23 October 2007

a character to remember

I saw Paul Leni's "The Last Warning" because of my affection for Laura LaPlante. altho she's the only cast member to receive billing above the title   she's part of an ensemble in this 1929 backstage mystery.

the film is memorable for the imaginative photography of the great Hal Mohr. LaPlante is adequate in one of her "scream queen" parts but it's not one of her great roles. the most notable cast member is Torben Meyer who is totally over-the-top but gets away with it because he plays a looney.

the character actor began in silent films in Denmark in 1912. he appeard in nearly 200 films in a career that lastd over 50 years. a regular in the pictures of Preston Sturges   Meyer workd for such directors as James Whale & George Cukor   Max Ophuls & John Ford. he often playd comic roles (appearing in films of Chaplin & Bob Hope) but also did a spate of famous horror flicks. altho it's been years since I've seen "Judgment at Nuremberg"   his performance in that lingers in my memory. he even has a bit in "Casablanca."

it feels good to discover a gem of a performance like Meyer's in "The Last Warning." too often character actors live in a foggy world. we see them so often they're familiar but many times we don't know their names or the extent of their careers. tonite I ate some chocolate in honor of Torben Meyer.

No comments: