On the Occasion of Sterling Hayden’s 100th Birthday Anniversary

I usually don’t post on Saturdays, but as the legendary Sterling Hayden was born 100 years ago today, I couldn’t not post. Timothy appeared in three films with him: Hellgate (1952), Crime Wave (1954) and The Killing (1956), getting a chance to really interact with him only in the latter film. It’s too bad there weren’t more, but what we have is choice. Hayden was a true iconoclast, the very definition of “rugged individualism.” They just don’t make ’em like that anymore. Sir, we salute you.

Hellgate

Hellgate (1952), with Joan Leslie and James Anderson

Crime Wave

Crime Wave (1954), with Phyllis Kirk, Gene Nelson and Mack Chandler

The Killing (1956)

The Killing (1956), directed by Stanley Kubrick

Video of the Week: “Kidnap”

Well look what I found on Dailymotion! The full length CHiPs episode “Kidnap,” first broadcast on January 26, 1980. Most definitely one of Timothy’s most eccentric performances.

Tim’s cohort in crime here is Warren Berlinger, another venerable character actor born in Brooklyn (with the same birthday as me!). He’s been all over the big and small screens since the late 1950s. He is also Milton Berle‘s nephew!

Quote of the Week

Reservoir Dogs was dedicated in part to Lionel White, the hardboiled pulp novelist who wrote the source material for The Killing, among other film noir. Another member of this film’s production also linked to Reservoir Dogs is the actor Timothy Carey who played the sniper in The Killing. At 6’4” Timothy Carey was made to lurk and menace in the background but he was too kinetic to stay there. He was passed over for several big film roles (including Reservoir Dogs) because he had a reputation for being unpredictable and physically intimidating. Tarantino gave the role to Timothy Carey’s friend Lawrence Tierney, another brutish character actor.

Actors, particularly grizzled veterans of B-movies, have a special sway over Tarantino. As a rabid movie buff, his imagination is excited by the gruff, violent men who almost seem subhuman. Cretinous demeanors suggesting amorality are the stuff of Tarantino’s charm over an audience.

The Killing promo still

 

 

Quote of the Week

Timothy Carey, the name has a certain aura to it. Some cinephiles know this feeling, those who go out on a limb and watch what little role he has. Carey, a character actor who zigzagged through the latter half of American cinema’s history, from A to Z pictures and everything in between, had a special talent. He could make a thin role into something memorable. He threw his 6’ 4’’ body around and spoke with a voice that sounded more like a cement mixer. He stole scenes, evaporating the memory of those that came before and after it.

Only Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes managed to integrate Carey into their films seamlessly. For both filmmakers, he appeared twice in their work. For Kubrick: The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957). For Cassavetes: Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). They were able to rein in Carey, controlling his high-strung acting for maximum effect. In Paths of Glory, in fact, Carey gives a career-performance. An interlude from the psychotics he often played, as Private Ferol, Carey is a smooth man, someone who would fit in with Jack Kerouac and co., not WWI France. By film’s end, he becomes unraveled. Along with Ralph Meeker and Joe Turkel, he’s one of the soldiers court-martialed and executed. “I don’t want to die,” he repeats, sniveling, whimpering, and crying as he faces the firing squad.

For every friend, Carey had three or four enemies, people who couldn’t tolerate his brand of free-wheeling, combusting improvisation. Fact and legend often blur in Hollywood history. In Carey’s case, there seems to be more legend than fact. His bouts with actors and directors are tabloid-worthy and tailor-made to his outsider persona. Billy Wilder and James B. Harris fired him. Elia Kazan dubbed his guttural lines. Richard Widmark and Karl Malden beat him. Marlon Brando stabbed him with a pen. Always cheeky, Carey proclaimed that he was fired more than any other actor in Hollywood.

Paths of Glory

Video of the Week: The Eyes of Timothy Carey

This week’s video accompanies the wonderful article by filmmaker Andre Perkowski (and was also created by him) that provided our Quote of the Week last Sunday. It comprises scenes from Timothy’s last television appearance in the Airwolf episode “Tracks” (3.22.1986) overlaid with the audio from Morgan Morgan’s near-soliloquy from Minnie and Moskowitz (1971). The result is surrealism at its finest. Enjoy!