Around the tyme he co-starred with the always-marvelous Ms. Woodward, Mr. Scott gave a Playboy interview during which he confessed he’d never thought Mr. Newman was a great actor tho conceded he could be quite a good one. Rather than get mired in that sticky wicket – certainly Mr. Scott was never as great a STAR – let’s be grateful his outspokenness didn’t get in the way of his creating two impressively dissimilar but equally distinctive characterizations opposite both truly titled talents.
Everyone’s Welcome to Theirs, But This is OUR Favorite Department:
It superbly showcases how wondrously wide Mr. Scott’s remarkable range was, from his completely convincing transformations his character has to undergo (also encompassing an impeccable accent) through his equally seemingly effortless ease honorably blending in
and meshing with his classically-trained English cast,
all culminating in a triumph that oughta be in that select inner upper circle of his
My brother and I saw THE NEW CENTURIONS last night. (SPOILERS) I wasn't expecting much, but it was written by Sterling Silliphant from a Joseph Wambaugh book, and we both really enjoyed it. Scott's last scene in the movie caught us by surprise. The whole film's construction--the film is held together by a unity of location, not of time or action, showing years passing in the lives of these police officers--is a reminder of how relatively common it was to find interesting script construction in seventies films. Stacy Keach, Jane Alexander and the terrific Rosalind Cash were all very good, but Scott, as usual, was so interesting. "He does rage so well," my brother said. With an unexpected appearance by Isabel Sanford as a streetwalker!
--- If you listen closely to his advice to his partner in the opening clip, you can hear a profound less-remembered preview of the more lauded scene between Sean Connery & Kevin Costner in “The Untouchables” ---
[Scott's last scene in the movie caught us by surprise ]
Agreed absolutmundo – it’s an extremely powerful sequence, JaSe, even more so because it sneaks up on you seemingly outta nowhere (tho Mr. Scott has subtly planted understated seeds by his evocative eyes a few scenes before).
As we’ve related previously, our father was a policeman in Philly for 20 years and Mr. Scott’s portrayal – along with those fabulously flawed humans that made up “Hill Street Blues” – is one of the most acutely accurate representations of the emotional stresses and psychological strains besetting those behind the badges (then again, that’s not overly surprising since its authorial source, Joseph Wambaugh, was on the force himself).
I did notice the early draft of Mamet's "They bring a knife, you bring a gun" bit. I also liked how Scott's character had an ever-growing list of 'rules' for treating people on the job.
I have been reading a lot about 70's movies, and this is one of the many that get no love in books about the period. It's not stylish ala Scorsese, and its dark tone could be dismissed as being just another cynical post-EASY RIDER flick where heroes get killed and we're all supposed to wallow in the rottenness of society. (Pauline Kael was critical of this pervasive worldview, and she had good reason.)
Yet taken as an individual movie, it had so much to say about the lot of the policeman's life. Nope, these guys aren't perfect, they can indeed be abusive pigs, they can indeed treat minorities without respect for their personhood--they have all the flaws of the rest of us. The movie doesn't make mythical perfect white heroes of them. But in its simple way it does an admirable job of showing the lot of so many police officers--loneliness, divorce, alcoholism, injury, death, depression are hazards of the life.
That this minor programmer (according to the Conventional Wisdom about which movies are IN and which are OUT) manages to make some indelible images and get out some truths more acclaimed movies haven't, in my experience, shows just how good movies of the seventies could be--the standards for what constituted movies for adults were just...different.
That makes it the best kind of 'just entertainment' movie to me.
This thread could very well be held up as the standard why Neo won Bruce Marshall's man of the year!!!
I have enjoyed reading through it. Always was a great fan of Scott. After I saw Patton I loved everything I ever saw him in. As already mentioned above, Last Run, Rage, New Centurions, Messenger etc. Allardyce's point about his creepy portrayal in Firestarter was another important role for Scott. I always felt watching him in his various roles that he made a statement - was a bit like he was saying, without much effort, "There you are, that's how you play a general with a big ego," or "That's how you play a psychotic quietly-spoken assassin" etc etc. His performances were actors studio masterclasses.
Lets hope 2012 is finally the year of the messenger release!
Aside from Patton, for me, Mr. Scott's seminal work is in Islands in the Stream. What a profoundly wonderful performance.
On a personal note, while working with Morgan Creek, I had the opportunity to watch a final cut of Exorcist III with Mr. Scott (just Mr. Scott, not a crowd of people) and a few of the crew. He sat quietly and I could almost feel him judging his own performance. It was a humbling moment for me.
I think he is a much UNDERAPPRECIATED actor and artist.
