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Favorite underappreciated supporting roles

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Haggai, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

    Nov 3, 2003
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    For no particular reason, I figured I'd put up a thread about supporting roles in movies where you think a performance is particularly underappreciated. It's obviously going to be subjective to judge whether this or that performance was overlooked, or underrated, etc., but I'm definitely not talking about roles that won people Oscars or Oscar nominations. Here are a few of my faves:

    Julian Wadham, "The English Patient": He played Madox, Almasy's (Ralph Fiennes) loyal colleague in desert exploration. Lots of other supporting performances from that movie are probably better remembered: Juliette Binoche (Oscar winner), Willem Dafoe, Colin Firth, Naveen Andrews. I liked all of them, but Wadham really stood out for me with his focused and sympathetic portrayal of someone who cares deeply for his friend, but can't do much to help him.

    Wolfgang Preiss, "The Train": I think this movie as a whole is greatly underappreciated--WWII thriller from 1964, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster as a French train engineer/resistance fighter (OK, not really believable as a Frenchman, but totally realistic in every other aspect of the role) who's supposed to stop a train loaded with France's greatest art treasures from being whisked into Germany by the Nazis. Paul Scofield, as the German colonel who obsesses over getting the paintings into the custody of the Reich, is great in the main counter-role to Lancaster, but Wolfgang Preiss as Major Herren, Scofield's second-in-command, really does a teriffic job. His character is methodical, professional, calculating, and (naturally, it's the Nazis!) brutal, but also ultimately realistic. Wonderful performance, strong but understated, and a perfect complement to the manic intensity of Scofield's character.

    Maximillian Schell, "The Young Lions": Hmmm, this wasn't supposed to be the German WWII military roles thread, but it's looking like it now! Marlon Brando gave one of his greatest performances as a brilliant but conflicted junior officer, and Schell, in his first Hollywood role, was his commanding officer. I've only seen this movie once, but next to the fabulous Brando role, the force of Schell's performance was what really stood out for me.

    Ron Livingston, "Swingers": Lots of us love this movie, but the pre-Office Space Livingston's role as Rob, Mike's friend from NY who followed him to LA, doesn't usually get much attention. I think he absolutely nails the big scene his character gets, when he visits Mike at the lowest point in the story. Every time I watch the movie, I think about how appreciative I'd be if I had a friend who did something like that for me if I was in a similar situation.

    I'm sure I'll think of plenty more not long after posting this.
  2. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

    Mar 30, 1999
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