Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Consider Rod Steiger

and his performance in The Pawnbroker, the most relentless of Holocaust films. It's easy to forget Steiger was one of the movies' greatest actors. We think of him giving that one fine performance, like in In the Heat of the Night or On the Waterfront or Death of a Salesman or (in all seriousness) Mars Attacks! But then look at them all together, anchored by The Pawnbroker, and the breadth of his work is chameleonic and rich. Equal to or greater than that of George C. Scott, Steiger's bald, stalwart counterpart and contemporary. Would've loved to have seen them in a movie together. Can you imagine?


Middento said...

Indeed, this is an EXCELLENT film. Done by Lumet in his prime. I'm SO glad you've seen this.

J.J. said...

For me, Lumet has never not been in his prime (except maybe right now, but he's 80 years old, after all). In that chameleonic sense, his work mirrors Steiger's. Lumet leaves no fingerprints (like Kubrick, say). 12 Angry Men, Fail-Safe, The Pawnbroker, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict, Running on Empty--unique works rather than parts of a auteuristic whole.