Yet taken as an individual movie, it had so much to say about the lot of the policeman's life. Nope, these guys aren't perfect, they can indeed be abusive pigs, they can indeed treat minorities without respect for their personhood--they have all the flaws of the rest of us. The movies doesn't make mythical perfect white heroes of them. But in its simple way it does an admirable job of showing the lot of so many police officers--loneliness, divorce, alcoholism, injury, death, depression are hazards of the life.
Nice point Mr Walsh. As mentioned above by Neo, if there had been no New Centurions, or no Blue Knight, or no Choirboys, there would have been no Hill Street Blues.
In a 1991 Sight and Sound interview, director Anthony Harvey was remarkably candid on the misfortunes which befell (and befouled)
“That film was destroyed … they took out all the action, the movement of the film so that it ended up as a duologue between Joanne Woodward and George C. Scott. It became a sort of middle-aged love story, so that all the excitement and madness was lost. They paid $400,000 for the property, for Joanne Woodward, but they didn’t understand it.
“I remember having conversations in Hollywood, and they didn’t know what Moriarty meant at all. I ended up in Canada reconstituting every frame, and thought ‘what a relief’.
"Then two months later Universal sent a memo to my agent saying ‘We want no further dialogue with Mr. Harvey as our sales department thinks that this version works.
“There was a whole 20 minutes of a supermarket breaking up. (There’s nothing more glorious for a director than to break up an enormous American supermarket). It was real Mack Sennett stuff which turned progressively blacker and blacker.
“There’s a great sequence with George Scott, who thinks he’s being pursued by Moriarity, running down Wall Street. We spent days shooting that and it just vanished, with no explanation at all.
“People seem to like the film, but it isn’t the film I madeand spent a year and a half of agony on.”
“I think you have to be schizoid three different ways to be an actor. You`ve got to be three different people. You have to be a human being. Then you have to be the character you`re playing. And on top of that you`ve got to be the guy sitting out there in Row 10, watching yourself and judging yourself.
That's why most of us are crazy to start with, or go nuts once we get into it. I mean, don't you think it's a pretty spooky way to earn a living? …
“You Owe Me MONEY!!!!!!”
With Ruby Dee and Earle Hyman in “East Side, West Side” (1962).
He recites Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ on “The Virginian” (1962)
“Acting changes the inner spirit. It`s fulfilling, but psychologically very costly. You can`t steal enough money in a lifetime to make up for the damage. I`m ashamed for the bitterness it created in me, but it exists. Even when you`re successful it`s hard to rise above it. It's like a growth ...
On Johnny Carson in 1974.
Saluting James Cagney on the latter’s AFI Salute (also 1974)
[ when asked for suggestions on how to judge acting] “I have three tests. First, which dominates, the character or the actor? With very few exceptions it should be the character. Second, on film - as opposed to stage - we're pretty much playing basic emotions: love, anger, fear, pity. So the trick is whether you can come up with any fresh choices to present these common emotions. Third - and this is the quality that separates the great ones from the good ones - I look for a "joy of performing" quality. Who had that quality? As much as anyone, Jimmy Cagney ...
He’s also one of the few American actors (Robert Duvall’s the other) who worked with two of the influential titans of 20th century acting, Olivier in the teevee adaptation of Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory”
“Film is not an actor's medium. You shoot scenes in order of convenience, not the way they come in the script, and that's detrimental to a fully developed performance. There's the terrible tedium and boredom involved in waiting around for the camera to be set up, and then you have to turn on and off when they do the scene over again. When you see the rushes is the first time you begin to judge your performance. If you get 50% of what you hoped for, you're lucky …
Unfortunately, we missed catching Mr. Scott quite often in his preferred arena of expression, the theatre – and what we wouldn’t have given to have seen him opposite Anne Bancroft
tho they did have a reunion of sorts in “The Hindenberg”
”Directors are supposed to help the audience. Good directors don`t direct actors."
Other stellar Scott performances include Mike Nichols’ star-studded 1973 Broadway cast of “Uncle Vanya”,
“Death of a Salesman” (1975)
and “Inherit the Wind” (1996)
We only managed to see him on stage once, during the late 70s El Lay tour in Century City of
(and his trademark fearlessness wasn’t minimized even in a romantic farce).
Perhaps the most famous vignette concerning him comes from Maureen Stapleton, who co-starred in
She confessed to director Mike Nichols “I don’t know what to do - I'm scared of him."
To which Mr. Nichols
sagely smiled and said “My dear, everyone is scared of George C. Scott.”
That’s what happens when you have such a ferocious, fearsomely Himalayan talent.
”The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
MR SCOTT i am sure was my father's favorite actor along with guys like Rod Steiger etc. So i remember when i was young, once a night i would rent out on video a George C Scott film for him to see. A hell of an actor.Loved him in THE HOSPITAL-71