I was very sad to learn today of the death of film critic and screenwriter Roger Ebert, after a long battle with cancer. I for one cut my cinematic teeth on At the Movies, the movie review show that he co-hosted with the late Gene Siskel. It helped me learn to cast a critical eye at film and to appreciate it as an art form as well as entertainment.
I was searching for any reviews Ebert might have written that mentioned Timothy, and came across one for Stanley Kubrick‘s The Killing (1956). He discusses Tim’s portrayal of Nikki Arcane, “rifle sharpshooter,” thusly:
We accept even action that makes absolutely no sense, as in a crucial moment involving Nikki the sharpshooter. Required to hit a moving target with a rifle with telescopic sights, he inexplicably parks his sports car, a convertible with the top down, in plain view in a parking lot so that anyone can see him take out the rifle, aim and fire. In theory they’re looking elsewhere. In practice his personality gets him in trouble.
That’s a good point, but actually I believe the cars in the lot are unoccupied; their owners are in the stands enjoying the race. Still, it is a pretty brazen move, even if it’s the only place that Nikki thought he could get a clear shot.
Attention to detail like this is only part of what made Ebert such a great critic. We will miss his keen eye and keener wit very much. Rest well, Roger, and we’ll see you and Gene, together again, at the movies.