fitting of the Moore Bond such as when Bond cares to spend more time looking at a beautiful cellist than staying on task, or his scenes with Miss Moneypenny. Dalton is not bad in these scenes and he does his very best to do them with some charm but they don't really fit in with the rest of his characterization.

Dalton's characterization of Bond really goes for the throat, and tries to get as deep as he can into the character even when the film does not wish to. It is quite remarkable considering Dalton does this all just as the plot goes along its way early leaving any time for character moments. Early in the film Dalton portrays Bond as a slick and suave spy although really downplayed and in very different fashion from Sean Connery but still effective in his own way. He is best at portraying Bond's conviction to his plans and his Bond shows a particular devotion in his mission, except of course in those poorly written moments of course. Dalton effortlessly conveys an intelligence in Bond that reflects a history of his Bond as man long at the espionage game.

This Bond though played by Dalton is still written with plenty of quips in mind, but Dalton actually meets these requirements fairly well through his much more unassuming charm that probably would be more realistic for someone in his profession. Dalton makes it work by firstly dishing out the quips swiftly and smoothly without giving too much emphasis to them, and as well he dials up and down brilliantly in the role. What I mean by that is he is very good in representing the action of a situation. Where it seems more extreme and frankly dark Dalton keep is serious pretty much the entire time. When the situation calls for a lighter approach he knows how to dial down the seriousness to the right degree, and he does an admirable job even though these moments are clearly opposed to what he wants to do with Bond.

His overarching portrayal of Bond that are the most true to his way is that of Bond as a spy who has seen a few too many missions and double crosses that leave him at least some what exasperated. Dalton is very good in showing Bond as a man much more on an edge and even suggests a bit of the John le Carre type spy at times that is quite effective. He portrays the internal struggle of the spy in a remarkable fashion considering he basically does it in the margins. He suggests a Bond who really could go over the edge from this life at one time, and my favorite moments are when he brings forward the hardships of the life.

My favorite scene of his performance has to be after one of his fellow operatives is killed. Dalton is brilliant as he really digs deep into the emotional pain of this and even possibly shows that this is something building up in Bond as it probably something he has seen before. The scene where he interrogates the Russian General after this is just incredible with the amount of intensity that he combines Bond's anger over the death of his ally, the instability in him of not knowing exactly what is going on, and even a certain sadness in regards to it being just a part of the job. It is a terrific scene that exemplifies exactly what Dalton gets right in the part which is making Bond into a man who is dealing with very stressful situations, and his portrayal honestly kept me interested in the film.

Throughout the film even when it is not to the main point Dalton handles it with precision and earnestness. He is great in the action scenes believable and appropriately smooth and brutal in proper measure. I have to say an interesting part of his performance is Bond's relationship with the film's Bond girl Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo), its interesting because Dalton is so genuine he suggests that Bond is entirely in love with her. This works for how the film goes about quite well, it might not be perfectly fitting as the Bond for the film series, but Dalton's method does work for this film as the conclusion of the film in particular suggests their relationship should be this way. I really like Dalton's take on Bond even though he has to fend off the weaknesses of the script. I believe that if he had say From Russia with Love at his disposal or Casino Royale he possibly could have been the very best Bond. As it is I still found his attempt to dig deeper in Bond quite admirable especially since he seemed almost to be doing it all on his own volition.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Best Bond: Roger Moore in Live and Let Die

Roger Moore became the third man to portray James Bond in Live and Let Die.

Live and Let Die is not a particularly good Bond film. Although Yaphet Kotto is a little bit of fun, and there are some cool moments, like the murderous funeral procession, on a whole the film is rather lackluster. Its attempts in genre bending in almost blacksploitation, and broad comedy involving a hillbilly sheriff just seem odd. The worst part though in Bond terms is that the film just sort of peters out at the end.

