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Small Parts, Memorable Performances

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 07:07 am
Sometimes a small part is made larger by the actor filling the role. In fact, sometimes, it's the small part we remember most, especially in movies that might otherwise be not all that memorable.

Another thread here reminded me of Bill Murray in Caddyshack. A small part, but what else to I remember about the movie? Not much.

Just finished rewatching Arachnaphobia. John Goodman as the exterminator was the perfect blend of eccentric and real.

Who else? I'm sure that others will come to mind.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 14,646 • Replies: 119
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Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 08:06 am
Just thought of another. Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. Small part, unforgettable performance.
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Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 05:23 pm
Peter O'Toole in "The Last Emperor."

Sir Alec Guinness in "A Passage to India."
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 05:53 pm
Double yes to both, LW. Amazing and memorable performances in small parts.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 06:00 pm
I'm remembering Paul Dooley's performance in Breaking Away. He was unique, memorable. A real father.
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farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 06:19 pm
Harvey Keitel and Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction

Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride


Will Gere in Jeremiah Johnson
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boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 06:21 pm
This actor, John McGiver, was in a million things always playing small parts. In "Midnight Cowboy" he played the preacher guy who Rizzo sent Joe to after they first met. An outstanding performance.

Christoper Walken is always great in small parts - "Pulp Fiction", "Joe Dirt", "Mousehunt".
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 06:34 pm
Great thread, Roberta. Book marking for now, but Joaquin Phoenix should have won the award for Gladiator. He was the consummate Caligula type.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Mar, 2007 06:53 pm
Barry Fitzgerald in "The Quiet Man"
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 04:39 am
Farmerman, I agree with you re Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction. Don't remember Harvey Keitel. I'm gonna have to watch it again. Absolutely agree about Billy Crystal in the Princess Bride. And Barry Fitzgerald in The Quiet Man was, well, perfect.

Boomer, You're right about John McGiver. He was good in just about anything. Always created someone real no matter how small the part was.
I also agree about Chris Walken. He's a wonderful, idiosyncratic actor and especially fine in small parts. Still laugh when I think of him in Mousehunt.

Letty, I agree that Joaquin Phoenix was wonderful in Gladiator. Kind of a big part though. But good is good. He's a terrific actor.
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Raggedyaggie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2007 04:16 pm
Great thread, Roberta.

Strother Martin in "Cool Hand Luke". "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Jo Van Fleet in "East of Eden".

Mercedes McCambridge in "Giant".
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2007 05:00 pm
Thanks, Raggedy. Great choices.

How about Thelma Ritter in All About Eve.

Robert Duvall in Apocolypse Now. (I love the smell of napalm in the morning.)

Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider.
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bree
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Mar, 2007 04:45 pm
Cathleen Nesbitt in An Affair to Remember

Joan Greenwood in Tom Jones. ("Sir, I am unfamiliar with customs in the country, but in town it is considered impolite to keep a lady waiting." Her reading of that line is forever etched in my memory.)
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Mar, 2007 11:59 pm
Thanks, Bree. Yes, Cathleen Nesbitt was wonderful. As for Tom Jones, I remember the part, but didn't remember the name of the actress. She was brilliant.

How about Joanne Woodward in Philadelphia. A very small part. The creation of a loving and supportive mother.
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 11:01 pm
Lightwizard wrote:
Peter O'Toole in "The Last Emperor."

and as Priam in "Troy"... the scene in which he pleads Achilles for the body of his eldet son Hector brought a well of tears to my eyes.... with Achilles stating not to be misunderstood, that in the morning they would still be foes and Priam responded that they were so even in that night was as heart-rending a scene and passage I have seen between men.

Sir Alec Guinness in "A Passage to India."

but could I get a shout out for Ed Begley in "12 Angry Men".... his outburst about " those people, you know, sure there are some that are okay, I'd be the first admit it , but generally they were just animals."

God what a spot on decisive depiction of bigotry.

