Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Passion Without Pain: 12 Great Ben Gazzara Performances

When we lost Ben Gazzara a few days ago we lost one of America's truly great actors. A heavyweight whose best performances, whether they be as a character actor or leading man, contained more moments of devastating beauty and true poetry than most great actors could ever claim. Ben Gazzara was never nominated for an Oscar, and the majority of the awards he had on his shelf were for his television work, but he was one of cinema's most accomplished actors and, in a career that stretched over six decades, he never gave less than an unforgettable performance. To honor one of Moon in the Gutter's favorite actors, here are my ten favorite performances from him. Share some of your favorites in the comments if you will.

1. as John Russo in Peter Bogdanovich's They All Laughed.

2. as Cosmo Vittelli in John Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

3. as Charles Serking in Marco Ferreri's Tales of Ordinary Madness.

4. as Jack Flowers in Peter Bogdanovich's Saint Jack.

5. as Manny Victor in John Cassavetes' Opening Night.

6. as Dino Romani in Pasquale Festa Campanile's The Girl from Trieste.

7. as Harry in John Cassavetes' Husbands.

8. as Jack Mckay in Lars Von Trier's Dogville.

9. as Lenny Jordan in Todd Solondz's Happiness.

10. as Jackie Treehorn in The Coen Brother's The Big Lebowski.

11. as Jimmy Brown in Vincent Gallo's Buffalo 66.

12. as Joseph Coppola in Ferdinando Baldi's The Sicilian Connection.

Thank you Ben.

1 comment:

Tony Dayoub said...

Great list, Jeremy.

If you haven't seen it before, I'd search for THE STRANGE ONE. It's one of Gazzara's earliest performances, and this THEY ALL LAUGHED fan would still put it at the top of your list.