Carey was certainly attracting the right kinds of people with such skewed antics. In 1956, Stanley Kubrick gave Carey the role of racist horse-killer Nikki Arane in The Killing and the court-martialled French private Ferol in Paths Of Glory (1957). They remain two of the most powerful, sinister and haunted performances in all of Kubrick’s films.
Yet, it’s once we stray off the path of conventional film-making and into the murky world of the B-movie that Carey’s true genius reveals itself. Alongside junk cinema king Peter Graves, Tim Carey appeared in Harold Daniels‘ Poor White Trash (1961) [ed. note: originally released as Bayou in 1957] as Ulysses, a mean-eyed Cajun loon. The film’s highlights include Carey performing the most disturbing inbred zydeco dance ever committed to celluloid, then attacking Graves with a very big axe. […]
Edit – 30 September 2002
We received this additional info on Carey from his second cousin once removed. Thanks Susan!
“My Dad remembers playing with Tim in Brooklyn as a kid… he said he was a funny guy way before he headed to California… used to go out in the street with a flute and play it while directing traffic. They also used to mess around with a dumbwaiter hoisting each other up and down.”
This one is full of some oft-repeated rumors and half-truths, but is still worth a look.
Imagine an actor with the wild, manic stare of a skid-row John Turturro, the gangly rebel stance of Jerry Lee Lewis and the acting presence of a secure-ward Nicolas Cage. Even then you’re still not close to the twisted screen presence of the great Tim Carey.[…]
Right from the start, Carey’s unique approach to acting – frowning and mumbling like a dope addict plotting to overthrow the world – got him into trouble. His key scene in The Wild One (1954) was his unscripted decision to shake up a can of beer and squirt it in Brando‘s face. His performance in East of Eden so incensed Elia Kazan that the director physically attacked Carey on set and then re-dubbed all of Tim’s surreal mutterings. However, Brando eventually patched it up with Carey and cast him as the oddball Howard Tetley in the portly star’s directorial debut, One-Eyed Jacks (1961). By the end of filming, Brando was so impressed by Carey’s unique performance that he ended up stabbing him with a fountain pen.