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Tony Grist

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Olivier v Hoffman [Sep. 16th, 2013|08:59 am]
Tony Grist
I keep bumping into that anecdote about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman- you know- the one where Hoffman goes without sleep for 24 hours then runs round Central Park for a scene in which he's supposed to look exhausted and Olivier says, "Why don't you just try acting, dear boy?"

Why does everyone always score this as Oliver 1, Hoffman 0? Olivier's reputation as a stage actor followed him into the movies- and everyone was in awe of him- but he never mastered the craft of acting to camera.  The fact is- and the record shows- that Hoffman is a very good screen actor and Olivier was a lousy one. 

[User Picture]From: trixibelle_net
2013-09-16 10:01 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: resonant
2013-09-16 12:21 pm (UTC)
We watched Oliver in Hamlet in school. It was over-the-top, with excessive gesturing and histrionics. Suitable for a stage where the back row has to see, but it looked awkward when the camera was within a few metres.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-16 03:15 pm (UTC)
I rather like that movie, but it is very theatrical- and takes huge liberties with Shakespeare.

Also Olivier was way too old for the role. He could have got away with that on stage but not on screen. I believe he was older than the actress who plays his mother.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2013-09-16 12:36 pm (UTC)
This is why I have a great deal of respect for actors who CAN act equally well on both stage and screen. They really are two completely different things.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-16 03:20 pm (UTC)
Simon Callow says Olivier tried to dominate the camera, the way he did an audience in the theatre and that's all wrong. The camera has to be invited in.
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