Where On Her Majesty's Secret Service took precautions in revealing the change of actor as Bond even having George Lazenby break the fourth wall at the end of his first scene, Roger Moore just shows up as Bond there is not any pomp or circumstance involving this. He just is Bond and so the film goes off with that. Where George Lazenby never really gripped Bond in any sort of way as a character, Roger Moore on the other hand does go about taking on a specific approach as James Bond. His take on Bond is to avoid really any of that darker side that suggests the killer side of the spy game instead focuses on being Bond as just the suave spy.

Moore goes for being as light weight a Bond as possible which just goes for pretty much staying a the tone of the charming Bond who likes to say his quips. Well this approach lies a big problem which is Moore particular attempt at being charismatic. Although Moore does have screen presence, way more than Lazenby, he never has the type of charm that Connery brought to the role so naturally. Where Connery avoided being alienating in his portrayal Moore at times seems to trying for it through his smug approach to Bond. When he shows Bond enjoying himself over his defeat of a baddie or saying a quip he seems laughing entirely to himself without really letting the audience in as Connery did so well.

Moore stays so firm in his portrayal of taking everything in such a light fashion that comes off quite odd whenever he is required to do anything else really. For example when Bond is told he is going to be killed he barely reacts at all, and not in a way like he is too cool to be phased by it either, therefore really making seem like there is no threat in the situation. His Bond never seems like he could die because his performance is so excessively self assured that of course he will get out of every situation alive. This really does not work at all for Bond. Of course Bond is going to live, its James Bond after all, but a key to films like this is to at least create an illusion that he could die something Connery did do, but Moore doesn't even try.

Another moment I found almost hilarious due to Moore's way of portraying it is when he interrogates a false agent by saying basically "Well I'll just have to kill you" he is so nonchalant about the thing it comes of as unintentionally funny. There is no emphasis in his performance he just goes about every scene in that same manner, and the problem is he does not even do the lighter moments that well. He again must make the quips and in this regard he is no match for Connery. He is better at it than Lazenby to a certain degree as at least it seems like he knows why he is saying it, but he is a far cry from Connery which is serious problem as this aspect of Bond is where Moore seems the most at home.

The one aspect where I did feel George Lazenby was decent as Bond was the physical nature of the role. This is actually the worst part of Moore's portrayal of Bond. For a lack of a better way to describe it Moore just never seems particularly into the action. He just kind of fights, and is there but he never seems to really become part of it as Bond really should. He always seems stiff even in the fights, and he just never seems to be fighting for his life in any way. This really makes it so many of the action scenes do not come to life because the man in the center seems frankly disinterested at times. Honestly his inability in these scenes really leave me to question why he continued to go on as Bond since he is not even a good action hero.

Moore continued to be Bond for a record six more films portraying Bond the most times out of any actor (Connery does tie though if you count the non EON Never Say Never Again). I suppose maybe it was easy to make films around him since he plays basically every scene the same way whether it is romantic, espionage, or action related. Maybe the fact that he just stays the same is what allowed the filmmakers to say you know what Bond needs to do, go into space, fight an invincible man with giant metal teeth, and warn everyone about a nuclear bomb with clown make up on. His Bond certainly was consistent, but the problem was he only tried for that light comedic touch in his performances. The problem for is he doesn't even do this particularly well. Yes Moore did take a stand with the character, unlike his predecessor Lazenby, but it was the wrong stand to take.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Best Bond: George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

George Lazenby was the second man to play James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a great Bond film that is very entertaining and thrilling throughout, and I would say the only thing missing in this one is a devoted Sean Connery in the lead role.

Instead we get George Lazenby a male model who decided that he could replace Connery by dressing up as Bond, and even getting a suit Connery ordered but never picked up. He did not get the job through his acting prowess but instead through his physical abilities. Where each of the actors after Connery each take a different approach in trying to get down to the character of Bond in their own way Lazenby really doesn't. Lazenby's approach, if he really even has one, is to be as unassuming as possible in the role. There is not any method or insight to Bond as a character in his portrayal he basically just plays him as basically just a very standard guy who happens to be a spy rather than super spy James Bond.

