What A Character! “Crazy Russian” Leonid Kinskey

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Just like everybody goes to Rick’s, everybody knows Leonid Kinskey, whether they know his name or not. Kinskey portrays Sascha, the voluble Russian bartender, in that classic of all classics, Casablanca (1943). We meet him quite early on, when Yvonne, Rick’s latest ex-girlfriend, has had a little too much to drink and needs to be escorted home. But as I learned, there’s more to Kinskey than Sascha. Not that I won’t bask in the glory that is Casablanca first…

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It’s here! 5th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON: Day 1

Day 1 of the Fifth Annual What A Character! Blogathon, hosted by KELLEE of Outspoken and Freckled

Outspoken and Freckled

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The day has finally arrived to honor those unsung heroes of the silver screen, the character actor. For the 5th year, the classic film obsessed trio of Aurora aka @CitizenScreen of ONCE UPON A SCREEN, Paula aka @TCM_Party & @Paula_Guthat of PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB and yours truly, Kellee aka @Irishjayhawk66 of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED bring you this film community tribute to the marvelous scene-stealers.

DAY ONE:

Real Weegie Midget Reviews revisits a tribute post with Looking Back at the Actor, the Voice and Movies of ALAN RICKMAN.

Jack Deth, as guest blogger on Paulas Cinema Club, offers up a “Shot and a Chaser” of two works of M. EMMET WALSH:

As he summarizes, “Though I was well-versed in Walsh’s work prior to these initial meetings, it’s these two roles which reached out, took hold, and shook me to this actor’s grossly underestimated talents.”

Then, Theresa of

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What A Character! Shot and A Chaser: M. Emmet Walsh

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Paula’s note: This post is one of several by movie maven Jack Deth that I have had the pleasure of hosting on this site. See the rest here.

Welcome Bloggers, Cinephiles, Film Fans, and Aficionados of “Just Plain Good!”

Having received an invitation from our hostess Paula to expand and illuminate that arena of young and unrecognized talent usually relegated to the back of a crowd or corner of a set before being noticed and given lines to speak and scenes to execute, I would be remiss to not give it my best effort and reach back to an unsung purveyor of the thespian craft, who literally started off in the background of Midnight Cowboy, Alice’s Restaurant, Little Big Man, and Cold Turkey in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Plying his craft while being one of many. Building up a body of work and a reputation for being able to fill any slot for any type of dumpy, balding, kind of slimy, local or municipal bureaucrat, guard, telegrapher, cop, or barber. Sometimes affixing a Southern accent, or sticking to his high-pitched, upstate New York pronunciations, while using whatever was at hand to enhance his many characters. Before crossing my path in a big way in a small, very personal cinematic gem ramrodded by Dustin Hoffman and directed by Ulu Grossbard. A film which also prompted the parole of recidivist convict, Edward Bunker (Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs), through his semi-autobiographic novel, No Beast So Fierce. Which makes up the two fingers of Rye for this…

Shot & A Chaser: M. Emmet Walsh

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Happy 100th, Kirk Douglas: OUT OF THE PAST

111-out-of-the-past-1947-whit-on-phoneOn December 09, 2016, movie fans wish a very happy 100th birthday to Issur Danielovitch Demsky, better known as Kirk Douglas.* For my natal tribute, I’ve chosen his charmingly menacing performance as Whit Sterling in possibly the most noir of all noirs, Out of the Past. Please note, there are major spoilers ahead. If you have not seen Out of the Past, what is the matter with you? I kid…bookmark this page, go watch it, and then come back.

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Announcing the FIFTH annual What A Character! Blogathon – Dec. 16-18

 

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Supporting stalwarts Aline McMahon and Guy Kibbee with an unnamed co-star in GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933
What’s great about being a character actor is you know that you can survive forever. It’s not about the gloss of your eyebrows.
— Martin Short

 

We’re back for a fifth consecutive year to honor the versatility and depth of supporting players with the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Based on a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the WAC! Blogathon is an event that many look forward to each year. It’s a chance to pay tribute to the Louise Beavers and Eddie Andersons of the movie world — the names that seldom or never appeared above the title. Your enthusiasm for spotlighting the oft-nameless faces that appear in countless beloved movies is admirable, and Aurora, Kellee, and I extend sincere thanks to all of the bloggers who have joined us in the previous four years. We invite you all to help us make the fifth outing extra special. Get all the details after the jump…

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I Love Lucy…especially in LURED

As #TCMParty people and/or readers of this blog may or may not know, I’m obsessed with the 1947 mystery-drama Lured. Sure, the presence of one of my favorite velvet-voiced British thespians, George Sanders, has a lot to do with it. But its major charm is Lucille Ball’s fine performance in the lead role, which, while allowing flickers of her comedic genius to show through, always makes me wish she’d done more dramatic roles.

