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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. 06 Jan '15 14:28
    Michael Caine

    Never quite understood his megastardom. I think he's quite wooden, although he definitely has an imposing screen presence. How did he get chosen to act in so many classics or near-classics? At least I must give him credit for being hard-working and salute his longevity: 161 acting credits and still going strong.
  2. 07 Jan '15 19:16
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    Michael Caine

    Never quite understood his megastardom. I think he's quite wooden, although he definitely has an imposing screen presence. How did he get chosen to act in so many classics or near-classics? At least I must give him credit for being hard-working and salute his longevity: 161 acting credits and still going strong.
    He plays a certain kind of character - the sympathetic unflappable lower-class Brit - and plays it very well; and he was in his prime at a time (after WWII) when that character was in strong demand. He's very like a Sassenach Sean Connery - and by the way, I recommend The Man Who Would Be King. A right-pondian Paul Newman wouldn't be too far off the mark, either, except that they seem to be at other ends of the political spectrum.
    Is he a great actor? No. He's a good actor, and often a greatly enjoyable actor, but not a great artist. Does he have to be a great actor to be a great star, though? I don't think so. He has to draw crowds, entertain them, and be sympathetic. He manages all three. And after all, he can act - he may not be Dustin Hoffman, but at least he's much closer to Hoffman than to Steven Seagal.
  3. 07 Jan '15 19:29
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    He plays a certain kind of character - the sympathetic unflappable lower-class Brit - and plays it very well; and he was in his prime at a time (after WWII) when that character was in strong demand. He's very like a Sassenach Sean Connery - and by the way, I recommend The Man Who Would Be King. A right-pondian Paul Newman wouldn't be too far off the mar ...[text shortened]... - he may not be Dustin Hoffman, but at least he's much closer to Hoffman than to Steven Seagal.
    That's a very fair appraisal; he has a certain magnetism and authority, if not exactly gravitas, which must attract people to the films he stars in. I like the comparison with Sean Connery, although I much prefer Connery, who has greater versatility. Although I don't anymore watch repeats of The Italian Job, it's a role I thought Caine played brilliantly.
  4. 10 Jan '15 05:26
    Nancy Kwan was so cute. I figure she should have been a major star, rather than just a borderline star-- and that only for a handful of years.

    I still remember her late-night TV ads for Pearl Cream moisturizer when she was no longer getting film roles.
  5. 10 Jan '15 22:15
    Humphrey Bogart, Alan Alda, And Stanley Kubrick were all better than average chess players.
  6. 11 Jan '15 00:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by woadman
    Humphrey Bogart, Alan Alda, And Stanley Kubrick were all better than average chess players.
    I've occasionally wondered exactly how good an average chess player is.

    Alan Alda was great in MASH. Someone I know who has now become a lighting director seems to have modelled himself on the guy. I've never asked him straight out, but the resemble is striking, personality- and appearance-wise.

    Stanley Kubrick lived not too far from me (not quite sure where though). Have a look for the video compilation of his "one-point perspective" shots (ie not the rule of thirds). It's an eye-opener (think it's on Vimeo).
  7. 14 Jan '15 18:57
    Originally posted by Paul Dirac II
    Nancy Kwan was so cute. I figure she should have been a major star, rather than just a borderline star-- and that only for a handful of years.

    I still remember her late-night TV ads for Pearl Cream moisturizer when she was no longer getting film roles.
    Hollywood's institutional racism continues to hinder the careers of actors
    (it seems worse for men than women) and actresses (who tend to be cast
    as the white hero's romantic interest or sexual plaything) of East Asian
    ancestry today, apart from stereotypical niches such as the martial arts genre.
    And a disproportionately high number of the comparatively most successful
    actors cast as East Asian characters have some, if not mostly, white ancestry.

    American television chose to cast a white American actor, David Carradine,
    rather than Bruce Lee as the Chinese star of 'Kung Fu'. Some of Nancy
    Kwan's success might be attributed to the fact that she's Eurasian (her
    mother was a white Englishwoman), though she was perceived as 'exotic'
    and cast as East Asian women. While Kate Beckinsale's 1/8 East Asian by
    ancestry, she always has been perceived and cast as a white woman.

    If there were an actor with the dramatic skills of, say, Laurence Olivier in
    his prime, but he had a conspicuously East Asian face, then how would
    Hollywood cast him? Almost certainly in a stereotypical role, if even that.
    I doubt that he ever could be cast as a romantic hero--playing opposite
    a white actress--in a Shakespeare play.
  8. 23 Jan '15 20:25
    Hadn't thought of this in years... my brother in his youth was a fan of Wallace Beery, who was already dead by then.
  9. Standard member Grampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    09 Feb '15 03:38
    Two of my favorites are Morgan Freeman and Diane Lane.