Jack Lemmon starred in more than 60 films, and earned both a Best Supporting Actor and a Best Actor Oscar. Uploaded by wallpaperpimper.com.
There are some actors who are just fun to watch on the screen. That’s how I always felt about Jack Lemmon. He had his own way of expressing himself, and he did it in a career that spanned 50 years and included more than 60 films.
Lemmon had some reliable partnerships during his lifetime. One was eleven movies with actor Walter Matthau, most notably as Felix Ungar in The Odd Couple. Another was with director Billy Wilder, for whom he starred in seven pictures. Here’s a summary of some of Lemmon’s more notable films:
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- It Should Happen to You (1954)
- Mister Roberts (1955 – Oscar, Supporting Actor)
- Some Like it Hot (1959 – Oscar Nomination)
- The Apartment (1960 – Oscar Nomination)
- Days of Wine and Roses (1962 – Oscar Nomination)
- Irma la Douce (1963)
- The Odd Couple (1968)
- The Out-of-Towners (1970)
- Save the Tiger (1973 – Oscar, Best Actor)
- The Front Page (1974)
- The China Syndrome (1977 – Oscar Nomination)
- Tribute (1980 – Oscar Nomination)
- Missing (1982 – Oscar Nomination)
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
- Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Lemmon’s intelligence always seemed to come through in his roles, which is no surprise considering he graduated from Harvard. His career ranked him the 33rd Greatest Movie Star of All Time by Entertainment Weekly, and 45th by Premiere Magazine. He once said, “It’s hard enough to write a good drama, it’s much harder to write a good comedy, and it’s hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is.”
Here’s a wonderful look at the man, accepting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award:
And here he is in one of his earliest, best roles:
Twenty years elapsed between Al Pacino's first Academy Award nomination (The Godfather) and his first Best Actor (Scent of a Woman). Uploaded by movies.ndtv.com.
Some actors get better with age. Witness a couple of men on this list, Tom Selleck (January 7, 2010) and Paul Newman (May 17, 2009). They were stars as younger men, but acquired a certain world-weariness that made their later characters memorable. I mention this to say that I can’t see that happening with Al Pacino. I don’t think he’s nearly as sharp as in his younger years. But those years, those characters, those performances were so wonderful, he definitely has earned his place as a Great American Thing.
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As an Italian-American from New York City, Pacino has had more than his share of gangster roles. And no one has ever done them better, and that’s a high compliment. But he’s also had movies where he’s been a policeman, detective, lawyer. Here’s a list of some of the excellent movies he’s made:
- The Godfather (1972 – Nomination)
- Serpico (1973 – Nomination)
- The Godfather Part II (1974 – Nomination)
- Dog Day Afternoon (1975 – Nomination)
- …And Justice for All (1979 – Nomination)
- Scarface (1983)
- Dick Tracy (1990 – Nomination)
- The Godfather Part III (1990 – Nomination)
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992 – Nomination)
- Scent of a Woman (1992 – Academy Award)
- Carlito’s Way (1993)
- Donnie Brasco (1997)
In addition to these Academy Award nominations, Pacino has been honored many other times for his work. He has received three Golden Globe, two Emmy, and two Tony Awards. Entertainment Weekly named him the number 41 movie star of all time, and his performance in Dog Day Afternoon was voted by Premiere Magazine as the number 4 performance of all time, and his Sonny Corleone in Godfather Part II is number 20.
David Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play/screenplay, Glengarry Glen Ross, a tour de force of brilliant and often profane dialogue. Uploaded by sonypictures.com.
David Mamet is one of the all-time masters of film/stage dialogue. His preference for natural conversation, in which characters often interrupt each other and sentences are left unfinished, has come to be known as “Mamet speak.” He has written fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and stage plays. He has written and produced. And though his isn’t a household name, he is well respected for his diverse talents.
Alec Baldwin was brilliant in Glengarry Glen Ross. Uploaded by dailyfill.com.
You’ll recognize a few of Mamet’s works, though they aren’t blockbusters. He received the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the adult play Glengarry Glen Ross, which waas also a remarkable movie. He also received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (Great American Things, Sept. 18, 2009) and Wag the Dog. Other movies he’s responsible for (as screenwriter) include The Untouchables, Ronin, and Hannibal. He’s also directed a couple of small gems: The Spanish Prisoner and State and Main.
I love this description of Mamet from his biography on FilmMakers.com:
Mamet makes few distinctions between working on the stage and the screen; He believes both involve putting the material on its feet and seeing how it plays. With movies, that’s done in the editing room or sometimes on the set. With plays, it’s done during rehearsals. In neither case does he see himself handicapped by being both the writer and the director. “There are two stages,” Mamet says. “First I write the best script I can and then I put on my director’s hat and say, ‘What am I going to do with this piece of crap?'”