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The Rise and Rise of Alesha Dixon

As regular readers know, I sometimes stray away from the mainstay topic of this blog — film — into music of all kinds. Obviously, the two have been tied since film’s birth. One aspect of both industries that has fascinated me for some time is the odd relationship between the U.S. and the U.K., our highly influential older siblings with the cool accents, who seem to have even cooler record collections, more avant-garde taste in movies, and cutting-edge fashion senses. And yet, for every British artist in any medium that slays Stateside, either by popularity or influence — and the list of those is endless — there are some, for whatever reason, that just don’t click. This is also true of celebrity/entertainment culture in general…some U.K. celebs cross the pond to become household names in the U.S….and others just don’t catch on here. For every Graham Norton or Ricky Gervais, there’s a Cheryl Cole or Robbie Williams.

I’m not sure which category Alesha Dixon will fall into, or if she’s even interested in U.S. success, but at the moment, she is one of the most recognizable women on U.K. television. As an admired presenter and judge on prime-time shows, she’s known to millions of viewers, as well as being a talented singer and dancer, lending her more versatility and overall credibility than many others in the “unscripted” field.
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Final Week of 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon: PICTURES/DIRECTORS

31 Days of Oscar, Week 4: THE MOVIES and THE DIRECTORS

Outspoken and Freckled

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It’s been a fabulous month of entries in our mega blogging event that celebrates everything Oscar. We’ve paid tribute to extraordinary ACTING, expressed outrage over OSCAR SNUBS, celebrated those talented CRAFTS artisans and now… we’ve come to our final week as we pay homage to Oscar-worthy PICTURES and master DIRECTORS.

Just like those last few nail-biting minutes of the Oscars ceremony, let’s honor the very best of the best. Here are this week’s terrific contributors:

PICTURES: 

Old Hollywood Films reviews one of John Ford must beautiful masterpieces, “How Green Was My Valley”

Movie Rob revisits some of Oscar’s most popular films… TITANTIC (1997), FORREST GUMP (1994),  SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998), THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)

Sister Celluloid shares an intimate and fond memory of her father via celluloid with “Saying Goodbye to my Dad…

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31 Days of Oscar: The Films of 1987

hope and glory7-07-gBy Jack Deth

Greetings all and sundry!
Having taken advantage of the much-hyped East Coast Snow Storm, and watched from my 23rd floor balcony as the surface dwellers dug themselves out, I’ve had time to contemplate the films of 1987 and their standing with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

A year sadly near void of the earlier risk takers and “All In!” gamblers of the previous decade, with many of the Academy choices leading toward less controversial, more palatable fare. So, keeping that in mind, allow me a few moments of your time to explore, excavate, and investigate the confusing, sometimes annoying choices of…

The 60th Academy Awards: Playing It Safe!

According to Box Office Mojo, a neat little reference source which proves useful in this treatise, 1987 was a rather prosperous year for film. With 238 entrants through the year, from the sublime (The Princess Bride) to the ridiculous (Ishtar, Real Men, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown), lots of diversions and variants in-between, and a surprising number of films in its Top 25 films nominated for Oscars.

For those uninitiated, I’ll be laying out this amalgam in the same way I’ve presented earlier critiques of the Academy’s decisions, entailing “The Top Six” categories, taking a “Top Down” perspective, plus a few personal bones to pick in the lower tiers.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the contenders for….
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31 Days of Oscar- THE CRAFTS: Costume Designer Sandy Powell

oscar-nominees-luncheon-2016-crop02While scrutinizing this year’s official Academy Award class photo, my eye was immediately drawn to red…not just those few actresses wearing scarlet-hued dresses, but also the neon crimson hair of costume designer Sandy Powell. It’s appropriate that color would draw the eye to her, as she used it to create some of this year’s most stunning and effective costume designs, including the instant classic Cinderella gown made up of many layers of painstakingly dyed blue fabrics. She is pitted against herself with two 2015 nominations, one for Carol, the other for Cinderella. Not so coincidentally, in both she dressed Cate Blanchett. The last time the two worked together, for 2004’s The Aviator, both took home Oscars (Blanchett for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn).

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