8.28.2006

More Canadian Ken...

One of the real treats of making Canadian Ken's acquaintance is discovering just how much he loves movies and how much he knows about them. Not only does it seem Ken's already seen everything but -- even better -- he's game for seeing it all again. (That's a man after StinkyLulu's movie-loving soul, to be sure. ) See for yourself, lovely reader, in Ken's post on
the overlooked Supporting Actresses of 1962.

5 comments:

Nick Davis said...

Ken and I just keep agreeing: we were pretty simpatico on the women who actually got nominated, and just yesterday, I posted here about the wonders of Jane Fonda in Walk on the Wild Side.

I'll admit that, having finally seen Lolita just this past spring, I didn't think Winters quite deserved the hype I've heard around the performance. But then, with Winters, I almost never do.

Meanwhile, while not quite deserving of an Oscar nomination, I think Janet Leigh's work in The Manchurian Candidate is terrific, and seldom credited because Lansbury casts such a long shadow. Eugénie is such a bizarre part, and a deliberately open mystery (salvation? lightweight? surveilling agent?). Leigh has some extremely hard scenes to play, not least that very cryptic first encounter with Harvey on the train, and she navigates all of them with cool aplomb.

Nick Davis said...

Also, just FYI: Inside Oscar attests that Winters required the studio to campaign her as a Best Actress contender. So she likely shot herself in the foot in terms of getting a nomination (especially given the amazing Best Actress field that year).

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Yep, Nick, in her unflappable style, Winters also recounted this story to Johnny Carson years later during a "Tonight Show" appearance. Can't agree with you concerning the quality of her Lolita work, though- I think she and Peter Sellers give two of the greatest un-nominated performances (check out what Melaine Griffith does with Charlotte in the interesting remake- Griffith is merely acceptable, while Winters feasted on the role, yet amid her entertaining, showy portrayal of the shamelessly declasse Charlotte, Winters never loses sight of the character's touching humanity (the "diary discovery" scene is unforgettable)- Winter's is a rich, delightful, and ultimately tragic performance).

I am in accord regarding Leigh's brief role in Manchurian; the film illustrates what an intelligent, intuitive screen performer she often was (films like Psycho, 1949's Little Women and the just-on-DVD Naked Spur also show how good Leigh could be). I saw Manchurian during it's late-1980's re-release, and Leigh definitely established a rapport with the audience in record time (and without Leigh, that first scene with Sinatra on the train would be completely unbelievable- Leigh as Rosie/Eugenie has to largely carry the scene, as Sinatra's brainwashed Bennett Marco remains in a trance-like state throughout the train sequence; Leigh's naturalistic, straightforward approach to the dialogue, combined with her complete focus on the dazed Sinatra, really brings the scene to life and makes it cook).

I'll have to get around to Walk ASAP (I've never had any problems with Fonda's greatness, but I haven't seen much of her pre-Cat Ballou work).

criticlasm said...

I would agree with the Janet Leigh assessment--the scenes with her and Sinatra put the enigma in enigmatic to say the least. And she manages to make the love of her character believable, when the script gives us absolutely no reason that we can believe these two have fallen in love in one cryptic train meeting. Thinking about that also put me in mind of her perf in Touch of Evil, which is full of cryptic scenes and confusion. She manages to hold her sanity in a world gone crazy (namely where Dennis Weaver is completely over the top, and somehow Gregory Peck and Marlene Deitrich are Mexican). Perhaps a Janet Leigh supporting restrospective is in order at some point?

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Criticlasm,
I'd give Leigh the trophy for Psycho. I thought her work in Evil was acceptable, but not quite at the level of her top performances (and Harper contains another A-one Leigh performance. Her role's very brief, ala Manchurian, but she easily establishes her frustration cocnerning the on-and-off relationship she has with the title character, and she perfectly delivers the "kiss off" to Newman). Leigh rarely if ever gave a bad performance, though (even when miscast in Bye, Bye Birdie, she still brings off a lot of Rosie's scenes, and matches up well with Dick Van Dyke). From her first film (1947's The Romance of Rosy Ridge- a Leigh favorite), Janet Leigh was a natural and a complete professional on camera.

Thanks for visiting my site. I do live in California, but way up north. I've only been to L.A. a few times, and envy the arts and culture available to you down there.