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This image is copyrighted © 2010, by D. Phillips. All rights reserved. Used by written permission. Founded in 1996, this is the official website for Audie Murphy.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:08 am 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:07 pm
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After watching this old favorite of mine--funny how you can forget so many people and scenes--I am sold on AM's acting ability. Sure, he couldn't handle Shakespeare, but many Hollywood proven stars couldn't either.
Can you imagine ol' character actor, Walter Brennen--probably the best of all-time character actors--doing Shakespeare?

Anyway, this death scene with James Stewart--what a great guy, huh--in Dark Passage, 1957, Image
was very, very convincing. I thought Audie's role, up until that time in this great entertaining movie, was too passive. But, watching him fatally shot, and uttering those last dying words in Stewart's arms, brought tears to my eyes. Simple a great, memorable moment in Audie's movie career. What actor, playing this role, could have played this scene better? Very few, if any, in my opinion?
The man was so unique, you wonder what couldn't he have done? :ymsigh:

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:23 am
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Location: Midwest
What gets to me is the last gunfight in Gunpoint, a movie which I saw for the first time recently. They don't really make enough of the main character's vision problems in the main body of the plot (even when it might be relevant), but that climax, where he can't see clearly, and he knows someone's after him, and then the Warren Stevens character comes up behind him and taunts him, and his whole face changes. He doesn't relax exactly, but you can tell that he has a plan, and he doesn't feel helpless anymore, and then basically he relies on his sense of hearing and the other guy's overconfidence for that final spin and shoot.

Or the scene in Gunfight at Comanche Creek, where he flirts with the love interest and she says something like "You don't ever give up, do you?" And he just smirks and says "It doesn't pay." Or the bit in Trunk to Cairo, where he taunts the Egyptian military guy (whom he's shot in the arm or shoulder previously) saying "You're lucky I'm such a bad shot," in a way that seems to mean totally the opposite, and you find yourself going, "wait, you mean you winged him on purpose?" Even though there is nothing in the story to indicate that, or to indicate that there is anything to be gained by him doing that, or making the Egyptian guy think he did that.

Or his reactions in Posse From Hell to Zohra Lampert's rants about how tainted and traumatized she is. You totally believe that his character is a). somewhat attracted to her, b). exasperated by her inability to focus on the practical issues at hand and c). deeply appalled that she's trying to talk about this to him. Or the scene in 40 Guns to Apache Pass, where the renegades have him tied up, and he's trying to talk them down, with a surprising amount of dignity.

I've said before: as an actor, Murph could be pretty darned good when he understood where the character was coming from. A lot of his bad rap as an actor comes from movies where the character is so underwritten that there's nothing to work with (Sierra, Cimarron Kid), or cases where he just couldn't get into the mindset (Cast a Long Shadow requires him to play an aggressive egomaniac; Kansas Raiders requires him to play someone who takes the aggressive egomaniac seriously, and IMO he's not at his best in either performance).


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:56 pm 
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Interesting favorite scenes. I too have my favorite scenes, one being Hell Bent for Leather in the coral. The expressiveness on his face is amazing. Another which is probably unusual is Showdown. The underplaying when he is talking with Charles Drake's character and when they are chained to the pole and he says "just dogs" (with a sneer) and "guess we better dig". I think his acting is great in those scenes. A few of his movies it seems to me the script doesn't give him a lot to work with. One scene I think he could have shown more expression in is Six Black Horses when they are threatening to hang him. He played that too calm. I wonder if the director makes a big difference for him. I seem to remember reading that his anger at one director got the director replaced and I got the impression that is was because the director didn't care whether a scene worked or not.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:18 pm 
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JackieD wrote:
Interesting favorite scenes. I too have my favorite scenes, one being Hell Bent for Leather in the coral. The expressiveness on his face is amazing. Another which is probably unusual is Showdown. The underplaying when he is talking with Charles Drake's character and when they are chained to the pole and he says "just dogs" (with a sneer) and "guess we better dig". I think his acting is great in those scenes. A few of his movies it seems to me the script doesn't give him a lot to work with. One scene I think he could have shown more expression in is Six Black Horses when they are threatening to hang him. He played that too calm. I wonder if the director makes a big difference for him. I seem to remember reading that his anger at one director got the director replaced and I got the impression that is was because the director didn't care whether a scene worked or not.


My impression of the scene from Six Black Horses is that the character thinks he's doomed and is too proud to let the other guys see him be frightened or upset. He does show anger and contempt towards them, but in a very controlled way. His sort of gleeful disbelief when Dan Duryea rescues him is a sharp contrast.

George Sherman, the director of Hellbent for Leather was the one who walked from 7 Ways From Sundown after an altercation with Murphy. The director always claimed that he and Murphy had been debating how to handle a particular line, the director snapped at him and basically told him to just shut and do it...and discovered why you just didn't talk that way to Audie Murphy. I stumbled across an article in a book about movies made at Lone Pine, which quoted Burt Kennedy as being a friend of both men and saying that the way he heard it, Sherman came on a group of the actors, including Murphy, playing poker, and starting yelling at one of them and threatening to fire the guy, and Murphy intervened. (Rule number one in trying to make a film with Murphy: don't try to push him around. Rule number two: don't try to push his friends around, at least in situations where he's likely to find out about it.)


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