The Players Are the Thing
I wish I had the time to formulate a proper response to J.W. Hasting’s wonderful post on film acting, which features insightful comments like this:
Rather than thinking of good actors as people who can convincingly “be someone else,” I’d argue that good actors are people who can convincingly find themselves in the roles they play.
Yes. Exactly. It’s no accident that this statement follows a paragraph on the career of Jimmy Stewart. And I would argue that a director’s most important task is to facilitate these inspired “self-insertions” into the text of the film (Stanwyck, Arthur, and Stewart’s work with Capra; Hepburn in Stevens’ Alice Adams; Hepburn, Rogers, et al in LaCava’s Stage Door, etc.)
J.W. deplores the fact that not enough film critics pay attention to the acting in the works they study, and I agree with him (Ray Carney’s American Vision–particularly the chapter on “Deeds, Words, Gasps, and Glances”–and Elizabeth Kendall’s The Runaway Bride are two magnificent exceptions to this rule!)
J.W. also has some very interesting things to say about Anthony Hopkins’ (whom I loved, along with Debra Winger, in Attenborough’s Shadowlands, which you often hear discussed as if it were just another damned Merchant/Ivory “ahc-ting” fest, but man, it’s not!) varied career, and this prompts me to go completely off the rails in search of your advice, dear blogosphere:
You may remember that Hopkins played fibre impressario Dr. Kellogg in The Road To Wellville…and it just occurred to me that I am on the verge of moving to a location that is within an hour’s bus ride of Cereal City USA! My question–has anyone been there? And is it worth visiting? (Keep in mind now that I eat various forms of cereal three times a day!)
Good afternoon friends!