Friday, November 10, 2006

Jack Palance, R. I. P.

Oscar-Winning Actor Jack Palance Dies - New York Times: "Jack Palance, a coal miner’s son who spent most of a long Hollywood career playing memorable heavies in movies like “Shane” and “Sudden Fear,” only to win an Academy Award at 70 for a self-parodying comic performance in “City Slickers,” died yesterday at his home in Montecito, Calif."

When I was a kid and saw Shane for the first time, I was impressed by a lot of things: the Tetons, Alan Ladd, and Jean Arthur come to mind. But most of all I was impressed by Jack Palance. It's probably the first movie I ever saw him in, and he exuded malevolence. The scene where he goads the homesteader into the gunfight was a shocker to me, and the final shoot-out with Alan Ladd stuck with me for many years. I'm glad Palance finally won his Oscar for City Slickers.

5 comments:

  1. Nick Stump12:14 AM

    What a loss. His original TV version of "Requiem for a Heavyweight" was remarkable. What a great heavy he was. The only good thing that can come from his death is TCM will probably show a bunch of his movies in tribute.

    I'm glad he finally got his Oscar too. He gave so many trophy worthy performances.

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  2. Does anyone remember David Frye's great impersonation of Jack Palance:
    "I stuffed an old lady into a mailbox...without any postage! Mwa-ha-ha!"

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  3. Todd Mason1:05 PM

    It was a hell of an afternoon for men called Jack.

    His take on DRACULA, which I think I read decades ago, that the key to the Count was that he not only was a literal bloodsucker but a creature who robbed others of their psychic energy just by being in their presence, was interesting...and certainly fit in with the kind of character he played so well.

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  4. In addition to his fine movie work, Palance was a poet. I remember a number of his appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson during which he read some of his verse. On one memorable appearance he had a pipe in his mouth and kept lighting matches but never getting around to lighting the pipe. He may have been a bit tipsy at the time. He also made a veiled threat to treat another guest that night, Charles Nelson Reilly, to a good ass whooping. His work in Shane is aprt of why that movie belongs on anyone's top ten westerns list.

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  5. Nick Stump2:39 AM

    I'd forgotten about Dracula. Great version--all Jack. I'll have to locate a copy somewhere.

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