Just curious who you think was the greatest British character actor? Why?
Feel free to list one I forgot! I only had ten choices LOL.
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Just curious who you think was the greatest British character actor? Why?
Feel free to list one I forgot! I only had ten choices LOL.
|by Anonymous||reply 130||November 26, 2021 5:46 AM|
Oops. I put George Sanders twice! Replace him with Malcolm McDowell.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||October 19, 2021 6:32 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 2||October 19, 2021 6:34 PM|
Julian Glover is in every major franchise-
Game of Thrones
|by Anonymous||reply 3||October 19, 2021 6:36 PM|
I don’t know any of these names.
I know Malcolm McDowell
|by Anonymous||reply 4||October 19, 2021 6:36 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 5||October 19, 2021 6:37 PM|
I wouldn't call most of these people character actors, given that they mostly played first and second leads. Postlethwaite and Hyde-White, okay. But what a weird selection in any case.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||October 19, 2021 6:38 PM|
R6 I always felt they got Wilfrid Hyde-White when they couldn't get George Sanders.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||October 19, 2021 6:41 PM|
Where is Tim Curry?
|by Anonymous||reply 8||October 19, 2021 6:49 PM|
R8 Good suggestion! I told you I couldn't add everybody!
|by Anonymous||reply 9||October 19, 2021 6:52 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 10||October 19, 2021 6:59 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 11||October 19, 2021 7:00 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 12||October 19, 2021 7:02 PM|
No love for Michael Gough?
|by Anonymous||reply 13||October 20, 2021 2:36 PM|
Ralph "God" Richardson.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||October 20, 2021 2:58 PM|
R12 and R14 There is a great album of him reciting William Blake! Give it a listen!
|by Anonymous||reply 15||October 20, 2021 3:00 PM|
Alec Guinness. He may have played leads, but those were all character roles.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||October 20, 2021 3:04 PM|
George Sanders for his velvet tone, filled with whimsy and menace.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||October 20, 2021 3:14 PM|
It was Rex Harrison for any flatulence-dependent role.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||October 20, 2021 3:15 PM|
r11 Cute and gay! Good choice!
|by Anonymous||reply 19||October 20, 2021 3:21 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 20||October 20, 2021 3:28 PM|
R19 I wish he was in more films. I've only seen him in a few movies here and there. I did get the chance to see his recitation of the Gospel of Mark live. What a performance!
|by Anonymous||reply 21||October 20, 2021 3:39 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 22||October 20, 2021 3:47 PM|
Sir Alec Guinness for the win.
Another vote for Laughton, McCowen, Sellars, the Fox Brothers, Hurt
Dickie Attenborough (before he took up directing)
|by Anonymous||reply 23||October 20, 2021 3:59 PM|
^^^ SellErs ^^^
|by Anonymous||reply 24||October 20, 2021 4:02 PM|
Agree with R22, Peter O'Toole and Robert Shaw.
Love Hopkins too
|by Anonymous||reply 25||October 20, 2021 4:03 PM|
Max Adrian, if Irish counts as British
|by Anonymous||reply 26||October 20, 2021 4:04 PM|
Jim Broadbent is in everything.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||October 20, 2021 4:05 PM|
Donald Wolfit was Peter O'Toole's mentor.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||October 20, 2021 4:07 PM|
My James Mason story. In the late 60s. I went to see 'If' at a movie theatre in Lausanne, Switzerland. In line behind me was James Mason accompanied by a very attractive girl in her 20s, wearing a mini-skirt. I'd never thought about Mason or found him attractive but in person he was very hot for an older man. Very handsome.
I sat down in the theatre and eventually Mason and girlfriend came and sat next to me. He spent the whole movie with his hand under her skirt fingering her while she moaned. Very distracting.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||October 20, 2021 4:08 PM|
What about Alan Rickman? He wasn't exactly a leading man type, but he had a knack for stealing the show
|by Anonymous||reply 30||October 20, 2021 4:15 PM|
R29 James Mason was attractive in that debonair and class league.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||October 20, 2021 4:21 PM|
Alec Guinness is my choice. He could play anything from broad comedy to drama, and could even make a mark in little-remembered science fiction movies.
