Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wendell Corey, An Actor Re-examined

For years, seemingly bland Wendell Corey was an actor I dismissed as "human wallpaper". Seeing his work as a troubled husband recently in The File on Thelma Jordon (1950), as a jilted suitor in Holiday Affair (1947) and as a scene-stealing unbalanced man on a mission in The Killer Is Loose (1956), that snap judgement seems unfair. For the TCM Movie Morlocks blog last week, I mused about his largely unappreciated ability to act and the reasons on and off screen that may have led to his being overlooked. Here's a sample of the piece:

"The acerbic American writer Paul Theroux once observed that "Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us." Maybe movies--that particularly compelling and seductive form of fiction--gives us that chance too, especially if we look at an actor's many roles, rather than their best known portrayals. Some actors leave you cold, though once in a while you're able to look at someone in a new way.

MorlockJeff's recent article on that '50s movie fixture, George Nader, found here, made me question my attitudes toward certain actors. I thought that Nader was a negligible, pompadoured presence in laughable movies such as Carnival Story (1954), or the outrageously campy The Female Animal (1958). The best that I could say about the guy was that he looked good in navy blue in an unpretentious, if sometimes overly ponderous "victory at sea" story from Universal, called Away All Boats (1956), directed by Joseph Pevney. However, Jeff's lively description of this upcoming noirish feature on TCM, Nowhere to Go (1958), with Nader acting opposite a very young, doe-like Maggie Smith, makes me want to see the movie. It also made me think about an actor whose work I've dismissed in the past, but have recently grown to see a bit differently. Maybe I threw Wendell Corey on my personal pile of rejects too soon"....please click here for the rest of the story


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