Robert Ryan fan club 2


with stanwyck in clash by night (1952 dir fritz lang)arts·meme, when she is not kvelling on symphony or ballet, is a fan girl.

She has favorite movie actors. The male contingent includes Ralph Fiennes, early Peter Saarsgard, early Tim Roth, and the red-headed Briton, Damien Lewis.

But why oh why was the great b-movie guy, Robert Ryan, heavily featured in LACMA’s recent series on the cinematography of Nicholas Musuraca, not a bigger star? This we do not understand.

His anguished, existential mask of a face prefigures James Dean. Only it’s more gripping … ’cause he’s not as pretty.

His explosive temper complements John Garfield and foreshadows Brando. And in his long sinewy figure, he’s … um … the man I love!ryan

Ryan could have played Tom Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath,” not that Henry Fonda didn’t nail the part.

Perpetual unhappiness, frustration, and a too-familiar brand of modern malaise form Robert Ryan’s emotional palette. We saw it all in Musuraca films, many of them shot at RKO. That was Hollywood’s niche studio that churned gut-wrenching popular films, many of them pulp fiction and most on a low budget.

Alas, I missed Robert Ryan in “Born to Be Bad,” in which he plays a filthy rich sophisticate — perhaps his only character who was not twisted, haunted, or shot at. It sounds too good. I don’t know if I could take it.

All hail Robert Ryan, arts·meme‘s king for a day.

2 thoughts on “Robert Ryan fan club

  1. Alcanis Mar 24,2011 6:24 pm

    Oh, I LOVE him. He was a wonderful actor. Could express more with a half-smile or a look than most others by chewing scenery.

    First saw him in The Wild Bunch (he should’ve got more screen time but it’s a badass movie with real men), then in Billy Budd where I fell for him completely. I am a rabid Claggart fangirl and very picky about who plays him but Ryan came from my dreams. A quiet, smiling sadist. Extremely creepy, perverted and demonic but still a tragic, lonely character. He’s perhaps the best Claggart I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some of the greatest basses on stage. But Ryan manages to be perfect without even singing.

    Now I’m hunting down his westerns and noirs one by one. Day of the Outlaw was another beautiful piece – not your typical sunny western at all! It’s the closest thing to The Great Silence, the darkest western on earth that America ever did.

    And he has a sexy voice.

  2. mike schlesinger Jun 7,2010 12:50 pm

    Ryan's problem is that he made everything look so effortless that he didn't seem to be "acting," thus people tended to take him for granted. He's the textbook example of "underrated," by all means. He did play sympathetic characters, though; THE WILD BUNCH is a notable example, and also check out his timid sheriff in the little-seen LAWMAN.

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