Thursday, November 24, 2011

Roman Bohnen, 1894-1949

Today marks the birth anniversary of character actor Roman Bohnen, a name you might have seen pop up in the credits a number of times, even if you don't necessarily recognize which character he's playing. Bohnen had a fairly brief career, having come from the stage to Hollywood in his early 40s, and then dying of a heart attack while doing more stage work. But his ten years in film were productive, much in the same way that Sydney Greenstreet had a brief but productive career. While Greenstreet made about two dozen films, Bohnen appeared in over 30.

I've recommended a couple of those films before, although obviously not for Bohnen's small roles. Bohnen appears as the warden of the brutal prison in Brute Force, for example. He also shows up at the beginning of The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, as the father of the boy who grows up to be the character portrayed (as an adult) by Kirk Douglas.

Perhaps Bohnen's best role, however, comes in the film The Best Years of Our Lives. Bohnen plays the father of Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), and gets a particularly poignant scene when he reads the commendation report that his son got for one of his medals. I'm sorry to say that I don't have any good video capture software, and couldn't find a good picture of this scene on the web.

No comments: