Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ben Gazzara

Another of American's great actors has died, Ben Gazzara. Like Peter Falk, he probably got his best movie roles from Cassavetes - though like Falk, he worked for many significant directors, had many juicy roles - and his presence always graced the film. He had a face - looking at The Killing of a Chinese Bookie for this, you notice how much of the film consists of shots of Gazzara listening - waiting - Cassavetes' tight framings and long dialogue scenes require something like that - he cuts between the speakers sometimes, but just as often, maybe more, he just holds on Gazzara, listening, looking around (trying to catch everything, like he's trying to spot where the next disaster is coming from)... That is a great film, and one that is profoundly dependent on the lead...

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