January 13, 2007

Old movie notes

Watching "Patton" with my son, I got to wondering whether there's ever been a bigger gap in acting quality between the star and just about everybody else in the movie. George C. Scott is as tremendous as in memory and legend, but the supporting cast members, even Karl Malden as Gen. Omar Bradley, are wooden, as stiff and phony-sounding as the players in a high school musical. Scott just sucks up all the charisma in every scene.

Only Michael Bates, who was an officer of a Gurkha regiment in Burma in WWII, shows flair as Field Marshall Montgomery (or, as Sam Goldwyn once introduced Monty at a formal dinner party in Hollywood, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Field Marshall Montgomery Ward" -- in the ensuing embarrassed silence, one wit piped up: "No, Sam, I think you meant to say 'Field Marshall Field.'")


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

6 comments:

Dave Rohl said...

Watching "Patton" with my son, I got to wondering whether there's ever been a bigger gap in acting quality between the star and just about everybody else in the movie.

The 1976 remake of King Kong?

Anonymous said...

Jose Ferrer in 1950's Cyrano de Bergerac: THE performance of THE Cyrano translation - Hooker's - tied together with the sort of acting and production values parodied in Singing In The Rain.

Cato said...

Malden's performance is pretty bad. I always get a chuckle from the scene when Patton has decided to push through Sicily:

"George, I do this job because I was trained to do it. You do it..." (removes his glasses in a very hammy fashion)..."because you love it."

Come to think of it, Malden was also a millstone around On the Waterfront as well. How did this guy get into movies? It wasn't his looks.

David Hume said...

Another example of George C. Scott out acting everyone else on a film is his Islands in the Stream. There is a vast space around Scott on that film.

On Malden: I haven't seen a single thing in which he didn't overact. Streets of San Francisco would be pretty unwatchable now.

AllanF said...

Here's a question. That movie has one of my all-time favorite quotes. Patton says, "Quantity has a quality all its own."

I've tried looking up whether Patton actually said that, but have been unsuccessful. Does anyone know the attribution of that quote. Is it Patton's? Does is pre-date Patton? Or, did the screenwriters come up with it themselves?

Much thanks.

Steve Sailer said...

"Quantity has a quality all its own."

I've seen it attributed to Stalin. It's the kind of thing that people on the winning side during WWII would have said, so it might have gone back and forth among famous people like Stalin and Patton.