But when I saw the question, I immediately thought of Jim Broadbent. So among modern actors, he'd be my choice.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||October 20, 2021 4:31 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 33||October 20, 2021 4:43 PM|
R32 My favorite Guinness performance is in Murder by Death. At the end, they all start accusing him of being different people. He acts like the person and then quickly changes to another. He pulls it off so well.
The room is full of legends- Peter Sellers, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Falk, James Coco, Maggie Smith, Eileen Brennan, James Cromwell, yet Guinness steals the show!
|by Anonymous||reply 34||October 20, 2021 4:44 PM|
[quote]I sat down in the theatre and eventually Mason and girlfriend came and sat next to me. He spent the whole movie with his hand under her skirt fingering her while she moaned.
Mason was still channelling his inner Humbert Humbert some years after 'Lolita.' Admittedly though the girl was in her 20s.
[quote]Guinness steals the show!
Always recall how in a big scene for the original brilliant TV 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', Hywel Bennett was so nervous about acting with Guinness he needed not a little brandy to calm his agitation. AG is of course effortlessly flawless in TTSS - a great TV work stuffed with fine character actors of a certain era.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||October 20, 2021 5:05 PM|
Alec McCowen was SO good in Hitchcock's "Frenzy."
|by Anonymous||reply 36||October 20, 2021 6:28 PM|
Donald Wolfit is not a character actor. He is a Shakespearean thespian who appeared in very few films. He was a transitionary figure.
He's the George H.W. Bush of the acting.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||October 20, 2021 6:31 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 38||October 20, 2021 6:33 PM|
Alex McCowen was awesome (and openly gay)
|by Anonymous||reply 39||October 20, 2021 6:33 PM|
John Gielgud always played John Gielgud.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||October 20, 2021 6:34 PM|
James Mason had bone structure to die for.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||October 20, 2021 6:35 PM|
No. It was his eyes.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||October 20, 2021 6:39 PM|
R40, no, he didn't
|by Anonymous||reply 43||October 20, 2021 6:39 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 44||October 20, 2021 6:39 PM|
If this is how he eats an ice cream...
|by Anonymous||reply 45||October 20, 2021 6:40 PM|
Did the British tabloids ever out McCowen? They outed Nigel Hawthorne in their customary disrespectful way.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||October 20, 2021 6:44 PM|
Brilliant in everything.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||October 20, 2021 6:44 PM|
R46 And that's why Hawthorne lost the Oscar. Still pisses me off.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||October 20, 2021 6:44 PM|
[quote]They outed Nigel Hawthorne in their customary disrespectful way.
Hawthorne's career had a big very deserved Indian Summer, which meant he was a prime scalp for vile homophobic hacks. I recall one sneering piece in The Sunday Times about NH and his partner which defied belief. Delighted he was Knighted.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||October 20, 2021 6:56 PM|
R49 the nineties were Nigel's decade- Demolition Man, the Madness of King George, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Amistad, The Object of My Affection, Madeline, The Winslow Boy, and Tarzan.
He is the best British character actor of the 1990's.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||October 20, 2021 7:17 PM|
This reminded me to look up Michael Gambon, still alive at 81, but he stopped stage acting at age 74 when he couldn't remember his lines and has done smaller film roles since. He had a very particular style and presence, but I always liked him, and where the more had some dimension he could be exceptionally good.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||October 20, 2021 7:30 PM|
Alec Guiness or Olivier.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||October 20, 2021 8:01 PM|
Most of these guys primarily played leading man roles.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||October 20, 2021 8:55 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 54||October 20, 2021 8:55 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 55||October 20, 2021 8:56 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 56||October 20, 2021 9:25 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 57||October 21, 2021 12:27 AM|
OP, you need to clean up your definitions if you want a sensible debate.
First of all, Rex Harrison was a star rather than a 'character actor'.
He may have been balding but some self-oppressed women considered him to be sexy.
