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 Post subject: R.I.P. Eli Wallach
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:55 pm 
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___ Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
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Eli Wallach, one of the preeminent character actor/stars of all time, passed away a couple of days ago. I remember, about a year ago, I noticed that he was 97 years old and still chugging along as one of the last surviving stars of The Magnificent Seven (Robert Vaughn was the other one). I wondered if Wallach would make it to 100. He didn't quite make it but he gave it a good shot.

Wallach also was not that young when he finally started in films: he was already 40 when he acted in Baby Doll (56), his debut. This is because Wallach preferred the stage; he was trained in the Method many years before - before WW2 - but confined all his earliest efforts to stagework and a little bit of TV (from 1951). He only took movie roles finally to pay all the bills; in his view, acting in films was just a pragmatic choice, while acting on stage was his joy. But, he still ended up in about 90 films by the end (of course, being around for so many years helped).

Wallach also ended up in The Misfits (61), the final film for both Clark Gable & Marilyn Monroe, but, to my mind, he is remembered by most fans for two key roles - both as bandits - as Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960) and as Tuco in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (66). Wallach almost stole the film from all the heroes in The Magnificent Seven, even though they were all great stars. Watch him in that key confrontation scene when they all meet and Yul Brynner tells Calvera to "ride on." Wallach's anger is one of the best uses of The Method that I have ever seen ("You hear what he said..? To ME..!"), surely rivaling anything Brando had done. And, it's that rare thing - a very entertaining performance even as he loses himself in the role of a villain.

His crowning achievement, however, was as Tuco in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. This was a long, epic western in which Wallach (the "Ugly") was paired with Clint Eastwood (the "Good"). Eastwood was the typical strong, silent type and Wallach the exact opposite - loud, brash and usually talking too much, but Wallach ended up dominating most of the picture. You couldn't take your eyes off him and were wondering what his next move would be.
BELOW: Wallach as Tuco gets the drop on Eastwood... again.
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Wallach played a similar outlaw in How the West Was Won (62) but it was a much smaller role. He played other villains - he had small roles in the minor epics Lord Jim (65) and Genghis Khan. As detailed elsewhere in PtE, he also starred in the unusual TV film A Cold Night's Death (73). In later years, he continued to play sneaky and unpredictable characters, always trying to get the better of the heroes but never quite succeeding, as in The Domino Principle and The Deep (1977). As usual, he made the films more interesting. He was still sneaky, as an elder member of organized crime in the 3rd Godfather film (1990). He was 75 by this point, an age at which most actors would be retiring or seriously considering it, but he went on for another 20 years, officially retiring in 2010. His final film role was in the Wall Street sequel. R.I.P.


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 Post subject: Re: R.I.P. Eli Wallach
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:00 am 
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:( Good night Mr. Eli Wallach, you were a great talent and will be sorely missed! :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: R.I.P. Eli Wallach
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:52 am 
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R.I.P. Eli.


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 Post subject: Re: R.I.P. Eli Wallach
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:26 pm 
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RIP. I thought he was a more fascinating character instead of Clint Eastwood in The Good Bad and Ugly. His performance made that movie what it was.


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 Post subject: Re: R.I.P. Eli Wallach
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:25 pm 
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I was always very fond of him. I'm not a huge western fan, but there were his other dramas, like LORD JIM and THE VICTORS. And especially (in my case) comedies, like THE TIGER MAKES OUT and HOW TO SAVE A MARRIAGE AND RUIN YOUR LIFE.


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