Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Worst Casting

There's a difference, I think, between a bad performance and downright wrong-headed casting, especially during the 1940s and 1950s, when even loosey goosey Hollyweird couldn't quite wrap their brains around using ethnic actors. Those who were Hispanic or Native American by birth were Anglicized beyond recognition while the red and brown parts went to the white folk. One of strangest (and at times laughable) bits of miscasting was Charlton Heston as a Mexican cop in Orson Welles' last film, the baroque Goth-Noir classic, A Touch of Evil (1958). Perhaps most famous for its breathtaking, three-minute single tracking shot in the opening scene, the film is otherwise stupendously weird, some would even say shocking. Heston, alas, is horribly miscast:

Want to check out more worst of the worst? Head on over to Boxer's Place:


LẌ said...

I like Marlene Dietrich's tiny, but interesting role in this one.

savannah said...

amen, sister! xoxo

Milk River Madman said...

Great choice! I love it in "Get Shorty" when Travolta is trying to get Renee Russo to go to the movies with him. He references this movie and says "we can watch Charleton Heston play a Mexican".

Jenny said...

Reminds me of the early Charlie Chan movies when casting an actual ASIAN never seems to have crossed the minds Hollywood.

This is weird movie. One I had forgotten about. Orson Welles is a favorite of mine, even though his life/career didn't end as well as he deserved.

Great pick. MRM's quote from "Get Shorty" made me snort coffee.

Joanna Cake said...

He just looks odd!

Kymical Reactions said...

what a weirdo. who told him this sounded/looked good? We're the 1950's totally disillusioned?

Buzz Kill said...

This was almost as bad as Chuck Connors in Geronimo. Charles Bronson played an Indian and a Mexican farmer (Mr. Majestyk which was actually a pretty good movie). So all these stars went the ethnic route at one time or another.

What Boxer said and great quote from the madman.

Happy MCW!

Mike from Adelaide said...

I don't know what you are all talking about. How he didn't win an Oscar I'll never know. "You found the dynamite in this box? Captain. I looked in that box; just now. There wasn't anything there."

C'Est Magnifique.

Best casting since Meryl Streep did Lindy Chamberlain.

moi said...

xl: No doubt. Marlene is always interesting to watch.

savannah: Notice how he didn't even attempt much of an accent?

Milk River: Hah! I remember that movie. Pretty good, actually. One of the few times I could stand John Revolta.

Boxer: Welles was a genius for sure. But, wee-ooo. As in C-R-A-Z-Y.

Joanna: Like, if the movie were in color? He'd be orange from too much self-tanner.

Buzz: Good ones. Bronson was always going brown.

Mike: Welcome Mike from Down Under! You funny!

Pam said...

Wow, interesting choice. And what about the use of any handy Italian in the 1960's to use as an American Indian in a Western???

LaDivaCucina said...

Many times when "nothing" is on TV, I go to the old movie channels and will pick a movie to watch based on the number of stars. I watched this one not too long ago and so DID NOT GET that he was supposed to be Hispanic. Why didn't they even try to do accents back then? Slap some make up or a moustache on 'em and that's meant to make us believe? Idongeddit.

Gnomeself Be True said...

Could have gone my whole life without seeing that.
Thanks tons.

Heff said...

I always enjoyed movies with Ricardo Montalbon cast as an Indian, lol !

Bretthead said...

Totally off topic here, but that's how I roll. I blurbed about you in my blog - thought you should know. I don't like writing about bloggers without telling them (of course I never ask for permission). Hope that is cool.

moi said...

Pam: Which is funny, right, because many Italians are blond-haired and blue-eyed!

La Diva: Bwhahahahaha! Hon, were you sipping on La Wine at the time?

Gnome: Aw, gee. You don't visit for a coon's age and then I go ahead and offend you. Sigh.

Heff: With his Corinthian leather tee-pee!

WTWA: I hope you dressed me well.

LaDivaCucina said...

Every Tues and THurs for the month of May Turner Classic Movies will feature movies featuring Native Americans in Film. Weird timing!