Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sad RIPs...

The death earlier this week of Andy Griffith and now today's news that Ernest Borgnine has passed on didn't come as surprises,  exactly, but both men seemed like the old-school type of actor who were always around and would always BE around.  Of course that's not how the world works...

Griffith was amazing on the Andy Griffith show, but I've always been most astonished/impressed by his manic and thoroughly nasty performance in Face In The Crowd.  It's a fantastic script, of course, but Griffith could have easily tried to soften Lonesome Rhodes and draw audience sympathy/empathy -- but he doesn't.  He plays a selfish egomaniac from start to finish, gleefully destroying the people around him until he accidentally destroys himself.  It is a stunning performance.  Let's put it this way: Griffith completely overshadows Walter Matthau in the film.  That ain't easy.

Borgnine always seemed to operate on two levels.  One was subtle, coiled and intense -- think Wild Bunch or Bad Day At Black Rock.  The other was scenery chewing at its best -- think Ice Station Zebra (where he sports a wild Russian accent) or a horror film like The Devil's Rain.   Bottom line, he was always fun to watch, whatever the character.  I only finally saw Marty a few months ago, and it really is a great performance.

I have no personal anecdotes about these actors... I'm just a fan lamenting their passing and happy to remember their best work... 

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