Hollywood is considered the alma mater of world cinema. It has ruled the world of cinema for over 100 years and during this time has thrown up some of the greatest actors the world has seen. Lets have alook at some of them
Born in 1940 this actor is one of my favorites. I first saw him acting the part of Don Corelone inGodfather I. I was impressed by his acting and the fact that he lived the role of the gangster in the film based on the novel by Mario Puzo. In this film he was frame by frame a match for Marlon Brando. Now Hollywood has recognized Al Pachino as one of the greatest actors of the last 100 years.
Al Pachino was born in East Harlem in New York of Italian parents. Harlem as we know is one of the deprived areas of New York and Pachino grew up in relative poverty. This had a bearing on his life and perhaps was the reason for him acting in serious roles. Al Pachino is best remembered for his Godfather trilogy I, II, III where he literally lived the life of an Italian mobster. Hollywood also recognized him after 7 nominations and finally he won the Oscar for the best actor in Scent of a woman (1992).
He is one actor who has always done justice to his roles and even in the winter of his life has turned in some memorable films. His latest film Wild Salome (2011) has just been premiered at the 68th Venice International festival. In this film he plays the role of King Herod. He also turned in a memorable performance as Shylock in the Merchant of Venice (2004).
Al Pachino has acted in nearly 50 films in a career spanning 42 years. His other memorable roles include Dick Tracy, Justice for all, Serpico, Panic in the needle, the devils advocate, among others. Al Pachino has carved for himself a special place in the world of cinema. Pachino never married though he had liaisons with a number of women and actresses among whom Tuesday Wells, Marthe Weller, Diana Keaton, Lyndon Hobbs feature.
He had 3 children out-of-wedlock. For Film buffs he is the ultimate star for soft and hard undertone gangster and character riles. One can’t forget his role as the blind Major in Scent of a woman.
He is my ultimate star in cowboy western films and I have perhaps viewed all his western films. In all these films he played the role of the eternal good cigar chewing gun fighter. These films made by Sergio Leone in Italy by replicating sets of the Wild West in America are known as spaghetti westerns.
Needless to add they were stupendous hits not only in America but around the Globe even in India. Prominent among them are for a Few Dollars More, Fistful of Dollars, the Good bad and Ugly. In these he was supported by the famous character actor Lee Van Cleef. Clint also did other western films notable being outlaw Josey Wales, Hang em High and the High Plains Drifter, which I consider his best film.
Clint Eastwood was born in 1930 and was from the lower economic strata as his father was a factory hand. He joined the US Army as a life guard and served for one year.
In addition to his western movies Clint also played other roles and starred with Richard Burton in the war epic ‘Where Eagles dare‘. He also acted in a series of detective movies where he played the role of Dirty Harry a San Francisco policeman.
Clint took up production and direction and produced and acted in some thought-provoking films like Million dollarr baby (2004), Letters from Iowa Jima, Play Misty for me and a host of other films. In 2000 he was awarded the Italian Venice Film Festival Golden lion award for a life time of achievement. He was warded the Legion d’honneur in France 2007.
Eastwood married only once in 1953 (divorced 1984) to his childhood sweetheart but had liaisons with a number of women and fathered 7 children from 5 different women. He is recognized as the ultimate macho star that show cased America. No less than a man than the US President Obama has complimented Eastwood as a man who is the ‘the essence of America’
Remember the film True Grit made in 1973( I saw it at a re run at Bangalore in 1987) where a one-eyed Marshal holding the reins of the horse in his mouth gallops forward with both guns blazing as he confronts a gang of kidnappers. That was John Wayne and he won the Oscar for the best actor award for this film.
John Wayne is regarded as one of the legends of Hollywood. He was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after his death in 1979. John was born in 1907 at the turn of the last century at a time when America was moving forward and Hollywood had just entered the era of silent films.
Wayne took to acting in a big way and landed his first role in 1930 and continued acting for the next 45 years. He starred in the old genre of Cowboy films and some of his notable hits are theHorse Soldiers, The Alamo, The Cowboys, The Longest day, North by Worth west. He acted as the male lead in 142 films, not a mean achievement.
John excelled as the old-time lawman that brought peace to the Wild West. He was one of the greats of Hollywood and I was surprised when I found that he also had a fan following in India. In 1999 the American Film institute named him as the 13th among the list of all time greats in the world of cinema. In case the readers can get hold of his films from the net or the local CD dealer, you can spend time watching an America legend.
John Wayne married thrice and had 7 children. All his wives were Hispanic (Spanish Mexican origin).
As an actor I think there is no peer of Richard Burton. He was an English actor who was accepted by Hollywood and is now recognized as one of the greatest actors to grace the celluloid screen. Burton at one time was the highest paid actor in Hollywood and was nominated 7 times for best actor award for the Oscars, but he somehow never won the award. It was rumored that the US Academy of Arts and Motion picture Sciences was reluctant to give the award to a non-American.
Burton acted in many historical films notably Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, Becket, Rommel. He also portrayed some superb roles in the Sandpiper, Who’s afraid of Virginia wolf, where eagles dare, the wild geese and many more. There is no doubt that Burton did justice to all his roles.
Burton was born in 1925 and died in 1984 in a career spanning 40 years on the stage and the screen. Burton had strong political views and once claimed ‘he was a communist’ and criticized Churchill. For this he was never considered for knighthood. I have seen reruns and CDs of almost 20 of burtons films and I can’t help marvel that here was an actor who cam from another dimension.
Burton had many love affairs but his marriage and love for the American actress Elizabeth Taylor over rode everything.
Nicholas cage is the reigning star of Hollywood. I first saw his film the Vampire and I was taken in by a very effective portrayal of a vampire by Nicholas Cage. About 2 years back his Ghost Ridercaptivated me.
Cage was born in 1965 and has acted in nearly 60 films. He is the big budget star who has built up an endearing image as a fine actor. In addition his films at the box office have been big hits. His notable hits are Moonstruck, The Rock, city of Angels, Snake eyes, Bringing out the dead and a hoist of other films.
Cage has had financial troubles and has been sued by his ex-wife. He has been married thrice.
But all said and done Nicholas Cage has a brought in a new era as far as acting is concerned. He was also the Academy award winner as Best actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. In February 2011, the actor claimed credit for a new method of acting which he referred to as “Nouveau Shamanic”. He plans to write a book on this.