Friday, 1 October 2010
"I don't belong here.... I guess everybody says that, don't they? "
Mikey C of the Robert E. Howard Forums and Necronomania has alerted me to the passing of Tony Curtis, and I drink to the shade of another cinematic legend who has passed into the dark worlds unknown of man.
Man, what an actor he was. The man made a hundred and thirty films, and I can't think of a single dud. If you don't know him from Spartacus, you'll know him from Some Like It Hot. If you don't know him from The Vikings, you know him from The Persuaders. If you don't know him from Sweet Smell of Success, you'll know him from The Defiant Ones, and so on and so forth.
I loved his roles in those films, but it's his performance as Albert deSalvo in The Boston Strangler that I remember.
A haunted, powerful, utterly convincing performance (very loosely based on real events) is hard to pull off sometimes, but Curtis was absolutely captivating. The film as a whole was very underrated in my opinion, especially in its innovative use of split-screen and excellent pacing, but Curtis brings it all together, making him one of the most sympathetic antagonists in all of cinema. I almost wish it was entirely fictionalized, as the liberties it makes with the unsettling facts and theories about the real Boston Strangler don't really sit well with me. I can't very well praise The Boston Strangler while decrying Titanic, now can I?
In any case, Curtis' turn as the fictionalized DeSalvo was one of my absolute favourite pieces of acting in film. Plus, he was part of what I consider to be one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history.
I never really read up on Curtis' personal life, but from what I know he was about as irascible and tempestuous as many a Hollywood star. I prefer to judge an actor by his work, and Curtis' best work is clear to see.