Birthday Triple Threat

Birthday Triple Threat

Posted by Mike Finnegan on Nov 4th 2018

Most movies often deepen their texture – or if you will, their character – from the compelling character actors they employ. Three of the best share a birthday today, as well as the touch of class they bring to several Twilight Time hi-def Blu-rays. Beefy, best-in-class and bountiful Martin Balsam (1919-1996), who after a quarter-century of reliably treading the boards and soundstages finally won well-deserved Oscar® (A Thousand Clowns) and Tony® (You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running) recognition in a brief two-year period in the mid-1960s, crafts a debonair yet dastardly Mafia don who masterminds a vengeful “hit squad” scheme to eliminate his mob leader rivals in the explosive Charles Bronson action thriller The Stone Killer (1973). Cameron Mitchell (1918-1994), who captured a Theatre World Award originating the role of Happy Logan in the original 1949 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman and can be seen now in movie theaters and on Netflix in the reconstructed version of Orson Welles’ magnum opus The Other Side of the Wind (2018), brings his powerful presence to four distinctive projects on our label: Pony Soldier (1952), as the hotheaded Cree warrior Konah, nemesis to star Tyrone Power’s Northwest Mounted Policeman; Hell and High Water (1954), as a rambunctious and resourceful crew member of a submarine on a secret Cold War undercover mission commanded by Richard Widmark; Garden of Evil (1954), as a money- and sex-hungry junior member of a trio of adventurers (fronted by Gary Cooper and Widmark) recruited to rescue a trapped gold miner in hostile Mexican wilderness territory; and No Down Payment (1957), as a frustrated war veteran suburbanite (married to Joanne Woodward) whose failure to achieve recognition in his uptight tract community drives him to shocking violence and a tragic end. Nominated for three Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards® for Come Fill the Cup (1951), Teacher’s Pet (1958) and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), Gig Young (1913-1978) won the statuette for the last-named as the seedy master of ceremonies of a Depression-era dance marathon. Largely remembered for light comedy but also capable of sly menace, he makes memorable contributions to the Elvis Presley vehicle Kid Galahad (1962) as a boxing-camp operator with serious gambling and relationship problems and Sam Peckinpah’s powerful Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) as a world-weary killer-for-hire teamed with Robert Webber in stalking protagonist Warren Oates before he can retrieve the gruesome quest object and claim his hoped-for bounty. These seven diverse, distinctive films keep alive the invaluable work of Balsam, Mitchell and Young in movie fans' memories. Garden of Evil, Hell and High Water, Kid Galahad, No Down Payment and The Stone Killer are offered at both Screen Archives and Twilight Time Movies. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and Pony Soldier are exclusively at Screen Archives, respectfully here – http://screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/31950/BRING-ME-THE-HEAD-OF-ALFREDO-GARCIA-1974-ENCORE-EDITION/ – and here – https://www1.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/23708/PONY-SOLDIER-1952/.