Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks #247: Unrecognizable Actor Transformation

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is "Unrecognizable Actor Transformations", which I assume is intended to discuss make-up jobs such that the viewer won't recognize the actor on screen. If that was the intent, then it's a tough theme for me to think of three movies. So I went a different way and came up with three movies in which characters transformed themselves such that the other people in the movie don't recognize them:

Tension (1949). Richard Basehart plays a bespectacled pharmacist whose ingrateful wife (Audrey Totter) is cheating on him. So he comes up with the idea of killing her lover, and has a brilliant disguise: he gets contact lenses! And nobody recognizes him! Basehart can't go through with the killing, but somebody else does, causing complications for poor Basehart.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957). Tyrone Power plays a man accused of murdering a little old lady for her money; ailing barrister Charles Laughton defends Power at trial. Marlene Dietrich plays Power's wife with a past (not the murder victim), and helps Power be found not guilty, although including this movie in the theme gives away an important plot point.

Hare-Trimmed (1953). Yosemite Sam learns that Granny is in line for a substantial inheritance, so he makes a beeline to marry her. Bugs Bunny tries to stop Yosemite, engaging in a whole bunch of disguises including dressing as Granny and going through a phony wedding with Sam. Sam is too dumb to notice it's Bugs behind all those disguises.


joel65913 said...

I love that you used Bugs Bunny for one of your choices!

Tension is a very good movie outside of that silly plot point of the contacts. LOVE Audrey Totter!

Witness is a great film and you're right about the twist. Brilliant performances across the board though Tyrone Power does go over the top in the witness box.

I went the makeup transformation route.

The Lost Moment (1947)-Publisher Lewis Venable (Robert Cummings) is desperate to acquire love letters between noted 19th century poet Jeffrey Ashton and Juliana Bordereau (Agnes Moorehead). Learning that Juliana is still alive at 105, Lewis arranges an introduction. Assuming the identity of a rich author, Lewis meets the now-blind Juliana, who allows him to rent rooms in her home. As Lewis' searches for the letters he must contend with the resistance of Juliana's great-niece, Tina (Susan Hayward) a tightly wound schizophrenic duel personality obsessed with Ashton. This slightly reworked version of Henry James The Aspern Papers isn’t for everyone, star Susan Hayward hated it and referred to it as The Lost Hour and a Half, but features a most impressive makeup job on Agnes Moorehead who though in her mid-forties is unrecognizable as the ancient Juliana.

Mask (1985)-Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz) a sweet-natured extremely bright teen suffers from Lionitis which caused his facial features to be deformed taking on the appearance of that beast. Thanks to his wild but tough and loving mother Rusty (Cher) and biker friends who see him for who he is Rocky doesn’t let his affliction get in the way. But the greater world is not so understanding, at least at first, and there are many obstacles to face. Based on a true story Stoltz is buried under mountains of prosthetics but manages to convey Rocky’s essence extremely well, matched every step of the way by Cher.

Bettlejuice (1988)-Tim Burton’s wild ride of a movie tells the tale of Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) freshly dead in a car accident, finding themselves stuck haunting their country residence and unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose "help" quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia. Keaton done up in wild style is brash and inimitable.

Birgit said...

OMG! I love that you went with Bugs who often liked to dress up like when he was Brunhilde and Elmer fell in love with"Kill the Rabbit!" I don't know the first movie but I giggled at the contact lenses doing the trick. I love Witness-one of my favourites and a great choice!