He was always on the top of the credits from the 1940s until the end. He always played roles close to his own character. He was limited and couldn't do Shakespeare. He styled himself on Gerald Du Maurier and wanted everything to be relaxed and comfortable.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||October 21, 2021 1:54 AM|
[quote] James Mason accompanied by a very attractive girl in her 20s, wearing a mini-skirt.
That dolly bird was raised in house next door to the local football field and the sound of neanderthal grunting occurred daily. Her father was a publican and some might say she was as rough as guts.
But James married her and that may have been one of the very many bad decisions he made in his career. Poor James was an introspective masochist.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||October 21, 2021 2:30 AM|
[quote] Wilfrid Hyde-White
He was nobody for most of his life put he produced this cutie—
|by Anonymous||reply 60||October 21, 2021 2:59 AM|
C. Aubrey Smith
|by Anonymous||reply 61||October 21, 2021 3:13 AM|
Wilfrid Hyde White never knew what was going on - he only read his own lines in the script.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||October 21, 2021 3:14 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 63||October 21, 2021 3:15 AM|
If Rex Harrison is not a character actor, than neither is James Mason, Alec Guinness, or Laurence Olivier.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||October 21, 2021 3:59 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 65||October 21, 2021 4:03 AM|
R46 We have a Datalounger who conversed with McCowen.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||October 21, 2021 4:24 AM|
Denholm Elliot not on the list.
But of all of those on the list, I find Terrence Stamp to be the most intriguing. He had leading man looks but excelled as character actor. He should’ve won an Oscar for his turn in Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||October 21, 2021 4:28 AM|
[quote] But what a weird selection in any case.
Yes indeed, R7.
This weird selection ignores the cultural differences between Britons and Americans. And the difference between genuine actors and movie stars who stand in front of a camera. And the difference between people of integrity and people who will appear in trash for money.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||October 21, 2021 4:32 AM|
R36, my favorite parts of Frenzy were when she was feeding him. They were both great.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||October 21, 2021 4:38 AM|
Another actor not on the list us the always fantastic Richard E. Grant. He can play any sort of characters but IMO excels in playing character who’s a bot on edge.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||October 21, 2021 4:42 AM|
R26 You must be English.
No American would know Martyn Green apart from audio recordings and Donald Wolfit only appeared in a few known movies. He only got his biggest movie role when the drunkard Robert Newton was hospitalised three weeks before filming.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||October 21, 2021 5:06 AM|
R71 Who got what role?
|by Anonymous||reply 72||October 21, 2021 5:09 AM|
[quote]Alec McCowen was SO good in Hitchcock's "Frenzy."
McCowen was brilliant in Personal Services with Julie Walters.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||October 21, 2021 5:30 AM|
[quote] McCowen was brilliant…
He looked very sad and haggard in all his movie appearances. I'm surprised the Americans put him on a contract.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||October 21, 2021 6:06 AM|
That's the original Hyacinth's Rose on the left at r73.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||October 21, 2021 6:07 AM|
Alec McCowen had those unfortunate lizard-like nostrils which distract us from whatever he was doing.
He should stay on stage.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||October 21, 2021 6:20 AM|
R75 Yep, Shirley Stelfox. Who was also excellent in Personal Services.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||October 21, 2021 6:26 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 78||October 21, 2021 6:34 AM|
[quote] Alec Guiness
R52 Alec Guinness
|by Anonymous||reply 79||October 21, 2021 6:40 AM|
[quote] Claude Rains … Brilliant in everything.
But not very good in keeping a wife. But then Isabel did commit adultery with another man.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||October 21, 2021 6:48 AM|
I’m ignoring this character actor thing though because most aren’t
|by Anonymous||reply 81||October 21, 2021 6:50 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 82||October 21, 2021 4:25 PM|
Recently watched Harry Andrews as the gay brother in 'Entertaining Mr Sloane.' He stole most scenes, even those with Peter McEnery wearing tight white underpants.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||October 21, 2021 5:11 PM|
Sir Cedric Hardwicke
|by Anonymous||reply 84||October 22, 2021 1:05 AM|
[quote] Sir Cedric Hardwicke
Yes, I think I like him too.
