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Montgomery Clift's Star-Making Role

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    «NYFF: “伊莎贝拉”|Main|祝福约翰利思戈和休·杰克曼»
    Oct 01 2020

    克利夫特@ 100:蒙蒂抵达“搜索”


    We’re celebrating actor Montgomery Clift’s centennial here at TFE with a staff-wide observance of every single one of his films. I’m the lucky bastard who gets to launch this exciting series with his first released film, 1948’sThe Search

    主任弗雷德Zinnemann精心制作了一个电影up surprisingly well at age 72. Sure, you have to muddle through some stilted expository voice-over and some now-dated narrative conventions, but this film’s emotional power still taps primal feelings and has an incredible payoff. It’s a Hollywood film through and through, but Zinnemann shows extraordinary restraint and intelligence, keeping his focus on his young actor, and the American cheerleading to a minimum...


    While the child’s father and sister have indeed been killed in the camps, unbeknownst to him, his mother is still very much alive. Half of the film we follow his mother’s search for her son. In the other half, our young hero chance-meets Steve, an American Army engineer stationed in Germany, and played, of course, by our Monty. Steve tries to help him find his mother, building to the moving finale.


    Montgomery Clift doesn’t appear inThe Searchuntil over 35 minutes into the picture, when it only has an hour to go. When we first see him, it’s from a distance, from the child’s point of view, as he sits in a jeep eating his lunch. But when Clift first turns his face to the camera, it's a true star-is-born moment. His beauty is indeed overwhelming. His was always a face born for the camera, effortlessly projecting intelligence, masculinity, sensitivity… all without speaking a word.

    In this opening scene, where he must realistically charm this little frightened animal into his vehicle, Clift doesn’t soft-pedal. This soldier has seen many displaced kids, and he doesn’t treat this one in some special, movie-friendly way. Clift starts out with such a lived-in weariness that you believe he’s been on the ground in Germany for a while. He’s seen stuff. He’s built a resolve. He’s willing to drive away from yet another terrified child of war, but you see the moment when he realizes maybe he needs to go a little further this time. This first scene between the two actors has such a naturalistic, honest ring to it that you believe this kid would react differently to Clift than he has to all other adults. The soldier is treating him like a human being and not a vessel to be shipped about.

    The Search不给克利夫特一个巨大的画布上作画:它是的意思主要是为了服务于故事作为伊万·詹德支持一紧,包含角色。但是这是克利夫特的作用在这里奇迹的一部分:他既是一个emblemof “the American soldier” of that time, but also feels like the合计我们所知道的关于allof those soldiers as well. He seems to have taken the spirit of these men and filtered it, distilled it into this man. While we never “know” Steve at great length, Clift plays the immediacy of a soldier in this hard-to-wrap-your-head-around scenario. Clift plays Steve’s impulses to bring the kid back to the USA with him with a briskness not birthed from old Hollywood ideas of heroism. There’s no shade of “savior” in Clift’s acting: he teaches the boy English because he needs to communicate with him, and he’s willing to bring him back with him because there is simply no other option.

    Clift has a remarkable scene where he sits with the boy to tell him his mother has died. Clift brings zero mawkishness to what could be a real barf-inducer of a sentimental scene. Steve has no children of his own, no ability to gauge what he “should” say, and no vocabulary that’s child-friendly.

    But he’s connected to the boy, and he treats him with respect and directness. It’s a moment that’s all the more affecting because of the stripped-down approach, and Clift’s talent for clearing out the fussiness of a scene and getting right to the heart of it is on stunning display here.

    Clift’s work with Jandl remains a marvel to watch. You can tell that Clift took care of this tiny, young Czech actor, and you get pleasure from his nurturing that you can just feel happened off camera as well, in the same way you could feel it with Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay inRoom。As an adult actor working with an actor that young, you need to do double-duty to look out for your scene partner, leading him through technical aspects of filmmaking, while keeping them simple and honest, and directly tied to you. Clift maneuvers this with incredible sophistication, and the results are astonishing.


    在许多方面,The Search体现所有元素克里福特磨练他的职业生涯进展,仍然吸引我们给他七个十年后的:他钢铁般的肉体,休闲磁性欲,先天的智力,青紫压痛,以及良好的判断扣缴。

    Clift receivedhis first Best Actor nomination为这部影片。它是这个宏伟的演员,这是奇妙岁的罚款电影爱好者必不可少的,与两个中心的表演是感人同步。千万不要错过我们启动到克利夫特的完整片目......如此多的欢乐领先。

    Tomorrow: Nathaniel on红河(1948), Montgomery Clift's first smash hit.

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    Reader Comments (8)

    A couple additional pieces of trivia


    Clift traveled to Zurich and lived in an Army unit to practice and master a soldier's gait. Director Fred Zinnemann trusted Clift and allowed him improvise dialogue. Screenwriters Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler were so incensed by the changes they prepared legal action in response. Of course, once the two won the Academy Award for the screenplay they had no interest in going to court to demonstrate that the dialogue was not their own.

    October 1, 2020 |未注册的批评家James


    October 1, 2020 |未注册的批评家Gwen


    I think I'd already seen five or six of Clift's films before getting to this one: in fact, I'd already seen two (From Here to Eternityand幼狮队他的其他士兵roles* and I was surprised and delighted at how this light and effortless this performance is compared to the other two (both of which I love).

    也很高兴我看到了他的实际亮相(红河)before seeing this one. He was so assured onscreen, right off the bat, in both films.


    October 1, 2020 |未注册的批评家工作僵硬


    October 1, 2020 |未注册的批评家joel6


    2020年10月2日|未注册的批评家Andrew Carden

    He's easily my winner in a weird year which includes my #1 worst nomination in that category.

    Having said that Bogart is missing.

    2020年10月2日|未注册的批评家Baby Clyde


    2020年10月2日|未注册的批评家汤姆·g ^

    The review is spot-on. Terrific, heart-rending film and this may be my favorite Clift performance.