The weakest aspect of Lazenby's performance comes from the moments that instantly harken back to Connery's portrayal. This being any scene that requires him to be charming or charismatic. Lazenby just doesn't have in this regard. He comes off as bland more than anything else, and just all together undistinguished something that Bond should not be. A very problematic part of his performance has to be his delivery of the quips. No matter the quality of the quips they all land very poorly and seem awkward because Lazenby's delivery is so flat. There is not anything sly or special about him that really would allow him to make such comments in such a fashion.

He never is convincing as the charmer that Bond should be. His incredible success with women can only be attested to his look with this Bond because the charisma just isn't there. He just never becomes the Bond who owns the screen as Connery had, he's on the screen but most of the time you could care less that he is. The worst parts of his performance are when his acting is tested. One big example of this is when he confronts chief baddie Blofeld played by Telly Savalas. Where Connery went toe to toe with his villains, even with the great Robert Shaw, Lazenby is absolutely wiped away by Savalas in their scenes together, and Savalas is not anywhere near as good as Shaw was.

I think a big testament to his lack of acting ability comes in a long sequence where Bond pretends to be a proper and prim British genealogist and he gets his voice dubbed over the entire time. I mean Robert Shaw switched from that sort of voice back to his intense voice with such ease in From Russia With Love, I guess they should have cast him as Bond (although that might have caused my head to explode by its level of awesomeness). The fact that there was such dubbing for such a long period of time in the film shows that acting was secondary for his Bond, which unfortunately was the wrong idea.

Three scenes stress his acting as Bond here that possibly he could have capitalized on. One he roughly interrogates a woman, but his manner is so soft that his threat to her seems hardly substantial. Another is where M questions his abilities. Lazenby is so unremarkable and even somewhat whiney in Bond's reaction that certainly does not fit Bond who is suppose to be the best spy in the world. Then there is his final scene, which actually handles pretty effectively. He does do it just through the simplicity of his portrayal but he does succeed in making the end of the film pretty moving.

I have been largely negative about his portrayal, but I would not say he is terrible in the role though. Firstly he does end on a high note as I have already mentioned. He is also reasonably fine in the scenes where he does no talking and just sort of interacts with the action scenes. His reactions are fairly astute and believable enough in these the sell them properly. He is not great or anything close to it but in a purely physical fashion he succeeds well enough. Of course this feeds into the idea that he could be just a very average spy but not the one and only James Bond.

He just never has what it takes to truly be James Bond. Lazenby is a few sizes too small to fill Connery's shoes in both natural charisma and acting ability. He doesn't stand out even as a failed Bond due to his inability to even take a stand on Bond as a character. Lazenby only was Bond for one film stemming from an ego he quickly gained as well as becoming apparently a hippie of sorts. His performance, despite having a few good points, never really made it so he really became Bond so it is easy to see why he went on to be the forgotten Bond. Is he the worst Bond though? Well let's keep going shall we.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Best Bond: Sean Connery in From Russia With Love

Sean Connery was the first person to portray James Bond in a film the first being Dr. No which was soon followed by From Russia With Love.

From Russia With Love is a very enjoyable spy thriller and one of best entries in the Bond series. It has dated elements, but it is a very entertaining ride.

Connery first appearance was indeed in Dr. No, but I decided instead to review him for this film as this film asks him a little more to do well still showing the type of qualities he brings to the role of Bond. Connery is the very first to portray Bond therefore having quite the challenge in finding exactly how to portray the spy. There was the earlier portrayal of Bond by Barry Nelson in a television program that did not serve the character very well giving a rather undistinguished performance, what really would not give Connery any basis to go on. Connery instead had to go all or nothing in his portrayal as James Bond as it was his star making role too.