I read his memoir and I think we need to differentiate his career pre-1940 and post-1940. His early career was bound up with the London stage and the 'public-intellectual' known as George Bernard Shaw. He got his knighthood for premiering those Shavian plays.
He made two major films demonstrating his abilities to convey strength. One is the prophetic 'Things To Come' with its brilliant musical score. The other was as Claude Frollo, where he was chillingly masterful barking out orders while wearing a wig, a rather fetching hat with some drapery hanging over his shoulders.
His career was downhill from 1940.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||October 22, 2021 4:17 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 86||November 8, 2021 4:31 AM|
Rex Harrison would hit you if you called him a character actor when he was pre-70 or so, but he was nasty anyway.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||November 8, 2021 4:33 AM|
Alec Guinness and Charles Laughton were leading character men usually. John Mills went between leading and character man roles. Sydney Greenstreet is another great character actor.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||November 8, 2021 4:40 AM|
[quote] Rex Harrison …was nasty anyway.
If you seek for nastiness and if it excites you so to especially mention it here so very, very long after his demise then I guarantee you will find it wherever you look..
Others enjoyed his easy charm.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||November 8, 2021 4:48 AM|
[quote] Who was the greatest British character actor?
Sydney Greenstreet, R88, appeared in NO British films.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||November 8, 2021 4:56 AM|
But he was British.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||November 8, 2021 6:27 PM|
Some rather good entries here, but how about David Niven? I should think he fits the bill as both a strong character actor, as well as a male lead. I thought Americans adored Niven. Perhaps I was wrong?
|by Anonymous||reply 92||November 8, 2021 7:11 PM|
Yes, you are wrong, R92.
He was a 'lounge lizard' in the style of the late Gerald du Maurier. He had NO vocal ability nor any sense of characterisation.
He was on Samual Goldwyn's payroll and so English producers put him in English films hoping to get Goldwyn to distribute their product in the US market.
He was epicene. He was passive and knew how to support real stars and genuine actors.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||November 8, 2021 10:22 PM|
OP Are you blind?!
Sexy Rexy a CHARACTER ACTOR???!!!
He was one of the great romantic leading men of his generation.
Trevor Howard of BRIEF ENCOUNTER??!!
Terence Stamp of FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD???!!!
Get some specs and watch some films made before 1980.
You can start with THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||November 8, 2021 10:27 PM|
^*Oh, and James Mason doesn't belong on that list, either.
|by Anonymous||reply 95||November 8, 2021 10:28 PM|
And the alphas and omegas . . .
Ralph Richardson and Alec Guiness
|by Anonymous||reply 96||November 8, 2021 10:30 PM|
[quote] Wilfrid Hyde-White
I guarantee you would have never heard of W H-W if that drunkard Peter O'Toole played in MY Fair Lady as he was asked.
You cannot even name a film in which Wilfrid Hyde-White appeared prior to 1964!
|by Anonymous||reply 97||November 8, 2021 10:54 PM|
He used to be skinny before he bloated up in the Lotus Land of sun, sex and sleaze.
|by Anonymous||reply 98||November 8, 2021 10:58 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 99||November 8, 2021 10:59 PM|
Donald Crisp - the eternal father, uncle, family solicitor . . .
Best performance, the head of the struggling family of miners in How Green Was My Valley.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||November 9, 2021 11:06 AM|
[quote] Donald Crisp
What was said about R90 applies here as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||November 9, 2021 10:59 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 102||November 9, 2021 11:11 PM|
Claude Rains had five wives.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||November 9, 2021 11:13 PM|
R101 - British character actors appeared in American films. The question OP posed was not who was the greatest British character actor in British films, but was the greatest British character actor?
"Donald William Crisp (27 July 1882 – 25 May 1974) was an English film actor as well as an early producer, director and screenwriter. His career lasted from the early silent film era into the 1960s. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1942 for his performance in How Green Was My Valley."
