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Actors Actors of Greatness Film Marlon Brando photography Predators Psychopaths serial killers

The Missouri Breaks {1976}.

This offbeat, rather twisted Western presents the intertwined stories of Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his good-hearted, somewhat hapless rustling gang, and Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando), a so-called “regulator” (hired killer) whose job it is to identify and curtail the activities of Logan, et al. As the film progresses, an ever-increasing sense of dread and disquiet permeate the proceedings, as it becomes clearer all the time that the eccentric Clayton is a ruthless, sadistic sociopath, who relishes his deadly machinations and depraved exploits. The bounty hunter’s bewildering array of accents and disguises also merits mentioning.

Arthur Penn directed this cult masterpiece, and allowed the actors, especially Brando, to find their own way with the characters, including improvising much of the dialogue. Idiosyncratically paced, this oddball absurdist comedy/western thriller deconstructs the genre to beautiful effect, and Marlon Brando’s incomprehensibly stunning performance ultimately defines and lifts the film to the very heights.

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Martin Vanger, Two Ways {2009, 2011}.

The serial predator and killer Martin Vanger appears in both the American and Swedish iterations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He is equally disquieting in both. Peter Haber portrays Vanger in the 2009 Swedish release, and Stellan SkarsgΓ₯rd does the honors for the 2011 American film. Both performances are brilliant, and chilling. Haber’s portrayal is earnest and volatile, while SkarsgΓ₯rd is more haughty, detached, dispassionate. Both work perfectly.

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Withnail and I {1987}.

The 1987 film Withnail and I, written and directed by Bruce Robinson, and starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, and Richard Griffiths, has come to be recognized as one of the great achievements of British film-making. Originally considered a “cult” movie, this poignant and amazingly humorous film is so very memorable. This happened to be Grant’s first film, as well, putting him firmly on the map of such things.

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composers Film Film Music Music photography Soundtracks

The Soundtracks, and Film Music.

A select gathering of film composers, and their compositions. Bernard Herrmann, Eric Serra, Daniel Licht, The Handsome Family, David Shire, Carter Burwell, and Ennio Morricone.

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Actors Film Westerns

Liberty Valance.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Film Leslie Howard photography

The Petrified Forest {1936}.

A tour de force by titans of the silver screen: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis. Mr. Howard insisted that a relatively unknown Bogart be cast for the role of iconic outlaw Duke Mantee; it became the actor’s first big breakthrough. Mantee, a Dillenger-like desperado, sets new elite standards for an obsession with people sitting down. Howard’s character, a down and out man of letters, provides the philosophical dimension. His interactions with the imposing Mantee are some of the greatest exchanges in film history.

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Barton Fink {1991}.

This film by the Coen Brothers follows the travails of a bespectacled, bedeviled, embattled writer in Los Angeles, who encounters some quite interesting individuals during his journey. These scenes feature Steve Buscemi, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Lerner, John Goodman, and John Turturro.

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Actors Actors of Greatness David Thewlis Dr Moreau existentialism Film Geniuses Marlon Brando photography

The Island of Dr. Moreau {1996}.

Marlon Brando and David Thewlis engage in a mostly courteous exchange of ideas, and find said ideas to be at loggerheads. Various snouts, hooves, and outrageous spectacles are discussed. From The Island of Dr. Moreau, 1996. Both actors are at the pinnacle of their craft.

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The Moriarty {Andrew Scott}.

Actor Andrew Scott turns in a bravura performance as criminal mastermind James Moriarty in the BBC series Sherlock. Truly mesmerizing.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Alfred Hitchcock Directors epoch-defining Film Geniuses Horror/Cult Films Predators Psycho serial killers videos

Hitchcock’s Psycho {1960}.

The plot of Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, pivots on the fulcrum of a red herring. Janet Leigh’s character fears that she is in imminent legal danger, and suffers from a troubled conscience, when in fact something far, far worse, something having absolutely nothing even remotely to do with events up to that point, awaits her.

When he dines initially with Leigh, the reaction/mood of Norman Bates {portrayed iconically by Anthony Perkins} changes rather drastically, from chipper, to utterly incredulous, to overtly hostile, to a resigned world-weariness, to a last attempt at joviality. He appears to be friendly and caring, if a bit troubled and mercurial.

When the dogged, unswerving Milton Arbogast {Martin Balsam} calmly dissembles the slowly dissolving structural integrity of Norman’s version of events, he opts to trot out the heavy artillery, proclaiming “If it doesn’t gel, it isn’t aspic; and this ain’t gelling.” Stunned silence proceeds to take over the entire universe, and Norman Bates is clearly rattled. The two shall meet again, soon enough.