The most important facet of Connery portrayal of Bond in all of his films is his charisma. Connery was charming fellow in his previous lesser known efforts like Darby O'Gill and the Little People, but as James Bond he goes to a whole new level Bond. Connery is just owns the screen as Bond he has so much presence as Bond that Connery made it pretty obvious that he was a star. He amps it up even more as Bond and it is something particularly special to watch all on its own. Connery also makes it an essential facet to James Bond. As an operative he is also working this charm, and makes his way through many situations because of it. This is something Connery makes look absolutely effortlessly which is perfect for Bond.

Connery does something special as Bond which is he portrays a character who is very much full of himself, yet Connery never comes off as pompous in the role. Instead despite not striving for so he makes Bond immensely likable in perhaps his upfront unabashed manner. Yes his Bond knows he is great yet Connery makes his Bond worthy of the greatness. Well he is that great there isn't any effort in bringing out this assurance in Bond, Connery just meets with such a particular style that he meets that quality one definitely wants in the character. He never alienates the audience despite being someone they would never be or never even meet. It is the cliched line, but Connery honestly does make Bond the man you want to be.

Connery is just perfectly slick and suave as Bond. Everything he does has such a energy and realizes the character so brilliantly. Connery just is Bond and goes along the film so effectively so. There are so many ways the Bond could falter so easily without Connery in the lead, but he doesn't because of Connery strength in the role. For example there are the quips that Bond makes throughout the film some are quite terrific in their simplicity such as after facing off against Red Grant "You Won't Be Needing this Old Man", but than some are not nearly as good such as "Yes She's Had Her Kicks". Connery delivery each is so good that even when the line is not particularly good they don't fall flat as they would have in lesser hands.

Now these earlier Bonds are fairly breezy in tone and Connery fits that quite well throughout offering the right humor to the proceedings when needed. Importantly though, particularly in From Russia With Love, when there is a more serious moment required he can bring that weight when necessary. Connery is great in the way he can switch between the natures of the role without there being a disconnection. He play so well in the lighter fashion for most of the film. When there is a more dramatic moment though such as when Bond faces off against Red Grant who is played by Robert Shaw so he easily could have just the film stolen him by the great Shaw, but Connery holds his own and meets the demands of the scene incredibly well.

I like Connery's performance in From Russia in Love the most because he does give the hints of the darker nature of the spy method in this portrayal as Bond. This mostly has to do with his treatment of the film's bond girl Tatiana Romanova. He of course romances here but Connery actually is quite good in showing that this really is just part of Bond's job, and although he might as well enjoy it it isn't love he has. This is evidenced by the scene where he roughly interrogates here as well as when there on the run and he rather coldly tells her that he will leave her behind if she does not get moving. Connery portrays this coldness well as perhaps even the true nature of Bond when it comes to the tough decisions, and he is terrific in showing this more lowly nature effectively.

Connery had some tough shoes to fill in the role of Bond just by the way the character was in the novels. Connery though did not fill the shoes instead he threw them away and made Bond his shoes. He absolutely made the part his own and could not be better Bond in this film as well in Dr. No and Goldfinger. Also through the brief but important moments showing the more shadowier nature of the game, suggests that he very well could have taken Bond to different places if it had been required of him. I pondered the rating for this film in particular and thought 4.5, but since he is perfect the Bond in this film with this film being his greatest challenge as the character I will not hesitate in my rating. It is true his Bond quality went down in the later films as he clearly became tired of the series, but going by his very best in the role he set the standard all actors who would take the role in the future would have to live up to.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Best Bond

And the 007's Were:

Sean Connery in From Russia With Love

George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Roger Moore in Live and Let Die

Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights

Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Well I thought I would have some fun and review all the actors who have played James Bond in a serious film. Also I thought I might as well do it since it will open spots up for other actors in 63, and 2006 at least. For these six the prediction contest is still in place.

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1949: Results

5. Kirk Douglas in A Letter To Three Wives- Douglas is effective as usual with his natural charm and intensity. His role though is rather limited, and he lacks that needed chemistry with his on screen wife.

