Friday, 12 November 2004

Bad guy, good guy

Watching Once Upon a Time in the West the other day, I realised that Henry Fonda’s role was as untypical as it could be; I had never seen him as a real baddie before. Good old blue-eyed Hank, for years he played the man you could trust, decent, honest, kind, Mr Integrity. In real life he was a difficult husband to his four wives and a rotten father to Peter and Jane, whose mother killed herself.

Another fine actor was Robert Ryan, who spent much of his career playing sadistic killers, self-pitying racists and assorted bullies. He played them brilliantly, without insinuating a trace of redeeming charm or humour.
But he was a concerned liberal in politics (“I have been in films pretty well everything I am dedicated to fighting against”, he once said) and lived happily and modestly for thirty-three years with his wife and his three children.

No comments: