TABLE OF CONTENTS

film

The Train, Bonnie and Clyde, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Point Blank

The kooky thing about film acting is its uncontrolled, spilling over quality. The meat of any movie performance is in the suggestive material that circles the edge of a role: quirks of physiognomy, private thoughts of the actor about himself, misalliances where the body isn’t delineating the role, but is running on a tangent to it.

Burt Lancaster’s stationmaster in The Train—a semi-reluctant fighter in the Resistance stationed in Nazi-occupied France—is an interesting performance because it has almost no center. Seven eighths of his time is spent occupied at work tasks, scrambling around the countryside. The basic information of his role is impatiently dispatched to the audience: a man pissed off at the absurdity of total sacrifice to save a carload of Van Goghs and Picassos, the “glorious French heritage.” The overtone in a Lancaster performance is that of a man who seems to disappear into

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