Best Scene: George dissects radio advertisements. 
4. Edmond O'Brien in White Heat- O'Brien's role is overshadowed by Cagney's but he serves his part well as the man of two faces one a loyal gangster and the other a humane face within all the insanity.

Best Scene: Fallon is found out. 
3. Claude Rains in The Passionate Friends- Rains is terrific here taking a thankless role and with it stealing the entire film through his genuine portrayal.

Best Scene: Howard stops Mary's suicide attempt. 
2. Orson Welles in The Third Man- Welles appearance in this film is brief yet he makes a tremendous impact through very memorable portrayal of the slick yet slimy Harry Lime.

Best Scene: Lime's intro.
1. Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets- Good Prediction RatedRStar, George Woolf, and Michael Patison. This was a very close choice between Welles and Guinness as there roles are very different. Where Welles plays one short role brilliantly, Guinness portrays eight different roles. Guinness succeeds incredibly in his roles as he manages to be both visible and invisible at the same time. He does something individual and special for each character leaving a very memorable impression.

Best Scene: The Parson indulges in a drink. 

Overall Rank:
  1. Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets
  2. Orson Welles in The Third Man
  3. Ralph Richardson in The Heiress
  4. Claude Rains in The Passionate Friends
  5. James Mason in The Reckless Moment
  6. Trevor Howard in The Third Man
  7. Juano Hernandez in Intruder in the Dust
  8. Edmond O'Brien in White Heat
  9. James Whitmore in Battleground
  10. Arthur Kennedy in Champion 
  11. Dan Duryea in Criss Cross
  12. Kirk Douglas in A Letter To Three Wives
  13. Bing Crosby in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 
  14. David Wayne in Adam's Rib
  15. Robert Keith in My Foolish Heart
  16. Michael Gough in The Small Back Room 
  17. Tom Ewell in Adam's Rib
  18. William Bendix in The Big Steal
  19. Takashi Shimura in The Quiet Duel
  20. Ricardo Montalban in Battleground 
  21. Jack Hawkins in The Small Back Room
  22. Bernard Lee in The Third Man
  23. Victor McLaglen in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  24. Paul Horbiger in The Third Man
  25. Isao Kimura in Stray Dog 
  26. Ernest Deutsch in The Third Man
  27. Gen Shimizu in Stray Dog  
  28. Ronald Howard in The Queen of Spades
  29. Shepperd Strudwick in All the King's Men 
  30. Shemp Howard in Africa Screams 
  31. Geoffrey Keen in The Small Back Room
  32. Arthur Shields in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  33. Erich Ponto in The Third Man
  34. Paul Douglas in A Letter to Three Wives 
  35. Hugh Marlowe in Come to the Stable 
  36. John Qualen in The Big Steal
  37. Porter Hall in Intruder in the Dust 
  38. Stephen McNally in Criss Cross
  39. Kenjiro Uemura in The Quiet Duel
  40. Ben Johnson in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  41. Siegfried Breuer in The Third Man
  42. Steven Cochran in White Heat
  43. Fred Clark in White Heat 
  44. Anthony Dawson in The Queen of Spades 
  45. Michael Medwin in The Queen of Spades
  46. Luther Adler in House of Strangers
  47. Paul Stewart in Champion 
  48. Paul Valentine in House of Strangers
  49. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in House of Strangers
  50. Roy Roberts in The Reckless Moment
  51. Dean Jagger in Twelve O'Clock High
  52. John Agar in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  53. Harry Carey Jr. in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 
  54. Kent Smith in My Foolish Heart
  55. John Agar in Sands of Iwo Jima
  56. John Derek in All the King's Men
  57. Raymond Greenleaf in All the King's Men
  58. Jules Munshin in On the Town
  59. Jeffrey Lynn in A Letter to Three Wives
Next Year: Either 1935 or a special set of nominees. I haven't decided yet.