The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

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robochrist
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The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby robochrist » Sun May 07, 2006 5:05 pm

I was on the phone a while ago with a friend doing my Donald Rumsfeld in a Truman Capote pitch, and it struck me that within my circle of favorite actors throughout film history a few of 'em or there BECAUSE they are or WERE such magnificent pompous hocks.

The ones who immediately come to mind are Basil Rathbone, Bill Shatner, David Carradine, and Jonathan Harris. Orson Welles could easily make the list too.

These guys either annoy me or hold my attention solidly. ALL of them, however, stand out in a crowd. Each has his own peculiar twitches, jerks, quirks, and kinks.

My list of these types is pretty short. Great actors like Olivier and Brando easily edged their way into haminess as well; but they weren't so CONSISTENTLY; off hand, then, I can't think of any other good ones right now.

Yet, I KNOW there's SOMEONE I'm forgetting in this little band of mutations...

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Sun May 07, 2006 11:20 pm

Well, two people I can think of right away were ones who were great talents, but certainly had some spectactularly hammy moments: Richard Burton and John Barrymore. Burton had a sense of humor about it. One of the funniest things he did was when he did his impersonation of a Richard Burton impersonator. Booming and growling, rrrrolling his r's, he was a hoot. Barrymore had a sense of humor about his hammyness, too, but it was a bit morbid at times, especially when his drinking was killing him.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Mon May 08, 2006 3:09 am

About a year-and-a-half ago on PBS, I saw interview footage of John Barrymore a short time before he died of cirrhosis. His speech was disjointed, he was swaying in pivots, and his eyes were rolling like marbles in a gum ball machine.

I've never seen his performances, not even the few he did in the sound era (one of which he'd teamed with his brother Lionel). At some point I'll do something about that.

I mentioned Brando earlier. I am recalling one of his hammiest trips, which was One-Eyed Jacks. It's a film I DO like a lot; nevertheless, if you run his MUMBLING and MURMERING on a vcr in a video rental place I assure you'll get laughs impossible to hide from; when you decide to buy the tape you'd best cover your face. I know, because that's what happened to me ("git up youuuuu gob 'o spit!).

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon May 08, 2006 10:54 am

My god robochrist...you included the immortal BASIL RATHBONE in the same sentence as William Shatner, David Carradine and Jonathan Harris...

SIR, HAVE YOU NO FEAR OF ALMIGHTY GOD?!?
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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Mon May 08, 2006 12:42 pm

...I have a close bond with Basil Rathbone - whether I am watching one of his great performances or one of his steamed ham.

I grouped him in a very specific context. Outside of that he ranks way above the others.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon May 08, 2006 6:26 pm

Psst, Rob--you forgot about Jack Palance.

D.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Mon May 08, 2006 11:04 pm

...Palance. Yes, I did. That's a good one.

Incidentally, in defense of ONE among the actors I first mentioned, beside Rathbone, JONATHAN HARRIS was an excellent, diverse character actor with a Shakespearean background - the reason they handed him a role to develop entirely himself for which he was allowed to write his own dialogue.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon May 08, 2006 11:59 pm

robochrist wrote:About a year-and-a-half ago on PBS, I saw interview footage of John Barrymore a short time before he died of cirrhosis. His speech was disjointed, he was swaying in pivots, and his eyes were rolling like marbles in a gum ball machine.

I've never seen his performances, not even the few he did in the sound era (one of which he'd teamed with his brother Lionel). At some point I'll do something about that.


I caught Dinner at Eight (the one with John and Lionel) on TCM not long ago and would recommend it. (It's now on DVD.) I consider it a black comedy, but the Barrymores give the movie nice separate doses of pathos, just the same.

D.

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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby diane bartels » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:14 am

Bette Davis, or was this restricted to just men. And her near nemesis, Joan Crawford.

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FrankChurch
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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:17 pm

Robert Mitchum was a grade A asshole. Katherine Hepburn, because she was so hard on religion. She was the Richard Dawkins of her day.

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FrankChurch
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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:18 pm

I still say Christina Crawford was lying.

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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Tue May 28, 2013 1:07 am

I consider it an irony of the first degree that the greatest living film actor, and the most robbed (for "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Lion in Winter") could also be a ham of the first rank ("Creator"). Of course, if you've seen "The Stunt Man" you know what a difference 22 seconds can make. ;)

I will admit that I find Benedict Cumberbatch to be rather hammy in "Sherlock", but I'm willing to put that down to direction or writing.
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Mark Tiedemann
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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Tue May 28, 2013 9:00 am

Yul Brynner.
Ross Martin.
Mae West.
Oliver Reed.
Shelly Winters.

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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Tue May 28, 2013 9:04 am

FrankChurch wrote:Robert Mitchum was a grade A asshole. Katherine Hepburn, because she was so hard on religion. She was the Richard Dawkins of her day.


I think the question was about their acting.

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Re: The Hams of Hollerwood History...Ya Love 'Em Or Ya Hate 'Em

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:31 am

Mark Tiedemann wrote:Yul Brynner.
Ross Martin.
Mae West.
Oliver Reed.
Shelly Winters.


It's funny, Mark. Yul Brynner was at the top of my list too, and then I remembered THE VOYAGE. But he's definitely a scene-stealer.
I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight, the same as my Father.
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