-Are you a God?
- they asked the Buddha.
- No.
- Are you an angel, then?
- No.
- A saint?
- No.
- Then what are you?


"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure of
the universe"-Albert Einstein-

Om Mani Padme Hum

Matthew 25:40

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 7 1-6

1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad Guys but Great Actors

If I had to pick I'd say my favorites are the gangster and film noir movies from the thirties to the early or mid fifties.  Anything with Cagney, Bogart, Robinson in them. There were others of course, Raft was great too, or Muni. The original Scarface in 1932 had Paul Muni with George Raft as the coin flipping sidekick. It was a fantastic movie, much better than the Pachino remake. I'll never understand what makes some of these actors believe they can do it better than the originals. Generally they can't. Modern gangster movies, the Godfather, Goodfellas, Resevoir Dogs, etc. are good, but not as good, I don't know why, as movies they may actually beeee better, at least to some, but I prefer the older films.  Back to Raft for a minute, he played a cop here and there, but was known for his gangster roles, and real life friendship with real gangsters. In my opinion he was the most real onsceen, watching the movie you tend to forget you're watching somebody act, and see a real person instead.  The same thing was true about Cagney, but Raft was even more real.  Bogart and Robinson were good, but they were actors and watching them you don't forget that. I've said for years that in his later movies, The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, et al, Bogart was playing Bogart, the same thing applies to Robinson, but Raft and to a slightly lesser degree Cagney came across as real. Which isn't to say I don't like Bogart or Robinson, the movies are great, if I had to pick favorites, for Robinson it would be Little Caesar from 1931, an excellent film, at the end after he's gunned down by the cops, his last words are, "Is this the end...of Rico?" Then he dies in a ditch.  For Bogart my favorite is probably High Sierra.  
But the best in the gangster genre is James Cagney. Nobody did it better. From Public Enemy in 1931 through White Heat, and on to the end he never lost his touch.  Speakig of White Heat most people think it's the ultimate gangster portrayal, a psychotic mama's boy with an itchy trigger finger.  Nobody but Cagney could have brought it off, Cody Jarrett was not a guy you'd want as your best friend.  It's where the line "Top of the World Ma"  came from.  But my personal favorite is Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye from 1950, similar to White Heat, but more real. Cagney's Ralph Cotter is a genuine SOB and makes no bones about it. Escaping from a prison camp, he kills his buddy as they escape, then uses his buddy's sister who's waiting in a car to help them get away, then blackmails and seduces her, until he's ready to move on to a younger richer girl, he kills, and robs, and sets up crooked cops, etc. Finally the sister catches on, tells him to Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye then shoots him dead. The film was banned in Ohio as "a sordid, sadistic presentation of brutality and an extreme presentation of crime with explicit steps in commission." You can't ask for a better endorsement than that...

Lee Murray

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