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Fargo {1996}.

The 1996 film Fargo, a Coen Brothers masterwork, presents the story and precipitous moral/psychological decline of Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), the misadventures of the bungling kidnappers (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) whose “help” he enlists, and the dogged attempts of Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) to make sense of it all. Macy’s performance is mind-boggling, Buscemi and Stormare are brilliant, and McDormand carried away an Oscar for her finely-nuanced portrayal. Carter Burwell composed the memorable theme.

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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.

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Christian Szell: Marathon Man {1976}.

The sadistic, notorious war criminal Christian Szell {portrayed memorably by Laurence Olivier} gets up to some nefarious goings-on in Marathon Man…until Dustin Hoffman finally captures him (…on film).

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Psychopathic Types IV

Ian Holm I

Ian Holm VIIan Holm VIIIan Holm VIII

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Mark Holton III - GacyMark Holton IIII - GacyF/X 2Brian Dennehy V - Gacy

Some fine work here by some of our best. First, Ian Holm does Jack The Ripper. Mr. Holm, not usually known for this type of thing, “kills” it. Amazing creativity. Then my guy Tom Noonan plays John Lee Roche, a towering psychopath who is soft-spoken but quite hilarious: nothing could beat “You’re just resisting me.” for a bit of dialogue with such a type. Next, career “Hey! It’s THAT guy!” actor…..which means you’re doing something RIGHT….Mark Holton allows John Gacy to inhabit him utterly in Crawl Space (2003). Very cool, very deadpan….then, in a (for me) surprise of sorts, Brian Dennehy pulls a devastating gem from his arsenal in his *own* portrayal of The Killer Clown in 1992’s To Catch a Killer. This is the only scene in the TV-movie with any violence, really,Β  of any kind….and here it’s 100% psychological (which, if you’ve been there….)….but/and Dennehy’s undeniably intense psychopathic trance is unforgettable, poignant, tragic.Β  And plenty frightening. Whoa.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Christoph Waltz Film Photo-Editing videos Westerns

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{Note: Revised 7/22/2019}

The great Christoph Waltz, Two-Time Academy Award winner, shows some of his inimitable what-have-you.

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Ravenous {1999}.

The 1999 Horror/Cult film Ravenous is a most unusual moving picture, even for one detailing the Wendigo exploits of certain individuals. Many comedic elements continue to pop up, often on the heels of a truly frightening passage. The musical score, by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman, adds a very great deal to the proceedings. This singular cinematic endeavour starred Robert Carlyle, Guy Pearce, and Jeffrey Jones, with Carlyle in particular standing out. His Colqhoun/Ives character is both the slippery eel and the fulcrum of the film.

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The Marlon Brando.

Amazing how Marlon could so casually convey supreme menace from situations which are hardly synonymous with menace-conveying.

Sheer, unnerving menace…from the confines of a bubble bath…

Unreal hand speed and devastating power with either hand, whilst bestowing epithets and disposing of tables.

And, of course, his iconic performance in The Godfather.

The truly great Marlon Brando, appearing here in The Missouri Breaks, One-Eyed Jacks, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Free Money, and The Island of Dr. Moreau. One of the supreme practitioners of his art, ever to stride across the earth.