Timothy Carey goes further than the smiling heavies who show a lot of tooth: he shows a lot of gum. Not that the Carey smile has anything to do with humour: it happens, for instance, when he is concentrating, when in The Killing he is centring the telescopic sight of his rifle on a racehorse. In the next Stanley Kubrick film, Paths of Glory, he was one of the soldiers chosen by lot to be executed, but such a claim on audience sympathy is totally exceptional for Carey, who is unlike other heavies in being totally without attractive characteristics. As he is repulsive looking as well as being normally very evil, he induces an unambiguous audience reaction–it’s just not possible to harbour a subversive liking for a Carey villain.
Recently he turned up in Aqua Sex [Mermaids of Tiburon], a particularly crummy exploitation movie about mermaids (who came in various varieties–with legs or tails, bras or no bras). Carey disturbed the peace of their island in search of treasure and so became perhaps the first man in movies to be done to death by mermaids.
– Ian and Elisabeth Cameron, The Heavies (Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1967)
Marisa, I totally disagree with you on Tim’s inability to create sympathy in an evil role. I always thought in his over the stop style he was having the best time playing with his audience. I never felt the so called depth of fear of his sadistic take. No matter how mean and scary he portended he always let a little opening to let you feel for him no matter how horrid he could be. Of all his performances his role as the doomed soldier in Path’s Of Glory did it for me. Before I go any further I concede this part was not of an evil or disturbed madman, just a soldier sacrificed at the altar of phony military justice, just like today. For you to say that his physical appearance could not elicit feelings of sympathy is far from what I felt of his whole screen career. I always rooted for him regardless of how terrible a character he was playing because he projected a sense that life had screwed him over before he ever interacted with any story line he was involved in. So in my mind the sympathy factor was already in his eyes by the time he spoke his first line.
Getting back To Path’s Of Glory, I’ll never forget how this huge man broke down before our eyes, like a squeamish little girl, crying and sobbing and pleading not to die. His mention of not having one single sexual thought for awhile might give him some sort of reprieve of death because he suddenly was purer of thought. I know this dialog was improvised by Tim and it was brilliant. Sympathy for that scene, you bet , he had me crying right with him until his woeful end, Regards, Richard
Richard, I completely agree! That’s not something I said; it was from a book called “The Heavies” (see the note just below the quote). I absolutely disagree with their assessment too. “Repulsive looking as well as being normally very evil”?? Where on earth did they get that? Timothy was a very handsome man, in my humble opinion! The authors were British, so maybe that has something to do with it? Anyway, I am complete agreement with you. (However, it was Ralph Meeker’s character in Paths who made the comment about having no sexual thoughts during his whole ordeal.)
Marisa, I stand politely corrected about the dialogue. Thanks.
Did you ever get my message at your hotel in Pasadena about having dinner at the Casa Bianca Italian restaurant in Eagle Rock. I suggested it because the food is great and it’s somewhat of a hangout for the entertainment industry. I thought you might have enjoyed seeing all the signed posters of the stars that visited.
I’m also a little sad that I didn’t get to meet you on your El Monte visit. You said you might want to interview me for Romeo’s documentary. Oh well, maybe next time.
Where is Tim’s studio in El Monte? Can the public visit it?
Thanks Marisa for all you do. Richard
I too am very sad that we didn’t get a chance to get together during my visit! My husband had a lot of extra sight-seeing stuff planned, so there wasn’t a lot of free time. NEXT time, honest, my hand to God! Tim’s studio is on E. Weaver St. It’s not open to the public per se, but I bet if you got ahold of Romeo he would be happy to meet you there and give you a tour. I think he’s been wanting to meet you anyway! Shoot him an email at email@example.com We most definitely would love to get you on video talking about your memories of meeting Tim!