Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Ten Best Actors of All Time Relay

 So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors.” 

Nostra of My Filmviews valiantly came up with the idea for this blogging really and the lovely Stevee of Cinematic Paradox entered me into the sequence of things.

The Previous Entries: 

Humphrey Bogart

Marlon Brando


Charlie Chaplin

 Daniel Day Lewis

Robert De Niro

Ralph Fiennes

Jack Lemmon

Paul Newman

Jack Nicholson
  Gregory Peck

Now, of course, the usually caveats come with making any “best of” list. Best for whom? What constitutes best? Should you include more of the old than the new because of that tell-tale tendency to regard what is more aged as more esteemed? And what of the actor’s oeuvre? How many films constitute a fine actor? How many great performances? How many bad performances are allowable? Am I over thinking this? You bet. Just in case you’re a wayfaring stranger who ended up here by chance it’s one of my traits. I put long and hard thought into it and made multiple lists and eventually I opted to excise Atticus Finch.

Gregory Pack has entered into cinematic royalty to a great extent for his Oscar winning work in To Kill a Mockingbird and he’s certainly a legend of his time. But, I cannot submit him as one of the very best. There is an actor in the ten who has a significant smaller range, but he's offered more to the trade. There's an actor whose work I've seen significantly less of then Peck, but he too offers up more of a reference point to greatness than I think Peck does, as good a performer as he is. (Apologies to all offended.) And, thus, I replace him with someone who I think is not only a finer technican, but an even more significant legend. Richard Burton.

I don’t have a “favourite” male actor. There’s a hodgepodge of about seven – three of them already on the list. I found myself debating between two of Oscars’ biggest losers and I opted for Richard.

I’d submit his work in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as one of the finest film performances of all time. He’s given one of the finest performances in a Tennessee Williams adaptation in The Night of the Iguana, gave the best Bond performance (and it wasn’t even a Bond film) in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and one of the finest Shakespearean performances in The Taming of the Shrew. I think he belongs on a list of best.

I point to Paolo (Okinawa Assault) to take up the baton and keep the ball rolling. He's full of opinions.


MovieNut14 said...

Well, I called it when I said you would choose a British actor. Nice call on Burton, by the way.

Paolo said...

Inner city pres-SURE.

Anyway, Burton reminds me of the Burton-Scolfield match-up from 1966. I can only imagine what the Academy felt about those choices.

Squasher88 said...

Interesting choice. I had no idea he was a 7-time Oscar nominee! I've only seen Burton in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' and I agree, he is quite good in it.

Nostra said...

Oohhh, once Ruth finds out you've deleted Peck you are in some trouble ;) But of course it's hard to pick one with so many great actors :)

Runs Like A Gay said...

Great list, with a painful choice at the end that all of us felt your pain.

Although I'd be tempted to say that Humph could be lost for the same reason. Sure he's fantastic in a lot of films, but he's also playing more or less the same role in a lot of films.

Think of Rick Blaine, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Dobbs and Charlie Allnut. All wisecraking their way from temptation.

Whereas Atticus Finch, Sam Bowden, Joe Bradley, Frank Savage and Jimmy Ringo may all appear to be similar upstanding members of their community but there's a lot going on behind the eyes.

Pete said...

Shocked to see Peck out. Haven't seen enough of Burton to comment on his addition. Interesting choice though!

Eric said...

I don't think I have seen anything from Richard Burton.. wow. Definitely going to have to fix that.

ruth said...

Oh my goodness, my heart is broken... how ironic that this comes on the day I participate on your Wet/Rainy blogathon :(

Well I stand by my choice... I have never seen any of Mr. Burton's choice but I doubt he'd come close to Mr. Peck in my book.

TheFocusedFilmographer said...

I knew Ruth would be heartbroken. I'm sorry my dear! Perhaps he shall return!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

anna yes, apparently i'm infinitely transparent, to you at least.

paolo 1966 was tough, yo. as much as i love burton and all things woolf, scofield did good. he'd have been deserving in another year :(

shane, pete, eric you should definitely check out his oeuvre. shame, you might have already seen his best with who's afraid of virginia woolf, but there are some great gems to find.

nostra well, no one said it'd be easy. (in fact, stevee specifically said it'd be tough.)

ben you make a valid point, and bogart was one of the four performers that was in my bottom four. eventually it came down to their individual work, as well as their collective films.

ruth apologies. since you love peck, it'd be difficult for you to immediately love someone else as much or more. but, i do think you'd like facets of burton's work. and, as the focused filmographer says, he may return.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Burton finally gets the nod...should have been on the original list of greatest. Nice job!