Crisp was a British character actor.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||November 10, 2021 12:51 AM|
[quote] Donald Wolfit is not a character actor … He was a transitionary figure.
What do you mean, OP? What do you mean by "transitionary"?
|by Anonymous||reply 105||November 10, 2021 9:39 PM|
R94, someone who doesn't watch films made before 1980 wouldn't even know who any of those guys are
|by Anonymous||reply 106||November 10, 2021 9:43 PM|
Someone who doesn't watch films made before 1980 are being wilfully ignorant and deserve their stupidity.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||November 10, 2021 9:45 PM|
R52 and R96 have both misspelled the name of the greatest British character actor.
This (not-especially-good) filmmaker makes some perceptive remarks about Guinness' appearances on screen.
|by Anonymous||reply 108||November 10, 2021 10:05 PM|
[quote]Claude Rains had five wives.[quote]
What has that got to do with his acting?
|by Anonymous||reply 109||November 12, 2021 9:05 PM|
[quote] What has that got to do with his acting?
Adulterers practice the art of deception. Acting is deception.
|by Anonymous||reply 110||November 13, 2021 9:32 PM|
[quote] the alphas and omegas
What do you mean, R96? Are you suggesting that these two actors can perform any role they choose?
|by Anonymous||reply 111||November 13, 2021 9:45 PM|
R105 Unanswered question.
R111 Unanswered question.
|by Anonymous||reply 112||November 19, 2021 6:25 PM|
[quote] I find Terrence Stamp to be the most intriguing. He had leading man looks
I can't agree about his looks. Even when he was mildly pretty in the 60s his wide cheekbones and small jaw made him resemble the Extra-Terrestrial.
He had a good run in the 60s for Wyler, Ustinov, Schlesinger, Fellini, and Pasolini but very little of quality in the subsequent half-century.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||November 19, 2021 6:30 PM|
Charles Laughton wins every list like this. But let's not forget Ralph Richardson, the greatest Iago there ever was.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||November 19, 2021 10:59 PM|
[quote] the greatest Iago there ever was.
Oh, R114, you talk as through you were there at the Old Vic in 1937.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||November 21, 2021 8:00 AM|
Claude Rains on a water bed.
|by Anonymous||reply 116||November 21, 2021 9:40 AM|
Claude Rains standing on a hidden foot stool.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||November 21, 2021 10:16 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 118||November 21, 2021 11:30 AM|
[quote] Richard Madden.
He and his streak of white hair sometimes remind me of John Justin.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||November 21, 2021 11:41 AM|
(These are honest-to-God CHARACTER actors.)
|by Anonymous||reply 120||November 21, 2021 11:48 AM|
[quote] Harry Andrews
I could never take him seriously in dramatic roles because of his gargantuan jaw.
(it was bigger than Vanessa Redgrave's jaw)
|by Anonymous||reply 121||November 26, 2021 1:01 AM|
The guy who used to say, "I, say." He's a character actor, most of the people in your OP are not, OP.
|by Anonymous||reply 122||November 26, 2021 1:16 AM|
[quote] The guy who used to say, "I, say."
The late Roger Livesey
|by Anonymous||reply 123||November 26, 2021 1:19 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 124||November 26, 2021 2:32 AM|
That's not him, R123.
|by Anonymous||reply 125||November 26, 2021 3:05 AM|
Are you American, R122?
Are you thinking of Nigel Bruce?
|by Anonymous||reply 126||November 26, 2021 3:19 AM|
No, R122, and no, not Nigel Bruce. The guy had a gap between his front teeth. He was (from what I remember) kind of a comedic character actor.
|by Anonymous||reply 127||November 26, 2021 3:22 AM|
R127 are you talking Terry-Thomas?
|by Anonymous||reply 128||November 26, 2021 3:24 AM|
Yes, R128! Thanks.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||November 26, 2021 4:26 AM|
Terry-Thomas outwits the Union Rep
|by Anonymous||reply 130||November 26, 2021 5:46 AM|
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