You just felt your soul was soiled by hearing it, and exactly as it was meant to be..
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 11:22 pm
Roberta wrote:
How about Thelma Ritter in All About Eve.


How about Thelma Ritter in all of her performances? Loved her in the Doris Day/Rock Hudson/James Garner movies.

Ray Walston in "The Apartment". What a snake.

Mildred Natwick in "Barefoot in the Park". Also Herb Elelman as Harry Pepper, the telephone guy.

Edward Andrews in everything he did but as the nervewracked, late-in-life expectant father in "The Thrill of it All", he was sublime.
http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/8053/edandrewspy0.png
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 12:52 am
Kuvasz, Didn't see Troy (yet), but O'Toole is rarely less than good in anything he does, regardless of the size of the role.

Ed Begley in 12 Angry Men was, dare I say it, perfect. Absolutely certain that he was right and sure that everyone else agreed with him. Completely bewildered when he saw the other jurors one by one turn away. Brilliant. In fact the entire cast of that movie was wonderful, not a dud in the bunch.

eoe, I was gonna say Thelma Ritter in everything she ever did. Decided to be specific. And as long as great minds are thinking alike, last night I thought of Herb Edelman as the telephone guy and Mildred Natwick in Barefoot in the Park.

I agree that Edward Andrews was another small part actor who was always spot on.
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 01:35 am
Roberta wrote:
Kuvasz, Didn't see Troy (yet), but O'Toole is rarely less than good in anything he does, regardless of the size of the role.

Ed Begley in 12 Angry Men was, dare I say it, perfect. Absolutely certain that he was right and sure that everyone else agreed with him. Completely bewildered when he saw the other jurors one by one turn away. Brilliant. In fact the entire cast of that movie was wonderful, not a dud in the bunch.


see? you remember it to a Tee. I thought of that film instantly when reading the thread and while each actor was superb, that scene of watching the elven other men in the room turn their backs on what he said was a profound statement of moral decency; one I think of as American to the core.

I suggest that film to foreign friends all the time as one that evokes what is best in our collective American soul.

e.g. marshall's comment that ends the scene "just shut up and don't say another word," to Begley was the sum of such repulsive and controlled reprobation that it felt like it came straight from the mouth of God


eoe, I was gonna say Thelma Ritter in everything she ever did. Decided to be specific. And as long as great minds are thinking alike, last night I thought of Herb Edelman as the telephone guy and Mildred Natwick in Barefoot in the Park.

I agree that Edward Andrews was another small part actor who was always spot on.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 02:39 am
kuvasz wrote:

Ed Begley in 12 Angry Men was, dare I say it, perfect. Absolutely certain that he was right and sure that everyone else agreed with him. Completely bewildered when he saw the other jurors one by one turn away. Brilliant. In fact the entire cast of that movie was wonderful, not a dud in the bunch.


see? you remember it to a Tee. I thought of that film instantly when reading the thread and while each actor was superb, that scene of watching the elven other men in the room turn their backs on what he said was a profound statement of moral decency; one I think of as American to the core.

I suggest that film to foreign friends all the time as one that evokes what is best in our collective American soul.

e.g. marshall's comment that ends the scene "just shut up and don't say another word," to Begley was the sum of such repulsive and controlled reprobation that it felt like it came straight from the mouth of God




kuvasz, Do you have any idea how many times I've seen that movie? Of course I remember it. But not all the jurors turned away. Jack Warden's character didn't. Another brilliant performance.

I think that recommending that film to foreign friends is a great idea. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea if it were required viewing in American schools.

I was attending a management seminar, and it was shown as a model of how to handle difficult and different personality types.

I also thought of it whenever I was on jury duty. The last time was a difficult case. I was elected forewoman. I was no Henry Fonda. But we reached what I believe was a fair and just verdict.

But I digress.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 02:10 pm
Chris Sarandon in "Dog Day Afternoon". I can just see him sitting there, bitching about Sonny and holding the top of his robe closed like the last girl on the planet.
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